The best car tyre inflator is an important item to have with you at all times, especially if you're regularly on the road and need a quick and simple way to maintain air pressure in your wheels.
Rather than going to a mechanic or service station, an inflator gives you the option of pumping your tyres from home, thus saving you both time and money in the long run.
With this in mind, we've put together a list of top picks based on price, reviews, and any unique features that make these tyre inflators stand out from the crowd.
These features include additions like a pressure gauge and even smart functions, like auto-stop capabilities, which stop you from overfilling your tyres with air.
So, from cordless devices, much like some of the best car vacuums, to powerful, wired air compressors, like this portable VacLife Tyre Inflator, we've rounded up the very best inflators with the aforementioned features in mind.
We've also answered some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding tyre inflators to help you figure out what exactly you need to maintain your wheels. Before we get into that though, here's our list of top picks.
Best car tyre inflator
- Makita MP100DZ Cordless Inflator
- Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor
- Ryobi R18PI-0 High Pressure Inflator
- VacLife Tyre Inflator Portable Air Compressor
- AA Car Essentials Compact Tyre Inflator AA5007
1. Makita MP100DZ Cordless Inflator
Best all-round car tyre inflator
This Makita MP100DZ bit of kit looks to be a particularly great and well-rounded inflator to help you keep your tyres filled with air.
Battery-operated, this inflator can pump up to 120 psi of pressure into all types of tyres, including cars, bikes and even tractors.
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Perhaps its most impressive feature though is its auto-stop function, which is designed to stop inflating once the pre-set air pressure has been reached, thus helping you avoid over-inflation.
It's relatively compact and lightweight too, meaning this particular inflator should be a great option to consider if you're after something to take with you on your travels.
2. Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor
Best air compressor car tyre inflator
If you're specifically looking for an air compressor, the Viair 00088 88P could be the perfect choice for you.
One of its standout features is its impressive ability to fill from zero to 30 psi in less than three minutes. This means you won't have to worry about whether you have enough time to inflate your tyres before hitting the road.
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What sets it apart though is its compact size, weighing just 4.3lbs, while still delivering powerful performance. Additionally, it includes a 100 psi pressure gauge, allowing you to easily monitor when your tyres are ready for use.
To top it off, the Viair air compressor comes with a convenient carry bag, making it a fantastic addition to your car maintenance toolkit.
3. Ryobi R18PI-0 High Pressure Inflator
Best cordless car tyre inflator
We find the Ryobi R18PI-0 High Pressure Inflator particularly appealing due to its inexpensive price and battery-powered operation, providing an impressive maximum air pressure of 150 psi for your tyres.
Ryobi proudly claims that its high-pressure inflator can reach 32 psi in less than 2 minutes, setting it apart as one of the fastest inflators available.
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Furthermore, weighing only 2.5 pounds, this machine boasts an ergonomic design that ensures ease of use and portability when it comes to inflating your tyres.
So, if you're specifically looking for a cordless, battery-powered inflator, this option from Ryobi might be your best bet.
4. VacLife Tyre Inflator Portable Air Compressor
Best portable car tyre inflator
The VacLife Air Compressor is undoubtedly one of the best inflators you can find, especially if portability is a priority for you.
To use this device, simply plug it into your car's 12V power outlet, press a single button, and let the machine take care of the rest with its convenient auto-shut-off feature. If you wish to monitor the air pressure, the digital display ensures you have all the necessary information at your fingertips.
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What sets this air compressor apart is its impressive 11.9ft power cord, allowing you to reach both front and back tyres effortlessly, even if you have a large vehicle.
Therefore, the VacLife portable air compressor stands out from the competition due to its compact design, ensuring it delivers a substantial amount of air pressure quickly and efficiently.
5. AA Car Essentials Compact Tyre Inflator AA5007
Best budget car tyre inflator
Rounding off our list is this incredibly compact AA Car Essentials Tyre Inflator that's small enough to fit in almost any glove box.
It's relatively inexpensive too, but its lower price tag doesn't mean it's not powerful. This machine can deliver 80 psi when plugged into your car's 12V power output in minutes.
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We also like the fact that this machine comes with a convenient LED light which means that, even if it's dark, you can still ensure your tyres are safe for the road.
Overall, the AA Car Essentials Tyre Inflator looks to be a great purchase to help you maintain and supply air to your wheels wherever you go.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Finding the right tyre inflator can be tricky at times. Don't worry though because we've answered some of the most common queries to help you work out what you need for your vehicle.
What's the difference between a tyre inflator and an air compressor?
There's not really much of a difference between the two as they both essentially do the same job.
Perhaps the biggest difference between a typical air compressor and tyre inflator is that an air compressor is more versatile.
While a tyre inflator tends to only be built for one job, supplying air to tyres, an air compressor usually comes with a few additional nozzles which should mean it can be used for other tasks around the house.
Air compressors tend to be larger in size and, as a result, often weigh more than tyre inflators. As a result, tyre inflators should favour those looking for a more portable bit of kit to carry with them in their vehicle.
How accurate are car tyre inflators?
Most car tyre inflators provide a relatively accurate reading of your tyre pressure to inform you whether your wheels have reached their optimal air capacity.
For instance, this analogue AA Car Essentials bit of kit boasts a +-3 psi accuracy rating. However, digital inflators tend to provide a completely accurate reading providing they're not damaged in any way.
Therefore, if it's the accuracy you're after, we'd recommend a digital tyre inflator.
Is buying a car tyre inflator worth it?
Owning your own tyre inflator can be particularly useful as it means you don't have to travel to a mechanic or gas station every time you need to pump your tyres with air.
Not only does a tyre inflator save time, but it can also save you money in the long run. There's also a safety aspect to owning a tyre inflator because it means you can maintain and keep your tyres inflated to the right psi ahead of long journeys.
They can be relatively inexpensive to buy as well, meaning a tyre inflator is well worth picking up and keeping with you in your vehicle in our opinion.
Does a car tyre inflator drain battery?
To put it simply, yes, using a car tyre inflator for an extended period with the engine off can indeed drain your battery. The most convenient solution to avoid this is to turn on your engine, allowing the alternator to charge your vehicle while you inflate your tyres. This way, the electrical energy used by the inflator will be replenished.
It's important to note that this advice pertains specifically to a tyre inflator that is connected to your car's battery. If you are using a battery-operated inflator, it will only deplete its own power supply and not affect your car.