What Car? test: tyre inflators - Introduction

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A tyre inflator has a fairly simple job: it must pump up your tyres to the correct pressure. As a result, our tests assessed the units on how quickly and accurately they did just that.

First we completely flattened the tyre on out test car, a Vauxhall Vectra Estate, and then we timed how long each unit took to pump it up to 30psi.

Then we checked how accurate all the inflators’ in-built pressure gauges were. Some were better than others, but none were spot on.

So, however much you’re spending, we’d advise investing in a quality handheld pressure gauge to double-check your tyre pressures.

We also assessed build quality and ease of use, and considered the price of any extra features that came as standard.

What Car? Winners
Best overall Ring Automotive RAC600 12V Automatic Digital Air Compressor
Best under £15 Draper 12V Mini Air Compressor
Best money no object Ring Automotive RAC600 12V Automatic Digital Air Compressor

What Car? ranking
1 Ring Automotive RAC600 12V Automatic Digital Air Compressor
2 Michelin Hi-power Rapid Tyre Inflator 12262
3 Draper 12V Mini Air Compressor
4 Michelin 12V Digital Tyre Inflator 12250
5 Halfords Rapid Digital Tyre Inflator
6 Sealey 12V Heavy Duty Compressor
7 Ring Automotive RAC800 Cordless Rechargeable Inflator
8 Halfords Twin Motor Inflator
9 Rolson 200 PSI Mini Air Compressor
10 Halfords Tyre Inflator

Featured in this story

What Car? test: tyre inflators - 1st Ring Automotive RAC600 £26.99

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