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Last Updated on March 30, 2020 by Team TRA

The last thing anyone wants is a flat tire, but it happens all of the time – 220 million times a year, to be exact. While we hope that it never happens to us, it probably will at one point in our lifetime. If you’re one of those people, you’re going to want to have the best portable tire inflator they make, right? If you don’t have a spare tire in your car to use, you could wind up stranded on the side of the road. Luckily, you have options. But, how do you pick the best portable tire inflator with such a large market?

Don’t worry. This guide is here to help you choose the best and keep you safe and on the road! We’ve also put together a quick shopping guide to help you pick out the right one.

How a Portable Tire Inflator Works

A portable tire inflator is a pretty simple product. It usually consists of a small pump that uses a hose that attaches to your tire. They are very easy to use, you simply hook up the hose to the valve on your tire, turn it on, and watch your flat disappear.

Now, it’s important to realize that even the best portable tire inflator isn’t a permanent solution to your flat tire problem. If you have a big hole in your tire, or your tire becomes unsealed to your rim, a portable tire inflator won’t solve your problem. This is because a portable tire inflator only pumps air back into your tire, it doesn’t patch holes or reseat the tire to the wheel.

However, if you have a slow leak, it could solve the problem long enough for you to get home, even if you’re a jaunt away. That’s why having one of these can really be a life-saver on the side of the road. They are extremely easy to use and will work very quickly.

Choosing the Best Portable Tire Inflator For You

Now that you have a pretty good idea of how a portable inflator works, we can dive into what makes a tire inflator the best one for you. There are two different ways that a portable inflator works: either by battery power or by a cord that plugs into the 12v inside your vehicle. Both of these can work just as well, however, one may be a better option for you.

Benefits of Battery Power

Not all cars have a 12v outlet inside, especially older vehicles. Some vehicles do have them, but they don’t work anymore. This means that a corded inflator may not be the best portable tire inflator for you. Luckily, there is an alternative to corded inflators: battery-powered inflators. Most that are battery-powered run off of a couple of D-Cell batteries, and have really long battery life.

These can also be helpful when you’re moving around the vehicle. If the pump has to be plugged into the dash, it can be difficult to get it to one of the back tires properly.

Benefits of Corded

Sometimes, things that are battery powered are less reliable. Especially if your batteries die, or you don’t have any batteries on you when the occasion comes up. That’s when having a chorded pump would be the best portable tire inflator for you.

As long as you have a working 12v outlet inside your vehicle (which most modern vehicles do) then you are in business. Just make sure that your pump has a cord that is long enough to reach from your 12v to your rear tires. If one of them goes flat you don’t want to be stuck.

Important Features to Look For

When you’re searching for the best portable tire inflator, you are going to want to look at more than just how it’s powered. It’s important to look for a product that is:

  • Reputable- When you’re comparing different brands and models, you will want to check out all the reviews. You’re looking for a product that has great reviews and is highly regarded in the automotive community.
  • Made from quality materials- It’s also really important when finding the best portable tire inflator to make sure that you are finding a high-quality and professionally built system. You don’t want a pump that is made from cheap materials that will only last you a short amount of time. Sometimes spending a little bit more initially for a higher quality product will save you money in the long run when you don’t have to replace it.
  • Easy to store in your vehicle- While most portable tire inflators are small as it is, it’s important to make sure that you will have room for in your car. Simply owning one of these won’t help you in a crisis if you leave it at home because it’s too bulky for your car.
  • Works quickly and efficiently- The best portable tire inflator is going to have the ability to work quickly and efficiently. There will be some products that seem more ergonomic, well built, and affordable. However, you are sacrificing the amount of time it takes to actually fix the problem. You don’t want to be sitting on the side of the road for an hour waiting for your pump to do the job. You want something that is going to work as quickly as possible.

All of these things will make the difference between a good inflator, and the best. While you should make sure that you are always running with the highest quality tires and checking your air pressure regularly, sometimes accidents just happen. Make sure that you are working with nothing but the best, especially in an emergency.

5 Best Portable Tire Inflators for 2020

Here are the top 5 portable tire inflators that will certainly do the job and do it right:

1. VIAIR 00073 70P Heavy Duty Portable Air Compressor

Best Portable Air Compressor

VIAIR 00073 70P Heavy Duty Portable Air Compressor

If you’re looking for a powerful, strong, and reliable portable tire inflator, Viair has you covered. It’s a 12v powerful little machine, and it is really affordable at just under $50 on Amazon! As a compact version, this is by far the best portable air compressor for the cost.

2. RYOBI One+
RYOBI One+ portable tire inflator

Ryobi did great with this amazingly sleek and efficient cordless tire inflator. It’s not only effective and reliable, it’s also insanely affordable. The body comes in at a reasonable price, and uses the same Ryobi battery that comes with your power drill. It’s the best tire inflator for smaller storage spaces.

3. Craftsman C3 Digital Inflator
Craftsman C3 Digital Inflator

Just like the Ryobi One+, this drill-style portable air pump for car tires is small, light, durable, easy to use, and incredibly powerful. It also is battery powered but is a bit more pricey. This is the best cordless tire inflator in it’s price range.

4. Slime 40022 12V Digital Tire Inflator
Slime 40022 12V Digital Tire Inflator

Slime created a truly unique product by incorporating a flashlight on the system itself. This will prove extremely handy if you happen to be using it at night. It’s also very affordable compared to the Craftsman cordless and Viair, coming in around $40.

5. Kensun D1001 AC/DC Heavy Duty Multi-Function Air Compressor Tire Inflator
Kensun D1001 AC-DC Heavy Duty Multi-Function Air Compressor Tire Inflator

This is one of the smallest portable air compressors on the market. It comes with a gleaming price tag of less than $100 on Amazon. It works great and can be plugged into either a wall outlet or the 12v in your car. The only con with could find with this model was hear-say that the gauge could be difficult to read at times. Overall, however, it is truly a bang for your buck product as the best air compressor for car tires.

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