Adding an air compressor for working on bicycle tires to your workbench is a great time saver, making it simple to seat tubeless tire beads and handle topping off tire pressure on an entire fleet of bikes quickly and easily.
An air compressor alone doesn't connect directly to the presta valves on your bikes, though - for that, you'll need a bicycle-specific inflator head to plug in to the compressor. Arundel's Shop Inflator and the Park Tool INF-2 are two top sellers in this category.
Let's take a look at their features, pros, and cons:
The Park Tool INF-2 and Arundel Shop Inflator share these features:
- Hot-swap air tools easily, since these tools both use standard air compressor line fittings
- Operated by a trigger, so you can easily control the flow of air
- High PSI pressure gauges built-in
- Both tools can be operated with one hand, leaving the other free to eat/drink, talk on the phone, or hold the bike
Differences between Park Tool's INF-2 and the Arundel Shop Inflator
- Arundel's Shop Inflator costs less than half compared with the Park Tool INF-2
- Park's INF-2 works on both presta and schrader bicycle valves, while the Arundel Shop Inflator is presta-only. No big deal if all your bikes have the (superior) presta valves, but you can't work on the neighbor kid's BMX bike with schrader valves using the Arundel tool.
- Park's INF-2 has a built-in hook, that's nice for easy storage. You might want to store the Arundel tool in a drawer.
Should you choose a Park Tool INF-2, or Arundel Shop Inflator?
Arundel's Shop Inflator is a well-made, reliable alternative to the Park Tool INF-2 and has the benefit of a significantly lower price point, making it ideal and recommended for home mechanics.
The INF-2 could of course be used in a home mechanic environment, but it's really designed for bike shops, and is prohibitively expensive for occasional home users. The INF-2 is a better fit in busy bike shops where it's higher cost is justified by repeated, consistent use on a daily basis.
Regardless of which tool you use, get the most out of your new inflator head, read my Tips for Installing Tubeless Bicycle Tires after you've got your new air compressor setup for the first time.