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Best Bike Pumps

Updated August 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 7 Models Considered
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 180 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best bike pumps

    Last Updated August 2018

    Regardless of what kind of cyclist you are, there will always be a point when your tires need air. Flats, snakebites, cracks, and sheer blowouts require the use of a good bike pump. As a prepared cyclist, it is important to know what kind of bike pump you should get in order to be ready for the worst-case scenario.

    The great news is, bike pumps come in a lot of different types and styles. They are easy to use and can be small enough to keep with you anywhere you bike. There is a bike pump for you no matter what kind of bike you ride and what kind of tires you use.

    Since there are so many possibilities, it can be a little confusing when deciding which bike pump to buy. That is where we come in. Best Reviews is all about helping you choose the right products for your needs.

    If you find yourself needing or wanting a new bike pump for your next outdoor adventure, read this guide to learn about all the ins and outs of the tool that will keep you and your bike going for miles.

    Know the recommended air pressure of your tires. Unless you need to underinflate or overfill them for challenging terrain, the factory-recommended tire pressure should keep your tires at peak performance.

    Bike pump types

    All bike pumps do the same thing: push air into the inner tube so you can keep on rolling. Despite the simple use, bike pumps actually come in many different varieties depending on when and where you need to inflate a tire.

    Hand pumps

    The hand pump is one of the most common bike pumps on the market. These are usually small enough to fit in a bag so you can use them when out on your bike if you need to. They are the best choice if you want a simple way to inflate a tire on the go.

    If you want to use your bike pump to inflate a variety of household items – pool toys, for example – buy a pump hose and some valve adapters to fit on the nozzle.

    Frame pumps

    Frame pumps are similar to hand pumps, but they fit directly on the bike frame instead of in a bag. They are hand-operated, but because they are somewhat larger and heavier than hand pumps, they produce more airflow.

    Many modern bikes come with bike pump mounts to fit on the frame. If your bike doesn’t have this feature, you can buy aftermarket mounts from most local bike stores.

    Floor or track pumps

    For inflating tires at home, this type of bike pump is a better option since you can inflate the inner tubes faster. Floor/track pumps are too bulky to carry around on a bike unless you’re also towing a large bag or cargo trailer. Notably, if you’re going on a multi-day bike trip, this type of pump is a good choice.

    EXPERT TIP

    If you buy an electric bike pump, make sure you keep the battery charged every now and then so it will have the power to work out on the road.


    Bike pump sizes

    The size of a bike pump influences how much air it pumps into the tire at any given point. For larger inner tubes, it is much easier to use a bike pump that pushes a large volume of air with each stroke. Typically, the larger a bike pump is, the more airflow it produces each time.

    On the other hand, larger bike pumps are more difficult to take with you while biking. Bike bags tend to be too small for larger pumps. Hand-operated and frame pumps are a much better fit. CO2 cartridges are another excellent way to be able to inflate a tire on the go without taking up too much room.

    It may be a good idea to have a small bike pump for trips and a larger pump to keep at home in the garage. If you’re buying your first pump and need to choose one or the other, go with the smaller, more mobile option to make sure you can inflate your tire if a flat occurs while biking.

    EXPERT TIP

    A CO2 cartridge is a good way to inflate a tire in just a few seconds, but CO2 cartridges don’t last long. Keep a small bike pump with you in case you run out of gas, literally.


    Bike pump construction quality

    The materials a bike pump is made of determine how well it will withstand typical use and abuse. Commonly sold bike pumps come in a variety of materials, including plastic and metal.

    • Plastic: If you primarily ride a bike on the road or sidewalk, you can save some money by buying a plastic pump without too much worry. However, if you take your bike off road or perform a lot of tricks, the harder impacts could dent and damage a plastic bike pump.

    • Metal: High-quality metal bike pumps tend to be more expensive and also more durable.

    Valve stem adapters

    What type of stem is your bike pump compatible with? It’s important to find this out before you buy. Stems come in one of two different varieties: Schrader and Presta. While both types allow you to easily pump or release air when necessary, each is only compatible with a certain type of valve.

    Presta valve stems

    Presta valve stems are more common in road bikes. They are narrow and include a valve on top to prevent air leaks. These are unique to bikes and require a smaller adapter to fit the bike pump nozzle correctly.

    Most bike pumps are compatible with one type of valve stem right off the bat. In order to use the same pump with a variety of different types of bike tires and inner tubes, you could always purchase a separate adapter.

    Schrader valve stems

    Schrader valves are similar to the type of stem used on car tires. In fact, a pump you can use on a car tire should be compatible with a Schrader valve bike inner tube. These are larger, allowing for more air to flow in with each pump.

    EXPERT TIP

    Know your bike’s valve stem type. It is difficult to inflate a tire if you don’t have the right adapter on the nozzle.


    Pumping volume

    One commonly overlooked feature of bike pumps is air volume. All bike pumps have a certain amount of air that gets pushed in and out with each stroke. In general, the larger the pump, the more air volume per stroke.

    The type of bike tires you use can help determine what kind of bike pump you can keep with you when biking. In particular, the width of the tire will determine how much air you need to pump into the inner tube to achieve the correct pressure level to get the best performance and grip. In general, the wider the tire, the more air that will be required.

    • Road tires require the least amount of air because they are narrow. Small, hand-operated bike pumps you can keep in a bag should be sufficient for these tires.

    • Mountain biking tires require more air since they are thicker and wider. A larger bike pump, preferably one that can still fit on your bike frame, will allow you to inflate the inner tube faster.

    • Fat tires require the most air since they can be up to four or five inches wide. Larger bike pumps, such as floor pumps, will give you the best performance for these unique bike tires.

    Built-in tire pressure gauge

    A handy feature on some advanced bike pumps is the built-in tire pressure gauge. This device lets you know how much air is currently in the inner tube as you inflate it. Knowing the current tire pressure is important since it can help you prevent overinflating the inner tube to the point of damage. The type of gauge to look at often depends on the type of biking you do.

    • Road/tour biking typically uses more tire pressure to decrease rolling resistance and increase overall performance. A built-in tire gauge will often read between 35 and 120 PSI.

    • Mountain biking/bad-weather biking typically requires less pressure since the tire will have more contact with the surface underneath. A more sensitive built-in tire gauge that reads around 5 to 50 PSI is needed.
       

    Choose a bike pump with a built-in tire pressure gauge if you want to change the pressure on the go without having to guess.

    EXPERT TIP

    If your bike pump doesn’t have a tire pressure gauge, purchase a separate one so you know exactly how much air you have in the inner tubes.


    Bike pumps with electric motors

    If you want to save time and energy, consider a bike pump with an electric motor. Unlike hand-operated bike pumps which often require several minutes of vigorous pumping to get a tire up to the correct pressure, electric pumps work automatically. They come with several settings and controls to help you achieve the correct pressure.

    Unfortunately, there are two significant drawbacks to electric bike pumps. First, unless they are battery-operated, they require the use of an outlet or car plug-in to operate. Second, they tend to be more complicated and expensive than simple hand-operated pumps.

    If you are looking for your second or third bike pump, an electric pump is an option to consider. If this is your first one, however, stick with something small and hand-operated you can carry around.

    EXPERT TIP

    It’s helpful to have an inexpensive bike pump on hand for those times when you need a quick replacement or secondary pump.


    Bike pump prices

    Compared to other types of bike equipment, bike pumps are some of the most inexpensive tools you can buy. For the cost of a single bike tire, you can purchase separate pumps for the bike and garage and still have enough money to spend on a snack.

    If you want to minimize the impact to your wallet, purchase a hand or frame pump. Ranging between $10 and $25, these pumps will save your bike ride many times over for a small price. Budget floor pumps can also be found in this range, but their build quality and durability might be questionable.

    Pumps for the garage, including floor pumps, will range from between $25 and $100 for select premium options. Most floor and track pumps fall right around $50. If you’d like some electric assistance via a pump motor, budget models start around $50 and can go up into the $100 to $250 range.

    Tips

    • The most reliable portable bike pump is the hand-operated variety.

    • For everyday bike rides, don’t carry a large frame or floor pump unless you want the extra exercise.

    • Most home workshops have some kind of floor or electric bike pump for usual maintenance and seasonal tire changes.

    • If possible, invest in a high-quality portable pump so it will last a long time.

    • Double check the types of valve stems your tires use to avoid any compatibility issues.

    Invest in a high-quality floor pump for your garage if you like to switch tires and wheels around during the year. A good floor pump will make it easier to inflate new tires when it comes time to make a tire change.

    FAQ

    Q. What type of bike pump should I buy first?
    A.
    In general, the best bike pumps are portable so you can use them in an emergency. Larger pumps are good for home use.

    Q. Do CO2 cartridges run out?
    A.
    Yes. Eventually, you will need to replace the cartridge or refill it. If you don’t want to order a new cartridge, most local bike shops can get them refilled for a fee.

    Q. Are electric bike pumps reliable?
    A.
    Most batteries will last several weeks on a single charge. A small hand-operated or frame pump is a good backup to keep on your bike in case you find your main electric pump needs recharging.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Austin
      Austin
      Writer
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor
    • Michelle
      Michelle
      Writer