The Little Air Pump That Can

It’s the age-old of question of topping off the air pressure of tires conveniently at home.  Yes you can always go to a gas station or convenience store to do it but everything always lists “psi cold” and the tires heat while driving or riding.  I do have a Slime air compressor that works off a 12 volt cigarette lighter plug.  It’s small and gets the job done but it’s seems noisy too.  To do the motorcycle tires I have to get each motorcycle tire over close enough to the car to use the compressor within reach of the cord and the cigarette lighter in the car.  I started looking for a compressor that I could plug into a wall outlet.  I didn’t need anything with an air tank that could power a nailer or other air tool.  I just needed a light duty air compressor to top off tires.

I found a Kobalt 120 PSI electric air compressor at Lowe’s.  It’s a handy little unit and retails for $49.98.  It runs on 120 volt AC current or 12 volts DC using the cigarette lighter plug.  The compressor has a digital tire gauge on it for checking tire pressures and has accessories for inflating sports equipment and air mattresses.  It also has grommets on the front to hold your valve stem caps.  One of the best features is that you can set the pressure you want in the tire, turn the compressor on and it will turn itself off when it reaches the pre-set pressure. No more guessing, checking, pumping and checking.  The air hose and 120 volt cord wrap around the unit and the 12 volt cord is stored in the compressor.  There’s also a compartment for spare valve stem caps, sports needles and air mattress/toy nozzles.  The 12 volt cord is more than ample to reach all four tires on a vehicle but the 120 volt cord is only 21 inches long.  I’ve checked the pressure against both an Accu-Gage dial pressure gauge and a BMW digital tire pressure gauge and it hasn’t been more than one half pound off.  I think it’ll be a handy tool in the garage.  Now I can leave the motorcycle right where it is and top off the pressure in the tires if needed.

In the video below I let 3 pounds of air from the back tire and then set the compressor at 48 PSI.  It stops when it reaches 48.

Pros of the compressor:

  • Runs off of the cigarette lighter in the car or household current.
  • All cords are retained around or in the compressor.
  • Quiet.
  • Digital pressure gauge.
  • Can be set to turn off at a pre-set pressure.
  • 12 volt automobile cord is long enough to reach all four tires.

Cons of the compressor:

  • 120 volt household cord is way too short and requires an extension cord.
  • After 10 minutes of continuous use it should be allowed to cool for 10 minutes.

No you won’t be able to completely fill and set a bead on a tire with this little gem but it’s great for everyday use in maintaining tire pressures.

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