Having the right bike tire pressure is critical to your bike performance. For road bikes, you want the perfect mix between comfort and low rolling resistance. For mountain bikes, you want the best grip without rolling the tire of the rim or getting pinch flats.
If you have ever compared two bike pumps you will probably have noticed that they don't read the same pressure. The standard pressure gauges on pumps tend to be quite inaccurate.
So bringing a small sensor on your rides is a great way to be sure you have the right pressure and can focus fully on crushing your KOM or sending that gnarly section.
Top 6 Best Bike Tire Pressure Gauges
1. Topeak D2 SmartGauge Bicycle Tire Pressure Gauge
- Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.8 x 1.4 inches
- Maximum Pressure: 250 PSI
- Weight: 2.24 ounces
- Power Source: CR2032 battery
- rotating head allows for easy read from different angles
- multiple modes to better understand pressure
- maximum pressure of 250 PSI
- A bit pricy
- Works less well for Presta and Schrader valves
The Topeak SmartGauge D2 comes in packs up to five. The gauge works with Schrader and Presta valves and can measure up to two hundred fifty pounds in either PSI, Bar, or Kg per Cm. The gauge is also super small and can easily fit in a backpack or bicycle satchel for use on the road.
There is an air release button you can use to release air after you take your initial readings. From there, you can add and adjust the amount of air in your bicycle tires to the right degree of pressure. The digital gauge head rotates at the base, so you can easily see each reading at any angle.
The gauge comes with different modes you can use to help read the amount of pressure in your bicycle tires. You can scroll through the different settings to see all the information about the pressure.
If you don't mind the slightly higher price, this is a great tool to bring on all of your rides.
2. AstroAI 2 Pack Digital Bicycle Tire Pressure Gauge
- Dimensions: 5.8 x 3.6 x 1.3 Inches
- Maximum Pressure: 150 PSI
- Weight: 3.2 ounces
- Power Source: Three lithium Metal Batteries
- Ergonomic design
- Comes with a backlit display and lighted tip for use in the dark.
- You can measure four different settings to read your tire pressure.
- Sometimes lacks accuracy
- Display can burn out with frequent use
The AstroAI 2 Pack Digital Tire Pressure Gauge is the best choice if don't bring the gauge on your rides or prefer a bigger grip.
The tire pressure gauge hash a digital display and LCD backlighting, so you can check your tires under all conditions. The nozzle of the gauge also lights up to help you use and operate the gauge for clear visible information.
You can easily use the nozzle of the gauge to form a seal around the Schrader valves on your tires so that you can have instant readouts in 0.1 increments. The gauge has four settings for PSI, Bar, KGF, ad KG/cm so no matter the units you are accustomed to, you can get accurate readings of the air pressure in your tires.
The gauge is easy to use with a single button for On/Off and the ability to scroll through the different settings. The gauge design includes an auto-shutoff feature that will turn the gauge off after forty seconds. You won't have to worry about depleting the batteries.
This model is bigger than the Topeak but it's also cheaper.
The ergonomic design, easy display, and great value make this our recommended gauge if you don't need the smallest.
3. Accu-Gage Presta Valve Bicycle Tire Pressure Gauge
- Dimensions: 5.9 x 4 x 1.5 inches
- Maximum Pressure: 160 PSI
- Weight: 8 Ounces
- Power Source: None
- Meets Californian requirements for safety and health
- Doesn't need batteries
- Bourdon bronze housing is weather-resistant
- Not compatible with Schrader valves
- Seal can begin to lead and cause inaccurate readings
The Accu-Gage Presta Valve Bicycle Tire Pressure Gauge comes in multiple PSI increments. You can purchase a basic gauge with a maximum PSI of fifteen PSI or the highest gauge with a PSI of one hundred sixty PSI. The gauge is analog and fits only on Presta valves.
The gauge is perfect for using on your bicycle both road and offroad. The gauge is made of bronze tubing that will not reduce operating capabilities by changes in temperature, humidity, or altitude. The gauge contains no batteries that can run out, so it will last for as long as you need it.
The gauge is easy to use once attached to the Presta valve. The gauge will hold the pressure on the gauge, so you can push the button to release the air and take an accurate pressure reading. The gauge meets California requirements and regulations for safety and health.
The only downside of the Accu-Gage is that it can only work with Presta valves.
If your bike has Presta valves, and most sportbikes do, you can't go wrong with this gauge. It's accurate, durable, and can never run out of batteries. And it looks cool too.
4. TACKLIFE TG01 Digital Bicycle Tire Pressure Gauge
- Dimensions: 2.2 x 0.9 x 5.5 inches
- Maximum Pressure: 150 PSI
- Weight: 1.92 ounces
- Power Source: One CR2032 and Three LR44
- Easy to bring because of lightweight and compact design
- Tight fitting and well-lit nozzle
- 4 different settings to customize your tire pressure reading
- Displays can fail after extended use
- Batteries are difficult to change
The TACKLIFE TG01 Digital Tire Pressure Gauge is a fast responding handheld gauge. You can use the gauge to deliver fast and accurate readings on bicycle tires as well as car tires. The digital gauge can consistently show you correct pressure readings through four different settings, including PSI, Bar, Kg per second, and KPA. You scroll through the settings on the on/off button to find the desired range and take your readings.
The screen and the tip of the gauge come with backlighting, so you can see the readings even when it is dark. The lit nozzle ensures you find the valves on your tires and make a tight connection. The design of the gauge is ergonomic and fits comfortably in your hand with a soft, non-slip surface texture. The design of the gauge is lightweight and easy to store while you travel.
The gauge comes with batteries and an auto-shutoff feature to prevent the gauge from getting left on and wasting energy. The gauge will automatically turn off after thirty seconds to save your battery power.
The batteries are quite difficult to change on this model. But, with 4 batteries and great energy-saving features, it will be a long time before you need to.
So if you are looking for a quick and easy way to measure your tire pressure, the Tacklife TG01 is a great option.
5. Etekcity Digital Bicycle Tire Pressure Gauge
- Dimensions: 5.43 x 2.24 x 1.14 inches
- Maximum Pressure: 150 PSI
- Weight: 3.98 Ounces
- Power Source: 4 lithium metal batteries
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Ergonomic grip
- Illuminated display is easy to read and use
- LCD screen flashes when batteries are low
- Does not work on Presta valves
The Etekcity Digital Tire Pressure Gauge comes with a digital backlit LCD and light up the nozzle. The calming blue light ensures you can see the gauge in dim lighting and securely attach the nozzle and receive accurate visible readings. The display is easy to understand and read while you adjust the settings.
The tire pressure gauge has four different ways to read the gauge with 0.1 increments. The gauge lets you see the pressure readings in PSO, Bar, Kg per second, and KPA. You can adjust the pressure in multiple kinds of tires using this gauge, including bicycle tires, truck tires, and car tires. The gauge is easy to read and use with three functions to scroll through, including On/Unit/Off.
The design of the gauge is ergonomic, in addition to backlit lighting, the gauge is comfortable to hold and use. The handle is easy to grip, and the batteries come pre-installed. An auto-shutoff feature will turn the gauge off after thirty seconds without use to save battery life.
You might have noticed that this model looks very similar to a few other options on this list. We suspect several manufacturers copied the handles from each other. They do have slightly different electronics and settings so we still prefer one over the other.
6. Rhino USA Digital Bicycle Tire Pressure Gauge
- Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 2.25 inches
- Maximum Pressure: 150 PSI
- Weight: 1.9 ounces
- Power Source: Three CR123A batteries
- Ergonomic design
- Reads up to 150 PSI pressures
- Display and tip glow blue for easy reading in the dark
- Batteries are difficult to change
- Could be more accurate
The Rhino USA Digital Tire Pressure Gauge is a simple gauge to take accurate pressure gauge readings. You can connect the gauge to your tire and receive backlit pressure information so that you can see the readings in the day or the night. The top of the gauge also comes backlit to ensure you can always see what you are doing.
The gauge is a high-quality gauge, ergonomic in design, allow you to easily grip the gauge while going through any of the four settings. The gauge will let you know the PSI, Bar, KPA, and Kg per Second. The gauge has a maximum reading of up to one hundred fifty PSI.
You can use your tire gauge for more than bicycle tires. You can use the gauge to read your car and truck tires for accurate and precise readings.
Tire Pressure 101
Proper tire pressure for bikes is essential for a good ride and to prevent damage to your tires. You will roll more quickly, smoothly, and be less likely to pop a tire and need to replace it. Proper tire pressure for road bicycles requires anywhere from thirty to one hundred thirty PSI (pounds per square inch) or pressure.
What is the best tire pressure for a mountain bike?
Mountain bikers probably spend more time thinking and talking about their tire pressure than any other bikers.
And for good reason.
Too much pressure gives you very little grip. The wheels bounce on every small bump and have very little contact with the ground. They also don't deform as much on rocks and roots leaving you with a tiny contact area and sliding around on everything.
Too little pressure and you have pinch flats all the time. Rock edges can dent or even crack your rims. Especially carbon rims can easily get destroyed this way.
You can also run into issues when cornering. The tire can burb out all it's air if it's tubeless. It can also completely roll off the rim. So it's not good to have too low pressure in your tires.
And it also depends whether you are using tubes or tubeless.
There is no one-size-fits-all psi number that is good for everyone. You will have to find out for yourself.
25 Psi is what I would recommend as a starting point. I like to use the following guidelines:
- Tubeless tires can run with lower pressure than tubes
- Front tires are generally softer than the rear
- If you are running inserts, you can use a lower pressure
- Higher pressure will give you low rolling resistance on smooth jump trails
- Lower pressure will give you more grip on rough terrain
How to Pump Up your Bike Tires
Pick the Right Pump
There are two different kinds of bicycle pumps to choose from the Schrader valve and the Presta valve. The Schrader valve pump is wider and flatter than the Presta valve, which is narrower and comes with a locking nut to prevent air escaping. Make sure you have the right kind of gauge to measure your tire pressure and the right kind of pump for your bicycle before you begin.
Before you begin pumping, you need to know the PSI rating for your tires and your weight. Together, you can adjust the amount of pressure you add to your tires, so you will get the smooth ride based on where you ride and the kind of tires you have. As you prepare to pump more air into your tire, ensure the pump head fits tightly over the valve, so you will not leak air, and the air goes into your tire.
Follow the PSI
If your pump has a PSI gauge, let the PSI readings be your guide for how much air you are adding. You can use a hand or foot pump to push air into the tire to the middle range of your tire's ideal pressure. If it is your first time, take the bike out for a short ride and adjust the pressure from there. You can more accurately gauge the amount of air your bicycle requires by trial and error in the beginning until you know exactly the right PSI for your bicycle and body weight.
How To Check Your Bicycle Tire Pressure Without a Gauge?
If you don't want to carry a small gauge, or don't have one yet, you can use the following methods to get an indication of the pressure.
Road feel: Generally you will feel it if your tires are softer or harder. This is not very accurate but you don't even have to get off the bike.
Pinch the sides: This method is maybe the most widely used. Personally, I find it hard to get an idea of the actual hardness of the tire. On most tires, the running surface is much thicker than the sides. So the feeling of the sides is not directly comparable to the feeling on the bike. However, many people use this so it might work for you too.
Use thumbs to push on the running surface: This is the method I always used before I got a bike tire pressure gauge. It gives a good idea of how much the tire will deform on the road or dirt. This also works better than using the sided since the sidewalls can be much thinner than the top.
It's not perfect though
You are still measuring with your hands. And our hands can be stronger or weaker depending on the situation. So what feels like a good pressure when you just wake up might be different from when you have just been working out.
Wrap up: The Best Bicycle Tire Pressure Gauge
If you are looking for the best bicycle tire pressure gauges to bring on rides, the Topeak D2 SmartGauge is your top choice. It's accurate and very small and easy to bring along. Plus, you can measure both Presta and Schrader valves.
If you prefer a slightly larger grip on your gauge, the AstroAi is a great option. It's also accurate and has a handy light to find the valve in the dark.
If you only use Presta valves and want a cool classic design that is accurate and almost indestructible, you can't go wrong with the Accu-Gage.
Whichever you choose, start measuring your tire pressures and enjoy the benefits.