Single-use compressed air CO2 (carbon dioxide) cartridge pumps can quickly inflate tires.
Different sizes of cartridges are available, with most cartridge pumps being able to use more than one size. Depending on the following, one or two cartridges may be needed to fully inflate a completely flat tire:
- Size of the tire.
- Size of the cartridge.
- Recommended tire pressure.
To save on cartridges, a hand bicycle pump can be used for the easy initial inflation. Cartridges are then used to top up the pressure, when hand-pumping becomes too difficult.
Advantages of CO2 inflators:
- Light. Can be carried everywhere.
- Little effort involved. Good for weaker individuals. Can fully inflate tires to recommended pressure.
- Quick, only seconds. Good for inflating tires when cycling in a group, to reduce disruption to other riders.
Disadvantages of CO2 inflators:
- Limited capacity. Need to carry a few cartridges. Possible to run out of cartridges if more than one flat occurs.
- Can freeze up during use in cold weather. Using the cartridge decompresses the contents, causing the air temperature to drop.
- Replacing cartridges can be expensive in the long run.