The Best Bike Pumps | Review
Every cyclist should have a bike pump, because only fully inflated tires ensure a safe ride. The driver puts pressure on the tires with his weight, so some air will always escapes when riding. The tires therefore need regular air replenishment, which you can quickly do with a bike pump. In addition to different bike models, the market offers several types of pumps. You can access mini bike pumps that you can take with you on the go, and you can choose a larger floor pump to use at home.
In our comparison, we present selected pumps in detail. In the following guide we inform you about the different types of bike pumps. We explain the most important features of the pumps and inform you about what is important when buying the new pump. We give you the answers to frequently asked questions about the bicycle pumps in our guide.
Best Bike Pumps | Comparison
1. SKS Air-X-Press 8.0 Floorpump
According to the manufacturer, the SKS Air X-Press bike pump is made of light and stable plastic. Amazon customers rate them as pleasantly robust due to the large, double base. A pressure gauge is included with this air pump. According to some buyers, the pressure gauge shows the pressure precisely and legibly. The manufacturer promises easy handling.
You can use the pump to inflate your tires up to a pressure of 8 bar. With this pump, SKS provides a so-called multi-valve valve connection. According to the company, the pump is therefore compatible with all common valve types.
Some product data summarized:
- Material: Plastic
- Weight 800 grams
- Maximum pressure: 8bar or 115 PSI
- Height: 60 centimeters
- Hose length: 80 centimeters
2. VeloChampion Mini Pump Presta & Schrader
The VeloChampion Presta & Schrader mini pump is made of aluminum. Buyers report a light, yet robust and compact bike pump. In their reviews it says that the pump can be stowed comfortably while driving. Some customers have put the pump in the bike pannier, others have attached it to the frame. The manufacturer uses a dual-density handle with a non-slip surface for this model. In their reviews, buyers report comfortable handling.
The bike pump has a reversible Presta and Schrader valve attachment. VeloChampion promises a reliably tight cover without air escaping when inflating. The pump has a length of 17.8 centimeters and reaches a maximum pump pressure of 7 bar. According to the manufacturer, the pump is ideal for inflating the tires of normal bicycles, mountain bikes and road bikes.
The advantages of the pump at a glance:
- Durable material quality
- Compact lightweight
- High performance efficiency
- High pressure
- Secure bracket
FAQ - Bike Pumps
Why do I need a bike pump?
As a cyclist, you need a pump to refill air or to inflate the tire completely after a flat tire. You can choose between different models of pumps. For those who bike tours frequently, a pump to take with them is ideal. A floor pump should not be missing in a household with several bikes. In the following section we inform you which types of pumps are available and what you should pay attention to when buying.
How does a bike pump work?
Most models are piston pumps. Piston pumps consist of a cylinder and a piston. You move the piston up and down in the cylinder using a handle. If you pull the piston up with the handle, air gets into the cylinder. When the handle is pressed down, the piston seals the cylinder and the air is pressed into the tire. When it is pulled up again, the valve prevents the air from flowing back out of the tire.
What type of bike pumps are available?
You can choose between several types of bike pumps. To help you find out which pump is suitable for you, we will inform you about the advantages and disadvantages of the following:
- Hand Pumps & Mini Pumps
- Floor Pumps
- Foot Pumps
- CO2 Cartridge Pumps
- CO2/Hand Pumps
- Electric Bike Pumps
Hand & Mini Pumps
Hand pumps and mini pumps are characterized by their smaller, simple shape. Most hand pumps are between 15 and 25 centimeters in size. Many manufacturers mounting hardware to attach the pump to the bike. When it comes to the material, the manufacturers use either plastic or metal.
Hand pumps are considered the classic among bike pumps. In terms of performance, however, they do not come close to floor and foot pumps. Hand pumps are an important assistant for this on the go. Only a few models have a pressure gauge to control the pressure. Modern devices have a locking lever. The smaller version of the hand pump is the mini pump. It is small, compact and ideal to take with you. For high-quality bikes, mini pumps including a mount are often included in the scope of delivery. The smaller the pump, the longer it will take you to inflate it.
The floor pump is suitable for the home hobby workshop or the garage. This pump offers you a high level of comfort. Floor pumps protect the arm muscles and the bike valves equally. You only need a little time to inflate, even with wide tires and tires with high air pressure requirements. Floor pumps are larger and heavier than other types of pumps. They are therefore less suitable for taking on a bike tour. In addition to speed, your advantages lie in ease of movement and performance.
The maximum pressure capacity is between 10 and 16 bar, so that you can use these pumps to inflate the tires of road bikes. A floor pump is equipped with a hose, locking lever and pressure gauge. Thanks to the comparatively large piston, you do not have to pump as often as with a smaller hand pump. When buying, you should make sure that the foot provides sufficient stability. If you ride a bike regularly, you can’t avoid a floor pump. The floor pump offers many advantages, especially if you fill completely empty hoses with air.
A foot pump is equipped with a foot pedal. Do not confuse this pump with the foot pumps for air mattresses. The foot pump for the bike has a distinctive mechanism. Most of these pumps have a pressure gauge to check the air pressure. Due to their relatively high weight, foot pumps are usually the ideal pump for the workshop at home. This species is rather unsuitable for on the go.
In terms of equipment, foot pumps are similar to floor pumps. They usually have a flexible pump head, a locking lever and a pressure gauge. Pumping up by pedaling is easier for most users than operating a floor pump and the pumps are well suited for people with back problems.
CO2 Cartridge Pumps
CO2 cartridge pumps combine the handy format of a mini pump with the efficiency of an electric pump. You save time with the CO2 cartridge pump and at the same time protect the valves. These pumps are characterized by their small size and light weight. The pump fits into the saddlebag with a cartridge. With this type of pump, you only have to operate one controller, then high-pressure carbon dioxide flows from the cartridge into the tires.
Inflating takes only a few seconds. There are CO2 cartridge pumps for cartridges with and without threads. Depending on the manufacturer, the financial outlay can be high. The disadvantage of CO2 cartridge pumps is that you can only use them with a filled cartridge. This can be remedied by carrying several cartridges.
You are on the safe side if you rely on combined CO2/ hand pumps. You can inflate your bike tires manually when the cartridge is empty. The combination pumps are larger than the pure CO2 cartridge pumps. They no longer fit in the saddlebag, but instead on the bike frame or in the bag pannier.
Electric Bike Pumps
If you use an electric bike pump, you do not have to use any force when inflating the tires. This type of pump is a multifunctional device. In addition to bicycles, you can use it to inflate car tires, balls and air mattresses. The disadvantage of the pumps is that they require a power connection or prior battery charging.
What should I pay attention to when buying a bike pump?
Below we show you which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate the pumps. This will make it easier for you to choose the pump that best suits your needs and desires. We inform you about the following criteria:
- Valve type
- Pressure Gauge
- Dimensions / Weight
- Ease of use
- Pumping Speed
To successfully fill the tires, your bicycle pump needs the pump head that fits the valve on the tube. Note that the same pump is not suitable for every bike. The manufacturers of bicycle pumps provide information in their product descriptions about the compatibility with the valve types. There are three main types of valves used on bicycles:
- Dunlop valve
- Presta valve
- Schrader valve
With the so-called Dunlop valve, many city and touring bikes have a type of valve that is widely used. Dunlop valves can withstand a maximum pressure of 6 bar.
Whether road bike valve, Sclaverand valve or French valve, the Presta valve also has several names. The comparatively narrow valve diameter is characteristic. Since this type of valve can withstand pressures of up to 15 bar, it is the ideal valve for road bikes. Due to the small diameter, this valve is less robust and stable.
The Schrader valve is also known as a car valve. You will find this valve in motor vehicles and bikes. Usually you can not inflate bicycle tires with this valve with your bike pump without an adapter. You can get support at the petrol station.
A manometer is a pressure gauge. The display shows how high the pressure in the tire is. The pressure gauge is part of the equipment for many pumps. The wheel manufacturers recommend a regular check of the tire pressure in order to avoid tire damage or even accidents. Control is particularly important on mountain bikes and road bikes.
Many passionate cyclists pay attention to the position of the pressure display and good legibility when choosing a pump. Regarding the types of valves, wheel and pump manufacturers indicate that pressure gauges provide good measurement results if the wheels have Presta or Schrader valves.
Dimensions / Weight
As you can see in our comparison, there are heavy and light as well as large and small pumps. The dimensions and weight vary not only from model to model, but from pump type to pump type. Most hand pumps measure between 12 and 25 centimeters in length. They weigh no more than 150 grams.
Foot and floor pumps are sometimes significantly larger and heavier. The height can be up to 65 centimeters. The average weight of these pumps is in the range of 1.5 to 2 kilograms. Your purchase decision depends on how you want to use the pump. If you want a pump for the workshop, the pump may weigh more. A light weight of small size makes sense if you want to carry it with you on your tour.
The performance of a pump indicates the maximum pressure that the tire receives when inflating. Which pressure output your new bike pump should have depends, among other things, on the type of bike you are riding. The pumps usually offer a maximum pressure of 10 bar. The air pressure in the tires of touring bikes, city bikes and mountain bikes is usually not more than 6 bar. The common Schrader and Dunlop valves have a limit of 6 to 10 bar, therefore a pump with a higher pressure output does not bring you any advantages.
Road bikes are the exception. You need a maximum pressure of 10 bar and sometimes more. You should keep this in mind when choosing your new bike pump.
Hand and mini pumps provide less power than floor and foot pumps. But the small models are more handy. You can easily carry the mini pumps with you on the tour. But you should know that you need considerably more power when inflating on the go than with floor and foot pumps. In addition to the bar unit, manufacturers often also use the outdated PSI unit. PSI is the abbreviation for pound-force per square inch and refers to the force that exerts a weight of 1 pound on an area of 1 × 1 inch. 1 PSI corresponds to 0.069 bar.
By volume, the manufacturers of pumps understand the filling quantity. The volume is measured in cubic centimeters and indicates how much air gets into the tire with a single stroke of the bike pump. The size of the pump plays a crucial role. The volume of hand and floor pumps therefore differs significantly from that of hand and mini pumps.
Bicycle pumps are usually made of either plastic or metal. For many hand and mini pumps, the manufacturers rely on plastic. The reason for this is the low weight, because the small pumps are well suited for on the go. Bike pumps made of metal score with high resilience and high stability. They are usually heavier than the plastic models. The floor and foot pumps in particular are made of metal.
Ease of Use
According to the manufacturer, piston diameter and build quality affect the smooth running of a bicycle pump. Due to the design of the cylinders, floor pumps are generally smoother than the other types of pumps we have presented. When choosing your pump, ensure that the piston cross-section is as small as possible. Regardless of the pump type, the following applies: the smaller the piston diameter, the smoother the pump. The effort required for a smooth-running pump is kept to a minimum.
According to the manufacturers, with the faster floor pumps you need about 25 to 30 strokes to bring a tire up to 4 bar. In comparison, you need significantly more with foot pumps. Due to the lower cylinder volume, the manufacturers assume that the same result will be achieved from around 100 to 150 strokes. Pumping with hand pumps takes even longer. Manufacturers speak of around 200 strokes in order to achieve the same pressure value.
A flexible tube, a locking lever and a pressure gauge are standard equipment for bicycle foot and floor pumps. The manometer is one of the extras for the mini and hand pumps. More and more of these small bike pumps now have locking levers like the larger models. A practical feature is the drain valve, which allows you to let air out of a tire.
Some pumps are equipped with a lever connector. The manufacturers promise particularly comfortable handling. A small lever on the plug securely fixes the pump head to the bicycle valve. This equipment is very practical for floor pumps. You have both hands free to operate, as you do not have to hold the pump head on pumps with lever plugs.
How much does a bike pump cost?
You can get a simple bike pump for a low double-digit amount. For more expensive model, you can find some within the mid double digits range.
Which pump is suitable for a rather rare use?
If you rarely use your bike, an expensive model won’t pay off. A handy mini pump is sufficient.
How important is a pressure gauge?
They measure the tire pressure with a manometer. The right air pressure determines the longevity of the tires and the driving stability. The manufacturers point out that excessive pressure will damage the tire. Too little pressure leads to increasing driving instability. You control the pressure with a manometer and can react to deviations.