Vastar Mini Electric Air Pump (BP198)

$49.99
4.4

Features

4.5/5

Design

4.5/5

Performance

4.5/5

Ease of Use

4.0/5

Value

4.5/5

Pros

  • Portable and compact
  • Automatic stop at target pressure
  • Support for up to 120 psi
  • Professional-looking
  • Built-in LED flashlight

Cons

  • No USB charging of mobile devices
  • Terrible manufacturer website
  • Electronics could fail when you need it most
  • Loud pump
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Portable Convenience

A tire can run flat at any time while biking, riding a scooter, or driving a car. For that reason, I have an $80 electric pump in my car’s trunk that operates off the cigarette lighter plug, and a tall hand pump for bicycles that is inconvenient to pack into the backpack. One day, I came across an advertisement for this Vastar electric air pump — a small, ELECTRIC pump! Intriguing. I never knew compact ones like these existed! Naturally, I purchased one to see how it would do.

In a Nutshell

Credit: Vastar

The awkwardly named Vastar Portable Air Compressor Mini Tire Pump (BP198) — which I shall simply refer to as “Mini Electric Air Pump” — is a professional-looking, battery operated air pump for inflating tires of cars, motorcycles, scooters, and bikes. An attachment for balls is also included. It is quite easy to operate with an Apple iPod-like click wheel interface, has a built-in LED light, and automatically stops pumping at a pre-set pressure. It surprisingly inflated fast for both Schrader and Presta valves, and I did not have to break a single drop of sweat.

The biggest concern with the company, however, is how poorly designed their (unsecured) website is with its mix of English, Spanish, and Chinese languages across their product portfolio. In fact, I had such a hard time trying to find information on this air pump, I gave up after ten minutes. With that said, their website lists an unconditional 45-day refund or replacement policy with an 18-month warranty on their products. Customer service is seemingly handled by email only.

What’s Good? What’s Bad?

Pros

  • Compact and light at 1.5″ x 2.4″ x 6″ and 12 oz
  • Professional looking
  • Quick inflation and deflation
    • Support for 120 psi
  • Built-in 0.5W LED light
  • USB-C rechargeable, 14.4 Wh lithium battery (7.2V @ 2A)
    • Recommended input of 5V @ 2A
    • Takes 2.5 – 4.5 hours to charge
    • Automatic idle power off after 3 mins
    • USB-A to USB-C cable included
  • Multiple valves included
    • Schrader (built into the flexible hose)
    • Presta (screw on top of the Schrader)
    • Ball needle
    • Valve for swimming pools and air mattresses
  • Five operation modes with last-used pressure memory
    • Small cars (will not work with larger cars, including SUVs, trucks, and buses)
    • Motorcycles
    • Bicycles
    • Balls
    • Custom (symbolized with a human figure)
  • Current pressure display
  • Automatic stop at desired pressure
  • Support for multiple measurement units: PSI, BAR, kPa, Kg/cm2
  • Carry pouch included
Basic air pump operation

Cons

  • Could leave you stranded if the battery fails and you do not have a backup pump available
  • USB-C port cannot be used to recharge my Samsung Galaxy S9+ (via USB-C to USB-C cable) despite manual stating “USB output: 5V / 1.5A”
  • USB charger is not included
  • For safety reasons, pump cannot be used while charging
  • Not powerful enough for mid- to large-sized cars
  • Not waterproof and should be protected when used in rain
  • Needs to be recharged every 2 weeks to maintain optimal battery level
  • Pump is loud (80-85 dB)
  • No valve included for pumping inflatable stand up paddle boards (iSUP)
  • Terrible manufacturer website

The following are defaults set by Vastar (and ranges) for each mode. Adjust the numbers according to the tire’s manual, although nearly every tire has the required PSI/BAR rating printed on its side.

  • Car tire: 35 psi (0-65 psi)
    • Recommended pressure can also be found on the sticker on the driver’s side door frame
  • Motorcycle tire: 40 psi (0-55 psi)
  • Bicycle tire: 38 psi (0-120 psi)
  • Ball: 8psi (0-15psi)

Final Thoughts

After pumping multiple bike tires by hand, especially those requiring a high amount of pressure with nothing but a mini pump, one could get quite exhausted and frustrated. For that reason, I had always carried a heavy-duty foot or hand pump with me. But having a single, electric gadget that can quickly and effortlessly pump bikes, small cars, balls, scooters, and motorcycles, however, is very convenient. One of the biggest drawbacks with the product is the inability to use its built-in battery to charge mobile devices via a USB interface. Nonetheless, this mini pump is very useful to have, but be sure to take a backup pump with you since electronics could fail unexpectedly.

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