I’ve been testing the Hoto portable electric air compressor for a few weeks now and it’s proved a capable piece of kit compared to some of the best bike pumps available. I've been using the Hoto on my gravel and mountain bike tires and to set up precise tire pressure for cyclocross racing and the accuracy has been impressive. It's also great in the workshop and inflates very fast and even worked seating and setting up tubeless mountain bike tires. However, it's let down by its way too short hose, that makes fitting to a valve (especially out on the trails) a real faff and being someone that likes to faff with bikes, it even annoyed me eventually. It's also expensive compared to a traditional track pump but comes in around the same price as something like the Topeak Mountain 2Stage Digital pump and in the current financial climate, there are cheaper options that will do the same job.
Out of the box, the Hoto looks sleek and well-designed. It comes with a (small) hose and various attachments for inflating other items, so quite handy for bikepacking if you have an inflatable mattress etc. As mentioned, the hose is just way too short which makes the attachment to valves quite tiresome and soon has you reaching for the trusty floor pump, so out on the trails when you don't have that option it can get irritating. I'm sure another longer hose would be easily sourced but for a costly item, you'd expect this to be included. There is also a storage bag for transporting the unit safely.
It weighs in at 471 grams which is quite a big difference in comparison to a pump but depends on the balance of weight and convenience, so personal choice on whether you want to carry the extra weight.
The Hoto measures 12cm high and 9cm wide with a depth of 4.5cm, so more than small enough to fit in the pocket of your best mountain bike jacket or bar bags. There is also a handy light built in and a rather robust rubber handle.
Overall, the Hoto looks great but I'd be concerned about the fragility of the unit if it was to be dropped from a height and the glossy display is already showing signs of scuffing.
Once you manage to attach the offending hose (I'll try not to mention it again), the Hoto actually performs very well. It's easily switched on with a hold of a button on the side and the display gives you four options to choose from: manual, bike, motorbike and car. There is a choice of PSI and Bar, I just used the manual setting which allows you to set the precise desired PSI that goes from 3 to 150. I was setting up cyclocross tires for an extremely muddy course so an exact number was required and the Hoto delivers the number you ask accurately.
The battery lasts very well with a lot of use, and it kept going for the whole race weekend on one charge. Charging is also fast with a USB-C to USB cable supplied.
The Hoto is overall a nice piece of kit and performs well. As a day-to-day pump it's hard to justify the cost for what you get and I would only use it in the workshop and on race days for that precise and accurate pressure. As a carry-along on a ride tool, it's slightly too cumbersome for most people, but it will fit in bar bags and jacket pockets. It also claims to inflate car tires (I haven't tried yet) which for a carry along piece of kit, for say bikepark or race days, is a handy option to have.
So if you're feeling lazy and don’t want to strain your arms with the track pump, it will accurately do the job with just the hassle of that mini hose. Not being a fan of CO2 cartridges and mini pumps, it'll be something I would consider carrying on big ride days and will be in the van for race days.
Tech specs: Hoto Portable Electric Air Compressor
- Price: $145 / £120 / €137 / AUD210
- Size: 12cm x 9cm x 4.5cm
- Color: Black
- Weight: 471g