When talking about bikes, no matter what type, most of the talk is about the suspension, the brakes, the gears, the comfort, etc. But as important as these factors are, there’s an unsung hero when it comes to essential biking accessories – the bike pump.
Whether we’re talking about the mini pump that you can take along on the ride with you or a floor pump to keep in the garage, having a reliable pump is an essential part of biking.
Whether you’re looking for a floor pump or a mini pump, you’ll be pumped up after reading this rundown that will land you with the best bike pump for your needs.
5 Best Bike Pumps
Topeak JoeBlow Sport III
This is one of the best all-around options when it comes to floor bike pumps. It isn’t too expensive and yet it brings excellent performance to the table.
The Sport III features Presta and Schrader-dedicated holes, located on opposite sides. Presta valves are pumped more easily because there is no valve spring involved. Schrader valves, on the other hand, have a spring valve and are a bit more work. They are marked with “P” and “S,” so there is no risk of confusion. Even if you can’t recognize the difference between a Presta and a Schrader valve, you won’t make a mistake using the JoeBlow.
The head design isn’t anything fancy. It sticks to the familiar looks, and it performs exceptionally well. For easy storage, the head is easily detachable in terms of physical effort and user-friendliness.
Suppose you’re worried about the air escaping from the pump head. In that case, you aren’t being paranoid – many detachable heads suffer from this issue. However, the Topeak JoeBlow Sport III doesn’t let the air escape through the pump head or from the two valves.
Stability-wise, however, the Sport III has been known to run into some problems. First of all, while the metal base is smooth and rounded (which does make the pump look good), this design also compromises stability. Plus, this Topeak model has a reasonably tall profile, which throws off balance. But the base is of substantial weight, which helps with the stability issue.
The instability is also much less apparent when you’re standing on the base while pumping. This is the base’s primary purpose, so you don’t have to worry too much – the flat surface of the base provides an easy fit for your feet to hold the pump in place while pumping.
When it comes to inflation speed, Topeak JoeBlow Sport III performs brilliantly. It’s not the fastest floor pump on the market, but it’s certainly more than impressive at the price range. But it’s not all about the pumping speed – the Sport III has smooth pumping motion – so much so that pumping feels pretty much the same at 20 psi (pounds per square inch) as it does at 100 psi.
- Quality build
- Smooth pumping
- Not the most stable
The RockShox High-Pressure pump is an excellent mini-pump for any bike type on the market. It’s simple to use – screw it in, give it a couple of pumps, and you’re done! The action of a bike pump is always an essential factor – it makes or breaks a model. RockShox High-Pressure boasts a smooth but efficient pump action.
Most mini pumps don’t excel when it comes to the precision of their air pressure gauge. For some cyclists, this doesn’t mean much. Still, for other, more detail-oriented riders, an inaccurate pump can compromise the ride. The RockShox High-Pressure is one of the models with very precise and easy-to-read gauges.
The pump hits the ceiling at around 300 psi, which works great with both forks and shocks. Keep in mind that unscrewing the pump from the valve might lose you around 5 psi. So, an extra pump or two before unscrewing should compensate for these lost 5 psi; this is not the pump’s flaw – it’s the way Schrader valves work.
A mini pump needs to be compact and compatible. After all, it’s designed to be carried with you on your rides. Well, this RockShox model rotates and clips right into the shaft – it folds up to half of its full size.
Light and compact as it might be, RockShox High-Pressure is very well-made and of solid build.
- Precise gauge
- 300 psi maximum
NIKE Dual Action Ball Pump
The NIKE Dual Action is a pump that was primarily intended for sports balls. However, as it turns out, it works surprisingly well with most bike tires. With that said, don’t expect the best minibike pump on the planet; as we said, it isn’t primarily made for bikes.
However, suppose you’re looking for a compact, sporty, and quality pump to take along on any ride for safety’s sake. In that case, the NIKE Dual Action Ball Pump is surprisingly adequate.
First of all, it’s straightforward to use. It’s easier to use than any floor or larger pump that you’ll find out there. Secondly, don’t let its size fool you. Although it won’t pump your bike tires as quickly as a bike-specific floor pump, it does a surprisingly good job.
Secondly, there’s the aspect of durability. Most small pumps, particularly those intended for sports balls, tend to break down quickly. This one boasts a quality build that won’t let you down anytime soon – unless you happen to lose it due to its small and compact size. This is definitely not a downside, though – an emergency pump you can take with you on any bike ride can be a blessing.
Ideally, though, if you’re serious about your bike riding, you may want to keep one around in addition to a floor pump that you’ll keep at home.
- Incredibly compact
- Easy to use
- Quality build
- Not primarily for bikes
Vibrelli Bike Floor Pump
Versatility is one of the main characteristics of this bike pump. It is ideal for every bike style and type, and for every rider type out there. It fills the tires very easily and very quickly, but it can be used on a variety of other inflatables as well.
Firstly, the integrated Rapid-T valve is a fit for both Schrader and Presta valves. It works based on a simple switch, which has such a strong seal that you can expect no leaks whatsoever.
You also get a Glueless Emergency Puncture Kit, so you don’t have to worry about blowing a tire and being left stranded. Patch up the hole, fill the tire, and you’re good to go.
Unfortunately, the pump inflates only up to 160 psi, which certainly leaves us desiring a bit more. However, thanks to the device’s reinforced handle and strong steel barrel, the inflation happens fast and in a very smooth way. Despite the 160-psi limit, it pumps up the psi with precision.
The pump’s action doesn’t feel the least bit flimsy, despite the mechanism being made out of plastic. If you push it too far, damage may occur. But as long as you stick to regular pumping, you can expect product longevity. Plus, you get a five-year warranty.
- Sturdy and well-built
- 5-year warranty
- Precise psi
- The limit of 160 psi
Although bicycle equipment is built with functionality in mind, some components highlight style, and other build aspects. But when it comes to bike pumps, it’s ALL about functionality. And AerGun X-1000 is one of those models that definitely come from a pragmatic standpoint.
The pump handle fits in your hand perfectly and grips exceptionally well. The steel cylinder is built for durability. The top and the base of the pump feature rubber inserts, which goes a long way in providing secure foot and handgrips for pumping. This might not seem like a big deal, but functionality-wise, it does wonders.
The gauge is easy to read and precise. Unfortunately, it only goes to a maximum of 160 psi. This is enough for most bike tire purposes, but a bit more psi wouldn’t hurt.
You can twist the gauge itself so that it lines up with your desired target pressure. This might not seem like much, but it has proven to be extremely useful. Most pumps don’t come with this simple feature, despite the fact it can be hugely beneficial.
If you want to inflate a sports ball, the hose on AerGun X-1000 comes with a plastic holder that secures the plastic bladder nozzle and the metal needle. Another small touch, but it works like a charm.
- Well-made gauge
- Simple but excellent features
- 160-psi limit
Anyone can get a cheap bike pump from the flea market. But if you’re looking for reliability, efficiency, and quality, however, you’re going to have to dig a bit deeper. Although the pumps mentioned above are all quality products, you still need to know what you’re looking for in a bike pump before going out and buying one. Here are some things that are worth your attention.
Types of Bike Pump
There are two main types of bike pumps: floor pumps and mini/frame pumps. Floor pumps are large, efficient, and easy to use. They aren’t meant to be taken out on the road. But they are generally versatile; a typical floor pump should be able to inflate any bike tire and various other inflatables.
On the other hand, mini and frame pumps are built to be small, compact, and easy to carry. They are meant to be a part of your biking gear. Mini and frame pumps require a longer time to inflate a tire and demand more effort than floor pumps, which is to be expected. Frame pumps, though, are quicker and easier to use than mini pumps, while mini pumps fit any bicycle you throw at them.
Each tire has a number range imprinted on the side with “psi” next to it. This represents the pounds per square inch (psi) that a tire can handle. Your typical road tires go between 80 and 130 psi, while a mountain bike tire is around 25-50 psi. Hybrids are in the 40-70 psi ballpark.
Most pumps from the list can handle more than 130 psi. However, there are exceptions where a tire’s needs go past 160 psi, which is the limit for some of the mentioned pumps.
When choosing a bike pump, take note of the psi range you require.
The lower the volume of a bike pump, the more strokes you’ll need to inflate a tire. Typically, mini and frame pumps have a significantly lower volume than floor pumps. This is owing to the smaller air chambers that are built-in for compactness.
There is no “required” volume for any bike tire. As long as you don’t mind doing the strokes when necessary, any bike pump will do (as long as it fills the psi requirements). However, you might want to get a floor pump with a solid volume for the sake of convenience.
Suppose you’re an amateur rider who doesn’t worry too much about the tire air pressure, as long as it’s in the ballpark of the outlined numbers. In that case, you don’t have to pay too much attention to gauge accuracy in bike pumps. However, if you’re at an experience level where the smallest tire pressure change impacts your bike’s performance, you’ll want to get a bike pump with a precise gauge.
Pump Heads and Valve Types
There are two valve types when it comes to bike tires: Schrader and Presta. A pump that supports Schrader won’t work with Presta and vice-versa. However, many tires offer support for both valve types.
If you are absolutely sure that you’ll only need one valve type for the perceivable future, don’t worry too much about the other option. However, getting a pump with both Presta and Schrader support might be a good idea if you use both.
We’re sure that at least one of the bike pumps on this list will fit a cyclist’s needs. However, if you’re looking for the best solution overall, the Vibrelli Bike Floor Pump would be the way to go. It’s precise, fantastically built, resilient, and comes with a five-year warranty. It definitely won’t disappoint you.
But if you’re looking for specific features, be sure to check out the other entries on the list.