The best pump for inflatable kayaks is the Shark Inflatable Kayak/ SUP air pump by OutdoorMaster.
This electric kayak pump has an internal cooling system pressure monitoring. This means you don’t have to worry about overheating, and the pump will turn off automatically when it has reached the selected PSI. It comes with a 12v DC car adapter and a complete adapter set. This inflatable pump is functional, fast, and can inflate up to three inflatable kayaks in a row without overheating.
As someone who has fumbled around with inflatable pumps for a good 10 years I can tell you how much easier it is to use an electric pump over a manual. While most inflatable kayaks only need a few psi to be inflated it can still be a bit of a pain. Manually pumping from bladder to bladder almost exceeds the effort needed to paddle the craft!
Whether you’re new to kayaking or just looking for some helpful advice, the most common questions I get are about which products I use. People these days are into inflatable kayaks since they’re portable, lightweight, and convenient.
However, what people tend to overlook is finding the best inflatable kayak pump. Here, we’re going to talk about the best air pump for an inflatable boat or kayak, their features, and what sets them apart.
Best Inflatable Kayak Pump Reviews
Below are top rated inflatable kayak pump models as rated by a wide range of inflatable kayak owners.
1. Outdoor Master Shark Inflatable Kayak/SUP Air Pump – Top Pick
- 12v DC Car Adapter with Adapter Set
- Inflate/Deflate Auto Off Setting
- Inflates up to 20 PSI
- Internal Cooling System
- Built-in Sand Filter
This inflatable pump uses a dual-stage system. The first stage works for maximum speed, pumping at 350L per minute. The second stage applies a maximum pressure of 70L per minute. The inflation time for 20 PSI is roughly 8 minutes for those with inflatable SUP’s
The Shark II is compatible with most water sports items and inflatables, including kayaks, inflatable stand-up paddle boards, and air mattresses.
What Customers Think
Customers were satisfied with this kayak air pump, with many claiming it is the best pump for inflatable kayaks. They liked the auto inflate/ deflate setting as it allowed for quick and easy set up and disassembly.
While the noise is not whisper quiet, its ability to fill more than one board back to back without overheating makes up for this minor flaw.
- The pump won’t overheat
- Easy-to-use Auto Inflate Setting
- Up to 20 PSI
- DC Car Adapter and Full Adapter Set
- Fast inflate/deflate time
- Hose length difficult for in-water inflation
- Works best with external battery vs. car
- Buttons are somewhat flimsy
- Overheats faster in hot temperatures
2. Nixy Ventus Air Pump – Portable Pick
- Active Cooling Tech
- 12v Battery Cables
- 10 ft. Power Cord
- 7 Valve Adapters
The first stage pumping speed is 350L/min, while the second is 70L/min. This pump takes about 7 minutes to fully inflate their kayak, or 6 minutes for a SUP board.
The Nixy Ventus Air Pump works as advertised for most kayaks, dinghies, paddleboards, boats, mattresses, and other inflatables.
What Customers Think
Customers think the pump was easy to use and worked consistently. Though some people found it difficult to secure the nozzles to the BOT Flood SUP valve.
Many users found the carry case and cold storage to be excellent additions to the product, making it convenient and portable. They found the pump to be a good quality product that lasts a long time despite the higher price point.
- Up to 20 PSI
- Includes Carrying Bag
- Auto Shut Off Setting
- Includes 12v Battery Cables
- Can be difficult to secure nozzles
- DC may charge slower when the car is not running
- More costly pump
- Less online reviews
3. Sea Eagle BTP 2 Stage Electric Pump With Battery – Sea Eagle Pick
- High-Pressure Piston for higher PSI
- 8.6” Cable with Alligator Clips
- Travel Case
- 12v Battery
This electric inflation pump uses a two-stage system. The first stage works with a low-pressure/high-volume turbine blower. The second stage uses a high-pressure piston for higher PSI. The average inflation time is about 8 minutes, depending on the model of the kayak.
Works with kayak brands such as the Sea Eagle Explorer, PaddleSki, SailCat, RazorLite, NeedleNose, and most other water sports models.
What Customers Think
Customers found that the Sea Eagle pump is a great fit for Advanced Elements AirVolution kayaks, as well as a wide range of the most popular brands. It’s ideal because it only takes a few minutes to fill each chamber. Users appreciate that the pump fills to the required PSI and shuts off when it reaches the requirement. Others also think that the BTP Mano is well worth the price.
- Quick inflation
- Plenty of battery power
- 20 Amp maximum draw
- Auto-Shutoff feature
- Max. 14.5 PSI
- Batteries won’t ship outside the U.S.
- Pump can’t be used with a car adapter
4. Sea Eagle BP 12 Single Stage Electric Pump – Pick for Smaller Hulls
- Two-Stage Auto-Shutoff Setting
- High-Pressure Piston Pump
- 12v Battery
- 102” in. Cable with Alligator Clips
The average inflation time of this pump is about 9 minutes.
Works with makes such as Explore, FastTrack, RazorLite, and Inflatable Fishing Kayaks, SUPs, and the PaddleSki Inflatable Catamaran Boat.
What Customers Think
Customers love the ease of use of this pump which saves a lot of unnecessary headache and inflation time. While some buyers found defects in the zipper of the bag compartment, Sea Eagle’s customer service team seems to always respond promptly and are willing to replace defective products immediately.
- Portable and lightweight
- Sealed, Recessed Valve Adapter makes for easy fitting
- Fast inflation time for small electric pump
- Durable design
- Costly pump
- Battery cables feel somewhat flimsy
- Carry case is difficult to pack
5. SereneLife Electric Air Pump Compressor – Rechargeable Pick
- Housing Access Lid for Cables
- Touch Button LCD Control Panel
- Built-In 12v LI-ION, Rechargeable Battery
- 3.3 ft. Air Hose
This pump takes roughly 7 minutes to inflate depending on the kayak size.
This air pump works on most SUP paddle boards and water sports toys, as well as pool inflatables.
What Customers Think
Many customers choose this pump for its quick inflation time and its automatic turn-off at the desired pressure level. However, there are some complaints about the battery mode malfunctioning where you might have to keep it connected to a power source for it to work. Some users also found that this pump might not work well with a lot of brands.
- Battery charges on a car adapter
- Lightweight and portable
- USB charging for phone
- Long battery life
- Complaints of battery malfunctions
- Not compatible with a wide range of brands
- The hose is hard plastic
6. SereneLife Premium Compact Digital Air Pump – Budget Pick
- Digital LCD Multi-Unit Display
- 3.3 ft. Air-Hose
- Preset Auto Shut-Off feature
- 3 lb. lightweight compact design
This pump has roughly a 10 minute inflation time. You may need to let the pump cool down for a few minutes in between pumping kayaks to avoid overheating.
The SereneLift Premium features button adjustable PSI settings, making it compatible with most water sports inflatables, including SUP paddleboards and kayaks.
What Customers Think
Customers think this pump is quite easy to use but takes a bit longer to fill than other brands. The SereneLife pump comes with 3 washers each of different thickness so it’s important to refer to the instructions when setting up for the pump to work correctly.
Some users tested the pump and found that it didn’t hit the pressure accurately, however, other users were able to achieve an accurate PSI. While a little inconsistent, this product works great in dry heat and is relatively cheaper than other options. But if you’re looking for quick inflation, you may want to consider another pump.
- The Multi-Unit Display allows you to choose from mbar, PSI, or KPA.
- The hose locks and secures onto the pump easily
- Only $59.24 on Amazon
- Most portable kayak air pump
- Inflates slower than other models
- Hose made of hard plastic
- Doesn’t reach as high PSI
- Reported not to always inflate to accurate PSI
How to Choose an Inflatable Kayak Pump
Now that you are familiar with some of the best choices, here’s everything you need to know about how to choose an inflatable kayak pump to aid you in your decision-making process.
Why Did We Choose All Electric-Pumps?
If you’re an avid kayaker who wants to make the most out of your off-the-clock adventure time, electric pumps are the way to go. These pumps may cost more on the front end, but you will be glad you made the purchase, because they will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
This is especially true when your day is done, you’re exhausted from a long ride on the water, and you’re ready to hit the road. We all know that feeling when we’re ready to go get home or hit the diner after a strenuous day in the sun, but we still have to pack up.
Trust an expert, it’s better to set your electric pump to auto-deflate mode, start your engine, and maybe get a little shade while you wait. Plus there’s always that risk of getting a cramp from those foot pumps after a long drive and day on the water.
What Types of Pumps Work With Inflatable Kayaks?
Below are some different types of inflatable kayak pumps that are available.
Where are the hand pumps on this list? Call me a cynic but I’ve had more than my share of pumping things by hand. Hense why All the above choices are electric. Still if you are up for the challenge we can give you a little walk through on what works below.
Single action kayak air pumps inflate when pushing down only. These types of air pumps are typically foot pumps. An example of this type of pump is the AIRHEAD Foot Pump.
Double Action air inflation pumps are typically hand pumps, which work by using handles to push down and pull up on the pump. Double Action pumps inflate when pushing down as well as pulling up to increase the inflation speed. An example of this kind of pump would be a Sevylor Kayak Pump.
There are two main types of electric pumps that we go over below.
12v Electric Pumps
12v Electric Pumps will save you a lot of pumping effort and generally have enough battery power to pump several kayaks in a row.
Many of the pumps reviewed above are SUP Pumps, such as the Outdoor Master Shark Inflatable Kayak/SUP Air Pump. These SUP Pumps (Stand-UP Paddle) pumps are commonly used to inflate paddleboards but are also used for other water sports inflatables as well.
What Types of Pumps Don’t Work with Inflatable Kayaks?
Many pumps used for outside purposes won’t work for inflating your kayak. They include:
- Tires Pumps
- Bike Pumps
These will not work because the adapters on these devices are completely different.
Make sure you buy a pump that is compatible with the kayak and any other water inflatable you plan to use. You should also make sure you have the right adapter for your pump so that you can attach the hose properly without leaking.
What Type Valve Adaptors Do I Need for My Inflatable Kayaks?
For each of these valves, you will need the corresponding adapter to inflate your kayak efficiently. Each one of them works differently, but they all function the same by keeping the air from escaping your kayak as you inflate it. The adapters work by screwing onto the valve threading.
The Boston Valve is a one-way check valve that has two ports for inflation and deflation. Check valves work by only letting air flow in one direction. There is an inflation and deflation side to use for each process.
Military Valves use a spring-loaded push pin system. By turning the push pin down, you open the valve so that air can be pumped in. By turning the pin closed, air can be pumped in but will not be released.
Depending on whether your pump uses a high or low PSI, you can either use the open or closed pin setting. The open position is easier to use for lower PSI because less pressure is needed to pump air through. You can then top the kayak off using the closed setting to avoid air leaking back out.
Different Military Valves may need specific adaptors to couple to, like the Halkey Roberts Adaptor. Others are more universal and work with most screw-in adaptors.
Double Lock Valves
Double Lock Valves have a valve stem that you pull. Inside the valve stem there will be a plug that comes out so that air can be inflated into your kayak. This type of lock typically works with the Boston Valve Adapter.
Once you’ve inflated your kayak fully, just hold the valve stem and push down, with the nozzle still connected to the valve. Do the same by opening the plug when you’re ready to deflate.
Pinch Valves use a flap as a seal to keep air from escaping. Pinch Valve adapters are longer and shaped like a needle or cone. You will insert the adapter into the valve stem. Once inserted, the adaptor will push open the interior flap and allow you to inflate your kayak. The reason it’s called a Pinch Valve is because you have to pinch the valve stem to get air back out.
Remember to always screw the top cap of your valves back on after you remove the adapter. This will help protect the valve from possible leaks.
How Do You Pump Up an Inflatable Kayak?
Here’s a video explaining how to use an electric pump to inflate your kayak. The first thing you want to do is set up the kayak and the pump.
- Unroll the kayak and attach the correct valve adapter to your kayak.
- Connect your pump.
- Inflate the bottom valve at the inside base of the kayak. Don’t fill up the side valves of the kayak first. If you do this, the side chambers won’t have a proper base to sit on, and it will be harder to inflate the floor. Once you’ve inflated the floor chamber fully, you can start on the sides.
- Fill the side compartments. You can start by filling each side about two-thirds full so you’ll still have some wiggle room to adjust the compartments properly before filling it all the way.
- Inflate your seat.
- Double check the valves to ensure a tight seal.
You should have no problem inflating your kayak if the valves are on correctly. If you have an auto-shutoff setting on your kayak, you can just set it to the correct PSI, and it will shut off automatically when it’s inflated. If your inflation pump doesn’t have a digital auto-shutoff setting, you should use a pressure gauge on your valve to test the PSI.
What PSI Should My Inflatable Kayak Be?
Most inflatable kayaks range anywhere from 1 to 3.2 PSI. This will depend on what type, brand, and model kayak you have. It’s best to follow the brand recommendations, because they’ve tested out all the scenarios! You won’t have an issue filling up any inflatable kayak with one of these pumps, although some will work slower than others.
How Long Does it Typically Take to Deflate a Kayak?
Depending on the kayak model and pump you’re using, it might take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes to deflate your kayak. The higher-end inflatable kayak electric pumps on the market will only take about 5 or 7 minutes.
What Did We Learn?
The best inflatable kayak pumps depend on several variables, such as cost, inflation speed, setup time, usability, battery life, and cooling. You might also want to consider how much noise the pump makes when inflating and deflating, as that can get annoying.
My personal favorite pick is the Outdoor Master Inflatable Kayak Pump because of its variable settings and its quick inflation time. It can also properly inflate a wide varity of different inflatable kayaks from single layer Vinyl to Drop Stitch PVC.
Don’t forget to make sure your inflation pump also has all the correct valves and that the hose is long enough for what you desire. If you’re still not sure what you want, check out customer reviews online. You can also find lots of helpful info on my website and all sorts of tips and tricks to make your inflatable kayaking experience easy!