Using a Tire Inflator as a Pressure Source for Portable Serving


But Why??

This is part of our Homebrew Hacks series of posts.  The description of that series is “Making, re-purposing, modifying and enhancing for the cause of improving homebrewing processes and results!”.

I didn’t put this post together because no solution exists.  In fact, there are bunches of purpose built solutions.  See: Portable Draft Beer Serving Options!  for loads of options.

I’m also not specifically recommending that you do this.  This post outlines something I have personally done.  See the end of this post additional disclaimers.

This post is about thinking outside of the box and encouraging you to do the same.  When you come up with something awesome, send us a message and tell us all about it.

Please Read – about using Atmospheric Air to Serve Beer

Before you comment, email, tweet, etc [8 ways to connect] to me, PLEASE READ THIS…. This technique involves using atmospheric air to serve a keg of beer.  Yes, this will cause oxidation given enough time.  This is the exact same principle as party keg pumps – example – use.  Over a short amount of time, let’s say the course of a typical get-together, oxidation should not be an issue.  No, I am not recommending this for any long term arrangement.

Using a Tire Inflator as a Pressure Source for Portable Serving

I’m a fan of DeWalt’s 20V Max Lineup of Tools.  Looking around for 20V MAX compatible equipment, I ran into the DCC020IB Cordless Tire Inflator.  I thought it looked convenient and would be handy for inflating tires and such without firing up my compressor.  The fact that it has multiple power options including cordless operation with 20V Max batteries is a big plus.  As I was looking at reviews, I noticed the digital readout and precise controls.  This made me think this could be a viable solution as a pressure source for serving at parties and such.


Related: Using a Keg as a CO2 Source for Portable Serving!

Want to serve your beer on the go?  See: Portable Draft Beer Serving Options!  to learn more and for loads of options.


This post outlines something that I have personally done.  Always, make sure the components you use for your projects are compatible and rated for your intended application.  Contact manufacturer with questions about suitability or a specific application.  Always read and follow manufacturer directions.

A Quick Look at DeWalt’s DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Tire Inflator DCC020IB

The left screen shows current pressure the right screen shows set pressure.  The dial allows you to set pressure and start and stop the inflator.A closeup of an installed 20V MAX Lithium Ion Battery.  Helping trim weeds one day and helping to serve a keg another!

Close up of the control panel.  The scale on the left screen changes based on set pressure.

Pressure Check

This is a pressure check using a Ball Lock Keg Carbonation Lid + DuoTight Gauge – Hands on Review: Kegland DuoTight Fittings & EVABarrier Tubing! – with the inflator set to 8 PSI.  I found the DeWalt inflator’s pressure reading to be pretty well spot each time I compared the two readings.

Adding a Schrader Style Valve to a Homebrew Keg

The connection that makes this possible is a Keg Coupler Schrader Valve Assembly.  This is a Ball Lock setup, but it could just as easily be a Pin Lock Setup.  See: Adding a Schrader Valve to a Homebrew KegThe Tire Inflator Threads on to the Keg Coupler Schrader AssemblyComplete SetupInflator set to 10 PSI, current pressure reading 10.4 PSI.  This is a 2.5 Gallon Keg – Hands on Review – but could just as easily be a 5 gallon keg.

Some notes… My DeWalt Tire Inflator turns itself off to save battery after a set amount of time.  When it’s turned back in it does read the current pressure on the left screen.  It does not remember the last pressure setting.  This will require hands on attention and supervision.  It’s also my understanding that this has a 10 minute run time limit.  In my tests it took a short time (well under 30 seconds) to get an empty 2.5 gallon keg up to 8 to 10 PSI. Side Benefit: During the process of testing this, I kept losing pressure.  After tightening everything, double checking and re-tightening… I was still losing pressure.  At that point, I came to suspect my old foe… gas post o-ring.  I put a new one on grabbed from this set… Universal O-Ring Ten Gasket Sets for Home Brew Kegs With Silicone Post O-Rings and whammo, no leaks.  Since the inflator clearly shows pressure and seems to be quite accurate it makes it easy to check for leaks without wasting CO2.  This is basically a version of “The Pressure Gauge Method” of testing for leaks that I’ve talked about for a long time.  With added benefit of an easy to read gauge and no CO2 use.

Mentioned in This Post:

Also: Search Amazon for dewalt 20v MAX

Want to serve your beer on the go?  See: Portable Draft Beer Serving Options!  to learn more and for loads of options.

Important: Make sure every component in your setup is rated for the amount of pressure you decide to use.

Make sure the components you use are compatible and rated for your intended application.  Contact manufacturer with questions about suitability or a specific application.  Always read and follow manufacturer directions.

I have two posts that feature the tire inflator mentioned here.  Here is the other.  One objection that I’ve received is that the inflator could use a lubricant that is not food grade.  As a reminder, this post outlines something I have personally done.  I am not recommending that you do it.

Portable Draft Beer Serving Options!

Also: Kegerator Tips & Gear | Keg Repair Part #s | Recent Keg Finds

Our Top Draft Resources!

More: Our Last Fifty Finds!


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