I’ve tried hundreds of bicycle pumps over the course of my cycling career, and most have been rubbish. I teamed up with a few members of our editorial team to ask the question: what makes a bicycle pump worth buying?
As you’re are about to find out, there are quite a few features you should look out for. This guide tells you more, and also highlights some of the best bike pumps around to make your decision easier.
For faster inflation with minimal effort, there are some notable options to think about. We’ve covered the lot in our comprehensive bike pump review.
The Best Bicycle Pumps
Floor pumps, portable pumps, pumps for different valves… there is a lot to think about when you are looking at the available options on the market.
Whether you are looking for a convenient pump to have while on the go, or something sturdier to use at home or even at the office, our collection of top choices covers them all. Here are our picks of the best bicycle pumps available today that offer something more than your run-of-the-mill pumps.
1. Vibrelli Performance Floor Bike Pump
This is hands down one of the most effective and reliable bike pumps we’ve ever had the pleasure to use.
This smart floor pump from Vibrelli features a Rapid-T Valve design which means you can change over from Schrader to Presta valves with no hassle – just a flick of a switch completes the job.
The barrel is made from steel for long-lasting performance, and you’ll appreciate the reinforced handle design too. The pump also has a clear gauge indicating the pressure reached – up to a maximum of 160 psi.
You even get the bonus of a glueless puncture kit to make sure you are always prepared. Add in a five-year guarantee and this is a smart purchase to consider.
2. Audew Dual-Cylinder Foot Bicycle Pump
Another excellent option – this foot pump is available at an impressive price given the robust design features. Dual cylinders make pumping up your tires even easier, providing you with quicker and more accurate inflation whenever required.
The pump also has a smart gauge providing detailed info in psi and bar, depending on what is required. The whole pump folds down into a compact size for easy storage while not in use.
The foot pedal is big enough to prevent your foot slipping off and is further supported by a non-slip pad. Fits all valve types with additional adapters provided if required.
3. Topeak Joe Blow Booster Floor Bike Pump
The famous Topeak range is one of the best in the world of bicycle pumps. This smart entry into the range is specifically designed for tubeless tire systems, so be sure your bike qualifies.
The pump has two modes – one to seat the tires in place when adding them to your bike, and one to inflate the tires once firmly in place. Swapping between modes is easy.
The upright pump is easily operated and fast to inflate, with the gauge placed at the top for easy reading without stopping. The design also has an air release button in case of accidental over-inflation.
4. BV Bicycle Ergonomic Floor Bicycle Pump
An ergonomic design is ideal if you want to feel comfortable while pumping up your tires, and that’s certainly what you get from this BV floor pump.
Affordably priced and striking in appearance with its yellow steel barrel, the pump inflates to 160 psi and includes an easily readable gauge. It also accommodates both Presta and Schrader valves, switching easily between the two by using a simple locking system.
The base has been designed in extra wide dimensions to allow for easy foot placement. Moreover, it also comes with an extra long 34” rubber hose, so you can position the pump away from your bike rather than being squeezed up against it.
5. Audew Portable Bike Pump
If you’re after a portable pump that still packs a punch, this Audew model fits the bill. Weighing in at a mere 160g, it is built to last yet is compact enough to slot into most bags.
Alternatively, you can use the bracket provided to attach it to your bike. The bigger air cylinder means this mini bike pump inflates tires around 20% faster than alternative pumps by other brands.
The pump also switches between all valve types to ensure you are never stuck and never left fiddling about trying to get it ready for use. Add a glueless puncture repair kit and other essentials and you’ve got everything you need.
The Best Bicycle Pumps
Every cyclist needs a good bicycle pump – and possibly more than one. It would be risky indeed to head out on the road without a pump. If you got a puncture, you’d need it to get you back on track again.
That said, many keen cyclists also like to have a bike pump they can keep at home, ready to inflate tires before their next trip.
This is just one element to consider before you go out and buy a bicycle pump. We’re going to cover this and several other features you should think about before you make that purchase.
What design do you want?
There are three basic ones to look at:
- Floor pump
- Foot pump
- Hand pump
A floor pump comes with a sturdy base and sits in an upright position. You would then use either your foot or one arm (depending on design) to inflate your tires.
These tend to be bigger and weightier and are therefore designed for use at home.
Foot and hand pumps can fall into two categories – those designed for mounting on the bike and those designed for use at home. Portability is the number one thing to think about here.
You’ll soon notice pumps designed to be carried in a bag or on the bike are much lighter than their home-styled counterparts. A floor pump intended for use in the home is the opposite of light. It should be heavy to make it sturdier and easier to use.
You don’t want it moving around when you’re trying to use it.
How would you prefer to pump up your tires?
How easy would it be for you to use your feet or arms to operate the pump? For instance, if you have arthritis in your hands, look for a foot-operated pump. If you find it easier to apply pressure with your feet, go for one of those pumps instead.
For what it’s worth, we think this is one of the most important aspects to think about after design.
All the other decisions you need to make lead off this one. It’s a good way to reduce your options before considering other points.
Is the pump capable of handling all valve types?
Some have a universal attachment that works just fine with Schrader and Presta valves. Others have adjustable attachments, so you’d need to adjust the components for it to work with the right valve.
Alternatively, there are pumps with twin heads. This means both ports are included within the same head, so you just need to make sure you attach the correct one to your tire. These are versatile but they can be a bit fiddly for some.
Most pumps handle both valves in one of those ways. However, if you have more than one bike and each one has different valves, you’re going to want a pump that allows for easy use on both bikes (or more, if you have several cyclists in the family).
What’s the grip like?
There is nothing worse than trying to use a bicycle pump to inflate your tires and finding your hands continually slipping off.
Some floor pumps have a T-shaped handle at the top, so you place your feet on the base and use both hands to inflate the tire once the attachment is firmly in place on the valve.
This is often easier than using a single-handed design. That said, if you want a portable bike pump, chances are you’re only going to be able to use one hand. That makes the grip even more important.
What’s the construction like?
In our humble opinion, all the best floor pumps have metal bases. Think about it – this is something you are going to stand on time and again.
A plastic base isn’t going to cut it – it’s worth spending more for a solid metal base that can put up with getting knocked or struck now and then without breaking.
Does the pump work with your tires?
This is vital, because tubeless tires are becoming more popular and require a specific type of pump to be inflated when you install them.
If you have regular tires with inner tubes, make sure your chosen pump will work with those instead. All listings for bicycle pumps should indicate which tires they are intended for.
Do you want a pump with a pressure gauge?
This takes away the guesswork involved with getting your tires to the correct pressure. You’ll pay more for this feature, but most cyclists would likely agree it is worth the extra money.
If you do go for a pump with a gauge, make sure it is of good enough quality to be easily readable.
Is it quick and easy to use?
How could we not ask this question of any cycle pump you encounter? In general, floor pumps are going to be faster to use than any other pump you could fit to your bike and take with you on your next journey.
However, when comparing different portable pumps, we soon realized some were infinitely better than others at providing fast and accurate tire inflation.
If you’ve been cycling for a while, you’ll know that pumping up your tires provides a superb workout that gym bunnies would pay good money for.
Now, while you might be active enough as a cyclist, we’re sure you would rather expend your energy on the road… rather than by the side of it as you try your best to inflate that punctured tire you just fixed.
The more air you can get into your tire with each full pump, the faster the job will be completed.
Our tip would be to read the reviews attached to any pump you are thinking of buying. What do previous purchasers think? Are they impressed with the performance or does it leave something to be desired?
Look at the overall feedback rather than at one or two individual reviews. This should provide a more accurate idea of what a specific pump can offer you.
It’s good to know there is a quality bike pump out there for every cyclist. Question is, which one would be ideal for you?
Think about your bike, the valves on your tires, and where you want to be able to use the pump before parting with your money.
It is surely worth spending a little more to get something more powerful that should last longer than to try and save a little money and be disappointed.
Fortunately, there is a great range of pumps available at reasonable price points. Your ideal cycle pump is waiting to be discovered.