Keeping your car’s tires properly filled with air ensures that they wear evenly and will maximize your fuel economy. It’s one of the most important aspects of automotive maintenance that anyone can handle, no matter their experience level. A portable tire inflator is a tool you’ll need to get the job done without the help of a mechanic. These are our favorite tire inflators for doing routine auto maintenance at home.
Most color options
EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor
Illuminate your workspace with the built-in LED flashlight. Program the appropriate PSI setting for whatever you’re filling, and the compressor will automatically shut off when it reaches that point. The gauge can display four units of measurement, and this model comes in four colors.
More than tires
FORTEM Digital Tire Inflator
Use this inflator for sports balls, air mattresses, or balloons, thanks to the included attachments. You can pre-program the desired PSI, and monitor it on the digital display. When not in use, the compressor and accessories fit into a compact case you can easily store in your car or home.
Good for small SUVs
Kensun Portable Air Compressor
Whether you’re home or on the road, this compressor offers AC/DC plugs, as well as a 12V cigarette lighter plug. Use the analog display to measure up to 100 PSI for car, bike, or small SUV tires. At home, use this compressor as a fast way to pump up a basketball or air mattress.
Best in low light
Helteko Portable Air Compressor
Quickly snap the connector of this compressor on your car’s valve stem. You’ll have 13.5 ft of hose to work with, and a built-in LED to guide you when it’s dark. The LED gauge is easy to read in low-light situations, unlike back-lit displays.
Breezz Air Compressor
Powered by your cigarette lighter port, this compressor can fill up to 150 PSI in tires or other items. It comes with three nozzle adapters, making it great for cars, bikes, and kayaks. The cords fit into the unit, and there’s no case to unpack before use.
Best for professionals
Viair 88P Portable Air Compressor
This heavy-duty air compressor requires a direct connection to a running car battery, so it is more suited to users with a higher level of automotive experience. It’s useful for ATVs, trucks, SUVs, and other automobiles. The 10 ft power cord and 16 ft air hose make reaching your tires easy.
Locks on tires
Viair 70P Portable Compressor
No more babysitting the air compressor while filling your tires: this model has a twist-on connector that prevents it from falling off. You can use your 12V cigarette plug to fill items up to 100 PSI. There’s also a deluxe carrying bag so that the compressor won’t get damaged in your trunk or garage.
Pump ’em up
All of these models feature an easy-to-read PSI gauge so that you can know precisely when your tires are at the right level. And many of them are useful for more than just filling up car and bike tires. However, we think the EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor is the best choice for most people. The display and controls are easy to read and use, there’s a sturdy carrying handle built into the top, and the powerful light makes dark roads no problem. It’s also the only option that comes in four colors.
If you’re more experienced with automotive maintenance — we’re talking getting under the hood to connect things — then the Viair 88P Portable Air Compressor is the best option for you. It connects to the car battery and can handle the truck tires with no issue, unlike the other options listed here. It also has a very long air hose, which is great for taller vehicles like SUVs.
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