Best Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems: Keep an Eye on Your PSI
Monitor your tires’ pressure efficiently with our top tire pressure monitoring system picks
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PUBLISHED ON August 24, 2019
Monitoring your tire pressure puts you one step ahead of any issues you might encounter on the road. Tires that are too flat can cause the rim to fall off the bead, and tires that are too full can blow out under high pressure. To help you find the best tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), we’ve put together this buying guide for your reference.
- Best OverallTymate Wireless TPMSSummarySummaryCharge your phone as you keep an eye on your tire pressure with this TPMS from Tymate. Complete with multiple monitoring modes, this product is easy to install and use.ProsProsTymate claims its tire pressure monitoring system has a battery life of two years. You’ll also enjoy the 0-87 psi rating range and real-time display.ConsConsThis tire pressure monitoring system is not for use on trailers or RVs.
- Best ValueCigarette Lighter Plug Universal Wireless TPMSSummarySummaryThese four valve stem cap sensors are easy to install and update you in real-time on a variety of tire characteristics.ProsProsBacked by a one-year warranty, this tire pressure monitoring system can be used on a wide array of vehicles in all types of weather conditions.ConsConsThe screen is small, so it's difficult to see the display. You have to look at it straight on, and it’s hard to read in bright sunlight.
- Honorable MentionB-Qtech Wireless Solar Power TPMSSummarySummaryFor use on trailers, RVs, trucks, and cars, this tire pressure monitoring system can be used in a four-sensor or six-sensor configuration.ProsProsB-Qtech backs its product with a one-year warranty. With a battery life spanning two years, you won’t have to replace this lithium unit; simply recharge it or use solar power.ConsConsThe head unit for this tire pressure monitoring system must be mounted (temporarily or permanently) somewhere within the vehicle’s cabin.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems
- Monitor your tire pressure on the go. Tire pressure monitor systems allow you to reference the pressure in your tires at any point and in any location. If you feel something is off with one of your tires or the ride just doesn’t seem right, your TPMS can provide an easy solution.
- No stick gauges necessary. Small stick gauges are filled with air and then shoot out to show how much pressure is in your tires. These devices aren’t as accurate or as easy to access as tire pressure monitoring systems.
- Fits on nearly any tire. New vehicles come with tire pressure monitoring systems, but you can also fit a TPMS to a motorcycle, an RV, a fifth wheel, and even a trailer. There's almost no end to the types of vehicles you can put a tire pressure monitoring system on.
- Save time. Unless you have a keen eye for knowing which of your tires is low and by how much, tire pressure monitoring systems make checking and altering your tire pressure as easy as checking your email.
- No special tools required. Tire pressure monitor systems travel with your vehicle, so once a tire technician has installed them on your car’s valve stems, you should be set. You won’t need anything besides your head unit to check the tire pressure of any of your vehicle’s tires.
Types of Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems
Valve Stem Caps
The most common form of tire pressure monitoring systems in the aftermarket arena consists of a head unit and four valve stem caps. These small caps fit on your valve stems just like standard equipment valve stem caps do, except that they’re equipped to read the pressure pushing on the valve from within the tire. It’s like putting a stick gauge on the valve without letting any air pressure out. TPMS anti-theft design valve stem caps typically mimic the styling of OEM caps, so you won’t have to worry about them attracting thieves.
Tire pressure monitoring systems can also be mounted within the tire against the outside of the wheel. This type of tire pressure monitoring system is often referred to as clamp-in TPMS, since it clamps to the wheel structure. Clamp-in tire pressure monitoring systems connect to the valve but monitor the pressure within the tire’s inner space. You won’t be able to tell if a vehicle is equipped with this type of tire pressure monitoring system as you would with a TPMS with valve stem caps.
Part of the Minder Research family, based in Stuart, Fla., TireMinder provides its customers with an above-average product when it comes to the aftermarket automotive industry. The TireMinder A1A TPMS is a product you’ve definitely got to check out if you own a trailer.
Based out of Abilene, Texas, Bellacorp strives to offer the best tire pressure monitoring system for all your needs. We recommend its Bellacorp Tire Pressure Monitoring System, as it’s compatible with passenger vehicles and a variety of other platforms as well.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System Pricing
- $20-$50: Most entry-level tire pressure monitoring systems will be around the $30-$40 range. These systems typically feature a valve stem cap design with four transmitters and a head unit, which displays the pressure readings. If you’re just looking for some peace of mind, you shouldn’t have to spend more than $50 on a decent tire pressure monitoring system.
- $60-$100: If tire pressure is something you check as often as your oil, we recommend spending about $60-$80. You’ll be able to choose from both valve stem cap designs as well as clamp-in tire pressure monitoring systems.
- $100-$500: If you own a fifth wheel, boat trailer, toy hauler, or another type of trailer, you should invest around $150-$200 in a decent tire pressure monitoring system. Most TPMS sets at this price point will include anywhere from 6-10 sensors.
Depending on which type of tire pressure monitoring system you choose, the best TPMS products should be easy to install. Valve stem caps that read your tires’ pressure only take a few seconds to screw on. When you have your tires replaced or rotated and balanced, the tire technician can easily add in a TPMS service for clamp-in tire pressure monitoring systems.
Like anything else that’s going to be mounted to the outside of your vehicle, you want your tire pressure monitoring system to be durable. That means it can withstand wet and dry conditions, the heat and cold, and all types of additional wear and tear. The best tire pressure monitoring systems are made from strong materials that prioritize utility over curb appeal.
The best tire pressure monitoring systems should give you accurate readings. They shouldn’t give false readings or error reports. The best TPMS unit reads the pressure correctly the first time without you having to struggle to make sure it’s on point.
Easy-to-Read Head Unit
Manufacturers with the best tire pressure monitoring systems make their displays easy to read and understand. Whether you have four transmitters or more, each reading should be clear in terms of how much pressure there is in that tire as well as where that tire is located in relation to the rest of the vehicle.
The simplest of tire pressure monitoring systems will only display a pressure reading; however, the best tire pressure monitoring systems will also include a variety of modes that tell you much more than just a simple psi measurement. Typical modes include a high-temperature warning and a fast leak alert, along with your basic high and low-pressure warnings.
- Solar Powered: Rather than using batteries or replacing old tire pressure monitoring system transmitters on a regular basis, check out solar-powered units. While they may not be the best investment for those living in cloudy climates, harnessing the sun’s power as your car sits while you work might be a good way to save money and time.
- Waterproof: The best tire pressure monitoring systems will be waterproof. After all, your vehicle will be trekking through the best and worst of terrains, so you’ll want to make sure your tire pressure monitoring system isn’t going to fail if you splash through a rain puddle. Check for this feature if you’re concerned about failure due to water damage.
- Screen Size and Shape: Manufacturers fit their tire pressure monitoring systems with head units of various shapes and sizes. Most of these head units fit into a cigarette lighter port. Some will be more square while others tend to be rectangular in shape. The best tire pressure monitoring systems will come with additional features such as USB charging ports.
Best Tire Pressure Monitoring System Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Tymate Wireless TPMS
Tymate won our top pick for the best tire pressure monitoring system because of the overall package it offers customers who are looking for a simple TPMS unit they can easily install and use on the go. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most useful features.
The best feature is its ability to monitor multiple characteristics from one central LCD display. Rather than simply alerting you when your tires are too high or low in pressure, Tymate’s tire pressure monitoring system also notifies you of fast and slow leaks, high temperatures, a sensor fault, and low sensor batteries. The batteries, however, will reportedly last up to two years so you won’t have to spend time or money replacing them often. This tire pressure monitoring system with four external sensors can be set for anywhere from 0 to 87 psi. The head unit presents a clear display that also doubles as a USB charger. Best of all, this product can be used on almost any vehicle.
That’s right, we said almost any vehicle. The biggest drawback of this product is that it cannot be used on a trailer or RV. While that’s unfortunate, Tymate does make installing, using, and replacing its tire pressure monitoring system and components easy for any driver.
Best Value: Cigarette Lighter Plug Universal Wireless TPMS
Knowing how much pressure is in your tires doesn’t mean you have to spend upwards of $50 on a TPMS. In fact, that’s exactly why we chose the Cigarette Lighter Universal Tire Pressure Monitoring System. Complete with four sensors in the form of valve stem caps, along with a USB-charging head unit, this entire package will put all your worries of low- or high-pressure tires to rest.
One of the great things about the Cigarette Lighter Universal TPMS is that it also monitors the voltage of your vehicle’s battery. The LCD screen will report back to you the tire temperature and pressure of up to four tires in real time. Each sensor is sealed for use in all types of weather and shuts off 10 minutes after your vehicle has stopped running. This TPMS comes with a spanner/wrench for installing the included nuts that hold the valve stem caps on. The sensors will update every six seconds and can read anywhere from 0 to 87 psi. Accuracy is reported to be within 0.1 bar.
Our one concern with this tire pressure monitoring system is the stem is short and the screen is small, so it's difficult to see the display. Since the screen doesn't move, you have to look at it straight on. Also, it's hard to read the information in bright sunlight. However, this affordable tire pressure monitoring system will help any driver better monitor his or her vehicle’s tire pressure.
Honorable Mention: B-Qtech Wireless Solar Power TPMS with six sensors
We had to include this product in our top three picks because it integrates an innovative feature that we don’t see on a lot of other products. This TPMS has the ability to use solar power to recharge the battery. Let’s dig further into this product to find out more about how it works.
There are two ways to charge this tire pressure monitoring system: solar power and a rechargeable lithium battery. B-Qtech offers a two-year lifespan on the rechargeable battery, which is designed to be lightweight. This tire pressure monitoring system is easy to install and allows you to choose between using four or six sensors at one time. Each sensor is able to read up to 130 psi and pairs with a theft-proof nut. These can be installed with the included wrench. Sensors are waterproof and read out to a clear, high-resolution screen on the head unit, which sits atop an included non-slip mat. B-Qtech's TPMS system includes audible alarms as well as visuals so you'll know exactly when there's a problem.
Fixing this tire pressure monitoring system’s head unit to a location in your vehicle is its biggest drawback. Unlike other products that plug into the cigarette lighter, this unit simply floats wherever it can atop a non-slip mat. All the same, it’s very easy for nearly any driver to use this tire pressure monitoring system.
- Most tire pressure monitoring systems available today are set to relearn the tire’s pressure automatically. All you have to do is drive a few feet for the sensor to reset. However, there are some systems that require a hard restart. In this case, you should consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual, your local dealership, or online resources.
- As you set up your tire pressure sensors, make sure you toggle to the correct temperature reading. If you’re looking at a reading in Celsius and expect it to be in Fahrenheit, there are going to be issued. High-quality tire pressure monitoring systems will allow you to toggle back and forth between Celsius and Fahrenheit readings.
- If you live in an area where there’s a lot of road debris, choose a tire pressure monitoring system that will fit within the tire. Then you don’t have to worry about losing valve stem caps or having to pay for an entirely new system when all you need are replacement valve stem sensors.
- When shopping for a new vehicle, you’ll most likely find nearly all models come with a standard TPMS. In some cases, you might be able to replace the existing system with the one you prefer.
- The pressure inside your tires will change with the weather conditions. You may check the pressure in the morning and find it varies from that reading only a few hours later. As long as you do not exceed the recommended psi rating by a large margin, your tires should be fine.
- If you don’t want to spend the money on a tire pressure monitoring system but want to make sure your tires are aired up to the optimum pressure before a long trip, stop by your local tire shop. Many of them offer a free tire check service that you can take advantage of, especially if you’ve bought your tires from them in the past.
Q: What pressure should I use in my tires?
A: Check your tires for the recommended rating and fill them to within a few psi of that specification. Remember, your tires will swell and contract as the pressure of the surrounding air changes. Listen for the audible warnings to let you know the pressure is too high or too low. The pressure alarm can be reset after you alter the air pressure, which you can also check with a pressure gauge.
Q: When should I replace my tire pressure monitoring system?
A: If the tire pressure monitoring system isn’t working as well as it should, get it checked out by a professional before replacing it. However, if you do have to replace it, most of the sensor caps are user-friendly in terms of design.
Q: How does the tire pressure monitoring system know what pressure rating my tires require?
A: This is a setting within the tire pressure monitoring system itself. The TPMS will monitor what range your tires are pressurized to, and once that pressure goes over or under the specified amount, audible and visual alarms will go off.
Q: Will taking my car through the car wash cause the TPMS sensors to fail?
A: Most tire pressure monitoring systems are designed for all types of weather conditions. That means they’re anti-corrosion and built to withstand both wet and dry environments. However, if you run your car through the car wash and you see air bubbles on your tires or around the valve stem caps, you might have air leaks.
Q: Can I use a tire pressure monitoring system on an electric car?
A: Yes. In fact, it’s better that you have a tire pressure monitoring system on an electric vehicle versus a gas- or diesel-powered vehicle. This is because you’ll get better fuel economy from the electric vehicle if it can push equally on all tires to move rather than having to push less or more for over-inflated or under-inflated tires.
Q: Will tire pressure monitoring systems work on spare tires?
A: Some tire pressure monitoring systems will not work on tires that are stationary, since they require a certain revolution range in order to read and reset the sensors. However, there are specific tire pressure monitoring systems made for applications such as trailer tires, fifth wheels, and motorhomes. An RV TPMS works similarly to a passenger car TPMS but may include a signal booster if the RV is rather long.
Q: Are tire pressure monitoring systems long range?
A: In relative terms, yes. Tire pressure monitoring systems can be paired with a repeater that repeats the signal from the tire pressure sensors to send it all the way to the receiver unit.
Q: What other TPMS brands exist?
A: You can purchase an Eeztire TPMS, or you can choose from Yesafe, Zeepin, or Yokaro. There are many other brands out there that produce tire pressure monitoring systems, not all of which we could include in this review.
We chose the Tymate Wireless TPMS as our top pick for the best tire pressure monitoring system because of the versatility and durability built into its simplistic design.
If you’re looking to save as much on your TPMS as you are in the gas, check out the Cigarette Lighter Plug Universal Wireless TPMS.