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The 8 Very Best Bike Pumps

Photo: The Strategist

One way to ensure your bike doesn’t get a flat is to keep the tires regularly and properly inflated. Bike pumps seem straightforward enough, but there are a few factors to consider when purchasing one, such as valve compatibility, pressure gauges, and whether or not you want to be able to take it with you on the ride.

When it comes to pricing, the difference between cheap models and more expensive ones comes down to durability. Andrew Crooks, owner and founder of NYC Velo, says that you’ll notice the difference in the overall build quality: “The nicer ones will have more metal than plastic. The things that wear out quickest on a pump are the hose and gasket. On cheaper pumps, those will wear out a lot faster.”

We spoke to bike-shop owners, road cyclists, mountain bikers, and cycling-gear experts to find the best and most efficient bike pumps you can buy, from reliable floor models to mini versions that can fit in your backpack.

Best overall floor | Best (less-expensive) overall floor | Best durable | Best overall mini | Best (less-expensive) overall mini | Best mini with pressure gauge | Best carbon dioxide-powered mini | Best air compressor

What we’re looking for

Floor, mini, or compressor model: Crooks says that when a customer comes into the shop looking for a bike pump, they usually opt for either a standing floor model or a portable (often referred to as “mini”) pump. “Do you want to be able to carry this with you or not?” Crooks says. “Is it a bike pump that attaches to your bicycle? Or is it one that can live at your apartment?” Beyond that, consider ease of use. “The larger the pump, the larger the chamber of the pump,” Crooks explains. Floor models, which have larger chambers, require less work to inflate your tires, whereas mini models will require more pumping to inflate tires to the same pressure. Though less common than floor or mini pumps, air compressor models will inflate tires the fastest, but are the least portable of the three types.

Valve compatibility: It’s important to know which valve your bike’s tires have, because that will determine which pump head will be compatible with your bike. There are two main types of bike tire valves you’re likely to work with: Presta and Schrader. Presta valves are generally longer and skinnier and found on most road and mountain bikes, while Schrader valves are wider and found on some hybrid and children’s bikes. “Most pumps are adaptable either automatically, or with very little work to use either of the main two valve styles,” says Crooks. We’ve noted each pump’s valve compatibility below.

Gauges: Most floor pumps have a pressure gauge — either analog, with a needle, or digital — to make sure you’re not under- or over-inflating. (Road-bike tires generally have a higher recommended pressure reading, given in pounds per square inch, or PSI, while mountain-bike and gravel tires trend lower.) Because they’re meant to be used in a pinch, most mini pumps don’t come with a gauge, but if you think you’ll need to know the exact pressure of your bike’s tires while on the go, opt for a mini model with a gauge.

Other features: Some bike pumps use pressurized CO2 cartridges or air compressors to inflate tires. Either feature is helpful when installing tubeless tires, when you need a burst of air to seat the tires to the rim (and not a slow, gradual pump).

Best overall floor bike pump

Floor pump | Presta and Schrader valve compatible | Pressure gauge

The steel Joe Blow is the only floor pump that most cyclists will need. It comes recommended by three experts we spoke to, including Gloria Liu, an avid cyclist and former editor at Outside and Bicycling. “It’s bombproof: I had one for probably eight years,” she says. Medhi Farsi, co-founder of State Bicycle Co., recommends the Joe Blow for anyone who’s looking to get into cycling and prefers models that have metal bases because they’re sturdier and are more durable. Colorado-based cyclist Ethan Peck has been using the Joe Blow for three years and praised it for its reliability, as well as for how smoothly it latches to the valve and how it doesn’t lose air when you remove it after pumping. Graham Averill, a freelance writer and outdoor-gear expert, swears by this pump for inflating his family’s various bikes. “I like it because the nozzle has built-in outputs for both Schrader and Presta valves so you don’t have to screw/unscrew the valve when you’re pumping up different kinds of tires.”

Best (less-expensive) overall floor bike pump

Floor pump | Presta and Schrader valve compatible | Pressure gauge

The simple Schwinn Cyclone Plus comes recommended by Strategist managing editor Kelsie Schrader, who has been using it for about two years. “Mostly I liked that it was not expensive (I did not really care about having a state of the art one), and it does what it’s supposed to do: Inflate my tires,” she says. “No frills, has nozzles for both Schrader and Presta valves, which will be nice if I ever get a new bike. There is not a lot to it which is why I like it. [There is] less for me to get confused about or mess up.”

Best durable floor bike pump

Floor pump | Presta and Schrader valve compatible | Pressure gauge

Christopher Ick, a cyclist and CRCA athlete based in Brooklyn, recommends the Floor Drive as an upgrade to entry-level plastic models. It’s a pump that you won’t mind having on display next to your bikes, thanks to a few key details. “It’s got a steel build, huge gauge, nice firm wooden handles, and it’s solidly constructed,” he says. “It’s also pretty and less ‘sporty’ than my older pumps which is why I chose it.”

Best overall mini bike pump

Topeak Pocket Rocket Mini

Mini pump | Presta and Schrader valve compatible | Thumb lock | No pressure gauge

The Pocket Rocket received expert-approval from Liu and Averill, who use it for inflating both road and mountain bike tires. “I’m always wary of thread-on models with a hose because they can have a tendency to pull out your valve core when you unthread it right after you just spent all that time pumping, which for obvious reasons is … less than ideal,” says Liu. That’s why she prefers the Pocket Rocket, which has a head that attaches right onto the valve. “This lil guy works remarkably quickly even on fat 29er MTB tires,” she says. Averill likes the Pocket Rocket for its portability — it’s eight inches long and weighs just over four ounces. That means it “fits in tiny bags, but it’s powerful enough to pump up road tires to max pressure,” Averill says. “I’ve used it for several years, and it’s never done me wrong.”

Best (less-expensive) overall mini bike pump

Mini pump | Presta and Schrader valve compatible | Telescoping shaft No pressure gauge

Brooklyn-based cyclist Alex Laitamaki has used this Vibrelli hand pump since 2018 to inflate his commuter, road, and gravel bikes. The head attaches to both Presta and Schrader valves without adjustment, and it has a telescoping shaft that allows you to pump at a higher volume per stroke, if needed.

Best mini bike pump with pressure gauge

Mini pump | Presta and Schrader valve compatible | Pressure gauge

City Bicycles NYC manager Charlie Williams says the Fresh Air pump is a straightforward mini pump he recommends to new riders and also the shop’s best-selling pump. “Most of the time, if a customer comes in looking for a pump, and they don’t have a specific model in mind, we’ll recommend this one,” he says. “At the end of the day, they just want a pump that works.”

Best carbon-dioxide-powered mini bike pump

Mini pump | Presta and Schrader valve compatible | CO2 pump

Tubeless tires require a burst of air to seat the tire’s beads to the rim (pumping with a floor or hand pump often won’t provide enough pressure), which is why air compressors and floor pumps with pressurized chambers make good options for tubeless setups. If you’re in a pinch, a CO2 hand pump like this one from Pro Bike Tool can provide that burst of pressure.

This CO2 pump is one of the top-selling hand pumps on the Strategist. Since we first featured it on the site in 2019, our readers have bought over 430 of these mini-inflators.

Best air compressor bike pump

Compressor pump | Schrader valve compatible | Digital pressure gauge

Although this pump is mostly used for car tires, many Strategist readers and Amazon customers use it as a bike pump as well. (Strategist readers have bought over 820 of these since 2019.) “We just leave it in the trunk just in case. This can inflate bike tires and balls in a jiffy.” said one reviewer. “It was relatively fast getting my bike tires from 5 up to 65 PSI, maybe two minutes or less, and it does shut off at whatever preset PSI you have designated,” said another reviewer who liked the digital gauge. Also impressed with the speed and ease of this pump, this reviewer said, “Talk about knocking it out of the park! This is the best purchase I’ve made in a long time. I connected it to an ATX computer power supply, and filled up my bike tires in a couple of minutes.”

Our experts

• Andrew Crooks, owner and founder of NYC Velo
Graham Averill, a freelance writer and outdoor-gear expert
Gloria Liu, freelance journalist, cyclist and former editor at Outside and Bicycling
Medhi Farsi, co-founder of State Bicycle Co.
• Ethan Peck, Colorado-based cyclist
• Alex Laitamaki, Brooklyn-based cyclist
• Kelsie Schrader, Strategist managing editor
• Christopher Ick, cyclist and CRCA athlete based in Brooklyn
• Charlie Williams, City Bicycles NYC manager

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The 8 Very Best Bike Pumps