Portable tyre inflator test: Sealey vs Ring vs Worx

Three small tyre inflators go head to head in order to make your search for the best tyre inflator much easier.

Sealey CTI120, Ring RTC2000, and Worx WX092 beside a car wheel

by Chris Williams |

Frustration is a common emotion experienced when trying to find the right portable tyre inflator. It’s not like cheese where you know your preferences - tyre inflators are objects with far fewer enthusiasts in tow.

But the importance of a tyre inflator is indisputable, which is why so many of us opt to keep a small portable one in the car or garage. However, the abundance of models combined with our general lack of interest in tyre inflators means said frustration comes to the fore when it comes to trying to buy one.

One way to immediately slim down the volume of tyre inflators to consider is by familiarising yourself with the established brands. Unlike the generic and usually cheap competitors found exclusively online, the industry’s known manufacturers have prevailed in the market because of the thorough research and development they undertake as part of their product production.

As a consequence, these trustworthy names provide much better longevity, sustained performance, and usability with their products compared to the unknown, under-priced and under-engineered competitors.

Our tyre inflator triple test

However, even when you filter tyre inflators in line with our advice above, you are still presented with a large range of candidates. To make things very simple, we’ve gathered three small tyre inflators from reputable brands and tested them against one another to establish a winner. A quick overview is below.

Sealey is a very well-known name in tools, producing a vast range of common and niche tools for DIYers and professionals alike.

Sealey CTI120 Compact Rechargeable Tyre Inflator

Sealey CTI120
Amazon

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Max PSI: 120 Weight: 0.46kg Adaptors included: Four

Ring Automotive is a heavyweight in the automotive aftermarket world. Like Sealey, Ring Automotive caters to the wider public and specialists with a wide product range that includes car light bulbs, battery chargers, inspection lamps and many other things besides.

Ring RTC2000 Cordless Handheld Tyre Inflator

Ring RTC2000 Cordless Handheld Tyre Inflator
Amazon

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Max PSI: 120 Weight: 0.485kg Adaptors included: Two

Worx produces power tools and garden tools aimed at domestic use and light trade use with warranties to reflect that. Like other power tool brands such as Ryobi and Bosch, Worx produces a big range of tools powered by its own 18V batteries.

Worx WX092 Inflator (Tool Only)

Worx WX092 Inflator (Tool Only)
Amazon

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Max PSI: 150 Weight: 0.95kg (without battery) Adaptors included: Two WX092 with battery and charger: £119.99

Related: Cordless power washer triple test

Build quality and design

Worx WX092 control panel
©Photo: CAR

Ease of use and build quality are extremely important here because these are fields where the Sealey, Ring, and Worx units ought to stand head and shoulders above the generic models that flood the market.

They’re all very compact, with the Sealey and Ring even being small enough to fit in a glovebox. In addition to their tiny footprint, we have no qualms about build quality either. All three feel solid and reliable, but in terms of ergonomics, there are some differences.

Thanks to dedicated handles, the Sealey and Worx are the best to grasp, with the Worx sitting at the very top. The Worx pulls even further ahead due to its superior control panel – its buttons are better to use than those on the Sealey. So too are the buttons on the Ring.

Where the Worx has an issue is with its hose clamp and air chuck design. The quality is great but it’s harder to fit onto a tyre valve than the others. You must push it on and it’s a little uncomfortable to do so, whereas the others use an easier threaded clamp.

Performance

Sealey CTI120 inflating car tyre
©Photo: CAR

The Worx shines ahead of the others here. It’s noticeably more powerful and has a longer run time, even with the smallest Worx battery (2.0Ah). It’s the only one of the three that can fully reinflate car tyres and will do so in about three to five minutes, depending on the size.

The Sealey and Ring inflators are better suited for topping up car and motorbike tyres, but are perfectly adept at managing bicycle tyres and other smaller tasks. In fairness, topping up car tyres is what we normally do. On the occasions your car has a completely flat tyre, it’s usually got a puncture and an inflator is redundant anyway.

All three come with lights and again, the Worx has the most power. Those on the Sealey and Ring models are there to illuminate the tyre valve when it’s dark but the work light on the Worx has a two-stage 150/300-lumen brightness with a red SOS mode too.

What major advantage the Sealey and Ring inflators have over the Worx is the ability to act as a power bank. Like the inflating abilities of the Sealey itself, its 2000mAh battery is also best for topping up. However, the RTC2000 has a much bigger 5200mAh capacity, which is more than enough for a full recharge of a smartphone, for example.

Value

Ring RTC2000 inflating car tyre
©Photo: CAR

It’s important to note that the Sealey and Ring can both be recharged via USB. The Worx, being part of the Worx 18V PowerShare range, needs a Worx 18V battery and charger. This has a considerable impact on cost.

If you’ve already got Worx batteries and a charger that’s fine, you can buy the WX092 as a tool only. But if you don’t, you’ll need to buy the WX092 kit that includes a battery and charger, which is a lot more.

The Ring is certainly the best value, not only nominally but in real terms too. It’s of similar performance to the Sealey yet costs far less and has a much larger battery capacity for charging devices. It’s outperformed by the Worx but is perfectly happy topping up car tyres, which is what most of us do, and the build quality sits at a similarly high level.

Verdict

For domestic use, we find the Ring inflator to be our winner here. It is outperformed by the Worx, but the Ring will happily do what most of us want: top-up car tyres. The Ring is also very well made and has a decent capacity as a power bank, in addition to being very compact.

The Worx is certainly the most capable inflator of the three. Though, chances are most buyers will need the battery and charger kit, which makes the WX092 quite an investment. That being said, it gives you access to the excellent world of Worx PowerShare.

The Sealey is a good little tool but a bit expensive to justify, especially compared to the performance of the Worx and the value of the Ring.

Ring RTC2000 Cordless Handheld Tyre Inflator

First place
Ring RTC2000 Cordless Handheld Tyre Inflator
Amazon

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Quality 5/5 | Performance 3/5 | Features 4/5 | Value 5/5 | Useability 5/5 Score 88%

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Pros Cons
• 5200mAh power bank • Can’t handle full car tyre inflating
• Easy valve attachment
• Best value
• Comes with bike bracket

Worx WX092

Second place
Worx WX092
Amazon

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Quality 5/5 | Performance 5/5 | Features 4/5 | Value 3/5 | Useability 4/5
Score 84%

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Pros Cons
• Most powerful model on test • Not a power bank
• Best run time • Annoying valve attachment
• Best work light

Sealey CTI120

Third place
Sealey CTI120
Amazon

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Quality 4/5 | Performance 4/5 | Features 4/5 | Value 3/5 | Useability 4/5 Score 76%

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Pros Cons
• 2000mAh power bank • Ring has larger battery
• Very compact • Ring is better value

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