Best Portable Tire Inflators of 2021

Updated
Getting a flat is easy to fix with a portable tire inflator.

There are times when you need assistance in an emergency. Imagine it’s the dead of night and you’re on your own with a flat tire. What do you do? This is when a portable tire inflator becomes your new best friend.

We look at 10 of the best portable tire inflators on the market, to help you determine which is the right one for you.

Our Top Picks

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Model
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Features
Product Image of the Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor
Best Overall Portable Tire Inflator
VIAIR Portable Air Compressor
  • High customer satisfaction
  • Maximum of 120 psi
  • Includes 16 ft air hose
Product Image of the VacLife Air Compressor Tire Inflator, DC 12V Air Pump for Car Tires, Bicycles and Other Inflatables, Auto Portable Air Compressor for Car Tires with LED Light & 11.5 Feet Long Power Cord, Red (VL711)
Best Budget Portable Tire Inflator
VacLife Tire Inflator
  • Compact & lightweight
  • Ideal for bicycles & midsize cars
  • 3 spare nozzles
Product Image of the EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator
Best Portable Tire Inflator With Gauge
EPAutos 12V Tire Inflator
  • Auto shut-off
  • Digital display
  • Maximum 70 psi
Product Image of the GSPSCN Silver Tire Inflator Heavy Duty Double Cylinders with Portable Bag, Metal 12V Air Compressor Pump 150PSI with Adapter for Car, Truck, SUV Tires, Dinghy, Air Bed etc
Best Heavy-Duty Portable Tire Inflator
GSPSCN Tire Inflator
  • 70 liters per minute airflow
  • Maximum PSI of 150
  • 11 ft hose & power lead
Product Image of the Oasser Air Compressor Portable Mini Air Inflator Hand Held Tire Pump 2000mAh with Digital LCD LED Light 12V AC DC Lithium Battery 120PSI 20Litres/Min for Car Bicycle Tires and Other Inflatables P1S
Best Small Portable Tire Inflator
Oasser Mini Portable Tire Inflator
  • 20 liters per minute airflow
  • Rechargeable 2000mAh lithium battery
  • Maximum of 120 psi
Product Image of the VIAIR Constant Duty Onboard Air System - 10007
Best Portable Tire Inflator With Tank
VIAIR Onboard Air System
  • Complete onboard air system
  • 2.5-gallon air tank
  • 100 percent duty cycle
Product Image of the Tire Inflator, Arteck Portable 12V DC Tire Air Compressor Pump 150 PSI, Portable Digital Auto Tire Inflator with Gauge for Car, Bicycle, Motorcycle, Basketball and Others
Best Portable Motorcycle Tire Inflator
Arteck 12V Portable Tire Inflator
  • Multi-purpose application
  • Has an onboard LED indicators
  • Set and forget mode
Product Image of the Helteko Air Compressor Tire inflator DC 12V, Portable Car Tire Pump w/Emergency LED Light, Long Power Cord, Auto Shut Off, Carrying Case, Electric Air Pump for Car Tires Bicycle and Other Inflatables
Best for Bikes
Helteko Air Compressor
  • Fast snap-on connector
  • Comes with 3.5-foot cable
  • Ideal for bicycles
Product Image of the TIREWELL 12V Tire Inflator-Heavy Duty Double Cylinders Direct Drive Metal Pump 150PSI, Compressor with Battery Clamp and 5M Extension Air Hose, SUVs/Trucks/Vans/RVs
Best for Trucks
TIREWELL Heavy-Duty Tire Inflator
  • Maximum of 150 psi
  • Compact &light
  • Direct drive double cylinder pump
Product Image of the Oasser Air Compressor Electric Inflator Portable Hand Held Pump with Digital LCD Rechargeable Li-ion 12V 130PSI P2
Best Portable Cordless Tire Inflator
Oasser Cordless Air Compressor
  • Maximum of 130 psi
  • LCD pressure gauge
  • Cordless & compact

Why Do I Need a Portable Tire Inflator?

Sometimes you need to blow stuff up. Not exploding, but inflating. Imagine arriving at the beach on a hot day, and you’ve forgotten to inflate the kid’s favorite beach toys. Or you are making a long journey, and before you set off, you go through your pre-travel checklist.

You should always check the tire pressure before setting off. You should inspect your tires every week to determine the accurate PSI. Keeping your tires inflated at the correct rate has a multitude of benefits.

Benefits of Correctly Inflated Tires

  • Less wear and tear on the tire.
  • Better fuel economy.
  • Smoother ride.
  • Better car handling.
  • Safer.

So, you can see why having a portable tire inflator is so crucial to everyday life. Imagine the same scenario but with a bicycle. Fixing punctures on the road is also a fact of life, and a compact inflator is a handy bit of kit to own.

How To Choose the Best Portable Tire Inflator

There many similarities between each make and model of tire inflator, but there are also significant variations in what they can do. Some are better at smaller jobs like bicycle tires, whereas others handle heavy-duty tasks like trucks.

Making your choice should be based on several factors.

Auto-Pressure Cut-Off

Simplicity comes in many forms, and portable tire inflators are so easy to use. Look for features like the auto cut-off where you can set the PSI level, and when the tire reaches that pressure, it shuts off.

It means you can turn your attention to other things while the inflator does its thing. If you are stranded by the roadside with a car full of kids, this is incredibly useful because you can share your attention by making sure the tires are inflated and your family is safe.

It also helps when avoiding overinflating the tires.

Inflation Time

Getting your tires inflated in the shortest possible time is crucial. Why wait longer than you need to? Check to see how long it takes to inflate tires and whether your compressor has the power to tackle larger cars, trucks, and minivans.

The larger the tire, the longer it takes to inflate, so airflow and PSI are crucial.

Airflow and PSI

Airflow is the key to faster and more powerful inflation. How quickly the compressor expels air determines how effective it is when you need it. Airflow is measured as units of CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute). And the higher the CFM, the more rapid the airflow of the tire inflator.

You should also look for a tire inflator with a high maximum operating PSI. This is important because if your inflator only reaches 60 PSI and your truck tire is 70, you will struggle. The good news is that most family cars have an average of 30 to 40 PSI.

Duty Cycle

You hear the term ”duty cycle” a lot when talking about compressors and tire inflators. The duty cycle is the amount of time you can run the device between stops. The norm for inflators with air tanks is 50 percent.

So, for every 10 minutes of running time, you need to rest the inflator for 5 minutes. Luckily, most tire inflators have continuous runtime, meaning they can run indefinitely between fill-ups.

Portability and Storage

It’s the single biggest factor why you would choose a portable tire inflator over other portable air compressors. It needs to be small, lightweight, and easy to store in the trunk of your car.

The whole point of a portable tire inflator is that they stay hidden away until they are needed, so being compact enough to take up minimal space in the trunk is crucial.

You also need to make sure the compressor can reach all of your tires, so getting one with a long air hose and power lead is vital.


The Best Portable Tire Inflators of 2021

Here’s our top picks for best portable tire inflators.

1. VIAIR 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor

Best Overall Portable Tire Inflator

For sheer customer satisfaction and sales numbers, this VIAIR model is pretty hard to beat. It is small, lightweight, cheap, and stores easily in your trunk, ready for emergencies. It is a sturdy tire inflator, ready to take whatever punishment you throw at it. It can inflate larger tires up to 33 inches. It clamps directly to your car battery and generates a maximum PSI of 120 and 1.47 CFM at freeflow.

Because it is a 12-volt compressor, it uses almost no power, and yet it is powerful enough to inflate the tires of ATVs, SUVs, and trucks with a tire size of 33 inches. This VIAIR comes with a 16 ft air hose, a 10 ft power cord, and a 3-piece inflator tip kit.

It has an easy to read gauge, adapters for different valves, and color-coded clamps, so you know which one is positive and negative.

PROS:
  • High customer satisfaction.
  • Maximum of 120 PSI.
  • 1.47 CFM.
  • 16 ft air hose.
CONS:
  • Limited to 33-inch tires.
  • Expensive.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 4.5
Dimensions (inches) 6.75 x 6.25 x 10.75
Max PSI 120
CFM 1.47 at 0 PSI
Accessories 3-piece set
Price $$$
Warranty 1-year limited

2. VacLife Tire Inflator

Best Budget Portable Tire Inflator

When you compare this tire inflator’s cost to others that make the list, it is super-cheap. This VacLife comes with a set and forget feature that allows you to set the required pressure, and when reached, it shuts off. It enables you to get on with other things while your tires inflate.

It has an LED light, a clear digital display, and a 12V power source that plugs into your car cigarette lighter.

It’s also lightweight, portable, easy to store away in the trunk of your car, and easy to use. It even comes with 3 spare nozzle adapters for different things like inflatables and swimming pools, plus bicycle tires.

Don’t buy this if you drive a minivan or a truck because it will struggle. It only has a maximum of 50 PSI, so anything above a midsize vehicle is unsuitable.

PROS:
  • Great price.
  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Ideal for bicycles and midsize cars.
  • 3 spare nozzles.
CONS:
  • Limited to small and medium cars.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 2.31
Dimensions (inches) 9.8 x 6.5 x 3.7
Max PSI 50
CFM Not stated
Accessories Spare nozzles
Price $
Warranty 2-year money-back guarantee

3. EPAutos 12V Tire Inflator

Best Portable Tire Inflator With Gauge

This EPAuto hand-held compressor has an easy to read gauge mounted on the top. It is far easier to master than some of the dial readouts on other models.

The digital display shows kPa, bar, PSI, and kg/cm, and it also has an auto shut-off to prevent over-inflation. This protects your tires from damage and adds to the convenience of the inflator.

It fits into the trunk of your car, safely stored away in case of emergencies, thanks to its small, light, and highly portable design.

It plugs directly into your 12-volt socket in the car and produces a maximum of 70 PSI. It inflates all car tires except truck tires because it lacks the capacity.

This tire compressor is popular, having notched up sales exceeding 15,000 units.

PROS:
  • Popular choice.
  • 12V socket.
  • Digital display.
  • Maximum 70 PSI.
CONS:
  • Limited to small and medium cars.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 1
Dimensions (inches) 13.5 x 8.1 x 5.6
Max PSI 70
CFM 1.06
Accessories N/A
Price $
Warranty No warranty

4. GSPSCN Tire Inflator

Best Heavy-Duty Portable Tire Inflator

For the best heavy-duty tire inflator, look no further than this GSPSCN model. It outpunches most for capacity and what it can handle. It has a maximum PSI of 150 and an airflow of 70 liters per minute. It inflates a standard tire in just 90 seconds, so this device ticks lots of boxes for the fastest results.

It clamps directly to the car battery and has an 11 ft coiled hose and power lead. The easy to read dial tells you whether the tire is gaining or losing pressure, and it even doubles as a PSI gauge.

If you own an SUV, truck, minivan, or larger vehicle, this tire inflator has all your emergency needs covered.

This tire inflator is a tough cookie, benefitting from a metal casing that protects it from damage and rubber feet to keep it stable during inflation, unlike other inflators that hop about with the vibration.

PROS:
  • 70 liters per minute airflow.
  • Inflates standard tires in 90 seconds.
  • 11 ft hose and power lead.
  • Ideal for larger vehicles.
CONS:
  • Expensive.
  • Heavy.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 6.8
Dimensions (inches) 8.6 x 3.1 x 7.2
Max PSI 150
CFM 70 liters per minute
Accessories Carry bag plus spare nozzles
Price $$$
Warranty No warranty

5. Oasser Mini Portable Tire Inflator

Best Small Portable Tire Inflator

This compact little tire inflator is small enough to pack into a jacket or backpack, so if you like getting outdoors on your bike, this is ideal.

As you would imagine, being small, it isn’t the most powerful, with an airflow of just 20 liters per minute, so it may inflate your car tires, but it will take forever. It is best used for smaller and lighter tasks like bike tires, motorcycles, and inflatable toys. It also has a maximum pressure of 120 PSI.

It has a 2000mAh lithium battery and an AC/DC adapter, as well as a 12V lighter socket. This inflator is about the same size as a TV remote, so it is very compact.

PROS:
  • 20 liters per minute airflow.
  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Rechargeable.
  • Maximum of 120 PSI.
CONS:
  • Expensive.
  • Limited uses.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 1.32
Dimensions (inches) 9.6 x 2.2 x 2.2
Max PSI 120
CFM 20 liters per minute
Accessories Spare nozzles
Price $$$
Warranty 1-year

6. VIAIR Constant Duty Onboard Air System

Best Portable Tire Inflator With a Tank

This is the largest tire inflator to make the list. VIAIR calls this an onboard air system, so while it is portable, it mounts to your vehicle to give you mobility. It has a 2.5-liter air tank and a 100 percent duty cycle, meaning you can keep working without having to stop and let the compressor rest.

It has a maximum PSI of 150 and an airflow of 1.66 at zero PSI. This onboard system inflates tires up to 37 inches, so it should have enough to deal with SUVs, trucks, minivans, and larger vehicles.

While the compressor itself isn’t portable, the fact that you mount it on a truck makes it so.

PROS:
  • 1.66 CFM at zero PSI.
  • Complete onboard air system.
  • 2.5-gallon air tank.
  • 100 percent duty cycle.
  • Maximum of 150 PSI.
CONS:
  • Expensive.
  • Heavy.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 9.5
Dimensions (inches) 26.5 x 14.5 x 10
Max PSI 150
CFM 1.66 at zero PSI
Accessories Spare nozzles, full mounting system
Price $$$$$
Warranty 1-year

7. Arteck 12V Portable Tire Inflator

Best Portable Motorcycle Tire Inflator

While this is our top pick for a motorcycle tire inflator, it isn’t limited to this role. Thanks to a maximum PSI of 150 and a 35 liters per minute airflow, it can inflate a flat 30 PSI tire in 3 minutes. The timing does vary according to the tire size.

It has an onboard LED as well as various strobe settings and an emergency red light. This model also has a set and forget mode, making it more convenient. The set comes with an array of accessories, including a valve adapter, 2 adapters for balls and inflatables, and a user manual.

PROS:
  • Multiple uses.
  • Ideal for motorcycles.
  • LED indicators.
  • Accessories.
  • Great price.
CONS:
  • Limited airflow.
  • Slow.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 2.01
Dimensions (inches) 7.09 x 6.06 x 2.76
Max PSI 150
CFM 35 liters per minute
Accessories Spare nozzles, valve adapters
Price $
Warranty 2-year

8. Helteko Air Compressor

Best Portable Tire Inflator for Bikes

This tire inflator could have won the compact award, but instead, we deemed it the best for bicycles. It is small, lightweight, and packs quite a punch. It has a fast snap-on connector for the quickest puncture repair, and it easily packs away into a cycle bag or backpack.

You can set the PSI levels, and when it gets there, it shuts off. The digital readout lets you gauge the tire pressure in PSI, kPA, bar or kg/cm. It is constructed from high-quality plastic and metal, and it comes with a 3.5-foot cable.

It has a maximum PSI of 80 and an airflow of 35 liters per minute, so while it isn’t the most powerful inflator to make the list, it is ideal for bike tires.

The makers claim it will inflate a standard car tire in just 3.5 minutes, so imagine how quickly it will sort out your bicycle tire in an emergency.

PROS:
  • Multiple uses.
  • Ideal for bicycles.
  • LED indicator.
  • Accessories.
  • Great price.
CONS:
  • Limited airflow.
  • Slow.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 2.58
Dimensions (inches) 10 x 6.5 x 4.33
Max PSI 80
CFM 35 liters per minute
Accessories Spare nozzles, valve adapters, carry bag
Price $
Warranty 2-year

9. TIREWELL Heavy-Duty Tire Inflator

Best Portable Tire Inflator For Trucks

This TIREWELL tire inflator packs a little more punch compared to other models. It produces 150 PSI and a CFM of 2.12 at zero PSI. When you have larger tires, airflow is crucial to speeding up the process, and this inflator delivers.

This tire inflator will pump up a standard 195/65/R15 tire in about 2 minutes, making it one of the most powerful to make the list.

It also has a direct drive double cylinder pump, which is responsible for delivering fast and efficient service to the compressor. It also means this compressor is quiet with less vibration.

It works particularly well with RVs and trucks, but it is equally at home inflating air beds, sedan tires, and other equipment.

PROS:
  • Maximum of 150 PSI.
  • Compact and light.
  • Direct drive double cylinder pump.
  • 2.12 CFM.
CONS:
  • Gets hot.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 7.61
Dimensions (inches) 9.88 x 4.26 x 8.26
Max PSI 150
CFM 2.12
Accessories Not stated
Price $$
Warranty 1-year

10. Oasser Cordless Air Compressor

Best Portable Cordless Tire Inflator

Rechargeable tire compressors are super-handy. They can be charged at home or on the go using the car’s cigarette lighter and then deployed when and wherever you need them. Take this Oasser model, for example; it has a 2200mAh lithium battery, so it holds its charge well and recharges swiftly.

It comes with a carry bag, 2 air hoses, a home charger, and gloves. It also has an LCD pressure gauge, which displays PSI, bar, and kg/cm. This product fits all air valves, is lightweight and compact, and the ideal tool to pack into your backpack for long bicycle rides.

The maximum inflation pressure is 130 PSI, and when you want to swap your car tires to inflate an air bed, this unit has 3 adapters that fit most air-filled equipment.

PROS:
  • Maximum of 130 PSI.
  • Compact and light.
  • Cordless.
CONS:
  • Limited power.
  • Not suitable for heavier tasks.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 4.42
Dimensions (inches) 10.4 x 3.5 x 3.1
Max PSI 130
CFM Not stated
Accessories 2 hoses, 3 nozzles, carry bag
Price $$$
Warranty 2-year

Portable Tire Inflator Comparison Chart

Product Best Weight Dimensions Max PSI CFM Warranty
VIAIR Portable Air Compressor Overall Pick 5 lbs 6.75 x 6.25 x 10.75″ 120 1.47 at 0 PSI 1-year limited
VacLife Tire Inflator Budget Option 2 lbs 9.8 x 6.5 x 3.7″ 50 N/A 2-year
EPAutos 12V Tire Inflator With Gauge 1 lb 13.5 x 8.1 x 5.6″ 70 1 None
GSPSCN Tire Inflator Heavy-Duty 7 lbs 8.6 x 3.1 x 7.2″ 150 70 liters p/m None
Oasser Mini Portable Tire Inflator Small 1 lb 9.6 x 2.2 x 2.2″ 120 20 liters p/m 1-year
VIAIR Constant Duty Onboard Air System With Tank 9.5 lbs 26.5 x 14.5 x 10″ 150 1.66 at zero PSI 1-year
Arteck 12V Portable Tire Inflator Motorcycle 2 lbs 7.09 x 6.06 x 2.76″ 150 35 liters p/m 2-year
Helteko Air Compressor Bikes 2.58 lbs 10 x 6.5 x 4.33″ 80 35 liters p/m 2-year
TIREWELL Heavy-Duty Tire Inflator Trucks 8 lbs 9.88 x 4.26 x 8.26″ 150 2.12 1-year
Oasser Cordless Air Compressor Cordless 4.42 lbs 10.4 x 3.5 x 3.1″ 130 N/A 2-year

Portable Tire Inflator FAQs

Why Is Tire Pressure Important?

Keeping your tire pressure set at the manufacturer’s recommended level is crucial for safety. Underinflated tires give a higher amount of rolling resistance, so the car handles badly even on normal road surfaces.

It also preserves the integrity of the tire, protecting the sidewall and structure, as well as the tire tread. Worn tires are dangerous, increasing your stopping distance in an emergency. It also improves the ride, which is great for frequent drivers or those who travel long distances.

How To Determine Recommended PSI for My Tire?

The recommended tire pressure is printed inside your owner’s manual and on a sticker inside the driver’s side door. You can also look at the actual tire wall itself. That should give you all the information you need, including the tire’s size and the maximum PSI.

How To Properly Inflate Your Tires

Take off the valve stem caps and store them somewhere safe. Insert the inflator nozzle into the valve and switch it on. Follow the gauge to get an accurate reading, and when the PSI on the readout matches the recommended levels, switch off the air inflator.

Always remember to replace the valve caps. If you have an auto cut-off feature, find the PSI levels to set the inflator and then switch it on. When it reaches the limit, the compressor cuts out.

How To Check Your Tire Pressure

You can purchase a reasonably cheap tire gauge. Always check the pressure when the tire is cold, as heated air expands, giving a false reading. Remove the cap on the valve stem and insert the pressure gauge.

When the gauge gives you a pressure reading, compare it to the recommended levels printed in your owner’s manual. The difference is the amount the tire has dropped pressure.


Portable and the Best

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a flat tire while on a long journey, you’ll be glad you invested in a portable tire inflator. Once you pump up your tire, you can get on with your travels. However, you could be looking at a sizable delay without one while you wait for the breakdown truck.

These tire inflators are compact, lightweight, store away in the trunk easily, and above all, they are relatively inexpensive.

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About the Author

Mark Weir

Mark spent 24 years working in real estate, so he knows his way around a home. He also worked with contractors and experts, advising them on issues of planning, investments, and renovations. Mark is no stranger to hands-on experience, having renovated his own home and many properties for resale. He likes nothing better than seeing a project through to completion.
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