10 best portable tire inflators of 2022 – review & buyer’s guide

find the best portable tire inflator for your needs with our review and buyer's guide. we compare the top 10 models to help you make the right purchase decision.

10 best portable air compressors

if you’re tired of dealing with low tire pressure and spending forever trying to find an air compressor, only to need to pay for the air, it’s time for you to invest in a portable tire inflator. 

but while the right portable tire inflator can save you a lot of time, frustration, and even money, the wrong one only leads to more frustration, broken tools, or it can even leave you stranded on the side of the road.

that’s why we took the time to highlight the ten best portable tire inflators on the market today. not only that, but we also came up with a comprehensive buyer’s guide that will walk you through everything you need to know to get the right portable tire inflator for your needs the first time.

disclaimer – this article may contain affiliate links, which means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for qualifying purchases.

10 best portable tire inflators in 2022

1. kobalt portable air compressor – best tire inflator overall

kobalt portable air compressor
  • maximum psi: 120 psi
  • charging style: 120v or 12v

if you’re looking for the best possible portable tire inflator, you’re not going to top this kobalt portable air compressor. it offers both 120- and 12-volt capabilities for use, making it an excellent choice for use on the go or in the garage.

it has a higher maximum psi that can handle car tires, but it can’t handle larger truck tires. it’s easy to use with the ability to set preset psi levels. you pick the amount you want to inflate the tire to, hook it up, and the portable tire inflator does the rest!

kobalt 120v & 12v portable air compressor...
901 reviews
kobalt 120v & 12v portable air compressor...
  • kobalt portable air compressor inflator...
  • perfect size to keep in your car,...
  • plugs into standard 120 volt or 12 volt...
  • digital gauge displays current pressure

but while all of these things are great, it’s the combination of price and quality that puts it at the top of our list. the last thing you want is to purchase a portable tire inflator only to have it fail on you after a few uses.

with a reliable brand like kobalt and a top-notch tire inflator like this one, that’s not something you need to worry about. it’s a great portable tire inflator you can rely on year after year, easily earning its spot at the top of our list.

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pros

  • a great mix of price and quality
  • both 120v and 12v capable
  • high maximum psi
  • you get to preset psi levels
  • high-quality brand you can rely on

cons

  • no replacement parts are available

2. astroai air compressor – best budget

astroai air compressor
  • maximum psi: 160 psi
  • charging style: 12v cigarette lighter socket

if you don’t have a ton of cash to spend on a portable tire inflator that doesn’t mean you need to do without. that’s because the astroai air compressor is an affordably priced portable tire inflator that you can use to inflate bike and car tires.

it’s not the best choice for larger tires, but it works just fine for most sedan tires. not only is it affordable, but it’s also lightweight and compact, weighing just 2.6 pounds, making it easy to tuck away and use when you need it.

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furthermore, it has a flashlight feature that you can use during darker nights, ensuring you’re never stranded even if your tires do need a little more air. you can also get it in multiple color options, which doesn’t affect anything functionally, but it does let you get a little stylistic with it.

however, it is a budget portable tire inflator, and nothing highlights that more than its durability. if you need to use it a ton, it won’t be too long until you need to replace it. add in that it only works for smaller tires and it’s clearly not the best choice for everyone.

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pros

  • affordably priced
  • available in multiple colors
  • easy to store in your car
  • lightweight at just 2.6 pounds
  • it also has a flashlight

cons

  • not the most durable product
  • not for larger tires

3. stanley j5co9 portable power station – combination package

stanley j5co9 portable power station
  • maximum psi: 120 psi
  • charging style: 110 volts

if you’re not worried about how much your new portable tire inflator is going to cost, there’s no denying that this stanley j5c09 portable power station is as good as it gets. it has a higher maximum psi at 120 and it comes with a 1-year warranty, so you know it’s not going to give out on you.

but while those features are nice and reliable, it’s everything else that this portable power station does that really puts it over the top.

not only is it a great portable tire inflator, but it also has a jump starter feature that can bail you out of some challenging situations. moreover, it has both a usb and a 12-volt outlet to let you charge up various devices.

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additionally, there’s an led light on it that can help you see what you’re doing even when it’s dark out, making this a truly versatile all-in-one tool. it is a bit heavier than the other portable tire inflators on our list, but because of all the extra features you get, it’s worth it.

and while there’s no denying that it’s a more expensive option, it’s also extremely durable. you won’t have to replace it any time soon and it gives you tons of capabilities to help ensure you’re never in a situation you can’t get out of.

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pros

  • very reliable brand
  • higher maximum working psi
  • it’s also a jump starter
  • it comes with a 1-year warranty
  • it’s also a usb charger
  • it has an led light

cons

  • more expensive option

4. black + decker 20v max cordless tire inflator

black + decker 20v max cordless tire inflator
  • maximum psi: 160 psi
  • charging style: 12 volts or 120 volts

while the black + decker 20v max cordless tire inflator didn’t crack our top three, it just narrowly missed. it has a higher maximum psi at 160, and the digital gauge lets you preset the psi you’re trying to reach. even better, it automatically shuts off when you get there, so you don’t have to worry about over-inflating anything.

you can use this portable tire inflator in two different ways, either by plugging it directly into a power outlet or by using the 20v battery that it comes with. this allows you to get a couple of batteries on hand to ensure you always have enough power to get the job done.

black+decker 20v max* cordless tire inflator,...
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even better, it’s an outstanding mix of price and quality and you get a 2-year warranty with it. that means you don’t have to spend a ton to get it, and you don’t have to worry about it breaking on you any time soon after you get it.

however, it did miss our top three, and that all comes down to the fact that with the 20v battery it’s not the most powerful portable tire inflator. since this list is all about portable tire inflators that’s a pretty big flaw despite everything else this tool offers.

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pros

  • higher maximum psi
  • a great mix of price and quality
  • digital gauge and you can preset psi
  • you can plug it in or use the 20v battery
  • it has a 2-year limited warranty

cons

  • not the most powerful tire inflator for car tires

5. ontel air hawk pro automatic cordless tire inflator

ontel air hawk pro automatic cordless tire inflator
  • maximum psi: 150 psi
  • charging style: 12 volts

the ontel air hawk pro automatic cordless tire inflator is another great portable tire inflator you can get. it’s extremely lightweight at just 1.9 pounds, making it one of the lightest options on our list. it also has an led light that helps you see during darker weather.

add in the automatic shutoff feature that ensures you don’t over-inflate anything and it’s not hard to see why it made our list. it uses a rechargeable battery that you disconnect and place on a separate charger, but unlike the 20v black + decker battery, it’s not a universal option.

this makes it much harder to get additional batteries on hand without purchasing additional portable tire inflators you don’t need. the other issue is that while it can quickly inflate bike tires and other small inflatables, it takes a while to inflate car tires.

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ontel air hawk pro automatic cordless tire...
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ontel air hawk pro automatic cordless tire...
  • automatic cordless tire inflator
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however, it can handle smaller car tires as you would find on a sedan. but while it can handle those smaller tires, it’s not a tool that can handle larger truck tires.

still, for such a lightweight and portable tire inflator, it can handle quite a bit. the real reason it didn’t climb any higher up our list is that it’s just a bit too expensive for what you’re getting.

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pros

  • very lightweight at 1.9 pounds
  • it also has an led light
  • it uses a rechargeable battery
  • it shuts off at the correct psi

cons

  • it takes a while to inflate car tires
  • better suited for smaller tires

6. workdupk upgraded tire inflator

workdupk upgraded tire inflator
  • maximum psi: 150 psi
  • charging style: 12 volts

while worpdupk might not be a brand you’re all that familiar with, if you’re looking for a great portable tire inflator, then they have a product you’ll want to consider. their current portable tire inflator is actually an upgrade over their previous models.

it’s a lightweight portable tire inflator, weighing just 2.53 pounds. it has a digital display that makes it easy to see the current psi of your tire, and with a 150 maximum psi it can handle just about any job you throw at it.

even better, it’s available for an outstanding price, giving you a great combination of price and performance. however, for everything the workdupk upgraded tire inflator does right, it didn’t make the top half of our list.

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the first problem is that it takes a while to fill up car tires. while that’s not a problem exclusive to the workdupk tire inflator, the shorter battery life is a problem. it’s not something you’ll have an issue with if you’re just trying to add a few psi to your car tires, but if you’re inflating them from completely flat, it can be a problem.

still, since that’s not something you need to do too often, you could do far worse than the workdupk portable tire inflator.

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pros

  • a great mix of price and performance
  • lightweight design – 2.53 pounds
  • easy to see and use digital display
  • higher maximum psi

cons

  • battery source is very limited
  • it takes a while to fill car tires

7. avid power tire inflator air compressor

avid power tire inflator air compressor
  • maximum psi: 100 psi
  • charging style: 12 volts

the avid power tire inflator air compressor is another portable tire inflator that uses a 20-volt battery. this leads to a compact design where you can easily get a second battery or two on hand to ensure you’re never without a charge.

not only does this portable tire inflator use the convenient 20-volt battery that makes it lightweight and portable, but it also has an led light that makes it easier to see what you’re doing even in low-light situations.

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add in the automatic stop function when you reach the desired psi for your tire, and it’s one of the easiest to use portable tire inflators out there. it also comes in multiple color options, allowing you to put your own sense of style on things.

however, the one big flaw with the avid power portable tire inflator is the lower maximum psi. while 100 psi is nothing to sneeze at, most of the portable tire inflators on our list offer just a bit more.

because of this, it’s not the best choice for larger vehicle tires, but for smaller compact vehicles and sedans, it’s a great choice.

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pros

  • multiple color options are available
  • it uses a 20-volt battery
  • very compact and portable
  • it has an led light
  • it has an automatic stop function

cons

  • lower maximum psi

8. olarhike 12v portable air compressor

olarhike 12v portable air compressor
  • maximum psi: 150 psi
  • charging style: 12 volts

if you’re looking for a portable tire inflator, why not go with something that uses the cigarette lighter? the olarhike 12v portable air compressor isn’t the only one that uses this design, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that you won’t run out of power as long as your vehicle is running.

this is an affordably priced portable tire inflator, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth your money. for starters, it’s one of the few portable tire inflators that come ready to inflate higher psi truck tires, not just smaller sedan or compact car tires.

it also has an led light to help you see what you’re doing when you’re outside working at night. moreover, it has an automatic safety shutoff to keep you safe and ensure you’re not over-inflating tires.

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but for everything that the olarkhike 12v portable air compressor does right, there are a few concerns you should be aware of. first, it’s not the most durable air compressor. it’s fine to bail you out of a tough situation, but if you plan on using it regularly, it’s only a matter of time until it fails on you.

finally, it’s also slightly heavier than most standalone portable tire inflators. it’s just under 6-pounds, which isn’t the heaviest, but since most portable tire inflators are under 3-pounds that’s almost twice the weight.

but the capability to inflate larger truck tires more than makes up for the extra weight, and it’s why it earned a spot on our list.

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pros

  • affordably priced
  • higher maximum psi
  • it also has an led light
  • it has an automatic safety shutoff
  • very compact design
  • it works for higher psi truck tires

cons

  • not the most durable product
  • slightly heavier at 5.94 pounds

9. vaclife tire inflator portable air compressor

vaclife tire inflator portable air compressor
  • maximum psi: 50 psi
  • charging style: 12 volts

if you’re looking for an extremely affordable portable tire inflator, look no further than the vaclife tire inflator portable air compressor. it’s by far the most affordable portable tire inflator on our list, and it still comes with several great features.

first, it has an auto-shutoff feature that ensures you won’t over-inflate anything. second, it has an led light that helps you find your way even when it’s dark out. moreover, it comes in three different color options, so you get something that blends into the rest of your car a bit more.

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vaclife tire inflator portable air compressor...
29,147 reviews
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however, while it’s a super affordable portable tire inflator, it did fall to the bottom of our list for a reason. the first issue is that it has a much lower maximum psi compared to all the other portable tire inflators on our list.

the second issue is just as serious, this isn’t a very durable portable tire inflator. it’s only a matter of time until it gives out on you, but at this price point, that’s not very surprising.

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pros

  • very affordably priced
  • it comes in 3 color options
  • auto shutoff features
  • it has an led light

cons

  • not very durable
  • lower maximum psi

10. astroai cordless tire inflator

astroai cordless tire inflator
  • maximum psi: 160 psi
  • charging style: 12 volts

while the astroai cordless tire inflator might be the last option on our list, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth checking out. it’s another portable tire inflator that uses a 20v battery design, making it extremely easy to take from place to place.

it’s compact and portable, everything you want from a portable tire inflator, but don’t let the maximum psi of 160 fool you, it’s not going to work for larger tires, instead it’s a better choice for smaller sedan and compact vehicle tires.

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it also has an automatic shutoff feature that makes it easy to use, and it doesn’t take long to recharge the 20v battery. however, that’s pretty much a necessity since a single charge won’t fully inflate a tire. that’s because it takes a long time for this cordless tire inflator to inflate a tire.

so, not only does it take a while to inflate a tire, but you’ll often have to stop halfway into the job to recharge the battery so you can finish. with a flaw like that it’s not hard to see why it couldn’t make it any higher up the list.

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pros

  • affordably priced
  • it also has a 20v battery
  • automatic shutoff features
  • quick recharge time
  • cordless design

cons

  • it takes a long time to fill car tires
  • you might have to recharge it to get a fully inflated tire

tire inflator buyer’s guide

with so many great portable tire inflators on our list, it can be hard to narrow it down to just one. we understand, and that’s why we came up with this comprehensive buyer’s guide to walk you through everything you need to know before purchasing one.

not only do we break down everything you need to know about portable tire inflators, but we break down why you need a portable tire inflator in the first place!

read more: how to find the correct tire pressure for your car (4 steps)

why you need a portable tire inflator

did you know that most tire and vehicle manufacturers recommend checking your tire pressure every 2 to 4 weeks? it’s because tire pressure constantly changes with the weather, and even small drops in tire pressure can lead to significant drops in the tire’s life and in your fuel economy.

but unless you want to make a trip out to a gas station or a repair shop every few weeks, you’ll need some sort of air compressor to help you adjust your tire pressure. and when you’re looking for something to help you inflate your tires, why not go with a portable tire inflator?

this allows you to check and adjust your tire pressure anywhere, whether it’s at home or on your next road trip. moreover, these devices double as a great tool for bike tires or inflatables, allowing you to quickly inflate everything you might need on your next family vacation.

it’s only a matter of time before a portable tire inflator pays for itself in both convenience and cost, so go ahead and save yourself the frustration and money by investing in a portable tire inflator now.

picking your charging/battery style

one of the most important decisions you need to make when you’re picking a portable tire inflator is the type of charging or battery style you want to go with. while they’re all portable, they go about things in their own ways, and this leads to their own pros and cons.

we’ll dive into the most popular options for you here, that way you can make an informed decision about which option is best for your situation.

12-volt cigarette lighter

if you’re looking for one of the most popular ways to get a portable tire inflator, it’s to use the 12-volt outlet that’s already in your car. most people refer to this outlet as the cigarette lighter, but it’s a great way to power up accessories like portable tire inflators.

the advantage to this type of style is that as long as your vehicle is running you don’t have to worry about the battery dying – giving you a virtually unlimited charge.

however, there are a few drawbacks. first, 12-volts isn’t the most powerful, and this limits the maximum output. second, if your vehicle has a dead battery then you won’t be able to use this type of portable battery charger at all, completely defeating the purpose of a portable battery charger.

this also limits the other potential applications you can pair with the portable tire inflator since it all depends on having a 12-volt cigarette lighter outlet available. finally, outside of vehicles, it’s not the most common outlet type, pretty much limiting your use of this portable tire inflator to near anywhere your vehicle.

while that’s not a big deal for car tires, if you plan on using your portable tire inflator to inflate bike tires or other inflatables it can be a bit of an inconvenience.

20-volt battery

this is another extremely common type of power source for a portable tire inflator. it’s the same type of 20-volt battery you can find in numerous other tools, which is a big convenience by itself. if you have other tools from the same brand, as you might with the black + decker option, the 20-volt batteries are completely transferable.

having a 20-volt battery as the power source is also beneficial since you can just leave the battery on the charger and ensure you have a full charge when you need the portable tire inflator. it also gives you the ability to have multiple batteries to ensure you don’t lose power when you need it most.

but the most important advantage of a 20-volt battery system is that it’s extremely portable. it’s cordless and you can take it wherever you need it, making it easy to pack up and take with you wherever you go.

however, it’s not the perfect solution. while they typically pack more of a punch than the 12-volt systems, if you don’t have multiple batteries you can quickly run out of power. not only that but since you need to keep the 20-volt batteries charged you can’t exactly keep it in your car all the time like you can with the 12-volt systems.

rechargeable battery

the final type of portable tire inflator you can go with uses a standard rechargeable battery. most of these systems use an internal battery that you charge by connecting it to a 12-volt outlet.

these internal batteries are usually extremely powerful, hold the charge for a little while, and they open up a ton of possibilities for your portable tire inflator.

these systems typically give you the most powerful air pressure and they can incorporate unique features, like a jump-starter, that other portable tire inflators simply can’t offer.

however, they’re also typically more expensive and heavier than other options, and you can’t leave them in your vehicle indefinitely without charging them.

avoid overworking your portable tire inflator

no matter what type of portable tire inflator you go with, you need to be extremely careful not to overwork it. that’s because if you run the inflator for too long without a break, you run the risk of burning out the motor.

it’s the chief complaint with portable tire inflators, but it’s one that’s very easily avoided if you have a little patience. never run your portable tire inflator for more than ten consecutive minutes, even if it hasn’t fully charged the tire yet.

after the ten-minute mark, give the portable tire inflator at least fifteen minutes to cool down before using it again. after the cooldown period, you’re good to use it for another ten minutes. it might take a little while longer to get the job done, but it’s the best way to ensure that your portable tire inflator doesn’t burn out and leave you stranded with no way to complete the job.

look at the type of tires you’re inflating

not every portable tire inflator can handle every type of tire. in fact, most of the portable tire inflators on our list can only handle passenger tires, not light truck or higher-rated tires.

those types of tires require higher air pressure levels, and many of the smaller tire inflators simply don’t have the power requirements to meet those demands.

you can try to inflate these types of tires if the air pressure in the tires isn’t too high, but ensure you’re giving it plenty of breaks and have a backup plan in case you can’t get the tire pressure to the level you need.

tire inflator faqs

are tire inflators worth it?

absolutely! especially if you are a road warrior who is constantly driving from place to place, a tire inflator is an absolute essential. they not only save you time and energy from having to stop at gas stations to air up your tires, but they also save you money by preventing premature tire wear by keeping your tires inflated.

how long do tire inflators last?

tire inflators usually last for a few years. the exact lifespan of a tire inflator depends on the quality of the product, how often it’s used, and how well it’s maintained. when it comes to tire inflators, you often get what you pay for.

should you run the car while the tire inflator is operating?

yes, when the engine is running, the alternator charges the battery and you prevent the battery from discharging. the generator also provides a slightly higher voltage to the tire inflator.

what size of the tire inflator do i need to fill car tires?

you should get at least a tire pump that can pump 60 psi for most car tires. however, we recommend choosing a pump that can handle at least 100 psi to avoid spending too much time filling the tires.

final thoughts

now that you know a little more about the benefits and reasons you should get a portable tire inflator, the only thing left is for you to pick out the one you need.

while we love the kobalt portable air compressor, and it’s why it earned our top spot, you really can’t go wrong with any of the portable tire inflators on our list. they’ll all keep your tires at the right psi, maximizing your tire’s lifespan and improving your fuel economy one mile at a time.