The best inflatable kayak pumps

Get your inflatable kayak ready for the water with one of these pumps.

The best inflatable kayak pumps

by Seth Walton |
Updated on

If you’re interested in exploring more of Britain’s countryside, why not switch up the mountain hikes and cycling routes by taking to the waterways on a kayak instead? Kayaking is a great way of getting out and seeing more of the country while staying fit as you do. But, you're going to need an inflatable kayak pump.

We’re huge fans of the sport, but we also understand that rigid kayaks are heavy, cumbersome things that require significant time and energy to move around. If you would like to get cracking on some summertime paddling but don’t have the means to lug a big kayak around, opt for an inflatable kayak instead.

The best inflatable kayak pumps, at a glance

• Best digital inflatable kayak pump: Black & Decker High-Pressure Inflator - View now on Amazon
• Best inflatable kayak pump for quick inflation: Ryobi R18I-0 ONE+ Inflator - View now on Amazon
• Best hand inflatable kayak pump: Decathlon Double Action Kayak Hand Pump - View now on Argos

Collapsed inflatable kayaks weigh just a fraction of their rigid counterparts while taking up less space in the car with a tiny footprint. They make complete sense and they’re not especially expensive, though once you reach your chosen waterway, you’ll need to pump it up. There are plenty of options available too, with kayaks offering the family some water-based transportation, through to one-person inflatable kayaks which are great for solo touring.

When it comes to inflatable kayak pumps, you have a few choices. From electric models to foot pumps, there are hundreds of different options to choose from, so we’ve broken down a few of our favourites from each category for you to check out.

The best inflatable kayak pumps

Please note: All prices are correct at the time of writing. Prices, stock and deals are subject to change without notice.

Best digital inflatable kayak pump

This 11 Bar electric air compressor is powered by a 12V DC plug than can be inserted into any 12V cigarette lighter socket. The face of the unit features a digital gauge to view the current pressure of the inflatable as it rises or set a target pressure should you wish. Taken your eye off the number? Don’t worry, this air compressor has an automatic feature to ensure accurate results without the risk of over or under-inflating.

This device works on AC current, 12V car socket adaptors or 18V Li-ion batteries and comes with three-point attachments including a plastic nozzle – suitable for use on an inflatable kayak – and a brass ring.

Pros

  • Powerful air compressor
  • Easy to set pressure targets
  • Automatic Shut Off feature to stop over or under inflating

Cons

  • Quite a bulky unit

Best inflatable kayak pump for quick inflation

Ryobi R18I-0 ONE+ Inflator
Price: $153.21

This inflator forms part of Ryobi’s ONE Plus – a family of electrical appliances that all share the same battery. This model, with its changeable attachment points and power, would make a great choice for inflating kayaks. With a 10.34 Bar pressure rating, it’s no slouch when it comes to performance, but its output can also be configured to suit a range of inflatables.

It also features a quick deflation mode and a digital readout, allowing users to determine when they've reached their desired inflation pressure. Onboard, users can store a number of different attachments.

Pros

  • Powerful unit
  • Great for large inflatables
  • Can easily connect hose to a separate port for deflation mode

Cons

  • Battery required
  • Quite bulky

Best hand inflatable kayak pump

If you’d rather relieve yourself of any electrical constraints and inflate your kayak by hand instead, check out this pump from Decathlon. Supplied with connectors to fit all ITIWIT-branded inflatable kayaks, this pump offers a fast-acting double action to displace 2.6 L of air with each pump. Included in the unit is a pressure gauge as well as a quick-release valve for deflating when your kayak is not in use. For just £20, this hand pump would make a great choice for anyone looking to build up a set of kayaking equipment on a budget.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Well-built
  • Comes with universal adapters that can be used to inflate many things

Cons

  • Not efficient when blowing up large kayaks

Best budget inflatable kayak pump

Bestway Air Hammer Inflation Pump
Price: $34.99

If you’re after an even cheaper alternative, this Air Hammer inflation pump from Bestway also facilitates an easy switch between inflation and deflation while offering action on both the up and the down stroke. It’s made from a heavy–duty construction with three valve adapters to fit every inflation valve, including the Boston valve found on many inflatable kayaks.

Pros

  • Fantastic value
  • Adapters to fit most valves
  • Large air chamber for rapid inflation

Cons

  • Small chamber size

Best foot inflatable kayak pump

Milestone Camping 85830 5-Litre Foot Operated Air Pump
Price: $28.72

Alternatively, you may want to opt for a small camping foot pump to inflate your kayaks with. While their compact build benefits portability – great for journeys on foot – the limited tank size of foot pumps may hinder your ability to blow up large kayaks in good time. You may also find yourself suffering from leg fatigue before the boat has reached its internal air capacity, so we’d recommend opting for a foot pump only if you intend on blowing up a small boat.

Pros

  • Very compact
  • Can be used for inflating and deflating thanks to its two separate chambers
  • Includes two interchangeable nozzles

Cons

  • Small capacity

FAQs

Which inflatable kayak pump should I get?

The right inflatable kayak pump for you depends largely on a few factors, chief among which is the level of energy you’re willing to deploy just to get the boat pumped up.

By selecting an electric or battery-powered pump, you’ll save yourself some serious legwork and with it a great amount of energy too – don’t forget, kayaking can be quite a physically taxing activity. For the less physically capable, we’d recommend opting for an electric pump to save your energy for the water.

On the other hand, if you feel you’d be up to the task of manually blowing your kayak up before each trip, a foot or hand pump will liberate you of any electrical dependence. By opting for one of these options, you’ll free yourself up to take your kayak anywhere, any time, without the need to recharge or plugin.

Are kayak pumps universal?

Inflatable kayaks have inflation valves that serve as the bridging point between the kayak and a pump. They allow air to pass through via an adapter, but it’s important to ascertain your pump or valve adapter set has the right shape for the job, as not all are the same.

Many inflatable kayaks feature Boston valves – a three—threaded valve that screws into the surface of the kayak, allowing a valve adapter to be inserted into the boat so that air can pass through from the hose or the pump. These are the most common type, but some inflatable kayaks feature military-style valves or even twist-lok valves that require different adapters.

We highly recommend checking which type of valve your kayak has before purchasing your pump so you can make an informed decision on which pump attachment to get. We also advise picking up a pump with a built-in pressure gauge if possible as this will help negate the risk of over or under-inflation.

How much pressure should I inflate my kayak to?

Owners should check the manual of their inflatable kayak to ascertain the exact pressure to which they should inflate their kayak, but most should be inflated to around the 2.5-3.5 PSI mark. For a foot or hand pump, this could take anywhere between five and 10 minutes while an electric pump will complete the job in under two minutes.

Seth Walton is an Automotive Product Writer for Parkers and CAR. He is also a contributor to What's The Best.

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