Craftsman V20 Cordless Tire Inflator review

Expensive and heavy, but still more than capable

Craftsman V20 Cordless Tire Inflator next to car tire
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Like the Black + Decker Inflator, the Craftsman V20 Cordless Tire Inflator may be big and expensive but its choice of three different power sources gives it ultimate flexibility.

Pros

  • +

    Three-way power

  • +

    External batteries

  • +

    Auto shut-off

  • +

    Three-year warranty

Cons

  • -

    Expensive

  • -

    Big and bulky

  • -

    Slow to inflate

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Craftsman V20 Cordless Tire Inflator: Specs

Size: 11.9 x 7.0 x 5.8 inches
Weight: 4.9 pounds (without battery)
Peak pressure: 160 psi
Time to fill a tire: 4:33
Length of cord: 12.8 feet
Battery: External
USB, AC power ports: No
Light: No

From a company well known for making a wide variety of automotive tools, the Craftsman V20 Cordless Tire Inflator can do a great job of filling a flat tire and automatically shutting itself off when it’s done. 

For convenience, it can run on AC, battery or the car’s internal power and has a digital pressure gauge. Sadly it's also among the biggest, heaviest and slowest portable air compressors on the market. It has a three-year warranty, but the V20 Cordless Tire Inflator is still among the most expensive ways to fill a tire with air.

Craftsman V20 Cordless Tire Inflator: Price and availability

Priced at $89 on its own, the V20 Cordless Tire Inflator might seem to be on the expensive side, but nothing outlandish. That is, until you realize that this price doesn’t include the external battery pack, which can more than double the price. 

Two power packs and a charger sell for around $120. Fortunately, there is a combo pack that costs $$208, making it expensive, but not terribly so.

Craftsman V20 Cordless Tire Inflator: Design and features

The red Craftsman V20 Cordless Tire Inflator is among the biggest portable air compressors, measuring around 11.9 by 7.0 by 5.8 inches. That's 10-times the size of the Fanttik A8 Apex pump, and means it just might end up being the biggest thing in your trunk. 

On its own, the 4.9 pounds of weight means this inflator can be a lot to carry around. But throw in one of the 2 amp-hour battery packs and that weight tips the scales at 5.8 pounds. 

Craftsman V20 Cordless Tire Inflator next to car tire

(Image credit: Craftsman)

That said, the Craftsman V20 Cordless Tire Inflator provides freedom of power choice. On top of the expected 12-volt car accessory adapter, the inflator can be plugged into an AC outlet or use one of the V20 lithium-ion batteries.

A 1.3-inch backlit monochrome digital screen shows the current pressure, while the “+” and “-” keys below control the auto shut-off circuit. There’s another button that changes the displayed units between Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) and Kilopascals (KPA). The pump is capable of up to 160 PSI. 

Craftsman V20 Cordless Tire Inflator display

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The two switches above the screen are for selecting the power source and for going between the low volume setting for tires or the high volume one for inflatable toys, like an air mattresses or a raft. The handy cable wraps at each end of the unit are a thoughtful design touch, which helps bring the design together. On the downside, it does without creature comforts we expect from high-end tire inflators, like USB power outlets or an emergency light.

Craftsman V20 Cordless Tire Inflator: Setup

It might be big and heavy, but the Craftsman V20 Cordless Tire Inflator is easy to tote around using its flexible pull-out handle. However the inflator lacks any kind of case or a bag as a result.

With its three different power choices, this inflator can be used in several ways. To start, the tire inflator can be used in a garage with its AC cord. The Craftsman V20 battery will snap in firmly to run the device when you’re off the grid and need to pump up a tire or beach ball. 

Craftsman V20 Cordless Tire Inflator attachment battery

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

On the other hand, it’s more likely that it will be powered by the car’s 12-volt cigarette lighter outlet. The device comes with a snap-on 20-inch hose for tires and sports balls, as well as inflatable toys and bicycle tire valves. The good news is that the pump’s 12-volt cord and air hose combine for a reach of nearly 13-feet. There’s also an 18-inch-wide hose for filling a large inflatable toy like a raft. 

Craftsman V20 Cordless Tire Inflator: Performance

Regardless of which setting I used, the V20 Cordless Tire Inflator started right up, moving air and making a high-pitched whine. On battery power, it took a long 4 minutes and 33 seconds to get a flat tire to 30psi and by adjusting the keys below the screen and emitted a low drone while pumping. 

The inflator’s automatic shut off worked well but the pump’s gauge read a pressure that was two PSI below what my dedicated gauge read. This was also a problem with the B+D Inflator.

It took 16.5 seconds to fill the soccer ball. With the V20 battery, the V20 Cordless Tire Inflator is a must have for camping trips and amateur sports events. The only caveat is that the battery’s charge gauge is hidden from view when it’s in place.

While others shortchange the buyer with skimpy warranties, Craftsman stands by the V20 Cordless Tire Inflator with three-years of coverage. It’s good but the RoofPax still does better with a lifetime guarantee.

Craftsman V20 Cordless Tire Inflator: Verdict

Versatile to a fare-thee-well, the Craftsman V20 Cordless Tire Inflator is like a mirror image of the Black + Decker Inflator. Both can work with power coming from the car, an AC outlet or its external battery and do without a USB power port and light. 

Unfortunately, the Craftsman V20 pump is bigger, heavier and slower, but at $182 with two batteries, it’s a viable way to keep everything pumped up.

Brian Nadel

Brian Nadel is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in technology reporting and reviewing. He works out of the suburban New York City area and has covered topics from nuclear power plants and Wi-Fi routers to cars and tablets. The former editor-in-chief of Mobile Computing and Communications, Nadel is the recipient of the TransPacific Writing Award.