The best tyre levers will enable you to change your tyres or fix a puncture with ease.
Often overlooked, these simple tools can save you time and effort, and are essential for any rider’s rear pocket or seat bag.
We’ve tested some of the best tyre levers on the market, so you can head out for a ride safe in the knowledge a pesky flat won’t leave you stranded.
We’ve also put together a buyer’s guide explaining all you need to know about tyre levers at the end of this article.
The best tyre levers in 2023
Decathlon Tyre Lever/Lifter
- Price: £4.99/€6 as tested
At £4.99, the Decathlon Tyre Lever/Lifter represents brilliant value for money. Its smooth edges are both comfortable to handle and unlikely to scratch the wheel.
Either end is labelled with ‘Remove’ or ‘Install’ and the installation end clips to the rim, seemingly regardless of width or whether the rim is hookless or not.
At 16.5cm long, it offers great leverage for removal or installation and the hook is significant enough to offer great security for leaning into the task.
Fitting a tyre is surprisingly simple – the curved edges and heightened contact with the rim seem to make light of stubborn tyres with or without a tube.
Pedro’s tyre levers
• Price (pair): £4.95/$5 as tested
These stiff resin levers feel sturdy, with their relatively deep section and wide tip, and come with a lifetime warranty.
The chisel-shaped tip has a large radius, which is easy to scoop under the tyre bead. Rounded edges and a slippery finish make it easy to slide the tyre off the rim with a single lever.
Their ergonomic shape means the Pedro’s levers sit comfortably in your palm while wrenching a tight bead off the rim. They even come in a range of bright colours, making them hard to lose in the dirt.
We did find that the tip can sometimes hook under both beads due to its length.
Topeak Shuttle Lever 1.2
- Price: £8.99/$10.49/€8.99 as tested
The Topeak Shuttle 1.2 sees a smaller 10.5cm lever piggy backing on the main 15cm lever.
The smaller lever stays in place when clipped to the spoke, with the larger lever used to hook the tyre off the rim. Both levers are ergonomically optimised and are surprisingly comfotable to use.
Whether installing or removing the tyre, teasing it loose with the smaller lever and then changing to the larger one is key.
The fact the two levers ‘nest’ together means the whole package is pretty unintrusive in your pack.
Tru-Tension Tyre Monkey
- Price: £9.99/$12.49/€11.99 as tested
Proudly proclaiming support from Dragon’s Den, Stafford’s Tru-Tension has created something brilliant with the Tyre Monkey. At 10cm, the slightly curved handle sits comfortably in either hand and provides reasonable leverage.
The packaging has simple, clear instructions and the hook works extremely well for tyre removal, providing reasonable leverage and a comfortable position to work in.
Installation is also straightforward, offering compatibility with hooked or hookless rims up to 4.5mm in width. The tool itself is hooked, adding security, and installation is straightforward and simple.
Park Tool TL-4.2
• Price (three): £3.49/$3.97/AU$4.84 as tested
Park Tool’s plastic TL-4.2s have a wide tip with a precise edge that makes it easy to initially lift the tyre off the rim.
The broad lever body means there’s no noticeable flex while working tight beads off the rim, and the double-sided spoke hook is easy to clip on. There’s even a hole in each lever so you can hang them up for easy access.
The angled tip can cut into the bead slightly, making sliding the lever around the rim more difficult.
A smaller cross-section than the Pedro’s levers means the Park Tool levers can’t cope with as tight a bead.
Buyer’s guide to tyre levers
Do I need tyre levers?
While strong thumbs can be enough to pull the tyre’s bead over the rim, certain rim and tyre combinations will turn you red in the face, so we’d always advise having a set of tyre levers to hand.
Unlike makeshift solutions, tyre levers are specially designed to protect the rim and inner tube from the force required to seat a tyre bead.
Tyre levers also save your digits from feeling as if they’ve gone a full 12 rounds in a thumb war.
How do you use tyre levers?
Tyre levers are very intuitive to use, with the lever only needing to be positioned under the bead and pushed downward to release the tyre from the rim.
Levers can also be used when resitting a tyre, though be careful not to pinch the tube or damage your rim tape when fitting a tyre.
What is the hook on tyre levers for?
The hook on some tyre levers enables the lever to be locked in place on the rim by using a spoke.
This is only needed on the most stubborn of tyres and enables you to get another lever under the bead to pull the tyre off.
Can you use tyre levers on carbon wheels?
Not all tyre levers are suitable for carbon wheels, though many can be used with carbon rims and feature a composite-friendly profile.
Extra caution should be taken when using metal levers because these may scratch or mark your wheels.
What can I use instead of tyre levers?
If you’re struggling with changing your tyre and you’re without levers, you can just about get away with using a flathead screwdriver or even a table knife.
These substitutes carry a risk. The sharp edges have a tendency to damage inner tubes or rim tape if you ride a tubeless setup.
Tyre levers are designed with round edges to avoid any puncturing of the tyre and deformation of the rim.
Should you use metal tyre levers?
Some of the best tyre levers incorporate metal into their design to ensure they’re strong enough to cope with extreme forces.
Those who have had plastic levers snap on them will tell you just how painful unwillingly punching your wheel’s spokes can be.
Caution should be used, especially with carbon rims, but you’ll find a metal lever in most cycle mechanics’ toolboxes for those especially tough tyres.