(Updated 11/29/2021)

Having the best tire inflator in your BMW can be the difference of you making a quick repair or endlessly waiting for roadside assistance to come to your aid, so why not be prepared with the best.

A flat tire doesn't mean you've got to be stranded til a tow truck shows up to transport your bimmer to the nearest repair station. Many times simply adding air to your tire can give you enough time to get it fixed without having to wait for help. Especially if you're in the middle of nowhere, the ability to inflate your tire, even multiple times, can avoid you being stranded for hours waiting for help.

There are plenty of portable tire inflator kits on the market, but which work best? Which are the ones that you can count on in a pinch? Some are available as full kits, complete with items that allow you to repair a punctured tire on your own, while others are as basic as you can get. Regardless of which you want to go with, they're a great investment to keep in your vehicle. Even if you're confident in your spare tire to save you, often times they are low on air from just sitting leaving you where you started. Here are some of the best tire inflator options as recommended by our forum members and staff.

1. Editor and Member's Choice: VacLife Portable Inflator
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User @moRider recommended this VacLife pump, saying they've used it a few times and that "the features I appreciate are: plugs into car's 12V power outlet, auto shut off based on PSI you select, cord/hose is long enough to reach all tires, built-in light, small and lightweight, cheap. Only complaint is that it's not the most powerful, so each tire can take a few minutes to fill." The tire inflator also offers LED lighting for nighttime use and an 11.9-foot power cord that helps you get around your vehicle. This compressor might not work with your spare, though, as it's limited to 50psi. The manufacturer also says to stick with tires narrower than 245mm wide, though this is likely due to the time required to fill rather than any actual restrictions.

Pros: Auto shut-off, LED light, digital gauge
Cons: Slow to fill, 50 psi max

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2. Most Affordable: Topeak Joe Blow Mountain Pump
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Most of this list is going to be electric pumps, but there is something to be said for a good hand pump. Recommended by member @Autoputzer, this Topeak Joe Blow Mountain floor pump is great for topping up a tire that's lost a few pounds because of a slow leak or changes to the temperature. This pump is designed for larger volume and lower pressure mountain bike tires thanks to its extra-large steel barrel, making it better for filling up your BMW's tires more quickly. This pump has an air release button to help you get the exact pressure you want and uses a large gauge to make it easy to read. It stores quickly, easily, and safely in your trunk and is just as quick when you need to use it. It can also help fill your bike tires and works with inflatables like toys for the beach.

Pros: No power needed, high volume pump, can be repaired
Cons: Lots of pumping, more expensive than some electric choices

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3. Avid Power Tire Inflator
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The coolest part of this pump is that it will run on 12V power so you can plug it into your BMW's 12V outlet, but it can also run on 120V power from a standard wall plug. The compressor will work more quickly on 120V power but won't leave you stranded if you're away from the house. It has a digital pressure gauge along with auto shut-off, so you don't need to stand and stare while you listen to the BRRRT of a tire inflator running. It has an LED built-in flashlight and can run in both high volume and high-pressure modes, with the former helping you get a flat inflated more quickly. Use it to inflate tires as well as inflate and deflate camping gear and other inflatables.

Pros: Dual power, auto shut-off, high pressure and high-volume modes
Cons: 9.8-foot cord, some reports that pressure gauge reads high

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4. Dewalt 20V Max Cordless Inflator
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A cordless inflator that uses a power tool battery is a great solution to filling up your BMW's tires. This Dewalt inflator uses the same 20V Max lithium-ion battery that powers your cordless drill or jigsaw and uses that power to pump up your tires quickly and efficiently without you needing to worry about threading a cord around your ride. This digital inflator has high-volume modes, ideal for vehicle tires. It will also run off both 12V and 120V power, so you can use your battery if you have it, but if you left it on another project, your inflator would still work. When it's in use, heavy-duty rubber feet work to stop the inflator from dancing around your driveway and tugging on the air hose.

Pros: cordless power, digital gauge
Cons: Large size, expensive option, won't charge batteries

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5. Slime Digital Tire Inflator
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The Slime 40051 compressor was recommended by @Nightdriver, who says they've had one like it for 10 years. They've had problems with the thumb-tab quick connect hoses used by other inflators and that's why they like the screw-on valve this pump offers. A screw-on valve means that you don't need to worry about a bad connection letting more air out than there is going in. It also means you don't need to worry about the valve popping off while you're letting the pump do its thing. Slime says it will inflate a car tire in six minutes, which is a bit slow for a 12V pump. Rubberized feet help make it more stable, and the cord can be wrapped around the base of the unit for convenient storage and no more cable knots.

Pros: Screw-on connector, auto-off, LED light
Cons: Short cord, long inflation times

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What to look for in a tire inflator?
They're often called tire pumps, but the industry uses the term tire inflator. It doesn't matter what you call them, but that might make your search a bit tougher.

Tire inflators put air in your tire when there isn't enough. They all function similarly inside, using a piston to push air through the hose. For filling car and truck tires you need a Schrader valve end. Most electric pumps have this fitting standard, but some bike pumps will include the cycle focused Presta valve instead. The two are not compatible unless the manufacturer of the inflator says theirs will work with both.

If you want to use your inflator for more than just car tires, one that comes with a needle (for sports balls) and nozzles for inflatables like rafts or air beds is also handy. Dual-powered pumps let you plug into the car for outside air and plug into the wall for filling up an air mattress inside.


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(Original Post 11/15/2021)
If you know where we're coming from, feel free to chime in with an inflator or kit that you believe in. What do you like about it or what don't you like about one that you've purchased in the past. Share with us the best and worst that you've had experience with so we can share with the rest of the forum members here. Maybe they'll consider them as present ideas for the upcoming holiday season or maybe they'll just get them for themselves based on your recommendations. We can't wait to see what you've got to say.

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