TOTES AIR COMPRESSOR

— Testing the compact, $24.95, 260 PSI unit —

Totes air compressor is a compact, portable 12-volt compressor contained in a tire-shaped plastic housing. Totes claims the compressor can develop 260 psi. This compressor sells for $24.95, which is similar to other small 12-volt compressors. An air pressure gauge is incorporated into the housing, and the compressor comes with nozzles for sports balls and other inflatables.

This compressor’s tire-shaped housing is larger than some, but unlike many, it has a storage area for the cord that can actually hold all the cord. The cord wraps around tabs on the back of the housing and rests in a recess. The air hose stows in a groove around the tire’s outside edge.

PERFORMANCE:

Tires on our UTVs and UTV-hauling equipment always seem to need air, and small 12-volt compressors are a handy solution, especially if we only need to add a few pounds of pressure. We use a lot of 12-volt compressors, and the Totes model has some things we like and some we don’t. The compressor part of the Totes “tire” works as well as most and better than some small, inexpensive compressors we’ve used. Unlike some, it can inflate a completely flat UTV tire in under 10 minutes, and it’s impressively quiet. It’s nice to have a gauge on a compressor, but the one built into the Totes compressor isn’t accurate enough to trust below 20 psi, an important range for UTV tires. The scale goes from zero to 10 psi, then to 20 psi in a very small part of the gauge and has a maximum reading of 260 psi, which is useless for tires on UTVs and UTV haulers. A gauge with an easy-to-read 0-to-20-psi range and a maximum of 100 psi would be much better. The only other negative we found is the size. The tire-shaped housing is 7 inches in diameter and 2 3/4-inch thick, which is pretty big for glove boxes on most UTVs and even some trucks. The good thing about the slightly large housing is, it includes a convenient area to store the power cord and plug, which wraps around tabs on the back of the housing and rests in a recess that can actually hold all the cord. The housing also has a home for the air hose in a recess around its outside edge. On most small compressors, the cord and air hose end up hanging in a tangled mess. The Totes compressor’s hose fitting has a lever-type locking fitting, which we like better than screw-on fittings that take longer to attach and don’t work well on stems with damaged threads.

THE VERDICT

Totes’ 12-volt air compressor isn’t the best for UTVs and UTV haulers, but it wasn’t designed for that specific use. It’s still worth getting, because it works. The lever-type fitting is convenient to use, the price is right, and it has neat ways to store its hose and cord, which many don’t.

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