Last year, Fanttik sent us one of their X8 APEX portable air compressors to review. At first, it seemed like a nice thing to have, but I figured out pretty quickly that it was a valuable piece of clean technology to keep around! In this article, I’ll recap what I said last year about the X8 APEX and then explain how valuable it has continued to prove itself to be over the last year.
What We Learned Last Year
Inflating tires at home can be a simple task. Many, including myself, use a large manual bike pump for our bicycles and e-bikes. Granted, it can be a strenuous exercise if a bike tire is extremely deflated, particularly for e-bikes with fat tires. As a solution to this, and to enable efficient inflation of car tires in a reasonable time-frame, people buy an air compressor for their garage. However, carrying one along on a bike ride isn’t really feasible.
But what if it could be? That’s where the Fanttik X8 APEX air compressor comes into play, offering a game-changing solution.
The design of the X8 APEX is straightforward and user-friendly. This sleek black box features USB ports on one side, and on the other, a threaded hole for air outflow accompanied by a flashlight. The side of the device boasts a directional pad and a screen that’s as large and visually appealing as the one found on the EVO 300 solar generator. The X8 APEX also comes with a carry bag, spacious enough to store the air hose, and includes an additional pocket for Presta and needle adapters. The air hose conveniently has a built-in Schrader valve.
Charging the X8 APEX is as simple as connecting it to a phone or tablet charger with a USB-C plug. A fully charged unit can inflate up to 4 car tires (potentially more if they aren’t completely deflated), 13 bicycle tires, a minimum of six motorcycle or fat bike tires, or a multitude of basketballs. The device can be recharged at home, in a vehicle, or via a compact solar panel (if you have one, as it’s not included).
Given that the X8 APEX is roughly the same size as a half-liter or 20-ounce Coke bottle, it’s incredibly portable and easy to carry along with any vehicle equipped with tires. It can comfortably fit into a bike bag or a small toolbox that’s mounted on a utility bike’s rack or basket. Additionally, it can be conveniently stowed in a backpack, a sizable purse, or a toolbox in a car.
There are two small downsides, though. For one, you can’t leave it in your car, as it’s not great for lithium batteries to get hot and cars can get pretty hot in the summer. The other downside is that the compressor is slow compared to a large compressor you’d use in a garage or at a gas station. But, it’s pretty easy to use the compressor and chill or find something else to do while it does its job.
How It Saved The Day By Adding EV Range
Before I got my Bolt EUV, I had a 2018 Nissan LEAF with a somewhat degraded battery. In many cases, we had to take an ICE car for regional drives, as southern New Mexico is still pretty barren of DC fast charging stations. One day, I ran into a situation where the X8 APEX helped me take the LEAF instead of the Jetta.
When a gas car’s tire is slightly deflated, it’s generally safe to drive within certain pressure ranges, although this can lead to decreased fuel efficiency. Despite the current financial implications of buying more gas, the process is relatively quick and gas stations are widely available, so topping off the tire can be postponed until more convenient. (This depends on where you live. In Chicago, I’d anecdotally say that fully 2 in 3 air stations are damaged or out of service as I type this –Ed.)
On the other hand, for EVs, reduced efficiency equates to diminished range, potentially causing significant inconvenience. This could even affect the feasibility of reaching your destination if a charging station isn’t available within your newly limited range.
One evening last year, I found myself needing to make a round trip that my LEAF could barely manage, and the trip was mostly going to be on the highway. A quick check on the screen revealed that all my tire pressures were slightly low. While this would have been acceptable for a couple of days of town driving until I could conveniently top them up, it wasn’t ideal for the round trip given the limited battery power I had. I didn’t have the extra time to visit a gas station and pay an excessive amount in quarters (which would require getting change) just for a quick squirt of air.
But, we needed to stop off at a local store before we ran off on the longer trip, so I was able to give the car the air it needed to ensure we’d make the trip and get back while my wife ran in.
How The Fanttik Performed In The Last Year
After we found out how valuable the X8 APEX was, it became our primary air compressor. Sure, we could fill up a tire at a gas station or at my brother’s garage, but having the portable compressor handy meant that it was just the easiest option, both at home and on the road.
For bike rides, we’ve stopped carrying a hand pump along, as it’s pretty easy to load the X8 APEX or its smaller non-APEX cousin in a backpack.
Another unexpected use for my X8 air compressor has been to pressurize hot water while camping. I recently installed a Yakima Roadshower 10G solar water heater on my camping trailer. Instead of using an electric pump, the Roadshower has a Schrader valve you can use to add air pressure to the tank. It takes a couple of minutes, but the X8 APEX makes it easy to pressurize the tank without having to use a bike pump.
The only issue I’ve had with the X8 APEX wasn’t Fanttik’s fault at all. If you have cats, keep in mind that the air hose tends to get their attention. But, it took several “attacks” before the hose was compromised and I had to tape it up, so it’s still a pretty tough little unit.
Head’s up! Fanttik is offering a 25% discount from July 4th to 17th. Don’t wait!
This article is supported by Fanttik (products provided by sponsor).
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