CO2 Inflators for Beginners – A Guide



Many riders are a little nervous about using and carrying these tiny high pressure cylinders for CO2 inflators, but once you have used one you really will never look back. So here is a short guide to CO2 inflators to get you started with the correct information.

What are CO2 Inflators

A CO2 inflator is a device used to inflate tires using compressed carbon dioxide (CO2) gas. It consists of a small metal cartridge containing CO2 gas and a nozzle that attaches to the valve stem of the tire. CO2 inflators are very popular among cyclists because they are lightweight, easy to use, and can quickly inflate a flat tire.


CO2 Inflators – When were they developed?

The idea of CO2 inflators has been around for a very long time as the first patent for these was granted in 1964 to the Knapp Monarch company of St. Louis for use primarily in lifejackets such as the ones we see on aircraft.

The first CO2 inflators designed for bike tires came onto the market in 1989 but they are still not as popular with the general cycling folks as you might expect.


CO2 Inflators – Who are they most useful for?

They are more and more common for road bike riders, especially those who go on long weekend rides with their cycling clubs. For road bike users they fill your high pressure tire almost instantly and get you back on the road and with your group faster than any other inflation solution.

The huge community of cycling commuters are the ones who might benefit most from carrying a CO2 inflator in their backpack. Pumping up a tire in challenging weather conditions when you are late for work is not fun. Using a CO2 inflator to get the offending tire painlessly and rapidly inflated would seem to be the only sensible choice.

For intrepid mountain bikers the CO2 inflators are indispensable due to the very nature of mountain biking. When you are up a mountain in the middle of nowhere, maybe even in the snow, pumping might help warm you up, but inflating your 29” fat tire in 2 seconds “flat” is a much more attractive option. For MTB folks with the largest tires you can get on any bike, an easy option like a CO2 inflator makes so much more sense than a pump if you just want to get back on the trail.

CO2 inflators

CO2 Inflators -What types are available?

There are two basic types of CO2 inflators, those with separate gas flow control valves and the cheaper more basic models without those valves.

At GIYO we recommend the model we produce that comes with a separate gas flow control valve. We think that this is a better and much safer option for all cyclists because the additional valve has a few key benefits over the cheaper and more basic models:

Why CO2 Inflators with gas flow valves are better:


  1. Precision  – Gas flow valve allows more precise flow control for better tire inflation
  2. Safety – No need to handle the super cold gas cylinder during inflation.
  3. Ease of Use – Just screw in the cylinder and you are good to go.

You can watch the video of our CO2 inflator here

A note about CO2 cartridges:

There are two types of CO2 cartridges available on the market at the moment, threaded and non threaded. The current models of CO2 inflators that we sell on Amazon have gas flow control valves and are designed for use with threaded gas cartridges  only.

Non threaded cartridges  are fractionally cheaper than threaded CO2 cartridges  but as you can get a couple of threaded cartridges for the price of a cup of coffee, (which you can enjoy while admiring  your expensive ride) is cost really an issue? Functionality and safety would seem to be far more important for most cyclists.


If you would like to see our CO2 inflators on Amazon please click here.


To see all of our inflation products please click here to visit our Amazon store.