Look after the wheels of your car : Best tyre inflators 2020 guide
One of the most important, and yet underrated, elements in any vehicle: tyres
The importance of tyres is often overlooked and even car people sometimes forget that choosing the right tyre makes all the difference in the world. The quality of tyre affects handling, traction, performance and even fuel consumption. More to the point, it's important to check your tyre pressure because A, it is a legal requirement and B, it can help you preserve your tyres.
There are several options out there. Budget is always going to play a key role but it also depends on what you need and whether you're only looking for a no-nonsense tyre inflator or a more complex and professional product. So here's a list of reasonably-priced tyre inflators available online.
Tuisy digital tyre inflator
The Tuisy Digital Tyre Inflator is one of the most compact portable inflators you can find, the ideal tool to use for your car, bike or motorcycle because it easily fits in a small backpack. It is also easy to use, with a leakproof lock, and it is professionally calibrated and certified, accurate within 1%. It is also very flexible, and it comes with a valve extender as well. Talk about bang for buck.
Acobo tyre inflator
The Acobo Tyre Inflator can be used for any vehicle and, thanks to a 12V digital air compressor, it can be used for fast inflation, too. 0 to 35psi only takes around four-to-five minutes and the inflator will actually automatically turn off once the preset value has been reached. It also features an HD touchscreen to read values and check tyre pressure.
Skey tyre inflator
The Skey tyre inflator is a jack-of-all trades because it can be used for (nearly) anything, including air mattresses, water toys, balls, cars and bikes up to 150psi. The digital LED display will read pressure in psi, kpa, bar and kg/cm² and it also comes with fast inflation capabilities: 0 to 36psi requires 3 to 5 minutes.
Ring tyre inflator
The Ring RAC610 tyre inflator is the real deal. A no-nonsense, old school analogue inflator that you use by simply plugging it straight into your car's 12V DC socket and/or cigarette lighter. Don't be fooled by the brutal design or the word "analogue" in the name because it also features fast inflation: 0 to 35psi in under 5 minutes.
VonHaus tyre inflator
The VonHaus tyre inflator may look like a DIY drill but it's actually very clever. It supports up to 125psi and it comes with an LCD pressure gauge display with "pre-set" and "auto-stop" features, which means you set your psi value of choice and let it do the job. It is powered by a 1500mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery.
Oasser portable tyre inflator
The Oasser Tyre Inflator is built to work in extreme weather conditions, with temperatures ranging from minus 20 to 60 degrees (celsius). It is designed to inflate tyres of cars, bikes and and motorbikes, up to 150psi, and it comes with the auto-stop features, which means the inflator will automatically stop when the pre-set value has been reached.
Oasser tyre inflator + electric pump
This tyre inflator by Oasser can also be used as an electric pump and an air compressor, and that means that you can use it for just about anything from basketball to cars, up to 80psi. You can plug it into your car by using the cigarette lighter and it also features the auto-switch off function when it reaches the pre-set value.
How to pump up car tyres
Before you even start pumping up your tyres it’s best to find out what pressure they need to be inflated to. This information is usually contained on a sticker either in the driver’s door opening or under the fuel filler cap but you’re handbook or, if you’ve lost it, the internet will tell you where to look.
Manufacturers will often print several figures for your car covering all the wheel sizes it came with, so make sure the number you get matches your car's tyre size (which is written on its sidewall). The same sticker might also recommend different pressures depending on whether it’s just you in the car or it’s fully loaded with people and luggage. If you own something sporty, your car’s manufacturer might even specify track PSI figures that factor in the air pressure in your tyre building up as it gets hotter during hard use.
Once you know how much to inflate your tyres, the next step is to find the valve that sprouts out of the wheel and unwind the dust cap. Put the cap somewhere safe or you will lose it. Then set the pump to the required pressure – there’s usually an LCD screen on the types of pumps you get at petrol stations – and place the head of the pump on top of the valve on your wheel.
Squeeze the button on the pump and you’ll hear it pumping air into your tyre like bellows. You’ll know when to stop adding air when the pump bleeps and most will automatically stop inflating at this point too. All pumps are different, some won’t sound a warning but will have a pressure gauge.