The best digital tyre inflators

Digital against analogue. Parkers looks at the benefits of digital tyre inflators compared to their analogue siblings.

Air hose connecting to a car tyre

by Chris Williams |

Think of this article as a kind of extension of our main guide to tyre inflators. In that guide, we explain the importance of regularly checking your car’s tyres, and how maintaining the correct tyre pressure improves fuel economy and car handling.

But something we don’t cover is the difference between digital and analogue tyre inflators. That is what we address here.

Digital versus analogue

The primary difference between these two types of tyre inflator is the display. A digital screen can be easier to read than an analogue dial, particularly in low light, and the exact reading much easier to determine.

Also, digital tyre inflators usually have extra features such as an auto-shutoff function that stops inflation once the unit reaches the preset pressure. Some analogue models feature this too, but it’s less common.

Some digital tyre inflators may also take on the added role of being a power bank.

Apart from that, the digital and analogue tyre inflators are pretty similar, though because of the extra features, digital tyres usually carry a higher price tag than their analogue counterparts.

The best digital tyre inflators

Ring Automotive RTC6000

Editoru2019s pick
Ring Automotive RTC6000
Amazon

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The RTC6000 serves as two things at once: a tyre inflator and a power bank. As such, itu2019s cordless and battery-powered rather than the usual setup of requiring a 12V cable and socket for power. The battery-powered nature of the RTC6000 makes it a bit bigger and heavier than some 12V tyre inflators, but it still weighs less than two kilograms. To recharge the RTC6000, you get a mains charger and a 12V cable u2013 your choice.

There’s lots of power here – with 180 Watts of power it can fully inflate a 13-inch tyre from 0 to 35psi in two minutes. Another reason we like this tyre inflator is because of its build quality, which provides a significant ROI on its own. You can use this inflator for any job too because it comes with 10 adaptors, plus four spare valve caps.

Pros Cons
• Cordless • A bit pricey
• Well made • More compact options available
• Also a power bank
• Powerful
• Many adaptors

AA Digital Tyre Inflator

Best budget option
AA Digital Tyre Inflator
Amazon

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The AA Digital Tyre inflator is smaller and lighter than the cordless Ring RTC6000, largely because this is a 12V inflator without a battery. While it does without the bells and whistles of the RTC6000, you wonu2019t find a better digital tyre inflator at this price. This tyre inflator bears the two crucial features of a budget tyre inflator: dependable build quality and an auto-shutoff function.

There are even a couple of bonus features such as an LED light that can flash SOS should an emergency require it. It comes with two adaptors.

Pros Cons
• Great value • Not that powerful
• Well made • Only two adaptors included
• Auto shutoff
• Compact

Draper 12V Cordless Air Compressor

Best compact digital tyre inflator
Draper 12V Cordless Air Compressor
Amazon

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Draper produces a stonking range of tools for DIYers and tradespeople alike. Its 12V air compressor is smaller and considerably lighter (800 grams) than the RTC6000. While itu2019s not quite as powerful (150 Watts compared to 180 Watts), itu2019s still got plenty of punch, certainly for a model of this size and still features the auto-shutoff function.

Like the RTC6000, you can recharge the Draper inflator via the mains or 12V cable. The Draper model differs in a couple of areas to the RTC6000 other than size: it doesn’t double as a power bank, however, the 12V battery is removable to make recharging easier. On the outside, Draper feels a little tacky, but crucially, the internal components are well-made and reliable.

Pros Cons
• Cordless • RCT6000 inflates faster
• Powerful for size • Only two adaptors included
• Auto shutoff
• Compact

Michelin Programmable Superfast 4X4/SUV Digital Tyre Inflator

Best digital tyre inflator for large wheels
Michelin Programmable Superfast 4X4/SUV Digital Tyre Inflator

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Where the Ring RTC6000 is a versatile, multi-purpose model, this larger unit is more focused on re-inflating those bigger tyres seen on 4X4s, campervans, and the like. Itu2019s a corded 12V model, so it needs to be plugged in to use. It'll inflate a big 13-inch tyre from flat in less than two minutes.

The digital screen is accurate and easy to read, even in low light. And of course there is the auto-shutoff function. Because it’s got lot of power, the Michelin's tyre inflator doesn’t have to work too hard and so you can expect a long life from this unit. Though intended for larger vehicle tyres, the Superfast still comes with three adaptors for other jobs.

Pros Cons
• Ideal for large tyres • Relatively bulky
• Powerful • Could do with a handle
• Auto shutoff
• Well made

Hyundai HYJS-950

Best multi-purpose model
Hyundai HYJS-950

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If youu2019re looking for a jack of all trades, consider this. Itu2019ll inflate tyres, jump start car engines (up to 2.5-litre petrol or 2.0-litre diesel), power 12V devices, and recharge devices with USB or 12V plugs. The trade-off for being an all-in-one is that itu2019s relatively chunky, but itu2019ll happily fit in the boot of a car.

The build quality is top-notch, as one would expect from Hyundai Power Equipment. However, it doesn’t feature an auto-shutoff function, so you can’t just preset it and wait when re-inflating a tyre.

Pros Cons
• Highly versatile • Bulky
• Powerful • No auto-shutoff
• 12V and USB sockets
• Well made

Ryobi R18MI-0 Multi Inflator (Tool Only)

Best for Ryobi owners
Ryobi R18MI-0 Multi Inflator (Tool Only)
Amazon

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Ryobiu2019s 18V ONE+ system is so popular with UK DIYers that itu2019d be handy if there was a good digital tyre inflator to cater for them. And there is. Even with a battery fitted, this weighs less than two kilograms. Despite the lightness, the Ryobi inflator feels chunky and solid.

Like the Ring RTC6000, it’s meant as a versatile model, and therefore comes with all the adaptors you need for inflating most things. However, where the RTC6000 doubles as a power bank, the Ryobi inflator can instead deflate as well – a unique feature here. Though, when inflating, it does have the auto-shutoff function.

Pros Cons
• Inflate and deflate • Pricey
• Cordless • Uses Ryobi batteries only
• Many nozzles

Read next:

Car tyres - the ultimate guide

What are tyre sizes?

The best car jump starter power packs

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