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Halkey Roberts Valves: How to Use, Loose & Troubleshoot

Do you ever wonder how inflatable boats can hold so much pressure within?

They can do this thanks to ingenious valve designs. Modern valves don’t only handle high-pressure, but they also allow you to stuff air in without letting any out.

One such valve is the Halkey Roberts valve.

Halkey Roberts valves (or HR valves) are high-pressure one-way check valves. They are one of the most popular valves for inflatable boats today.

But what does a high-pressure one-way check valve mean?

How do you inflate and deflate with this valve?

And how can you fix your HR valve if it’s leaking?

I’m going to answer all of these questions and more for you today. This is my Complete Guide on Halkey Roberts Valves.

Halkey Roberts Valves – What Are They?

Two features make the Halkey Roberts valve special:

  • High-pressure
  • One-way check

Let’s have a closer look at these.

High-Pressure Valves

We all want our inflatable boats to be as solid and buoyant as possible. To get this, we force quite a lot of pressure into our inflatable tubes.

Part:Recommended PSI
Main tubes2.5 – 3.5
Keel4 – 4.5
High-pressure air floor8.5 – 11.5
SUPs10 – 20

Whether your boat is made of PVC or Hypalon, it won’t tear open as long as you stay within the recommended PSI. However, there is a weak spot.

The valve.

Once the pressure gets high, the trapped air will try to force its way out of the weakest spot. A lot of cheap valves won’t be able to handle this. They’ll give even before you reach the recommended PSI.

But not Halkey Roberts valves.

Halkey Roberts valves were made to handle high-pressure without breaking. Even if you go above the recommended PSI (don’t try this!), it won’t budge.

That’s one reason why you find Halkey Roberts valves in high-end inflatable boats.

The other reason is that they are…

One-Way Check Valves

What’s a one-way check valve you might ask?

Halkey Roberts One-Way Check Valve
Halkey Roberts One-Way Check Valve

If you’ve read my guide to Boston valves, you’ll be familiar with this. These types of valves allow air to go into your boat – but don’t allow it to get out.

They have a simple locking mechanism inside of them. When air is pumped in, the lock is pushed open. When the same air tries to escape, the valve locks shut.

How Does a Check Valve Work

This mechanism makes it very easy for you to inflate your boat. You never have to worry about air getting out while you’re pumping.

However, because of this design, you can’t just blow air into your boat. There’s a special way to inflate and deflate Halkey Roberts valves.

How to Inflate and Deflate Halkey Roberts Valves

Halkey Roberts valves are special. You can’t inflate and deflate them without knowing the proper way to do so.


Not every pump will fit in a Halkey Roberts valve.

To do this, you’ll need a special adapter.

The good news is that Halkey Roberts valves are so popular, most air pumps come with an HR adapter already. If they don’t, you can easily pick one up from Amazon – such as this one by Melchef:

With this, all you have to do is plug in your pump and turn it on.

Easy, isn’t it?


Weren’t Halkey Roberts valves designed so that air never gets out? How then can you deflate them?

Well, yes, but the designers weren’t stupid either. They knew that at some point, you’d have to deflate your boat. That’s why they built in a way to deflate through your Halkey Roberts valve.

When you open the cap of your HR valve, you’ll see a small pushpin. It’s the same pushpin where you plug in your pump for inflating. This time, you’re going to use it for deflating.

To do this, push this pin and turn it slightly until it stays down (if you don’t, it will pop right back up). This disables the locking mechanism and allows air to gush out from your boat.

Note: If your air pump has a deflation feature, you can use this to speed up the process. Make sure the pushpin is down when doing so.

Once your boat is deflated, turn the pin again until it pops back up. This enables the check-valve again and blocks the escaping air.

If air is somehow getting out even when the pushpin is back in position, you may have to troubleshoot your valve.

Troubleshooting – How to Repair and Replace Your HR Valve

Halkey Roberts valves come in three parts:

  • The base which is built into the inflatable boat
  • The middle which contains the pushpin and check-valve, and screws into the base
  • The cap which covers and protects the pushpin from being pressed

Most HR valve problems happen in the middle. It is, after all, the most sensitive part.

Let’s take a look at some common problems and how to solve them.

1. Pushpin Pressed Down

A lot of people have come to me asking why air escapes through their pushpins. To that, I have one thing to say:

Pop your pushpin back up!

Too many people forget (or don’t know) that air will escape if the pushpin is pressed down. When they’re finished pumping, they panic because their boat deflates right away.

Always check if your pushpin is up. If not, turn it until it pops up. This way, the air won’t get out and you’ll save yourself from needless panic.

Also, always make sure the cap is properly in place. Nothing can hit your pushpin and press it down with the cap guarding it.

2. Can’t Inflate Halkey Roberts Valve Unless Open

When inflating, your pushpin should be closed.

However, one problem a lot of people run into is not being able to inflate unless their pushpin is open.

Once you detach the pump, air will gush out before you can close the pushpin. This way, you can never fill your inflatable boat properly.

Sound like you?

If this happens, you need an HR adapter with a crosspiece inside.

HR adapters rely on air pressure to force the pushpin down while inflating. Once you stop inflating, the pushpin pops right back up.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for everyone. Some pushpins are too stubborn for air to force them down. That’s why you need an HR adapter with a crosspiece.

Adapters such as Melchef’s and Bris’ have a crosspiece inside that pushes the pushpin down when you insert them.

3. Dirty Middle/Base Screw

If your valve is leaking through the base, don’t go to the extreme and replace your HR valve right away. Try cleaning it first.

A lot of times, sand, dirt, and dust get caught in the threads and flanges of the middle/base screw. This is one of the first things you should check if your valve is leaking. Any debris here will prevent the valve from giving an air-tight seal.

Fortunately, this is a very easy problem to solve. Simply clean it out, and your middle/base screw will seal shut once again.

4. Loose Middle/Base Screw

If air still gets out after cleaning, you may have another very common problem:

Loose screws.

Fixing this problem is as simple as tightening the screw. To do this, you’ll need an HR valve wrench (such as this one by GY). With it, it’s super easy to tighten the middle part into the base.

Next, spray soapy water on the valve and watch for bubbles. If it continues to leak, tighten it more until it’s fully sealed.

Still doesn’t work? The problem may be something else.

5. Cross Threaded Middle/Base Screw

If cleaning and tightening don’t work, your problem may be a cross-threaded screw.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to fix this. The only solution is to replace the valve.

Thankfully, it’s not that difficult to do this. You can see how to replace your HR valve in this video:

HOW TO VIDEO - Replace a High Pressure Valve

Keep in mind though that not all HR valves are the same. There’s the old-short, new-short, and old-long HR valve – all three of which aren’t interchangeable.

Make sure you get the right replacement, otherwise, it’ll be a waste of time and money. You can buy all three types on Amazon.

6. Other Problems

If you find that there are other problems, you may want to call a professional. I can also help you with your HR valve problems. So leave a comment down below!

You might also want to check out How to Glue Your Inflatable Boat.

19 thoughts on “Halkey Roberts Valves: How to Use, Loose & Troubleshoot”

  1. I bought an inflatable pontoon that uses these valves. I am not familiar with them. The only way I seem to be able to put air through it is in the open position, which releases too much air. What am I doing wrong that the air is not filling when in the proper position?

    • Hi Stef,

      It sounds like you may be using a wrong adapter. Halkey Roberts valves can only be inflated using special HR adapters. This may be why you can’t get any air in when the pushpin is up.

      Most air pumps come with one. But if you don’t have, I recommend this one by Melchef (make sure the diameter is the right size for your valve!)

      If you are already using an HR adapter, there may be a problem with the valve itself. Try turning the pushpin – make sure it has fully popped up.

      Still doesn’t work? Your valve may be defective. You can go full DIY and replace it yourself (see video on the article), or you contact your boat dealer for a repair, replacement, or refund.

      Hope this helps!

      • I have a feeling the problem is deeper. There seem to be two types of Halkey-Roberts adapters! And i, like Stef, was given the wrong kind by the manufacturer of the boat! It attaches fine to the valve, but will not inflate my boat when the valve is in the closed (outward) position. (It can inflate when the HR valve is in the open (downward) position, but when you remove the hose, much of the air rushes out of the inflatable.
        A second type of HR adapter on the inside has a small narrow, diametrical crosspiece. When you connect this adapter to the HR valve, it pushes and holds the valve open, allowing air to enter. Then as soon as you remove the hose and adapter, the HR valve closes releasing very little air at the moment. It seems Steve, that your solution is correct, even if you did not understand the problem. That Melchef HR adapter HAS the crosspiece inside.
        I just had this problem today, and have not tried to solve it yetwith the Melchef adapter, but i am hopeful it will.

        • Hey Tad

          You’re right, there are some Halkey Roberts adapters without a crosspiece. This is because the air pressure from the pump is supposed to force the pushpin down and keep it there.

          Unfortunately, some pushpins are stubborn… that’s why I always recommend adapters that have the crosspiece.

          I know some people who have inserted their own crosspieces into their valves… but you’d need some sick DIY skills to do that.

          Let me know if the crosspiece adapter works for you. I may have to update my troubleshooting section to include this topic.

          Thanks for the input!

  2. Hi, Steve.
    This should be any easy one.
    I have a Tiger Marine inflatable that came with a boat I purchased. The seller forgot to give me the foot pump, so I went to West Marine and bought their double action floor pump. It came with adaptors, and a Halkey nozzle.
    I popped the cap on the inflatable floor, pushed the pump nozzle on and gave it a 1/4 turn. It should have been simple, but the seal between both was bad and air leaked out at the connection faster than I could pump.
    Aggravated doesn’t come close to how I feel. Lol. It SHOULD have been easy.
    Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.
    Thanks, Jeremy

    • Hey Jeremy

      Correct me if I’m wrong… your boat leaks even when the pump is still on?

      If so, you definitely need a new adapter. Air is not supposed to get out while the pump is connected.

      My guess is that your Halkey nozzle is not the right size. If you can’t get one from your boat’s manufacturer, you can always buy from third parties.

      That said, sizing is tricky. HR valves don’t have a universal fit. So unless you can test it on the spot, it’s always going to be a hit and miss situation.

      For adapters, I usually recommend Melchef – but it’s out of stock at the moment. BRIS also has one, which, judging by the brand’s quality, should work for most boats.

      Now… if your boat leaks only when you detach the pump, it’s because you’re not supposed to keep the pushpin down.

      I discussed this (and the reason why some adapters can’t pump when the pushpin is on the correct position) on Stef’s comment above, you may want to read that too.


  3. HR leaky valve. I have demounted the valve and cleaned it. It still leaks through the valve. The valve spring is ok and there is no sign of damage to either washer. What now. I have to add that this valve is probably 20 yo.

    • Hey Richard

      Does the pushpin fully lock out in the closed position?

      If so, there’s probably some damage inside the valve itself (since you say that there’s no sign of damage anywhere else).

      I’d replace the entire valve is I were you. It’s not worth it to try and repair.


  4. Hi, the valve on my SUP starts leaking air as soon as I get any pressure into it, i.e. not even 1 PSI. If I hold the pump adapter firmly in place and someone else pumps, I can get it to about 10 PSI.

    • Hey Nathan,

      It sounds to me like the adapter isn’t right.

      HR adapters come in three sizes: old-short, old-long, and new-short.

      Most new boats and SUPs use the new-short size. I’m guessing yours is the old-long since it only inflates when you force it down.

      I’d get a new HR adapter if I were you. Melchef makes good ones, but they’re currently out of stock.

      Also, check your valve if it’s clean. It could also be some sand getting in the way.

      Hope this helps!

  5. The Pushpin cap and spring came flying out of our SUP HR the first time we used it. Th spring is long gone but we were able to retrieve the pushpin cap with attached post. Is that supposed to be able to come out of the female end of the pushpin?

    • Hey Adam,

      I’m not quite sure what you mean, but it sounds like you have a defective HR valve.

      Nothing is supposed to come flying out, and nothing is supposed to get detached unless you remove it yourself.


  6. Hi, I’m having trouble removing the middle part with the valve wrench. Seems to be real tight any ideas.

  7. Hey, Steve, I have a North Fork outfitters pontoon boat with 4 HR valves. Two are holding steady and do not leak but the two on the other side the boat leak, one slower than the other. I have tightened the valve which leaks the fastest (or so I thought) but it is still leaking. The boat is pretty new (less than 1 year). Any thoughts? Maybe the leaky valves still need more tightening?

  8. Hi Steve, I have an HR valve with a slow perimeter leak. I was able to tighten the middle part of the valve by almost a full turn but the leak persisted. I cannot tighten it any further and feel there must be debris or a cross thread problem. But now, similar to Trevor above, I cannot loosen the middle piece to remove it and check for a problem. I have tried everything I can think of with that silly plastic valve wrench/spanner but it will not budge. Are there any proven ways to remove a stuck middle piece? Even if they are destructive methods. I will be happy to replace the valve – I just need to get it off! Any ideas welcome!

  9. Hi Steve. I have the same problem as Trevor and Eric. My valve seems to be locked up and I can’t get it to budge. I’m anxiously awaiting your response to all of us. Thanks.

  10. Hello Steve – I have just acquires a BoatWorld inflatable with eh HR valves. As I have a leak in one of the chambers, I need to remove the middle part of the valve to pour in some special sealant. However the middle part valve just turns (though it’s very still) and the thread seems to be locked. Can you recommend another method that will permit me to remove the HR valve. Many thanks.

    • Hello Andrew,
      If the leak in your chamber isn’t coming from the valve, it may be best to repair the leak another way. If you attempt to remove the valve in order to pour in the sealant, you may clog up the valve area.

      If your air leak is coming from the chamber, then you would not replace it with sealant. You might need to clean or tighten the valve; if this doesn’t work, you may have a cross-threaded screw and will need to replace it.

      Remember, the base of the valve is attached to the chamber–it isn’t meant to be removed. If you are struggling to remove the middle, try using a valve wrench. If the valve won’t twist off on its own, you may have to break it off and replace it with a new one.


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