We decided to test and review some of the best bike pumps on the market. Our personal favorite, Lumintrail 160 PSI handles both Presta and Schrader valves and has a remarkably accurate pressure gauge for those who want to ensure they’ve got exactly what they need. It’s also got attachments for common items like balls. But, we’ve dug up something for everyone, so let’s dig in and take a look then figure out which one is the best for you.
Overall, if you’re looking for a solid standup pump then this is exactly what you’ve been looking for. Pick it up, add it to your garage, and forget about it until the enxt time you need to add a tire.
Table of Contents
Top 5 Bike Pumps
|1||Lumintrail 160 PSI||Schrader and Presta||Check Price|
|2||DOKO-IN Mini Bike Pump||Schrader and Presta||Check Price|
|3||Topeak Road Morph G Mini Pump||Schrader||Check Price|
|4||LifeLine AAA 300 PSI||Schrader||Check Price|
|5||CO2 Inflator with Cartridge||Schrader and Presta||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Bike Pump
Lumintrail 160 PSI High Pressure
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
Of all of the bike pumps that we took a look at, this was definitely our favorite. With a 160psi max pressure and the ability to handle both Presta and Schrader valves on bikes it definitely stands out from the crowd.
It even has the ability to handle the rare cases where someone has a Dunlop valve.
It also has all of the accessories needed to handle balls and the like, making it useful for more than just your bike.
There’s a 2.5” gauge attached to allow you to figure out how much air is in the tire as well. The T-handle is ergonomic and the whole pump is quite durable and seems to have great displacement for the size.
- 2.5” gauge is quite accurate
- Suitable for all valve types
- Comes with a flat tire kit
- Has accessories for all sorts of balls
- Gets a bit difficult above 110psi
- Tool case is a bit troublesome
2. Best Miniature Bike Pump
DOKO-IN Mini Bike Pump With Gauge
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
Mini-pumps are awesome for when you’re already on the trail and looking to get things done. Since they’re so small most of them fit well in a backpack and this one has great displacement despite the dimunitive size of the pump.
It also has an easy to read gauge which runs up to 210psi.
The biggest reason we recommend it is the 14” hose, however. Miniature pumps have a tendency to screw up valves if you’re not careful and the flexible hose prevents this in all but the worst cases of abuse.
It’s able to handle both Presta and Schrader valves as well, making it especially good for those with more than one type of bicycle.
If you’re in the market for a hand-pump, then the DOKO-IN is one of the best around. Pick it up now, throw it in your backpack, and have the power and convenience you need when you get a flat far from the trailhead.
- Small size
- Rubber hose helps prevent problems with damaged valves
- Super lightweight
- 210psi capacity
- A little bit tight until broken in
- Hose can be hard to hold while pumping due to design
3. Best Frame Pump for Mountain Bikers
Topeak Road Morph G Mini Pump
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
Despite one major flaw, which we’ll get to in a moment, this bike pump is pretty much perfect for mountain bikers due to its ridiculously tough design.
Mountain bikers crash, it happens due to the very nature of the sport, so you need to make sure your gear is tough as nails since collisions can be both brutal and happen at high speeds. One of our reviewers crashed with it a few times and loved the fact that it didn’t seem to effect it at all.
Like all of the better frame pumps, it also comes with a flexible hose.
The flaw? It doesn’t have a pressure gauge with it. So your options are to just use it as a “limping” pump or to bring a separate gauge.
On the other hand, the tougher’n nails construction still managed to land this one on our list. Pick it up if you want something that’s not going to let you down just because you hit a corner wrong.
- Frame mounted
- Flexible hose
- Super tough construction
- Lightweight and slim
- No pressure gauge
- Takes a lot of effort above 50psi, but it can be done
4. Best Portable Electric Bike Pump
LifeLine AAA 300 PSI 12 Volt DC Air Compressor
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
If you want something to keep in the car to top off at the trailhead without wearing yourself out, then the LifeLine AAA might be just what you’ve been looking for. It’s powered by your cigarette ligher port and has an awesome 300psi capacity.
On top of that, it’s quite easy to use and makes a good emergency backup for your car’s tires as well. While we don’t particularly favor these for at-home use, there’s definitely a subset of riders who love them.
This was the best of the portable air compressors we looked at, and it also comes with adapters for balls.
While it’s not necessary for most bikers, this portable air compressor is perfect for those who want one. High capacity, easy to use, and quick filling. Pretty much exactly what the doctor ordered.
- 300psi capacity
- Attaches to lighter port in the car
- 10 foot power cord
- Comes with pressure gauge
- Requires power to function’
- Fairly low build-quality
5. Best CO2 Quick-Fill Pump
CO2 Inflator with Cartridge Storage
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
CO2 pumps aren’t our favorites, mainly because they’re fairly limited in use due to their nature, but if you like to travel light then you may want to invest in one.
This is the best of those we took a look at, coming with a high-quality, metal exterior that shines as being high-quality. It also works with both Schrader and Presta valves, making it easy to use on most of the bikes on the market.
The only problem is that you’ll have to pick up your pressurized CO2 cartridges somewhere else, but it’s the quickest and lightest way to get yourself out of an emergency on the road that we found.
If you’re in the market for a CO2 quick-fill pump, then you should take a look at this beautifully machined pump. It’s the best of the best, and it’s sure to come in handy.
- Small size
- Fits both Presta and Schrader valves
- Beautiful, lightweight design
- No loss when screwing cartridge in
- Doesn’t come with CO2 cartridges
- Only holds 16g cartridges
Who Needs a Bike Pump?
Bike pumps seem like a no-brainer, but there’s actually quite a bit of difference if you get down to the brass tacks. If you’ve been looking to ensure that you can keep your bike tires inflated then you’re going to be in good hands with any of our favorite picks. On the other hand, you may just be looking for a one stop pump for all of your home inflation needs or even something which can stand the rigors of the trail while you’re mountain biking.
Well, anyone with a bicycle can benefit from having a pump of course.
But many of us are just fine with a regular standup pump.
Serious cyclists, on the other hand, will want to put some serious thought into ensuring that the bike pump they have is something exceptional as opposed to merely passable. They can make a big difference in your riding experience overall.
Of course, there are a veritable ton of different pump types out there and if you’re new to the game you might not yet know what’s best for your bike.
It’s really not that hard to figure out with, our recommendation for those who don’t know quite what they’re doing yet is to find one of each of the following:
- A standup pump for using at home. Whether you need to replace a tube or work on your breaks you’ll want to be able to inflate things quickly and easily.
- A hand pump for taking on the road with you. Mountain bikers may want to look into a frame pump instead.
So, without further ado, let’s hop into figuring out which pump you need.
Bike Pump Types
There are three main types of bike pump which are available for sale. Each has their own niche usage, but we favor the old school hand pumps.
Manual pumps are what most people picture when thinking about bike pumps. The standard, step-on-‘em and push the handle style.
They’re remarkably versatile and these days you can get them in a wide variety of styles and with great pressure gauges. The main disadvantages is that they’re pretty large and they take a bit of manual effort to get going.
Electric pumps are handy, if you have an outlet. They’re the fastest way to do things, of course. Our biggest problem is that you need access to a power source in order to use them, otherwise they’re pretty much useless.
If you’ve got good equipment and you’re on clean surfaces the majority of the time they’re pretty useful, but most people prefer to launch out from somewhere farther from home. You can find them with the ability to work with your car’s lighter but they’re pretty good overall.
Travel pumps are a must for any serious cyclist. Depending on your type of cycling, you’ll need different things. Road cyclists are usually less at risk for potential frame damage to their pumps, which means a good ratio and ease of use is for the best.
Mountain bikers, on the other hand, crash a lot more frequently and often have to limp a tire in if they catch a thorn or sticker while on the trail. This means a heavier duty pump which is still easy to use.
And frankly, anyone who’s been mountain biking for a while has had to replace a tube while on the trail at least once. Stuff happens, and no one wants to walk a bike through twenty miles of rough trails.
Frame pumps are ideal for repairs in the field and are popular with serious mountain bikers. These frames are somewhere between standup pumps and hand pumps and allow you to get a full inflation while you’re out there.
There are also CO2 pumps which charge from a pressurized cartridge in a hurry, and frame pumps which are essentially larger hand pumps. We’re not fond of them for most hobbyists, but they have a place on racing bikes for obvious reasons.
How to Find the Best Bike Pump
Ideally you’ll already have a pretty good idea of what you’re looking for in a bike pump, as determined by the type of cycling you are doing on a regular basis. There’s no need to limit yourself to just one, especially if you participate in a variety of cycling sports.
At the very least, many cyclists keep a hand pump and attachment for each of their bikes just for the convenience factor.
There’s a little bit more to it than just grabbing one, however.
Check for all of the following when you’re picking the pump for your travels.
You’ll need to know how high your pump can go for the best results. If you’re not sure, we’ve included a section on optimal pressure for those new to the sports in just a moment.
Higher pressure pumps will tend to cost more, but they can be a boon for road bikers. On the other hand, if you’re frequently mountain biking then it’s not as much of a concern.
For most people we recommend something which goes up to at least 100psi, or 160psi in the case of road bikes.
Give a pass to any pump without a gauge. They’re pretty much essential for making sure you have the correct amount of pressure in your tires.
There’s only one exception: hand pumps which are meant just to “limp” a bike in from your ride don’t really need a gauge. You’ll want something with a gauge for once you get that tube replaced, however.
You also need the gauge to be accurate. Without that accuracy you can easily overinflate a tire and cause a tube rupture, which is no fun at all.
Displacement of air is the name of the game when it comes to reducing the amount of effort you’ll need to put out in order to make sure you’ve got the right pressure.
Basically: the larger the cylinder, the more air you’ll get with a pump. For road bikes there’s one more big factor: high pressures take more effort to push in so you’ll need a sturdy piston as well to get above 75psi or so.
This gets overlooked pretty frequently by people but a solid pump should last for a long time. Pumps actually take quite a beating while you’re working with them, often it can take upwards of 50 or 60 pumps each time you need to inflate a tire and a good 20 or 30 for a top off isn’t unusual.
What does that mean for you?
A durable pump can stand the test of time. A cheap one is going to fall apart quite rapidly, especially if it’s in heavy use.
Some pumps are made specifically for one type of valve. In fact, Schrader valve pumps are the most common since they’re generally found on most bikes. They won’t fit a Presta valve however, so you need to make sure that you’ve got what you need.
On the other hand, many higher end pumps have dual heads, allowing you to pick up either with ease. These are great for people with more than one bike, especially since higher-end bicycles tend to have Presta valves… but might also have Schraders.
You may have to pick up an adapter if you’re deadest on a Schrader pump which doesn’t have a Presta option attached to it.
Accessories are handy but not really necessary for everyone. Our favorite is undoubtedly needle attachments for balls, allowing you to inflate a basketball or whatever without any difficulty.
The best pumps will have a handy carrying device for them, so you don’t lose anything since many of them are quite small.
Know Your Valves
Go take a look at your tires if you don’t already know what valves you have.
Hint: you probably have Schrader valves if you don’t know.
Presta valves are common on high-end road bikes and can occasionally be found on mountain bikes. They’re a slender metal tube which is unscrewed, they also require a different pump head than you’ll find on the more common Schrader valves.
They’re kind of a pain to work with, but for road-bikes they’re essential since they require a smaller hole in the rim, allowing for a slimmer wheel to be used.
Schraders are what most people have. They’re the usual rubber valves with a spring-loaded closure, easily recognizable since they’re undoubtedly the most common.
The big thing to take away is this: different stems take different pumps in order to function properly.
The best pumps will come with both, or you can pick up an adapter for Presta valves to use a Schrader pump.
Tire Pressure and You
Tire pressure is one of the most neglected pieces of maintenance. The wrong pressure can seriously screw up your rims over time, and it’ll also make riding quite a bit harder.
Your tires and tubes will give you some good guidelines, and don’t exceed their ratings, but you’ll want to mostly work in the following ranges:
- Road bikes with narrow rims are usually in the 80-130psi range depending on your weight. Heavier weights, higher psi.
- Mountain bikes, when being used on trails have a large differential in the “right” pressure. The lower end of 20-25psi is often used by lighter riders, with heavier pressures of 35-40psi being used by those with some weight to them. It’s a very individual thing for the most part.
- Hybrid bikes, like cruisers or mountain bikes destined for street use, usually run between 45-60psi.
Those guidelines are great and all, but really each rider is going to be a bit different. When questioning our reviewers we found out some pretty wide variations. One person runs their mountain bike at 65psi until they hit the trailhead, where they drop to 38psi for instance.
The effects of even minute changes in pressure can’t be underestimated, especially if you want to keep riding smoothly for the majority of the day. A drop of three or four percent is noticeable to most experienced cyclists.
Proper tire pressure will keep your tire firm, but still conform to obstructions like potholes. Too low of pressure and you run the risk of a pinch flat, too high and you can damage the rim.
The truth is that most people run their tires too soft anyways, as often it feels like something bad is going to happen if you don’t know what the pressure is. Creaking isn’t uncommon with new tubes, for instance.
Experiment a little bit before you ride, even if you just use your bike for short distances, and you’ll be a lot happier with the way your bike rides.
Making sure you have the best bike pump around is going to be one of the most useful things you can do for your riding experience. Whether you’re a road biker, casually commuting, or riding the mountains you’ll find out that the perfect pump is out there for you.
Snap it up and get riding. You’ll be amazed at how much difference it can make in your overall riding experience.