Most bikers, whether professional or amateur, know what it is like to get stranded in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire. They also know just how important a bicycle pump is, but which of the various types is right for you is a different story.
When you are out biking
- Mini pumps
Presta, Schrader and Dunlop are the most common valves, so if your bike has one of these types, be sure to get a pump that was specially designed for them. This is the best way to prevent the pump from leaking when you connect it to the valve, even at pressures of 120 PSI or higher, as the pump automatically locks securely to the valve. Otherwise, you will have to use adapters or a different valve.
- Floor pumps
There are also floor pumps that are portable and lightweight, weighing no more than 2 pounds, and that come fitted with a shoulder strap so that it’s easy to carry them around. A travel pump will often have a carrying bag as well, plus a removable handle and fold-away feet to make the pump just the right size for the bag.
For durability, the feet should be made of stainless steel, but make sure they can be folded up when you need to store or transport the pump; here I wanted to describe the best portable pumps.
In the garage
- Floor pump
Ideally, this is made of steel, particularly the barrel and the base. A pump that goes with most bikes will be compatible with the most common valves, and should feature a double-sided head to handle the different types of valves.
If you plan to keep it in your garage and need to be able to reach your bike freely despite the limited space, then make sure to get a pump that can pivot up to 360 degrees, and that comes with an extra long hose and an extra wide base to ensure a higher degree of stability.
- Multifunction floor pump
A multifunction pump works for all valve types, regardless of brand, and often has up to five different functions. It can pump bike tires up to 120 or even 140 PSI, which means it may not be suitable for smaller tires. You can also use it to inflate small car tires, sports balls and cones. Finally, the pump should have an extra large gauge that is easy to read and does not require you to crouch over to do that.