While inflatable kayaks and SUPs offer countless benefits when it comes to transportation and storage, one of their downsides is that you need to inflate them once you reach the water. If you’re tired of using a manual pump and having sore arms every time, perhaps it’s time you bought an electric pump.
When choosing a pump, you should consider four things – power supply, valve compatibility, airflow, and max pressure. To help you find the right pump, this article will take a closer look at all the best electric pumps for sup on the market and compare their performance in these key areas.
How To Choose An Inflatable Sup And Kayak Electric Pump – Buying Guide
Since the entire point of having an inflatable vessel is to make transportation easier, the electric pump you buy has to be mobile too. Of course, they need a power source to be operational, and there are several options. Some are connected to the lighter plug in your car, while others are connected directly to a car battery.
If you are running the pump on your car battery, you should consider leaving the car running. This way you can be sure that the battery will have some power left while also making the pump more efficient.
Besides car batteries, many models even use a classic power outlet. This type of pump is often very powerful, but the downside is that you can’t use them anywhere you want. Perhaps the best option is to get a model that works with both car plugs and wall outlets.
To make inflating easy and straightforward, always look for an electric pump that is compatible with the valve on your kayak or SUP. Most often the inflatables come with a Halkey-Roberts valve (also called H3, HR, or H-valve), but sometimes you can also get a Boston or military valve instead.
These high-pressure valves require special adapters to inflate, and the best thing you can do is immediately buy a compatible pump. Furthermore, many electric air pumps come with several different adapters, which can be useful if you own several different inflatable watercraft.
Also, it’s not a bad idea to have a manual pump with you as a backup. Unlike an electric pump, you can put this one in your kayak and take it with you in case you need it.
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Type of Pump
When it comes to design, you can either have a single-stage or a two-stage air inflow electric pump. Single-stage inflow pumps have constant air input, from beginning to the end. This is perhaps less efficient, because it may become slower near the end when the resistance is very high.
On the other hand, a two-stage inflow pump functions differently at the beginning (high inflow) and near the end (high pressure). This is usually a faster and more efficient method.
Some pumps are designed so that they also have reverse mode, which is used for deflating your vessel. Also, a smaller number of products have a pressure gauge to check if your vessel is optimally inflated, and automatic shut-off function when the desired pressure is reached.
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Ease of Use
Your new pump should be compact and lightweight, so it’s convenient to take with you. Some products come with a carry bag that makes it even more convenient to carry and protects the pump from damage and dirt. Finally, make sure that both the power cord and the air hose have sufficient length so the pump is easy to use.
Airflow and Pressure
When choosing an electric pump, airflow and pressure are the two performance parameters that you need to consider. A single-stage air pump for inflatables can’t be good at both – it either pumps a high number of liters per minute but can’t build up pressure, or it builds up the pressure but takes a very long time to inflate the board.
If you want a pump that can do both, you should look for a two-stage model. Unfortunately, these can be very expensive and set you back a few hundreds of dollars.
Q: How Long Does An Electric Pump Take To Inflate A Stand-Up Paddleboard?
Two things determine this – the power of your pump and the size of the SUP. While the inflation time varies, it’s usually somewhere around 10 minutes. On average, an electric pump will produce 1 PSI per minute which is almost twice as fast compared to manual pumps.
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Q: Can I Over-Inflate My Watercraft With An Electric Pump?
This is very unlikely to happen, but it is theoretically possible. Inflatable vessels are made to be very tough, meaning that the maximum pressure they can endure is much larger than the operational pressure instructed in the manual. So, there is a very slim chance that over-inflation will happen and cause damage to your watercraft.
To make this even harder to happen, most good electric air pumps come with a pressure gauge and automatic shut-off function, making sure that you are always within range the manufacturer specified. Over-inflation can perhaps only be a problem if you use your pump for inflatable with certain water toys.
Q: To What PSI Should I Inflate My SUP Board?
You will usually get a manual with your product, which is going to contain information on how much to inflate your SUP or kayak. For most products, the recommended range is somewhere between 10 and 15 PSI. Many of the pumps we’ve reviewed operate in this range (or higher) so you have plenty of options to choose from.
As we’ve mentioned, the pressure where your SUP board is going to burst is much higher than the optimal pressure. This doesn’t mean that you should over-inflate your board hoping you will get better results, as the rigidity and performance are going to stay the same.
Q: What is the advantage of using an electric pump?
An electric pump saves you time and energy. Even though you are going to get a manual pump with almost every purchase, using it can be exhausting. On the other hand, electric air pumps do this job much faster and fully automatically.
Also, it’s much more efficient when you need to reach a target PSI. The resistance can be too hard to overcome when using a manual pump, meaning your vessel sometimes won’t be in perfect shape unless you use an electric pump.
Q: Can I Use An Electric Pump To Deflate An Inflatable Kayak?
Usually you can, but this depends on the pump itself. We think that it’s pretty useful if the air pump for inflatables you buy has a reverse function too, as it helps you eliminate the air pockets that can be hard to remove by hand. It’s much faster and enables you to tightly pack the board and save extra space.
Q: Should I Store My SUP Inflated Or Deflated?
You should really go with the manufacturer’s instructions for this one. While you can do both, doing it the recommended way will increase the durability of your board. This means that some are better to deflate completely, while others can be left partially inflated.
After a paddleboard adventure, you should always clean it, and then dry it off. If you choose to leave it inflated, never leave it with high PSI. Also, always store it away from the sun and harsh weather conditions, since these can damage the structure of your inflatable SUP.
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An electric pump is a fantastic investment that will make the setup of an inflatable kayak or SUP much simpler and save you a lot of energy. We hope that our reviews and guide helped you find the best electric pump for sups, so you can worry less about the setup and focus more on enjoying the water.
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Have you tried an electric pump that made it onto our list? Was it good for your inflatable vessel? Are you satisfied with the features? Please share with us in the comment section below.