CO2 inflator or minipump?

Which do you take on a ride. A CO2 inflator or a minipump? I have used both, carried both and used both in the field. Both have plus points and negatives and both are convenient, relatively cheap and both fit into a jersey pocket. Which do you prefer?

CO2 inflator

CO2 inflators haven’t been around all that long but they really took off when initially released. I use a Lezyne inflator and 16oz canisters. I can fit the inflator and two canisters in my tool bag along with a spare tube, puncture repair kit and multitool.

Pros: The CO2 inflator is light, easy to use and inflates the tyre very quickly. There is more than enough pressure to fill a 700C tyre with a little left over for further inflation.

Cons: The canister gets cold, very cold. I tend to wrap mine in a glove while inflating to stop cold burns. It also freezes the valve, so you had better have opened it fully before you use it. Plus, once you have used up the canister, you’re SOL if you get another puncture!


Pumps in one form or another have been around since the inflatable tyre. They are simple, effective tools that have little to go wrong. I have a Lezyne Pressure Drive Mini ABS Pump because I like their design and build quality.

Pros: The pump only weighs 90g and is only 170mm long yet can reach up to 120psi. I run my tyres at 90psi so that is plenty enough for me. The pump also uses a hose for ease of use and has a rubber cap at either end to keep the rain out. It is simple and effective. Plus, it doesn’t have a finite amount of gas. I can provide air for as long as my arms can work.

Cons: It takes about three million pumps to get a tyre up to pressure. I have no idea how many million more it would need to hit 120psi. Other than that, there are no cons aside from it sticking out a little from the jersey.

I must say that on balance, the minipump works better for me. There is no limit on how many tyres I can inflate as long as my arms are up to it. There is no danger of frostbite when using it and the flexible hose of the Lezyne pump tackles the other major inconvenience of minipumps.

How about you? Do you use either? Have a preference? Have any horror stores?


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