The Best Air Pressure Gauges (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Take control of PSI with these air pressure gauges.
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BY Hank O'Hop / LAST UPDATED ON January 1, 2021
If you take part in the modern standards of living, you are going to deal with air pressure from time to time. Most of us at least understand the importance of having tires filled to the appropriate PSI. Whether it’s for commuting or crawling along the trail, it’s essential to check and adjust tire pressure. But even if you don’t mess with car tires, you’ll still deal with air pressure. For example bicycle tires and other recreational equipment requires you to deal with PSI ratings. And that means no matter what you’re doing. It pays to have a reliable air pressure gauge. Otherwise, the performance of equipment and your vehicle is at risk. That said, we’re here to help you pick the gauge that best suits your needs.
Tire pressure gauge with user-experience in mind. This model features an easy-to-read gauge, swiveling head, convenient bleeder valve, and heavy-duty construction.
- Extremely user-friendly
- Provides reliable accurate readings
- Can release tire pressure
- Durability is subpar
- Air line is too short for many applications
Traditional stick pressure gauge. But unlike many, the heavy-duty construction ensures this tool will last for several years.
- Easy to use and accurate
- Heavy-duty construction
- Features storage hook
- Simple design offers little functionality
A tire pressure gauge with motorsports in mind. It is meant for reading and adjusting air pressure rapidly and the design reflects it. As a kit, it also includes necessary accessories for making adjustments.
- Features a large, easy to read gauge
- Air bleeder valve is large and provides quick air-down
- Comes with accessories and a storage case
- Lacks durability and care must be taken to protect it
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Benefits of Air Pressure Gauge
- Set specified PSI ratings. Without air pressure gauges, it is impossible to accurately set PSI ratings. That means you run the risk of under or overinflating anything you’re putting air in. Doing so may negatively impact performance or be downright dangerous.
- Make adjustments on the fly. If you’re about to hit the trail or the track, you’re probably going to air-down. A tire pressure gauge is necessary to ensure you’re setting the tires to the desired pressure.
- Basic maintenance. Many things can impact pressure ratings within tires and sports equipment, and you do need to check on it from time to time. Without an air pressure gauge, there’s no way to accurately determine whether you need to add or release pressure.
Types of Air Pressure Gauges
A portable air pressure gauge is something you can easily keep in your glove compartment, duffle bag, or even your pocket. And within this category, you’ll find a variety of subcategories of air pressure gauges designed to suit the needs of specific applications.
But one distinct characteristic of this type is that they generally do not work with any sort of inflation system. Instead, they work independently and serve the sole purpose of checking air pressure. That’s not necessarily a flaw because the idea is that you can do so with something compact and easy to manage. You may want to consider checking out our guide for Portable Tire Inflators if you do intend to purchase this type of gauge and our guide to selecting a Tire Pressure Monitoring System if you’re using one frequently.
Portable gauges are great for most people, but they lack technical characteristics that will hold up or even function in specific settings. A heavy-duty version has beefier components and is generally meant for a specified purpose, such as monitoring pressure within a system or for adjusting tire pressure.
Again, we can split this up into many subcategories, but what’s most prominent are those that are intended for tires. In that case, most will feature a length of air line, and some will even work in combination with an air compressor to help with filling tires.
A digital air pressure gauge does all the same things as a traditional one, but there are some key differences. The most noticeable difference is the inclusion of a digital gauge in place of an analog one. This helps to provide an easy-to-read display of pressure readings, which can help generate more accurate results.
One should note that a digital tire pressure gauge can come in heavy-duty or portable forms. It does come down to personal preference when selecting one because you don’t need a digital function. Also, consider that the digital components often drive the price point up.
This family-owned business is located in Grand Rapids, Mich., and has been hard at work since 1991. It is a known tool manufacturer that prides itself on making more affordable tools than the competition but works better. Tekton has a wide range of offerings, and the Tekton 5941 Digital Tire Gauge is an excellent representation of the line.
Since 2015, Rhino USA has been making waves in the automotive industry. This small family business operates out of Temecula, Calif. You likely have heard of the brand on account of its recovery straps. But it is involved in more than just that. The Rhino USA Tire Inflator with Pressure Gauge is a fine example of what else it has to offer.
Though only in business for about 10 years, Accutire has attained the status of an industry leader. The company has a laser focus on producing advanced tire gauges, so this might not be a surprise. The headquarters is located in Newport News, Va., and the Accutire Tire Pressure Gauge with Tread Depth Gauge is but one example of what they bring to the table.
Headquartered in Valley Cottage, N.Y., Tire-Tek has been producing tire gauges since 1996. It has a prominent focus on motorsports, but its equipment offers service to all parts of the industry. The offerings are all high-quality, heavy-duty gauges, and the TireTek Tire Pressure Gauge with Inflator is something pros, and do-it-yourselfers will love.
Working out of Brea, Calif., AstroAI is a company that prides itself on offering essential automotive tools and tool accessories. What separates it from many is the emphasis on blending modern tech with reliable designs. That said, the AstroAI Digital Tire Inflator Compressor with Air Pressure Gauge is one of the best digital options out there.
Jaco has been in business since 1983, making them the oldest supplier featured in this guide. The company has two locations in the U.S. and has been hard at work producing a range of tools Powersports enthusiasts must rely on. It’s no surprise to see the Jaco EliteProPlus Tire Pressure Gauge with Dually Air Chuck is a favorite of ours and many others.
Air Pressure Gauge Pricing
- $10-$20: Most are pressure gauges run within this price range. However, portable and heavy-duty gauges with analog readouts are most prominent.
- $20-$30: Premium heavy-duty and digital gauges exist within this price range. However, many examples list for more.
An auto-shutoff feature is highly desirable if you purchase an air pressure gauge that has a digital function. Rather than having to manually turn the unit off, it automatically powers down after a set period without use. This makes operation extremely simple and you don’t have to worry about your battery. It also happens to save the battery if the unit is accidentally turned on while in storage.
LCD Backlit Display
This feature is reserved for digital units, and it’s something you want to have. It always seems that you need to add pressure to your tires or equipment in the dark. When this happens, you’re left fumbling with a flashlight to get a good visual of the pressure readings. A backlit display does away with this hassle and makes for a far better user experience.
- Quality Construction: No matter what type of gauge you are spending money on, you need to make sure it has suitable components and construction. For one, it’s far less likely to break and is sure to have a much longer life than one without. Furthermore, quality components are less likely to leak and can provide much more accurate readings, both of which are incredibly important characteristics.
Best Air Pressure Gauge Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- It’s worth having multiple air pressure gauges. For one, it’s always good to have a backup. Two, there are times where you may need to double-check your readings, and a spare can help in doing so.
- If accuracy is a concern, it’s best to invest in a premium option. Higher-quality components and more efficient designs offer superior readings.
- Many factors can impact the air pressure within a given space. Therefore it is wise to check the pressure frequently to ensure that it is up to spec.
Q: What should my air pressure be?
That depends on what you are filling with air and what you are using it for. Tires, sports equipment, and so on have specifications regarding air pressure. For example, most passenger car tires require 30-35 PSI for daily driving. But if you are driving off-road or racing, you may want to run lower air pressure.
Q: How do air pressure gauges work?
There are different types of air pressure gauges, so the specifics of their function varies. However, they all work by eliminating atmospheric pressure and use the pressure within the subject to manipulate the gauge’s operation.
Q: At what PSI will a tire explode?
This depends on the tire. Most passenger car and truck tires will explode at around 200 PSI. But because most are filled to only 30-35psi, it is unlikely to occur if you follow the proper procedure.
Q: Is 25 psi too low for tires?
For daily driving on most tires, it is. But if you are running specialty tires in a recreational driving event, 25psi may be too high. It all depends on the application, the tire you are using, and what you are using it for.
The Vondior Heavy Duty Tire Pressure Gauge takes our top pick, and we recommend the Wynnsky Tire Gauge if you’re working on a budget. Either of these options is great for auto, motorcycle, and bicycle enthusiasts of all walks of life. They’re accurate and, despite the price difference, are both of exceptional quality.