Buying Guide and Advice
Tire blowouts and flats aren’t issues you want to deal with, especially while returning home after work or coming back from a road trip. However, these instances do occur due to drops in tire pressure. That is why you need to keep an air compressor handy at all times, so an unnecessary puncture or blowouts can be taken care of right away. This is one of these products you want to keep close by, but never have to use – in case of a failure – unless it's a pool inflatable you want to use.
Portable tire inflators these days are compact, so you don’t have to do any heavy lifting, and they can be carried virtually everywhere and by anyone. Some of them come with convenient carry bags too. All you have to do is plug them into the cigarette lighter socket in your car, and your tire pressure is back to normal in just a few minutes. Power cords and air hoses are included so you can reach and access all 4 tires with ease.
Some units are equipped with an automatic shutoff feature – you just have to plug in the unit, set the pressure level and it will switch off when the desired limit is attained. LED lights and backlit LCD screen – a modern replacement to the age old dial gauge – are a mentionable feature, as the former helps you operate the air compressor in the dark and acts as a beacon to other drivers on the road, while the latter ensures a clear display of the data.
Although tire inflators are mainly used for vehicle tires, they are versatile and can be utilized for lawnmowers, boats, rafts, ATVs, children’s toys, swimming pool rings, sports equipment, and other inflatables via specific adapters and nozzles that are provided as part of the package. These adapters are standard and will fit any product.
Go through the different air compressors and inflators, study their features and specifications, and then make up your mind! If you need a more personal assistance, hit mu up in the comments below and I'll gladly share some of what I've learned during my research for an air compressor.
Buyer's guide to Air Compressors and Inflators
There is nothing more annoying than getting stranded after a hectic day at work or while returning from a weekend retreat. Not only is it frustrating, but the situation can compromise your safety as well. I recommend checking tire pressure on a regular basis just to try and limit the odds of a tire failure and meet the tire manufacturer's maintenance guidelines.
What are air compressors and inflators?
To put it in a nutshell, air compressors and inflators are mobile accessories that are used to bring up air pressure in tires up to recommended levels. It is designed to compensate for small losses of pressure in tires and keep tabs on the pressure readings as well. Excessively low or high pressure can cause blowouts, rapid wear & tear, and flats, which is why these units come in handy to keep the pressure in check. They are usually portable, take up less room and can be stored in the vehicle trunk.
Who is it for?
Air compressors and inflators don’t have a niche audience, because anyone who drives a car will find them to be very handy and useful, especially during times of emergencies. Every car tends to lose air pressure for several reasons such as normal seepage of air through the rubber, slow leak, or drop in ambient air temperature. An air compressor can inflate tires in a jiffy and you can be on your way in no time. It spares you the hassle of seeking out a gas station, and helps you save money too.
How are air compressors and inflators rated?
Experts suggest you should check your tire pressure at least once a month with an efficient tire pressure gauge, so you know exactly when to inflate them. New cars these days are equipped with a tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) that sends an alert if the pressure drops about 25%. Standard car tires have around 35 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) – it is a measure of air force delivered by air compressors, but inflators are designed to inflate a broad range of tires. Maximum pressure generally goes up to 100 or 150 PSI.
While these air compressors are primarily designed to inflate car tires, they can be used for refilling air in tires on bicycles, recreation vehicles, trailers, riding lawn mowers, boats, rafts, and even wheelbarrows. They are versatile, because using extra inflator tips and nozzles, you can pump up sports equipment like basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, etc. or use it for inflatable mattresses, toys, yard decorations, and so on.
- One of the most coveted features on air compressors is auto shutoff, so you don’t have to monitor the pressure constantly because the device turns off instantly when the correct value is reached
- LED light so working in the dark isn’t a problem
- Bright backlit display on the pressure gauge with multiple units so reading the pressure becomes more convenient
- Compact structure so the unit can be taken anywhere and is easy to carry
- Rubber feet for better stability – the unit remains in a fixed position, even if you accidentally jostle against it
Many car owners face the issue of not being able to reach all four tires from a single point, so they have to disconnect the unit and go around to the other side and reattach it. But long power cords and air hoses have resolved this problem. Other accessories include dust caps to prevent deflation of the tire due to slight gas seepage past the tire valve, carry bag, inflation nozzles for sports equipment and other inflatables, and Presta valve.
Warranty & Service
A high quality air compressor and inflator might give trouble, so please check to see if it has at least a year long warranty. Most manufacturers provide a warranty of 12 months from the date of purchase, but in some cases it is extended to 24 months as well. 30-day money back option is available at times; however it isn’t mandatory, so some sellers don’t offer it. Reputable companies usually provide round-the-clock customer support and good after-sales service.
Keeping your tires inflated at correct levels is vital, so please don’t neglect it. As mentioned above, tires lose air pressure slowly, so many drivers remain unaware, and underinflated tires should be taken care of without further delay. If you start driving, you will notice the difference due to poor handling and how tough it is to gain control when swerving to avoid an obstacle in the road. It is likely the tire will soon fail and cause a blowout due to overheating. Under these circumstances, tires use more energy, thus affecting your car’s fuel economy as well.
For your comfort, we grouped the leading products of the Air Compressors and inflators category in the below top list. You're welcome to drill down for a more detailed look in the full review.
Product Best value