There are few things more annoying than finding out that your tires are flat and need air. We’ve all heard that horrid "thump, thump" of a flat and unless you have a tire inflator on hand, you’ve probably needed to get help. Fortunately, there are plenty of these devices on the market and getting a digital one that will re-inflate your tires is a relatively simple thing, but which is best?
Before we get into some tire inflator models, let’s take a look at some of the types of digital tire inflators that you can find on the market today. These include:
- 120 Volt Models – These are fairly powerful and can easily inflate a 30PSI tire in a relatively short amount of time. These types of tire inflators draw power from an outlet, so they aren’t the absolute best for being stranded along the side of the road. This being said, these can handle most tire-types; save for those higher pressure tires that you find on RVs and campers.
- 12 Volt Models – These smaller-scale units are perfect for inflating your tires in emergency situations. They tend to fit into your glove box or trunk and handily plug directly into your cigarette lighter. You won’t get a ton of power through these types of digital tire inflators, but they can help you out in a pinch.
- Hybrids – These are a combination of the first two types. You can plug into an outlet or a cigarette lighter with these. This gives you an option to get a stronger inflation at home or a satisfactory one while you’re out and about.
- Cordless Models – These types can also have hybrid connections as well. These also feature fully rechargeable batteries so that you can easily go from tire to tire as you re-inflate each. As an added bonus, cordless models can also have various extra functions like mobile device charging, SOS LED lighting, and jump start capabilities.
|Digital Tire Inflators||Best Design Feature||Price||Rating|
|Astro 3018 Digital Tire Inflator with Stainless Steel Braided Hose||Easy to power through AAA batteries||$54.00|
|Eveco Tire Inflator 12v Portable Air Compressor Pump||The Digital Screen is Backlit and Clear||$39.99|
|12 Foot Wire Will Make it Easy to Reach Every Tire||$49.97|
|Pro-Lift W-1808 12V Air Inflator with Digital Gauge||This Unit Has a Maximum Airflow of 100 PSI||$35.37|
|Slime 40022 12-Volt Digital Tire Inflator||Can Inflate a Car Tire in Six Minutes||$29.99||4/5|
|Digital Tire Pressure Gauge Inflator / Deflator||This Unit Has Selections for PSIs ranging from five through 150||$59.00|
|Black & Decker ASI300 Air Station High Performance Inflator||This Unit is Very Portable||$44.99||4/5|
|Stanley JC509 1000 Peak Amp Jump Starter with Compressor||This Inflator Has Multiple Extra Features||$69.97|
Astro 3018 Digital Tire Inflator with Stainless Steel Braided Hose
Our first digital inflator, the Astro 3018 inflator is a bit uncomplicated when it comes to function and overall performance. This device does require a separate air supply line to be attached to its base, but it has plenty of great features to make up for this. Firstly, you’ll notice the hose that leads to the brass fitting is metallic. This hose is actually comprised of braided stainless steel, which gives the hose a large amount of flexibility as well as durability over years of use.
The second, most prominent feature of this device is the large LCD screen. This screen will actually provide readouts in four different pressure measuring standards. Each of these measurements is very accurate and is easily read because the LCD screen is backlit. Controlling the device’s functions is also very easy and is typically accomplished with a single button.
The device also sports an auto-off feature that turns it off after 90 seconds of inactivity. This will save the device’s AAA batteries over the life of the unit. Finally, you’ll also be able to deflate your tires with this device, which is a very useful feature in certain situations.
Eveco Tire Inflator 12v Portable Air Compressor Pump
The Eveco Tire Inflator 12v Portable Air Compressor Pump is a more traditional car cigarette lighter powered unit that does a great job inflating tires when you’re on the road. One of its best features is its ability to actually inflate a standard tire in about three minutes. With a maximum pressure of 150PSI, you’ll also be able to use this device on larger tires with relative ease.
Another excellent feature that we thought was very useful was the fact that this unit will automatically shut off when the preset pressure is achieved. This means, that for the most part, this is a inflate and forget device; meaning that you can set the needed PSI and then tackle other tasks.
In addition to this functionality, the device also sports a backlit LED display that is very viewable in low light situations. Also, like the first device we’ve featured, this unit will turn off after a few minutes of inactivity; a feature that will save you energy use. The LED lights not only provide illumination, but in an emergency situation they can be set to turn red or even flash an SOS signal.
P.I. Auto Store Premium Digital Tire Inflator
The P.I. Auto Store inflator is a very portable option for those who want to keep an inflator in their trunk or even large glove box for emergencies. Firstly, it has a great, bright built-in LED that has an emergency mode for those situations where you’ll have to flag down help.
In addition to this feature, all of the needed features of this device neatly fold into its compact body. These include two different valve attachments that fit in a nook inside the device. One is perfect for inflating leisure items like beach balls and pool floaters. The other is designed for inflating sports equipment like footballs and basketballs.
Also there is a very long 12 foot direct current 12V cable that plugs directly into a cigarette lighter and folds neatly into a recess in the device when it’s not in use. The length of this wire is perfect for hitting every tire of your car without accidentally losing power.
In addition to these features, the device has a lot of power; it can inflate a 30PSI tire to full capacity in about four minutes. With the purchase, P.I. Auto Store was kind enough to include eight Schrader valve dust covers, so in the event you lose one during inflation, you’ll have several backups.
Pro-Lift W-1808 12V Air Inflator with Digital Gauge
The fourth entry in this guide has a great design that makes it easy to truck from tire to tire. With a top-mounted handle, you’ll find that this four pound device is inherently portable. The Pro-Lift W-1808 is also able to quickly inflate tires up to a pressure level of 100PSI.
In front of the device, you’ll find a very bright work light, so if you find yourself stranded in a poorly-lit area, you’ll be able to quickly re-inflate your tires and get back to your trip. Some tire inflators are designed so that you’ll have to apply constant pressure to the Schrader valve as you inflate, but this unit actually has teeth, which will allow you to twist it on securely as it re-pressurizes your tires.
Like the previous device, you’ll also be able to inflate more than tires with the W-1808. Included with the purchase are two tips for inflating plastic toys like beach balls and floats and another tip for refilling deflated footballs, basketballs, and soccer balls. Once a preset pressure is reached, the W-1808 will also auto-shutoff.
Slime 40022 12-Volt Digital Tire Inflator
Slime is a well-known name in inflation technology and tire care. Their 12 Volt digital tire inflator provides a simple solution for resolving the annoyance of a flat tire. It’s small enough to fit in the majority of glove boxes and trunks, yet functional enough to resolve all of your inflation problems without much bother. The 12 Volt direct current wire is ten feet in length, which provides a decent amount of reach when you need to inflate your tires.
This Slime device also has a fairly bright forward facing light that will help you do your work with a decent amount of illumination. The air hose on the device is also fairly long; it has a full two inches of reach and the hose itself is also very flexible.
When it comes to LED functionality, this device has four different ways to measure your tire’s pressure, ranging from PSI to kPa. Also, just like a few other notable entries in this guide, this device will shut itself off when you’ve reached the desired pressure level.
PMT Digital Tire Pressure Gauge Inflator / Deflator
This unit is another device that requires a separate air supply line, but like our first device, this unit has a rich feature set that counters this limitation. Firstly, it has a very similar shaping to the Astro 3018 Digital Tire Inflator. It has a rubber housing like that unit, but where that device uses a stainless steel hose for air directing, this one has a rubber hose for that purpose.
The LCD screen on this unit is backlit so that it’ll be easily interpreted in darker situations. There are three touch sensitive buttons on the control module that power the unit on, turn it off, and toggle the light on and off. One great feature of this device is the fact that the air hose has a lever that helps it lock into place on your tire’s Schrader valve. This frees your hands up to do other things as your tire inflates.
Composition wise, the device sports an aluminum body that is sheathed in a rubber protector, so you’ll know that this tire inflator will be lightweight and durable. An additional function of this device that the Astro 3018 also has is the ability to deflate as well as inflate your tires as needed.
Black & Decker ASI300 Air Station High Performance Inflator
There are few brand names out there that are more synonymous with power than Black and Decker. This tire inflator uses a small form factor to provide inherent portability to your tire inflation needs. This is also one of the hybrid devices that we’ve mentioned previously. In the rear, you’ll find the 12V power connector for a car cigarette lighter. Hidden away in a top-back compartment, you’ll find the air hose and a standard electrical outlet wire for powering the unit.
When it comes to function, many owners use this device for inflating bike tires. This is due to the pressure limitation option that allows you to preset a desired pressure. Once this pressure is reached, the unit will automatically turn off. This feature is also perfect for car tires, and the 12V cable is long enough to easily help you reach each tire on a moderately large vehicle.
The device also comes with a two different tips so that inflating sports accessories and poolside toys will be easy to do as well.
Stanley JC509 1000 Peak Amp Jump Starter with Compressor
Our final product is also the most feature-rich of the devices that we’ve featured in this guide. Not only does it do a great job at inflating your car’s tires, but it also has several additional functions that make it a great choice to keep inside your car at all times.
With this inflator, you’ll be able to provide up to 120PSI for the inflation of your tires. In addition to this, it has a fairly quick inflation rate; it only takes about five minutes to inflate most tires and a swiveling light so that you can easily see what you are inflating.
In addition to these features, this device also serves as a car jump starter and a mobile device charger. It also can plug in directly to a wall outlet to charge its internal battery. Overall, we found this to be a great all-in-one device.
Even if it doesn’t happen on a day-to-day basis, tire inflation is something that we all deal with multiple times in our careers as vehicle owners. Every digital device that we’ve featured here will help you inflate your tires with relative ease. In addition to this, they are all relatively cheap devices that pay for themselves when you consider the convenience that they offer.
That being said, our favorite device out of the ones we’ve featured in this guide is the Stanley JC509 1000 Peak Amp Jump Starter with Compressor. This device just has a great amount of functions that will help you do what needs to be done. It has a bright LED light, the ability to charge your devices, and of course, it will inflate your tires quickly. You really can’t go wrong with this device.
When it comes to the best bang for your buck, we also really liked the Astro 3018 Digital Tire Inflator. It is relatively cheap, does what it’s designed for easily, and is actually very useful with its LCD backlit display that shines prominently in low light situations. This is a great device for those looking for a simple tire inflation device and not additional bells and whistles.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to digital tire inflators. All of the devices that we’ve covered are excellent, so if you don’t like our overall or bang for your buck pick, check out any of the devices you’ve seen and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.