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Tire Inflator Buying Guide

One of the most important factors (and one which is often overlooked as far as car performance goes), is the role of tires. I cannot emphasize enough how essential they are when it comes to road safety. Every driver knows that in order for their car to handle well, the tires have to be in good condition.

One thing you can do for your tires is to make sure the pressure inside them is at the optimal level, and at all times. You can do this at your local gas station but I would suggest a better solution, and that’s buying a tire inflator.

They come in handy not just for tire inflation, but for just about anything where a high volume of air is needed. It will also save you money in the long run since you won’t be making those trips to your local gas station in order to check the pressure.

Why am I talking about tire inflators on an air compressor site? Well, a tire inflator IS an air compressor only it’s designed (as the name suggests) specifically for tires. Below and as always just for you, I’ve outline some of the main points to consider before you buy one.

Tire Inflator Considerations

If you are thinking of getting a commercial-grade tire inflator like the one found in most gas stations, let me stop you right there. First of all, they are very expensive so you’ll just waste your money. Second of all, this type of inflator is overkill for most users.

Even if you have several vehicles, I doubt there will be frequent occasions where you have to inflate the tires on all of them at the same time. Auto repair shop owners on the other hand, might want to take a look at a commercial-grade tire inflator.

If you only need to inflate your tires every now and then you’re better off buying a tire inflator with a capacity of one or two gallons. For what it’s worth, I would suggest you check out some of the roadside tire inflators. They are small, portable, and powered by electrical energy. Simply plug the inflator into your standard power outlet or use the electrical current from your car’s lighter. Do bear in mind however that even though tire inflators are air compressors, they will take a bit longer than an actual compressor to inflate the tire, but they do the job properly.

Features to Look Out For

Most tire inflators have a pressure gauge which informs you about the pressure inside the tires. Other features might include a flashlight in case you need to use it at night. Some also come with a warning light that signals to oncoming traffic there is a vehicle parked by the side of the road.

You may also come across a model which you can set to shut itself down automatically once it inflates the tire. While tire inflators which you can plug into your cigarette lighter are handy, those which are battery-powered are even more practical. But, you must remember to recharge the batteries every once in a while even if the unit hasn’t been used.

Another thing you need to take into consideration is the duty cycle before you buy one. For instance, if you come across a tire inflator that has a 45% duty cycle this means it can work continuously at 100 PSI at a temperature of 72F for just over 4 minutes. It is worth remembering it will take just over 5 minutes to cool down once you’re done using it. Those which have a 100% duty cycle can work continuously without the cool down period.


These are some of the considerations you should be aware of when looking for a tire inflator. There are plenty of different models to choose from each with their own unique features and specifications, so you need to be aware of what’s important for you.

Again, just for you I have singled out several tire inflators which I think are outstanding. Feel free to check them out.

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