Gearing up for summer means different things for different people. Most folks will want a game of backyard football or a relaxing afternoon on an inflatable pool chair with a cold drink. For car enthusiasts, it might mean airing up your tires for a track day, and for off-roaders it may mean letting out air to mountain goat over some boulders. Regardless of your leisure time, you’re going to need some pound-force per square inch, more commonly known as psi to get the job done quickly.
There are several great inflators on the market that can pump up your tires or gear quickly. Many require a power cord of some sort. As the name implies, however, the Ryobi P737 18-Volt ONE+ Portable Cordless Power Inflator does not.
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This Ryobi not only lures you in with the convenience of portability and ease of use, it also boasts a compelling starting price. There’s more to that particular story. To get that perfect price, you have to be in the Ryobi 18-volt club already. (The first rule of Ryobi 18-volt club is that you don’t talk about Ryobi 18-volt club. The second rule of Ryobi 18-volt club hasn’t been established yet.)
Is portability, ease of use, and a lower-than-expected starting price worth the cost of admission? Let’s find out.
Unboxing the Ryobi P737
Ryobi has built a small 18-volt empire on portability. So, it’s no surprise that this lime-green inflator runs off the company’s 18-volt battery system. When you open the box, however, you’ll find that the all-important battery isn’t part of this unboxing. Ryobi 18-volt club membership is required. What you get is the portable P737 inflator and three adapters for the nozzle.
My first impression of the Ryobi when it hits your hand is that it is incredibly light, weighing in at a tiny 1.35 pounds sans battery. Weighing it on my food scale shows the inflator comes to a still-impressive 2.3 pounds with the 18-volt battery in place.
Unboxing the Ryobi.
Ryobi is familiar with its neon-over-black color scheme. I dig it, it’s not boring, and it makes the right tool easy to find in low light or in a cluttered garage. The pistol grip has something Ryobi calls Gripzone, which sounds like a product put out by The Rock. The rubberized, textured grip is easy to use, though the circumference might be more than a smaller hand can fully wrap around.
You also get a 20-inch hose, which is a little shorter than some other inflator systems we’ve tested. However, the added portability should make up for it. The hose attaches to your under-inflated target with a quick-connect valve adapter, just like your manual bike pump, and can be wrapped up on top of the unit for storage in-between uses. It snaps snugly into the slot and stays put without much effort.
I have a few other Ryobi tools, and the battery (again, not included) snaps in place easily and can actually be removed easier than from some other Ryobi tools I’ve owned. I’ve considered throwing my 18-volt-powered trimmer off an overpass before.
Starting the inflation job is easy; just pull the hard plastic trigger tight. It will light up the one-inch wide digital gauge and give you a quick read on the current psi.
Using the Ryobi to inflate the M4’s tires.
Getting After It With the Ryobi P737 18-Volt One+ Portable Cordless Power Inflator
- Good: Lightweight and as portable as it gets, easy to read digital gauge, works up to 150 psi.
- Bad: Batteries not included, shorter hose than some other inflators.
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Like with every inflator we test, I naturally headed for the driveway for some automotive action. My new-to-me BMW M4 has a recommended 33 psi at each corner. Just as with some other inflators, you can drop the pressure quickly by pushing the nozzle onto the valve stem without locking it into place. With the pressure dropped, I set about bringing it back up to the manufacturer-recommended spec. It worked like a charm.
The Ryobi is loud, measuring 94.1 decibels on my meter. The average for air compressors is reportedly 70-90 decibels, so this one is pretty noisy. The CDC notes that only 50 minutes of exposure to 95 decibels could damage your hearing, so wear ear protection if you plan to use the unit for a prolonged period.
The adapters the Ryobi comes with.
I tried out the Ryobi’s non-automotive functions as well, including filling up a football, topping off a bike tire, and inflating a pool toy. It took 11.9 seconds to fill up a Kangaroo Emoji ball, which is a random 12-inch pool toy I had in my garage. You’ll have to wait for our inflator roundup to see how it compares to other tools on the market, but I’ll note now that it’s a bit slower.
The three adapters included are all threaded, but I’m not really sure why. They just push all the way into the quick-connect end and secure once you lock it in place with the black locking mechanism. What I dig about the adapters is that Ryobi actually gives you a handy place to store them in the base of the inflator. The Presta adapter has to be fitted over the sportsball adapter for storage, however. While the Ryobi didn’t set any inflation records, it’s much better than using a manual pump — or worse, your lungs — to inflate something.
The Ryobi’s digital display.
What’s Good About the Ryobi P737 18-Volt One+ Portable Cordless Power Inflator
Portability, portability, and then portability. The ability to snap a battery in and go is incredibly convenient. Every other inflator I’ve tested needed an extension cord to be run from the garage, or I had to go grab a set of car keys to use the DC car adapter hookup.
Up next is the digital gauge. Its big block numbers are easy to read, and that gauge lights up for easy night use. The Ryobi inflator doesn’t have an auto shut-off feature like some tools, but the digital gauge is close enough to hit a target psi easily. I dig that Ryobi gave me a place to keep the adapters, and the max 150-psi rating is pretty impressive as well. Some other inflators I have tested stop around 130 psi.
That it’s lightweight shouldn’t have too much of an impact on durability. From my personal experience dropping Ryobi tools, they stand up pretty well to abuse. The hard plastics and rubberized material should fare well during a three-foot drop. There is even a hard plastic surround to protect the digital gauge. And like other inflators, the adapters fit into the quick-connect end pretty well. They could potentially bend if you aren’t careful, however, since they don’t actually thread into place.
Battery not included.
What’s Not Good About the Ryobi P737 18-Volt One+ Portable Cordless Power Inflator
Portability comes at a price. The base price of $25 is a steal, but only if you already have an 18-volt battery (#RyobiClub). To get a Ryobi battery and charger set will set you back another $79. That brings the grand total to $104. That’s more than most corded inflator systems.
The other issue is accuracy. While you get a nice digital gauge, Ryobi notes that it’s not necessarily 100 percent accurate. Ryobi’s Tool Team answered a question on Home Depot’s website about accuracy saying, “Tool’s gauge is used as a reference only. Accuracy should always be checked with a handheld gauge, if required.” That can be a big deal, depending on your day-to-day use, but it can quickly be mitigated by using a basic tire gauge.
Beyond that, the inflation rate was a little slower than some others on the market but not by enough to dissuade me from buying one. As a current Ryobi user, it would make a great addition to my garage. If you aren’t already in the Ryobi club, you’ll have to fork over the additional cost for the battery and charger. Of note, I’ve found a few Ryobi 18-volt tools on sale that include a battery and a charger for less than $79.
Our Verdict on the Ryobi P737 18-Volt One+ Portable Cordless Power Inflator
If you have a nice garage setup that allows you to easily plug in your gear, you may not need the portability the Ryobi P737 provides. However, it’s hard to beat from a convenience perspective, especially if you don’t have a garage. Whether it’s a quick track-day psi check or a deflated basketball, the Ryobi gives you massive flexibility.
I even like the name. If there was talk about a new McLaren P737, you might say, “Yeah, that sounds right.”
Ryobi P737 18-Volt One+ Portable Cordless Power Inflator Specs
- Weight: 1.35 pounds (plus 1.0 pound with battery)
- Dimensions: 9.33 inches tall (with battery) and 3.23 inches wide (at the base)
- Max PSI: 150 psi
- Gauge: psi
- Voltage: 18-volt
- Power Type: 18-volt One+ cordless battery
- Included in packaging: P737D inflator, sports needle, two high-pressure nozzles including a Presta valve, operator’s manual
- Hose length: 20-inch air hose
- Corded or wireless: wireless
- Adapters: Sportsball needle and two high-pressure nozzles including a Presta valve
- Case: Not included
- Warranty: three-year manufacturer
FAQs About the Ryobi P737 Cordless Power Inflator
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.
Q. Does it have a trigger lock?
A. No, you have to hold it down until it’s done.
Q. Does it shut off automatically?
A. No, you’ll have to keep your finger on the trigger until you reach your target psi. Wrenching is hard. Deal with it.
Q. Is the gauge accurate?
A. According to Ryobi, no. It is intended to be a guide. You’ll have to verify with a good old-fashioned handheld tire gauge.
Q. Can it deflate as well as inflate?
A. Sort of. The quick-connect end can be pressed into the valve stem to release air.
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