Ridgid Digital Inflator Presents a Helpful Solution
The Ridgid 18V Digital Inflator (R87044) has all the features you’d want for a cordless inflation tool. It features an easy-to-read, easy-to-set digital pressure gauge, onboard and easily accessible accessories, and a motor that Ridgid claims provides the fastest truck tire fill from flat to full. At around $69, it’s reasonably priced as well.
RecommendationThe Ridgid 18V Digital Inflator impresses with a large, visible display and auto-fill setting. We particularly liked the hybrid power options. Getting the exact right pressure takes a little bit of back-and-forth, but it’s not enough of a hassle to turn us from recommending this fast, easy-to-use inflator.
Easy-Mode Tire Inflation
Ridgid designed the 18V Digital Inflator to take all the hassle and guesswork out of tire inflation. From the super-visible digital readout and settings dial to the fast-connect chuck, everything about the R87044 screams “easy-to-use.”
As far as power goes, you have a couple of options—battery and 12V. Both of them make operating this tool pretty convenient.
As the Ridgid Digital Inflator was designed for cordless convenience on the brand’s 18V battery platform, this is more than likely the direction you’ll take most of the time. This holds especially true if you already use Ridgid tools and batteries. The battery also lends a sturdy base to the inflator that lets you set it down in an upright position.
However, Ridgid also includes a 12V power cord that plugs into your cigarette lighter. This opens up the R87044 for folks that either haven’t committed to the Ridgid battery platform, or for those who are just looking for an inflator to keep in the trunk for emergencies. The 12V cable has enough length to get you within inflating distance of all of your tires with ease.
Ridgid R87044 Set Up
Once you’ve settled on a power source, the Ridgid 18V Digital Inflator makes connecting to your object of inflation super simple. It features a fast-connect chuck that eliminates the need for time-wasting threading. The only concern here would be the wearing out of the plastic parts over time. We became quite accustomed to using the threaded nozzle on the Ryobi Dual-Function inflator.
Basically, whether you’re connecting directly to a valve stem or to one of the included adapters, you firmly press the coupler onto the threads and slide the sleeve forward to lock in the connection.
While the fast-connect chuck makes inflation very simple, for the sake of an accurate reading, you’ll want to make sure that your connection is secure. At one point early in our experience with the R87044, we found ourselves frustrated with the inconsistency of the pressure readout and auto-inflation. As it turns out, this problem is remedied if you apply a firm hand to the coupler as you lock it into place.
The Ridgid 18V Digital Inflator comes with a ball inflation needle, brass Presta chuck, and inflator nozzle. All of these store handily onboard the tool, along with the 20″ hose.
Getting Down to Business
Once you’ve got a secure connection to your valve stem, you can squeeze the trigger to turn on the Ridgid Digital Inflator. You’ll see the current pressure pop up on the 2″ digital LCD display. The display is inverted, so you can see the numbers even in direct sunlight.
We checked the accuracy of the readout against our old tried-and-true tire gauge. We found that pressure readings stayed pretty consistent between the tire gauge and the inflator, usually within a PSI or two.
At this point, you have two options. You can manually inflate to your desired PSI level by holding down the trigger. Or you can use the set-it-and-forget-it approach.
By rotating the dial around the digital display to the right, you can select the Auto-fill mode and your desired pressure level. A squeeze of the trigger gets the auto-fill process started. You’ll notice the pressure build on the digital readout. As the pressure level gets closer to your setting, you’ll hear the motor slow down. The Auto-shutoff feature stops the motor from overfilling when your pressure setting is reached.
Wrestling with the Auto Setting
The Auto setting is pretty accurate. But, if you’re a perfectionist, you’ll probably want to switch to the manual mode and give it another couple of seconds of fill time.
Here’s why: the pressure readout on the gauge while inflating is a measurement of the fluctuating pressure between the thing you’re inflating and the hose…which is to say that it’s not terribly accurate while you inflate. The measurements run a bit higher than they actually are.
Because of this, the Ridgid Digital Inflator shuts off before your set threshold. It’s sort of the nature of the beast, rather than an engineering flaw.
To hit your target on the nose, switch to manual mode and hold down the trigger to fill the rest of the way. You’ll get an accurate reading when you release the trigger and wait for a second for the pressure to stop fluctuating.
The Ridgid 18V Digital Inflator can fill to 150 PSI max. Ridgid claims it “provides the fastest truck tire fill from flat to full”. We have no way to validate that particular claim, but we thought it worked pretty quickly. We filled a tire from under 20 psi to 35 psi in about a minute and a half.
Ridgid R87044 Inflator Pricing
You can pick up the Ridgid R87044 18V Digital Inflator as either a bare tool or kitted with a 2.0Ah battery and charger. As a bare tool, it ought to run you $69, while the kit only tacks on another $30 for a grand total of $99.
Whichever option you go with (the kit is a steal), the inflator comes with a 12V vehicle power cord, quick coupler chuck, ball inflation needle, brass Presta chuck, and inflator nozzle.
The Ridgid 18V Digital Inflator impresses with a large, visible display and auto-fill setting. We particularly liked the hybrid power options. Getting the exact right pressure takes a little bit of back-and-forth, but it’s not enough of a hassle to turn us from recommending this fast, easy-to-use inflator.
Ridgid 18V Digital Inflator Specs
- Model: Ridgid R87044
- Dimensions (DxHxW): 8.3 x 10.6 x 3.8 in.
- Hose Length: 20 in.
- Max Pressure: 150 psi
- Weight: 1.35 lbs.
- Warranty: Lifetime Service Agreement
- Price: $69