If you ride a lot, you are probably aware of how handy owning a CO2 inflator and cartridge can be. There are lightweight and compact enough to put in your pocket or backpack. Plus, they can be a lifesaver if you are stranded out on the road somewhere.
Getting a puncture while riding can be frustrating, especially when you are far away from help. Owning a CO2 inflator can save you time getting back on the road, but it also prevents you from having to do a ton of strokes using a mini pump. Here are a few tips and reviews to help you find the best CO2 Inflator for your next road trip.
Best CO2 Inflators
1. Genuine Innovations Tire Inflator
Featuring the original air chuck, the Genuine Innovations Tire Inflator comes with new features. Using the same push release design that everyone is familiar with, this lightweight and ergonomic design allow you to keep your hands off the cartridges.
This is a completely controllable bike pump that is easy to use and is compatible with both Schrader and Presta valves. It also provides a comfortable grip that keeps you from freezing your fingers. And, it includes a threaded 20-gram CO2 cartridge.
2. Lezyne Control Tire Inflator
Compatible with both 16 and 25-gram CO2 cartridges, Lezyne Control Tire Inflators give you total control. With a head made of machined aluminum, you get durable internal parts made of brass, as well as a control knob that lets you control airflow. Lezyne Control Tire Inflators also features a twin slip chuck head that accommodates both Schrader and Presta valves.
With a Neoprene sleeve, Lezyne Control Tire Inflators will insulate your hand from any cold discharge. This bike pump is also available in several color options.
3. Pro Bike Tool Tire Inflator
Providing reliable and fast tire inflation, the Pro Bike Tool Tire Inflator allows you to inflate a tire in just seconds using the One-Turn Valve Design. It features a control lever that allows you to regulate the speed of the CO2 that is released for precise control. The twin valve heads allow you to accommodate either Schrader or Presta valves without having to switch out the valve heads.
This lightweight, small, and compact CO2 Inflator is easy to carry and provides a secure and safe connection without having to worry about leaks. Made from a high-quality aluminum alloy, this bike pump has precise and durable parts that are built to last.
4. Portland Design Works Tire Inflator
Lightweight and portable, the Portland Design Works Tire Inflator can be carried in your backpack or pocket. With its compact design, you can even carry it along with a spare tube and CO2 cartridges. Made with rugged alloy and a sleeve made of leather, your hands are protected freezing CO2 cartridges.
Compatible with only Presta valves, the Portland Design Works Tire Inflator also features a regulating control knob that allows you to control the rate of CO2 into the tube. This compact CO2 inflator is ideal for topping off tires and fixing flats.
5. Briskmore Bike CO2 Tire Inflator
This durable and compact CO2 inflator has a classic and lightweight design. Compatible with both Schrader and Presta valves, this inflator will not leak thanks to its washer seal. The Briskmore CO2 Tire Inflator features an insulated rubber foam sleeve that will protect your fingers and only fits 16 g cartridges.
Constructed with durable and strong alloy steel and aluminum alloy, this bike pump has been heat-treated and precisely machined. The Briskmore Bike CO2 Tire Inflator features a simple to use and reliable control valve that allows you to make precise adjustments, inflate your tires quickly, and get you back on the road.
6. Vibrelli Performance Tire Inflator
The perfect, lightweight tire pump allows you to control your PSI and inflation speed easily. Vibrelli Performance Tire Inflators features a unique easy to use airflow value, making it perfect for both social and competitive riders. It can fit any threaded CO2 cartridge size, including 25, 20, and 15-grams.
Compatible with both Schrader and Presta valves, you won't need to change the valve out to pump up a tire. Vibrelli Performance Tire Inflators is made from machined and cast 6061 Aluminum Alloy and also comes with a glueless puncture repair kit.
7. Air Buster Tire Inflator
This affordable CO2 Inflator is a good investment when you ride in places that are hard to use a standard bike pump. Compatible with either a 24 or 16-gram CO2 cartridge, you can actually inflate two tires if necessary. The Air Buster also has a nozzle that can be adjusted for use with either a Presta or Schrader valve.
It is easy to use a tire pump that allows you to control the pump's speed when filling a tire. The Air Buster Tire Inflator is equipped with a basic cradle that you can attach to your bike so that it can be kept on your bike for easy transport.
8. Airace Tire Inflator
With the Airace Tire Inflator, you can easily take care of flat tires. The chamfered tip of the lever is easy to place under the bead and spoke hook so you can keep the lever securely in place. This unique shape helps you to remove or maintain tight tires without hurting your hand to replace a wheel rim or fix flat tires.
Compatible with both Presta and Schrader valves, the Airace Tire Inflator also comes with a rim protector that protects your wheels from getting scratched. It also comes equipped with a special rubber band that makes storage easy, plus its compact size makes it easy to carry anywhere.
9. Zefal Fez Tire Inflator
Lightweight, easy to use, and compact, the Zefal Fez Tire Inflator has a flow-control that you can adjust and fits either Schrader or Presta valves. This inline bike tire inflator makes it easy to inflate tires with a pump that is only six inches long and features a normal bike pump nozzle. It is compatible with any size bike gas cartridge, but it does come equipped with one 16-gram gas cartridge.
The Zefal Fez Tire Inflator includes an inflator that is flexible enough and has a design that makes it easy to inflate your tires. Plus, the regulator is located in the middle of the hose, making it pretty easy to operate.
Considerations When Choosing a CO2 Inflator
You will find that there are three different ways to release CO2 cartridges into a tire. The difference is in the heads of the CO2 inflators. You can either use a press and release design, turn and release design, or unscrew and release design.
All three of these methods work as well as the other, so it really comes down to preference and which you are more comfortable using. However, of the three, the press and release option is probably the easiest to use and more user-friendly. Also remember that it can be helpful if you practice at home first, so you know how to inflate your tires correct; that way, you won't get caught out on the road with an empty CO2 cartridge as well as a flat tire.
A CO2 inflator head will either be made of aluminum or plastic. As with anything, plastic heads make the CO2 inflator cheaper, but it will also be less durable. Aluminum is more durable, so it will last longer, and it is also a lightweight material, so it won't weigh you down as you ride.
CO2 Cartridge Types
A CO2 cartridge will either come in a non-threaded or threaded option. A threaded cartridge is the most common and cheapest than the other version. However, variations. Non-threaded cartridges have a plug-in and play type of design that makes them ready to use by just pushing it into the tire pump. But they are more expensive and not as common as the threaded version.
Inflator Head Type and Size
When considering the inflator head type and size, the most important thing to consider is that you shouldn't get CO2 inflators so small that you can grip them well. Look for inflators that have a nice balance between stability when you are holding it and portability so that it is easy to carry with you.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Which size CO2 cartridge should I get?
You can use either a 12-gram or a 16-gram CO2 cartridge is enough of a road bike. The 16-gram cartridge can pump up 25c tires at 100 psi. If you are concerned about getting two flat tires on your ride, 25-gram CO2 cartridges can be lighter to carry than two smaller CO2 cartridges.
Can you overinflate bike tires?
If you are using the right CO2 cartridge, there should be no risk. Each of the cartridges come with a specific size and air volume, so you should have a basic idea of what the expected tire pressure is from the cartridge. In case you do feel that you have overinflated your tires, remember that you can let some of the additional air out to be safe.
How long does CO2 air remain in a bike tire?
Typically, releasing CO2 should only last a couple of days in your tire. It's important to keep in mind that CO2 is not the same as the air that you have pumped in using another type of pump, which is due to the solubility of CO2 when it is rubber. So, if you do use CO2 in an emergency, you do need to release it all once you get home and then repump up your tires using a regular tire pump.
Should you fully empty a CO2 cartridge into the tire?
Usually, yes, you do want to fully empty the CO2 cartridge when you are inflating a tire. However, you do need to keep in mind the size of the CO2 cartridge you are using and the size of your tire. Also, remember that the volume of the CO2 is fixed, and the larger the tire, the lower the tire pressure will be.