Why everyone should stash a Car and Driver AIRX 200 tire inflator in their car

The world is a dangerous place.

Just the other day, I was driving on a side road near my house. I spotted what looked like a shiny object in the road. I pulled over, because I knew — if it wasn’t something I drove over by mistake, someone else would. It turned out to be a screw sticking straight up toward the sun, almost beckoning drivers or bike riders to experience what a puncture is like.

In my car, there’s another cause for concern.

My front right tire has a rim that must be slightly damaged. The tire tends to lose air over time, but it can be weeks before I even notice. I have to keep an eye on it, but I’m not always that vigilant, especially when life gets crazy. 

I do think the Car and Driver AIRX 200 tire inflator is a device everyone should consider bringing along. That could be, if not on a bike trip (it’s a little heavy and bulky for that) then certainly something to stow in your trunk. It also works great for inflating basketballs, swimming gear, and just about anything that holds air.

Extra features

The AIRX 200 comes with plenty of nozzles for all of those activities. This includes the standard size bike pump nozzle and one for just about any athletic ball like a football, volleyball or basketball. I found it handy recently when I was expecting a few family to visit. I was able to quickly inflate several tires that were low and everyone was able to bike to a local park.

So — about those flat tires. Your mileage will vary, of course — and quite literally. If you get a small puncture, you can use the AIRX 200 to inflate the tire enough to make it a few miles up to a repair shop. I’ve had punctures that were much more severe and had to swap out the tire altogether. Another reason to consider the AIRX 200 is if you have a car that’s constantly warning you about low tire pressure. You can quickly check if that’s really true with the included digital gauge. For only $70, the digital device comes in handy.


There’s a few extra perks, too. Because it holds a charge, you don’t have to connect it to the cigarette lighter in your car. (I realize that is not the proper name anymore, but just go with it.) You can fully inflate up to two tires from zero on one charge, which lasts about 20 minutes. The company also says you can expect to fill a normal sized tire in about 90 seconds, so it works pretty quick.

The device also has a light in case you are stranded at the side of the road after sundown. There’s an alert system that tells you whether you have fully inflated the tire or not.

I liked the compact size — it weighs about 1.5 pounds. My only slight ding here is that I probably wouldn’t take the AIRX 200 on an actual bike trip. It’s a little too bulky and heavy for that. Plus, I already own a couple of extremely light hand pumps that would do the trick. Also, there wasn’t a nozzle for the smaller sized Presta valve on the bikes I own.

Still, for everything else, the AIRX 200 worked great and is something I’d keep around in my trunk or garage at all times. You never know when life will go a little flat.

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