The Best Tire Inflators

The Best Tire Inflators

Our pick

Viair 77P

Viair 77P

The best tire inflator for most drivers

This portable air compressor is quick, accurate, and well built. And it’s one of the quietest inflators we’ve tested.

Buying Options

$42* from Walmart

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $40.

Like most tire inflators we’ve tested, the Viair 77P plugs into your car’s 12-volt outlet (aka cigarette lighter) for power, so it’s convenient to use on the road. Its extra-long, 45-inch air hose and a generous, 16-foot power cord let you easily reach any tire on the vehicle. And its compact size and handy carrying case make it easy to stow in a vehicle’s trunk or cargo compartment. The 77P also has a built-in work light, so you can see what you’re doing at night. With a maximum pressure of 80 psi (pounds per square inch), the 77P is designed to handle the tires on most passenger cars, SUVs, and light trucks, but it isn’t intended for high-pressure RV and commercial truck tires. (If you need to inflate those types of tires, you’re better off with a more heavy-duty model, such as the ones we discuss in the Competition section.)

Advertisement

Runner-up

Viair 78P

Viair 78P

If you want a push-on chuck

The 78P is very similar to the 77P, but this model comes with a push-on pressure-hose chuck, which some people prefer.

Buying Options

$43* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $40.

The Viair 78P is virtually the same as the 77P, with most of the same advantages. The key difference is the 78P’s push-on chuck, for connecting the pressure hose to a tire’s valve stem, compared with the 77P’s screw-on connector. In general, we’ve found push-on connectors to be a little quicker to get on and off. But for this round we named the 78P as a runner-up because its connector is relatively tight and a little more difficult to use than others we’ve tried. After regularly using the 78P over the past year and a half, we haven’t found this to be a dealbreaker. But the chuck has drawn complaints from a number of Amazon users, even in otherwise positive reviews. The 78P also has a slightly different analog gauge, but, like with the 77P, it’s illuminated and easy to read.

Upgrade pick

DeWalt 20V Max Inflator (DCC020IB)

DeWalt 20V Max Inflator (DCC020IB)

Versatile and easy to use

With separate high-pressure and high-volume hoses, the ability to operate from three power sources, handy features, and easier-to-use controls, the DeWalt is the best overall inflator we’ve tested.

Buying Options

$90 from Amazon

The versatile DeWalt 20V Max Inflator is the most full-featured and easiest-to-use inflator we’ve tested, but it’s also one of the most expensive. You can use it cordlessly, with the same 20V Max battery used in other DeWalt tools, or you can plug it into a car’s 12-volt port or a household AC outlet (with an optional adapter). In addition to its high-pressure hose, for inflating tires and sports balls, the DeWalt also has a separate, high-volume hose for quickly filling inflatable beds, pool floats, lawn decorations, and more. The 20V Max Inflator also includes the best digital gauge we’ve seen, the easiest auto-shutoff feature, large buttons, a well-designed housing, and a work light. This DeWalt is larger than most inflators, though, which makes it less convenient to stow in a smaller vehicle. And it’s almost always sold as a battery-less “bare tool”—if you want to use it cordlessly but don’t already have a DeWalt 20V Max battery and charger, you’ll have to add that onto the cost of the inflator.

Also great

Ryobi 18V One+ Dual Function Inflator/Deflator

Ryobi 18V One+ Dual Function Inflator/Deflator

The best cordless value

The Ryobi is easy to use and versatile, and it’s smaller and less expensive than the DeWalt. But it runs on a compatible lithium-ion battery only.

Buying Options

$50 from Home Depot

The cordless Ryobi 18V One+ Dual Function Inflator/Deflator is a great all-around model for filling car tires on the road or inflatables around the house. It’s super-easy to use, while also being lightweight and compact enough to stow in a vehicle. The Ryobi was almost as quick as the Viairs at inflating our test tire, its pressure gauge was spot-on, and it has an auto-shutoff feature and a sturdy, well-designed housing. Unlike the DeWalt, it runs on a battery only and doesn’t have the option of plugging into an outlet or a 12 V port. It’s sold as a bare tool, so you’ll need to have a compatible Ryobi 18V One+ lithium-ion battery and charger. The total cost of all of that comes close to the price of the DeWalt tool alone, and it’s about double what you’d pay for the Viair 77P. The Ryobi was one of the louder inflators we tested, and it doesn’t include a work light.

Also great

Viair 84P

Viair 84P

Better for larger tires

A little more powerful and quicker at inflating than the 77P, the 84P is noisier, its dial gauge is a little harder to read, and it has a shorter power cord and air hose.

Buying Options

$51* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $50.

If your vehicle has tires that are larger than 18 inches, the Viair 84P may be a better choice than our other picks because it has a stronger motor and it inflates faster. Like the Viair 77P and 78P, the 84P is easy to use, comes with a carrying case, and has an accurate gauge (although the compressor needs to be turned off to get a good reading). But it’s a little louder, its dial gauge is a little harder to read than those of our other picks, and it has a shorter air hose and power cord (3 feet and 10 feet, respectively).

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Viair 77P

Viair 77P

The best tire inflator for most drivers

This portable air compressor is quick, accurate, and well built. And it’s one of the quietest inflators we’ve tested.

Buying Options

$42* from Walmart

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $40.

Runner-up

Viair 78P

Viair 78P

If you want a push-on chuck

The 78P is very similar to the 77P, but this model comes with a push-on pressure-hose chuck, which some people prefer.

Buying Options

$43* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $40.

Upgrade pick

DeWalt 20V Max Inflator (DCC020IB)

DeWalt 20V Max Inflator (DCC020IB)

Versatile and easy to use

With separate high-pressure and high-volume hoses, the ability to operate from three power sources, handy features, and easier-to-use controls, the DeWalt is the best overall inflator we’ve tested.

Buying Options

$90 from Amazon

Also great

Ryobi 18V One+ Dual Function Inflator/Deflator

Ryobi 18V One+ Dual Function Inflator/Deflator

The best cordless value

The Ryobi is easy to use and versatile, and it’s smaller and less expensive than the DeWalt. But it runs on a compatible lithium-ion battery only.

Buying Options

$50 from Home Depot

Also great

Viair 84P

Viair 84P

Better for larger tires

A little more powerful and quicker at inflating than the 77P, the 84P is noisier, its dial gauge is a little harder to read, and it has a shorter power cord and air hose.

Buying Options

$51* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $50.

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *