Things To Consider When Purchasing a Bicycle Pump

With so many bike pumps to choose from it can be downright confusing to figure which bicycle pump to buy. Additionally, there are a variety of features now available on modern bike pumps that were not around back in the day. Spending the time to select the bike pump suited to your needs will pay in the long run, as pumps are one of the most heavily-used maintenance tools for avid cyclists. In this article we will go through the factors you should consider when purchasing your bike pump.

Valve Type

Bicycles are generally fit with one of two valves, the Presta (typically found on road bikes) and Schrader (typically found on mountain bikes). The Presta valve is long and slender and is typically found on high performance bikes that require a high air pressure. Schrader valves on the other hand are wider and more secure than the Presta counterpart. Therefore, the head of the bike pumps differ depending on the type of valve in place. However, no need to worry; manufacturers have made our lives easier by creating interchangeable pumps that feature attachments for both Presta and Schrader on the same pump. Nonetheless, it is important to know which valve is on your bike to ensure that the pump you purchase is suited to your bicycle.

Air Pressure

When selecting a bicycle pump type, be sure to consider whether it will be able to provide the correct air pressure needed for your tires. A standard rule of thumb for air pressure is 85 – 130 psi for road bikes and 30 – 50 psi for mountain bikes; therefore, it may not be absolutely necessary to get a pump that offers a significantly high psi, such as 200. Furthermore, buying pumps with higher pressure output can sometimes mean having lower volume per pump or having a gauge that is less than accurate. You want to choose a pump that is a good balance of each of these items while providing you with the necessary air pressure for your tires.

Pump Size And Weight

If you do not need to travel with your pump then you can consider getting a larger pump such as an electronic or track pump for home usage. However, if you are an avid camper or frequently travel in rough terrain, you may want to consider getting a smaller pump such as a mini-pump. The tradeoff is that the smaller pumps are typically for single-use purposes and may not be able to pump as high an air pressure as the more robust pumps. Therefore, depending on how often you cycle, you may want to consider having one quality pump at home and a lightweight one for travel needs.


For smaller pumps, it is unlikely that you will find a gauge included; for larger pumps such as an electronic or track pump, you can expect that it will include one. Try to find gauges that are easy to read and able to measure the range of air pressure used by your bicycle. These days it is possible to find digital gauges that are accurate and easy to read, but they may be more expensive. Gauges are often worth the investment as they help ensure that you are pumping the correct air pressure into your tires, which in turn helps extend the life of your bicycle.

Pump Material

A typical rule of thumb is: the more expensive the materials, the more expensive the pump. High-quality pumps will be made of metal, are more durable, and generally last longer. Alternative cheaper material options will be made out of plastic and may wear down after long usage. Depending on what you can afford, you may want to consider investing in a pump that will be able to hold up under repeat usage.

Finding a suitable bicycle pump is hugely dependent on your individual needs. If you are an avid cyclist you may want to consider purchasing a compact, lightweight pump that can provide air in between regular pumping. If you are an occasional bike rider, it may not be necessary to purchase a pump with all the bells and whistles. Keeping these tips in mind will help you make an informed choice when selecting the ideal pump.