Arundel Shop Inflator vs. VIAIR TLC Inflator

The Arundel Shop Inflator and VIAIR TLC Inflator look very similar to one another. Both will help you seat and inflate tubeless bicycle tires when connected to an air compressor, and offer a convenient, one-handed operation with a built-in gauge.

Which of these two inflators should you buy? Let's go over their features, pros, and cons to help you decide.

Features: Arundel Shop Inflator vs. VIAIR TLC 

Let's review the specs of these two inflators:

VIAIR TLC Inflator Arundel Shop Inflator
Retail Price $69.99 $99.95
Built-in gauge?
Works with 1/4" compressor fittings?
Includes carry bag
One-handed operation

The Arundel Shop Inflator and VIAIR TLC Inflator handle presta and schrader valves differently

These two air tools take a different approach to the two different valve types.

Arundel makes two different tools, one for presta, and another for schrader. Each is dedicated to a single valve type, and isn't convertible. The Arundel Shop Inflator Schrader only works with Schrader valves (automotive type)

The VIAIR TLC Inflator uses a presta head, very similar to the design of the Arundel Presta Shop Inflator, and only comes in a single version. Instead of a separate tool for each valve type, VIAIR makes a single presta-focused tool, and achieves compatibility using an optional schrader (not included) fitting.

Serious mechanics, like high-volume shops and home enthusiasts, will appreciate the Arundel approach, because you just reach for the tool you need at the moment. The VIAIR TLC, on the other hand, is a little slower because of needing to add the schrader adapter and removing it when done - but has the benefit of needing only one tool, so the price is lower.

Both tools use the common 1/4" I/M fitting

Of the various inflator heads for compressors on the market, all the major players (Prestacycle Prestaflator, Arundel Shop Inflator, VIAIR TLC) each use the common 1/4" I/M connector type. The Park Tool INF-2 stands alone, it's designed for 3/8" fittings instead.

Included accessories

With the VIAIR TLC Inflator, you'll also receive a carry bag, which is nice for protecting the inflator in your toolbox or while in transit to an event. The Arundel Shop Inflator doesn't include a carry bag (though it would be possible to store and transport either tool in the original box.)

Maximum PSI

The VIAIR Inflator comes in 120 and 160 PSI versions, the Arundel Shop Inflator comes in a single style, with a max 160 PSI.

This probably isn't meaningful for most users, but is important to note for riders who want an ultra-high pressure option. It's worth noting that the trend on modern road, mountain, gravel, and cyclocross is toward wider tires with lower pressures - either device has a gauge that goes much higher than most riders will ever use.

VIAIR TLC Inflator vs. Arundel Shop Inflator: which should you buy?

At RideCX, I have sold more Arundel Shop Inflators than any other inflation device over the past years. It's an older, proven design. VIAIR is newer to the bicycle space, but has a decades-long background in manufacturing. Either of these is a nice tool to confidently add to your workshop.

The primary difference is their handling of presta and schrader valves. If you work in a high-volume repair area and want dedicated tools for each valve type, pickup one Arundel Shop Inflator in presta and another in schrader and keep two dedicated tools.

If you work primarily on presta valves and rarely schrader, consider the VIAIR TLC for the presta work. You can add the optional schrader add-on to the TLC as you need it.

    Learn more about using an air compressor with tubeless tires

    Once you've purchased an inflator head, learn which compressor to buy, and how to hook it all up with my guide, "how to setup a home air compressor for use with tubeless bicycle tires."

    Back to blog