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Perhaps the most important item that is in the "You won't need it often but when you do, you'll be thanking your lucky stars you have one" category, portable tire inflators are of unparalleled importance. They are one of the must-have items for any roadside emergencies you may encounter. If your tire pressure is too low, it increases the wear and tear of your wheels and makes the chances of your tire experiencing a blowout skyrocket.
A blowout/flat tire in the middle of nowhere is the opening sequence to 99 percent of all horror movies. You really, really don't want to be in that situation. Luckily, technology has you covered. There are numerous portable inflators you can buy today and stick in your car. However, in about 50 percent of those horror movies already mentioned, the protagonists have something similar, only to find it doesn't work. So check out the best of the best and you won't have to worry about the scariest horror movie villains of all time.
78P Portable Compressor by VIAIR
The 78P portable compressor from VIAIR is smaller than it appears (it's only five pounds) and even comes with its own neat travel bag. The bag is convenient and portable enough to fit in your trunk with no problems. All the details you could possibly want to know about this heavy-duty compressor are conveniently placed on the side. Able to work on a variety of tires, this model is capable of everything you would need at the beginning of the horror movie you're in and should get you out in time.
Digital Tire Inflator by FORTEM THE EXTRA MILE
No, not all portable tire inflators come with bags that make it easier to carry them around; it just so happens the first two on here do. Not only is it easy to keep in your car, but the unit by FORTEM comes with different nozzles, making it easy to use on almost anything. It has an LED light for night work, is made of lightweight, durable plastic, and is one of the only compressors that comes with a lifetime warranty. The "extra mile" in FORTEM's name is not just for show.
Goodyear i4000 by Bon-Aire
There are four different models in this series by Goodyear, including the i3000, i3500, and the i8000, but the i4000 is the one you want. It's the best combination of portability and functionality. It's built with heavy-duty casing, a rubber grip-top, and the pressure gauge shuts off when it reaches its desired point. The 12-volt inflator can fill up any tire between 0 and 28 pounds in under five minutes. All the other models are either bulkier or don't work as efficiently, so this is your best bet.
12V DC Air Compressor Pump by eveco
Weighing only 2.2 pounds, this creation from eveco puts the portable in portable tire inflators. You won't even need any cool car organization hacks to fit in your trunk. Don't let the size fool you into thinking it takes much longer to accomplish anything; it can fully inflate a common tire within three minutes.
The 12-volt pump can check the tire pressure gauge as well as the voltmeter from your car battery, just in case you're worried about using up all of its juice. This may fit in your glovebox, so there's no excuse you can make for not having it on-hand.
DC12V 100PSI Portable Air Compressor Pump by MDee
MDee gives Eveco a run for their money in the portable department with the DC12V, weighing the exact same 2.2 pounds. However, it may have it beat in terms of variety of usage. This unit has effectively worked on bikes, cars, SUVs, ATVs, RVs, motorboats, basketballs, soccer balls, and air mattresses. It's a jack of all trades portable air compressor and is slightly larger than a Harry Potter book. Once again, there is no reason to not have this in your car. If you don't get one, you're basically inviting Freddy and Jason to come to you.
84P Portable Compressor by VIAIR
The people over at VIAIR should be proud of their work, as they now have two of the best portable tire inflators you could hope to buy. The 84P is slightly cheaper than the 74P and the same could be said about its weight (4.3 pounds). It comes with the same stylish bag and has a 100 psi gauge that's incredibly accurate. Both are solid models and work better with different tires, you can't go wrong with either.
SmartPro Digital Tire Inflator Pump by JACO Superior Products
The star of this inflator may be the ten-foot chord, making it easy to check the pressure on every tire. You won't have to worry about unplugging it by stretching or ripping the chord trying to get it to reach to each individual tire.
The LED light features four settings: off, flashlight, flashing red, and emergency SOS, ideal for any scenario you find yourself in. Ninety percent of the 1,000+ Amazon reviews have rated this model with four or five stars, ensuring it is highly regarded and trusted by consumers.
ACP1C Air Compressor Pump by TACKLIFE
I know, the picture above makes this pump from TACKLIFE seem like one of the heavier portable tire inflators, but that is actually not the case. Don't judge a book by its cover and don't judge a portable air compressor by its photo. Weighing only 4.41 pounds, this #1 best-seller on Amazon is much lighter and transport-friendly than it appears.
It is also unique in that it is designed with overheat protection and shuts off automatically if it gets too hot. So if you live in a hot area, this air compressor pump will work fine without overheating and breaking down, or worse, damaging your car in any way.
Premium 12V DC Tire Air Compressor Pump by P.I. AUTO STORE
Another #1 best-seller on Amazon, the air compressor from P.I. AUTO STORE can do it all. It comes with its own bag, adaptors for bikes and balls, a guide on how to use it, six LED lights with different settings, a 100 percent money back guarantee, and it can fill up a medium-sized tire in under three minutes. It's reasonably priced and can fit anywhere in your car, why wouldn't you try it out?
40028 Rechargeable All-Purpose Tire and Raft Inflator by Slime
Of all the portable tire inflators on the market, this may be the most well-timed one. The 40028 model from Slime is perfect for summer trips or vacations. As the title says, it was designed to inflate tires and rafts but can also blow up mattresses with ease. So if you're going somewhere with a large group or headed to a lake/pool situation, this is the inflator for you. It can fully inflate a car tire in six minutes and a mattress in one. The rechargeable battery it comes with makes sure all your rafts stay in tip-top shape all summer long.
There isn't a good reason you can give to not have one of these portable tires inflators in your car. They're portable, relatively cheap, and provide tremendous value if you're ever in need of one. If you don't have one, I hope you have some of the best foods in your car survival kit in case you're now stranded in the middle of nowhere. All that could be avoided by simply picking one these up.