Everything You Need To Know About Tire Inflators


Tire inflator is a device which uses compressed gas to pump up tires of cars, trucks and other vehicles. The electrical energy derived by the tire inflator from the battery or vehicle engine is converted into potential energy as compressed gas which is converted into kinetic energy to inflate tires. Tire inflator eliminates the need for strenuous pumping to get the car tire to the correct pressure. Tire inflator is a handy tool which enables you to pump up your car tires in the middle of the road easily. Large-sized tire inflators pump air more rapidly and are used in gas stations and garages.


Piston pressurises the air which goes out through the nozzle under high pressure. The piston is driven by a crankshaft which, in turn, is powered by an electric motor or engine. The piston moves and compresses the air.

Air tank holds the pressurised air. The pressure inside the air tank is maintained between certain ranges. The pressurised air inside the air tank is used to inflate tires. The motor turns on automatically to drive the piston as the compressed air is utilised and pressure decreases inside the air tank. There are many styles of air tanks such as pancakes, wheelbarrow, twin stack and hot dog.

The tire inflator with gauge provides air pressure reading. The gauge can either have a dial and a needle or an LCD screen to display the air pressure reading digitally. Modern tire inflators with digital displays provide more accurate air pressure readings as compared to analogue models.


The crankshaft causes the piston to move down. This creates a vacuum on top of the piston which sucks in air from outside the inflator. After that, the piston moves up and reduces the volume available for the air. As a result, the pressure of the air increases and airflow from outside stops. An internal valve allows the pressurised air to move into the air tank. This compressed air is used to inflate tires. The movement of the piston continues to increase the air pressure and move the compressed air into the tank.


Stationary tire inflators are used in gas stations. They have huge air tanks and powerful motors which make them very heavy. A stationary tire inflator also needs to be connected to an electrical source.

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Portable tire inflators are light in weight and can be stored in cars to carry on travels. Many models of portable tire inflators also have handles or wheels for easy carrying. Some of the types of portable tire inflators are as follows.

  • A rechargeable Lithium-ion battery powers cordless portable tire inflator. This is a handheld tire inflator which quickly inflates the tires to the right pressure. The battery must be kept charged.
  • 12-Volt plug tire inflator plugs into the 12 Volt power socket in the vehicle. Thus, it draws power from the vehicle itself.
  • Direct power tire inflator attaches directly to the vehicle battery and draws power from it. There is no need to start the vehicle.

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