Getting yourself a good bike floor pump is important because having precisely the right air pressure in your tires makes a significant difference to the way your bicycle performs. Here’s how to evaluate and pick the right pump for the riding you do.
How to Evaluate a Bike Floor Pump for Your Needs
Like most things to do with cycling, deciding which bike floor pump is right for you starts with considering the type of riding you do.
- Road Bike: Tires for road bikes are generally high-pressure, and you want a pump that is robust enough to handle it with a pump “head” or “chuck” that won’t easily blow off the tire valve.
- Mountain Bike: Fat tires are lower pressure, but they have more volume. For that, you’re going to want a high output pump that has a gauge that shows fine gradations in the under 30-pound range. I ride a hardtail, and just a pound or two of pressure difference has a dramatic effect on traction and smoothness of a ride—especially over rough rocky or rooty terrain.
- Quality: If you’re looking for a new pump, I recommend a few things. Pick one with a metal barrel and a wide stable metal base. I’ve had plastic pumps rupture under pressure, and the broad base keeps it from constantly—and annoyingly—falling over. Look for a robust hose, a sturdy handle, and take the time to look over the head/chuck for things like metal in the head construction.
Whenever considering a pump, do your research and find reviews of the model you’re looking at.
Best Budget Bike Floor Pump for All Round: Topeak Sport II
I have the “Pro” model of this pump, and I’ve been very happy and impressed with Topeak’s attention to quality and performance. The Sport II comes in at a very budget-friendly price, yet features most of the benefits of its higher-priced brethren. That includes a solid steel base for stability and double-sided “twin head” with one side for Presta and the other for Schrader valves.
Topeak Joe Blow Sport II Floor Pump
The Topeak Sport II Floor Pump features a twin head for both Presta and Schrader valves along with a steel barrel and sturdy wide base for stability. It also comes with adapters to inflate balls and blow-up pool toys.
Best Road Bike Floor Pump: Lezyne Steel Digital Drive
I have an ongoing love affair with Lezyne and own two of its mini pumps. They have very simple designs that just work whenever I need them. I like the Steel Digital Drive for a couple of reasons. For one, I’ve been hooked on digital gauges since I got my first. It’s just so fast and easy to get exactly the right pressure every time. Secondly, the Lezyne Digital Drive features a remarkably simple all-metal head that works with both Presta and Schrader valves by simply flipping an adapter. It’s a design that—along with the steel barrel, cast aluminum base, and wood handle—is clearly meant to last.
LEZYNE 1-fp-sddr-v404 Unisex Adult Bicycle Floor Pump, Matte Black
The Lezyne Steel Digital Drive features a steel barrel, cast aluminum base, and a wood handle. The easy-to-read digital gauge combined with the cleverly simple chuck—which works with both Presta and Schrader valves—makes it a joy to use.
Best Bike Floor Pump For Tubeless: Topeak Joe Blow Booster
Tubeless tires are slowly catching on in the road biking world, but they’re a mainstay with most mountain bikers because you can run them at lower pressures for better traction and ride quality while avoiding flats thanks to tire sealant. The challenge is that when they’re first installed, you need a big blast of air to push the bead of the tire out against the inside of the rim to make an airtight seal.
Bike shops do this with an air compressor, but not everyone has the money or space for a relatively large piece of equipment like that. Topeak solves the problem with the Joe Blow Booster bike floor pump, which has an aluminum integrated air chamber that can be pumped up to store a liter of air at 160 psi and then suddenly released into your tire. When you want to use it as a regular pump, you simply flip a selector built into the gauge.
Topeak Joe Blow Booster Floor Pump
If you need a blast of air to seat tubeless tires the Topeak Joe Blow Booster features an integrated reservoir that you can fill with a liter of air at 160 psi. With the flip of a switch, it becomes a regular floor pump.
Also Great: AirShot Tubless Inflator
If you already have a floor pump you like but still need to seat tubeless tires, then the AirShot system is a good option. It holds a little over a liter of air at up to 160 pounds when you inflate it from a floor pump. Like the Joe Blow Booster, you can quickly release it to get the shot of air you need.
Airshot Tubeless Tire Inflator 1.15l
The AirShot inflation system is filled with a floor pump for 1.15 liters of air that can be quickly released to seat tubeless mountain bike tires. A pump is not included.
Best Fat Bike Floor Pump: Joe Blow Fat
Standard mountain bike tires have more volume, but fat bikes are in a class by themselves. Not only that, just a tiny bit of pressure up or down has a tremendous effect on ride quality. Topeak comes to the rescue with the Joe Blow Fat, which has an oversized barrel that’s one and a half times the diameter of a standard pump. It also features a super-accurate gauge that only goes up to 30 psi so you can dial in your ride just the way you like it.
Topeak Joe Blow Fat Floor Pump
The Topeak Joe Blow Fat puts out a large volume of air from its oversized barrel and allows for super-accurate low-pressure inflation thanks to a gauge that only goes up to 30 psi
Now You’re Just Getting Crazy: Silca Super Pista Ultimate ‘Hiro’ Edition
Call me old-school, but just I can’t do a review of bike floor pumps without mentioning the iconic Silca brand. Originally made in Italy starting in 1917, the company was the first to use a pressure gauge for accuracy. When I first got into cycling—more years ago than I care to admit— they were the only game in town, and we loved their bulletproof designs.
Now made in Indianapolis, Silca’s very high quality is still there. But, while they do make a base model in the $100 range, the company seems to be mostly aiming for an upscale boutique cycling crowd with prices that will make your eyes water.
Take the Silca “Super Pista Ultimate ‘Hiro’ Edition” for a mere $450. No, that’s not a typo; you really can spend that much on a bike pump, which the company says will “look equally at home in the living room or the bike room.”
SILCA Super Pista Ultimate 'Hiro' Edition
Bordering on art, Silca's Super Pista Ultimate Hiro Edition is the Cadillac of bike floor pumps and comes with the equivalent price tag for the cyclist in your life who has everything.
To be fair, this is a pump with full stainless steel, aluminum, wood, and brass construction that comes with a lifetime warranty—in case you want to be buried with it.
But the Ultimate Hiro is just the beginning. For $800, you can claim a custom pump with graphics from famed 1980s steel frame bike builder Richard Sachs and a paint job by Joe Bell. Yes, friends, money can’t buy you everything, but it will get you a bike pump with a pedigree that would make a Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show contestant sit up and take notice.