Tire deflators are arguably one the most useful yet cheapest things (<$50) you can keep in your 4×4 vehicle. Reducing the pressure in your tires while off-roading is one of the easiest things you can do to improve the performance of your 4×4 while off-roading.
In this article, we give you the 5 highly-recommended tire deflators to help you properly air down your tires. And for the ultra-cheap folks out there, we’ll give you some free options as well.
Why Do You Need to Deflate Your Tires?
As mentioned, reducing the pressure in your tires while off-roading is one of the best performance gains you can get. Why? Well, imagine a basketball. A fully inflated basketball bounces like crazy while a partially deflated basketball hardly bounces at all. In this case, your 4×4 vehicle is the basketball. More air in your tires leads to a bouncier ride.
What Is a Tire Deflator and Why Not Just Deflate Yourself?
A tire deflator allows you to easily and quickly reduce tire pressure. That first part, easily and quickly is key here. You can deflate your tires without tire deflators – just put a stick in the inflation valve and watch the air come rushing out. But there’s a problem with this : using a stick will take a long time and you have no idea how much pressure is being released without continuously checking your pressure back and forth with a pressure gauge. If you’re in a bind, sure, deflate the pressure on your own, otherwise pony up the $50 and get a set of deflators.
Two Types of Tire Deflators: Nut Tire Deflators & Gauged Tire Deflators
Let’s discuss the two types of tire deflators you’re going to encounter: nut tire deflators and gauged tire deflators.
Simple Nut Tire Deflator
A simple nut tire deflator usually comes in a set of 4 that you can screw on all of your tires to minimize air pressure at once, without having to move back and forth. The beauty of them is that you set the desired pressure on the nuts before hand, screw them in your tire, and watch as your tires automatically get deflated to the target PSI.
Gauged Tire Deflator
Gauged tire deflators have a built in pressure gauge that allows you to accurately and visibly watch your tire pressure decrease to a give PSI. They also have the added benefit that you can use them to see the PSI of your tires even when not deflating them.
What Tire Pressure Should You Decrease To When Offroading?
Alright, so the million dollar question: what pressure should you decrease your tires to? There are a lot of variables used in deciding the desired PSI, but here’s a some general rules of thumb for the optimal PSI of your tires according to terrain.
|Terrain Type||Tire Pressure|
|Regular Roads||30-38 PSI|
|Firm Dirt & Normal Gravel Track||28-36 PSI|
|Rough Gravel Track||26-32 PSI|
What Are the Top Tire Deflators?
Alright, now lets look at the top tire deflators. We’ll give our picks for the top tire deflators according to type and overall value. Full disclosure, we’ll use affiliate links in some of the recommended products below.
1. ARB Tire Deflator
Buy on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/B004LQCDOA
When it comes to a gauged tire deflator, ARB takes the cake if you’re willing to pay a bit more for it. ARB.
ARB’s tire deflators are accurate and reliable and are backed by their dependable warranties (typically 3 years on most products)
The ARB tire deflators have tick marks under 10 PSI which gives you accurate PSI measurement when you really need to decrease your PSI.
ARB Tire Deflator Pros & Cons
- From one of the most trusted names in 4x4ing
- Capable of performing very accurate measurements under and above standard scale.
- Resists rust.
- Quickly decreases tire pressure.
- Practice using on several tires of various 4x4s to check valve stem compatibility.
- Practice deflation process to achieve desired results.
2. Boulder Tools Tire Deflator
Buy on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/B01M0L7JS2
If you hate the idea of setting your tires’ PSI every now and then, getting the Boulder Tools Tire Deflator Kit is a wise choice.
This tire deflator easily secures your particular PSI preference that you no longer have to reset it every so often, which saves you time, especially if you need to get back on the trail. But if you don’t like waiting for a few minutes before deflation stops, check out the 1-minute deflation trick.
After you’re done deflating your tires, you don’t have to worry about potential air leaks as long as you take advantage of its 360-degree swivel chuck tip.
It also has a rubber cover that prevents slipping accidents and protects it from damage.
Boulder Tools Tire Deflator Pros & Cons
- Easy to setup.
- Effectively reduces tire pressure in a uniform way.
- Reasonable design and functionality.
- Storage case is only made from hard plastic.
- Gauge isn’t 100% accurate.
- Takes 10 minutes for deflation to end.
- Whistles loudly if not secured properly.
3. Staun Tire Deflator
Buy on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/B00QBPBLWY
When the waiting game is never a part of your tire deflation itinerary, trust Staun Tire Deflator to make things quick and easy.
This tire deflator is remarkable in a sense that it automatically airs down your tires and abruptly stops when it reaches the required PSI.
Best of all, it comes in 4 pieces to help you easily deflate all your tires at the same time. This is very convenient especially if you usually experience back and knee pains for bending too long a period.
It is also easy to adjust as long as you stick with its instruction manual.
Staun Tire Deflator Pros & Cons
- Small leather pouch says a lot about portability.
- Available in 3 models based on your 4x4ing preferences.
- Increases your productivity during idle time.
- Most expensive of all tire deflators.
- Verify tire pressure via test drive before embarking on an actual trail.
4. EZdeflator Tire Deflator
Buy on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/B011DF61YY
If you’re looking for a tire deflator with a perfect union between budget-friendliness and functionality, the EZdeflator Universal Tire Deflator Kit fits the bill.
This is because such a tire deflator is very inexpensive at only $19.95 yet it delivers a deflating efficiency that almost matches its high-end counterparts.
The nuts can be stored in a case specially designed with holes to secure them in place and reduce the possibility of unnecessary bouncing.
Moreover, it has a minimum PSI of 6 which is also below the usual range of 10.
EZdeflator Tire Deflator Pros & Cons
- Most inexpensive of all tire deflators.
- Comes with a lifetime warranty.
- Also automatic like Staun tire deflator.
- Setup takes 30 minutes.
- Gauge isn’t 100% accurate like Boulder Tool tire deflator.
- Needs petroleum jelly to boost accuracy.
5. Grit Performance Tire Deflator
Buy on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/B078T18YMC
In terms of the fastest air down time, the Grit Performance Rapid Tire Deflator Off-road Kit easily brings home the bacon.
What makes this tire deflator standout from its competitors is its unique no-valve-core design that lets you speed up the air expelling process, which only takes 15-20 seconds.
And if you happen to suddenly come across the need to deflate your tires somewhere dark, you’ll still be able to do so because its gauge is luminous.
Furthermore, its bronze tube and brass deflator are rust-resistance for improved longevity.
Grit Performance Tire Deflator Pros & Cons
- Shortest air down time.
- Includes valve core replacement if necessary.
- Storage bag is made from hard shell for a good amount of protection.
- With lifetime warranty like EZdeflator tire deflator.
- Instructions can be hard to follow.
- Gauge lens is only made from plastic.
Difference Between a Tire Deflator and Tire Inflator
Never get confused with the function of a tire inflator and tire deflator. The simplest explanation to both is that the former is used to increase tire pressure but the latter is used to decrease it. However, to help you fully understand it, it’s best to know when each is used under certain circumstances and who benefits from them.A tire inflator is used when you travel on roads and highways. Due to the high volume of motorists and varying speed limits in such places, deadly collisions often happen and increasing your tires’ pressure makes your vehicle’s brake and steering responses quick.
A tire inflator is used to prevent overheat. When a tire has insufficient pressure on regular surfaces, it has a tendency to flex which leads the way to further heat generation. If the tire is inflated at a recommended level, it won’t happen and your tires’ lifespan is preserved.
A tire inflator is used to prevent your tires from snapping. Don’t get us wrong but if you often put too much load on your vehicle’s cargo area, you need to amp your tire pressure based on its maximum load number, unless you don’t mind frequently buying new tires.
A tire deflator is used to improve traction on soft or uneven ground. If you’re an off-roader who enjoys a ride on the dunes or snowy fields, you have to air down on your tires’ pressure to keep your tires afloat, since soft surfaces can easily sink them.
A tire deflator improves tire stability during rock crawling. If you’re an off-roader who’s after the ideally slow yet steady climb on steep, rocky trails, decreasing your tires’ pressure makes your tires bendable and follow rock shapes, which reduces the risk of a rollover.
A tire deflator keeps your tires in running condition during racing activities. When participating in off-road racing events, decreasing tire pressure whenever you need to also maximizes performance and keeps you safe.
A tire deflator is one of the 4WD accessories that all off-roaders should have. This is because regardless of your 4×4 build, it lets you maintain your tires’ solid grip on surfaces which can otherwise tip you upside down and lead you rolling to your doom. Do you use tire deflators? Let us know in the comments section below.