You've decided to setup an air compressor for working on bicycles in your home workshop - great! In addition to making it much easier to seat tubeless tire beads, an inflator backed by a compressor can also be used for your day-to-day inflation needs.
To complete the system, you'll need an inflator head specific to bicycles. There are two popular options, Prestacycle's Prestaflator line, and the Park Tool INF-2 Shop Inflator. Let's see how they stack up head-to-head and review some of the pros and cons of each.
Features the Park Tool INF-2 and Prestacycle Prestaflator Professional have in common:
- Standard connector that fits common air compressor lines so you can hot-swap air tools
- Handles both presta and schrader valves
- Gauges capable of high PSI, higher than you'll ever need
Key differences between the Park Tool INF-2 and Prestacycle Prestaflator Professional:
- Prestacycle's Prestaflator Professional is significantly less expensive - the INF-2 costs more than twice as much.
- Park's INF-2 only works on presta and schrader bicycle valves - it's a bicycle specific tool. The Professional model from Prestaflator includes a swappable accessory heads, like a blower tip, so you can use it for applications beyond bicycles. This does mean you'd pause to switch between presta and schrader heads as needed, on the INF-2 you merely turn the tool over.
- The INF-2 has a handy hook, nice for storage in bike shops
- to use Park's INF-2, you press the tool directly on to the valve, while the Professional from Prestacycle connects at the end of a flexible pneumatic line. This means you can operate the INF-2 with one hand; conversely, the Prestacycle's design means it requires two hands - but the flexible hose means it can easily slip between closely-spaced spokes on some wheels to reach the valve. It may also be a better option for disc wheels for this reason. Anytime space is limited, the hose design on the Prestaflator offers easier use.
Park Tool INF-2 vs. Prestaflator Professional - which should you choose?
I recommend the Prestacycle Prestaflator line for end users setting up an air compressor in their home workshop. The Prestaflator Professional is a high-quality alternative to the Park Tool INF-2 and is significantly less expensive.
While there is no reason the INF-2 can't be used in a home workshop, it's a prohibitively expensive tool. The INF-2 is a better fit for use in high-volume bike shops - many bike shops have a pegboard full of Park Tool brand tools already, and need tools capable of staying functional over many thousands of uses with fast turnover - far more than a home mechanic will ever experience.
The INF-2 from Park Tool is the only inflator head for compressors in their product line. The Professional model from Prestacycle is its most direct competitor, however, it's worth noting that Prestacycle also offers a Digital model with a backlit, digital gauge, and an Eco model, which is one of the most economical inflators on the market.
Regardless of which inflator you choose, get the most out of it with my Tips for Installing Tubeless Bicycle Tires after you setup your compressor for the first time.