Durable aluminum build. Precise readout with backlight display. Programmable display allows continuous pressure reading. Battery lasts up to 1,000 hours. Includes rubber anti-shock protective boot and stores minimum and maximum pressures. Adjust pressure quickly with high-flow bleeder valve.
Requires some calibration, and the numerical digits tend to disappear after heavy use.
Reads accurately up to 200 PSI, making it a great choice for large trucks, SUVs, and more. Very accurate reading. Simple to operate with one hand—press trigger to inflate and air bleeder to deflate. You can save settings. Reads PSI, KPA, Bar, or Kg/cm^2.
Occasional complaints of leaky fittings.
The backlit display is straightforward to read. Multiple measuring options, including PSI, Bar, Kgf, and KPA. Generous 150-PSI capacity for the price. The nozzle has a light for easy operation in the dark.
Settings have no memory, so you have to reselect them every time you use it.
Boasts all-metal construction; no plastic or rubber to break. Long neck on the valve stem makes for easier access to on trucks and RVs. Includes 2 interchangeable heads: straight and 45-degree angle.
It turns on and off too easily; it can drain batteries quickly. Some concerns about PSI accuracy.
Fast inflator. Comes with a long hose, dual-head air chuck, and an accurately calibrated pressure gauge for air compression. Built-in air bleeder valve and filler. Can connect to any ¼" NPT air compressor output. Excellent auto shutoff.
Air chuck won’t form an airtight seal on valves unless you hold it down.
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Whether you drive a car, bike, truck, ATV, or RV, proper tire pressure is important, and a digital tire gauge is an inexpensive way to help maintain your tires. Several types of tire gauges are available, but digital ones are the easiest and most accurate to use, particularly in low light.
You will face a number of questions when looking for a digital tire gauge. For example, what can it measure? The majority of digital tire gauges do just one thing: tell you how much air is in your tire. While rare, some also have inflation capabilities, but you would probably need an air source to use with it. It’s also important to know what the range of your chosen gauge is, how it is powered, and how much to expect to pay for it.
Tire pressure can be measured in a variety of units, and the best digital tire gauges are able to switch between them. Some of the more common tire pressure units include the following:
PSI: Pounds per square inch
BAR: Bars of pressure
A note on how these units relate to each other: 1 BAR = 14.7 PSI = 100 kPa.
While larger than stick-like gauges, digital tire gauges should still be compact enough to easily fit in your hand (and an emergency road kit or glove compartment). Digital tire gauges range in size from 5 to 11 inches tall.
While the majority of car tires are rated from 28 to 36 PSI, trucks and RVs typically have larger tires with much higher PSI. Even some car spare tires will have a higher PSI, so you should give some consideration to the range you’d need in a digital gauge before selecting one. If you have a car, a gauge capable of reading up to 100 PSI should be sufficient. Those who drive trucks or RVs will probably be better off going with a gauge capable of reading up to 150 PSI.
Digital tire gauges are generally much more accurate than other types of tire pressure gauges. Even with digital gauges, however, some are more accurate than others, often to within .5 PSI. If you need this kind of accuracy, check product specs carefully.
Batteries are the power option of choice for digital tire gauges, although the type of battery required can vary. Some gauges use relatively inexpensive AAAs; others require expensive lithium coin cells or button cells.
While battery operation makes these gauges highly portable, it also means that you will need to periodically replace them. If possible, find out how long batteries tend to last in a given gauge, and note whether the gauge ships with all the batteries you would need to run it right out of the box.
While stick-type gauges have long been popular, a digital tire gauge has no mechanical parts. As such, it will not be affected by contaminants such as dirt and dust.
What is a digital tire gauge made from? Less-expensive gauges are crafted largely from plastic, while pricier gauges tend to incorporate rugged rubber in their design. Durable all-metal gauges can also be found. A soft, ergonomic grip for comfort is common. Regardless of what goes into its construction, the housing should be designed so you can easily grip it and simultaneously use it to read tire pressure.
The nozzle is where the gauge and tire valve meet, and it is one of the more important elements of a quality digital tire gauge. It should seal to the valve securely so air does not leak. Neck length can range from short to long, the latter of which will be much more important if you are using the gauge with a truck, RV, or dual tire system. Some nozzles include adapters so you can use the gauge straight or at an angle.
Lighted nozzles are common, and they are beneficial if you find yourself trying to use the gauge in low light. While rare, some digital tire gauges have such a powerful light that you can also use them as flashlights.
Windowed displays are standard on digital tire gauges. Those that are backlit are easiest to read in any light. Note how long the display will stay on when you are checking a tire’s pressure. A display that stays on longer will be easier to read, but it will also drain the batteries faster.
The majority of digital tire gauges feature simple one-button operation, though you may find a few that feature additional control elements.
While rare for a digital tire gauge, some ship with a carry case to house and protect it when not in use.
Digital tire gauges start out at under $10 and can reach upwards of $20 or more. The majority sit in the $10 to $15 range.
Low-end: Digital tire gauges that cost less than $10 are quite simple and usually made of plastic. The range measured may be lower than 100 PSI.
Mid-range: In the $10 to $15 price tier, you will find gauges with a higher range — usually up to 150 PSI. These tend to be made of durable materials like rubber or metal. The majority of single gauges for general use are found in this price range.
High-end: Digital tire gauges that cost more than $15 are usually one of two types. They may be members of a multipack of less-expensive gauges, or they may be single products that are professional-grade tools. Professional-grade tire gauges often measure up to 200 PSI and are made entirely of metal with an extended neck. You will also find some gauge/inflation combinations in this price range.
Your front and rear tires may require different pressures. Check your owner manual or other vehicle information to verify if this is the case for your vehicle.
A. While both overinflation and underinflation can harm a tire, underinflation — having too little air in your tire — is much more common. Keeping tires at the proper inflation level can reduce tire wear, leading to longer tire life. Proper tire inflation can also lead to better fuel efficiency and handling, which result in a smoother and safer ride.
A. When determining how much air to put in your tires, opt for the car manufacturer’s recommendations instead of the maximum pressure listed on the tire itself. Using the vehicle recommended pressure will result in the best performance, fuel economy, and ride. This information will either be in your owner’s manual or on a sticker near the driver’s side door, inside the glove compartment, or on the inside of the fuel filler door.
A. Generally, yes. The only problem you could have is if your bike uses a different type of tire valve. The majority of automotive and bike tires use Schrader valves, which is what a standard digital tire gauge will work with. Some bike tires, however, use Presta valves, which are slimmer than Schrader valves. To use a digital tire gauge with Presta valves, you would either need a gauge that fits them or a Presta adapter that fits on your existing gauge.