Whether you want a water sport that is relaxing and offers great views (and a great workout!) or you want the adrenaline of catching some serious waves, with a little more stability than you get from a surfboard, stand-up paddleboarding (SUPing) may be on your list of things to try. It is an excellent sport for touring, exercise, and recreation.
Among the many decisions that you must consider when you are ready to join the SUP craze is the type of board you will choose. People who want a lightweight board that is compact and easy to travel with often choose an inflatable board. You easily carry these and then inflate them when you get to your destination. If you have ever considered paddleboard touring, they are great for this, too.
Many inflatable SUP boards come with hand pumps, which get the job done but take quite a bit of effort. For an easier and more efficient setup, an electric pump can be used to blow air into your inflatable SUP. This article will go over some of the best electric pumps for your SUP, as well as the considerations you should make before choosing.
|Pump Name||Power Source||Connectors||Pressure Range||Availability|
|Kwik Tek AIRHEAD AHP-120HP Pump||120V AC outlet, can use an inverter for 12V car battery||H3 and all common valve adapters||1 - 20 PSI|
|Bravo BP12KIT||12V car battery or battery pack||H3 and all common valve adapters||1 - 14.5 PSI|
|Seamax Intelligent||12V vehicle accessory socket||H3 and all common valve adapters||1 - 20 PSI|
|Tower Paddle Boards Electric Pump||12V car battery or accessory socket||H3||1 - 20 PSI|
|SereneLife Premium Compact Digital Air Pump||12V vehicle accessory socket||H3||1 - 16 PSI|
- 1 Best Electric Pumps for Your Inflatable Paddleboard or Kayak
- 1.1 1. Kwik Tek AIRHEAD AHP-120HP Pump
- 1.2 2. Bravo BP12KIT Single-Stage Electric Pump with Battery
- 1.3 3. Seamax Intelligent 20 PSI Digital 12V Electric Air Pump
- 1.4 4. Tower Paddle Boards Electric Pump
- 1.5 5. SereneLife Premium Compact Digital Air Pump Compressor
- 2 Buying Guide for Electric Pumps for Kayaks & SUPs
Best Electric Pumps for Your Inflatable Paddleboard or Kayak
Every piece of equipment that you purchase for outdoor sports is an investment towards your enjoyment and health. Below, you are going to find reviews of the top five SUP pumps. If you do not know what to look for, be sure to check out the buying guide at the end of these reviews.
1. Kwik Tek AIRHEAD AHP-120HP Pump
If you are unsure of the adapter you need for your paddleboard, or you are looking for an air pump that will do an all-around great job with many others, this is a great choice. It is also a very affordable option.
Flexibility and Adaptability
One of the first things you will notice about this pump is that it comes with seven adapter valves, including the H3 valve that is common with SUPs. With its wide range of adapters, it can easily blow up any SUP, as well as balls, pool toys, inflatable water crafts like kayaks, and more.
The power cord, however, is a standard wall socket. This can work in some situations, especially in cars that have this type of power set up. The hose is 10-feet long, which gives you plenty of room to move around with it, but this pump may not offer the mobility that some boarders need.
Functionality and Features
This pump works as it is supposed to. It can be loud, to the point where you may want to use it outdoors. However, it works quickly to inflate or deflate any number of objects. A pressure release valve is included, which detects high levels of pressure (over 1.4PSI) and releases air, before shutting off.
When you hold this pump, it feels solid and durable in your home. It comes with a carrying handle that makes it easy to lug around. Something to be cautious about is the hose. While it does fit securely, it is not threaded and may not hold a secure connection eventually.
2. Bravo BP12KIT Single-Stage Electric Pump with Battery
This pump has everything you need to inflate or deflate your paddleboard everywhere. It is a little on the expensive side, but it works for a wide range of items.
Like the previous model, this pump comes with several common valve adapters. This will work for boards using a military adapter, but it does not include the more common Halkey-Roberts adapter. Fortunately, you can purchase this for a fair price.
Ease of Use
This kit comes with a cable and pair of alligator clips, the valve adapters, and an inflation hose, all which seem to be quality. It also comes with a 12-volt battery, which is used to power the pump. It quickly pumps within a range of 1 to 14.5 PSI, shutting off once the target is reached. It is simple to use once you figure out the attachments, but it may take longer to figure out the first few tries.
Portability is a great feature of this SUP pump. The pump itself is lightweight and comes with a carrying bag, however, the battery does not fit in this bag. You should also note that you will need to charge the battery every few uses, because the pumping draws a lot of power. As a back-up, you can attach the unit to your car battery.
3. Seamax Intelligent 20 PSI Digital 12V Electric Air Pump
With a wide range of inflation (up to 20 PSI), this is the ideal pump for someone who wants to have their board inflated quickly. This is another more affordable option, costing a little more than the first pump on this list.
The first thing that sets this pump apart is its construction, which includes materials that are marine grade engineered, including Nylon and ABS. It also features an LCD screen and digital pressure gauge.
The quality of the air hose is also nice, with threaded ends that attach securely and reinforced walls, to prevent leaks from a build-up of pressure. It is 4.5 feet long and the connector can turn 360 degrees, which gives you a lot of flexibility when pumping your board.
Adaptability and Performance
This pump is designed to fill up to 20 PSI, a feat that can be accomplished in just 15 minutes in boards that require this. It is single-stage, but still has an automatic stop when it reaches the assigned pressure level. This is easy to set on the LCD screen, which also provides constant feedback from the digital pressure gauge.
The power is set up for a DC connection to the cigarette lighter in your car, however, it can also be attached using the fuses of your car. Instructions are included to make understanding this easier. The pump is compatible with many items, coming with four universal adapters in addition to an HR adapter.
If proper deflation for your board is important, this pump is not a good choice as it only inflates. Additionally, know that the connection can become tight between the hose and pump if you use it to pump to 20 PSI. This is a normal reaction to the buildup of pressure, but it can still be hard to remove.
This pump also may not be a good choice if you plan on pumping several boards up. You must check the device for overheating between boards, to prevent shut down or damage to the pump.
4. Tower Paddle Boards Electric Pump
This pump is designed especially for paddleboards, with features like a non-kinking hose and an attached H3 nozzle.
This SUP pump comes with a handle, making it easy to carry wherever you go. On top, it features a dial that lets you set a pressure, as well as a pressure gauge that constantly monitors the pressure. One thing to note is that when the PSI is below 5, the gauge does not always accurately represent the pressure. However, since SUPs usually require a higher PSI, this will still get the job done.
This stand-up paddleboard 2-stage pump is easy to set and then let do its job, while you gather the rest of your gear. When its pressure indicates the pre-set pressure, it will automatically shut down. The pump can be used to inflate or deflate and even though it is designed specifically for use with Tower boards, it is compatible with any board that uses an H3 adapter.
To use the pump, you plug it into your cigarette lighter connection of your car. It also comes with 12-volt battery cables, which give you an alternate option for power. If you do choose these methods, you should leave your car running for the most efficient operation.
Setting the pump on level ground is also important. Otherwise, the pump may not be able to gauge the PSI effectively. This can cause it to shut off too soon, requiring you to hand pump your SUP the rest of the way.
The hose on this pump is nice, being flexible so you can easily attach it to your board. However, it can be a little stiff the first few times that you use it. The hose is also designed not to kink, so you do not have to worry about interruptions in the air flow.
5. SereneLife Premium Compact Digital Air Pump Compressor
This pump has an automatic shut-off, easy-to-understand buttons, and digital reading, all to make the inflation or deflation process easier.
Ease of Use
This SUP compressor is simple to use because of its clearly labeled buttons and small digital display. This allows you to easily set the PSI to where you need it to be and let the pump do its job. When it reaches the selected amount, it will automatically shut off to prevent damage to your equipment.
While many SUPs use PSIs to measure the range of acceptable air pressure, this pump also reads information in MBAR (millibar) and KPA (kilopascals). Not only does the product inflate at a fair rate, but it also features an air release valve for rapid deflation of your board. This means that when you have had a long day out on the water, you do not have to struggle with your board on the way home.
This pump is another vehicle-friendly option, where you will plug it into the cigarette jack of your car for power. It has the standard H3 adapter for SUPs, but no others are included. Additionally, while this pump can blow up sports balls and pool toys as well, you must buy the extra adapters for it to do this.
The finer details of this pump make its construction of high quality. The hose is a little stiff, but features threaded ends for a secure, airtight connection. It feels thick, heavy, and durable. When you lift the pump, you will appreciate that it is small, light, and easy to transport. This is encouraged by the detachable air hose. Altogether, it weighs just three pounds.
Buying Guide for Electric Pumps for Kayaks & SUPs
It would seem that something like buying a pump for a SUP would be easy. However, there are many factors people new to the sport do not consider. Here is what you need to know to buy a good electric pump for your SUP.
Chances are, if you are looking for a SUP pump, the inflatable board you chose does not come with one included. To avoid wasting time and money, the first thing you should check for is compatibility. Blowing up your paddleboard should be straightforward and simple. You do not want to play around with adapters to get your board inflated, wasting valuable time that you could be spending on the water.
Before you shop around for a board, know what you already have at home. Look for information about the valve on your board. One of the most common is the Halkey-Roberts valve, which may also be called the H-valve, HR, or H3. These are ideal because they are easy to replace and service, and because they effectively maintain a high pressure. Military valves are often used, including the Bravo valve, Double Lock, Leafield, Pinch, and Boston models. Once you know what type of valve you have, you can start to figure out how to inflate your stand-up paddleboard.
Pumps usually have a pre-set range, which is the pressure that they can put out. To have compatibility, it is essential that the recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) of pressure falls within the range the pump can put out. Some pumps top out at 15 PSI, while others cannot go beyond 20 PSI.
Do you know how you have to set the air pressure in your car tires to a certain level of air for them to work well? The same is true of inflatable SUPs. For them to stay flat in the water, support your weight, and follow the twists and turns as they are moved by your paddle and the water, you must have the right amount of pressure.
Some pumps come with an included pressure gauge, which reads the PSI as the board inflates. This is a more convenient option than the alternative, which requires you to remove the pump, check the pressure, and then pump the board more if required.
If you are choosing a model that checks PSI as it inflates, you should also consider the auto shut-off function. For this pump, you put in the target PSI. As the pump reaches the pre-set limit, it will shut off. This is a great feature if you are worried about over-inflation.
One of the most common assumptions made is that riders will bring their SUP to their destination by car. For this reason, electric pumps commonly attach to the car battery or the lighter plug of your car. These are convenient if you are headed to the local lake to paddleboard, but not as convenient if you have a long walk and want to keep your board deflated for that.
Another option is a 12-volt battery, which can be used as an external battery box to power your pump. There are even some pumps that connect to a typical wall socket, but this is not very common because of the outdoor nature of paddleboarding.
The most important thing as you consider the power source is that you are practical. Think about where you will be spending the most time and choose accordingly.
SUP pumps come in one-stage and two-stage varieties. One-stage SUP pumps are a little less expensive because they are a little less efficient. They blow air constantly until the PSI is reached, with speed depending on the power in the pump that you have chosen. Two-stage pumps use a rapid rate to inflate the board and then slows down slightly so it does not go over the PSI. Typically, this results in the board being inflated more quickly.
To make leaving as easy as loading up to go to your favorite spot, you will want to be able to quickly deflate your SUP. While this is not necessary, a deflation feature is often included for a fair price. It ensures that your board is deflated effectively, so it can easily be stowed away safely until next time. This is not a necessity, but it will make caring for your paddleboard much easier.
There are a few other things you may want to consider. First, think about the size of the pump and how easy it will be to get it where you need to go. If you have a portable pump, it should be powerful enough to get the job done but light enough that it is not hard to lug around.
You should also consider if there is an included carrying bag. Not only will it make it more convenient to carry, but a bag will also keep your pump free from damage or the build-up of dust and debris when it is not in use.
Noise is something else that you consider. If you are interested in the paddleboarding experience so you can get closer to nature, you do not want to scare it off as you prepare your board for the lake. The noise level often reflects how much power the pump has, so find the right balance between loudness and speed for your specific needs.
Finally, think about the length of the power cord and hose. You do not want to have to stand your board up next to your car to fill it, struggling with its awkward shape because the cords are too short. Make sure that the cord from the power source to the pump is long enough and that the hose provides enough wiggle room to attach it to your board easily.
Before you hit the waves, you should feel confident that your pump will perform. It should quickly inflate your board, saving you time and work. For that reason, our choice for winner is:
Kwik Tek AIRHEAD AHP-120HP Pump with Pressure Release
This SUP pump was chosen because it quickly inflates and deflates your board. It comes with a wide range of adapters, making it useful for other objects you may have around the home. It is also affordable, durable, and gets the job done. It is not a good option for people who do not have a standard wall outlet in their car (unless you want to inflate at home), but is otherwise an excellent choice.
Of course, remember that the pump you choose ultimately depends on your specific needs. Even though it may take a lot of preparation, stand-up paddleboarding is well worth it. Hopefully, this guide has helped you prepare a little more, by helping you choose the best electric SUP pump. The next step is to head out, hit the water, and have some fun!