Many people choose to buy an inflatable kayak or SUP. There are some obvious benefits of owning an inflatable vessel. If you are one of those people, you know they are much more practical when it comes to transportation, storage and versatility. You can easily put them in the trunk of your car and set them up at the location, without any hassle because they are light and don’t take much space.
On the other hand, they require that you inflate them before use, and let the air our afterwards. You will often receive a hand or foot pump when you buy inflatable watercraft. While they are fine, you need to put in some effort to inflate your SUP or kayak properly which can be tiring. They also don’t have the same output as electric ones – they are slower and not as effective.
This is the main reason you should consider investing some money and buying an electric pump. They inflate your vessel much faster and reach the desired pressure easier. It’s also useful if you own several kayaks or boards – it can save a lot of time, leaving you more energy for your favorite water activity later. These devices are pretty easy to carry, you can store them in your trunk and have them up and running in no time. Most often they run on car batteries, meaning you can use these electric pumps just about anywhere.
But how do you know which is the best inflatable SUP electric pump for your board and your budget? We’ve selected some great products with their upsides and downsides, to help you get a clearer picture. We have also made a buying guide with important features you should look for when choosing, so be sure to check it out.
Let’s get started.
How To Choose An Inflatable Sup And Kayak Electric Pump – Buying Guide
Depending on the model of your inflatable SUP or kayak you need to buy an appropriate pump. Not all pumps have the same specs, and different vessels have different valves so you want a versatile pump with the right adapters. Take a look at some of the features.
Flexibility and Compatibility
Since the point of having an inflatable vessel is to make transport easier, the electric pump you buy has to be mobile too, so you can use it on site. 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. Others can be connected to the car battery, in your car or you can have an extra 12V battery which you take with you so you can inflate your SUP or kayak on the spot.
If you are running the pump on your car battery, you can consider leaving the car running. This way you can be sure the battery will have some power left, and also the pump can be more efficient. Some even use a classic power outlet. This type of pumps is often very powerful, but the downside is that you can’t use them anywhere you want. That means you sometimes have to load and carry a fully inflated board which is annoying.
Because inflating should be an easy and straightforward process, always look for an electric pump which is compatible with your kayak or SUP. Most often the inflatables come with a Halkey-Roberts valve (also called H3, HR or H-valve). Sometimes you will get a military valve on your vessel. There are other options too, but they are less common. As with the rest of your inflatable kayak, these are made to withstand a high pressure and be completely air tight. However, they require particular pumps for inflating to be possible.
This is why you always have to check at home what type of valve is on your vessel. The best thing you can do is immediately buy a compatible pump. This way you are sure it will be efficient and you won’t have headaches later. Pumps can come with several different adapters, so they can be used with different valves. This is particularly useful if you own several different inflatable watercraft. So choose a versatile product that will step up in every situation. 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 with you in case you need it.
There are some differences between products which influence efficiency slightly, but also the price. You can have a one stage or two stage air inflow electric pump. One 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 and near the end. When you start inflating your vessel, it creates a high air inflow to get as much air in very quickly. When it’s nearing the end, it increases the pressure it makes until it reaches the desired psi. This is usually a faster method, but also these devices are a bit more expensive.
Often the speed of you electric pump depends on the power it has. But keep in mind that stronger pumps tend to be noisier. Some pumps are designed so that they also have reverse mode, which is used for deflating your vessel. Also, some products have a pressure gauge to easily check if your vessel is optimally inflated. Also, the pump can have automatic shut-off when the desired pressure is reached.
Ease of Use
Your new device should be handy. This means it should be the right size you can put it in your car without taking up much space, and also not too heavy so you can take it with you. Some products come with a useful carry bag, making it even more practical. The carry bag also protects the pump from damage and dirt. Finally, the power cord of your electric pump as well as the air hose must have sufficient length. This gives you some maneuverability and makes the whole process more comfortable.
Performance and Pressure
We already mentioned that there are differences between products when it comes to speed at which the pump is going to inflate your paddleboard or kayak. Two-stage pumps usually have a higher volume of air inflow. Another thing is the pressure a pump is able to produce. Most electric pumps will give between 10 and 15psi, while there are more heavy-duty products which can go over 20psi. For best functionality you should inflate your vessel as the manufacturer specified, and buy a pump accordingly. As we said, some have a pressure gauge, and auto shut-off when it reaches the target pressure you put in at the beginning.
Q: How long does an electric pump take to inflate a stand-up paddleboard?
A: Two things determine this – the power of your pump and the size of the SUP. This time is usually somewhere around 10 minutes, but can vary somewhat. On average, a pump will produce 1psi per minute, which may not seem like much. However, compared to manual pumps, it’s almost twice as fast. Also, manual pumps sometimes have difficulty reaching the specified pressure because of the large resistance.
Q: Can I over-inflate my watercraft with an electric pump?
A: This is very unlikely to happen, even though it’s possible. Inflatable vessels are made to be very tough, meaning that the maximum pressure they can endure is much larger than the operational pressure which is 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 pumps come with a pressure gauge and automatic shut-off function, making sure that you are always within range the manufacturer specified. You really have nothing to worry about because they are very safe, and personal safety is something to always keep in mind. Over-inflation can perhaps only be a problem if you use your pump with some water toys, so always look up how to best operate your inflatables.
Q: To what PSI should I inflate my SUP board?
A: You will usually get a manual with your product, which is going to contain information on how to inflate your SUP or kayak, and to which pressure (psi). For most products, it’s recommended to be somewhere between 10 and 15psi. All pumps except one (from the ones we reviewed) operate in this range or higher so you’re not going to have any issues.
As we mentioned, the maximum 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. The rigidity and performance is going to stay the same, meaning there is no need to increase pressure.
Q: What is the advantage of using an electric pump?
A: An electric pump saves you time in the first place. Even though you are going to get a manual pump with almost every purchase, using it can be exhausting. You are required to put in some effort, and it takes a lot of time. Electric pumps do this job much quicker, which is incredibly useful.
Also, it’s much more efficient when the target psi needs to be reached. Like we said, the resistance can be too hard to overcome when using a manual pump, meaning your vessel sometimes won’t be in perfect shape when you take it out on water unless you use an electric pump.
Q: Can I use an electric pump to deflate an inflatable kayak?
A: Usually you can. This mostly depends on the product itself. We think that it’s pretty useful if an electric pump you buy has a reverse function too. This helps you eliminate air inside very fast, and also the air pockets which are sometimes hard to remove by hand. It saves your time instead of having to twist and fold the vessel to push the air out, and also enables you to tightly pack the board and additionally save space.
Q: Should I store my SUP inflated or deflated?
A: You should really go with the manufacturer’s instructions for this one. While you can do both, there are some things that will increase the durability of your board. This means that for some it’s better to deflate them 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. You should make sure that the pressure inside is low. Also, always store it away from the sun and harsh weather conditions, since these can damage the structure of your inflatable SUP.
Globo Surf Overview
Owning an electric pump can be really advantageous in many situations. It’s a very flexible device that can make your day much easier if you choose it over a manual pump. It operates very fast, giving you more time to enjoy the activities instead of pumping with your hands or your feet. You now know enough to be confident and pick the best inflatable kayak electric pump for your needs. Save time and energy and most importantly – have fun!
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.
More Paddle Reviews: