A Guide to Selecting a Tire Pump
When driving, you have to be prepared for emergency situations. You’ll surely want to take jumper cables with you, or a portable jump starter, in the event that your car battery is too weak to start your car. And a good tire pump should also be among your emergency equipment, in the event that you have to change a tire and inflate it.
We’ll see tire pumps in a variety of configurations and features. There are rechargeable units that you can charge up and take with you wherever you need to pump up a tire. And there are others that you have to plug into the 12 V cigarette lighter jack in your car. And there’s always the old-fashioned hand pump version when you’re really stuck!
We’ll go through some of the best tire pumps available on the market. Some have useful and even life-saving features. It’s worth shopping around and getting familiar with the options available!
Why would I need a portable tire pump?
A portable tire pump is a handy tool to have in your vehicle in case you have a flat tire. It can also be used to inflate other objects, such as sports balls.
What kinds of portable tire pumps are there?
There are a few different types of portable tire pumps, including:
Handheld air compressor: This type of pump is small and can be carried in your purse or glove compartment. It plugs into your cigarette lighter and has a hose that attaches to the tire valve.
Foot-operated air compressor: This type of pump is larger and must be plugged into an outlet. It has a pedal that you press with your foot to operate.
CO2 inflator: This type of pump uses small cartridges of CO2 to inflate tires. It is very quick and easy to use, but the cartridges can be expensive.
Types of Tire Pumps
Looking over the Best Reviews Guide of the best tire pumps, we can distinguish between them by how they are powered:
Powered by the 12 V cigarette lighter jack: You can find tire pumps that get their power from your vehicle’s 12 V cigarette lighter jack. An example is the Sunpow Tire Inflator and Portable Air Compressor. But it doesn’t have the option of charging up a battery in the pump and using it even if your car battery has died. But it has special attachments for inflating balloons, balls, swimming rings, air mattresses, and the like.
Sunpow Tire Inflator and Portable Air Compressor
Rechargeable unit: There are also rechargeable tire pumps. The TGBOX Tire Inflator has a 6000 mAh rechargeable battery, which can charge up using a USB cable. Besides serving as a tire pump that’s able to inflate a tire up to 150 PSI, it also allows you to recharge devices, such as your cellular phone. It also has an LED light to use as a flashlight. That’s quite handy in an emergency situation.
TGBOX Tire Inflator
Floor pump: There are also manual pumps that can inflate a tire to pressures as high as 160 PSI. An example is the Hycline Bike Floor Pump. It’s suitable for bicycle or motorbike tires, as well as sports balls.
Hycline Bike Floor Pump
What reviewers say
Here are some of the impressions of customers regarding their choice of tire pump:
Simple to operate: In an emergency situation, it’s important that you can inflate a tire as seamlessly as possible. The TGBox Tire Inflator has only 5 buttons: a power switch, a button to set the tire pressure, a button to increase the tire pressure, a button to decrease the tire pressure, and a button to turn on the LED flashlight. The intuitive controls make your life a lot easier!
Gets you by until you reach a gas station: One customer said how the Fortem Tire Inflator saved his life when he had a flat tire and had to inflate his spare tire just to continue to the nearest gas station. But, since the device needs your car’s battery to operate, you have to be sure that your car has enough gas and an adequate battery.
Here are some tips and features of tire pumps that may help you make a decision:
Inflation time: You’ll note differences among tire pumps in how fast they can pump up a tire. Check the airflow from the tire pump that you’re considering. For example, the TGBox Tire Inflator can pump out air at a rate of 32 liters per minute. To get a tire up to 36 PSI, you’ll only need 8 minutes of inflation.
Continuous use time: If you use your tire pump for too long, it may overheat and damage the unit. The makers of the Sunpow Tire Inflator say to not operate the device for more than 10 minutes at a time, and make sure that it cools off for at least another 10 minutes before using it again.
Auto-shutoff: You also don’t want to overinflate your tires. Most of the tire pumps here allow you to set the pump to a particular pressure level, either in units of PSI, bars of pressure, kg/cm3, or Kilopascals (KPa). You then press the button, and the device will inflate until it reaches the specified pressure. It then turns itself off automatically.
Attachments: Many tire pumps will also come with special attachments to inflate balloons, sports balls, beach balls, flotation devices, and air mattresses. Some rechargeable tire pumps can inflate as many as 20 bicycle tires or 50 basketballs on a single charge!
Check if able to inflate truck tires: If you drive a truck, you might need a special tire pump that will be able to inflate your tires to the required air pressure. Some of the tire pumps we reviewed here explicitly said that they are not for inflating truck tires. The Fortem air compressor, however, is able to inflate truck tires.
We’ve gone over some of the features of the best tire pumps on the market. Despite the small, compact size of some of these products, they can pack a lot of power: enough to pump up your tires in just a matter of minutes! Whether you need something to pump up a spare tire, charge up your phone in a jiffy, or provide emergency lighting, you can find a tire pump that answers your needs!