Once you’ve had a bit of driving experience, you’re bound to encounter a flat tire. It’s no fun, but it isn’t the end of the world either, especially when you are properly equipped. An AC/DC tire inflator is a handy tool to have on hand, working either from an AC outlet or the 12-volt adapter in your vehicle. Store one alongside your patch kit and spare tire in the trunk of your car to avoid a tow service over something you can repair yourself. Of course, not all AC/DC tire inflators are alike. You need a product that can inflate quickly and powerfully, refilling your tires to the necessary pressure. Tire changes are never convenient, but an inflator makes it a lot easier. Check out our list of the best AC/DC tire inflators on the market, so the next time you get a flat you can be back on the road in no time.
The Best AC/DC Tire Inflators
If you’re looking for a tool that can fit seamlessly into your trunk and is there when you need it, the Autder Tire Inflator is a good way to go. This handheld device is powered by a rechargeable battery, though it features a 12-volt adapter to run off your car’s battery. The drill-style design makes it easy to control, thanks to the ergonomic handle. Capable of offering up to 140 pounds per square inch of pressure, you can inflate a standard car tire in under five minutes. With a four-meter power cord, you can easily reach any tire on your vehicle. It includes a bright orange LCD display that highlights the pressure readings in four separate metrics. Working powerfully and efficiently, this tire inflator is built to resist pressure so it can perform reliably in all situations. Durable and effective, this AC/DC inflator is a good way to go.
Keep in mind that, while powerful for cars and SUVs, this inflator isn’t strong enough to deal with heavy-duty tires. As long as you are working on small or medium-sized wheels, it is a worthy candidate.
- Provides up to 140 psi
- Flows at 35 liters per minute
- Works to inflate standard car tires
- Powered by a rechargeable battery
- Brand Autder
- Model XC0008
- Weight 3.3 pounds
Comes with a 12-volt car adapter
Incorporates automatic shutoff
Power cord reaches 4 meters
Can be vulnerable to cold
Won’t work on larger tires
May be tricky to control settings
Are you looking to equip your car for the winter without breaking the bank? Consider the Merece Tire Inflator for its sturdy design and affordable price point. The cordless inflator is highly portable, tucking easily into your trunk without taking up much room. It powerfully inflates tires on small and medium vehicles, reaching 35 pounds per square inch in less than five minutes. The inflator is capable of pressures up to 150 pounds per square inch. It features a prominent digital LCD screen that reads pressure to within an accuracy of 1.5 percent. The controls are straightforward and intuitive, making this a fantastic pick if you are newer to the technology. Coming at a friendly price for any budget, this inflator system offers substantial value.
It’s worth noting that, though this is a handy machine for small-scale tasks, the motor isn’t designed to last forever. The machine is susceptible to wear and tear, though it offers significant advantages before losing its effectiveness down the line.
- Comes with a bold LCD
- Fill rate of 35 liters per minute
- Pressure of up to 150 psi
- Calibrated to within 1.5 percent
- Brand Merece
- Model ICR18650-20P5C
- Weight 2.99 pounds
Lets you preset the pressure
Cordless inflator technology
Won’t work with large motor vehicles
Relatively heavy unit
Controls can get stuck over time
Looking to make the most of modern inflator developments? Check out the JACO SmartPro Digital Tire Inflator for its powerful compressor and advanced controls. By using SmartPressure tech, it lets you set the goal pressure and leave the device until the job’s done. Once the pressure reaches the target (to within a standard deviation of one pound per square inch), the unit shuts itself down. Powered either by the 12-volt adapter or an AC power cord, it efficiently uses the energy to return your tires to their former glory. With a two-foot air hose, it’s easy to connect the device to your tire without kinking the tube. Worried about handling a flat in the dark? This high-tech option also includes a flashlight system to make refilling your tires easy regardless of the situation.
Of course, no item is perfect. This inflator is powerful, but it is also prone to overheating (especially if you are filling more than one tire). However, after cooling off, it returns to its former glory and you are set to go once more.
- Built-in digital pressure gauge
- Automatic shutoff and preprogramming
- Inflates up to 100 psi
- Calibrated to within one psi unit
- Brand JACO
- Model 5824086580
- Weight 4.36 pounds
Comes with a flashlight built-in
Includes 10-foot 12-volt DC cord
Has 6-foot AC power cord
Can overheat fairly easily
Automatic shutdown feature is picky
Attachments can result in flawed seal
Those who prefer to stick to the proven benefits of traditional pressure gauges can get a lot out of the Kensun AC/DC Tire Inflator. It touts a sleek design with a handle at the top and a sturdy base. Connecting to both a 12-volt car adapter and any standard 110-volt wall outlet, you can use this inflator just about anywhere. It inflates up to 120 pounds per square inch quickly. With a prominent dial at the front of the inflator, you can see the pressure readings in both KPA and PSI. Working quickly, this inflator can efficiently restore the pressure in all types of tires, including vehicles as large as an SUV. It incorporates good ventilation, preventing overheating, so you can inflate as many tires as you need in a single shot.
It’s worth noting that, though this system is strong in terms of pressure, the casing leaves something to be desired. Avoid impact and store it carefully to mitigate the risk of damaging the exterior.
- Comes with a reliable hose and nozzle
- Connects to 110-volt AC outlet
- Includes 12-volt vehicle adapter
- Provides up to 120 psi
- Brand Kensun
- Model Kensun-EHRComp-A58B
- Weight 4.07 pounds
Compact and lightweight
Substantial ventilation at sides
Analog pressure gauge
Has no digital pressure reading features
Relatively short power cords
Exterior vulnerable to impact
Are you choosing a tire inflator that has to work on multiple vehicles, the Teromas Portable Tire Inflator is worth looking into. It’s compact enough to fit into even the tightest quarters, yet powerful enough to supply air pressure up to 150 pounds per square inch. Capable of inflating a standard car tire from flat to 35 pounds per square inch in less than four minutes, it is a highly efficient option. The preset functions add ease to use, letting you command the ideal pressure in advance and leave it to work. It turns off automatically when the desired pressure is achieved. While it doesn’t require ongoing attention, the digital display at the front keeps you updated on the metrics in both KPA and PSI. With a sleek design and user-friendly adapters, this is an ideal inflator regardless of the vehicle you’re driving.
It does warrant a mention, however, that the unit is a bit top-heavy and doesn’t have the best base. As a result, it can be tricky to set it down stably. That said, since it works so quickly, this isn’t too much of a concern.
- Comes with multiple adapters
- Uses digital calibration
- Offers up to 150 psi
- Provides quick flow of air
- Brand Teromas
- Model TMS-3015
- Weight 2.99 pounds
Able to inflate larger tires
Includes pre-set pressure controls
Somewhat top-heavy structure
Power cords are short
Vulnerable to overheating
Is your focus on getting something heavy-duty enough to keep up with your driving style? If so, then the PROW Electric Air Compressor Tire Inflator is worth checking out. The system is capable of inflating tires up to 90 pounds per square inch. This means you can use the system on everything from a bike to a truck. Powered by a 120-watt motor, it efficiently forces the air into your tires without backflow. With modern digital features, you can preset the pressure and let it pump until the tire is full. The system will automatically shut off at that point. Not only does this add convenience, but it also prevents the system from draining extra power. Since it works both via AC power cord and 12-volt car adapter, this is a helpful feature. Built to last, this inflator makes a great addition to any vehicle.
Bear in mind that, though the device itself is of excellent quality, the power cords could be longer. The DC cord is 10 feet, which is good, though the AC cord only runs 5 feet. Be sure your garage setup can accommodate.
- Includes built-in LED flashlight
- Touts 120-watt motor
- Connects via a 12-volt adapter
- Comes with an AC power cord
- Brand Prow
- Model CQB
- Weight 6.49 pounds
Quickly inflates up to 35 psi
Works on standard car tires
Not able to refill large tires
Only inflates up to 90 psi
Relatively short cords
Do you struggle with fitting all of your gear into the trunk? Need an inflator system that won’t take up too much room? Consider the Kitlabs Digital Tire Inflator for its compact structure and powerful function. It is designed with a focus on energy efficiency, requiring a low amperage to run the compressor. The pump itself is capable of inflating any type of small or medium tire, working for everything from an SUV to a car. Featuring a lengthy power cord (ringing in at 10 feet), it is always easy to reach the tire from your 12-volt adapter. The set comes with four nozzles, each designed to work with a specific kind of tire. With a sturdy design and intuitive controls, this inflator is a terrific pick for those seeking to save space without foregoing quality.
It’s worth noting that, though the portability is a desired feature, it also means the wiring is closer together which can result in overheating. If possible, try filling only one tire at a time to avoid straining the system unnecessarily.
- Works on SUVs and cars
- Includes automatic shutoff
- Features a prominent LCD
- The set comes with extra attachments
- Brand Kitlabs
- Model LD-1618D
- Weight 1.76 pounds
Safeguards against overvoltage
Built-in LED light
Fills tires quickly
Can drain batteries quickly
Won’t work on large trucks
Vulnerable to overheating
It’s no mystery that being able to inflate your car’s tires while on the road is a useful ability and that AC/DC tire inflators are a good way to go. But when it comes time to select one, the number of options can seem overwhelming. The good news is that it is fairly straightforward to find something that will work if you follow some key steps.
The first is to identify what tires you plan to inflate. This will dictate the amount of pressure you need from the system. Look at the flow rate and check that it comes with the attachments you need. Next, consider the length of the cords (both for wall outlets and the 12-volt adapter). They must be long enough to reach the rear tires.
With those criteria met, it largely comes down to user comfort. Are you more fluent in digital or analog technology? Do you want the inflator to have any special features or safeguards in place? The idea is to get as much benefit out of the inflator as possible, without draining your vehicle’s battery. So long as you find something compatible with your ride, you can get a lot of value out of an AC/DC tire inflator.
The Advantages of Owning an AC/DC Tire Inflator
There is no shortage of benefits to owning an AC/DC tire inflator, but the key advantage is the ability to keep your tires full wherever you go. Diminished air pressure is not always because of a leak. It can result from temperature and external pressure changes as well. With a tire inflator at your side, you are always better equipped to face any potential environmental issues.
Additionally, AC/DC tire inflators are designed for portability. The advantages of this feature are twofold. On the one hand, it is compact enough to fit in your vehicle without taking up much space. The unit should also be pretty lightweight. Plus, since it is built to draw power from multiple sources, it is also designed to move easily from the trunk to your garage. There are a plethora of other benefits, too.
- Prevents overfilling with pre-set controls on digital tire inflators.
- Adds convenience by letting you avoid gas station air compressors or AAA.
- Provides substantial air pressure from a small package.
- Portable tire inflators work in conjunction with jump starters to keep vehicles working in cold weather.
- Can draw power from multiple sources (wall outlets and 12-volt car adapters) for added versatility.
- Comes with lengthy power cords to make it easy to reach the rear vehicle tires.
- Fairly energy-efficient, meaning the inflator won’t drain your car battery.
Different Kinds of AC/DC Tire Inflators
AC/DC tire inflators all have a lot in common. Each one connects to both wall outlets and a 12-volt system. They are also all built for portability, with a compact air compressor. Of course, while all of these inflator systems share the essential features, there is still more than one type from which to choose. The key is finding the technology you’re most fluent in and going from there.
At one time, this type of tire inflator was the only kind around. It relies on a standard gauge to read the pressure. Usually, this will be highlighted in more than one metric to prevent issues with converting your readings. Analog systems are void of any digital features, often meaning they draw less power from the system. Typically, an analog tire inflator can generate as much pressure as any other type of system since this relies on the compressor itself.
Reducing the amount of power used is more than eco-conscious, it is a way to avoid draining your vehicle’s battery. Especially if the reduced pressure in your tires resulted from cold weather, this is an important feature. It also helps prevent overheating, since there is less strain on the circuitry overall.
Possibly the most popular type of AC/DC tire inflator, this type of system uses an LCD to showcase the pressure. Often, it will give you the option of changing the readout metric between KPA and PSI. Typically, the screen will be backlit and take up a small space either at the top or on the front of the inflator’s body.
Digital inflators often incorporate extra features, designed to optimize convenience. The preset function lets you tell the system how much pressure is needed. It inflates until it reaches that point and automatically shuts off. This reduces the chances of overheating. Often, digital systems are more precisely calibrated, letting you more accurately fill the tire.
AC/DC Tire Inflator Key Features
To get the full utility value out of your tire inflator, it needs to have all the essential features. Though some models have extras like built-in flashlights, there are some components necessary to its function as an inflator. Be sure that your AC/DC tire inflator meets your needs in terms of all these necessary features.
This is the component of the tire inflator that controls the air pressure into the tire. While a lot of compressors are massive, the technology used on an AC/DC tire inflator is far more compact. Because of this, you can tuck the inflator into your trunk and still have space leftover. It also facilitates a more lightweight design.
To work for your tires, there are two metrics to investigate. The first is the flow rate. Look at the liters per minute of air it supplies to get an idea of how quickly it will work. Next, look at the pounds per square inch it offers. Based on these numbers, you can determine whether the inflator will work for your tires.
To bring the air from the inflator to the tire, you need to connect the two. This is where the hose and attachments come into play. The hose is a relatively small tube that transmits the air from the machine into the tire. It needs to be capable of withstanding high pressure and hold its structure in cold and hot temperatures. The hose should also be short enough to not compromise efficiency.
The attachments are the parts that connect the hose directly to the valve on the tire. They are essential to making tight seals. Since not all tires have the same type of valve, it is important to check that the attachments fit with the wheels on your ride. That said, most tire inflators come with multiple attachments so they can be used on bikes, cars, and SUVs.
To be classed as an AC/DC tire inflator, the unit needs to work with two power sources. The first is through the wall socket, the alternating current aspect of AC/DC. Typically, this is the shorter power cord, since it is most often used in a garage where you are already close to an outlet.
The other power connection is the direct current part. The 12-volt tire inflator function connects directly to the outlet in your vehicle. This is the power source you are most likely to rely on in an emergency. The cord needs to be long enough to reach the rear tires on your vehicle with ease. Provided the power cord is long enough, you can rely on your vehicle’s battery to run the inflator.
To determine when your tire is at the proper pressure, you need a way to read its status. That’s where the pressure gauge comes in. Either an analog dial or a digital display will showcase the current pressure of your tires. With an analog system, you watch the dial to determine when to stop the flow. Most dials highlight the pressure in more than one metric.
Digital systems are a bit more advanced. They are often more finely calibrated and tell you the current pressure on an LCD. You can usually change metrics with push-button controls. Often, digital models come with a preset feature where you plug in the ideal pressure and the system automatically stops when the tire is full.
What to Look for When Buying AC/DC Tire Inflator
There are some key things to keep in mind when buying an AC/DC tire inflator, the most important of which is compatibility. It won’t do you any good to have a system designed for cars if your truck gets a flat. Take a look at the maximum pounds per square inch (psi) it supplies. This will let you know if the inflator is capable of filling the tires on your ride.
Once you know that it can work for your vehicle, the next thing to look at is the flow rate. The higher this metric, the more quickly your tire will reach the desired pressure. It should be able to fill a standard car tire in under five minutes, even if the tire had no pressure to start with. Provided the inflator meets these necessary criteria, you can move on to other considerations.
Look at the attachments on the system. Does it come with connections for the tires? Is the air hose long enough? Think about the power cords themselves. Will you be able to reach from the 12-volt adapter to your rear tire with the amount of wire it comes with? So long as all the sizes line up you can look to special features like a built-in LED flashlight.
Best AC/DC Tire Inflators FAQs:
AC/DC tire inflators are all designed with a lot of similarities, though each different model has its own specifications making it better-suited to certain tasks. As a result, there are a lot of questions surrounding how to track down the best option. To lend a hand, we’ve addressed the most common inquiries below.
Q: What is the fastest tire inflator?
Look for tire inflators that have a flow rate of approximately 35 liters per minute. You can expect it to inflate a car tire in less than five minutes. A good choice is the Autder Tire Inflator.
Q: What kind of air compressor do I need to fill tires?
So long as the air compressor can supply 35 pounds per square inch of pressure, it will be sufficient to work on small and medium-sized tires.
Q: Can air compressors inflate tires?
A compressor is part of the inflator, though still requires the connection hoses and attachments to inflate the tire. Inflators incorporate compact compressors to save space.
Our Top Pick
After careful consideration, we’ve named the Autder Tire Inflator as our top pick. Not only is this model compact enough to fit in any vehicle, but it is both powerful and easy to use. The inflator works on small and medium-sized tires, filling them quickly without drawing excessive power from your vehicle.
Now that you know the ins and outs of AC/DC tire inflators, you can make your pick. It could be the Autder Tire Inflator or the affordability of the Merece Tire Inflator. There’s an inflator out there for every set of tires. Happy travels!