Inflate a stand up paddle board to 12 – 15 PSI

An interesting question came in to this site recently about rapidly inflating a stand up paddle board. In part, it went, I have a 12 foot stand up inflatable stand up paddle board.

It needs to be inflated to at least 12-15 psi but no more than 20 psi. I would like a portable 12 volt air compressor. I currently have a 12v dual air pump that is supposed to pump it to 12 psi. It has 2 actions, rapid to a certain point then the motor slows down at around 2-3 psi to fill it the rest of the way to 12-15 psi and cuts off automatically when it reaches the preset psi. Problem is, it only gets to 6psi and cuts off requiring me to hand pump the rest. It’s tough to do the latter.

Is there a portable 12v air compressor that I could use? Can I find one that cuts off at the set psi? Inflatable stand up paddle boards are not like an air mattress. These are heavy duty and get as hard as a rock when filled properly, and can support up to 300lbs. They usually have intake valves similar to inflatable boats. Thanks, Doug, Wilmington NC

Inflate A Stand Up Paddle Board Inflatable Paddle Board
Inflate A Stand Up Paddle Board Inflatable Paddle Board


Doug, this is an interesting application for a small compressor. Thanks for posting it.

There is no shortage of 12 VDC mini-compressors available on the market. Many are found in the automotive section of your big box store, or the like. They are typically used to re-inflate tires that have gone flat, and as such, can certainly output the pressure you say your stand up paddle board needs.

This portable compressor is designed to plug into the auxiliary port of a vehicle. They usually are complete with quite a long power cord, to allow the compressor to sit on the ground outside the car so the discharge can be plumbed into the tire valve, and for the power plug to reach inside the vehicle window and into the power receptacle.

Some of these compressors are equipped with a pressure gauge on the discharge line, one that will tell the user what the pressure is in the device which the compressor is pumping air into. This type would be suitable for you, I think.

The issue will be one of speed. I don’t know how much compressed air a stand up paddle board requires. If it is a significant volume, then you may have to run the small compressor for some time to get the air pressure required into the paddle board in the volume needed to give the board the rigidity it should have.

I don’t personally know of any mini-compressor that comes with an adjustable pressure switch to shut the compressor off at a specific pressure set point, though if budget isn’t an issue, I expect you can get an integrated pressure switch added. The easiest solution is to get a small compressor that has a gauge on it, typically one that fills vehicle tires, and monitor the gauge as the board fills so you can stop the compressor at the correct pressure.



by Doug from

I’m curious about the pump he’s using. Sounds to me like it might be tripping off on thermal overload. Can we have the model of pump? And if I’m correct, perhaps a second pump to take over from the overheated one (preferably before it actually overheats) would finish the job.

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