Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Hello, welcome to Monederosmart UK! Today we're going to talk absolutely everything about the inflator, the machine that not only changed the way we look at inflatables, but turned an entire effort of hands and lungs into a push of a button.

Party balloons, buoys, mattresses, even tyres, in short, everything that stubbornly wilts when you need it most, with an inflator in your home, inflating them becomes a matter of minutes. In this Guide, we will not only show you everything you need to know about the inflator, but we will also help you choose the ideal model for your home and for your inflatables. Lists of products, of advantages and disadvantages, among other tips and information, everything is at your disposal, just below.




Summary

  • As with any electronic appliance, remember to check the voltage of the model, between 110 and 220, so as not to have surprises when you get home.
  • The inflator is as versatile with what it inflates as the adapters they have for its nozzle.
  • Its value can vary a lot, between £ 45 and £ 450, depending on its power, technology and efficiency.

The Best Inflator Models: Our Picks

Buying guide

There are plenty of everyday situations where an inflator makes your life a lot easier. Just at a family barbecue, it can inflate all the buoys for the pool and, later on, the inflatable mattresses. Not to mention the bladders for a birthday party, or even the ball for that football match on Sunday morning.

With so many inflatable products on offer, manufacturers have followed the market and have increased the variety of inflators to meet the most diverse air chambers, but also in search of maximum efficiency, with the lowest energy expenditure, both electric and that of your body too.

 Imagem mostra um grupo de seis pessoas fazendo rafting com um bote inflável.

You are not going to inflate your rafting boat with your mouth, are you? (Source:Tom Fisk/ Pexels)

What is the inflator?

An inflator is an automatic air pump that transfers, by means of a motor, air from its internal chamber into the chamber of an inflatable object, such as a buoy. It is a machine designed for common handling, working with relatively low pressure and power, and equipped with fine hoses and nozzles that fit the majority of the chambers of the most common inflatable products.

Imagem mostra um close de uma série de balões de festa e seus cordões amarrados em suas pontas.

The inflator is designed to handle common inflatables, such as party balloons. (Source:Adi Goldstein/ Unsplash)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the inflator?

Having a device of such specific use and operation comes with a number of advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages, for example, is the practicality with which you fill an inflatable, in the sense of the speed that makes this happen. Another advantage is the versatility that the inflator presents, being able to calibrate a wide range of inflatable products, such as buoys, party balloons, balls in general, inflatable dolls, even tyres, depending on the model.

This brings great savings in time, especially for numerous items, such as bladders, or bulky ones, such as mattresses, and even energy, that of our own body, saving some good pumping to inflate a ball from scratch, for example.

Imagem mostra o que parece ser um desfile, com pessoas amontoadas no plano baixo, olhando para os grandes bonecos infláveis, no plano baixo.

The inflator is so versatile that it can handle inflatable dummies. (Source:Adi Goldstein/ Unsplash)

The disadvantages, on the other hand, are a kind of price the inflator has to pay for that ease. One of these is the noise it makes, loud and constant, on most models. Also disadvantageous is the not very practical handling of the machine, with its cables and wires and care during execution.

A child, for example, is not indicated to use it. Finally, we are talking about products that have from 40 to 600 watts of power, that is, a great potential energy expenditure, which, let's face it, is a great disadvantage, but, as we said, the price to pay.

Advantages
  • Practicality
  • Versatility
  • Time and energy saving
Disadvantages
  • Noise
  • Unpractical handling
  • Power consumption

Electric, manual or balloon inflator?

Although the air is the same, as well as its purpose, that is, to transfer air to an empty chamber, there is a certain variety of inflator models. Within the category that we are in, there is the electric inflator, the manual and the balloon inflator. The electric inflator would be the standard, with a motor inside and an adaptable nozzle on its outside and a consumption that can go from 36 to 500 watts. It is the most versatile of the models, even presenting a variable efficiency, but which invariably results in a fast filling.

Imagem mostra bóias de formatos diversos boiando sob a água de uma piscina, num dia de sol..

The electric inflator is by far the most versatile model and can inflate from balloons to buoys. (Source:Toni Cuenca/ Pexels)

The manual inflator is like a large accordion, where you press a large bellows, with high volumes, from 5 to 10 litres, and release the air into its hose and nozzle. It's useful for low pressure, high volume inflatables, like mattresses for example.

The balloon inflator, as the name says, is designed to inflate bladders and party balloons, with a special nozzle for bladders. They are also electric, and work with a power range even greater than standard inflators, aiming to have maximum efficiency, that is, to inflate the maximum number of bladders in the shortest possible time.

Electric Manual Balloon
Pressure Medium Low Medium
Volume Medium High Low

In your search for the ideal inflator, you may come across compressors, and be left in a natural state of doubt. The question is practically nominal and of size, in a way. This is because inflators and compressors are used for the same thing: to transfer air in a practical way and at high speed. Their basic operation is the same, even.

Imagem mostra uma fileira de compressores, com tanques coloridos, ao fundo, as luzes e superfícies de um ambiente industrial.

The tank is a characteristic and defining element of a compressor. (Source:Pisit Khambubpha/ 123rf)

Ultimately, air pumps that work at high pressures are called compressors, for industrial purposes, machinery maintenance, etc. A striking feature of compressors are their tanks, resembling small gas plugs attached to the machine.

Inflator Compression
Products Low and Medium Pressure Inflatables High Pressure Inflatables and machinery
Use Civil and Events Industrial and Services

How much does it cost and where to buy an inflator?

The price of an inflator can vary a lot. Its power, its voltage, its efficiency, even peripherals such as its hose and nozzles, all influence the price. So, you can find cheaper models starting at £ 45, and the most expensive ones at around £ 450.

Because of the variety of products that "serves", the inflator does not have a specific niche. Thus, you can find it in various types of physical shop. Still, construction and housewares shops, such as Leroy Merlin or Americanas, are the safest bets to seek varied and quality models.

Now, on the Internet you can easily find a wide range of models and prices, especially if you browse through sites such as Amazon, Mercado Livre, which, to top it off, allow you to make the purchase from the comfort of your home.

Purchase Criteria: how to choose the ideal inflator

Following in our mission to help you choose the ideal inflator model, we have put together a list of selection criteria to be applied when buying:

We will, of course, talk about each of these items. Because you need to be very well informed to make the best possible purchase.

Voltage

As we said at the beginning of the text, always pay attention to the voltage of the model you are choosing, between 110V and 220V. Choose the model that corresponds to the sockets you have in your house. Remember that when the voltages between a machine and the socket do not match, or the product works badly, or can even burn.

Adapters

The inflator is as useful as the adapters they have, both of its nozzle and its power source. So, give preference to models with three-in-one nozzles or with at least two types of nozzles. Likewise, try to opt for the inflator with two-pin sockets, with car plugs and/or bivolt chargers. The more power sources your model fits, the more numerous will be the opportunities to use it.

Deflate Mode

Following the footprint of looking for the most versatile model possible, give priority to inflators that feature a deflate function. This way, the model not only makes the process of, for example, deflating and storing mattresses easier, but also becomes more useful, being almost an inflatable gauge.

Noise

Because they are machines, that is, devices with a motor, it is inevitable that the inflator produces some noise. So, look for the less noisy models, always paying attention to the indications of decibel levels on the packaging.

(Source of the image: Alberto Giacomazzi/ 123RF)

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