What’s The Best Tyre Inflator?
For the price, I think the Ring RAC610 is.
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Ensuring your car tyres are at the correct pressure is crucial for braking, grip and fuel efficiency. Under-inflated tyres also wear out far sooner, and damage to the wheel is more likely.
But what features should the best tyre inflator have, and what is a reasonable price to pay?
To help you choose, I’ve reviewed the Ring RAC610, the most popular tyre inflator on Amazon, with tens of thousands of customer ratings.
I’ll also suggest more feature-packed alternatives and will explain whether you really need those extras.
Why I Chose The Ring RAC610
I’ve owned the Ring RAC610 for 9 months and used it every 3 weeks or so to inflate a tyre with a very slow puncture.
I chose this tyre inflator because:
- It’s small, compact, lightweight and fits in the boot without taking up much space.
- It was cheap.
- It’s one of the most popular inflators in the UK.
- Is made by Ring, which is a leading brand in this field.
What’s in the Box
Inside the box, there is:
- The main unit with an on/off button and an analogue dial display.
- Power cord (3m) with a 12v DC (cigarette lighter) fitting.
- 0.48m hose.
- Hose attachments for car and bike tyres.
Here are all the important bits:
- Box dimensions: 18cm(w), 15cm(h), 9cm(depth).
- Weight of unit: 0.63 kg.
- Max psi: 100 (stated, I can’t test it to this pressure).
- Timing: 3 mins to inflate from 20-30psi.
- Power/Air flow rate: 80watts/18-20 litres per min.
- Cable length: 3m. Hose length: 48cm.
- Power source: Via 18v socket (aka cigerette lighter socket).
- Attachments: For bike tyres and other inflatables.
My Experience Of Using This Tyre Inflator
I found using this tyre inflator easy and foolproof.
I pushed the 18v connector into the 18v DC (cigarette lighter) socket in the car and screwed the hose onto the wheel valve on the vehicle.
The analogue dial then immediately displayed the current pressure of the tyre.
I then switched the car ignition on (optional as this inflator can run off the car battery) and pressed the on/off button.
The RAC610 tyre inflator started pumping air into the tyre, and the gauge dial gradually moved.
My tyre pressure was a lowly 20psi, and it took about 3 minutes to get it up to 30psi.
The display on this inflator is an analogue dial, and it doesn’t provide a precise figure.
The dial’s needle also vibrates when the device is switched on.
After inflating my car’s tyres to 30psi, I drove to my local Tesco petrol station and checked the pressure on their digital air pumps; all 4 tyres were within 0.5psi of the reading the RAC610 produced.
Based on this, I believe the device is accurate to within 0.5psi.
How This Tyre Inflator Can Be Improved
As this tyre inflator is at the lower end of the price range, I never expected it to be perfect, here are a few things that could be better:
- It’s noisy and produces a rattling sound.
- It vibrates and bounces around when left on the ground. I found it best to hold the device.
- The display dial is analogue and isn’t precise.
- There’s no light/torch (a light would make it easier to use at night in a poorly lit area).
- The display isn’t backlit (maybe hard to see at night).
- There’s no auto cut-off feature so you’ll need to monitor the pressure and switch it off manually.
- The overall build quality left me feeling that this is a tyre inflator for occasional or emergency use rather than frequent or professional use.
A Quote From Paul Farley
Paul Farley regularly fact-checks our content and also provides us with his opinion on products and services we review.
I asked him to use this inflator and this is what Paul had to say about the Ring RAC610:
This inflator was very easy to use and would be perfect for using now-and-again such in emergency situations. The unit is small and the box fitted in my glove compartment. For the price, I feel it’s very good value but it was slow to inflate the tyres and a bit noisy too. If you’re worried about inflating a tyre in the dark then consider another product as this device doesn’t have any lights on it and the display isn’t lit either.
Two Alternatives to Consider
Not sure if the RAC610 tyre inflator is for you?
I have experience with other Ring inflators and I rate them above all others.
Consider these alternatives:
1) Ring RAC635
The Ring RAC635 is very similar to the 610 model but with a few upgrades:
- Longer cable (3.5m vs 3m).
- Longer hose (0.7m vs 0.48m).
- Tyre deflation valve.
- Auto stop feature.
- Built-in light/torch.
- Backlit display.
- More powerful (120w vs 80w and 28-30 litres per min vs 18-20 litres per min).
- Storage case.
If you’re looking for a cheap, basic, lightweight inflator for occasional or emergency use, consider the RAC610.
Still, if you can afford an extra £20, the RAC635 has some good upgrades, with the torch, digital display and a more powerful unit being the highlights.
1) Ring RTC6000
The Ring RTC6000 adds even more features to the RAC635:
- Even more powerful (180w vs 120w).
- Cordless – powered from the onboard battery.
- 12v DC (cigarette lighter charger) and a 230v standard 3-pin plug charger are included.
- Acts as a power bank with a USB port for charging phones.
- Larger fully digital backlit display.
- 10-piece kit for inflating beds, bike tyres and other accessories.
The RTC6000 has so many features that it’s best suited to those who will use it often and prefer a cordless tyre inflator that can be used anywhere. The battery power bank is a nice feature that allows the user to charge phones – handy in emergency situations. It’s twice as powerful as the basic RAC610 unit but does weigh more and takes up more storage space.
Author: Daniel Woodley
Daniel has over 18 years of experience in the construction, home improvement, and landscape garden industries.
He previously worked as a project manager and has experience in managing teams of tradespeople and landscape gardeners on both small and medium sized projects.
Daniel is also a keen gardener and enjoys growing unusual plants and tending to his lawn.
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