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 notoriously inaccurate, many turn to dedicated gauges such as the ones tested here.
So, if you’re still trying to work out optimum pressures for your tyres and want absolute, repeatable consistency then one of these could be a top investment.
But what pressure should you be aiming for? Well, we’ve got guides to mountain bike tyre pressure and road bike tyre pressure, to help you find the perfect PSI for your ride. And make sure you check out our guide to the best bike pumps.
The best tyre pressure gauges for cyclists, as rated by our expert testers
- LifeLine Digital: £13 / $19 / AU$27 / €15
- BBB BMP-90: £17 / AU$30
- SKS Airchecker: £27 / $36 / AU$43 / €30
- Topeak SmartGauge D2: £30 / $35 / AU$55 / €30
- Fabric Accubar: £35 / $53 / AU$50 / €45
- PRO Pressure Checker Digital: £20 / AU$25
- Price: £13 / $19 / AU$27 / €15
- Weight: 73g
- Max pressure: 160psi/11 bar
Not only is it the lowest-priced gauge on test, but the LifeLine is by far the most robust-feeling. 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.
- Price: £17 / AU$30
- Weight: 35g
- Max pressure: 160psi/11bar
As the smallest and lightest gauge here, the BMP-90 is the most 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. You can choose between psi, bar, kg/cm² and kPa, and it beeps to confirm a reading.
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
- Weight: 55g
- Max pressure: 144psi/10 bar
The second-generation 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. The large, backlit display is easy to read, and the gauge beeps to confirm a pressure measurement.
This is one of the more expensive devices on test though, 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 on the fact the battery requires a bit of awkward fiddling to access too.
Topeak SmartGauge D2
- Price: £30 / $35 / AU$55 / €30
- Weight: 66g
- Max pressure: 250psi/17 bar
Topeak’s SmartGauge D2 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. The 250psi max pressure means you can use it on forks and shocks as well as tyres.
It does give 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 and this is one of the priciest units on test.
- Price: £35 / $53 / AU$50 / €45
- Weight: 106g
- Max pressure: 40psi/2.8bar
This is the only device here that can be used in-line with a pump, so you can get the pressure right while inflating, rather than adjusting it later. The screw-on design provides a secure fit on both Schrader and Presta valves.
Even though it’s the most expensive gauge on test, it’s the only non-digital one, which makes fine adjustments tough to make. It also requires the greatest care not to let out air when fitting or removing it from the valve, and is the fiddliest to use. As the biggest and heaviest, it’s best-suited to a toolbox rather than a pocket or pack.
PRO Pressure Checker Digital
- Price: £20 / AU$25
- Weight: 41g
- Max pressure: 160psi/11 bar
PRO’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. It’s light enough to throw in a pocket for trail use.
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 (like many in this test). Its plastic body has a slightly cheap, brittle feel and the screen isn’t illuminated.