Getting Our PSI On With the Husky Electric Air Tire Pump 120V Inflator
Does a “small and cheap” solution do the job as well as some other power inflators?
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A power inflator is a must-have for your garage, shed, or the trunk of your car. Your tires are arguably the most important parts of your vehicle. Having them at the wrong pressure can be dangerous. There are several great power inflators on the market, and many offer a variety of features and options to make your inflation jobs easier.
Whether you are topping off your Pirellis, heading off on a bike trek, or just pumping up a basketball, you’ll save yourself time with a power inflator. The Husky Electric Air Tire Pump 120V Inflator is an inexpensive option to consider.
Keeping in mind that no frills means no frills, let’s find out if this pump can get the job done.
Initial Reactions to the Husky 120V Inflator
- Good: Compact design, durable build quality, and easy-to-grab handle.
- Bad: Only comes with a 120-volt plug, no PSI cut off, a bit heavy for its size.
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Owned and operated by Home Depot, the Husky Tools brand has always done a great job at delivering no-frills tools and equipment at a reasonable price. Open the box for this Husky power inflator and you’ll find a 120V power inflator wrapped in plastic, a little baggie of adapters, and an eight-page owner’s manual.
The unit feels pretty substantial, despite its diminutive size. The Husky inflator is basically a metal cylinder bookended by two plastic caps. Additional metal bars run left to right for added stability. There’s a grab handle on the left side, and the other end houses the direct-drive motor and an analog pressure gauge.
A 24-inch household plug and a 28-inch air hose are attached on either end. The hose attaches to your inflatable with a quick-connect valve adapter, similar to what you’ll find on a bike pump. There are four rubber feet on the bottom of the inflator, and they help to keep the vibration (but not the noise) down. The unit is powered by a simple red on-off rocker switch.
There are air-hose-sized slots on each corner to ensure that the hose can be safely wrapped around the unit. There is no such solution for the three-prong power cord. You’re going to have to wrap that sucker around the handle and live with it.
Using the Husky Electric Air Tire Pump 120V Inflator
I put the Husky 12-volt inflator through a series of “standardized” tests, starting with inflating a car tire. My BMW M4 requires 33 psi on all four corners. I was able to use the quick-connect end to release air from the tire by placing it on the valve stem without locking it into place. Once the pressure had dropped, I set about refilling to the proper psi. It was quick enough. It wasn’t going to set any inflation records, but I never felt myself going, “Finish already!”
The inflator is pretty loud, measuring 92.8 decibels on my meter. The average for air compressors is reportedly 70-90 decibels. The CDC notes that one to two hours of exposure to 80-95 decibels could damage your hearing, so wear ear protection if you plan to use the unit for a prolonged period.
I tried out the Husky’s non-automotive functions, including filling up a basketball, topping off a bike tire, and inflating a pool toy. It took 8.77 seconds to fill up a Kangaroo Emoji ball, which is a 12-inch pool toy I randomly had in my garage. (It’s the one with hearts for eyes, if we’re being specific.)
The adapters included are all threaded, however, they generally just slide into the quick-connect end and secure once you lock it in place. Each item was filled in a reasonably quick manner, and it was definitely better than using a manual pump or good old-fashioned air from your lungs.
What’s Good About the Husky Electric Air Tire Pump 120V Inflator
From a durability perspective, the Husky 120-volt inflator seems pretty solid. I tried my hardest to bend the grab handle to no avail. Even though it is made of plastic, it’s pretty robust. During a three-foot drop test, the inflator’s fate would likely depend on how it landed and what it landed on. A direct hit on the handle or gauge might break it. The adapters fit into the quick-connect end well, but they could bend if you aren’t careful since they don’t actually thread into place.
I definitely would have used a small compressor like this during my (championship-winning) autocross days. Its small size would have fit well in my gear bin, and the reasonable cost means theft wouldn’t have been much of a concern while I was out on the course.
What’s Not So Good About the Husky Electric Air Tire Pump 120V Inflator
The biggest issue with the Husky 120-volt inflator is the lack of a 12-volt car adapter. Testing this one meant digging out and untangling my collection of extension cords. There is a Husky inflator that solely runs on 12 volts if that’s something that better fits your needs. Across the power-inflator segment, however, there are quite a few options that offer both 120- and 12-volt connections.
From what I could tell, there is no spot on the unit in which to keep the adapters. This means they will go into a bin or tray on my workbench, potentially never to be seen again. There is also no feature that allows you to set a target psi, ensuring that the unit will shut off when you reach a specific level. So, you have to stare at the gauge, which is a bit hard to read, and turn it off when you hit the right level. It’s cool that the gauge glows in the dark, but the markings are only at every 10 psi, so hitting 33 psi exactly was a bit of a challenge compared to those inflators with a digital gauge.
Finally, the unit is a bit heavy for its small size. This really doesn’t matter unless the inflator is going to travel with you somewhere. For example, adding its heft to your camping bin might be a bit annoying. I have tested other options on the market that were larger yet lighter. Some buyers may see the heft as a positive, though. It does feel like a solid tool.
Our Verdict on the Husky Electric Air Tire Pump 120V Inflator
For the price, it’s hard to beat. Thirty-five bucks for a competent, no-frills power inflator is pretty solid. Other units will give you a choice of power connections, screw-on connectors, and a place to store your cords and adapters. They will also cost twice as much or more.
If you need a powered pump inflator for your basic automotive, biking, or sports-ball needs, the Husky Electric Air Tire Pump 120V Inflator is a solid buy. This would meet most of my day-to-day needs. I’ll just need to keep an extension cord handy — and budget some time to find those loose adapters.
Husky Electric Air Tire Pump 120V Inflator Specs
- Price: $34.95
- Weight: 4.38 pounds
- Dimensions: 9.3 inches long, 6.25 inches tall, 3.95 inches wide
- Max PSI: 130 PSI
- Gauge: Bar and PSI
- Voltage: 120
- Power Type: Corded electric (standard household)
- Included in packaging: User manual, inflator, and three adapters
- Hose length: 28-inch air hose
- Corded or wireless: 24-inch power cord
- Adapters: Sportsball needle, raft/mattress nozzle, Presta valve adaptor
- Case: Not included
- Warranty: two-year limited (if purchased from Home Depot)
Buy Here: Husky Electric Air Tire Pump 120V Inflator
FAQs About the Husky Electric Air Tire Pump 120V Inflator
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.
Q. Does it come with a case?
A. Negative. That’s considered a frill.
Q. Does it shut off automatically?
A. No, you’ll have to keep your finger on the power button and shut it off manually when you reach your target psi.
Q. Does it get warm while inflating?
A. Yes, but not dangerously so. Just keep your hands off the motor and the metal cylinder. Stick to the plastic areas, and you’ll be fine.
Q. Can it deflate as well as inflate?
A. Sort of, but it’s a manual process. The quick-connect end can be pressed into the valve stem to release air.
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