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Home » Blog » Should I Inflate My SUP With A Compressor? (Expert Advice)

Should I Inflate My SUP With A Compressor? (Expert Advice)

Should I inflate my SUP with a compressor?

Inflating your iSUP with a hand pump can leave you exhausted before you’ve even started paddle boarding. That’s why more and more stand up paddle boarders decide to take an alternative approach to preparing the gear. If you are one of them, you may be wondering if it’s possible to inflate your SUP board with an air compressor.

As a general rule, all inflatable SUPs can be pumped up with a compressor. There are portable inflator tools that are specifically made for iSUPs. A less popular option is to use any regular air compressor in combination with a valve adapter. However, this could damage the SUP board.

There are several advantages and disadvantages of inflating an iSUP with a compressor. To give you an overview, we are answering all frequently asked questions related to this topic.

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What Are Advantages Of Inflating A SUP With A Compressor

The main advantage of inflator tools for iSUPs compared to regular air compressors is that it takes no effort.

With compressors that are designed for iSUPs, the PSI setting will be reached automatically, and the pump will turn itself off when it’s finished.

An electric air pump can also be used to deflate the iSUP: Just connect it to your board and let it suck out the air. This will speed up the process.

Read also: Do I Need SUP Lessons? (Paddle Boarding For Beginners)

What Are Disadvantages Of Inflating A SUP With A Compressor?

We’ve tested both the manual pump and the portable inflatable device for our SUP boards. The (surprising) result: The compressor actually doesn’t save you so much time. In fact, pumping up the stand up paddle board manually can be quicker.

It also costs more money than an air pump. In fact, you usually get those for free with your stand up paddle board.

Another disadvantage of using a compressor to inflate your SUP board is that you need to connect it to a power source of some sort to work. One option to do that is to use your 12V cigarette port in your car. An alternative are electric pumps that come with an integrated or portable battery, meaning you can be in the middle of nowhere and still inflate your board automatically.

Read also: Is It Legal To Stand Up Paddle Board Anywhere?

Now, you may have other inflatable devices at home and think to yourself Let’s feed two birds with one cone by using a more general air compressor (e.g. for car tyres) for everything. But is that possible?

Should I Use A Compressor to Inflate my SUP

Can You Use ANY Air Compressor To Inflate Your SUP?

In theory, you can use any air compressor to inflate your SUP. However, this method comes with some disadvantages: Regular air compressors create moisture that will enter the iSUP. Plus, they overheat quickly and may have to be shut off to cool down before the board is fully inflated.

In case you decide to use a regular compressor nevertheless, make sure to stay with it during the entire inflation process (it really only takes a few seconds/ minutes). Otherwise, your board could explode due to too much pressure.

Also, ALWAYS make sure you know your SUPs PSI.

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What's my SUPs PSI?

What is my SUP’s PSI?

PSI stands for pound per square inch. The best inflatable stand up paddle board PSI level is anywhere from 10 to 18. The majority of stand up paddle boarders inflate their boards to about 12 – 15 PSI. You can find your iSUPs PSI in the board’s manual or other instructions.

If you carry a bit more weight, you may need to opt for a higher PSI. This is also recommended for sessions in cold or choppy water.

Read also: Best Wetsuits for Swimming In Cold Water (2021 Expert Guide)

Always make sure that you don’t go past your board’s limit. A PSI past 25 could cause the iSUP to burst.

Note: It is physically impossible to overinflate your board with a manual air pump, so you don’t have to worry about this when using the pump that (usually) comes with your inflatable stand up paddle board.

Read also: Can You Stand Up Paddle Board In Rain?

What’s The Best Electric Pump For iSUP?

Out of the large number of electric pumps designed specifically for SUPs, there are a some very reliable products that we’d like recommend. Check out our favorites below:

PumpMax PSIPriceHighlights
Shark II SUP Electric Air PumpOutdoorMaster SUP Compressor20 Check price here- Filling up to 3 paddle boards
- Inflates almost any high-pressure inflatable
- Lightweight and compact design
NIXY VENTUS Electric Pump NIXY SUP Pump20 Check price here- Includes 7 nozzles
- Can be connected to 12V DC Connector or Car Battery
- Flexible, heavy duty non-kinking hose
- Included travel bag
Serene Life SUP Compressor
SereneLife SUP Compressor
16 Check price here- Lightweight and compact
- Excellent for smaller size hulls
THURSO SURF SUP electric pump THURSO SURF electric pump15 Check price here- Super light and compact
- 1-year manufacturer’s warranty

All of those electric pumps for inflatable stand up paddle boards have in common that they automatically shut off when they have reached the PSI.

To get a better understanding of how this works, watch this demo of the Shark II SUP Electric Air Pump:

How Does an Electric Pump for iSUPs Work?

You can get a single-stage or a dual-stage pump. The latter divides the inflation process in two parts: First, the compressor works at high volume but low pressure to inflate the board quickly. The pump then transitions to the second stage, in which it pumps air into the board at higher pressure.

The second stage reduces the risk of overinflating your paddle board. When it has reached the right PSI, it automatically stops, and you are ready to go.

Read also: Can You Use An Inflatable SUP In The Ocean?

Should I Use My Car Battery To Inflate my SUP?

Many electrical pumps for inflatable SUP boards are designed to be powered by either a car battery or the 12V cigarette lighter in a vehicle. Some of them are compatible with both power sources. The third alternative is an external battery pack.

This option allows you to inflate your stand up paddle board in the middle of nowhere. That’s the reason why we personally prefer electric pumps that work with a rechargable battery.

Read also: What To Look Out For In A SUP GPS

If you choose a tool that needs to be connected to your car, you might want to keep the engine running to make sure you don’t flatten the vehicle’s battery.

What to look for in an electric pump for SUP boards

What To Look For When Buying An Inflatable SUP Electric Pump

Again, we recommend you either use the manual pump that comes with the SUP or invest in a proper electric pump, instead of using an air compressor to inflate your board.

If you are ready to find the perfect portable inflator tool for you, make sure you have the following aspects in mind:

  1. SUP Compability
    First things first – find a pump that is compatible with your SUP’s valve. Many pumps come with a set of different nozzle attachments, which increases the likelihood of finding a match.
  2. Inflation Stages
    You know now how an electric pump for iSUPs works. We recommend to get a two-stage pump, as it is the safer option.
  3. Inflation Speed
    If time plays an important role for you, look for an electric pump that inflates your board in 10 minutes or less.
  4. Power
    As mentioned above, you can choose between pumps that rely on a power source and pumps with a portable battery. If you don’t own a car and/ or want to be as flexible as possible, opt for a battery powered product.
  5. Deflation
    If you want to speed up the deflation process, look for a pump that has a deflate function.
  6. Weight
    There are electric pumps that are made for travelers. So if you are going to carry the pump around a lot (and again, maybe you don’t have a car), look for lightweight and compact pumps.
  7. Length of Hose
    If you are happy with a pump that connects to your cigarette lighter or car battery, check the length of the hose before you buy the pump. Make sure it’s long enough to fit your needs.
  8. Carrying Bag
    One feature that we find pretty useful is a carrying bag specifically designed for you inflation tool. Not all pumps come with one, so it’s worth considering if you can’t decide between two products.
  9. Price
    Last but not least: You really don’t have to go for the most expensive pump out there. As long as it’s not super cheap, it will do the job. We recommend to wait for the end-of-season sales, if you have the time and patience. You often get great deals!
Read also: How Far Can You Paddle Board In A Day? (SUP Speed)

Alright, now you should have all the background knowledge you need to find the perfect electric pump for your inflatable stand up paddle board.

So get on the water, stay safe and have fun!