Tweaking tyre pressures can produce significant changes to a bike’s handling, and the true fettlers out there are often obsessive about getting the exact amount of air in each tyre.
With the gauges usually found on a hand pump or track pump often proving inaccurate or difficult to read with precision, some riders turn to dedicated pressure gauges such as the ones tested here.
If you’re trying to work out optimum pressures for your tyres, you’ll want repeatable consistency, so a pressure gauge could be a sound investment for tyre fettling.
And make sure you check out our guide to the best bike pumps to get your tyres inflated in the first place.
The best tyre pressure gauges for cyclists, as rated by our expert testers
- Price: £13 / $19 / AU$27 / €15 as tested
- Weight: 73g
- Max pressure: 160psi/11 bar
Not only is it low-priced, the LifeLine Digital pressure gauge feels robust. It fits both Schrader and Presta valves securely, with no air leaks.
The twisting head adds versatility and the pressure-release button is easy to use, with no mode selection needed.
It beeps to confirm when it’s at the correct pressure. The light function is neat, both illuminating the screen and activating a small LED so you can see your valves in the dark.
It would be improved by the display being a little bigger though, and while it’ll fit in a pack, the device is a bit bulky to be pocket-friendly.
Topeak Smartgauge D2X
- Price: £41.99 / $55.99 / €49.99 as tested
- Weight: 56g
- Max pressure: 260psi/18 bar
The Topeak Smartguage D2X is the successor to the D2 featured below. This new gauge weighs just 56g and is slimmer than the previous model, although it’s a little longer, which actually makes it easier to use and stow in your pack.
Toggling between the different unit readouts (psi, bar or kg/cm²) is easy and, thanks to the illuminated LED screen, readings are clear and easy to see.
Features include an air-release button for fine-tuning, automatic switch-off, compatibility with both Presta and Schrader valves, and – something that’s really handy – a valve head that rotates through 360 degrees, which makes attaching it far less awkward than on some gauges.
Using the old Topeak gauge and the D2X back-to-back has given us almost identical read-outs, so accuracy seems good, too. This is a pricey option, though.
The following pressure gauges scored fewer than four stars out of five in our testing but are still worth considering.
- Price: £17 / AU$30 as tested
- Weight: 35g
- Max pressure: 160psi/11bar
The BMP-90 tyre pressure gauge is small, light and pocket-friendly. The push-on design is secure, and it doesn’t lose any air when pressed on or removed. Neither does it leak when in use.
It measures psi, bar, kg/cm² and kPa, and it beeps when your desired pressure is reached.
It’s disappointing that there’s no pressure-release button for minor adjustments and the valve adaptor is removable, so there’s the potential to lose it. Also, without a swivel head, it’s awkward to use if you’re left-handed, it doesn’t feel that robust and its display isn’t backlit either.
- Price: £27 / $36 / AU$43 / €30 as tested
- Weight: 55g
- Max pressure: 144psi/10 bar
The second-generation SKS Airchecker has a sleek design and feels well built. Its slim form means it should fit comfortably in any pack.
The twisting head adds versatility, and there’s a pressure-release button for fine adjustment. It fits both valve types securely. It’s simple to read the display and the gauge beeps to confirm a pressure reading.
This is one of the more expensive tyre pressure gauges and you have to change modes in order to use the pressure-release button, which itself is a little stiff to press.
It’s scored down because the battery requires a bit of awkward fiddling to access.
Topeak SmartGauge D2
- Price: £30 / $35 / AU$55 / €30 as tested
- Weight: 66g
- Max pressure: 250psi/17 bar
Topeak’s SmartGauge D2 has been superseded by the D2X but remains in the range.
It feels well built and the large display is easy to read. You can swap between Schrader and Presta valves at the flick of a switch, and the swivel head improves usability.
There’s a pressure-release button and a pressure beep. You can measure forks and shocks besides tyres because of the 250psi limit.
It gives readings in full psi units only and you have to select the pressure-release mode, making fine-tuning trickier.
Pressing it onto the valve and taking it off requires precision to minimise air loss. The screen isn’t illuminated either. Both these faults are disappointing for the price.
- Price: £35 / $53 / AU$50 / €45 as tested
- Weight: 106g
- Max pressure: 40psi/2.8 bar
The Fabric Accubar can be used in-line with a pump, so you can get the pressure right while inflating, rather than adjusting it later. It fits both Schrader and Presta valves.
Despite being a very expensive gauge, it’s not digital, which makes fine adjustments difficult.
The Accubar also requires great care not to let out air when fitting or removing it from the valve, and is fiddly. Being big and heavy, it’s best suited to a toolbox rather than a pocket or pack.
PRO Pressure Checker Digital
- Price: £20 / AU$25 as tested
- Weight: 41g
- Max pressure: 160psi/11 bar
PRO Pressure Checker Digital’s small gauge covers the basics well. It fits both Schrader and Presta valves, albeit using a removable adaptor.
The display is easy to read, and there’s a pressure-release button so you can make minor adjustments. You can carry it in a pocket on the trail.
The head is prone to leaking and it’s a little tough to pull off the valve too.
The lack of a swivel head makes it less practical than some if you’re left-handed and it measures in psi and bar only.
Its plastic body has a slightly cheap, brittle feel and the screen isn’t illuminated.