What is a Tire Inflator?

Have you had a flat tire before? Sure, you have. It’s one of those things that happen at some point if you drive a car. At such times, it helps to have a tire inflator you can count on to get the tires pumped and ready to go.

This article explores what a tire inflator is and some of the best ones to buy, especially if you find yourself needing a tire inflator. Let’s dive right in!

What are Tire Inflators?

These devices are positive-displacement air pumps that are specifically designed for inflating vehicle tires. They’re also used for inflatables like inflatable mattresses and balls.

Tire inflators come in handy for motorists in places where help may not be forthcoming immediately.

However, most motorists do not know how to identify good ones. As a result, they end up getting stranded and have to wait for long before help meets them.

Types of Tire Inflators

There are different types of tire inflators out there in the market. Some examples are:

  • Track pumps 
  • Compact pumps
  • Foot-operated pumps
  • Frame-mounted pumps
  • CO2 inflators
  • Canned tire inflators
  • Air compressor

All of these devices do the same thing – pump air into tires. They only differ in their modes of operation.

Power Sources

For a tire inflator to be functional, it needs a source that powers the pumping of air. These sources include

  • Battery (12 volts, 18 volts, 110 volts, 120 volts)
  • Manual Operation
  • Vehicle Cigarette Lighter Socket
  • Outlet Port

What to Consider when Choosing a Tire Inflator

Now to the main reason for this article. It is not ideal to purchase a product without knowing what to look out for.

This is to ensure that you do not purchase products that are defective or do not meet the need for which you bought them.

For tire inflators, there are different features to look out for before purchase.

Tire Size

As a vehicle owner, it is ideal to know your vehicle in detail. You should have certain useful information like the size of your tires.

Not all tire inflators are for all sizes of tires. Some are capable of inflating large tire sizes while others are for only small tire sizes.

To know the correct one for your tire, check the instruction manual or the body of its packaging.

Duty Cycle

The duty cycle of a tire inflator is the time it takes to cool down after being used.

The longer the duty cycle of your tire inflator, the longer you will have to wait before reusing it. If your tire inflator reads ‘50% duty cycle’ this means that it can run for a long time without having to cool down.


Nobody wants a bulky tire inflator. Ideally, it should be sizeable enough to be stored properly in your car.


Every day the world keeps advancing technologically. So also should our devices. For ease of use, it is preferable to use a tire inflator that will digitally show you the amount of pressure you are inputting.

Also, an advanced inflator automatically stops when your desired PSI has been reached.


As earlier stated, there are different types of tire inflators out there in the market. The type that you choose should depend on how you want to use it.

Our Recommendations

To speed up the process and ensure you get the best, we have researched some of these devices and have found the best options. Do well to read through and pick your choice.

Viair 77P Portable Compressor Kit

Viair tire inflators

The 77P is a portable and efficient tire inflator. It is capable of inflating up to 225/60/R18 tires.

It’s easy to operate this tire inflator. Just plug it into your cigarette lighter power port, connect it to a valve stem and turn the unit on.

Monitor the pressure applied using the illuminated Pressure Display on the topside of the unit.

Also, it has an extra-long 45-inch air hose and a 16-foot power cord that enable you to reach any tire of your vehicle.

Besides, it is compact and easily stowed away in the trunk of your vehicle.


  • Easy to read tire pressure gauge.
  • 12 volts capacity.
  • 80PSI Max Working Pressure.
  • 1.06CFM Free Flow @ 0 PSI.
  • The engine must be running when in use.

DeWalt Cordless Tire Inflator

DeWalt tire inflators

The DeWalt cordless tire inflator is a versatile device. Firstly it is cordless yet can be used in inflating any tire of your vehicle.

Also, it makes use of any of three power sources for inflation; 20 volts MAX battery, 12 volts DC, or 110 volts AC.

Thanks to its digital gauge, setting your desired air pressure is easy. Also, the auto shut off feature activates once the limit has been reached, giving you your desired inflation rate.

For durability, it features a high-pressure rubber hose. This hose allows easy and fast inflation at the push of its ‘on’ button.

Make use of DeWalt’s onboard LED light when in use in a dark environment.

To limit movement of the device when in use, there are heavy-duty rubber feet attached at the base of the unit.

Note that its AC adapter, charger, and battery are sold separately.


  • High volume inflation and deflation modes.
  • Automatic shutoff.
  • LED lighting for illumination.
  • Three power sources.

EPauto Digital Tire Inflator

EPauto tire inflators

The EPauto digital tire inflator is one of the best tire inflators in the market. It is primarily designed to inflate tires on midsize SUVs, bikes, and sedans. 

This device is rated at 120 watts with an inflation speed of 1.06 CFM and a working pressure of 100 PSI.

There is a digital gauge that reads display in units: kg/cm, BAR, PSI, and KPA. Also, it has an auto-shutoff feature that turns it off once the desired pressure has been reached.

For safety, there is also an overheat protection feature that turns out off when it is overloaded. Also, there is a built-in LED flashlight for night time use.

Before use, make sure that the engine of your vehicle is running and the power button of the device is off.


  • 120-watt power rating.
  • 1.06 CFM inflation speed.
  • DC12 volts working voltage.
  • Bright LED flashlight.
  • 10 Amps minimum and 15 Amps maximum.
  • Four easy to read display units.
  • There is an overheat protector that shuts off if the temperature exceeds 167°F.
  • 15 Amp fused power cable.
  • A backup power cable is also in the package.

Tirewell Heavy Duty Tire Inflator 

Tirewell tire inflators

This tire inflator is best for heavy-duty vehicles like trucks though it also works efficiently for smaller vehicles.

This device has a double cylinder drive inflation pump. It makes use of a powerful direct-drive motor to drive its sturdy metal double cylinder. Besides, it supports a maximum air pressure of up to 150 PSI.

For power, Tirewell Heavy Duty Inflator makes use of a high-quality 12v adapter that has an inbuilt 15A fuse connected to its 11.5-foot power cable. Its pump also has battery clamps and three adapters. 

The handle of this device is wrapped with a sponge, making it easy and comfortable to move about. There is also an Oxford bag where it can be stored.

It is recommended that you start your vehicle first to increase its power. Also, when you start the pump, the air pressure will immediately rise to 50-100PSI. Do well to immediately remove the screw connector and replace it if you notice any air blockage.

There is a fuselage with a four-rod design that effectively reduces vibration and noise. For it not to move when in use, rubber feet are utilized.


  • 15A, DC 12V power.
  • 150PSI maximum pressure.
  • Airflow is 2.12CFM@0PSI. This gives it a fast inflation rate.
  • Double cylinders direct-drive inflation plump.
  • Stability technology.
  • Best suited for heavy-duty vehicles.

Fortem Digital Tire Inflator

Fortem tire inflators

If you want a stylish alternative to inflating your tires, consider the Fortem Digital Tire Inflator. This device has a nice look and is easy to operate, just plug it into your car outlet, attach the hose to your tire, set your desired PSI, and flip the switch on.

It is durable and made of lightweight plastic. Also, its sturdy hose is built to resist high temperatures while allowing airflow. This 12-volt system comes with a built-in LED flashlight and a bright LCD.

Fortem comes with three nozzle attachments, an extra fuse, and a carrying case. It also has a maximum pressure value of 150PSI. Besides, it can continuously work for 8 minutes before it needs to cool off.


  • Easy to operate.
  • It has multiple uses; for vehicles and other inflatables.
  • LED flashlight.
  • It is strong and durable.


Getting the ideal tire inflator for your use is not a hard task to perform. You just need the right knowledge to be able to choose correctly.

Hopefully, this article has enlightened you on what you should know to make the correct decision.

You can select from any of our recommended tire inflators as they are sure to perform optimally. 

Read the next helpful post: Top 10 Best Portable Tire Pumps in Canada 

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