The Husky 120 volt inflator had been sitting on the floor beneath the kitchen window for weeks. Doing a product review did not cross my mind at first, but I was glad I remembered having bought the thing, an impulse purchase when passing the little mini-compressors in Lowe’s one evening.
According to the sales pitch on the box, the Husky is pretty versatile:
♦ Inflates Tires and Sports Equipment up to 130 psi
♦ Glow in the Dark Analog Pressure Gauge
♦ Light Weight and Portable with Convenient Carrying Handle
♦ Ideal for Home, Shop & Garage
The manual that comes with the unit is simple, but to the point. The base setup is ready to go for inflating vehicle tires. With a top psi of 130, it could even be used to pump up a tire on an 18 wheeler–if you had the time. Something tells me that might take a while, like hiring a chipmunk to blow up a hot air balloon.
However, our opening test run involved a much smaller tire than that. When I grabbed our hand truck to move a newly filled propane tank from the back of the Subaru to the little open faced shed next to the house, one tire was flat and the other threatening.
This is not a big deal. Those tires have had slow leaks since “forever”.
But prior to this go-round, the only compressor we could use to refill them with air was the ancient pancake compressor that “lives” under the semi trailer between uses. It was first purchased from a pawn shop in Butte, Montana, somewhere around 2003, and it was no spring chicken even then. It works just fine, but lugging it around, plus wrestling the long air hose that was first used to power a nail gun for a building project in Big Sky Country…well, it seemed like the little Husky 120 volt inflator (which could never on its finest day power a nail gun) might be a simpler way to go.
For one thing, the pancake compressor weighs around 70 pounds, give or take. The Husky inflator weighs maybe 2 pounds.
The pancake has 50 feet of bright orange plastic hose to consider. The Husky has 2 feet of rubber hose.
Sounded like a no brainer–and miracle of miracles, I remembered buying the hopefully handy little thing and remembered where I’d parked the critter.
The Husky is not a 12 volt inflator. That is, it does not plug into your car’s cigarette lighter. There are inflators and compressors out there that are specifically designed to ride along in a vehicle, 24/7, 365, “just in case” you need to pump up a tire on the open highway or offroad, way back in the boonies.
This is not one of them.
Which mattered not a whit to me. In more than half a century of driving every sort of vehicle imaginable, I’ve never once “noticed a low tire” away from home that I wasn’t able to limp to a place that had air available. I’ve had plenty of blowouts, which every trucker knows about, as does every unemployed or underemployed teenager running rag-bald rubber–but exploded tires aren’t that easy to reinflate, in my experience.
Side Story: Just reminded myself of one of those teenaged tales.
I was 16 or so, riding one night with three or four other guys in my general age bracket, when the driver of the old beater car we were in realized we had a problem. One of the tires, the right rear, had a slow leak that wasn’t exactly slow.
By the time we got to a service station that had an outside air hose, all closed up for the night but air still available, that tire was hotter’n a two-bit pistol. Don’t remember it exploding when the cool compressor air hit it, but it probably should have.
Interesting memory fragment. Couldn’t tell you who those guys were, or why I was with them that night…but I remember the overheated tire well enough!
Anyway, getting back to the Husky inflator, what we needed was something to keep at home, not in the car, so the 120 volt wiring was just fine by us. It only pulls 1.5 amps, so either gasoline powered generator or the solar generator would work as a power source.
When Pam saw the cute little box and realized what I’d brought home, she squealed with delight like she’d just seen a new puppy.
“Oh, good! Thank you! We needed one of those!”
Yep. You could hear the exclamation marks. Guess the idea of lugging around a 70 pound pancake compressor and 50 feet of orange hose just didn’t appeal to my redhead all that much. Either that, or she hated the sound of the compressor, which (I must admit) will convince the uninitiated that the Border Fort is warming up its engines, getting ready to take flight.
Operating the inflator was surprisingly simple. Not that pumping up a tire with any compressor is a really big deal for those of us who’ve been there, done that, but the Husky definitely made things even easier than usual.
Unfortunately, I didn’t think about writing a product review until after the pumping was done. Should have snapped a photo while it was hooked up. Didn’t.
A text comparison will have to do:
Pancake compressor: Unwrap the orange hose from around the semi trailer hub shown in the photo. Lug hose/compressor combo out from under semi to more convenient location. String extension cord between power source (which has to be the larger generator as nothing else will handle the power drain). Fire up noisy monster. Wait for monster to fill tank.
Grab Slime brand tire gauge from Subaru’s jockey box. Connect hose to tire valve and start pumping. Stop to gauge tire pressure numerous times so you get enough air in tire but don’t blow it up in your face and take your head off at the neck. Let out a little air after inadvertently over-inflating tire slightly.
Okay. Tire inflated. Now what?
Cleanup time. Lug monster back to storage spot under trailer. Avoid bashing skull on trailer frame while slinging the thing back underneath. Coil orange hose back around axle hub.
And…done! Not so bad, really…if there’s no better option.
But now, the Husky 120 volt inflator.
Ready? Here we go:
Husky 120 volt inflator: Grab lightweight inflator with one hand and hand truck (in this case) with the other, strolling over to generator with both. Generator is already running ’cause Pam is doing laundry, so no need to fire that up, although the solar generator could have been used just as well.
Earphones advisable here, too, but due to generator noise, not compressor noise.
Plug inflator into power source (one end) and latch air hose onto tire valve (other end, and yes, it’s a solid latch). Turn on inflator power switch. Watch ultra-cool built-in pressure gauge until desired tire pressure is reached (in this case, 35 psi). Turn off inflator power switch and disconnect at both ends.
Cleanup time: “Lug” two-pound inflator back to house, tuck it up on top of a storage cabinet for now, and…done!
One of the very best features of the Husky is its onboard pressure gauge. With this, there’s no need to stop and check tire psi between “spurts” of air input; you know exactly when to stop the pump, and you only have to do it once.
Not only that, but this gauge will glow green in the dark. Not without a tiny bit of help, but if the dial is hit with any sort of light source–sunlight, but also a flashlight will do–for even a few seconds, it will stay lit up for several minutes thereafter.
Naturally, we did have to take a photo of that.
The Husky 120 volt inflator doesn’t really have any flaws that I can see. To inflate a car tire, it would be necessary to run an extension cord between the power source and the inflator, but that’s pretty much standard procedure for any inflator (other than the 12 volt units designed to plug into cigarette lighters). The positive latch between hose and tire valve is functional, noise is mininal, weight is next to nothing, and the onboard pressure gauge with night glow capability is outstanding.
Later, one glitch did develop. The clip that secures the hose to a tire’s valve stem is now difficult to snap down correctly. Basically, it’s a cheap little thing, and it’s begun to act like it. So far, I can manage–you have to work the angles just so–but strangers, even those familiar with mechanical things in general–have problems with it. If not for that, the unit would have definitely deserved a full Five Star rating.
As it is, however, one star is being deducted for the “awkward hose connector glitch”.
Product rating: FOUR STARS for the Husky 120 volt inflator.