Owning a vehicle comes with the added trouble of having to go to the gas station frequently to get something as trivial and significant as getting tire refills or checking the air pressure of your tires. This routine job can be irritating and monotonous. Moreover, imagine having a deflated tire in the middle of a deserted road or at the middle of the night when no tow truck is available. Invest in a tire inflator, an equipment, unlike air compressors, to inflate and deflate on the go. Also, you can check the pressure inside your tires without having to make “paid trips” to the gas station. How rare is it to even find a gas station that gives you “air” for a refill? Very r-air, trust me!
Best PickThe Jaco FlowPro Tire inflator with gauge is our best pick because it is functional equipment with additional features and tools and gives very accurate readings.
Budget PickThe Campbell Hausfeld tire inflator is our budget pick because it features a three-in-one inflation gun with chuck and gauge that is mostly made out of sturdy metal and features an easy-to-use mechanism at an affordable price tag.
Quick Comparison Between The Best Tire Inflator with Gauges[table id=137 /]
1. JACO FlowPro Digital Tire Inflator Gauge – 200 PSI
- 18” stainless steel braided hose for flexibility; bleeder valve for removing excess pressure; thread seal tape roll; auto lock-on air chuck; 1/4" NPT male quick-connect fitting, 2 pcs-AAA batteries
- Sturdy rubber gauge; blue light LCD display with +/-1% accuracy and auto shut-off
- Lifetime warranty and extremely helpful customer service
- Sturdy, durable, high performing, quality product with mostly metal parts
- Clip on system fits securely to the valve of tire allowing single-handed operation
- Accurate readings, correct to 1 decimal place
- It doesn’t come with a fittings kit to connect it to external compressors: you may want to get additional kits
- Some users reported of constant leaks at the connector interface and that the hose wouldn’t connect tightly with the tire especially after several uses
- The metal braids may start to unwind and will cut or gnash your hands in some rare cases
2. Campbell Hausfeld MP600000AV Tire Inflator Gauge
- Consists of three components only - an inflation gun that works by pulling a trigger, chuck and an easy-to-read gauge
- Flexible, durable hose; most parts are metallic and sturdy
- Extremely budget-friendly equipment- it is very handy if you can overlook minor drawbacks
- The chuck doesn’t fit securely to the valve stem- you may need to hold it down or modify it a bit to prevent it from leaking air
- Flimsy- not made out of the best materials not you would be lucky if it lasts you more than a year
3. P.I. AUTO STORE PIAS002 Premium Tire Inflator Gauge
- Functional design includes a carry case, 4 spare dust caps, screw-on style connector to the valve stem of your tires and Presta to Schrader valve adaptor
- Requires 12V output from the cigarette lighter of your car; long cord to help with the power supply; powers on numerous tire types like Car,Bicycle, Tricycle, Motorbike, RV, SUV, etc
- Large LCD display gauge; bright white LCD light on the side for use in the dark; inflatable adaptors; works on any 12V DC output; Red SOS light for emergencies
- Large cord for connecting to the cigarette lighter of your car
- Compact design, small size, and functional design: can fit a glove box!
- Accurate pressure readings, easy to set up and user-friendly
- Great value for money
- No backlight for the LCD display; can be a little hard to read in the dark
- Noisy and heats up slightly
- Not as durable but this is justified for the price- in some rare cases customers have reported of their unit not working quite suddenly
4. EPAuto Heavy Duty Tire Inflator Gauge
- Plastic gauge with soft rubber covering: gauges measures pressure in the range 0 to 120PSI; Measures in four units- psi, bar, kgf, and kpa
- Inflation gun with metal trigger, chuck, gauge, and hose: requires an air compressor- three-in-one inflator
- Heavy-duty, well-constructed, reliable and efficient
- Decent value for money
- Great customer service- the company refunds or replaces faulty products
- Handle, chuck and trigger are all made of metal and hence durable
- Terrible locking mechanism- lets out a lot of air if you do not hold it down manually
- Slightly inaccurate readings: it is off by a few pounds; more, in some rare cases
- The clear plastic of the dial tends to scratch over time; the rubber covering is soft
5. EPAuto Commercial Grade Dual Head Tire Inflator Gauge
- 6-in chrome plated dual head; 12 in. hose; 1/4in. NPT female inlet; requires external air compressor
- Well-constructed; high quality; durable; heavy duty
- Great value for money
- Quick disconnect fitting and adapters are not provided with the unit and must be purchased separately
- Defective units may be received: one must seek a replacement or a refund immediately
- A few users reported inaccurate readings: check with a digital or reliable gauge
6. JACO FlowPro Tire Inflator Gauge - 100 PSI
- Comes with 2 pieces of interchangeable air filler chucks, 1 piece of 1/4" NPT quick-connect male fitting and thread seal
- 21in. rubber hose that is long and flexible
- Glow-in-the-dark large dial with rubber protected covering; dial reads pressures in the range 0 to 100 psi
- Bleeder valve to let go of excessive pressure; easy-to-use thumb inflation trigger to fill air
- Air-tight; solid construction; functional and fully equipped
- Great value for money; great customer service
- Some customers reported issues about the needle on the gauge being stuck on one value while others reported their unit to give readings higher or lower than about 5 to 10PSI
7. TireTek TXL-Pro Heavy Duty Tire Pressure Inflator Gauge
- Thumb trigger inflator; bleeder valve for releasing excess pressure; extra-large 3 in. dial with readings from 0 to 170 PSI and 12 bar dual scale
- Lifetime warranty and great customer service
- Secure lock-on chuck; flexible hose; steel and brass construction
- Durable; solid construction; best for commercial uses; heavy-duty
- Gives accurate readings and leak-free refills
- A few users have complained of air leaks where the hose connects to the quick fitting or the valve stem
- A discrepancy in reading by several pounds
8. Exwell Tire Inflator Gauge-150 PSI
- Measure pressure in four different units: gives readings between 5 to 150PSI
- Plug type nozzle for connecting to the valve stem of the tire
- The backlight LCD display that runs on 2AAA batteries
- Comes with ¼” male and female connector fittings, screwdrivers, etc
- Accurate readings, within 0.5PSI from one another
- Sturdy, well-built equipment
- A few users reported that the male quick disconnect to the gauge was a little difficult to thread
- Some people complained about receiving returned or used products with scratches on the display and the battery installed- customer service should be immediately contacted for a replacement or a refund
9. Vondior Digital Tire Inflator/Pressure Gauge- 200 PSI
- Air bleeder valve, interchangeable air chucks, ¼ ” NPT male and ¼” NPT female fittings included
- The LCD backlight that gives readings in four units, correct to 1%
- Tough, accurate, easy to use
- Great value for money: comes with a lot of accessories
- The hose is not long enough to reach the inner tires
- The readings are sometimes off by several pounds
- The LCD backlight sometimes remains lighted even when it is not operating resulting in drainage of battery power
10. Motor Luxe Tire Inflator Pressure Gauge- 170 PSI
- Large, glow-in-the-dark dial with easy to read scale running from 0 to 170PSI
- Free accessories that come with the unit include ¼” male fitting, Presta adapter, and a sports needle adapter
- Heavy-duty, well-designed using superior quality material; build to last
- Accurate; precise reading similar to digital gauges which are about four to five times more expensive
- No leakage of air; bleeder valve for deflating excess air
- Excellent value for money
- A few users have reported of the gauge needle being stuck at some specific values and not being responsive
- Some users may also notice the bottom of the hose connection leaking slightly but a gentle twist of the hose or using thread tape solves this issue
- A bit heavier and less compact
Things to Consider Before Buying a Tire Inflator With GaugeNow that you have decided to invest in a tire inflator, you need to wade through the endless units in the market and choose one that meets your requirement. You may want to see if your chosen unit meet the following considerations.
Power SupplyOne of the main concerns of owning a tire inflator is how are you going to supply it with power. There are some inflators that work with only the home outlet and there are others that can work by taking power from the 12V outlet of the cigarette lighter in your car. Tire inflator may also use one, two or three AAA batteries for power. In that case, you want to remove batteries if you are an occasional user or else the unit may simply drain power.
AccuracyThere are thousands of tire inflators in the market – try not to fall prey to the cheap ones because more often than not, they have inaccurate gauges. Inaccurate air pressure in your tires have can lead you to have low traction, bursting of tires, bad driving experience, or even result in accidents. When you have purchased an inflator, you must check and verify its accuracy by comparing it with known, reliable gauges. Some gauges are off by a fixed number of pounds and that, even though is not good, can be accounted for by subtracting or adding the same number of pounds of air during a refill. But if your inflator varies between erratic readings and fluctuates inconsistently, you have a problem and need a replacement.
WeightA tire inflator is designed for portability and compact storage. They are usually 1 to a pounds for ease of carrying and storing. Most are small enough to fit the glove box when properly folded or coiled. Some will be bigger and would be better off in your garage toolbox.
GaugeThe gauge of a tire inflator can be digital or analog. Digital ones are more accurate as they give readings correct to one tenth or hundredth of a pound. Digital reading, like all other equipment, may suffer from error time to time. A manual or analog one is more reliable. It usually has a large, round dial and needle in the middle. The needle helps read the pressure level. Elderly people or people with poor vision may sometimes have difficulty reading it but it is not strenuous or much of a challenge anyway. The digital gauges can give readings in three or four different units like kPA, kg/cm2, PSI, etc. The analog ones usually have one scale or dual scale that also gives readings in bars.
AccessoriesMost units come with spare or additional accessories that can help you in different situation without having to spend extra dollars. Some come with a Presta or Schrader valve adapters: these will help you when you want to use the inflator for bikes or bicycles. Other come with batteries, dust caps, rugged case for storing the unit, etc. Some also come with male or female connect fittings.
Duty CycleThe duty cycle of a unit refers to the time it needs to be cooled after you have operated it. If you don’t give it sufficient cooling period, the machine will overheat and get damaged. Machines with a duty cycle of about 45%, may need to be cooled after every 4 or 5 minutes of inflating at about 100PSI. That is just a rough estimate that differs from one inflator to the other: check your user manual to know the characteristic of your unit. Units with 100% duty cycles can be used continuously without the need for periodic cooling.
PriceThe price of a tire inflator varies widely- the more the features it has, the higher the price. Then comes the issue of quality. You can get an inflator at a price as low as about fifteen dollars and as high as a few hundred dollars.
Auto-Inflate FeatureSome inflators have this efficient and convenient feature called auto-inflate. If you set the desired pressure level, this will automatically shut the unit down when that pressure level is reached. This saves you the hassle of continuously monitoring the progress of refill. If you’re stranded in the middle of the road, you can also sit inside your car safely, rather than stay out and watch it getting refilled.
LED LightsSome units have LED lights at the side or near the gauge for ease of taking the readings at night or in the dark. Others have glow-in-the-dark dials. A few gauges also have an LED backlight for reading out the display.
Bleeder ValveA bleeder valve lets you bleed or remove excess air in case of accidental overfills. You can deflate the excess air by just the touch of a button rather than removing the hose and emptying and rechecking.
ConclusionReading our in-depth review on tire inflators with a gauge will probably convince on why you need to invest on one if you own a car, truck, bicycle or bike- it will save you trips to the gas stations and let you refill easily anywhere, anytime. You must consider factors like scale, sealing connection to the tire, length of hose, power output required, fittings, etc. when buying a tire inflator. There are many varieties in the market to choose from, all in different price range. Our list compiles the best of the one recommended by technicians and individuals and will help you narrow down your search.
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