There are several types of air pumps available and the prices can range quite a bit. You’ll mainly be deciding between a hand pump, an electric pump, or a battery operated pump.
The differences between them can be substantial.
• Hand pumps are often much less expensive and offer a much shorter lifespan. They require quite a bit more time and effort if you are inflating a mattress or a large water toy.
• Electric pumps work well and will fill whatever you are working on in a jiffy. They do require a power source and, if you don’t want to try and squeeze a fully inflated mattress into your tent, will require an extension cord. You’ll also need to be sure you are on a site with electric hookups.
• Battery air pumps offer portability and speed. You must make sure your batteries are still useful and it helps to remove them when not in use. With a battery pump you also do not have to worry about using them in the rain or around wet areas of the campground.
Whichever type of hand pump you decide to use make sure it comes with a variety of nozzles in order to match the opening you are trying to connect with.
Some air pumps can be used to draw the air back out of your mattress, too. These are nice to have and make for a nice flat pool toy or mattress when complete which aids in packing things up to go back home.
Another thing to watch for is that some of these pumps have an intake fan that can catch your hair as you are using it. This could be harmful if your hair is suddenly drawn into it. So be cautious as to who you let use it.