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Home air compressors for car tires
Old 03-30-2010, 08:07 AM   #1
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Home air compressors for car tires

Koolau and Payin-The-Toll brought up an interesting new subject in my tire thread so I thought I'd split it off. Anyone know of a reasonably priced/sized compressor for car tires that works well?

Koolau mentioned the cigarette lighter power type. I actually own one of those-----not sure I could stand the several minutes pump time any more; reminds me too much of my old computer. PTT mentioned a 40lb beast......not sure I need another piece of stuff in the garage that needs cleaning out already. Anything in between? Are they reliable/won't break down?
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:33 AM   #2
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I have one of these:
Amazon.com: Black & Decker ASI300 Air Station Inflator: Home Improvement

It is very handy and gets used quite a bit (bikes, auto, basketballs, etc). This unit is fairly small so storage is not a big deal. Works with 120v or 12v. I think I paid around $40 when on sale at Lowes or Home Depot.
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:37 AM   #3
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The problem with the small 12 volt ones is that they take forever to fill a tire. I think I'd look at a small 120 volt one at a place like Harbor Freight, given the limited use you have for it. I have a 2 HP unit from there that I find extremely handy for any task that requires compressed air. For you, I'd recommend a smaller unit like this one, at 22 pounds. They go on sale all the time and 20% off coupons are readily available.

- Harbor Freight Tools - Quality Tools at the Lowest Prices.
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Old 03-30-2010, 09:03 AM   #4
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I have one of these and love it.

Shop for Craftsman C3 19.2 volt Cordless Inflator - MySears Community
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:14 AM   #5
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In the garage I have a one similar to that described by travelover. The 12v ones take forever to fill tires. It gets used often as I check the car/truck tires monthly and the motorcycle weekly. It was ~$80 at Target on sale.
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Old 03-30-2010, 12:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaneohe View Post
Anyone know of a reasonably priced/sized compressor for car tires that works well?
Recognize that I have no idea what "reasonably priced" means. After considerable investigation, I decided on a DEWALT D55141 Heavy-Duty 8 Amp 1/2-Horsepower 2-Gallon Oil-Free Single Hot Dog Compressor for our Roadtrek. One of the first thing I found out was that tires are a special problem -- mostly having to do with "recovery time" (or something like that) -- and a cheap pump, unless used rarely and for short periods, won't last very long. The other consideration high on my list was weight and size -- high priority items in a RV the size of ours.

Anyway, I needed a pump that could easily handle the 80# of pressure needed for the rear tires and, also, survive regular use. One of the biggest problems with a larger vehicle is that it takes only a short distance to heat up the tire and distort the gage readings -- eliminating the ability to drive to the nearest fuel stop for air. Large tires are way too expensive to use underinflated... not to mention the fuel-economy issue.
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Old 03-30-2010, 12:28 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by frayne View Post

Couldn't agree more. I have one of these also and it's great to be able to inflate cordlessly. Plus, there's an auto shutoff feature that the air stops inflating when reaching a preset psi. Haven't used it to fill up a completely flat fire, but only use it to top off the psi. The inflator is pretty quick for that purpose.

Additionally, I have one of these:
Amazon.com: Moroso 89560 Tire Pressure Gauge, Dial Type, 0-60 psi: Automotive

Amazon.com: Moroso 89590 Tire Pressure Gauge Cover: Automotive

The gauge is really accurate and doesn't leak air while measuring.

I travel with the correct psi and my tires are happy
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Old 03-30-2010, 12:56 PM   #8
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I have a big compressor with a 20 gallon tank that I took up to the cabin for running framing and roofong nailers during construction. Needed somethng for car tires and small shop projects at home, so I went out and bought a little Campbell Hausfeld compressor with a two gallon tank at Walmart for $59.00. It appears to be of better quality than the Harbor Freight models. It tucks away easily, weighs about 10 lbs, works OK for tires and running a small finish nailer, but doesn't generate enough CFM to use as a blower. With a 1/4" rubber hose, ~25' long, the whole unit is very compact and I can carry it wherever I need it- another benefit of the smaller compressor is that I plug it into any outlet without fear of overload- my big compressor would only work on a 20A outlet, no extension cords.
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Old 03-30-2010, 04:10 PM   #9
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I have two small ones... one is a pancake type, I think a one gallon one... but the motor does take a bit of time to get pressure...

The other is probably a pancake, but it has a shell around the whole thing, so you do not see the tank... it gets pressure a lot quicker... I can not find either on the Lowes or Home depot site... but there are similar ones there...
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Old 03-30-2010, 04:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by travelover View Post
The problem with the small 12 volt ones is that they take forever to fill a tire.
True that it takes a long time to fill an almost flat tire. But if the tire only needs a few additional pounds, it's not that bad.

But the biggest advantage of a small 12V compressor is that it can be left in the trunk all the time, therefore available for use at any time and not just at home.
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Low cost, low weight, very reliable air compressor
Old 03-30-2010, 04:44 PM   #11
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Low cost, low weight, very reliable air compressor

works every time:


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Old 03-30-2010, 04:44 PM   #12
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What I guessed at earlier as "Recovery Time" is actually called "Duty Cycle":

Quote:
The duty cycle is how much time the compressor can safely run within a given period of time, expressed as a ratio. For example, a common duty cycle for compressors is 50/50, meaning that the compressor motor can run about half the time it is supplying air to your tools... 50 minutes on and 50 minutes off. During the "on" time, the motor is pressurizing the tank. During the "off" time, your tools are running on the air stored under pressure in the tank. If your tools are draining the pressure off too fast, the compressor engine must run at more than a 50/50 rate which can lead to overheating and significantly shorten compressor life.
Let me Google it for you:

"duty cycle" +compressor - Google Search=
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:05 PM   #13
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Thanks, all, for the info and suggestions. Hopefully this can turn into a more leisurely followup exercise with the 2 new Costco tires I got today. Also discovered Costco has free air with one of those modern dial- in- the -pressure setups which would be useful if I can coordinate w/ a gas or shopping run. Otherwise, even tho it's only a few miles from here, I'll spend as much on gas @$3/gal as the closer places that charge you for the air.

Another issue surfaced.....accuracy of the measurement. I measured the 2 new tires before I left w/ my $15 dial gauge. Got 27psi/spec for the car is 29psi. I usually fill to 32psi because I don't like the looks of the tire when it's at spec.
Don't notice excessive wear at the center of the tire which supposedly happens
if pressure is too high but don't if I'm causing a problem. Also don't know when you're supposed to measure.........seem to see a 2psi (or larger) change if I measure in the PM vs the AM with a 20deg F change (car not driven) which is larger than it should be assuming PV = nRT (perfect gas law). Don't know if the measuring gauge gets affected by temp either.
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:18 PM   #14
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How can a homeowner not have a compressor, a real one I mean?

I have had a 1-1/2 HP one for 30 years. Recently bought a 2-HP one to bring up to my 2nd home. I don't do heavy carpentry work myself, but a guy never knows when he needs to use the blow gun, a stapler or his impact wrench. Or sandblast something

I also have a puny 12V emergency one, and it has saved me on a couple of occasions. But I have been thinking about a small AC-powered one to keep with the RV. Too bad the RV is not big enough for me to put a tool chest in there.
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:22 PM   #15
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Take a look at the battery charger type that come with a air compressor - they serve a couple of purposes - battery jump, compressor, emergency power source for cell phone etc - some come with a light. Good for an emergency and inexpensive.
But for home use I would suggest the home compressor types you can get at Sears or Northern Tool. Proper inflated tires - safe and save gas.
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:24 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
How can a homeowner not have a compressor, a real one I mean?

I have had a 1-1/2 HP one for 30 years. Recently bought a 2-HP one to bring up to my 2nd home. I don't do heavy carpentry work myself, but a guy never knows when he needs to use the blow gun, a stapler or his impact wrench. Or sandblast something

I also have a puny 12V emergency one, and it has saved me on a couple of occasions. But I have been thinking about a small AC-powered one to keep with the RV. Too bad the RV is not big enough for me to put a tool chest in there.
You can also check out the CO2 tanks - heavy and can cost a bit to refill - you also need a regulator and hose.
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Old 03-31-2010, 10:32 PM   #17
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This is what I have. Works great.
Campbell Hausfeld RP4100 120V Inflator with Gauge
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Old 04-01-2010, 02:44 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Lakedog View Post
I have one of these:
Amazon.com: Black & Decker ASI300 Air Station Inflator: Home Improvement

It is very handy and gets used quite a bit (bikes, auto, basketballs, etc). This unit is fairly small so storage is not a big deal. Works with 120v or 12v. I think I paid around $40 when on sale at Lowes or Home Depot.
I have that same one and can't say anything bad about it.
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:27 PM   #19
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Another handy item:
5 Gallon Portable Air Tank
It's just 30 bucks. They make a groovy lightweight aluminum one, too, but it's $80.


If you've already got a large compressor (or a friend at the local service station/tire shop), you can charge up this tank with it and take it elsewhere to fill tires, etc a lot faster than using one of the small 12V compressors.
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Old 03-25-2012, 04:39 PM   #20
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Every so often I go to Home Depot's website and see what new 18V One tool goodies are out there. New is an inflator that looks pretty nice:

18-Volt One+ Cordless Green Inflator P731-P731 at The Home Depot

If I didn't already have a Craftsman inflator which I repaired, I'd seriously think about this one.
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