Last updated: 17/10/2022

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Every cyclist knows the situation: you are on a bicycle tour or you have to get to work or school in a hurry. Suddenly the tyre loses air and is flat. Now cycling becomes more and more exhausting and tiring. This is where the emergency helper comes into play, namely a bicycle air pump.
With our air pump test 2023 we want to help you find the best bicycle air pump for you. We have compared floor pumps, hand pumps and Co2 cartridge pumps. We have also listed the advantages and disadvantages of the different types. In this way, we want to simplify your purchase decision.




Summary

  • Every cyclist should have a bicycle pump so that nothing stands in your way even if you have a flat tyre. In the end, you decide which type you want, how high quality it should be and which functions the bicycle pump should have.
  • Floor air pump, hand air pump, Co2 cartridge air pump or rather a foot air pump. There are several types, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. There is a wide range of bicycle air pumps on the market.
  • If you don’t have a bicycle air pump or if it is broken, you can try some alternatives. A visit to a petrol station or swimming pool might help.

The Best Air Pump: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for air pumps

In the following content, we will show you which aspects can be used to determine the many possible bicycle air pumps. You will then be informed in more detail about the various purchase criteria and their classification.

When purchasing a bicycle air pump, you should pay attention to the following purchase criteria:

Air pressure

If you pump your flat tyre, you should also know how many bars are available in the tyre. The maximum air pressure varies from model to model and must be adapted to the type of bicycle. For example, road bikes need a higher pressure than mountain bikes.

The thinner the bicycle tyre, the higher the pressure.

Too high a pressure can cause your tyre to burst. If the pressure is too low, it can cause wear and damage your rims. It also increases rolling resistance

For this reason, it is important that your bicycle pump is equipped with a pressure gauge that shows you how much air pressure is in the bicycle tyre. Stand pumps usually have a pressure gauge and classic hand pumps more rarely. However, electric hand pumps often have a digital pressure gauge display.

Size / weight

Size and weight are not important if you are a cyclist and leave your air pump at home anyway. You can skip this purchase criterion, as it is not necessary.

However, if you take a bicycle pump with you on your ride, it should be handy and light.

Hand pumps are perfect for this because they are easy to stow in your backpack.

However, you should bear in mind that small and light air pumps only have a limited air volume. If you want to have an easier time pumping on the road, you can use an electric hand pump, as these pump automatically. However, the device must be charged before it can be used.

Handling

Handling is extremely important for bicycle air pumps. Quality standard air pumps should have an ergonomically shaped and padded handle. It is also important that a floor pump in particular is equipped with a non-slip stand.

Comfortable handling has a positive effect on the speed of pumping.

You can push down better and pumping can be done with less effort. In addition, unpadded handles can cause injuries to your hand. In contrast to hand pumps, stand pumps have a better handling due to the more stable stand, the wide handles and the long hoses.

Material

The price of a bicycle pump depends on the material and quality. A bicycle air pump made of metal is more durable than a plastic air pump because metal is more stable than plastic. A cheap plastic air pump may not last long and will no longer perform at an early stage.

If you buy cheap, you buy twice.

Manual air pumps are usually made of plastic because they are lighter. Many floor and foot pumps are made of steel or metal. They are therefore much heavier. However, the weight of floor and foot pumps is irrelevant in contrast to hand pumps.

Spare parts

Many manufacturers include spare parts with the bicycle air pump, as it can happen that individual parts disappear or break. This way you can always keep your bicycle pump in good condition. However, you can also get the necessary individual parts separately; you will find a large selection on the Internet.

Valve adapter sets are usually included with the purchase of a bicycle air pump to make it easier for the buyer and to save an additional purchase of a valve adapter.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an air pump

Before you buy a bicycle air pump, you may have certain questions about the types, alternatives or use. Here we would like to answer the questions you should ask yourself before buying a bicycle pump.

What is special about an air pump and what advantages does it offer?

When you are on the road with your bike, it can happen that your tyres gradually lose air. This is where a practical bicycle air pump comes into play, which increases the tyre pressure through a simple procedure.

Luftpumpe-1

Petrol stations are equipped with air pumps, which you can also use for your bike.
(Image source: Morning Brew / unsplash)

Bicycle air pumps are usually easy to store and take with you. They are also easy to use, so you can be on your way in a matter of minutes. Automatic bicycle pumps in particular are very easy to use.

What types of air pumps are there?

You can buy floor pumps or hand pumps for your bike. Both differ in appearance, price and performance.

Floor air pump for the bicycle

A floor pump often has different valves and openings, so it can also be used for car tyres and balls. In addition, a bicycle air pump has a pressure gauge to see how much air is in the tyre. Thanks to the stable stand and firm handle, you can pump faster.

Advantages
  • has various valves and openings
  • has a pressure gauge
  • stable stand
  • pumps quickly
Disadvantages
  • difficult to transport
  • usually more expensive

On the other hand, a floor pump is large and usually heavier than a hand pump, so stowing it in a backpack or on a bike is a challenge. Furthermore, these pumps are generally more expensive.

Hand air pump for the bicycle

The hand air pump for the bicycle is ideal for travelling, as it is conveniently sized and easy to take along. Hand pumps are generally cheaper than floor pumps, but they are absolutely sufficient for emergencies.

Advantages
  • easily transportable
  • usually cheaper
  • sufficient
Disadvantages
  • slower pump
  • no pressure gauge

However, with a hand pump for your bike you have to pump more often and for longer. In addition, hand pumps often do not have a pressure gauge.

What are the alternatives to air pumps?

If you don’t have a bicycle air pump at hand or only have a broken air pump, the following alternatives may help you.

Alternatives Description
Compressor If you have an air compressor at home, this can be helpful. You can also use a compressor to inflate your flat tyre.
Swimming pool A swimming pool near you could possibly be an alternative, as small compressors are often found in swimming pools to inflate air mattresses and water balls. Of course, you must have the right valve to inflate your bike tyre.
Petrol station A petrol station around the corner would also be an alternative, as they always have compressors for car tyres. With the right valve you can inflate your flat tyre. Car tyre compressors are quite powerful. For this reason you should be very careful with them so that your bicycle tyre does not burst.
Bike repair shop If you are in a hurry and there happens to be a bike repair shop near you, this is also an option. However, frequent visits to a bicycle repair shop can be quite expensive, but it is definitely useful in an emergency.

Maybe you’ll be able to get out of a jam more quickly with one or the other alternative in the near future. And thus arrive at work on time or continue your bike tour without any problems.

Who are air pumps suitable for?

Every bike owner should have a bicycle pump at home. No matter whether you ride your bike rarely, often or all the time, it can always happen that you have a flat tyre. In addition, it is irrelevant which bicycle pump you have. The main thing is that you no longer have a flat tyre.

If you are absolutely enthusiastic about cycling and like to go on bike tours, a bicycle air pump is a must-have.

For bike lovers, we recommend two sturdy bicycle air pumps.

On the one hand, a floor pump for at home and a hand pump for on the road. Because if you ride your bike often, you will have to deal with flat tyres all the more frequently.

What does an air pump cost?

The price range of bicycle air pumps is not small due to the large selection and the different types and qualities. The higher the price of a bicycle pump, the more you can expect from the product.

The cheapest bicycle pumps start at around 2 euros. However, these are usually small hand pumps with poor quality and no great features.

Type price range
normal hand air pump approx. 2-30 €
electric hand air pump approx. 20-50 €
stand air pump approx. 7-50 €

There is no clear upper price limit for bicycle air pumps. Some products cost over 250 euros. Accordingly, they offer more quality, technology and function.

Which valve for an air pump?

A suitable bicycle pump also needs the right valve to be able to attach the pump to your tyre.

Basically, there are three different types of valves:

  • The Sclaverand valve, also known as the French valve.
  • The Schrader valve, which is often called the car valve.
  • And the Dunlop valve, which is also known as the classic bicycle valve.

The sclaverand valve is mainly used on road bikes, but this valve can now also be used on mountain bikes and trekking bikes. In contrast to other valve types, the Sclaverand valve can withstand a higher air pressure, which is 15 bar. This is especially important for a road bike, as they require a high air pressure. The valve is not as robust as other valve types due to its small diameter.

It was named after its French inventor Etienne Sclaverand.

There is also the Schrader or car valve. As the name suggests, this valve is also used on cars. If you suddenly get a flat tyre on the road, there is no need to panic. With the Schrader valve you can inflate the flat tyre at a petrol station. The valve is used on mountain bikes / touring bikes and can be inflated up to 10 bar. It is also very stable due to its wide design.

Finally, there is the classic Dunlop valve, which is used for everyday bikes.

Using this valve is uncomplicated. Another advantage is that the valve can be changed without tools.

However, the maximum air pressure is only 6 bar. But it is perfectly sufficient for city bikes and many trekking bikes. Furthermore, the Dunlop valve or also called bicycle valve is quite stable.

Image source: Juthakorn/ 123rf.com

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