The Best Tire Inflators for Car Owners
Don’t sink under pressure. Give your vehicle maintenance routine a boost with these dependable tools.
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- Best OverallMakita MP100DZ 12V CXT Cordless InflatorCheck Latest Price
- Best Bang for the BuckRyobi P737 18-Volt ONE+ Portable Cordless InflatorCheck Latest Price
- Upgrade PickDEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Tire InflatorCheck Latest Price
Most drivers have experienced a dashboard light that indicates a tire with low pressure. While the weather can impact tire pressure and sometimes give a false reading, it’s always a good idea to check the tires if you see a warning light. If you drive on the tire for a minute or so and the light stays on, you need to take action. You can either pay for air at the gas station pump or just grab your trusty tire inflator and handle the problem yourself.
Whether it’s battery-operated, 110-volt electric, or one that plugs into your car’s 12-volt system, having a tire inflator is just the ticket when you’re in a pinch. In no time at all, these noisy day-savers can boost a low tire to optimal pressure.
Choosing the best tire inflator for your needs helps keep your vehicle running at its best. From poor gas mileage to terrible ride quality, tires low on pressure can make driving problematic. Instead, arm yourself with one of the best tire inflators on the market.
Our Top Picks
Where you live and your mode of transportation both play roles in choosing a tire inflator to suit your lifestyle. The following list covers all categories.
BEST OVERALL: Makita MP100DZ 12V CXT Cordless Inflator
The Makita MP100DZ 12V Cordless Inflator is the best on this list. This battery-operated inflator can boost up to 120-PSI of pressure into a car, bike, or tractor tire. It’s compact and lightweight so there’s no need to lug a heavy compressor to the tire. The high visibility pressure gauge tells you exactly how much air pressure is in the tire. If you preset the MP100DZ, it will even turn off automatically when the tire reaches your desired PSI.
As with some other tire inflators on our list, this is a tool-only purchase. You’ll have to purchase the 12V Makita batteries separately.
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Ryobi P737 18-Volt ONE+ Portable Cordless Inflator
Ryobi’s resurgence as a great DIY and homeowner tool brand carries on with the P737 cordless inflator. This battery-operated tire inflator is one of the lightest, most compact models on our list, yet it will boost a tire up to 150 PSI. Its pistol-grip design is ergonomic and comfortable to use. It also houses two additional needles for blowing up pool toys and athletic balls. It features a 20-inch snap-on hose for standard tire valves and it only weighs 2.5 pounds.
The 2-inch gauge is easy to read in daylight hours, however, a digital readout would put this inflator at the top of the heap. Reading an analog gauge in the dark can be a two-handed operation—one for the compressor and one for the flashlight. This is also a tool-only purchase, but that’s not an issue if you’re already a Ryobi ONE+ aficionado.
UPGRADE PICK: DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Tire Inflator
For the homeowner that values a high-quality tool and doesn’t mind spending a little extra, this DEWALT 20V Max tire inflator is the way to go. This compressor features inflation and deflation modes, onboard accessory storage, and an LED light so you can read the gauge in any lighting conditions. It can operate with 12-volt power from a vehicle, 110-volt from a house or garage, or the 20V Max DEWALT battery. If that isn’t flexible enough for you, it also features an adapter for large volume inflation needs. When equipped, it makes short work of inflatable mattresses and pool floats.
This is an ideal choice for someone who’s already using the Dewalt 20V Max line for their other power tools, as the batteries are interchangeable.
MOST PORTABLE: CYCPLUS Portable Air Compressor Mini Inflator
If you want a tire inflator that you can throw in a glove box or backpack, this mini inflator from Cycplus is a good choice. This tiny pump is only about 7 inches long but produces up 150 PSI of pressure to inflate car tires, motorcycle tires, or sports equipment. It also has a built-in LED flashlight and a digital pressure gauge. It charges completely in 2 1/2 hours, and best yet, you can use it as a portable power bank for charging cell phones and other electronics. It also features convenient onboard storage for the air tube and other accessories.
BEST FOR AIR COMPRESSORS: AstroAI Digital Tire Inflator with Pressure Gauge
If you already own an air compressor, you don’t need one of the tire inflators on this list. Instead, just use this tire inflator accessory from AstroAI. This valve unit comes with a threaded brass fitting and a comfortable squeeze trigger. It also has an easy-to-read backlit digital gauge. The digital gauge turns on automatically when it senses pressure and shuts off after 20 seconds. This valve can handle up to 250 PSI, which is enough to fill most tires. It comes with everything you need to get started, including a 1/4-inch quick-connect fitting that easily snaps onto most air hoses.
BEST FOR OFF-ROAD TIRES: VIAIR 400P Portable Compressor
For the four-wheeling types, like Jeep and truck owners, the Viair 400P is an excellent choice for boosting your tires back up at the end of a day of rock crawling. This 12-volt compressor doesn’t require an onboard 12-volt jack, so it’s perfect for stripped-out off-road rigs. The included alligator clips provide all the power necessary once clamped onto the battery terminals. It also comes with a coiled air hose and a high-quality tire valve. The Viair compressor provides up to 150 PSI of tire-inflating power and comes in a heavy-duty carrying case. For truly heavy-duty use, the 400P comes mounted to a piece of aluminum diamond-plate.
If you’ve really lowered your tire pressure before you hit the trail, this compressor might take a while to pump it back up. If that’s the case, just make sure that your rig is running long enough to keep the battery from dying.
BEST PLUG-IN FOR CAR: AstroAI Portable Air Compressor Pump
Sometimes tires develop slow leaks. If you’re in a mall parking lot or campsite, there may not be power readily available for a compressor. The AstroAI tire inflator is powered by your car’s 12-volt battery system. Plug it into your car’s 12V jack and turn on the car’s accessory mode, and you’ll have all the power you need to take care of a low tire—at least enough to drive it to a tire shop for repair. Plus, it features an LED flashlight for better visibility. This relatively small pump will fit in almost any trunk and comes with adapters for pool floats and sports balls. The backlit pressure gauge is also very easy to read.
The maximum pressure for the AstroAI tire inflator is 100 PSI. While that’s enough for most tires, it’s not the high-reaching PSI that other compressors on the list have.
BEST PLUG-IN FOR HOME: Kensun AC/DC 100 PSI Portable Air Compressor
In today’s day and age, we need flexibility. Kensun knows this. That’s why they designed their portable air compressor and tire inflator to work with 12V power from your vehicle and 110V power from your home. With this kit, homeowners get a needle for sports balls and an adapter for blowing up pool floats and other inflatables. It has a maximum pressure of 120 PSI and will work for 30 minutes before shutting off automatically. Kensun also states that they strive to provide the very best in customer service, so the two-year manufacturer’s warranty that this compressor comes with might be of value.
It’s unlikely that this tire inflator is powerful enough to inflate a vehicle tire from zero. The 30-minute run time is a safety feature, but at this relatively low-volume of 120 PSI, it’ll likely shut off before the tire inflates completely.