The 3 Best Car Tire Inflators in 2024
I tested for you the 3 best portable tire inflators that plug into your car's cigarette lighter. They were selected because they have the most reviews and the highest ratings on Amazon. They are compact, inexpensive, and can save you! Let's discover the test now!
Comparative Table of the Best Tire Inflators
Customer Reviews on Amazon
Noise During Inflation
Inflation Time from 7.2 psi to 29 psi
Features and Accessories
21 x 17 x 9 cm
22 x 18 x 10 cm
14 x 14 x 7 cm
The cigarette lighter tire inflator is specifically designed for motorists who want a quick and efficient solution to adjust their tire pressure. Its operation is quite simple:
- Power supply: The inflator plugs directly into your car's cigarette lighter. This outlet provides a 12-volt electricity source, allowing the inflator to operate without an external battery.
- Integrated gauge: Once plugged in, most models display the current tire pressure through a gauge. This allows you to know exactly how much air to add or remove. On the 3 models I test, the pressure is displayed on a backlit LCD screen.
- Pressure setting: On many models, you can set the desired pressure. The inflator will automatically stop once this pressure is reached. Convenient!
- Inflation: Place the inflator nozzle on the tire valve and turn on the device. Air is then drawn in by the inflator, compressed, and then injected into the tire until the desired pressure is achieved.
Compact, efficient, and easy to use, the cigarette lighter tire inflator is a must-have for any driver concerned with keeping their tires in perfect condition, wherever they are.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Having Your Own Car Tire Inflator
Having your own car tire inflator has many advantages but also some disadvantages. Here is an overview to help you weigh the pros and cons:
- Convenience: No more trips to the gas station. With your own inflator, you can adjust your tire pressure wherever you are, in just a few minutes.
- Savings: Despite the initial small investment, owning an inflator saves you money at the station. Indeed, some stations charge for tire inflation.
- Reliable inflation: It's important to measure tire pressure when cold. If you have to go to a station, in most cases you will inflate with warm tires.
- Helping others: You can help your family, friends, neighbors, or even people who are stranded on the side of the road or driving with underinflated tires. It's like having jumper cables for the battery. It's always handy!
- Space: Even though most modern inflators are compact, they still take up space in the trunk.
In conclusion, owning your own car tire inflator is a wise investment for most drivers. The benefits in terms of convenience, savings, and safety far outweigh the disadvantages…
The Evaluated Inflators
Fortem - FRTM-DAC
The FORTEM FRTM-DAC tire inflator is a compact inflator suitable for inflating the tires of various vehicles: cars, trucks, SUVs, and motorcycles. But it's also suitable for other inflatable items such as sports balls, inflatable mattresses, and pool toys, thanks to its three included nozzles.
It connects to your vehicle's DC-12V cigarette lighter socket and features an automatic stop once the target pressure is reached, thus avoiding any risk of over-inflation. It also has an LED light, making this device particularly suitable for nighttime use in emergencies. It is available in several colors: yellow, black, blue, and red.
Summary of Positive Reviews
- Convenient and easy to use: The device is considered convenient and easy to use by several users.
- Automatic stop function: The feature that allows the device to automatically stop once the desired pressure is reached is highly appreciated.
- Portable and compact: Several reviews highlight the ease of transport due to its small size.
- Good value for money: Many believe that the product offers good quality for its price.
- Easy pressure setting: The device allows easy setting of the desired pressure, with a display that helps define the desired pressure.
- Versatility: Some reviews mention that the device comes with different nozzles, allowing it to be used for various applications.
- LED light functionality: Although the usefulness of the LED light function is debatable, it is present on the device.
Summary of Negative Reviews
- Noisy: Several users note that the motor is very loud during use.
- Cable length: Although some find the cable length sufficient, one review mentions that the cable could be longer.
- Pressure gauge accuracy issues: One user notes a pressure difference between the gauge on the device and their car's dashboard gauge.
- Issues with the automatic stop function: One user reports that the automatic stop function does not work as expected.
- Reliability issues: One review indicates that the device stopped working after only a few uses and notes a lack of responsiveness from customer service.
- Storage difficulty: One user mentions that it's a bit difficult to fold and store the power cable in the device's rear compartment.
- Unnecessary LED lighting: One user notes that the LED lighting function is not very useful, as it only works during inflation.
AstroAI - A220B
The AstroAI inflator can inflate car tires of size 195/55R15 in just 5 minutes with a flow rate of 35 L/min. It features a backlit LCD digital display and an LED lamp. The device is programmable with an automatic stop function, allowing you to set the desired pressure using the + and - buttons, after which the compressor stops by itself once this pressure is reached. This prevents the risk of over-inflation. Note : it is recommended to let the compressor rest and cool down after 10 to 15 minutes of continuous use.
It comes with several accessories, including a spare fuse, two conical air nozzles, a needle adapter, a valve extension, and a Schrader valve adapter, allowing for a wide range of uses.
Summary of Positive Reviews
- Simple usage: Easy to use with an automatic stop at the preset pressure, allowing for unattended use.
- Compact size: Compact size that doesn't take up much space, making it easy to store and transport in a vehicle.
- Lighted gauge: The presence of a lighted digital gauge is a plus, helping to easily check and regulate tire pressure.
- Good value for money: Good value for money, with several users recommending the product.
- Additional features: Appreciated additional features, like an integrated LED lamp for nighttime use.
Summary of Negative Reviews
- High noise level: Relatively high noise level during use (80dB mentioned in the description).
- Potential overheating: Some concerns about overheating during continuous use, especially a mention of a hose melting at the connection point with the compressor.
- Inaccurate instructions: One user mentioned that the instructions are not very detailed, suggesting the need for careful reading before use.
- Limiting cable: Some users reported that the power cable might be inadequate to support up to 10A of current, and that the cable length could be limiting.
- Suggestions for improvements: Suggestions for future improvements, including a storage box for accessories and better heat management during use.
- Uncertain durability: Concerns about the durability and longevity of the product, although this has not been widely reported.
WindGallop - LD-08
The portable WindGallop tire inflator simply plugs into your car's 12V outlet, and its digital display allows you to switch between different pressure units.
It comes with 3 additional nozzles, making the device compatible with various equipment such as bicycles, motorcycles, SUVs, as well as sports equipment and inflatable toys.
Summary of Positive Reviews
- Compactness: Compact and easy to store in the vehicle.
- Value for money: Good value for money.
- Easy to use: Easy to use with a convenient digital display.
- Versatility: Versatile with different nozzles included.
- Emergency inflation: Works well for emergency inflations and tire pressure adjustments.
- Pressure control: Well suited for regularly checking and adjusting tire pressure.
- Quality storage bags: Good quality storage bags included.
Summary of Negative Reviews
- Insufficient power: Lacks power, especially for pressures above 2.7 bars.
- Noise: Can be quite noisy during use.
- Slow inflation: Can be slow to inflate, especially beyond 2 bars.
- Lack of deflation button: Some users would like an additional button for deflation in case of overpressure.
- Poor accuracy: Some comments about the lack of precision in pressure measurement.
- Fragile construction: One user mentioned that the product seems fragile and not sturdy.
Compactness and Storage
As you can see, these models are quite compact. They can easily fit under a seat or in the trunk. It's worth noting that the Fortem and WindGallop models come with a storage bag. The storage of hoses and cables is well integrated into these 2 models. This is not the case for the AstroAI model: no storage bag, and no effective system for winding the hoses around the inflator...
Length from the cigarette lighter socket to the tire inflator: The Fortem and AstroAI are over 3 meters. To which you must add about 30cm of length between the inflation box and the valve.
The photo above was taken with the AstroAI model (3.15m). On my Toyota Rav 4, rear wheels (thus the furthest from the cigarette lighter) it fits easily.
Inflation Performance Test 7.2 psi -> 29 psi
The test protocol is as follows:
- I deflate the front right tire completely and always use the same tire.
- Once deflated, I connect the inflator.
- Start the inflator.
- The stopwatch starts when we reach 7.2 psi and stops when we reach 29 psi.
For your information, my tire is a Continental model 225/65 R17. It's quite robust.
AstroAI: 6 minutes 46 seconds
Fortem: 6 minutes 48 seconds
Windgallop: 8 minutes 38 seconds
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Tire Inflators
Why is it important to maintain good tire pressure?
Adequate pressure ensures better road grip, reduces tire wear, optimizes fuel consumption, and ensures safe driving.
How to know the recommended pressure for my tires?
The recommended pressure is often indicated on a label inside the driver's door, in the vehicle's manual, or on the tire sidewall. You can also simply go to Tyre-pressure.co.uk and select the brand, then the model of your car. We provide tire pressures for over 8,000 vehicles...
Are all tire inflators compatible with all types of vehicles?
Most tire inflators are universal, but it is always best to check compatibility with the manufacturer.
How long does it take to inflate a tire with these devices?
This depends on the inflator's capacity and the tire size. As indicated in our test, it can vary between 6 to 9 minutes for a medium-sized tire.
Can my tire inflator work on a power source other than the cigarette lighter?
The models we tested are specifically designed for cigarette lighters. However, some inflators on the market can be plugged into wall outlets or run on batteries.
Is there a risk of over-inflating with these devices?
Many modern inflators have an automatic shut-off feature that prevents over-inflation. However, it's always good to monitor the process to avoid any risk.
What is the average lifespan of a portable tire inflator?
With proper maintenance and normal use, a good quality inflator can last several years.