Best Portable Tire Inflator Reviews for 2024

Milwaukee M18 tire inflator

Keeping tires inflated to the correct pressure is important for a vehicle’s safe operation and longevity. Properly inflated tires track correctly and wear evenly, ensuring that suspension and alignment stay intact. This allows the vehicle to get optimal gas mileage. But sometimes, tires go flat or pressures drop far from the closest gas station air hose. For these situations, a portable tire inflator is just the ticket, and our guide will help you choose the best one for your needs.

Our Top Picks

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How We Picked the Best Portable Tire Inflator

When a tire is low or even flat, a reliable tire inflator can be a lifesaver. We know that, so we wanted to ensure that any tire inflator we suggested had what it takes to get the job done in any scenario. To do so, we called upon all of our personal experience with tire inflators to pick out the most important features the user would need, and that’s how we started our search for the best portable tire inflator.

Once we had a list of tire inflators we felt could get the job done, we started to compare them based on several factors. We compared their prices, features, power, prices, designs, and dimensions to ensure that each model we suggested provided enough value. 

We even drew upon our own experiences with these models. Those we felt weren’t up to the task were tossed aside. Models that passed and offered the kind of value we were looking for were given awards according to their best uses and strengths.  

Best Overall Portable Tire Inflator

Milwaukee M18 2848-20

best Milwaukee M18 Cordless tire Inflator Review 2848-20

Our choice for the overall best portable tire inflator for car tires is the Milwaukee M18 2848-20. Lacking any high-volume inflation features, Milwaukee focused instead on both speed and accuracy. The system takes multiple pressure readings as it fills, ensuring you don’t get to your desired PSI too quickly and before the system has had time to stabilize.

The design works very well for portability and it works well when placed on the ground or held in the hand. The backlit LCD digital gauge stores four memory slots and lets you quickly jump to whatever PSI setting you desire. As it inflates, the lower pitch makes it seem quieter than most other inflators as well. If that weren’t enough, Pro Tool Reviews editor-in-chief Clint DeBoer uses this cordless inflator exclusively for his vehicles.

Key Features

  • Type: Cordless
  • Maximum Pressure: 150 psi
  • Additional Features: Digital gauge, automatic shut-off, inflation needle, Presta valve adapter


  • Fastest inflator we’ve tested to date
  • Lower frequency sounds better than the typical high pitch of other cordless inflators
  • Repeated mid-fill pressure testing for better accuracy
  • Brass Schrader chuck


  • Leaks significant air on removal due to the depth of threads on the Schrader chuck

Price: $179

Best Portable Tire Inflator for the Money

Skil 12V Tire Inflator IF5943-00

Skil 12V Inflator Review

Anyone shopping for the best portable tire inflator for the money should give the Skil 12V Tire Inflator serious consideration. This portable model features a compact design that’s easy to use and stands upright on the ground. It also includes features like a brass Presta valve.

Skil’s reverse-contrast screen is easy to read but does lose its brightness as you move off-axis. Bright sunlight also washes out the display, making it harder to read. If you already own some 12V Skil tools, this is a no-brainer. If you don’t, this may be a reason to pick up some of those tools.

Key Features

  • Type: Cordless 12V
  • Maximum Pressure: 160 psi
  • Additional Features: Digital gauge, nozzle adapters (including Presta), simple controls


  • Simple to use design
  • Automatically and accurately stops when you reach the target pressure
  • Wide PSI range
  • Compact and light form factor
  • Brass Presta adapter included instead of plastic (pinch valve adapter and ball needle also included)


  • The digital screen can be a little tough to read in bright light
  • Slower than more expensive models

Price: $44.98

Best Portable Tire Inflator for Trucks

VIAIR 88P Onroad/Offroad Tire Inflator ‎00088

VIAIR 88P Onroad/Offroad 00088

Pumping up big truck or off-road tires requires a heavy-duty tire inflator, and the 88P from VIAIR is a great choice for the job. This compressor features rugged construction that allows users to take it off-road or keep it in a toolbox in a truck. It features a 120 psi max pressure and the ability to inflate truck tires up to 33 inches. It comes with a carrying case and several swappable nozzles for added versatility. 

The 88P features alligator clamps that connect directly to the battery for versatile and flexible connection, and it never needs to be recharged. The cord is just 10 feet but the air hose is 16 feet long, enabling it to reach all four corners of the vehicle easily. It doesn’t have a digital gauge or automatic shut-off, however, so users will have to be careful not to overinflate their tires. 

Key Features

  • Type: Corded (battery clips)
  • Maximum Pressure: 120 psi
  • Carrying case
  • 16-foot air hose


  • Heavy-duty build designed to pump off-road tires up to 33 inches
  • 16-foot hose allows the compressor to reach tires on all four corners easily
  • Uses the vehicle’s battery so it never needs to be recharged


  • No digital gauge or automatic shut-off

Price: $89.95

Best Portable Tire Inflator and Jump Starter

Schumacher 6-in-1 Power Station SJ1332

Schumacher 6-in-1 Power Station SJ1332

The Schumacher SJ1332 is a 6-in-1 model that does more than just inflate tires. This unit serves as a tire inflator, a jump pack, a 12-volt power supply, a 110-volt power supply, a USB charger, and a high-volume hose. The jump pack has alligator clips for battery terminals and max cranking amps of 1200, allowing it to jump up to an 8.0L V8 or a 6.0L diesel engine. It also features an air compressor with a max pressure of 150 psi, allowing users to pump up their tires in a pinch. 

This model offers multiple power ports, making it great for charging devices or running LED string lights for camping trips. It also features a high-volume hose for filling air mattresses, air tents, and a variety of other inflatable items (it comes with multiple nozzles). There are a few downsides though, as this model weighs around 19 pounds and it doesn’t have a digital gauge or automatic shut-off. The gauge is in the rear of the device, making it difficult to see. 

Key Features

  • Type: Cordless
  • Maximum Pressure: 150 psi
  • Additional Features: Jump pack, power outlets, high-volume hose, LED light


  • Features a 1200-amp jump starter
  • Multiple power ports allow users to use it as a portable power station, making it excellent for camping
  • High-volume hose and nozzle adapters are ideal for air mattresses, air tents, and other inflatables


  • No digital gauge or automatic shut-off (it’s more of a jump pack than a tire inflator)
  • It’s heavy compared to all of the other tire inflators on the list 

Price: $205.99

Best Small Air Compressor for Car Tires

Airmoto Portable Tire Inflator BP198

Best Small Air Compressor for Car Tires

Airmoto Portable Tire Inflator BP198

Anyone searching for the smallest tire inflator that’s still powerful enough to get the job done will appreciate this model from Airmoto. This tire inflator is so small and compact that it can fit in most glove boxes, making it the best portable car tire pump for small cars and emergency kits. And, to keep things neat, the air hose stores onboard inside the unit as do the swappable nozzles it comes with.

This model features a bright digital gauge that’s easy to read, as well as an onboard LED light to illuminate the work area. It has an automatic shut-off that allows users to set the pressure and let it run, as well. But there are a few things that shoppers should know about this tiny tire inflator: the hose and nozzle can get very hot while inflating a tire and it’s not rated for heavy-duty truck tires. 

Key Features

  • Type: Cordless
  • Maximum Pressure: 120 psi
  • Additional Features: Onboard hose storage, multiple nozzles, digital gauge, auto shut-off, LED light


  • Very small and compact design can fit in most glove boxes
  • Features a bright, digital gauge that’s easy to read
  • Hose and attachments store onboard the tire inflator for easy organization


  • It gets very hot while it runs
  • It’s not rated for heavy-duty truck tires

Price: $89

Best Portable Air Compressor for Professionals

Milwaukee M18 Portable Inflator 2848-20

Best Portable Air Compressor for Professionals

Milwaukee M18 2848-20

Pros love their Milwaukee power tools, and this tire inflator uses the brand’s popular M18 battery system to inflate a wide range of tires. It’s capable of filling everything from sports equipment to truck tires up to 33 inches in diameter, making it a great choice for professional roadside assistance or shops. It also has Truefill Technology which automatically shuts off when the compressor reaches the desired pressure, then sits for three seconds to allow the pressure to stabilize, and then tops it off again to ensure the pressure is on point. The backlit digital display makes setting the pressure simple. 

This cordless model doesn’t come with a battery, but when fitted with a 5.0Ah battery, Milwaukee states it can top off up to 30 tires. And, it does so quickly, topping off a 33-inch tire in under 1 minute. It also has a 36-inch hose that lets it reach the tire valve on any tire. The hose stores onboard, as do the additional nozzles that come with it. 

Key Features

  • Type: Cordless
  • Maximum Pressure: 150 psi
  • Additional Features: Digital gauge, automatic shut-off, inflation needle, Presta chuck


  • Powerful enough to pump tires up to 33 inches in diameter (can top them off in under 1 minute)
  • Uses Milwaukee’s M18 battery system, which many professionals use for their power tools
  • 36-inch hose allows it to reach the tire valve on almost any tire
  • Truefill Technology ensures that the tire is inflated to the proper pressure


  • It’s heavier than most of the other models on the list, especially with a large battery installed 

Price: $358 (kit); $179 (bare)

Other Inflators We Like from Trusted Brands

DeWalt 20V Max Tire Inflator DCC020IB

DeWalt is one of the most popular cordless tool manufacturers on the market so it makes sense that shoppers would want to take advantage of their stock of DeWalt batteries with the Dewalt 20V Max tire inflator. It utilizes the 20V Max system, and users can slide connect any amp-hour size battery they have into its open battery bay underneath.

This model features a maximum pressure of 160 psi, allowing it to easily handle standard inflation jobs. It also has a high-volume hose that allows the user to fill inflatables and air mattresses quickly and easily. It also features built-in LED work lights, a backlit digital display, and an automatic shut-off to prevent overinflation. All of the hoses and nozzles store on-board, but from experience, the high-volume hose tends to pop loose while in storage. 

Key Features

  • Type: Cordless
  • Maximum Pressure: 160
  • Additional Features: Digital gauge, high-volume hose, AC adapter, vehicle power adapter


  • Uses one of the most popular battery systems on the market as well as a 12V adapter
  • Features high-volume hose and several nozzle adapters
  • Built-in LED lights, backlit digital display, and automatic shut-off make it easy to use


  • The high-volume hose doesn’t always stay in place, especially in the trunk of a car

Price: $139

Makita 18V LXT Cordless Electric Portable Inflator Kit

The Makita 18V cordless inflator runs on the company’s 18V LXT battery lineup. Makita owners can use their stock of these batteries but the kit includes a 1.5Ah battery and charger. While the battery is a bit smaller than we’d suggest, it does have the power to inflate car and light truck tires, with a max pressure of 120 psi.

This Makita features a very compact and lightweight design. It weighs just over 3 pounds, making it very easy to carry or retrieve from a trunk. It also features a built-in LED light and a backlit digital gauge. Users can set this model to their desired pressure and it will shut off automatically once it reaches it, making it the best portable air pump for car tires

Key Features

  • Type: Cordless
  • Maximum Pressure: 120 psi
  • Additional Features: Digital gauge, automatic shut-off, inflation needle, LED light


  • Digital gauge with auto shut-off allows users to accurately fill their tires
  • Compact, lightweight design to make it easy to carry and store
  • Makita owners can use their supply of 18V batteries
  • Built-in LED light helps illuminate the tire and work area 


  • Expensive

Price: $189

Greenworks 24V Cordless Inflator

Greenworks Tools has moved well into the lifestyle product category, and the company has a very capable inflator. It tackles both high pressure/low volume and low pressure/high volume with support for up to 160 psi. Using it internally, it topped off a Honda Ridgeline tire from 28 to 35 psi in just under 2 minutes.

Greenworks also made this a hybrid product with support for 12VDC outlets. That should help in the event you don’t have a charged 24V battery handy. Everything is stored neatly in the side and rear of the inflator and stands securely on the ground while you use it. In a pinch, you can reverse the hose and use it as an impromptu blower.

Key Features

  • Type: Cordless and 12VDC
  • Maximum Pressure: 160 psi
  • Additional Features: Digital gauge, automatic shut-off, inflation needle, brass Presta valve


  • High and low pressure inflator
  • Digital gauge with auto shut-off
  • Brass Presta valve
  • Quick-release nozzle


  • None at this price

Price: $119 (bare), $138 (kit)

Best Portable Tire Inflator Buying Guide

Tire inflators are relatively basic tools. But there are still a few things you should know to ensure you choose the right one for your needs. The following are some of the most important things to consider. 

Power Source and Battery Life

Corded vs. Cordless

There are two main power options when it comes to portable tire inflators, and even those two options aren’t entirely separate from one another. One option is the corded tire inflator, which plugs into a power source such as an outlet or 12V charging port, or clips to battery terminals, to power its motor. The other option is the cordless tire inflator, which features a rechargeable battery that powers the motor.

It’s very common to find tire inflators that are both corded and cordless, meaning they have multiple power options. These tire inflators’ flexibility makes them more versatile and a great option, though they’re often larger and heavier than inflators with just one power source.

Battery Capacity

When choosing a cordless tire inflator, it’s important to find one with a battery that will last long enough to get the job done. For larger power tool batteries, a 2ah battery is usually sufficient for pumping up a standard car tire. But for those with built-in batteries, look for a model with at least a 2000mAh battery to ensure it can pump up the tire before dying.

Pressure Capacity and Accuracy

Maximum Pressure Rating

Most tire inflators provide plenty of pressure for filling common tires. Many inflators exceed 100 psi, while most common vehicle and motorcycle tire pressures don’t exceed 40 psi. Meanwhile, basketballs only require 8.5 psi, and mountain bikes require no more than 30 psi, in most cases. But road bikes can require much higher pressures (around 100 psi), so if you plan on using your inflator for road bikes, make sure it has the required maximum pressure. 

Pressure Gauge Accuracy

Tire inflation is rarely an exact science. Tire pressure changes with temperature fluctuations, drive time, and other reasons, so pressure gauges don’t need to be calibration-level accurate. If a tire pressure gauge is +/-3psi, it’s more than accurate enough in most cases.

Size, Weight, and Portability

Compactness for Easy Storage

Portable tire inflators need to be compact enough to fit in the trunk of a car, under the seat of a truck, or on a shelf in a workshop. Look for inflators that are about the size (or smaller) than a shoe box for easy storage options.

Weight for Ease of Handling

Portable tire inflators can be heavy, so it’s best to consider how much you can easily carry. For example, a tire inflator that weighs about 8 pounds will be similar to the heft of a gallon of water. These tools typically have carrying handles to make them easier to carry, as well. 

Additional Features

Built-in LED Lights for Nighttime Use

Inflating a tire at night, whether it’s roadside or in a driveway, can be tough to do in the dark. For this reason, many of the top-rated portable air compressors for tires come with built-in LED lights to illuminate the work area. Also, backlit gauges make checking the pressure in the dark easier.

Auto Shut-off Functionality

An auto shut-off function allows the user to set the tire inflator to the required pressure and let it run. Once it reaches the pressure, the inflator will shut off on its own. This prevents overinflation and also allows the user to stand up and relax while the tire inflator does its job. 

Uses of Portable Tire Inflators

While they might be referred to as tire inflators, they have tons of uses. Almost anyone could stand to keep one on hand. 

Regular Tire Maintenance

Tire pressures often fluctuate, especially between fall and winter and winter and spring. With a portable tire inflator, vehicle owners can adjust their air pressure according to the seasons, which should be part of their regular vehicle maintenance routine. 

Emergency Situations

Folks who keep a tire plug kit, some spare tools, and a portable tire inflator in their vehicle can handle emergency flats and get back on the road. As long as a puncture in the treads or the Schrader valve is the cause of the flat, the repair can be quick and allow the driver to get their vehicle off the side of the road and drive safely to a tire repair shop. 

Bicycles and Sporting Equipment

Different tires or equipment might have certain requirements to fill them. For example, vehicles use Schrader valves, while bikes use Schrader or Presta valves. Also, basketballs, soccer balls, footballs, and other sports equipment require a needle, which chucks into the tire inflator’s nozzle. Tire inflators that can handle these different nozzle types offer a bit more versatility.

For Inflatable Toys and Camping Equipment

Many of the best-rated portable tire inflator models come with a separate hose known as a high-volume hose. This hose can be used for filling pool floats, children’s inflatable toys, and other items. They come with swappable nozzles designed for the different fill valves.

Another great use for a portable tire inflator is filling air mattresses, inflatable tents, and other items while traveling. These devices are designed to be compact and easy to transport, so they’re typically fine to carry in the back of a vehicle and use at the campsite.

Safety Considerations When Using a Portable Tire Inflator

Reading and Following Manufacturer Instructions

Make sure to read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions before using. While these tools are generally safe, some can become hot during use, potentially causing injury or even a fire if used improperly. 

Preventing Overinflation

Using a full-size air compressor is a fast way to fill a tire, but it can also lead to overinflating. Overinflation wears tires out unevenly, affecting ride quality, and can make maneuvering a vehicle unpredictable. A portable tire inflator with a programmable pressure setting prevents any of this from occurring. 

Avoiding Underinflation

Underinflation causes similar issues for vehicles. Tires wear unevenly, vehicle maneuvers aren’t predictable, and tires can even slide off the wheel (“break the bead,” as it’s known). Users can set portable tire inflators to the desired pressure and let them fill until they shut off, preventing underinflation. 

Avoiding Exposure to Extreme Temperatures

Using a portable tire inflator in extreme temperatures can be tricky. In cold temperatures, brittle metal fittings and fixtures can crack and fail. When it’s hot, batteries can malfunction and motors can overheat. Suppose you need to use a tire inflator in these conditions. In that case, it’s often best to bring it inside a conditioned space like a home or vehicle, allow its temperature to return to a normal level, and then bring it right out to the vehicle for immediate use. 

Ensuring Dry and Clean Storage Conditions

Tire inflators should be kept dry and clean. Roadside conditions are often unpredictable, and flat tires only occur when it’s raining (not really, but it feels that way), but it’s best to clean and dry these tools before storing them away to prevent potential damage from corrosion. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Portable Tire Inflators

Even with all that background on choosing the best portable air compressor for tires, there might be some additional questions that need answering. 

What is the best portable tire inflator on the market?

In our opinion, the best overall tire inflator is the Milwaukee M18 tire inflator. This model has a powerful motor, accepts massive batteries, and has a digital programmable pressure gauge for easy filling. 

How long does a portable tire inflator take to inflate a tire?

Even the best portable air compressor for car tires can take a while to fill a tire—much longer than a typical air compressor or gas station air hose. Some can take 5 to 10 minutes to inflate a tire for 20 to 30 psi.

Can I use a portable tire inflator for bike tires?

Yes, tire inflators can be used for bike tires. Just be sure to understand the correct pressure setting and program the inflator accordingly. 

How do I know when to stop inflating with a portable tire inflator?

There are a few ways to tell, but all involve inspecting the sidewall of your tire for your tire’s ideal pressure. Then, you can either set the portable tire inflator to this pressure or use a handheld tire pressure gauge to check the pressure as you fill.

Also, many modern vehicles have a handy alert system. Leave the car running while inflating the tire. Once the tire pressure gauge senses the correct pressure, the vehicle will honk to let you know. 

Are there portable tire inflators that work for large vehicles like trucks?

Yes, there are. Our top choice for professionals, the Milwaukee M18 tire inflator is a great option for trucks, but there are also off-road tire inflators like the VIAIR 88P, which provide the pressure and volume required for inflating large off-road or truck tires.

Keep your tires inflated and your car clean! Check out our Best Car Vacuum and Best Pressure Washer lists!

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