Dinghy air pump. So what is the best air pump for your needs. There are a number of pumps types available: Bellows Foot Pump Single Action Hand Pump Double Action Hand 12 Volt electric pump
Before choosing a pump first find out what pressure (PSI) your inflatable needs. This is important to know as some inflatables do not need that much pressure maybe 2-4 PSI while High Pressure floors need closer to 11 PSI and some SUP’s need 15 PSI. (see chart)
Pumping High Pressure can be back breaking work.
|Inflatable dinghy||4+ PSI|
|Inflatable dinghy High Pressure Floor||10-12 PSI|
|Inflatable Fenders||1-2 PSI|
|Inflatable Kayaks||2-3 PSI|
|Inflatable SUP||6.5-15 PSI|
Some Pump designs have large chambers that move lots of air but cannot achieve high pressure. High pressure pumps only move lower volumes of air, but can get the higher pressure. This means to get high pressure you will need to move lots of air, which takes time.
Check prospective Pumps for air pressure and air flow rates. Some industry professionals actually use an electric pump to provide most of the inflation fast and then a single action pump for topping off.
Bellows Foot Pump
The most common pump being used is the traditional bellows. They are popular because you can pump with your foot while standing up. Good for people with back and knee problems.
The downside, due to the bellows only pump on the down strokes, is the time take to inflate to high pressure if needed.
The Bravo 2 is a foot pump without any frills. The Bravo 2 was recently cited by Practical Boat Owner and one of the best for the time and number of strokes needed to get to 1.5PSI
Low Pressure only 1.5 gal (6 L) per stroke
This bellows pump utilizes 2 chambers. For fast action the lower hole (as in pic) for high air volume, but low pressure. Then plugin into the middle hole and get up to 4.4 PSI. There is a visual pressure gauge built in.
The video below shows a 2.3 m inflatable being inflated by the Bravo 10 in just 3 minutes. I think his leg is going to be tired.
Double Action Hand Pump
Double Action Hand Pump are cylindrical and that pushes air in on the up and the down stroke. These cylindrical pumps are harder to use than a foot pump. However they can achieve higher pressure quicker than bellows.
Most Double action pumps can inflate and deflate by switching the hose. These are great for lower pressure inflatables, up to about 4PSI. Can be used on higher pressure inflatables, but the single action pump will be easier.
Will pump up an inflatable faster than the single action pump or bellows foot pump. )See video below).
BRAVO 4 Manual Pump
Heavy duty, double action, hand canister pump, in widespread use by professional outfitters. The BRAVO 4 ALU is a double action pump with an aluminum shaft for extra strength. By removing the cap converts into single action pump which will pump to 14 pounds pressure.
Features: Volume 1 or 2×2000 cc Pressure up to 1 bar (14.5 lbs/sq.inch) Naru valve adaptors included Dimensions: 4-1/3″ x 8-2/3″ x 17-3/4
Advanced Elements Double Action Hand Pump w/Gauge
The double action hand pump delivers a continuous stream of air on both the up and down strokes. Rated to nominal 14.7 PSI or 1 atmosphere
Pressure gauge reads inline up to 15PSI Inflate and deflate modes Extra long air hose Four universal valve fittings included Disassembles easily for inspection or maintenance. Size approximately 18 x 8.5 x 4.5 inches
Single Action Hand Pump
Single Action pump is a barrel-type cylindrical pump that pushes air on the down-stroke only. These pumps are excellent for high pressure inflatables, as they are much easier to pump up to 10+PSI with less physical effort.
The down side is they take a long time with half the air flow of a double action pump.
Single Action Hand Pump
High-volume, high pressure single action pump, perfect for inflatable SUPs, kite sails and other inflatables requiring very high pressure.
Pressure gauge reads inline up to 15PSI Ergonomically designed handle and foot plate. Inflate and deflate modes Single action makes it easier to attain high pressures.
12 Volt Pump
12v are great for inflating kayaks fast, but many do not have the power to fully inflate a SUP requiring 14P PSI.
Below we show two 2Volt pumps one High Pressure and then one Low Pressure.
12 Volt Pump
BRAVO BST 12 HP Suitable for inflatables with high pressure air floors.
Large air flow: 450 l/min Adjustable pressure up to 800 mbar (11.7 psi) Automatic: automatic stop when the chosen pressure is reached. Size (155x230xh115mm) $200
The Video below shows the Bravo BP12 in action.
12 Volt Pump low pressure
rule high speed
There are plenty of 12 volt pumps on the market. Most only achieve low pressure around 1-2 PSI. However for many inflatables that’s all you need.
12 Volts, 25 amps, maximum 2.6 psi, 20 CFM
A double acting pump is actually faster with less effort than the foot pumps. Cylindrical pumps has easy maintenance; And to rebuild it one o-ring and some grease, and its good as new. .
12 Volt pumps can go wrong or your power source fails. In this case a manual backup is valuable.