portable auto tire inflator recommendations?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by roller, Feb 7, 2020.

  1. roller

    roller Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    Hi there, folks!

    I'm looking for recommendations on a portable auto tire inflator. I'd like something that plugs into my vehicle's cigarette lighter outlet (a wall outlet option would be cool, too). I wouldn't mind paying a little more for something sturdy that will last... but my pricepoint is under $100, preferably under $60.

    Thoughts? Thanks!
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
  2. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    I have a stand-on/up bicycle pump (me-powered) - it has worked far longer and more reliably than at least 3 little electric pumps - I stopped buying little electric pumps. Full disclosure - I will also make use of free air at Stewart's shops - I won't pay for air at Cumbys, et al. But I certainly do use the pump as well.
  3. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
  4. viribus

    viribus Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    I never actually learned to play very well
    Harbor Freight has one for like $10 that *might* inflate one tire before it dies. Don’t get that one.

    Also, don’t turn it on until it’s connected to the tire being inflated. Fuse may blow.
  5. Winslow


    Sep 25, 2011
    I've got an earlier version of one of these:

    12-Volt Air Compressor - Griot's Garage

    The car needs to be running for it to work (unless you want a flat tire, and a dead battery), but it worked better than I would have expected it to. :thumbsup:
  6. I got a cheap "certified" one from Canadian Tire. I can't imagine the particular one I'm talking about is all that unique to a single Canadian chain of stores, it's probably a stencil brand. Used it a few times over a few years, it still works. Can't say much ride about it, but it came with attachments for basketballs and stuff like that though.
  7. Arvin

    Arvin Underwound Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    On the bench
    I have one of those combo things that has a tire inflator/gauge, a jump starter with cables, and a flashlight. It has never let me down. I don't ever inflate my tires at the gas station anymore -- I'm tired of paying for air, especially at pumps that are broken. I think I paid $50 for this thing 10 years ago, and the jump starter alone paid for the unit the first time I used it. If I'm on a road trip, I take it with me; it's super handy.
    Clark Dark likes this.
  8. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Considering that you *might* use it one time in the lifetime of the vehicle carrying it, I wouldn't get carried away.

    My wife and I both have BMW 3-series with no tire well. Each has a plug kit and a 12V air pump that cost about $15. I consider those things to be disposable and the brand to be irrelevant.

    I just buy the pump, then fire it up once and make sure it works - that's all I need.

    The last time I had a flat was probably 10 years ago. It's not a frequent occurrence.
  9. viribus

    viribus Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    I never actually learned to play very well
    I had two flats last summer within two weeks of each other.
  10. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    At the risk of bringing the voodoo curse down on my tires (where I am currently managing a couple of minor leaks with regular refills until they are worth dealing with at my mechanic - probably valve stem seals, but it's the expensive pressure sensor flavor of valve stem) the last actual "flat tire needs a spare" event I've had was two years ago and was the prior owner not changing the valve stems with the tires - happened in the driveway, I just switched to my other set of tires/wheels. For an actual puncture, (and actual use of a spare tire) I have to go back 4 trucks and 26 years.
  11. Surveyor 777

    Surveyor 777

    May 8, 2019
    Like T-Bone, when I want to inflate our truck tires (a few pounds or so), I just use my bike tire pump that I got at my local bike shop. It does the job and very portable.
    T_Bone_TL likes this.
  12. Skeezix


    Sep 28, 2005
    Jacksonville, FL
    Most newer cars have a pump in the trunk and not a spare.
    Try going to a salvage yard and getting one from a wrecked car.
  13. mikeoso

    mikeoso Acoustic Curmudgeon

    Feb 14, 2014
    eastern Iowa
    Some of us just carry a spare.
  14. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    To inflate tires at home, who wants to use a bike pump?? I use a vertical tank air compressor with service up to 120 PSI, 60 feet of air hose on a pull reel.

    Also very handy for blowing out the sprinkler system every fall. No need to pay someone forty bucks a pop to blow water out of the sprinkler lines.

    Similar to this....but no help on the road, although I also have a portable tire tank that I will take out to the field as needed.

  15. Lizooki


    Feb 24, 2008
    I'm used to do a lot of off-roading, and while I don't have one, guys I wheeled with did.
    They seem to swear by the "Master Flow MF 1050" made by Tsunami that's available from Pep Boys.

    I converted my defunct a/c system and added a 3gal. tank to have a full-on onboard air compressor just like in my shop.
  16. Surveyor 777

    Surveyor 777

    May 8, 2019

    I completely understand. I have an air compressor at home, also. If I have to inflate a fair amount, I go for the air compressor. But if it's just a psi or a few, based on the location of my air compressor, it's more convenient for me to grab the bike pump. Normally it's only about 10-20 pumps to raise the pressure 1-2 psi.

    I'll have to look into that portable tank thing. I have a feeling that would be useful for me in some situations.
  17. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Small portable tanks are really handy. Harbor Freight has them new for $30, but you'll need a bit of hose and a filler nozzle.

    5 gallon Portable Air Tank
  18. I have this one works great for all 5 of my vehicles