Tire Inflator


With several vehicles and living in the boonies, it’s always a hassle to get to a gas station to keep the tires’ pressure up to recommendations. Now that all stations in our area charge for air, we were wondering if there are any inflators to purchase. If so, what specifics should we look for and where’s a likely source? Many thanks.


I got a nice combo device from Sears - it has a battery pack (suitable for jump starting), tire inflator and an AC outlet (only 400 watts, but nice for emergency lighting, etc.)
I don’t know if they have the same model, but this one has been a handy item for me for the past 3 years.


Remember the volts? That was our main concern that the device would handle car tires, not just smaller ones on bikes, toys, etc.


I’ve always had satisfactory results with the various cheap 12v pumps that plug into the cigarette lighter. They might last only 5-6 years but I get my money’s worth using them on several cars, bikes, lawn tractor, and my garden cart. They may not be for everyone because they are slow but they eventually get the job done.


Having your own pump would be good. But regarding gas stations charging for air… Federal law requires filling stations to provide air for gas customers at no charge. They have to give you a token or start the pump for you if you gassed there


There are numerous 115VAC air compressors on the market any of which will work fine. You’ll also need the schraeder valve attachment with gage. You don’t need high power to pump up tires.

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The cheapest 12-volt Campbell Hausfeld inflator (probably from Home Depot or Lowe’s) has done fine for me for years, other than the built-in gauge being quite inaccurate.


I’ve had good luck with a Black and Decker air station that my wife gave me as a Christmas present some years back. It is a 115 volt unit. It has a built in gauge, although I check the pressure with my regular guage as well. I don’t know if it is still made or not.

I also made up a pump from an air horn compressor from a semi. I adapted the hose and gauge from a broken hand pump and rigged it up with a couple of battery clamps. This also worked quite well and cost me nothing.


Do you have a citation for the Federal law? Everybody around here is charging 75 cents for the air.


The Truck-air by Interdynamics is a pretty good 12v pump. It can run all day without overheating and its quicker that some of the small units. I’ve had one for several years and use it for car, truck and lawn tractor tires (I live in the boonies too). If you decide to go the whole route, get a T handle tire repair kit too. Get extra plugs while your at it. I go through a lot of them.

Costco has a pretty good looking pump, I bought one but it had an internal short and blew the built in fuse immediately. I’m going to try another one when I get to Costco again.


sorry I checked again and it might have been only in california. And it’s being challenged. Sorry


I always wondered if these pumps without a reservoir, to allow the air to cool and water to condense, put too much water in the tires. Any comments?


The only ones with problems are the large commercial ones that are used constantly.