Best Tire Changer and Wheel Balancer Combos: Time to Take Matters Into Your Own Hands

All vehicles have wheels and tires, and there’s only one way to deal with them.

byHank O'Hop| UPDATED Nov 4, 2022 12:08 PM
Best Tire Changer and Wheel Balancer Combos: Time to Take Matters Into Your Own Hands
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EV, ICE, jet-propulsion — it doesn't matter. All cars have tires. If you're looking to take your private garage to the next level or are going to start working on passenger vehicles professionally, you need to set yourself up with the equipment to work with wheels and tires. Thankfully, manufacturers understand that mounting and balancing tires happen at the same time and bundle the appropriate machinery together. All you have to do is decide which tire changer and wheel balancer combo fit into your life. This guide is here to help you understand just how easy it is to narrow down your selection and give you suggestions on which setup belongs in your shop.

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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Summary List 

Our Methodology

Tire changers and wheel balancers are serious machines that bring in a lot of money. It's very important that you read into whatever you're considering so that you know where your money is going. My selection is largely based on what's available to the general public through easily accessible retailers, but I did take the time to research anything I’m highlighting to ensure it'll serve the average consumer well. I made sure to research each of the listings to better understand what they bring to the table. That information, combined with the features each has to offer, allowed me to come up with a list that has something for everyone. 

Best Tire Changer Wheel Balancer Combo Reviews & Recommendations

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Triumph
  • Part Number: NTB-950 NTC-550
  • Max Tire Diameter: 43 Inches

Pros

  • Compatible with large tires
  • Great online support
  • Easy to use
  • High quality construction

Cons

  • Replacement parts can be hard to find
  • Often damaged in shipping

This Triumph tire changer and wheel balancer combo is an easy pick for Best Overall. Its ability to handle up to a 43-inch tire helps it to stand out to those with oversized tire swaps on their agenda. It's also equipped with a user-friendly layout that makes everything from setup to operation easy for anyone. The price is competitive, and the quality is good enough for use in some professional shops. The deal is made even better with its 110-volt power dependence, which makes it possible to add this machine to any garage.

If there's any issue to be aware of, it's that replacement parts can be somewhat difficult to track down. Also, some units are reported damaged in shipping, so it's worth inspecting yours upon arrival.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Mayflower
  • Part Number: 560/680
  • Max Tire Diameter: 35 Inches

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Works with wide wheels
  • Great quality and performance for the price
  • Warranty included

Cons

  • Fittings make maintenance difficult
  • Difficult to use with low profile tires

While "affordable" isn't a term you'd use to describe a tire changer and wheel balancer combo in a normal discussion, the Mayflower is the option many will go to when there's little room in the budget. Even as an affordable option, it covers all of the bases. This setup works with tires up to 35 inches in diameter and wheels with widths of up to 12 inches. The quality and performance are also in line with many machines that sit at higher prices, and even the one-year warranty you'll typically find at a higher price is matched here.

Before you make the impulse decision to grab the Mayflower, you should know that it is known to struggle with low-profile wheels and tires. Also, reports indicate that fittings uncommon in the U.S. market are used within the system, and that can be an issue for maintenance.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Nationwide
  • Part Number: TC-530, WB-953
  • Max Tire Diameter: 38 Inches

Pros

  • Low maintenance
  • Self-diagnosing systems
  • Competitive price
  • Three centering cones cover most applications

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Low arm is a clearance issue for wider wheels

The Nationwide Tire Changer and Wheel Balancer Combo is a solid option for many shops. It's an easy-to-use setup that works with up to 38-inch tires. The machinery is rather simple, but is equipped to make your life easy with a pressure regulator, water separator, and lubricators to help you get the job done and minimize maintenance. The integrated self-lubricating wheel balancer even has a self-diagnosing system that optimizes efficiency. A competitive price tag also helps the Nationwide combo capture the attention of many.

Unfortunately, the low arm does present issues for wider wheels and tires, and this simply won't work for some applications. It’s also expensive and simply won’t fit into many budgets.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: XK USA Inc.
  • Part Number: XKUSAINC560680
  • Max Tire Diameter: 37 Inches

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to use
  • Good quality for the price
  • Competitive pricing

Cons

  • Plastic wheel protector breaks easily
  • Issues with air gauge are common

The XK USA INC. Tire Changer Combo is perfect for a small shop without high volume that needs a good machine for changing and balancing tires. It is among the most affordable options, but the quality far surpasses expectations. Its operating capabilities are comparable to costlier units, and it will work with up to a 37-inch tire. Setup is very simple, with minimal assembly required, and the system is equally as easy to use.

It's a close runner-up as the pick for Best Value, but some minor issues keep it from earning that title. The plastic wheel protector tends to break easily, and the air gauge is a common trouble area. Fortunately, customer service is very accommodating, and users report it responds quickly to any issues. You might consider this over the others anyway because of it.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Mayflower
  • Part Number: 980/800
  • Max Tire Diameter: 44 Inches

Pros

  • Compatible with large tires
  • Competitive pricing
  • Great quality and performance for the price
  • Warranty included

Cons

  • Quality control issues are somewhat common
  • Poor customer service

This Mayflower tire changer and wheel balancer combo is a fantastic option for those working with oversized tires. It can handle up to a 44-inch tire and has a maximum weight capacity of 155 pounds, but you can use it with normal street car tires as well. The Mayflower name also delivers the product at a highly competitive price most will appreciate, with quality that surpasses expectations. And despite what the low price may suggest, a warranty is part of the deal.

The number one issue holding this product back is poor customer service. That might be easy to overlook in most cases, but relatively common quality control issues make it an issue consumers deal with regularly.

Our Verdict

Overall quality and performance put the Triumph NTC-950 & NTB-550 Tire Changer Wheel Balancer Combo Package on the top of our list. However, the  Mayflower 1.5 HP Tire Changer Wheel Changers Machine Balancer is a great choice if you're working with a tight budget. Of course, it's important that you read through the specs of any tire changer and wheel balancer combo you're considering to ensure it'll work for you, regardless of what anyone has to say. 

Consider Secondhand

When we start shopping for tools and products, we never overlook the secondhand market. In fact, it’s usually the first place I look. Whether you’re scrolling through Amazon’s Renewed section, eBay for car parts or tools, or flipping through the pages of Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, you have hundreds of thousands of used tools, parts, and gear ready to be shipped to your doorstep. Refurbished to like-new status, they’ll be willing to give you many more years of faithful service all while saving you money. 

If those options don’t have what you need, your local salvage yard is great for car parts, while swap meets are a great resource you should tap. Just Google either and head on down.  

Secondhand Tips

To make your secondhand search easier, here are two tips for finding the best deals and making sure your new-to-you stuff wasn’t destroyed by the previous owner. 

  • Check your local classifieds before buying new ones. Many high-end models are sold for cheap because a shop is either upgrading or closing. Be sure it's fully operational or could be repaired before you purchase. 
  • Don't worry about buying your tire changer and wheel balancer separately, as it might be impossible to find a matching set used. It also does help to buy machines with matching manufacturers but is not necessary. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Tire Changer Wheel Balancer Combo

As complicated as these machines seem, you only need a little bit of information to get started with the selection process. Once you sort through the following details, you can begin to compare factors such as quality and ease of operation to narrow down your choices. 

Key Features

Wheel and Tire Size Range 

Both wheel balancers and tire changers are designed to work with a set range of wheel and tire sizes. Assemblies that are too small simply won't fit either machine. And though a size larger than that range may fit, attempting to work on them will damage the machine. Manufacturers often list the size ranges in the description of the listing to make verification easy before you buy. Even if you think your size is common enough, it's wise to check the size range to ensure you don't end up with a system you can't use and have to send back. 

Power Supply

Assuming is never a good thing when it comes to machinery of this caliber. Most of your options are equipped to run on a 110-volt power supply, but the power supply is something you always want to double-check before you buy. You need to make sure you buy a machine your shop is equipped to run. Even if your shop has 110-, 220-, and even 240-volt power supplies available, you must pick the right setup as it will determine where you can set these machines up in your garage.  

Included Tools

You're going to need more than just the machines to get the work done that you intend to. Tire irons and valve stem removal tools are two mandatory tools for this type of work. Some sets might include these tools, but you shouldn't assume so. It's worth verifying what is included so that you know what you'll need to purchase so you can begin to work once the tire changer and wheel balancer arrive. 

Tire Changer Wheel Balancer Combo Pricing 

If you're just changing tires for your personal vehicles or fleet, you will be just fine investing in a combo set in the $2,000-$3,000 price range. These are consumer-grade tools that are more than good enough for that level of work. If you're buying for a professional shop or just want the best in terms of quality and precision, you will likely pay somewhere around $4,000 or more.

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: What are the two types of wheel balancers? 

A: Static and dynamic. Dynamic is the superior choice as it balances the wheel and tire assembly under conditions that replicate what it will face on the vehicle.

Q: Can tires be mounted incorrectly? 

A: Yes. Some tires are directional, and the tread must be facing a certain way. They can also be damaged during installation, improperly balanced, and so on. It's important to understand the tires you're working with and the mounting process in full before attempting the work yourself. 

Q: How do you not scratch rims on a tire machine?

A: Simply working carefully and using the right tools for the job is usually enough to prevent scratching the wheel during tire mounting. Rushing the job or using tools like pry bars rather than tire irons will easily damage the wheel. 

Q: Where do I recycle my old tires? 

A: Tire dealers often accept old tires for a fee, or you can transport tires to a recycling facility in your area. If you intend to repurpose your old tire as a swing, garden barrier, or anything else, be sure that no cords or belts are exposed, as they can cause injuries.