Tire Inflation Made Easy

    Small, lightweight, battery-powered air compressors make inflating low tires easy in the field. (Dan Anderson )

    Some of the best money I’ve spent in recent years was for a battery-powered air compressor. Instead of loading a 120-volt electric or gas-engine-powered air compressor into the bed of my pickup, or filling and lugging a 7-gal. portable air tank to the field, I now reach behind the seat of my truck to grab an 8-lb. battery-powered air compressor that’s slightly larger than a loaf of bread and fill up a tire to 120 psi of air.

    The rugged little compressor isn’t fast. It takes 15 or more minutes to fill up a wagon tire, but the compressor has a built-in pressure sensor/shut-off. Once I set the desired pressure, I can go off and grease a machine, fill a fuel tank or take a nap. The compressor shuts off when it reaches the specified pressure.

    My portable mini-compressor is a Milwaukee 2848-20 that uses Milwaukee’s popular M18 lithium-ion battery that’s also used with their cordless drills, grinders and saws. DeWalt, Makita and other cordless tool manufacturers offer similar battery-operated air compressors, so farmers can save money by selecting a cordless compressor that matches the cordless tools they already have on hand.

    That means you have to buy only the mini-air compressor, and those units are surprisingly economical. Mine cost around $200. Similar farm-duty cordless air compressors are in that price range.

    Cordless compressors aren’t designed to provide compressed air flow for blowing off machines. But they’re perfect for filling tires in remote locations, from the grandkid’s bicycle tire to combine and semi-truck tires.

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