12V dual-stage air pump for high and low pressure inflatables

I want to buy a 12 V (car plug) pump for my inflatable. Requirement:

  • reasonably accurate at low (1 psi - regular inflatable) and high pressures (drop stitch). Typically a 20 psi gage or sensor won’t be accurate at 1psi.
  • only inflate one inflatable at a time (no extensive cooling needed)
  • auto-setting in 0.1 or 0.01 psi steps
  • manufacturer should have a website and publish specs (not the case with many Amazon pumps!)

Found so far:
$100 Outdoormaster Cachalot and if I could keep it at $100, that would be great.

Alternatives found:
$170 Outdoormaster Shark II and there is another list of good pumps in that range

Unfortunately there are not really many reviews of the Cachalot . The main difference seems to be the Shark II is advertised to have good cooling for multiple SUPs, which won’t matter to me. Does anyone have experience with both, or the Cachalot and would be able to advise if the Cachalot would be “good enough”? Or are there other good alternatives in the $100 or below?

I searched, but threads are old, and all reviews seem to be paid to some extent or just recommend the $170 pumps.

Check out…

I first thought of rigging something up with the 12V tire compressor I have in my car. But there are at least 2 problems:

  • They are optimized for higher pressure and low volume (compared to an inflatable boat). So they will take forever to inflate a boat.
  • They don’t have an auto-function. If they do, that sensor may even be less accurate at 1 psi since those are built for 40+ psi.

The auto-function is my main reason since I envision to automatically inflate the 3 main chambers while I manually get the rest of my boat ready (and don’t want to watch the pump).

You don’t need 12v you can buy an inverter for a few bucks and plug in 120V AC. Low pressures like that you will want a blower like a mini shop vac or something. High flow low pressure.

I know nothing about blowing a boat up but air beds have a unit that looks like it would work.

I kind of see how that would work, but I don’t seem to find a 120VAC pump that is optimized for inflatable boats (auto feature, for the relevant pressures). I also see the issue that the inverter inefficiency puts an additional tax on my car battery and also adds cost. Do you have a 120V air pump you would recommend?

My car 12V plugs have 15a fuses, and the 12V pumps seem to have internal 12A fuses. Those inverters may exceed my 15A limit.

Obvious advantage of the 120V pump would be I could use it at home easily to dry the boat. But main use is by the water (no 120V natively available).

1 Like

I thought your boat had a gage printed on the tube and then you lay a clear template over it and match the lines to know proper inflation.

Here is one.

Amazon has a 100 of them some have dual cords for AC/DC

Don’t make it more complicated than it is.

That pump has about zero of the features I asked for. :slight_smile:

What I want, and the pumps I listed as examples seem to do, is to hook up the pump, set my desired pressure and do something else while the pump inflates to that pressure and shuts off automatically. and it should work for regular low-pressure and future high pressure (drop stitch) inflatables. While the pump inflates my boat I want to inflate the seat, get my bags ready, put sunscreen on and so on.

I have had the Shark for a few months now. No issues at all. It will only go to 20 PSI which is fine for my SUPs. I used a hand pump to bring my RedCo SUP up to the Max of 22 psi a few times. I never really felt any difference.

1 Like

Yes I see now you are looking at fully automated inflation. Sorry for wasting your time.

You have found a couple units that do close to what you want and I would say the couple hundred bucks is well worth the time saving being able to be doing other things like putting on sun screen.

Keep in mind the temp/pressure change when your boats hits the cold water.

Good luck.

Thanks. I ordered the Outdoormaster Cachalot. The only real difference to the Shark seems to be it doesn’t have active cooling, which prevents it from inflating multiple SUP in succession.

Bud16415: Obviously it is a 1st World problem. But the less hassle I have before and after boating, the more often I go out boating. The electric pump may not be much faster, but I can get other stuff sorted out while the pump inflates. And from what I saw in videos, the drop-stitch devices require much more pumping. I don’t know my future boat, but sure it will have drop-stitch something. My current boat has way too many things to inflate (3 chambers, 2 skirts, 2 seats with 2 chambers each) and I may manually inflate the small things while the pump inflates the larger ones.

There are some other things I set up differently next time I go out and that sure will shorten time on shore and make paddling more enjoyable. I also bought a new paddle, which technically is equally as wasteful :slight_smile:

Did u get 20% off?

I have this one, I have been using it for 10 years and it works great. It is rechargeable and can blow up about two large boats on a charge or you can use 12 v off the car. My battery needs replaced, but otherwise it works well. The digital readout also has auto shut off.

1 Like

I’m not aware of a discount. it was 99.99 inc. free shipping on Amazon OutdoorMaster store , which is less than the $120 MSRP from them directly.

Paddlinpals: that looks like a nice pump.

The market for those pumps seem pretty small if you ignore the knock-offs. And even the knockoffs (that seem to use a Seamax like shape) are over $80 if they actually claim to be dual-stage. And all of them make clearly untrue claims about accuracy (claim 0.01 psi accuracy and probably mean display resolution). And even the 2 manufacturers that actually have a website with data don’t have downloadable manual and other information one would expect.

There was a 20% discount code if you ordered from there website. It would be the same as you paid through Amazon so all is well.

For fun and giggles I tried a fake-ckeckout from their website. They actually sell it for $129.99. Their website claims there is a 15% Independence Day discount. But when I tried that, it said it doesn’t apply to this item. Looks like they prefer to sell through amazon. I see that often that a manufacturer has a higher price on their own site, while on their official Amazon website they charge less. I also had experienced that I bought items through the manufacturer website, but it was actually fulfilled by Amazon. I think amazon charges 15%, but takes care of the logistics and shipping etc. To many sellers that actually is a great deal and below what it would cost them to ship themselves.

So I inflated my boat today. 1psi seems to be what is the appropriate inflation according to the gage printed on my SE 370. I didn’t time it since I did other stuff, but estimate it is 50% faster than the manual pump. the 2nd stage kicks in for a few seconds before it reaches 1 psi and shuts off.

unfortunately i have to retract my endorsement of the Cachalot
Today I tried to inflate the floor on my SE 370 to 1.5 psi and the second stage was stuck at 1.37 psi for a long time with no increase in pressure. i even started my car since the voltage had dropped (over the long thin wire). didn’t help to get more pressure in. then i tried again on my side chamber and the 2nd stage didn’t even kick in and the first stage just stayed at 0.87 psi. Good I had my manual pump…

Good I bought it off amazon. So back it went. Good it failed now and not after the return window. Now I’m a bit buffed that at 2nd or 3rd time of use the pump already failed. I’m kind of wondering if I should get the best hand pump ever, or try a different electric pump. Like the Seamax. But now I’m a bit afraid of failure after the return period.

I’ve been looking at the Shark since last year. Going to order one from Amazon and see how it goes. Can always return it if it doesn’t work.

Welcome to the forum.
Yepp, Amazon rocks for things like that. Just make sure you order it at at time when you use it a lot so you get many tests out of it before the return window expires. if you see my other thread, i now have a triple-stage manual pump. and while i never timed myself, I think the manual pump is faster. Obviously with the manual pump, you can’t do other stuff while pumping.

Another downside of the electric pump is the long cable creates quite some voltage drop and the battery suffers. On my car battery the voltage on the pump display dropped to a bit over 10V after many minutes of pumping and I ended up running the engine to get my 12.6V at the pump. but i only paid attention to voltage when the second stage failed. so I’m not sure if that was related (more than design amp-draw). So pay attention to voltage as well. If I had to run my car engine to pump, I’d find that highly annoying. I have a Honda CRV that originally came with a small battery. I upgraded to the larger Honda odyssey (6-cylinder) battery and the battery is just a few weeks old and I drove a few miles to the boat launch. So I’m pretty sure the voltage problem wasn’t with my car and I never have other voltage problems. Even with running my car engine, the pump wouldn’t budge.

I would never run anything like that off the car without the engine running. If you want to not have the engine running I would advise a dual battery setup like campers have with a switch that disconnects when selected. That’s just my opinion on charging systems.