Buying Guide: What is a Bike Pump?
A bike pump is explicitly designed for inflating bike tires. It has an adapter which can be used with all the common types of valves used on bicycles. In its most fundamental structure, a bicycle pump functions by means of a hand-operated piston. Through the up-stroke, this piston pulls air from outside through a one-way valve into the pump. Through down-stroke, the piston then dislodges the air from the pump into the bicycle tire. Majority of floor pumps have a built-in pressure gauge to show tire pressure.
Kinds of Bike Pumps
Whether you bicycle to work, mountain bike for fun, or participate in road races, you have probably used a bike pump. But whether you are an expert or a novice biker, it can help to have some knowledge of what types of bike pumps are available for use.
Different types of riding entail different kinds of pumps. One must compare pump performances by measuring the amount of force required for it to operate, the amount of air being pushed out and the maximum amount of PSI which it can create in a tire. It is important to base the selection of pump on the kinds of riding one enjoys.
There are several different types: stand/floor pumps, foot pumps, handheld pumps and even CO2 powered pumps.
1. Stand/Floor Pumps (Full Size Pumps)
This is the type of pump that many people grew up with. Shaped like a tall ‘T’, they have a long, rigid body and a flexible hose that comes out from the bottom of the pump. This hose attaches to the air valve on the bike tube by use of a compression washer and a lever. When you want to pump air, you simply raise the ‘T’ handle and push down.
These pumps can come with or without an air pressure gauge.
2. Handheld Pumps (Mini Pumps)
These bike pumps are usually quite small and can often attach to the frame of the bike. This type is divided into two varieties: integrated and tubed. The integrated pump has at the bottom a cup in which the tire’s air valve gets inserted. The user must apply pressure to this connection in order to depress the valve stem and pump air in.
The tubed variety works in the same way that the traditional stand pumps work: it has an air hose with a compression washer and lever on the end, where the bike tube’s valve gets inserted.
3. CO2 Pumps (Pocket Pumps)
For the biker who is in a hurry and has money to spare; the CO2 pump may be the right choice. These operate simply: a cup is placed over the tube’s valve stem and pressure is applied. Then the pump is activated and a CO2 cartridge expends itself into the bike tube. You can see this type of bike pump in heavy use in bike races.
Mini Pumps vs. Full Size Pumps
Do you prefer convenience or durability? Which is more important to you: price or reliability? Finally, do you love the movie Transformers?
Your answers to these questions can help you in your search for the right bike pump. As you probably know by now, bike pumps come in all shapes and sizes.
These varieties can be generalized into two main categories: Mini-pumps/Pocket-pumps and Floor/Full Size pumps.
Let’s compare these two main types of bike pump, considering their size, durability, ease of use, and price.
Some pumps are small enough to fit in the pouch under your seat or in your pocket, while others can attach to your bike frame. Being able to have your pump with you at all times while you ride can be useful, for obvious reasons.
Full size floor pumps are far more efficient. If you have a small, hand operated pump, you will be pumping up your bike tube for a long time. However, you can get a bike tube pumped up in less than a minute with a good full size pump.
Some mini-pumps have a lot of moving parts, much like a transformer toy. You often need to unfold this part and click that part into place in order to get your pump ready for use. With all of these moving parts, breakage is not uncommon. Also, the small, CO2-powered pumps have to have their cartridge replaced after each use.
Full size pumps, unless they’re dirt cheap, are usually far more durable than smaller pumps. They are often made of metal and have fewer moving parts that can be broken off. What is more, since you are pumping far less due to their efficiency, the wear and tear on full size pumps is considerably less.
3. Ease of Use
If you have a pocket pump or some other small pump, it can often be difficult to figure out how to get a good connection between it and the tube’s valve stem. In fact, some of them have levers that are counter-intuitive, meaning that to tighten the connection you pull the lever out, rather than pushing it in. With the connection in place, these pumps are simple enough, despite the fact that small hand pumps will tire out your pumping arm pretty fast!
Full size pumps are straightforward. You attach the hose to the valve, pressing the lever tightly down, and then you pump. They are even simpler to use if they have a gauge, so that you can be sure your tire pressure is right on.
Top 8 Floor Pumps
1. Topeak Sport II Floor Pump
Topeak Joe Blow Sport II Floor Pump: used by both professional and amateur riders alike, made using high quality materials and components, tested to ensure quality and durability, double-sided twinhead TM works with presta and schrader valves, extra long hose with 360 degree pivot, steel base provides stability, over sized handles provide comfort, painted steel barrel. Topeak Alien II 26-Function Bicycle Tool: 26 tools total, 2 piece body, 270g/0.60 lb.
2. Lezyne Micro Floor Drive High Volume Pump
For shop convenience gone mobile, you can’t beat the Lezyne Micro Floor Drive Pump. The guys at Lazyne may not have succeeded in making it fun to get flat tires, but they did manage to take a lot of the pain out of the inevitable flat with this innovative portable high-volume pump. The Micro Floor Drive incorporates a fold-out stainless steel foot peg to give you the convenience of a floor pump on the trail or side of the road. The comfortable CNC-machined T-handle is a world away from those uncomfortable shaft-handles on most micro pumps. The 24in hose makes it easy to get to valve stems, either Presta or Shrader, and a Speed Chuck is included. The Lezyne Micro Floor Drive Pump is available in a standard (HV) version or a version with an in-line pressure gauge (HVG). Both versions include a Composite Matrix frame pump mount.
3. AerGun X-1000 Bike Pump
The AerGun AerTight™ pump head is the Best Pump Head available on any bicycle pump today. It is easy to use; requires no fiddling, switching or adapters; and has a convenient Pressure Release Valve to quickly and precisely remove air from tires to adjust for different types of training or riding (trail, road, etc…). The X-1000 lasts for years, so it is worth the extra money. Don’t be fooled by pumps with lower quality pump heads. You’re going to love the superior performance of the X-1000! Easily fill bike tires up to 160 PSI (11 Bar). Feel its power in every stroke. Adjustable indicator for easy, accurate fill. Sturdy, steel barrel with Long, flexible hose. Perfect tire pump for all bikes and other uses.
4. Vibrelli High Performance Bike Floor Pump
This floor pump is the perfect lightweight performance bicycle pump for competitive and social riders. Designed with the special “Rapid T-Valve” it switches between Presta & Schrader valves with ease. The connection fits perfectly, avoiding annoying leaks. The perfect two in one Schrader & Presta bike pump. With strong steel barrel, wide foot nylon base plate for stability and ergonomically designed handle, the floor pump inflates to high pressure of 160 PSI, a high performance road bike pump for all riders. The longer barrel allows for large amounts of air to be pushed through with each pump and can pump up faster than other short barrel pumps, so you can inflate your tires fast!
5. Kolo Sports Floor Bike Pump
Stop wasting time on old & faulty pumps. Give yourself a break; get a pumping system to ease your efforts and put your mind at peace. This unbelievable bike floor pump will not be a letdown like so many others. Compatible to Presta & Schrader Valve types –just switch It–with an extra wide- easy reading gauge(2.5’’) it traps the air & allows it to flow only into your tire with high pressure (up to 160psi) & not out of it. Unleakable & secure to help you inflate your bike tires at home or anywhere else.
6. Schwinn Floor Pump
Schwinn 5-in-1 Floor Pump: easy to use locking pump head, extra large easy to read pump gauge, five functions for multiple uses, wide base provides stability when inflating, up to 140 PSI. Pedro’s Bicycle Tire Lever – Pair.
7. Serfas TCPG Bicycle Floor Pump
Capable of getting you to extremely precise inflation pressures. The switch valve & simple valve designs enable switching between Presta or Schrader valves, while the dual head offers both. The simple screw-on and Quick draw head designs both screw on the valve for a secure fit, even at high inflation pressures. Simple valve pump head – fits both presta and schrader valves. All metal barrel and nylon base. 160 PSI capacity. Equipped with ball and accessory attachments.
8. BV Bicycle Ergonomic Bike Floor Pump, 160 psi
BV® Bike Pump is a high quality bicycle floor pump with easy-to read large gauge and smart valve head that can fit both Presta and Schrader. This pump is available in 2 colors – yellow and silver. The solid and sturdy bike pump is the perfect bicycle pump for competitive and social riders. Newly designed valve head can switch between Presta and Schrader valves easily and without any air leaks. No more reverse! Stable, durable base and oversized handle make this floor pump easy to inflate tire to high pressure of 160 PSI. The long steel/Aluminum barrel allows more air to be pushed through with each pump making it easier and faster to pump. The extra long hose with 360 degree pivot will make your pumping easier. The large gauge is easy to read and will help you to set your desired pressure.
Top 6 Handheld Pumps
9. Mini Bicycle Tire Pump – Portable Micro Hand Inflator Pump
This amazing micro bike pump gets you back up & riding within minutes so you’re never left stranded because of a flat tire again. 100 PSI capacity gives you enough power to inflate your bike tire during an emergency, or simply use it to keep the tire pressure up during long rides. Comes ready to use; no assembling required.
10. Lezyne Pressure Drive Hand Pump
A compact HP hand pump made of 100% custom CNC-machined aluminum for precise and lightweight construction. The HP design allows this pump to reach riding pressure with 30% fewer strokes compared to conventional pumps. The overlapping handle and barrel are integrated into a compact design. Equipped with the ABS Flex Hose and a Composite Matrix frame mount.
11. Topeak Road Morph G Mini Pump
You donAAAt have to guess tire pressure with the Topeak Road Morph G Mini Pump thanks to a flip-out analog gauge that reads up to 140psi. Now you can say goodbye to startling explosions or frequent stops to add more air. Lightweight and durable butted aluminum construction ensures the Morph G survives a skip across the tarmac after you drop it out of your back pocket at 30mph.
12. KEARZ Mini Bicycle Pump, 260 PSI
Innovative design and ergonomic shape, lightweight, reliable and efficient – indispensable accessory on your rides. Inflate a tire with no sweat at all with KEARZ mini bike pump portable which reaches up to 260 PSI. Super easy and super-fast. Universal, multifunctional and reliable bike tire pump – simply the right choice. This bike air pump is compatible with any bike – road, mountain, fixies, BMX, kid’s bikes; balls and balloons. In emergency can be used as a bicycle shock pump. This bike frame pump fits perfectly under a bottle holder, in your backpack, a small tool case or in a deeper pocket. The bicycle tire pump has a separate and flexible hose, which puts less strain on the valve stems. An awesome feature for “difficult to access” tires. No air leakage, the hose completely seals onto the valve. Best to first screw the hose to the valve stem and then screw the bicycle air pump to the other side of the hose.
13. Pro Bike Tool Mini Bike Pump
High pressure 120 psi/8.3 bar. oversized piston design enables this portable bicycle pump to reach riding pressure with 30% fewer strokes compared to conventional mini bike pumps. Flexible air hose design works with awkward or tight valve placements. air hose cleverly stored in handle to maximize compactness. The hose features an integrated pressure gauge so you can accurately pump to your desired air pressure!
14. Vibrelli Mini Bike Pump with Glueless Puncture Repair Kit
Presta & Schrader compatible, no annoying valve change needed! 120 PSI capacity. Dual “telescope” functionality, switch from high pressure to high volume. Super Fit’ seal for all valve types – no leaks! Bike attachment bracket included.
Top CO2 Pump
15. Pro Bike Tool CO2 Inflator
Inflate a tire in seconds with the 1-Turn Valve System. Control lever operation regulates speed of CO2 release for precisely controlled inflation. Twin valve head threads onto either Presta & Schrader valves with no valve head switching needed. Customers love this stylish CO2 inflator for its compact small size which is perfect for stowing away in your saddle bag or cycling jersey pocket. Inflator head designed for ANY size of threaded CO2 cartridges (12g, 16g, 20g & 25g). Rubber EVA Foam sleeve (for 16g cartridges only) included – no frozen fingers when operating. Detailed instructions & spare o-ring included. No CO2 cartridges included, CO2 cartridges sold separately.