Ripping down the trails on your mountain bike is one of the most exhilarating outdoor activities you can participate in. But it doesn’t matter whether you’re riding in a city park, hitting black diamond trails, or exploring the backcountry. Both amateurs and experts alike all run the risk of getting a flat tire, and there is nothing else that can bring such an abrupt end to your summer fun. By keeping your tires at the right pressure, you’ll be able to drastically reduce your chance of a flat. One of the biggest mistakes that novice riders make is riding on tires that are a little low. With this in mind, a good bicycle pump can spell the difference between completing your run and heading down to the shop to replace a worn out tire.
On its own, a bike pump may seem like a simple device. But once you start shopping around, you’ll find a plethora of options available to you. Some may seem a little out of your price bracket, and many come with features you probably didn’t know you needed. Additionally, there is a big difference between the pumps designed for standard commuter bikes versus the ones designed for mountain bikes. After just a few short minutes or research, your seemingly simple purchase can leave you with more questions than answers. Once you read this guide, you’ll know exactly which pump will be right for your needs.
Why It’s Important to do Research
When most people think of a bike pump, they think of a standard upright model. While there are some excellent tradition upright floor pumps to choose from, the bike pump market is immensely bigger than that. From foot pumps to portable CO2 based pumps, the options are seemingly limitless. As with any product, having a huge selection can also pose the problem of buyers having to weed through cheap, unreliable products before landing on the right one.
Buying a bike pump doesn’t have to be as complicated as it might seem. We’ve gone through and hand selected the best options on the market. We’ll be going through each model individually, and helping you understand what features it has, and how it should be used. After, we’ll help you decide which model best suits your needs.
Where do you start? This choice largely comes down to personal preference and needs. The most common bike pumps are traditional upright floor pumps, which often come with at least 2 valve attachments. Foot pumps are becoming increasingly popular for their easy-to-use structure and compact size, while mini and portable bike pumps also come with their own impressive features and allow cyclists to pump on the go.
You need two pumps: Upright floor pump for home (plus tyre pressure gauge) and a mini compact pump to slip into your backpack when you are out on rides.
Our list of the 7 best bicycle pumps on the market split into mini pumps and upright bike pumps.
Best Mini Bike Pumps for Taking on Rides
One of the most versatile and affordable mountain bike pumps
The Vibrelli Mini Bike pump is a great all-arounder. It’s inexpensive, easy to use, and it’s versatile. It is automatically compatible with both Presta and Schrader valves without the use of adapters, and it comes with a ball needle valve for sports balls. This is the kind of bike pump everyone wants in their garage, and exactly the kind of thing you take on a family camping trip. It’s compact but has an extending telescope design that delivers up to 120 PSI when pumping. The telescope feature also makes it easy to switch from high volume to high pressure. What does this mean for you? No matter what you’re trying to fill, this pump is the jack of all trades that you need.
There are a few bicycle specific features that really make the Vibrelli stand out. It comes with a bike bracket that allows you to attach the pump to your bike. This is an awesome feature for mini bike pumps, especially for cyclists who want the safety of an on-hand bike pump but don’t necessarily want to have to carry a backpack. Avid cyclists often have to choose between risking a flat tire ruining their excursion, or dealing with the extra drag of a pack and pump. With this bracket, you’ll have it on you at all times, but never have to think about it while on the road. When disaster strikes, this pump has got you covered. It comes with a glue-less puncture kit, which is extremely light and easy to carry around. The puncture kit is perfect for vulnerable road bike tires or mountain bikers that hate having their day ruined by a wayward rock or nail.
The pump has what they call a “Super Fit Clever Valve,” which simply references the fact that it has dual compatibility without adapters, and without leaks. Yes, it’s not the only pump that fits multiple styles of tire valves. But anyone who’s been disappointed by a “supposedly” dual-compatible pump that hardly seals can understand the benefits of this Clever Valve. This unique component sets it apart from the competition, making it one of our first choices.
In all, the Vibrelli is a well constructed, multi-functional bike pump that is a good choice for almost any cyclist, anywhere between the novice family man and the avid racer.
The easiest and quickest way to add air to a tire
The Genuine Innovations pump is great bike pump that deviates from the standard design. While most pumps rely on air pressure and require foot or hand pumping, this pipe pump does all the work for you without any manual labor required. The trick is in the CO2 cartridge. You simply attach the cartridge onto the pipe, connect the valve to your tire, and twist the cartridge. Without any manual effort on your part, the CO2 will fill your bike tire to its desired pressure, at which point you can easily detach the pipe and store the pump away for future use.
Not only is this pump of the easiest bike pumps to use, it is also extremely convenient in its ultra-compact size. This is a bike pump you can easily store in your backpack or attach to your bike. For many cyclists, the ability to transport a bike pump with them on their journey is a must-have feature. It makes the pump ideal for long-term bike trips or rough terrain where there is increased likelihood of an inopportune flat tire. This pump also comes with a backup hand pump in case you use up your CO2 cartridge or forget to bring extra. Like any good pump, it’s compatible with both Presta and Schrader valves, but in order to remain as compact as possible, the pump comes with a Schrader valve adapter rather than a second valve position. Many consumers will only be using one or the other, so it’s trivial to either leave the adapter attached or leave it at home.
CO2 bike pump refills
Between the adapter and the extra CO2 cartridges, the Genuine Innovations pump is not ideal for light riders in all situations. Not everyone wants to keep track of extra pieces, and many cyclists prefer not to carry a portable bike pump at all. That being said, it is by far one of the easiest bike pumps to use. The extra pieces are also a small price to pay for its convenience, and it even comes with a patch kit. This is an ideal bike pump for cyclists who like a versatile product, and it’s especially perfect for mountain bikers.
The best build quality of any pump on our list.
The final mini-pump on our list is the Kinelo. This product is – at least in our opinion – the ideal mini pump. Mini bike pumps can be hit and miss, because craftsmanship and quality are too often sacrificed for their small size. In some cases, a cheap, basic bike pump will do the trick, but for the most part, they are ineffective, frustrating to use, and never last long. The Kinelo is shockingly compact for how good quality it is. The pump weighs only 2.65 ounces and is under 12 inches long when fully extended, yet it can deliver 160 PSI. A high PSI means less arm pumping for the user, which is something we can all get behind.
Like the Genuine Innovations, the Kinelo also comes with a fastener for attaching it to your bike. The Kinelo fastener is, however, superior in its sturdiness, making it ideal for more aggressive riders. It’s also significantly lighter for cyclists whose riding style is sensitive to even a single extra pound.
The Kinelo is idealized for road and MTB bikes, since mini pumps have a hard time delivering enough PSI for fatter tires (such as those on sand bikes). However, one of the real stand-out features of the Kinelo is the MIX intelligent knob. Rather than making a dual Schrader/Presta compatibility value that actually ends up falling somewhere in between the two and rendering it useless, Kinelo got a little more creative. The valve actually has a knob that allows you actively switch between Schrader and Presta instantly. There is no leaking because the fit is genuine, rather than superficial.
It’s not so much the features that make this pump stand out, but the build quality. Between its functional design and impressive PSI despite its ultra-compact size, it delivers on all the basics. This might seem simple, but it’s not something you often find in such a compact unit. This alone would be enough to sell us, but there are a few bonuses which serve as the icing on the cake. For example, the MIX intelligent knob makes filling to the exact PSI you want a breeze. It’s also made of aluminum rather than plastic, making it a lot sturdier than alternatives. As a mini bike pump, the Kinelo has it’s limitations, but it’s the cream of the crop as far as compact pumps go.
A pump that can last you a lifetime.
Topeak is a hard to beat, go-to brand for bike pumps. They come out with a variety of products and tend to be high quality and equally high functionality. It’s no shock that Topeak pumps made it to our list twice, and the Turbo Morph is undoubtedly one of the best bike pumps out there.
The Turbo Morph gives you the best of both worlds between compact bike pumps and floor pumps. It’s a frame pump, which means it’s specifically designed to attach to the frame of your bike. It weighs only 280 grams so it will weigh you down as little as possible while riding. However, unlike the mini bike pumps, it comes with a fold-down foot stand that allows it to act as a floor pump while you’re inflating your tires. The single-action pump is, of course, compatible with both Schrader and Presta valves without any extensions required. This is an ideal feature for a frame pump since it minimizes the number of materials you need to bring with you.
The Turbo Morph also stands out from traditional mini pumps because it comes with an analogue pressure gauge. Since mini pumps typically don’t come with a gauge at all, this is just another feature that makes the Turbo Morph the best of both worlds. It is also built with durable, high-quality materials that will make it outlast other comparable frame pumps. Since frame pumps are exposed more than usual to the elements, craftsmanship is an important feature.
The Turbo Morph is ideal for cyclists who require a high-quality bike pump, but are torn between the mini pump style and the traditional floor pump. This pump gives you the advantages of both without sacrificing durability or quality. Because it is designed specifically for bike frames, it is also more likely to stay on the bike even on difficult terrain. This makes it a great choice for mountain bikers who need a powerful pump with a gauge, but also a product they can easily transport with them.
Best Upright Mountain Bike Pumps
Our favorite floor pump on the market
While many consumers and casual cyclists are being increasingly drawn to the convenience of mini bike pumps, floor pumps still dominate the field in terms of overall quality and performance. Their larger size simply gives them more power to work with and allows for a greater variety of features.
For starters, once you’ve entered the category of floor pumps, a good product will come with a pressure gauge (a feature typically absent in most compact pumps). The Topeak Sport II is essentially your basic floor pump, but an example of the exponential difference between dirt cheap bike pumps and good quality products. The pressure gauge is not necessary for all riders, but most serious cyclists won’t even consider a bike pump lacking a gauge. A gauge helps you get your tire pressure right every time, which makes a big difference in the long-term quality of your tires and your ride.
The Topeak Sport II has a double-sided twin-head hose for leak-free compatibility with Schrader and Presta valves, and the hose has a rotating connection to the gauge to avoid tangling and deterioration. Between the steel base and barrel, the comfortable, oversized handles and the high-quality materials, the Topeak Sport II made our list for its overall craftsmanship. The Topeak represents the starting point for an excellent bike pump; quality materials, a twin-head hose and accurate pressure gauge. It has a max PSI for 160, making it ideal for road and MTB bikes, but it also comes with both ball and bladder needles that are easily attached to the valves for multipurpose use. The needles won’t get lost, as they can be easily stored on mounts just above the pressure gauge. Like the Vibrelli, the Topeak Sport II is another great all-arounder, but it is an overall more powerful, versatile, and well crafted pump.
One of the best pump-heads we’ve used
The AerGun X-1000 starts with all the important basics; a long, durable hose, dual-compatibility valve, and both ball and bladder needles included. But the AerGun X-1000 is exceptional mostly due to its pump head. While it may seem like a small feature, a high-quality pump head can be the difference between a good pump and a useless one. Pump heads can be notoriously finicky, but the AerGun X-100 works smoothly and seamlessly. It is automatically compatible with the Schrader and Presta valves, without adapters. More importantly, it has a pressure release valve. This especially comes in handy for avid cyclists that need to adjust their tire pressure for various types of training and terrain.
The gauge is equally impressive, with an adjustable indicator that makes it easy to read and use. It has upgraded accuracy so you can perfect your tire pressure further. This makes the AerGun X-1000 ideal for professional cyclists or avid athletes that need an accurate, all terrain pump.
The AerGun is also manufactured with high-quality materials, which is often times an overlooked feature. Bike pumps are something you don’t want to have to buy more than once, especially if you’re a top-tier cyclist. Seeing as even high quality pumps are generally inexpensive, it is well worth selecting one made materials that are built to last. The barrel of the AerGun X-1000 is durable steel, and it has a solid base and wide handle. These features are straightforward, but do make a big difference in the long run, especially with floor pumps. Poorly designed floor pumps make the pumping process tedious and frankly uncomfortable, but a good pump should be easy to use and quick to fill your tires.
The AerGun even comes with an e-book on how to select the best tires for your bike. This is actually a very handy sweetener to include, because even avid cyclists are sometimes hindered by a poor or imperfect choice of tires for the kind of cycling they are doing.
At the top of our list is the 200PSI Doublebarrel Bike Pump. It’s hard to find a component of this pump that isn’t unequivocally superior to the rest of this list. For starters, it is a foot pump rather than a floor pump. This makes it much easier to use and requires no bending over or arm pumping. It is by far the most powerful pump. It has a max of 200 PSI, a full 40 PSI higher than most bike pumps. The more powerful the PSI, the less time is spent pumping, and at 200 PSI, this is a pump that is almost a pleasure to use. It’s power is a result of the 2 barrel design, which not only increases PSI, but also gives the pump more durability and longevity.
The smart valve head also has all other pumps beat. It matches most bike pumps with its ball and bladder valves. However, its main valve has a triple rather than double compatibility feature. On top of Schrader and Presta, the 200PSI Doublebarrel is also compatible with Deutschland valves. This makes it an especially great pump for more than just cyclists. It can be used on motorcycles, cars, and any electro mobile tire.
In terms of craftsmanship, it is once again the far superior product. The barrels are built with aluminum piston and an iron base frame. The gauge is accurate and easy to read, and the pump comes with an anti-skid mat and a non-slip pedal. It even folds up for easy storage and transportation. From top to bottom, the 200 PSI Doublebarrel Bike Pump is the best quality, most powerful, and most versatile pump.
Which Bicycle Pump is Right for Me?
Image source: Folding Bike Zone
Clearly, buying a bike pump can be almost as complicated and involved as buying a bike itself. The vast range of styles, capabilities, and prices gives buyers plenty of options, but can also make choosing the right one especially difficult.
While a bike pump might seem like a straightforward purchase, the reality that every cyclist has different needs and expectations. To help you make this decision easy, we’ve prepared three simple questions you can ask yourself to find out what model best suits your needs.
>> Check out our guide to the best mountain bike grips
Question 1: How often will I be using this pump?
The first and most important step is to understand what you need in a bike pump. Are you a novice rider who needs an uncomplicated product for the occasional air fill? Or do you fall further up the spectrum as an expert rider who needs a reliable, multi-functional pump you can take with you and use on a regular basis? If this isn’t something you’ll be using all the time, you can opt for a simple and affordable model. But if it’s something you use all the time, spending a little more might be a good idea.
Experienced riders will often have an easier time knowing exactly what they want in a bike pump. But as a general rule of thumb, if you identify as a novice rider, your options are probably much greater. The ultra-portable, extremely durable models are going to be used mainly for those of you who need something reliable. Riders who are training will be checking their tire pressure before every single trip, and a pump that is going to be used many times per day will wear out much more quickly than one that’s only used on the occasional weekend.
Step 2: Where will I be using this pump?
This might seem like an obvious question, but there are bike pumps designed for all kinds of different locations and uses. Are you just going to fill up your tires in your garage before venturing into town? Or are you going to be venturing way out into the backcountry trails? When you’re away from home, you’ll want to pick one of the portable pumps that you can keep on hand at all times.
If you’re mountain biking down challenging terrain, one of the CO2 pumps that does all the work for you will save you from struggling on a cliff face wight a hand pump. But if you’re riding along flat ground, putting in a little extra work won’t be a disadvantage at all.
Question 3: What kind of valves do my bike tires have?
This is important, yet often overlooked feature of bike pumps. Make sure you know the compatibility of a bike pump before you buy it. The valves on your tires can vary. Some road bikes have Shrader valves, while others have the standard kind. If you aren’t sure what kind of valve your bike has, you will definitely want to double check before committing to any one pump. A good pump will usually come with both Schrader and Presta valve attachments, but it’s always good to make sure. Even if you only have one type of valve now, some consumers consider it a good idea to buy a pump that can work with any type of valve, as it allows them to fill up their friends tires or upgrade their own bike in the future.
Question 4: What Can I Afford?
The final step in selecting a bike pump is picking a price point. Like most things in life, cheaper is not always better. A dirt cheap, used bike pump might seem like a no brainer option for the average cyclist, but it could cost you more in the long run. A high quality pump can last a lifetime. If you’re filling your tires are regular intervals, you’ll put more wear on the pump. A budget priced model might save you money now, but cost more when you have to replace it in the future. At the same time, not every cyclist will require top of the line products, so it’s still important to know your budget. By following these steps, you will no doubt end up with your ideal bike pump.