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Black + Decker 20V Max Inflator review

A great tire inflator that’s only let down by its weight, and lack of extra features

Black + Decker 20V Max Inflator inflating car tires
(Image: © Black + Decker)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Like the Craftsman V20 Cordless Inflator, the Black + Decker 20V Max Inflator provides the ability to run on a removable battery, 12-volt car power or an AC outlet. Too bad, it’s so big and heavy.

Pros

  • +

    Choice of three power sources

  • +

    Auto shutoff

  • +

    Removable batteries

Cons

  • -

    No light or power outlets

  • -

    Expensive

  • -

    Big and bulky

Black + Decker 20V Max Inflator: Specs

Size: 9.6 x 7.8 x 5.6 inches
Weight: 4.6 pounds (without battery)
Peak pressure: 150 psi
Time to fill a tire: 3:07
Length of cord: 11.7 feet
Battery: External
USB, AC power ports: No
Light: No

With the ability to run on a slide-in battery, 12-volt car accessory outlet or an AC plug, the Black + Decker 20V Max Inflator is as flexible as you could hope for. Unfortunately the trade-off is that it’s rather big and heavy, making it a bit awkward to lug around. Fortunately Black + Decker have produced an inflator that can fill anything, be it a tire by the roadside or a soccer ball in the park.

Though that’s just about all it will do. If you were hoping to get an inflator with extras gadgets, like USB ports of a torch, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Black + Decker 20V Max Inflator: Price and availability

At $78 (without the battery), the Black + Decker Inflator is slightly cheaper than the larger Craftsman V20 Cordless Inflator. On the other hand, if you purchase the inflator with a 1.5 amp-hour battery and charger, you’ll pay $180 – roughly the same price as the V20 Cordless Inflator with a pair of 2.0 amp-hour batteries. Black + Decker also makes the more compact powered ASI300 Air Station that can be powered by a 12-volt or AC outlet; it costs $50.

Black + Decker 20V Max Inflator: Design and features

Made of orange and black plastic, the Black + Decke 20V Maxr Inflator stands in stark contrast to the red Craftsman V20 Cordless Inflator — despite both having similar underpinnings. 

The Black + Decker measures 9.6 x 7.8 x 5.6 inches, about the size of a small boombox and 13 percent smaller than the Craftsman V20. The B+D Inflator weighs a little less too, coming in at 4.6 pounds and 5.4 pounds with a battery versus the V20’s 4.9- and 5.8-pounds.

Black + Decker 20V Max Inflator inflating car tires

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Like the V20 Cordless Inflator, the B+D 20V Max Inflator can be powered in three different ways, including its 12-volt car accessory adapter or an AC plug. It tops this off with the ability to use the company’s own 20V Max lithium battery packs.

The center of attention is the B+D 20V Max Inflator’s 1.3-inch display. It shows the current pressure in large numerals, as well as the units. It works with Pounds per Square inch (PSI), KiloPascals (KPA) and Bars. The interface’s three buttons are for selecting units and increasing or decreasing the pressure that trigger’s the pump’s auto-shutdown feature. It can pump up to 150 PSI.

Black + Decker 20V Max Inflator digital display

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Like the Craftsman Cordless Inflator, the 20V Max Inflator has two switches. The first lets you toggle between AC or DC power and the other to select high or low volume. In other words, choosing between tires or generic inflatables like beach toys. There’s a place on the case’s side to snap on the accessories: a sports ball needle,a larger tip for inflatable toys and a bicycle tire adapter. Unfortunately, the B+D Inflator lacks luxuries, like a light or power outlets.

Black + Decker 20V Max Inflator: Setup

It might be smaller and lighter than the Craftsman V20 Cordless Inflator, but the B+D 20V Max  Inflator is still among the largest and heaviest air compressors around. The pump’s handle makes it easier to carry from tire to tire, but it does without a case or bag.

All three of its power choices have been nicely integrated. The battery slides in on the side while both the power cords have a place to wrap them when not in use. If the screen doesn’t light up, tap the pressure unit button in the middle to wake the device.

Black + Decker 20V Max Inflator chargeable battery

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

If you choose to use the 12-volt accessory connection, the cable and air hose combine for 11.7 feet of reach. There’s also a wider 17-inch hose for filling a large inflatable item, like a raft or beach ball.

Black + Decker 20V Max Inflator: Performance

Using a fully charged battery pack, the B+D 20V Max Inflator got right down to business filling a tire with air. Its high-pitched whine was annoying, but it got my tire to 30 PSI in 3 minutes and 7 seconds. That matches the Carsun’s pumping time and is well ahead of the similar Craftsman V20 Cordless Tire Inflator. Unfortunately, neither the battery nor the pump has a battery gauge. 

Black + Decker 20V Max Inflator used to inflate car tires

(Image credit: Black + Decker)

Later, it took 9.6 seconds to fill my soccer ball. The pump stopped when it hit my preset shut off limit. While using it, the pump’s digital pressure gauge was accurate and steady.

The B+D 20V Max Inflator includes a two-year warranty (which includes the battery), a step up from those that are covered for a year but short of the RoofPax’s lifetime warranty.

Black + Decker 20V Max Inflator: Bottom line

A lot like the Craftsman V20 Cordless Tire Inflator, the V20 Max Inflator does the basics well and allows flexibility in its use. Whether you want it to be powered with the optional removable battery, AC plug or the car’s 12-volt accessory outlet.

Sadly the inflator lacks other useful features, like a built in light or USB power sockets — something that would offer even more flexibility. Still that does make it smaller and lighter than some of the competition, which makes it easier to use in a pinch.

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.