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best tire inflators

Tire pressure often changes, whether from a hole in the rubber or the relentless miles tires endure. Keeping the right level of pounds per square inch (PSI) in your tires is essential, but what’s the best tire inflator for your car?

Our review team thoroughly researched popular air compressors to find the best tire inflators with gauges. We looked at how intuitive each product is to use, convenience of the design, and performance.

 

In this article:

4 Best Tire Inflators

 

Our Review Standards

The tire inflators in this article went through two rounds of reviews. We started by searching Amazon for top products, looking at factors such as eligibility for Prime shipping, customer ratings, Amazon superlatives, and price.

Our team ordered the four-tire inflators that best met these standards to use the products for testing. A team member tested each product on a car, noting each portable tire inflator’s inflation speed, ease of use, features, and the clarity of the instruction manual. We gave each car air pump a rating out of 5 stars based on these criteria.


Best Tire Inflator: AstroAI Air Compressor

astroai air compressor

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The AstroAI Air Compressor tire inflator is our top pick for a few reasons. The vast majority of its reviews are positive, it comes in a compact package, and the features are comparable to similar products that are twice the price.

Overall 4.6 out of 5
Inflation Speed 4 out of 5
Ease of Use 5 out of 5
Clarity of Instructions 5 out of 5
Features 4.5 out of 5
 

Key Features

  • Cost: $36
  • 0 to 35.0 PSI in under five minutes
  • Digital LED display
  • Automatic shutoff
  • LED flashlight

What’s In The Box?

The AstroAI gives you the basics of what you need to handle a loss in tire pressure. It includes a portable air compressor pump with a built-in power cord. The AstroAI Air Compressor runs off a 12.0-volt DC power cord that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter.

Other items you get from the manufacturer are adapters to inflate sports balls and balloons.

Our Experience

astroai air compressor

Using the AstroAI Air Compressor proved to be easy. The air hose connector snapped onto our tires, and setting the desired pressure proved to be simple. The backlit LED display is readable in various lighting conditions, and the automatic shutoff feature works well.

Although this portable tire inflator isn’t the fastest one we tested, we named it our best tire inflator due to its large number of positive reviews and intuitive design. The AstroAI lost points in the features section for not including a carrying case, and in the end, we gave it 4.5 stars.

What Customers Are Saying

The AstroAI Air Compressor has over 38,000 ratings on Amazon and an average customer score of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Happy customers praise the 12.0-volt tire inflator for its portability and power. Some less positive reviews mention the product’s longevity issues and say the tire gauge gives inaccurate readings.

What Is It Good For?

If you’re looking for a DC portable air compressor with a small footprint, the AstroAl is probably your best choice. The LCD screen makes it usable in low-light situations, and the auto-shutoff feature is a plus.


Best Premium Compressor: DeWalt 20V Max Cordless Tire Inflator

dewalt 20v max cordless tire inflator

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The DeWalt 20V Max Cordless Tire Inflator is a solid choice if you’re looking for brand name and performance. This yellow beast has enough attachments to handle most vehicle and bike tires, and the preset gauge is simple to use.

Overall 4.6 out of 5
Inflation Speed 5 out of 5
Ease of Use 4 out of 5
Clarity of Instructions 5 out of 5
Features 4.5 out of 5
 

Key Features

  • Cost: $130
  • Can run off AC/DC power or lithium-ion battery
  • Optional 20.0-volt lithium-ion battery
  • Automatic shutoff
  • Inflation and deflation modes

What’s In The Box?

The digital tire inflator takes up most of the box and has extra connectors that clamp onto the product for easy storage. A rechargeable battery and charger are notably absent, but you can power the air compressor through a 12.0-volt DC plugin or an AC power unit.

The DeWalt comes with a high-pressure tapered nozzle, a Presta valve adapter, and an inflator needle.

Our Experience

dewalt 20v max cordless tire inflator

Speed and ease were are the DeWalt excels. Setting up the valve stem is easy, although hose length could be better.

We subtracted points because the DeWalt is by far the bulkiest car air pump we tested. We also deducted points because it doesn't include a carrying case or rechargeable battery, which should be available for a price tag over $100.

Also, we found setting the device up for deflation to be a bit clunky. All factors considered, we gave the DeWalt 4.6 stars.

What Customers Are Saying

The DeWalt has an average customer rating of 4.8 stars from more than 6,200 Amazon reviews. Some negative reviews say the product is too expensive and doesn’t perform well when paired with an AC adapter. Positive reviews often mention the unit’s quality and portability, making it a solid addition to the 20V Max family of DeWalt products.

What Is It Good For?

This product is wonderful if you don’t mind spending extra money on one of the best portable air compressor tire inflators on the market. With a premium, high-quality build and multiple power options, this unit is ideal for a roadside service technician or someone looking to make a solid investment in their automotive care equipment.


Best For Bigger Tires: Viair 84P Portable Compressor

viair 84p portable compressor

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The Viair 84P Portable Compressor delivers power in a stripped-down unit. It uses an analog pressure gauge instead of an LCD like the other tire inflators. While eyeballing PSI can be more complex, the Viair 84P can handle larger tires designed for heavy-duty vehicles or specialty tires meant for off-roading.

Overall 4.4 out of 5
Inflation Speed 5 out of 5
Ease of Use 4 out of 5
Clarity of Instructions 5 out of 5
Features 3.5 out of 5
 

Key Features

  • Cost: $70
  • Capable of inflating tires up to 31.0 inches
  • Press-on chuck attachment
  • Comes with three inflation tips
  • Duty cycle of 20 minutes

What’s In The Box?

The Viair comes with a carrying case for the air compressor and three tips for inflating different items. This unit is powered through the 12.0-volt lighter socket and is equipped with a press-on chuck attachment for the tire valve.

Our Experience

viair 84p portable compressor

Our review team found the Viair 84P to be a powerful and well-made air compressor. We like the long duty cycle compared to other products, and the carrying case is the highest quality we’ve seen.

Although the Viair is easy to use, reading an analog pressure gauge can be tricky and it is harder to determine an accurate reading than with digital gauges. We also missed the automatic shutoff feature found on competitor products.

Due to the lack of design features in the Viair 84P, we dropped this tire inflator’s overall score to 4.4 stars.

What Customers Are Saying

After nearly 500 ratings on Amazon, the Viair 84P boasts an average score of 4.6 stars. Some reviews take aim at the tire inflator’s long-term reliability and mention plastic parts of the air compressor breaking. Positive reviews often highlight the inflator’s power and inflation speed.

What Is It Good For?

The Viair 84P would make a terrific gift for a DIY-minded driver who owns a car with larger tires. The max PSI and performance specs might be a little too sophisticated for most drivers, but this is an excellent choice if you want tires inflated fast and don’t care about an electronic display.


Also Consider: Avid Power Tire Inflator

avid power tire inflator

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If you’re looking for a tire inflator with a gauge you can use away from the car if need be, Avid Power has you covered. It was the only multiple-power-source tire inflator we tested that includes a rechargeable battery. The air pressure gauge also reads tire pressure in four units of measurement and has an auto-shutoff feature.

Overall 4.1 out of 5
Inflation Speed 3.5 out of 5
Ease of Use 4 out of 5
Clarity of Instructions 5 out of 5
Features 4 out of 5
 

Key Features

  • Cost: $66
  • Dual power supply and charger
  • LED light
  • Automatic shutoff
  • Adapters
  • Carrying case

What’s In The Box?

As mentioned, Avid Power provides a rechargeable battery with its air compressor. Also in the box are a carrying case, inflator attachments, and a 12.0-volt power adapter.

Our Experience

avid power tire inflator

The Avid Power inflated our test tire to the desired pressure, but didn’t do so quickly. If you have power tool experience, this tire inflator will feel familiar in your hand since it’s similar to a cordless drill. Besides the benefit of a rechargeable battery, the LED screen is adequate, and we found the instruction manual easy to follow.

Speed is where Avid Power loses the most points. This tire inflator competes with the other products we’ve profiled in terms of design and value, but we placed it lower on the list because its airflow isn’t as powerful.

What Customers Are Saying

More than 14,600 Amazon customer reviews give the Avid Power Tire Inflator a 4.5-star average rating. Many users say the product is easy to use and store. Some critical reviews report spotty customer service and say the product isn’t reliable.

What Is It Good For?

This inflator is ideal if you need an all-purpose air compressor. The inclusion of a rechargeable battery saves the headache of needing to buy one separately, so you can store the tire inflator in a trunk or workbench.


Best Tire Inflators Testing Process

Our review team tested each tire inflator to see how quickly it added 10.0 PSI to a tire. We also monitored the responsiveness of the buttons in adjusting tire pressure, the accuracy of each product’s pressure gauges, and the consistency of the automatic shutoff feature.


Buyers Guide: Best Tire Inflators

A tire inflator can be a valuable tool by letting drivers put air in tires virtually anywhere. You could pay for air at gas stations, but having a tire inflator of your own saves a lot of hassle.

Get A Gauge

Aside from power, the essential feature of a tire inflator is that it reads tire pressure, ensuring you’re not over-inflating the tires once you release airflow.

The best portable tire inflators with gauges are illuminated so you can see in various lighting conditions. An automatic shutoff feature guarantees you don't exceed maximum pressure.

Corded Vs. Battery Power

Even the best tire inflators need a power source. A 12.0-volt adapter means a portable tire inflator can plug into your car’s cigarette lighter. Some car air pumps can use rechargeable batteries away from the vehicle, but the extra battery and a charger usually come at a premium or are sold separately.

Our review team also found several portable tire inflators you can attach directly to the car battery, but we thought this made the device too complex for most drivers.

Power And PSI

Instructions for most portable tire inflators say how long you can use them before they overheat, and they generally recommend a cooldown period after a tire is filled to the desired pressure. Use air pumps with longer cycles and more power for vehicles with larger tires, but also check the vehicle’s owner manual to find the recommended tire pressure for your car.


FAQ: Best Tire Inflators

Are tire inflators worth it?

A portable tire inflator is a valuable tool if you need a quick fix for low tire pressure or you’re performing regular car maintenance. Besides car tires, many air compressors can inflate air mattresses or sports equipment such as basketballs.

What is a good air compressor for filling tires?

The best air compressor depends on the size of your tires and the amount of air pressure a tire has lost. Truck tires or tires for other heavy-duty vehicles require more air than most car tires, so make sure your tire pump matches your vehicle’s needs.

Which is the best car compressor?

Our review team chose the AstroAI Air Compressor, the DeWalt 20V Max Cordless Tire Inflator, the Viair 84P Portable Compressor, and the Avid Power Tire Inflator as the best tire inflators. They can all help with a flat tire or when your tires have low pressure.

What is the best portable tire inflator? 

The best tire inflators are ones run on 12V DC power or adaptors to utilize numerous power sources. Some models, like models from AstroAI and DeWalt, have digital displays for better visibility and auto shut-off when the desired tire pressure is reached.

How do I choose a tire inflator? 

The best way to choose a tire inflator is by your vehicle’s tires and the size of your car. Larger tires require more powerful airflow to inflate, and a large vehicle may need a cordless inflator to reach all four tires.

What is the difference between a tire inflator and an air compressor?

Technically, tire inflators are simply small air compressors, although they are not equipped with tanks to store compressed air. Tire inflators also have a weaker airflow than most professional air compressors. 

Can a small air compressor fill car tires? 

A small, portable inflator is able to fill most vehicle tires within the 30-40 PSI range, some even have fast inflation options. There are high-volume multi-purpose tire inflators like the Vair 84P. It can handle anything from truck to bicycle tires.

How long does a tire inflator last? 

The durability of a power inflator should last a few years, depending on customer handling. Each manufacturer stipulates how long a tire inflator can operate until it needs a “cool down” period. This varies by manufacturer, but following those instructions can improve the life of your purchase.