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
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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
Right out of the gate, we’re going to talk about an easy-to-use yet accurate offering. This analog gauge provides users with an easy-to-read, glow-in-the-dark dial that measures 2 inches across to the perfect balance of legibility and portability. It is calibrated to provide accurate readings to within plus or minus one percent (one PSI) up to its max reading of 100 PSI. A trick feature is that it locks in all pressure readings until the release button is engaged. That release also allows you to release excess pressure from the tire when necessary. The rubber hose attaches to brass fittings with the ability to swivel 360 degrees at either joint, and the rubber jacket offers protection of the entire unit.
Overall, there’s a lot to love about this model. But it’s not perfect. Durability is a little low for many applications. It also doesn’t help that the air line is a little short, and it’s hard to use in tight spaces.
Finally, a type of air pressure gauge we’re all familiar with. But don’t be fooled by the award we’re giving it. Best Value does not mean cheap. After all, this is offered by Wynnsky. Those guys know a thing or two about air pressure. The heavy-duty construction and convenient features are reflective of what the brand stands for. Its thin body consists of chrome-plated brass, and the diecast chuck employs a dual-head foot design that is perfect for servicing both small cars and heavy equipment. Each unit is calibrated for measurements between 10 and 150 PSI as well as 100 to 1,040 kilopascals, delivering readings in two-pound and 20-kPa increments.
The design is what it is. It’s as basic as it gets, and though there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s not the best choice for specialized applications. If you’re into motorsports of any kind or need something with a little more functionality, this is not the gauge you need.
Best Offroad Kit
Grit Performance Tire Deflator Offroad Kit
You might be tempted to use a rock to air-down before you hit the trail. While resourceful, there is a better way. This is it. This handy setup features a 60-PSI tire pressure gauge and a valve core repair kit conveniently packaged in a zippered EVA case. The pressure gauge consists of a brass body with a ribbed rubber cover, brass fittings, a brass combination chuck/deflator/core remover, and a 12-inch, 75-PSI braided hose. The glow-in-the-dark dial provides readings up to 60 PSI and is calibrated to meet ANSI B40.1 Standard. It’s pretty much anything an off-roader or any other motorsports enthusiast needs for managing tire pressure.
If you’re going to put this thing to work, you do need to be careful. Some of the components are just a tad too fragile for heavy-duty environments. But treat it with respect, and you’ll undoubtedly fall in love with what it brings to the table.
Jaco stands out among air pressure gauges. The brand swings a big stick and prides itself on producing some of the best options on the market. This particular model is a great example of why the brand receives so much praise. This setup consists of a brass dial with a ribbed rubber cover, brass fittings, a 10-inch flexible rubber hose, a 90-degree brass air chuck, and a steel dual-head chuck for check dually tires. The mechanical components are tested, certified, and calibrated to consistently comply with ANSI B40.1 Standard, ensuring accuracy to within 1.5 percent of actual tire pressures. It also features a two-inch, glow-in-the-dark measurement dial and provides readings up to 160 PSI. If that isn’t good enough, it’s backed by a lifetime guarantee.
This gauge does most things well, but it does lack for use with Dual-wheel applications. Unfortunately, the air chuck isn’t always long enough to get a good seat on inner valve stems. This is a major issue considering it’s an attractive feature for many users.
Best for Garage Use
AstroAI Digital Tire Inflator Compressor with Air Pressure Gauge
Here we have a setup that any hobbyist or do-it-yourselfer should consider. It has a ton of features that help to eliminate any of the guesswork or odd jobs associated with filling tires. This set includes a digital tire inflator/deflator/pressure gauge assembly (including a hose), a brass air chuck, a 1/4-inch NPT steel fitting, thread seal tape, four valve caps, and a valve core tool, providing users with virtually everything they might need. The pressure gauge assembly provides readings up to 250 PSI and boasts accuracy to within one percent. The backlit LCD generates a display resolution up to 0.1 PSI and provides readings in four different units.
Quality control seems to be a slight issue with this particular model. Even though the build quality and list of parts are consistent, many consumers do report having problems with performance. Not enough to render this a bad product, just that quality does vary.
Tekton 5941 Digital Tire Gauge
Alright, now we’re taking a look at a super versatile, digital tire air pressure gauge. One of the first things you’ll notice is the compact yet ergonomic design. It easily fits into the palm of your hand, has a single-button operation, and a backlit LCD for an easy read-out. It’s just as easy to use as it is quick in showing almost instantaneous accurate readings. Speaking of readings, it has four ranges to work with. You can attain pressure ratings in PSI, BAR, KPa, and kg/cm2. It runs on the common CR2032 battery and even has an automatic shut-shutoff to preserve battery life.
Durability is questionable at best. While this is a great tool, it isn’t long for this world when subjected to harsh environments. But if you keep it out of the tool box and in the center console of a car, you’re not likely to see many problems.
Rhino USA Tire Inflator with Pressure Gauge
Rhino USA is a brand that understands the demands of outdoor enthusiasts better than most. Therefore, it aims at providing the kind of gear off-roaders, motorcyclists, and bicyclists can rely on. This pressure gauge is of no exception. It offers pretty much everything you need, aside from the compressor, to set and adjust air pressure in your tires. It has a heavy-duty analog dial gauge, interchangeable air chucks, and a perfectly placed air-bleeder valve. It also features a long braided air line for use on large applications or where reach is of concern.
There’s not a whole lot to complain about with this product unless you’re running oversized tires. It just doesn’t seem to flow air fast enough for big hunks of rubber as-is. But other than that, it’s not a bad design, and quality isn’t an issue in any way.
TireTek Tire Pressure Gauge with Inflator
TireTek is a favorite among many, and you’ll see why when you put this pressure gauge/ inflator to the test. Now, this is a set up that is dependent on the use of an air compressor for function, so you’ll need one of those to get rolling. But, the steel and brass construction paired with the calibration to conform with the ANSI B40.1 Grade B (±2%) international accuracy standard makes this a premium quality tool you don’t want to overlook. Not only that, the design is simple and easy to use. It even has the air-bleeder valve in the perfect position to make adjustments on the fly.
Unfortunately, many reviews tell of having to make some adjustments to the tool out of the box. It’s not on account of the quality of the components, but an incomplete assembly. The air hose tends to be loose and requires tightening, or it will develop a leak.
JACO ElitePro Tire Pressure Gauge
Maybe you need a tire pressure gauge that does away with unnecessary bells and whistles. Perhaps you still need some trick features. Well, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Starting with accuracy, this gauge is calibrated to meet the ANSI standards. It also has a sizeable sweeping gauge with easy to read designations. Linking the indicator to the tip is a 10-inch flexible air hose. And on that tip, you’ll find a connector with a 45-degree swiveling head. And to make things even more comfortable, there’s an easy to use air bleeder in case you need to make some adjustments.
Quality control seems to be the bane of this gauge’s existence. While it’s not every review, there are more than enough harping on about the lack of accuracy and reliability. The build quality is there, and everyone acknowledges it, but there are far too many common flaws to ignore.
And we are wrapping up our list with the most compact unit on our list. But don’t let its size fool you. This is no basic piece of plastic. For one, it’s got a heavy-duty shell that’s going to help it survive minor abuse. And despite the size, it has all the functionality you’ll need. It has an extra-large display that offers four ranges of measurement. You can attain readings in PSI, BAR, KPA, and kg/cm2. But that’s not all. This little bad boy even has a tire tread depth gauge built into the body so that you can further determine the condition of your tires.
Despite the heavy-duty case, it’s not invincible. Many reviews indicate you can only expect so much of it. And while that may be made clear by the price and size, it’s still a major letdown considering it’s potential.
- 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.