Much like you might read every book by a good novelist regardless of the subject matter, we expect that you will read every review on Brains Report even if you are not interested in buying the product. This being the case, you have likely read our review of the best hybrid bikes. In that, we pointed out that global warming is an incontrovertible fact, and it will kill us all unless we hop on bikes right now and do something about it.
Well, the leading cause of people giving up on fighting global warming is their bike getting a flat. According to Brains Report’s Department of Nonsense Statistics, 87% of bicycles are gathering rust and dust in people’s garages because they have flat tires and no one is willing to fix them. Bike pumps and puncture kits are simple, inexpensive solutions to this problem. And, below, I will show you how to pick the perfect bike pump to DIY your way back into the bike lane.
What to Look for in a Good Pumper
There are at least six different styles of pumps, but the three most popular are floor pumps (also called track pumps), frame-mounted pumps, and CO2 pumps/inflators. If you came here for frame pumps or CO2 pumps, I’m going to politely ask you to leave. We will not be talking about these options, which are much more portable and mainly used when you are in the middle of nowhere and get a flat. Instead, we are focusing on floor pumps: the kind that makes it look like you are about to detonate some dynamite. These are the fastest and most efficient solution for inflating your tires.
Now that we’ve gotten those weirdos who don’t like to be stranded with a flat tire out of here, we can discuss inner tubes. I’m not talking about floating down the river. I mean, what valve type does the inner tube of your bike tire have? The most popular options are Presta and Schrader. Presta valves are common on most mountain and road bikes. They are thinner, longer, and have a threaded tip that you need to open to inflate.
Schrader valves are typically on children’s or hybrid bikes. They are the same as the ones found on your Yugo’s tires. Most floor pumps have heads that fit both options so I’ve just wasted your time mansplaining the different valves to you.
But, What Features Do You Need?
To the untrained eye, it might be hard to tell different pumps apart. They all have some stupid graphics that are supposed to be “bad ass,” a weird base where nincompoops think they’re supposed to put their feet, and a pump that makes you feel like you’re about to kill the Roadrunner. Here are the features that really separate the pumps from the dumps:
How Metal Is It?
Is the bike pump metal enough to hang with the likes of Glenn Danzig, James Hetfield, or anyone from Norway? The amount of metal used in the construction of a track pump is a good indicator of how long it will last. Under heavy use, the plastic jobs will wobble like a Weeble until it eventually just gives up on life.
Accuracy of the Gauge
In order to be on my list, a pump needs to have a gauge. I have too much trouble with subjectivity and nuance to leave anything to chance. I also want to remove all doubt that the gauge is inaccurate. If you are like me, maybe use a separate gauge to test the accuracy of your pump. Also, if you ride a mountain bike, which generally has lower tire pressure, then you want a pump that is accurate for lower pressures.
Pump Up the Volume
Only the biggest pervs can spend all day pumping it. When you choose a high-volume track pump, you will get the job done quickly and efficiently. This is a must for mountain bike owners since the tubes hold so much more air.
People on the streets generally need a higher pressure floor pump. Whereas, you can save some money if you do most of your biking in the mountains, where low psi is in fashion. Look for a pump that has high enough pressure for your needs and not much higher since gauge accuracy and volume output generally suffer with higher psi pumps.
“But Wait, There’s More…”
The best bike floor pumps come with a bunch of additional features that will make an infomercial announcer envious. If you are an avid sportsball athlete, look for a pump that will also inflate your sports ball. Others will inflate pool toys. Or, if you don’t have a pool, it will inflate your furniture.
Amazon doesn’t let us publish the precise prices of each product because their prices change by the minute. So, I’m trying out this clever symbol system to guide you:
- $ = about $12 to $24
- $$ = about $24 to $35
- $$$ = about $35 to $46
And, of course, you can click on any of the links to the products to get the current prices.
Now that you have a little idea of what to look for, put all of your faith in me as I unveil the top 10 best bike floor pumps:
- Reinforced handle and steel barrel
- Inflates to 160 psi
- With a simple switch, changes between Schrader and Presta valves (you can also pump a Dunlop)
You’d probably expect to pay $100 for the Vibrelli Performance Bike Floor Pump, but you’re terrible at guessing. It’s about a third of that, and if you buy it now, you will get a glueless puncture kit thrown in. The puncture kit features six hole patches, a miniature piece of sandpaper, and a tiny carrying case. Users like this floor pump because the valve locks onto your tire and doesn’t allow air to sneak out.
- Also inflates to 160 psi
- Aluminum barrel with ergonomic handle so you don’t get carpal tunnel
- One-year, free-replacement warranty
Much like a kid cheating off another kid’s test, the pump head for the BV Bicycle Ergonomic Bike Floor Pump is pretty similar in design to the Vibrelli model above. There are a lot of other similarities between the two as well, and I wouldn’t blame you for saving $11 or so and going with this one. However, the gauge is a little bit harder to read. Buyers have also found that it can be a bit confusing using the locking mechanism at first so be sure to take a look at your manual.
3. AerGun X-1000 Bike Pump – $$
- Pump head automatically works with both Schrader and Presta valves
- Has pressure release valve for when you get a little overzealous with your pumping
- Goes to 160 psi
I know what you’re thinking: I wish there was a bike pump that came with a free eBook that had a $9.99 value. Well, you’re in luck: that’s exactly what the AerGun X-1000 delivers to your email box (probably along with a poorly-edited monthly newsletter that you’ll eventually send to your Spam folder). Anyway, the X-1000 fills up more than just bikes. It also inflates exercise balls, footballs, basketballs, strollers, pool toys, and soccer balls. Verified buyers talk about how easy the pumping action is and how it locks on and comes off without losing air.
4. Topeak Sport II Floor Pump – $$$
- Made in Taiwan and has a steel barrel and base
- Double-sided head for Schrader and Presta valves
- Comes with needles for balls and bladders
The Topeak Sport II is the most expensive option on our list. The biggest selling point in their marketing materials is that the hose rotates where it connects to the pump. This might be useful if you have a pathological fear of tangles (earbudophobia). However, buyers have reported that the hose is stiff, plastic, and annoying. Other than that, many users compare it to the Serfas TCPG (#5 below) and state that the Sport II blows bigger loads with less effort.
5. Serfas TCPG Bicycle Floor Pump – $$
- 160 psi capacity
- Nylon base and all metal barrel
- Single head that fits both circumcised and non-circum…err, I mean Schrader and Presta valves
The Serfas TCPG is about $15 cheaper than the above model, but all of our research shows that the price savings isn’t worth it. Users have reported excellent performance for several years. It also does a good job with higher pressures. However, there have been reports of the seal between the hose and the head failing after as few as four uses. Others have issues with the pressure gauge being inaccurate or sticky.
- Pumps up to 140 psi
- Five functions, but they refuse to tell you what they are
- Locking pump head with two holes for Presta and Schrader valves
Schwinn is the standard in the bicycle industry, though there are reports that their quality has been slipping in recent years. However, this floor pump has excellent ratings, works well for pumping up to 110 psi, and comes with attachments for blowing up sports balls, your dorm room furniture, pool toys, and cartoon characters.
- 100 psi capacity
- 630 cubic centimeter volume
- Soft-touch handle that you’ll enjoy caressing
Somehow we ended up with the Bell Air Attack 350. I’m pretty sure we didn’t buy it. It just showed up here as things tend to do when you have a couple of boys. Our 350 is almost the same as the Air Attack High Volume, only this model has a gauge and higher volume. Both are cheaply made and are not designed for use on road bikes. Buyers of the High Volume pump like how easy to read and accurate the gauge is. I need to start having my boys “borrow” pumps with gauges on them.
- Lifetime replacement guarantee
- Made of more steel than the “Man of Steel”
- 75 psi is easy. Above that, you better be Superman
There are a few things that set this BöG Products bike floor pump apart. For one, the pressure gauge is located fairly high on the device, near the handle. This makes it easier to read. Buyers who have tested the gauge have found it to be accurate within +/- one psi. Secondly, the base folds up to save a negligible amount of space.
9. Bike Pump from Malker – $
- Small and light enough to fit in a hollowed-out prosthetic leg or bike bag
- 130 psi maximum
- Comes with glueless puncture repair kit and two tire levers
There are several complaints about how flimsy this Malker bike pump is, and it has trouble when it comes to high-pressure road tires. However, if you are looking to cut costs by using air-filled garbage bags for furniture, this pump will do an excellent job of supplementing your electric pump.
- Suspiciously similar to the Malker bike pump
- Unconditional money back guarantee or free replacement for five years
- Can attach to your bike with bracket clip
As I write this, the Kitbest Aluminum Alloy Portable Bike Floor Pump, or KAAPBFP as I like to call it, is only one penny more than the Malker pump. I like to think Malker and Kitbest are in some sort of pricing battle to see who can create the cheapest, good-enough-quality bike pump. Users complain that you have to be some sort of John Cena to get to higher pressures.
Does this review have you pumped? Let us know what you think below!