SUP instructor and long-time inflatable paddleboarder Duncan Slater looks at the best paddleboard pumps on the market...
Inflatable paddleboards now make up the vast majority of recreational SUPs around the world. And of course inflatables need blowing up, hence the sound of pumping punctuates many a calm summer’s day beside the water. Yet basic pumps supplied with even the best paddleboards often aren’t the fastest or easiest to hit 15-20psi of air pressure. Thankfully there are plenty of upgrade options compatible with the HR (Halkey-Roberts) non-return valve, as found on all quality iSUPs. Here we look at some of the best paddleboard pumps, both manual and electric…
Manual or electric paddleboard pump?
With a basic single-chamber, single-action pump, manual inflation can take a fair bit of time and effort. Hence it’s understandable that many paddlers assume that an electric pump will outperform a manual.
But that’s not necessarily so. The double-chamber, double-action or even triple-action manual pumps featured here are usually the fastest way to inflate. While they’re much more efficient, there’s still no denying that manual pumping can be tiring.
Of course the benefit of an electric pump is to save your energy for the paddle itself. Most will need plugging into a power-source though – usually a car or boat’s 12V ‘cigarette lighter’ socket. The biggest drawback is certainly the extra noise generated by an electric pump, so use one with consideration for others.
Best manual paddleboard pumps
Red Paddle Titan II SUP Pump
The original Red Paddle Titan was already the market leader, widely acclaimed as the best manual pump money could buy.
Red’s stated aim with their second generation Titan II was to half the time it takes to inflate a board…
And the results are impressive – it’s good for well over 20psi of pressure and produces airspeeds of 60mph!
To help with storage and transport, the Titan II was realigned with in-line twin chambers. Plus the feet and handles are collapsable and easy to disassemble for maintenance and part-replacement.
This reimagined double-chamber design is the most efficient manual out there, setting new benchmarks for pumping speed and ease.
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Shark SUPer Bravo Paddle Board Pump
A double-action pump is the smallest, lightest manual option – and Shark’s SUPer Bravo is a great example.
Although just a single high-pressure cylinder, a double-action design inflates either two-way or one-way.
To get volume into your board, it can pump on both the compression and extension of the handle.
Then once up to pressure (c.5psi) switch to inflating on just the downstrokes. (It’s much easier to push your bodyweight down onto the handle than pull up.)
The hose attaches to the body, rather than up on the handle, so it stays put whilst you pump. It also offers a deflate option to extract every last bit of air from your board before rolling it up.
ItiWit Triple Action Stand-Up Paddleboarding Pump
Building on the great reputation of double-chamber and double-action designs, Decathlon’s own-brand ItiWit has gone a step further.
Borrowing from a combination of both concepts, they now offer a triple-action manual pump.
Start off double-action on both chambers to rapidly get the volume into your board on both the push and pull of the handle.
Then once your board has taken shape, flick to single action on both chambers to inflate on just the downstroke like a ‘standard’ double-chamber pump.
Finally, switch to just the single high-pressure chamber to get right up to 20psi.
Not cheap, but it promises to be fast and efficient for your money.
Best electric paddleboard pumps
OutdoorMaster Shark II SUP Air Pump
Over the years there have been a couple of notable ‘top end’ electric SUP pumps promising 20psi of air pressure.
Unfortunately they’ve not proved very reliable or long-lived: the problem being that over-heating often melts the plastic internals.
But at last, the OutdoorMaster ‘Shark II’ has proved itself a robust, efficient, high-pressure machine that can really be trusted.
It’s dual-action, so will pump at high volume up to 1psi, then switch to low-volume high-pressure to get up to a full 20psi of pressure relatively quickly. Operates off a 12V socket with your engine running.
Meanwhile the patented internal cooling system prevents the unit from over-heating. In fact, OutdoorMaster proudly attest that it will happily pump three boards in a row!
ItiWit Electric Pump 0-20PSI
Best cheap paddleboard pump
New from Decathlon, the high-pressure ItiWit Electric Pump is a viable 20psi option for a tight budget.
As it’s only single-action, it’s going to take a while to get the initial volume of air into your board. So in practice, you’ll be better off starting manually if you’re in a hurry.
But then this simple little design will get on and finish the job with your engine running.
Just set your pressure, press the button and leave it pumping while you get yourself ready to paddle. There’s also a deflate option.
Has to be said, it’s hard to believe an electric pump at this price will stand the test of time. However, Decathlon’s warranty does offer peace of mind with a 2-year product guarantee.
Sevylor High Pressure Pump
This is the ‘classic’ electric SUP pump. It was one of the first reliable high-pressure electric pumps, albeit only capable of inflating to 15psi.
Absolutely not the fanciest or fastest you’ll find, but it is good value for money.
Pleasingly simple, with push-button pressure selection and auto shut-off, it runs off a 12V DC ‘cigarette lighter’ socket in your car or onboard your boat yet doesn’t need your engine to be running to operate. (That said, to preserve charge in your battery – if not the environment – it might be a good idea to keep it ticking over…)
Most importantly it’s conveniently small, light and robust: a popular option for an affordable, occasional SUP pump.
Best paddleboard pump accessory
Red Paddle Multi Pump Adapter
OK, no, this isn’t actually a pump – but it is incredibly useful and one of the best SUP accessories for using alongside your pump
Red Paddle’s Multi Pump Adapter is particularly interesting if you want to make the inflating process as quick and easy as possible.
Containing two non-return HR valves, this innovative product allows you to connect two pumps to a single paddleboard valve.
Great for really speeding things up if you have an electric pump as well as a manual. Or in the unlikely event that you find a willing assistant with a spare manual, you could share the effort!
Definitely worth having if you’re investing in an electric pump.
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