Review: Astro Pneumatic Tool 3018 3.5" Digital Tire Inflator
After becoming fed up with cheap and inaccurate tire gauges, I went on a search to find something reliable and accurate that wouldn’t break the bank.
For those of you not familiar with Astro Pneumatic Tool, the compay has been in business for over 40 years. While offering numerous types of air powered tools, they have quite a few other lines as well. All of their tools I have used seem to be decent quality and the Astro Pneumatic Tool 3018 3.5″ Digital Tire Gauge is no exception.
Powered by two AAA batteries, the Astro 3018 comes shrouded in a heavy duty rubber sleeve to protect it during everyday use. To futher increase durability, the unit comes attached to a braided stainless steel hose. This hose is replaceable should it ever become damaged.
The numbers on the digital display are large and easy to read. Anyone who has ever inflated a tire can tell you that the lighting conditions are not always ideal. For this reason the display also comes equipped with a back light that automatically shuts off after a few seconds. If the tool has not been used for a few minutes, the unit powers down by itself to conserve battery life.
The 3018 displays pressure not only in PSI (pounds per square inch) but also in KG (kilogram-force per square centimeter) and BAR (atmospheric pressure). The accuracy of this tire gauge will display is in .1 PSI increments.
The tire chuck comes equipped with a quick release lever that allows it to lock onto the valve stem. This allows one handed inflation of the tire and simplifies the process as you can quickly stop and glance at the tire pressure reading when inflating.
The handle of the the Astro Pneumatic Tool 3018 3.5″ Digital Tire Gauge serves two purposes. It will both inflate and deflate tires to the desired pressure. To inlfate the tire as desired, simply squeeze the handle completely and air will begin rushing out through the tire chuck and into the device being inflated. If you accidentally allow overshoot your pressure target, or have something that is over inflated, squeeze the handle halfway and the 3018 will allow the pressure to escape. Release the handle when you are back down to the desired pressure and you are finished.
Owning this tool for over a year now, I have am completely satisfied with the design and operation. I am still using the batteries that came installed on the tool. When they finally run out, I may replace with a set of rechargeable AAA batteries. I have also used this in all types of temperature environments the tool seems stable and reliable whether it is in the middle of summer, or winter. I will say that I have found it works best to always turn on the tool and allow it to zero itself out before use. Hook up to the air hose, turn the unit on, and then connect the tire chuck to the valve stem. It just seems more accurate that way.
Below are pictures of the display, both outside with the back light off, and inside with the back light on. Although I will admit the back light was not necessarily needed with the lighting in the picture, you can see how nice and bright this tool will be if you are using it in the dark.
After fumbling around with the cheap inflators and inaccurate pressure gauges, the Astro Pneumatic Tool 3018 3.5″ Digital Tire Gauge has become my go-to device. Well built, accurate and dependable, I have no doubt this unit will serve me for years to come.