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Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

  1. #1
    Lifer tsorfas's Avatar
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    Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    Looking to get a good portable tire inflator for our vehicles. Something that WORKS. Something that can be stores in the trunk long term would be nice. Would need to do most automotive tires. Seems like there is a lot of junk out there.
    I have a lot of Ryobi tools, and HD has the Ryobi inflator for sale for $20, but 1) it needs a battery that will drain over times and its expensive anyways 2) the reviews are trash. Any suggestions?

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  2. #2
    Senior Member TwelveGaugeSage's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    I don't see the exact model I have listed, but I have had one of these for almost 10 years now. It hooks onto the car battery and has always worked great for airing up my 33" off-road tires on my Jeep. 12Volt 150 PSI Compact Air Compressor

    Note that one, at least in the picture, doesn't look as nice as the one I have. They might have a selection of them

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  3. #3
    WMC original sdog30's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck


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    Lifer ZX-12R's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    Viair portable compressors are among the best out there. I use an 88P model but there are plenty of larger and smaller models depending on your needs.

    The one I use:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B005A...op_mb_pd_title

    It fits perfectly in this bag along with an air hose extension, pressure gauge, and a T-handle tire plugging kit: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000B...op_mb_pd_title

    I should also mention that compressors that use cigarette ligher outlets for power are all but useless. The models that have battery post clamps can be significantly more powerful.

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    Last edited by ZX-12R; 11-23-18 at 08:04 AM.
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    Junior Member lrrs398's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    I have this one from Lowe's and works great. Can plug into the cars 12V or run from 110 AC. It is $45.
    https://www.lowes.com/pd/Kobalt-12-V...tor/1000092575

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  6. #6

    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    Quote Originally Posted by lrrs398 View Post
    I have this one from Lowe's and works great. Can plug into the cars 12V or run from 110 AC. It is $45.
    https://www.lowes.com/pd/Kobalt-12-V...tor/1000092575
    Thats the one I got after researching them for a while. Very happy with it.

    I got sick of all the 12v one that required a car to have to plug into to work.

    This I can take in my garage to everything that doesn't have 12v, bring it out to the shed to fill the tractor wheels etc. 110 AC is a great feature and this unit seems well built.

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  7. #7

    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    To the OP

    Feel free to read these guys reviews. I've been using that site for any new item that I don't feel like spending hours researching and reading other reviews.

    The Best Tire Inflators for 2018: Reviews by Wirecutter | A New York Times Company

    They do crazy in depth testing and offer different options and reasons behind each one.

    I've bought over 30 items due to their recommendations and been happy with probably ~95% of them

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  8. #8
    Unsafe at any speed GNTurbo6's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    I’ve got Ryobi tools too and am a big fan of the dual inflator. My link redirected to Walmart instead of Home Depot so just search it yourself.

    You can preset your tire PSI and have it automatically shut off which is nice. Also can inflate other stuff like air mattresses.

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  9. #9
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    IIRC max output through most 12V plugs is 120W, so 10 amps.

    Those Vlair units look great, but draw up to 180W/15A. One year warranty. Going to order a 90P.

    Portable Compressors | VIAIR Corporation

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    Last edited by Garandman; 11-23-18 at 10:50 AM.
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    Lifer Kurlon's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    My cheapie cigarette lighter units do the job just fine. Just plug them in and walk away, let them do their thing.

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    Senior Member TwelveGaugeSage's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurlon View Post
    My cheapie cigarette lighter units do the job just fine. Just plug them in and walk away, let them do their thing.
    I did that and forgot about it on my Jeep Cherokee years ago. I went out and was scared to disconnect it. Somehow that junky little pump got the tire to damn near 60 PSI. Other than that one, I've had much better luck with the ones that clip to the battery. I've heard good things about Viair through the years, as others have said. When I did a lot of rock crawling out in Arizona and Colorado, we would lower the PSI down to around 12-15. Nobody wanted to sit around waiting for everyone to air up, so the speed of the better models was needed for those of us who didn't have built in air tanks or compressors.

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  12. #12
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurlon View Post
    My cheapie cigarette lighter units do the job just fine. Just plug them in and walk away, let them do their thing.

    until the plastic gear starts slipping on the motor shaft as the pressure climbs

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    Your Father csmutty's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    I know you were being a smartass, but I use a bicycle pump.

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    Lifer Kurlon's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyO View Post
    until the plastic gear starts slipping on the motor shaft as the pressure climbs
    I've never had that issue? Used to use one as a second stage compressor for my spud gun. The regular 3gallon hot dog would get me up to 150 PSI right pronto. I'd then switch over to the 12v unit and let it chug away to bring the 6 gallon reservoir to 300psi for maximum fun.

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  15. #15
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    Quote Originally Posted by csmutty View Post
    I know you were being a smartass, but I use a bicycle pump.
    I use one as well at track days, and it gets borrowed often.

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  16. #16
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurlon View Post
    I've never had that issue? Used to use one as a second stage compressor for my spud gun. The regular 3gallon hot dog would get me up to 150 PSI right pronto. I'd then switch over to the 12v unit and let it chug away to bring the 6 gallon reservoir to 300psi for maximum fun.
    surprised you've never had an issue, at least 3 times I have taken apart failing 12v compressors, same issue each time, all different brands, I suspect, that the expensive 12v compressors are metal gears

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    WMC original sdog30's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    Quote Originally Posted by csmutty View Post
    I know you were being a smartass, but I use a bicycle pump.
    I was, but also use one for the race bikes most of the time and also for my air suspension on my truck.

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  18. #18
    Lifer golden chicken's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    I keep an OLD craftsman 12V compressor in my trunk, but I rarely use it. I check my tires about once a month at work and fill a 8 gallon tank that I keep at home to top off other tires around the garage. On the side of the road I find it quicker to just throw the spare on if I find a tire low. A 20+ gallon compressor for the garage is on my wish list.

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  19. #19
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    For car track days we have an HF 8 gallon aluminum tank we fill to 120 psi with the compressor. They go on sale regularly.

    Ordered a Viair 90P, should arrive next week.

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  20. #20
    Lifer ZX-12R's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    Quote Originally Posted by Garandman View Post
    Let me know how the 90P works out. It wasnt available when I bought my 88P which is overkill for my car's low profile tire needs. The more compact nature of the 90P may work for me and I can put the 88P in my wife's SUV.

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    Last edited by ZX-12R; 11-25-18 at 03:46 PM.
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  21. #21
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    Those battery terminal clamps look like a real pain in the ass.

    I have an ancient 120VAC Black and Decker inflator that does the deed.
    For topping off motorcycle tires, especially at track days or dirt rides I also use a standup bicycle pump. It works well.

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  22. #22
    Lifer ZX-12R's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    The clamps are a non-issue and work without any fuss. The 120VAC units wont help you if you're stranded on the side of the road.

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  23. #23
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    I was asking why the clamp models seem more popular with all here vs the cig-outlet models.

    I do have a cheapie super-compact slime branded unit in the left bag of the harley, along with a patch kit and a SAE adapter.
    In the car I carry a spare tire and/or $1 to run the pump at my friendly gas station.

    I could see the convenience of a cordless battery operated inflator.

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  24. #24
    Lifer snwbrdr435's Avatar
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    I did something like this

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  25. #25
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    Re: Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck

    Recommend Portable Inflator Car/Truck-screen-shot-2018-11-26-a

    Saves on the cost of gyms too.

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