LAST UPDATED: October 20, 2019
Best Manual Tire Changers: Mount and Demount Tires With Ease
Conveniently change your flat tire with these manual tire changers
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON October 20, 2019
A portable tire changer is an important tool to keep in your vehicle's tool kit so you're always prepared in the event of a flat tire. They're designed for most types of tires and will save you a lot of hassle when it comes to mounting and dismounting everything from car tires to ATV tires. Here are some of the best tire changers that will help you get back on the road if you end up with a flat in the middle of nowhere.
It does not include a bead breaker. Not suitable for large tires like those on big trucks and trailers.
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Benefits of Manual Tire Changers
- Convenient. Having a manual tire changer at home allows you to do the job yourself rather than spending your valuable time and money at the tire shop.
- Affordable. If you’re running a small garage and don’t spend all of your time servicing tires, a manual tire changer is the perfect, affordable investment for your business.
- Economical. Manual tire changers are a more cost-effective alternative to the automatic tire changers with all the bells and whistles that are used across the automotive industry.
- Ease of use. There’s not much you can get wrong in the operation of a tire mount and demount tool, as they are very straightforward and easy to use.
UK-based company Northern Industrial was founded in 1978 when John Lenehan quit his role as a maintenance engineer at Thwaites Brewery in Blackburn. Holding full certification—and a number of innovation and business awards—the company exports all over Europe and takes customer service very seriously. The Northern Industrial Portable Mini Tire Changer is an example of its top-quality products.
STARK USA Industrial
No, not that Stark. The head office of STARK USA Industrial can be found in Chino, California. The company has been importing and distributing construction and engineering equipment for the last 15 years. STARK USA Industrial is fully certified to sell its reliable but cost-effective tools in both domestic and overseas markets. It is responsible for such items as the STARK Multifunction, Portable Manual Tire Changer.
Manual Tire Changer Pricing
- Under $70: Generally made from rugged steel, manual tire changers on the low end of the price scale are still more than capable of mounting and dismounting tires but, as you’d expect, offer less in the way of extras. You should have no problem finding a model to fit almost any type of tire, whether you’re driving a truck or a golf cart, and the lower price point makes light and inexpensive work of changing small tires.
- $100 to $250: More expensive models and brands are likely to be small and lightweight, with a wider range of applications. You’ll probably find them constructed out of strong iron and with convenient features like a built-in light.
Realistically, a manual tire changer isn’t going to be that much use if it’s too heavy to carry around on road trips or lift out of your trunk. Remember that its purpose is to get you back on the road in case of a flat tire, so it’s important for such a piece of equipment to be lightweight but capable of holding the weight of your specific vehicle.
In the age of throwaway capitalism, durability isn’t often considered a key feature. But in this case, you’re purchasing a piece of equipment that you hope not to use very often and they’re not super cheap, so it’s important that you can trust it will last a long time. Choose stainless steel or iron construction and stick with a recognized brand.
Buying your manual tire changer from a recognized brand that has been around for a long time and has good reviews is also vital just in case anything goes wrong. They are more likely to take their customer service seriously and have a dedicated team of people for you to talk to if you need support. There’s nothing more frustrating than nobody picking up the telephone!
- Construction Material. As with most things, a manual tire changer is only useful if it is well-constructed out of good quality materials. Stainless steel equipment is (relatively) lightweight and naturally protected from rust and corrosion.
- Diameter. The diameter and general size of your manual tire changer will dictate which type and size of tire and vehicle you’ll be able to use it with.
- Extra Features. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you can purchase manual tire changers with all kinds of useful accessories. Be sure to consider what you’ll actually use—and how much extra it will cost—before jumping into a purchase.
- High-Quality Components. To get the best out of your manual tire changer, and to extend its life as long as possible, there are some things that you shouldn’t skimp on. When it comes to filters, regulators, and lubricators, only high-quality parts will do.
Best Manual Tire Changer Reviews & Recommendations 2020
The GoPlus Manual Tire Changer includes everything you need for quick and easy mounting and demounting of tires no matter where you are. Consisting of three individual tools, the kit is nothing if not portable and you should have no problem with storage.
The kit is suitable for any tires between 17.5 and 24.5 inches in size, and the heavy-duty steel construction guarantees they’ll last a long time without rusting. Reviews do suggest, however, that the paint is liable to peeling after the first year.
While there is no specific tool for bead breaking, this set is ridiculously easy to use. Having no hidden parts means there is no specialized knowledge required, and having free-standing tools means you can work at any angle.
This mini tire changer from Northern Industrial makes changing tires on anything from lawnmowers to trailers an almost universal application. Designed to fit any tire with rims between 4 and 12 inches in size, the tire changer is suitable for center holes with a minimum diameter of 50 mm and a maximum diameter of 295 mm. The relatively short length of the mount/dismount bar might make changing wider tires difficult.
The included bead breaker—an adjustable but sturdy and incredibly functional tool—will make your life even easier. Having said that, if you have no experience using similar tools, we recommend checking out some videos online. An instruction booklet is included, but it’s difficult to follow and some illustrations are mislabeled and unhelpful.
While the tire changer is small enough (the whole thing stands only 16 inches high) and light enough to be considered portable, it does work best if affixed to something solid and immovable.
Strong iron construction and ergonomic design guarantees that this manual tire changer from STARK USA will last a long time while retaining its shape and offering a safe, stable workspace. It is multifunctional and includes everything you need to easily and quickly change tires, including a bead breaker, tire spreader, and adjustable sliding jaw clamps.
This tire changer fits tires sized between 4 and 16.5 inches and is therefore compatible with almost any vehicle. Anti-rust and anti-corrosion paint also means the changer is easy to clean and can be used indoors or outdoors. Although, it does weigh 70 pounds and stands at more than 50 inches tall when fully assembled, so the portability of the tire changer is questionable. Realistically, it also needs to be bolted down or clamped, and you might struggle if you don’t have the means to do this.
- Before dismounting a punctured tire, make sure to deflate it completely by opening the valve stem. It will be easier to remove the tire from the rim.
- If you have a hard time removing the flat tire from the rim, lubricate the edge of the tire and leave the lubricant to soak in for a few minutes. Do the same for a new tire before placing it on the rim.
- Read the user’s manual to learn how to use the tool. Alternatively, you can purchase a popular model that comes with online tutorials on how to use the product.
Q: Does a manual tire changer hold the wheel in place?
A: Most tire changers have washers that are typically screwed on to the rim of the tire to limit tire movement when working the bar around the edges. Also, some models have a stand that holds and stabilizes the tire as you work on it.
Q: What is a bead breaker?
A: A bead breaker is a tool that makes it easier to get the tire off the rim by breaking the bead. A tire bead is a pressurized air held between the tire and the wheel. You can use a bead breaker to hammer the area between the tire and the rim to expel the pressurized air and release the tire from the rim.
Q: Can a tire changer be used for wheel balancing?
A: It depends on the design of the tire changer. Some models come with wheel balancing tools that equalize the tire weight and the wheel assembly. This reduces tire vibration at high speeds. However, most tire changers only consist of a bead breaker and rim support for mounting and dismounting tires.
If you are looking for a genuinely portable tire changer, consider our top pick, the Goplus Manual Tire Changing Tool.
Our best value pick for a tire changer that will deliver the best bang for your buck is the Northern Industrial Portable Mini Tire Changer.