Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

New tire inflator

My old Black and Decker tire inflator bit the dust and I’m in the market for a new one. My max price is about $50. I want 120V service since I will mostly use it at home. I also want auto shutoff and 100+ psi. Anyone have recommendations? There is a B&D unit that fits the bill, and a Kobalt unit. The Kobalt has excellent reviews from several hundred people. The B&D unit also has good reviews from several hundred reviewers, but a couple hundred fewer than the Lowes brand. Anyone have experience with them? Any other recommendations? Home use only, nothing heavy duty.

No idea, but I google 120v tire inflator, and get quite a few choices, I have the 12 volt model of a $14 pump, it would probably take 1/2 hour to fill up a car tire, but If I get a flat I call AAA

i have the kobalt 120v tire inflator work great.

I’ve had excellent service over the years from B&D power tools. Admittedly, I’ve never bought a compressor from either, but I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment if the price was right. I have a B&D reversible drill that I got as a gift 40+ years ago and it’s still in use. I have a B&D multifunction lithium-ion tool that I bought some years ago that I use regularly. It has a circle saw head, a drill head, a surface-cut oscillating head, and a few others. Kobalt is relatively new to the world of home power tools, but I’ve looked at them at Lowes and they look solid. I’d buy one if the price were right.

I’ve had excellent service from and been happy with Ryobi tools too. They’re a bit lower priced, and perhaps not for pro use, but I’ve been happy with mine.

I have the Kobalt. Works very well, reliably, and easily.

Harbor Freight has several 3 gallon oil-less air compressors for $57. For the next 4 days there is one model on sale for $36.

1 Like

I bought the 3 gallon compressor from Harbor Freight when it was on sale for $39. It goes on sale frequently and the hoses/etc was also $6. It has been great. Before this I was using a foot operated pump which was good exercise but now I have 3 cars and 12 tires to care for.

I keep a foot pump in my pickup. It works even when I can’t get power. Years go by between using my spare; it can’t possibly have enough air in it. At home I use the floor pump I keep for my bicycle: it pumps more air. It works on auto tires too. < $10

1 Like

When my Black and Decker died I replaced it with a $39 3 gallon Harbor Freight one. I don’t start up my larger compressor for tires anymore unless I am seating a bead and you can carry this and use anyplace you have electric. Buy a pin gun and you will never put up molding any other way.

This is the one that I bought ~3 years ago, and I really like it.
Unlike all of the others that I ever tried, this one is very fast and very quiet. I also like the fact that you attach the inflation hose to your tire valve with a screw-on brass fitting.

I paid much more for it 3 years ago, and apparently the price is now reduced because the manufacturer has a newer model available.

If you’re willing to give up automatic shutoff, just about any battery booster/jump starter can do all that and jump start a car.

I have a bunch of 12V inflators and they all seem to have one flaw or another that keeps them from being perfect. I do have a Ryobi 18V inflator that is my absolute favorite. No cords, automatic shutoff and is fairly quick. Not as fast as a 120V compressor with tank, but reasonable quick.

The only flaw in the Ryobi is a flaw shared bay all small inflators in that after a few minutes they start pumping hot air. That will mean the pressure will drop after the tire is inflated, but not by much. It just depends on how OCD you get about tire pressure. This is cost effective only if you have other Ryobi 18V+ tools.

The compressor with tank is the best because for a few bucks more, you can add a water/air separator, less moisture in the tire can help with tire life if you don’t drive a lot.

Not 120V, but a past post here got me thinking about air pumps. I bought one of these for $30 at Amazon. It works well for topping up tires in late fall and in a pinch, it would get enough air in to help me get to a place to deal with a flat (if I’m lucky). I’ve also used it for bike tires and a basketball. I like it so much I bought a second and I keep one in each car now. It does have the auto shut off. Not sure if it can do 100 psi.

Thanks, guys. I’ll look at the Kobalt and Black and Decker units tomorrow or this weekend. They are both at Lowes. Hadn’t considered the air reservoir units, but I’ll look at them, too. Are they fast? Speed is important, and that is why I want 120V as an option, or the only power supply. 12V only is too slow.

The Viair unit that I recommended runs on 12V, and it takes all of 30 seconds to take my tires from under-inflated to slightly “over-inflated”.

Years ago I took an adult night school auto shop class at the local high school. The instructor told us when one of his high school students misbehaved, didn’t follow the safety procedures, or goofing off in the shop, he’d make them pump up automobile tires using a bicycle pump … He said that exhausting job got the students to behave & follow the procedures the next time … lol …

Really the best thing is to get one of the 3 gallon pancake compressors from HF on sale or something equivalent. Then hook up a hose with a trigger type tire inflator with the built in gauge. I have the Campbell Hausfeld ones; if you just need a top up, and you have a precharged tank, it’s done in seconds. Since it has automatic shutoff, even if it’s empty, just let it run and recharge while you go off and do something else, and when it stops, you just need to give it a few seconds of attention.
Far better than the tankless types you have to sit by there continually monitoring and checking to see if it’s at the PSI setting you want, since gauges on those won’t be very accurate, sitting on the other end of the hose.
Even better is if you can spend a bit more and get a higher HP pancake like the Porter Cable 150 psi compressor. That one has enough air delivery to actually run air tools, which can’t really be done with the low output HF one, because it would take too long to charge up while you’re using air tools. Drawback is that it’s heavier and not something you might stash in the trunk for occasional use, like you could with the light duty ones.

Exhausting? They need to take gym. When I’ve had flats, I’ve been way up a dirt road. I’d put on the spare, which needed air; a foot pump was a treat.

I stopped to help a young neighbor couple a few weeks ago. One of her tires was way low. They were going to drive somewhere. I pumped it up for them in a lot less time than the trip would have taken (they weren’t going out), without starting a car