How to choose a bicycle air pump?

bicycle air pump

How to choose a bicycle air pump?

For years, the main criteria for choosing a bicycle pump was the ability to put enough air into a tire at once. But as bikes and tires got wider, manufacturers began making pumps that could pump more air in less time. We explain how you can choose a high-quality bike pump for your bicycle needs.

What is a Bicycle air pump?

Bicycle pumps are designed to fill a bicycle tire with air quickly. Bicycle tires typically hold 10-20 psi of pressure when inflated, which is enough for most casual rides and vehicle maintenance work. These good mountain bikes under 500 have a small air chamber, so the pump has a lot of pull to get rid of the remaining space in its reservoir. Hoses attached to bicycle pumps allow the user to top off an empty or low-pressure bike tube, allowing some use longer than 30 minutes before needing more air in their tires again.

Types of Bicycle air pump

There are many kinds of bicycle pumps out there, but due to the varying needs daily cyclists have for their tools and supplies, we’ve broken down 2 main types: Schrader and Presta.


Schrader-style bicycle pumps are a universal fit for most bicycles. They replace the standard or pre-mounted tube on your tire and pump air into it quickly through an exterior stem connection like Presta valve, which relies on cyclists to know their bicycle’s Schrader type of valves. These tires come with puncture-resistant inner tubes that help save repair expenses at home in the event you need repairs done to your bike and do not know exactly which type of tube stores inside your bicycle.


This is the standard style hardware that is used by many bicycles, including mountain bikes and touring models. It has a valve that connects to higher pressure in the tire compared to an inner Schrader bike pump connection, allowing cyclists to top off their tires on longer rides with lower gauge tubing for faster pumping times between refills than those you would need on a single-gauge inner tube.

Unlike inner tubes, air blends between the two different sizes of Presta valves at a high volume and pressure depending on the size which you have selected for your Schrader or Presta valve. If you are looking to use lower carbon fiber-based road tubes with this type of compressor tech, do not use top-of-the-line compression gas tools that only function on higher pressure bike travel tires such as cycling mountain bikes and touring bikes. Instead, try the more affordable Casper 25-Pattern pumps that fit all types of dual valves from 50cc to 250cc types in both Schrader or Presta style equipment.

How can you choose a good quality pump?

Here are the steps to choose a good quality Bicycle air pump.

Watch out for cheap high-volume pumps

Cheap, low-quality bicycle pumps can put too much air into a tire in an attempt to make them feel airtight. This will cause excess wear and tear on your tires as well as end up increasing the chances of puncturing when using that tube again. Look at the volume of your pump by measuring from one side edge to another (the handle should be vertical). A good quality Bicycle pump is 20-30% of its maximum volume.

The best bike pump should feel like you have a hanger hanging from your handlebars, not an empty bag filled to the top. If there is no metal hook to hang on anything that means it can hold less air than advertised and has been cheaply made to sell more units at lower prices.

Build quality

A high-quality Bicycle pump and hose have a metal shaft that is made from heavy-duty steel. This means it will not bend or lose shape, which could lead to leaks if the product becomes dented during use. Look for bicycle pumps with compression couplings on them so they can be securely attached when using together easily without worrying about the other end coming off in your hands, as some cheap hand pumps may do.

Valve compatibility

Another quality factor to look for is the compatibility of valves. What this means is that you’ll have a greater choice in use depending on what kind of wheel and valve needs are used by your bicycle. The more different kinds there are, the better it will be able to cater to those needs like external rotomatics or floor pumps which need special adapters attached directly into the tire bead without any extra sealants added afterward.

Volume compatibility

You should, of course, look at the compatibility when it comes to bicycle pumps with how much air can be compressed in a single blast. High-pressure pumps are found on bicycles intended for wheel builders and race bikes.

Some high-performance versions have been specially designed as replacement tubes for normal run-of-the-mill road bike tires, which simply cannot handle the pressure without damaging them over time. Of note is that mountain bike pump kits may not be able to pump as much air in a single blast of air, but they also often have kits that can convert this set-up within the kit so you can use one and leave without worries.

Pressure compatibility

You’ll need to invest in pumps that have the same amount of pressure when using them with large bicycle tires, low-pressure department store ones, or small carbon wheels. So remember that this function is certainly a factor related to your needs and user requirements, but it’s also worth keeping an eye on as well while you try to balance all these variables so you’re able to purchase at least something close enough for your chosen purpose within budget limitations.


The next factor is probably the most accessible as you simply need to look at these and check whether they are made with either a gauge on them or by an obvious pressure level display showing up within. A good quality pump should have this built onto it already, so there’s no need for installing one completely separately.

Keep in mind that the more complex mechanics of some high-end pumps may limit their ability to accurately show what pressure they’ve effectively increased or decreased. Not all pumps are the same, though, so a gauge on it is great if you want to use them around other people in public or elsewhere and wouldn’t worry about being scammed by someone with an overinflated tire as they would be able to tell instantly how much air pressure was inside without even inflate it first themselves unless they’re incredibly knowledgeable while using mechanical instruments.


Choosing a bicycle air pump is one of the most important purchases you will make when it comes to your bike. After all, it’s essential for inflating your tires and keeping them properly inflated. It’s also very important that you get the right size of the pump so that it can handle all the different types of tires out there.

Keep reading: How To Manual Your BMX Bike Easy Guideline

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