When you are on the road, low tire pressure is something that you should never ignore. Driving on under-inflated tires is problematic, but if you have a good portable car tire inflator, you don’t have to worry. Small enough to fit in your trunk, this little gadget is super easy to use. Just plug it into your 12-volt power outlet and start inflating.
The best portable car tires inflator fills your tire to the optimum pressure so you don’t suffer reduced tire wear. Plus, they have extra features such as a backlit pressure gauge and bonus inflating needles. You need these for blowing up your pool floats and other inflatables.
We reviewed portable car tires inflators in the market, and our standout pick is the EPAuto 12V DC Air Compressor. Sturdy and portable, the car air pump is super fast and quiet, has a simple-to-read pressure gauge, and includes 3 adaptors that fit most standard tire valves.
Here are the top recommended portable air pump for tires.
- Best Cordless tire pump – Ryobi Portable Cordless Power Inflator
- Best 12V DC & 20V battery – Avid Power Tire Inflator
- Best AC/DC adaptable for both home and car – Kensun Portable Air
- Best AC/DC/Battery power option: DeWalt Cordless
- Things to consider
- Best Portable Car Tires Inflators
- How to use a tire inflator
- Final Thoughts
Things to consider
Some of the top air inflators offer three powering options; 12V DC car port, AC wall outlet, and a built-in battery for cordless usage. Typically, portable air compressors are plugged into your 12V cigarette lighter so you can use them on the road. For home use, consider getting one that plugs into a wall power outlet to inflate your balls, bikes, and lawn ornaments. Finally, battery-operated tire inflators like the Ryobi are powered via a battery pack, often sold separately.
Most portable tire compressors can handle anything smaller than truck tires. However, if you own a large SUV, truck, or RV with large tires, you want to buy a tire inflator with a PSI of 100+. Anything less may not be able to pump enough air or pressure to fill the tire. Conversely, smaller car tires and inflatables don’t need a heavy-duty air compressor so choose according to your needs.
The best portable air compressor for cars are compact and lightweight so they can fit in your trunk. They typically weigh between 2-6lbs and may come with a storage case for safe, long-term storage in your trunk.
Digital Gauge and Auto-shutoff Features
Top digital tire inflators have digital gauges to measure the inflated tire pressure. These are preferable to the more traditional dial and needle as they are easier to read and are more accurate. Another useful feature is the auto shutoff which ensures your tire does not overinflate. Finally, you want a digital tire pump with built-in LED lighting for those nighttime emergencies.
Accessories and attachments
Many of the best tire inflators on the market come with multiple applications; – you can inflate sports equipment, air beds, pool toys among others. As such, they include specific nozzles and attachments suited for these inflation tasks. It is best to confirm which air pressure pump accessories are a must-have for you. Additionally, the longer the power cord and hose, the easier it will be to reach all of the four tires. The combined length of the two should span at least 10 feet.
Best Portable Car Tires Inflators
Max pressure: 70 PSI | 12 Volts DC | LED flashlight | Weight: 3.8 pounds
For power, this Amazon top-rated air compressor plugs directly into your car’s 12V cigarette lighter port. Included are 3 additional inflator needles to inflate your tires, balls, floaters, or kayaks.
Once you reach the desired pressure, the small air compressor for tires will automatically shut off to prevent overinflation. You can monitor the level of pressure on the LCD screen featuring four measurement units; – PSI, KPA, BAR, KG/CM. Not for trucks
Max Pressure: 150 PSI | 12 volts DC | | Digital gauge | Weight: 1.94lb | LED Flashlight
To use, simply plug it into your car’s 12V port and set the desired PSI level. The auto shut-off feature will keep the portable tire inflator from over-inflating the tire.
We like the user-friendly design featuring an extra-long power cord to reach any deflated tire as a tire pressure gauge and three extra adaptors for multiple applications.
Max Pressure: 100 PSI | 20V Lithium ion battery & 12 volts DC | Weight: 3.96lb
This cordless car tire pump is powered by a rechargeable battery pack. But if the battery charge is low, use the 12V power adapter to plug into your cigarette lighter.
Naturally, the Avid unit has several features that make it a safe and durable tire inflator. First, there is no risk of over-inflating your tire or kayak – the inflator auto-shuts when the desired pressure level is reached. Plus, it has an LED flashlight and a digital LCD screen on which you can monitor pressure levels and battery charge.
Max Pressure: 150 PSI | 18V Lithium ion battery | Analogue Pressure gauge | Weight: 1.6lb
Super portable at only 1.6lbs, this cordless battery-powered tire inflator works just great to inflate your tires and small inflatables. Included are two high-pressure nozzles and a sports equipment needle, as well as a built-in pressure gauge so you can monitor the tire’s air pressure level.
Max Pressure: 100 PSI | Car 12-volt DC & 110-volt AC | Analogue gauge | Weight: 4.05lb
The Kensun AC/DC plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter or directly a 110-volt AC wall outlet. This AC/DC switch feature, coupled with additional nozzles for different inflatables, makes the Kensun useful at home and on the road. Its powerful 120-watt motor will inflate your car’s tires-even a midsize SUV truck. Included is an inbuilt LCD to help you monitor the pressure, as well as an LED flashlight to light your way in dark conditions.
Max Pressure: 160 PSI | 12 volts DC, 110 volts AC or 20V lithium-ion battery | Weight: 2.94lb
The DeWalt tops our list of the best cordless air compressor handheld rechargeable inflators. It features two hoses- a coiled high-pressure hose that allows users to inflate tires, sports balls, or other inflatables with ease. The other hose is a straight high-volume hose for quick inflation of large pool floats, inflatable mattresses, and other sporting equipment.
You have three powering options for the DeWalt 20V Max car tire inflator pump. It plugs into your car’s 12V cigarette lighter port, or your home’s 110V AC outlet. For cordless use, the 20V Max battery and charger used in other DeWalt tools is needed. The battery and charger are sold separately so this may jack up the overall cost.
Max Pressure: 100 PSI | 12 volts DC | Weight: 2.2 pounds | LED Flashlight
This Amazon best-seller hooks into your car’s 12-volt outlet for power. Weighing just 2.2lbs, the portable air compressor for tires is easy to store in your trunk. It has a digital pressure gauge where you set the desired air pressure and let the auto shut off feature handle the rest. Plus, the inbuilt LED flashlight is handy for nighttime emergencies. The portable air pump for car tires comes with adapters and accessories, which enable you to use it on several applications.
Max Pressure: 100 PSI | 12 volts DC | Weight: 2.05lb | LED Flashlight
Getting your tire’s air pressure just right reduces the wear, and the JACO auto tire inflator does just that. It is designed to give an accurate and precise fill, and once your desired level is reached, the digital air gauge’s auto shut feature kicks in to avoid over-inflation.
Ultra-compact and sturdy, the 12V portable air compressor tire pump easily withstands long-term storage in your trunk. You can also use it in your home to inflate bike tires, balls, and tires that have lost a little air.
How to use a tire inflator
After you buy an air compressor, here are the steps you should follow to use it correctly. This will make your car tire compressor last longer, and so will your tires.
- First, examine the tires for any punctures or leaks. You should fix these before inflating the tire.
- Connect the portable car tire inflator to the power source, be it the 12V cigarette plug or the AC wall outlet. Turn on the battery for a cordless tire inflator
- Remove the valve stems from the wheels and keep them in a safe place.
- Connect the portable car tire pump’s nozzle to the valve stem.
- Turn on the air compressor tire inflator and let the compressed air flow into the tire. A hissing sound means there is a leakage, so tighten the nozzle and the valve.
- You can check your tire pressure on the gauge. Most digital air compressors let you set the desired tire pressure levels and auto shuts off when the set level is reached.
- When your tire is optimally inflated, switch off the car tire inflator air compressor pump and remove the nozzle.
- You can now fasten the valve stems back on your wheels.
Our number one pick for the best portable tire inflator is the EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump. Sturdy and portable, the car air pump is super fast and quiet, has a simple-to-read pressure gauge, and includes 3 adaptors that fit most standard tire valves. Our best value pick is the AstroAI Tire Inflator which gives solid performance at a budget-friendly price.
Did you know that some jump starters also have a tire inflator component? Check out our guide for the best on the market and where to get them.