September 2, 2014

Product Review: Foot Pumps and 12V Air Compressors

Tyre pressures for motorhomes are a lot higher than those for cars, thanks to the greater weight of most motorhomes. One consequence of this is that some portable tyre pumps, designed (cheaply) for car tyres, are not man enough for the job of inflating tyres up to 50-70psi, the range typically necessary for large van (i.e. motorhome) tyres.

Of course, some pumps are well up to the job – both foot pumps and portable 12V compressors. I’ve recently reviewed a few that have inflated my Transit’s tyres up to 54psi without any problem at all – I’m confident they could all go a bit higher, too.

Michelin single barrel foot pump next to Ring Automotive single barrel footpump

Michelin pump (l) and Ring pump (r)

Michelin Single Barrel Foot Pump

The Michelin is my personal choice of foot pump and one I bought with my own money.

High quality construction, an accurate gauge and easy to fix on to tyre valves.

Ring Automotive Single Barrel Foot Pump

Another high quality foot pump. The Ring foot pump inflates tyres faster than the Michelin but is slightly more fiddly to connect to tyre valves and requires more effort to pump.

Ring Automotove RAC630 Digital Compressor

For those who are not keen on foot pumps, a 12V compressor makes sense. The RAC630 has a digital display that allows you to preset the required tyre Ring Automotive RAC630 digital compressorpressure. The compressor will then inflate the tyre correctly and automatically switch itself off.

The only problem with the RAC630 for motorhome use is that the power cord, which must be plugged into a cigarette lighter socket, is only about 3m long. This is fine for cars and small vans but probably not long enough to reach all four wheels on a coachbuilt motorhome.

The cordless RAC650 might be a better option – but cordless devices need to be kept charged to be of any use.

Final Thoughts

All of these devices are available for £20 or less. Whatever your choice of technology, I would strongly recommend that you always carry some kind of tyre inflation device on board your motorhome.

You never know when a slow puncture or flat tyre will strike and a pump could make the difference between needing to call for help and getting on the road again unaided.

If foot pumps aren’t your idea of fun, then you need a portable compressor to pump up your tyres. We review one of the latest digital models, the Ring Automotive RAC630.

Comments

  1. Norman Jones says:

    Michelin twin barrel footpump.
    I bought one a couple of years ago from Halfords because it looked the best and most expensive.
    I have used it less than 10 times.
    A month ago it literally fell to pieces, the welds on the end of a cylinder gave way, I couldn’t repair it.
    Dissapointing, I binned it and bought a Halfords cheapie, it works!

    • Hello Norman,

      Fair enough – all I can say is that I’m still using my Michelin Single Barrel after several years and it’s as good as ever, no sign of falling apart.

      Cheers, Roland!

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