While a lot of inflatable paddle boards come with pumps as part of a package deal, the truth is that those pumps are usually not the best quality. Don’t get me wrong – they get the job done and if you’re new to SUP, then buying a package with a cheap pump included is a good entry point into the sport. But there’s a reason that the higher quality boards don’t come with pumps and why you should think about upgrading your cheap pump with a more high quality one. Not sure which model you need? Or if you should go with an electric or hand pump model? Don’t worry, we’ll give you some tips and our recommended pumps.
Benefits of A Good SUP Pump
When you’re taking that iSUP out on the water, the most important thing is that you get that board properly inflated. If you don’t, then your session out on the water won’t be a fun one. You need a quality pump that gets you to the needed PSI – and that doesn’t take you forever to actually get the board inflated.
The best pumps have two inflation settings – high pressure and low pressure. This is the best way to make sure you get your board aired up to the correct PSI level.
And a good quality electric pump should have a pressure gauge on it to help you make sure that you don’t end up over-inflating your board.
Hand Pump vs Electric SUP Pump
Each type of pump for you inflatable stand up paddle board has is benefits. As expected, the hand pump models tend to be cheaper to buy. And the electric models are easier to operated and quicker to fill the board. However, you have to be careful when using an electric pump so that you don’t accidentally over-inflate the board.
You don’t have to worry so much about over-inflating it when you’re using a SUP hand pump, but it gets really difficult to get those last few bits of air into the board when you’re doing it by hand. It takes a bit of strength to use a hand pump to inflate the board, so you need to decide if you really want to fatigue your arm like that before you head out on the water. Also consider that it will take longer to inflate by hand – at least a good 12 minutes on average if you’re not used doing it. Of course, you can use a hand pump anywhere at any time since all you need is your own strength.
Some manual SUP pumps are foot pumps – you may even have used one like this with a inflatable kayak. These are easier to use than hand pumps during initial inflation because they’re not as hard on your back while you’re using them. However, we notice a foot pump becomes more of a challenge to use with an iSUP as you try to get it to the max PSI level needed. So, you’ll find that you end up needing to switch to another pump to top off the air and reach the required PSI level.
One word of caution though – once you start using an electric pump, it will spoil you and you’ll never want to go back to using a hand pump for your iSUP!
If you’re looking for a good SUP pump that is compact, and portable so that you can take it anywhere – and that is easy to use, then look no further than the K-Pump K20 HP pump.
It has a decent mid-level price point compared to the other pumps on our list above. And it works well and is reliable each and every time.
Hands down, this is the best SUP hand pump on the market right now.
The K-Pump K20 HP is a two-stand pump – with stage one for volume, and the second stage for high pressure. It is very easy to use, and if you’re using an electric pump for your stage one, the J-Pump K20 HP is the perfect top-off pump to get your board to those final PSIs that you need.
- The K-Pump 20 HP is perfect for SUP boards and other smaller drop-stitch crafts that require high inflation pressure for best performance.
- The high-volume mode lets you quickly bring your board up to shape, easily reaching 6 psi.
- Then, with a simple twist of the wrist you switch to the high pressure mode, where you can achieve up to 25 psi.
- The K-20 HP weighs in at a mere 2 lbs. and is 21 inches long.
- There’s an adapter for Leafield valves and a universal adapter that fits Halkey-Roberts and most other boat valves.
- Ergonomic design is comfortable to use, even with extended use.
- Efficiently operated by one person. No hoses to kink and pull out.
- Rugged construction is backed by an unlimited 2-year warranty.
- Made in USA.
- All K-Pumps float!
- NOTE This pump comes with a check valve which allows you to use it to inflate military valves and other valves that don’t have a one-way plunger-type system.
BTP Mano Two Stage Electric Turbo Pump Review
The first thing that you need to know about this pump is that there is a single-stage model, the Bravo BP12 Single Stage Electric Pump for Inflatable SUPs, Kayaks and Boats. The BP21 is cheaper, but you really should spend a little extra for the BTP Mano since it is a two-stage pump because it will be a much better experience for you. Overall, we think this is the best SUP electric pump on the market right now.
One thing to keep in mind is that this pump only goes to 14.5 PSI, which is fine because you really should be topping off to those final PSIs with a good hand pump, like the K-Pump 20 HP so that you don’t accidentally over-fill the board with air.
Also note that you can buy the BTP two stage electric turbo pump with battery or without – just know that without a battery means that you’ve got alligator clips you gotta attach to your car battery to power this thing. The nice thing about the battery is that you can then inflate the board anywhere. A full charge on the battery lets you inflate the board several times.
Order it with the battery at Sea Eagle.
It is noisy when in use, but it works fairly quickly to inflate a paddle board. Just use the stage one setting (which is not as loud) to initially fill the board. Once it starts to take shape, switch to the louder stage two to finish off up to 14.5 PSI.
- (Stage 1) Low pressure/high volume turbine blower
- (Stage 2) High pressure piston for higher PSI.
- For products with high air volume requirements. Inflates up to 14.5 psi in minutes
- Included: 102″ (8’6″) cable w/alligator clips, 72″ (6′) inflation hose, Common valve adapters / 12 volt battery not included. / Does not plug into wall outlets. Cannot plug into a car cigarette lighter / Weighs: 5.5 lbs. Dimensions: 12″ x 4″ x 6″
- Stops automatically when selected pressure is reached. With a full battery charge, you can easily inflate large inflatable boats several times over
How To Use A Pump With Your iSUP
Using your electric or hand pump to air up your inflatable stand up paddle board is really quite simple. If you’ve ever aired up a tire, then you’ll find it to be somewhat similar. Here are the basic steps that you need to take – just keep in mind that each pump is slightly different, so be sure to read the manufacturer instructions before first use:
- Roll out your iSUP on a flat surface.
- Attach one end of the gauge to the hose and the other end to the pump. Make sure that the connections are tight and secure so that you don’t suffer any air loss.
- Remove the protective cap from the valve and get rid of any debris that you see.
- Attach the valve by pushing it down on the nib and then giving it a turn clockwise to ensure a proper seal.
- Straighten the hose to make sure there are no kinks or tangles and then begin use by pumping with both of your hands on a manual pump or connecting the electric pump to a power source and then powering it on.
- Inflate to the max PSI for your board – if using an electric pump, the pump’s max will likely not get you to the proper PSI and you’ll need to finish off with a hand pump.
- When done, quickly remove the hose from the iSUP and attach the protective cap. Being as quick as possible reduces air loss.
top image by serguastock/Deposit Photos