Few of us would set off on holiday without first making sure that the motorhome’s tyres were at the correct pressures. Aside from the obvious safety risks of incorrect pressures, there’s also the effect that under-inflated tyres have on fuel economy. Some studies suggest that mpg can fall by as much as 10%, even if tyres are only a couple of PSI below what they should be.   

Rectifying tyre pressures can be a tedious job. Motorhome tyres need huge volumes of air if pressures are even slightly low. Using a foot pump is an option, but very tiring. 

Clearly there’s a lot to be said for buying a portable, powered tyre compressor to speed up the process and remove the strain. We assembled a group of rival tyre inflating products that are readily available in Britain, so that we could compare their performance.

We tested the the cordless Halfords Multi-Purpose Inflator, £54.99, reviewed here, against the slightly cheaper Halfords Rapid Digital Tyre Inflator, £34.99, then a trio of tyre compressors from Ring, in price order – Ring RAC630 Digital Compresor & LED Light at £34.99, the Ring RAC640 Digital Air Compressor + Inflator & Deflator at £39.99 and the Ring RAC700 4×4 Air Compressor at £41.99. 

We began our tests by seeing how quickly each unit could inflate a 205/55 x 16 tyre from flat to 30PSI. During connection, we also appraised how user-friendly the compressors were: long power leads and air hoses make positioning much easier, and cordless operation is better still. We also noticed that some higher power models attach directly to a battery’s terminals. 

The connection between the air hose and the tyre valve varies, too, with screw-on style couplings proving more foolproof and easier to use.

Some models also have a deflate button. Being able to deflate a tyre, while monitoring its pressure, is more straightforward than flitting between pressing a valve manually, and then checking the pressure with a gauge.

Why would you want to deflate a tyre at all, you may wonder? Well, you might want to alter the pressures depending on whether you’re running fully loaded or half empty. Also, some of us over-inflate tyres when the motorhome is not being used for a while, because we hope that it might prevent flat spots from forming. Whether this is true or not, the tyres will need returning to their correct pressures before you drive off on holiday.

We checked the accuracy of each unit’s gauge, and observed whether it was easy to read while you’re inflating the tyres. Digital gauges are the easiest to read at a glance. Auto-stop technology, which automatically turns off the compressor when the desired pressure is reached, is a big bonus, simply because you can leave the unit to its own devices instead of crouching over it awkwardly. 

We gave products further points for any useful extra features. Lights are a bonus, should you have to deal with a low tyre at night. And an integral high-volume low-pressure pump – for rapidly dealing with inflatables – means that you won’t need to take a separate pump away with you.

The winner of our group test of tyre compressors is this one – the Halfords Advanced Rechargeable Multi-Purpose Tyre Inflator, priced at £54.99 at the time of our test.  

Thanks to its internal battery, allowing fully cordless operation, this is the most convenient-to-use compressor on test. The lack of a power cord is just one advantage. The built-in high-volume low-pressure air pump, for instance, is perfect for blowing up, or deflating, large inflatables.

The internal battery in the Halfords Advanced Rechargeable Multi-Purpose Tyre Inflator can be used for powering other accessories thanks to both USB and traditional cigarette lighter-style sockets.

Add in respectable tyre-inflating performance, an accurate pressure gauge, plus auto-stop technology, and the Halfords Advanced Rechargeable Multi-Purpose Tyre Inflator is one difficult package to beat.