The Best Bike Pumps of 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

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We've added a note about the size options of our handheld pick. We remain confident in our recommendations. Self Standing Bag Dust Proof Nozzle Cover

The Best Bike Pumps of 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

No matter what kind of bike you ride—road bike or mountain bike, beach cruiser or hybrid, ebike or unicycle—you need a way to inflate its tires.

After testing 35 pumps over the past six years, we believe the Lezyne Classic Floor Drive 3.5 is the best floor pump for most bike commuters thanks to its sturdy construction, easy-to-read dial, and utterly reliable screw-on head (which fits both Presta and Schrader valves).

We also have a pick for a portable pump to use while you’re out on a ride.

This mostly metal pump is a smart buy, from its extra-large pressure gauge to its recently redesigned screw-on pump head.

Though not the cheapest pump we tested, the difference in quality between a $30 pump and this one is astounding. The drawbacks: its plastic, wedge-on pump head and very short hose.

Although this pump is pricey, its comfortable, generously sized handle, ultra-visible gauge, and extremely stable base make it the pump to get if you’ll be using it a lot.

Versatile and compact, this pump will fill the flat-fixing needs of any commuter while on the road.

This mostly metal pump is a smart buy, from its extra-large pressure gauge to its recently redesigned screw-on pump head.

The most important thing a pump can do is not frustrate you. Our pick, the Lezyne Classic Floor Drive 3.5, excels in this task due to the design of its pump head, which you screw securely—rather than wedge—onto your valve. It combines an L-shaped head that’s refreshingly easy to fit between spokes with a removable and reversible chuck (one end fits Schrader tire valves; the other, Presta valves). Once you’ve screwed the pump head onto your tire’s valve, the Classic Floor Drive will never, ever release the valve until you want it to. In addition, its sturdy construction, extra-large pressure gauge, extra-long hose, and varnished wooden handle make it simple, and even pleasing, to use.

Though not the cheapest pump we tested, the difference in quality between a $30 pump and this one is astounding. The drawbacks: its plastic, wedge-on pump head and very short hose.

With more high-quality parts than anything comparably priced, the Planet Bike ALX 2 is, we believe, the best choice for someone who doesn’t ride every day or every week. It has a steel base and barrel—in fact, the only plastic part is the pump head, which you push onto the valve and lock with a lever. That head is one reason this pump isn’t our top pick; the pump’s very short hose is another. That said, the ALX 2 inflated tires faster than almost every pump we looked at, including the Lezyne Classic Floor Drive and the pricey Specialized Air Tool Pro. Our testers also rated it highly in both steadiness and usability—the wide wooden handle really helps with that. In addition, this is the only pump we found that comes with a limited lifetime warranty, which is much better than the industry-standard two years.

Although this pump is pricey, its comfortable, generously sized handle, ultra-visible gauge, and extremely stable base make it the pump to get if you’ll be using it a lot.

The Specialized Air Tool Pro was a tester favorite. It’s nearly twice the price, but it doesn’t have twice the features of the Lezyne Classic, and that’s why it isn’t our top pick. But it’s so stable and easy to use—with a generously wide handle and sturdy base—that we think someone who rides a lot and has to use a pump often would be enamored with the upgrade in performance.

Versatile and compact, this pump will fill the flat-fixing needs of any commuter while on the road.

The Lezyne Pressure Drive is a smartly designed handheld bike pump capable of filling the types of tires most frequently used by recreational riders. In fact, it works better with different tire sizes than the other portable pumps we tested. This pump screws securely (via a detachable hose) to inner-tube valves, and its all-aluminum body has a smooth, efficient stroke. It’s small enough to carry in a jersey pocket but also comes with a bracket that you can attach to your frame. Like all of our picks, it works with both Presta and Schrader valves, the two standard kinds of bike-tube valves in the US. It comes in two sizes, the “small” being about 7.25 inches in length (including the rubber seals and caps), and the “medium” a little less than two inches longer than that. The price is the same; we’d recommend getting the smaller one unless you have very large hands.

This guide represents more than 20 years of collective experience in researching, testing, and writing about bike accessories. Eve O’Neill, who is responsible for the most recent update, is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter and has been on the bike commuting beat since she joined the company. Matthew Edwards has spent five years in the cycling industry as a salesperson, mechanic, and amateur bike racer, and Dave Yasuda is a road, mountain, and commuting cyclist with more than 30 years in the saddle.

If you have a bike, you need a floor pump to keep it operating. First, it does the basic labor of inflating your tire’s tubes. Also, you’ll get better performance from your bike and avoid pinch flats (where the tube gets caught between the tire rim and the road surface) if you keep your tires at the proper air pressure. This generally means topping off your tubes weekly, because they leak air even when your bike’s just sitting idle.

In addition to recommendations for floor pumps, which are the most hassle-free option for at-home maintenance, we have recommendations for handheld pumps too. But those are strictly for adding to your on-the-go repair kit and using when you get a flat on the road—a floor pump takes a lot less effort to use.

Are all bike pumps equal? According to one pump designer we spoke to, yes. “They’ll all perform similarly,” he said—the designer didn’t want his name or company affiliation mentioned—“because they all come from the same factories.” He meant what he said, but as we discovered, the details count when it comes to pumps.

At this point, we’ve researched more than 100 models, and our work always starts with reading what others have to say. First, we get studious with online reviews, relying upon the expertise at Bicycling, Cycling Weekly, GearLab, BikeRadar, and MTBR to point us in the right direction. We also look at Amazon, online bike shops like Competitive Cyclist, and outdoor retailers such as REI to read customer reviews, all of which help us decide which pumps to examine in person.

Then we talk to experts about what makes a good pump. Over the years, these have included Lennard Zinn, author of the most popular bike-repair manuals in the US; Daimeon Shanks, a former pro race team mechanic; Jason Bauer of Boise’s Bauerhaus Bikes, a Shimano-certified mechanic with more than 20 years of experience and longtime wrench for 24-hour-sold world-champion mountain biker Rebecca Rusch; Chris Haunold of Idaho Mountain Touring, a bike shop that has been a leader in the Boise cycling community for more than 30 years; and Nicola Cranmer, a longtime cyclist and general manager of Team Twenty20, a women’s pro cycling team.

Whether we were looking at a floor or handheld pump, we learned to prize, above all else, the following qualities:

To test for these different criteria, we did a few things. We compared the construction of every pump to evaluate its potential longevity and sturdiness. We scrutinized the dial for legibility and placement. But mostly, we did a lot of tire pumping. It was the only way to properly evaluate the valve seal, how well the chuck operated, how stable the pump was, and in some cases, whether or not the pump even worked.

We used our floor pumps to inflate each of three tire sizes to their recommended pressure (60 pounds per square inch, 75 psi, and 100 psi), inflating every tire twice. For handheld pumps we did the same, again with three tires each at a different pressure rating (30 psi, 35 psi, and 100 psi), inflated twice. Over the course of two years we’ve inflated tires more than 250 times. We log how many strokes it takes to reach the proper pressure, how ergonomic the handle is, how legible the dial is, and whether or not any tiny pieces spring loose and roll into a sewer grate while we were trying to switch between valves (it has happened twice).

This mostly metal pump is a smart buy, from its extra-large pressure gauge to its recently redesigned screw-on pump head.

We think the Lezyne Classic Floor Drive 3.5 is the best pump for most people. It has a valve attachment that is unique among all systems; it’s also both simple to attach and highly secure. It’s as sturdy and reliable as pumps twice the price, and all of its components, from hose to gauge, are more generously sized than those of its competitors.

The screw-on design of the Classic Floor Drive’s head is a standout feature. Only one other pump we tested, the Crankbrothers Klic, also uses a screw-on head, but the Lezyne attachment is bigger and therefore easier to handle. The L-shape also improves its ergonomics and provides an all-around more solid attachment. This is especially important, according to a former floor pump designer interviewed by our colleague Eric Hansen, because the head is often the only part that really differentiates one pump from another.

Lezyne calls this head a flip chuck head. It has a removable, two-sided chuck: One end works with Presta tube valves, and the other works with Schrader. If you want to change from one to the other—or vice versa—you unscrew the red chuck, flip it over, and screw it back on. Once you’ve done so, screw the head onto the valve. This is different from the common push-on-and-flip-a-lever design on most pump heads. You’ll see that the connection is super-reliable, it will never release until you want it to, and we haven’t noticed any air leaks during testing.

This is also the steadiest, sturdiest pump we tried, which made it a favorite among our testers. The three-footed design makes it more stable than two-footed models, and there are no plastic parts (except for the gauge cover). That makes a huge difference when you are pumping up a 100 psi road bike tire and need leverage to work air into the tube. Even the couplings are aluminum; not even the Specialized Air Tool Pro, at nearly twice the price, has all-metal couplings.

The valve head is attached to an extra-long (47-inch) rubber hose. With shorter hoses, you may need to rotate your wheel to get a good seal or perch uncomfortably close to it while you pump. With this long of a hose, you can also place the pump toward the middle of your bike and inflate both tires without having to move the pump, regardless of the valve position on the wheels. We know it’s a small matter, but our testers appreciated the convenience.

The huge 3½-inch pressure gauge is super-clear and readable from nearly any height when pumping. And not only is the dial big, but the text on it is designed well, with large, legible numbers on a contrasting background. We’ve seen gauges that, in spite of their massive size, are still hard to read because of a vexing layout or poor choice of font. And since the gauge is base-mounted and low to the ground, there’s no way it can make a pump top heavy or that it could break after tipping over.

The Classic Floor Drive has a maximum inflation pressure of 220 psi, well above any pressure needed by the average cyclist and more than any other model we tried, except the (now discontinued) Serfas FMP-500, which was rated to 250 pounds. Although you might encounter a few tires meant for velodrome use rated for pressures greater than 200 psi, that’s overkill for most riders. It also comes with attachments for other inflatables, like exercise balls and basketballs, should you need them.

If you own a pump for long enough, you will inevitably have to replace something on it. Most often it’ll be either the pump head or the hose seals. You’ll know the head is going bad when it no longer seals reliably and you hear the sad sound of air hissing out, no matter what you do or what god you pray to. The good news is that a quality pump can be rebuilt; Lezyne sells replacement head/hose combos and other parts.

Finally, Lezyne warranties pumps against defects in workmanship and materials for two years. Though that isn’t as good as the lifetime guarantee provided by Planet Bike, the Classic Floor Drive is well-made and should last.

Having to screw the head onto the valve takes a little longer than the usual push-on valves with a locking lever, but we think most people will appreciate the secure connection for the price of those few seconds. Plus, whatever time you lose installing it, you gain on the opposite end of the process, when you simply unthread the chuck instead of having to yank at a push-on head that won’t come off.

When we counted the number of strokes it took to fill a tire to pressure, the Lezyne Classic Drive placed in the middle of the pack. While it wasn’t the top performer, we’re not worried: When we do this test, we’re mostly looking for outliers—either intoxicatingly efficient or miserably inefficient designs.

Though not the cheapest pump we tested, the difference in quality between a $30 pump and this one is astounding. The drawbacks: its plastic, wedge-on pump head and very short hose.

Though not the least expensive pump we tested, our budget pick is the Planet Bike ALX 2, because the difference in quality between a $35 pump and a $60 pump is enormous. Even for people who don’t plan to ride their bikes frequently, we believe it’s worth spending the extra money. Most significantly, the ALX 2 has a lot of sturdy, nonplastic parts and a steady base. The pump is comfortable and usable, and it even comes with a lifetime warranty, the best of anything we looked at, regardless of price.

The valve on the ALX 2 is nothing special—and it’s one reason this pump isn’t our main pick—but nothing in this price range is. It’s a common flip model: You press it onto the tire tube valve and flip the handle up to secure it. Made of plastic, it works on both Presta and Schrader valves, and unlike the Lezyne’s head, you don’t need to disassemble the chuck to change from one valve type to another. However, as with other heads of this type, you run the risk of the head popping off midstroke if you haven’t seated it correctly.

The hose is another place this pump comes up short. It’s 34.5 inches long, the second shortest in our test pool. When inflating tires, this pump still outperformed many of the others we tested, outdoing not just the similar Specialized Air Tool Sport, but even the Lezyne and the Air Tool Pro by a few strokes. The wooden handle is easy to use, and our testers all praised the pump’s base. It’s not as stable as the Lezyne, but it does sit completely flush with the ground and remains steadier than the other midrange options.

The gauge is 3 inches wide, base-mounted, and readable, with contrasting black-on-white text. It pumps up to 160 psi, enough for anything but a track bike, and it comes with a set of adaptors for sports balls. This pump is also rebuildable, and Planet Bike sells head, hose, and O-ring replacement parts. And it comes with a limited lifetime warranty, the most robust of any pump we tested.

Although this pump is pricey, its comfortable, generously sized handle, ultra-visible gauge, and extremely stable base make it the pump to get if you’ll be using it a lot.

The Specialized Air Tool Pro costs nearly twice as much as the Lezyne Classic Floor Drive, but it doesn’t offer twice as many features, nor perform twice as well, and that’s why it isn’t our top pick. But it’s so stable, with a generously wide handle and sturdy base, that we think someone who will be using a pump a lot—every week, or even every day—may appreciate the upgrade.

The valve attachment is a flip model, made of combined metal and plastic, and has the usual drawback: You have to make sure it’s properly attached or it might pop off suddenly. However, it’s larger and fits the hand more ergonomically than anything we tried, and it’s easy to secure and release.

This is a pump made for someone who is going to use it a lot, and the handle and the base are where its best features are focused. The broad, flat handle outshines even that on the pricey Silca Pista, which couldn’t fit two hands. The footprint, on the receiving end of all that robust tire pumping, was the only one that provided an even steadier base than the Lezyne Classic Drive, with minimal rocking in any direction.

The gauge is also notable. Three inches in diameter, it has white numbers on a black background, plus a contrasting hi-vis yellow needle. None of the pumps we saw had any glow-in-the-dark markings on the gauge—which would come in handy, say, for an early-morning ride—but this dial came the closest to providing that kind of visibility.

For the price, we were expecting all elements of this pump to be standouts, but some were just average. The hose is shorter on this pump (42 inches) than on the Lezyne Classic Drive, and the max psi and the warranty (two years) are the same as the Lezyne.

Also, as this is a serious cycling pump for a serious cyclist, it therefore doesn’t come with any adaptors for anything other than bike tubes.

Versatile and compact, this pump will fill the flat-fixing needs of any commuter while on the road.

The Lezyne Pressure Drive’s solid aluminum body, smooth pumping action, removable hose, and secure pump-to-valve attachment make for a handheld pump that is functional and efficient. Among all the pumps we tested, nothing reached this level of quality at the same price.

The standout feature is the detachable hose that accommodates both Presta and Schrader valves. To use the pump, remove the hose from its storage place inside the pump’s body. Each end of the hose is clearly marked with either Presta or Schrader. Screw one end onto the pump’s body. Then, instead of relying on friction or a thumb lock—the other two common methods of attaching a handheld pump to a valve—you screw the other end onto the threaded tip of your valve. Every time, the seal held fast no matter how hard we pumped. And like all hose attachments, this one reduces the odds of bending or even breaking the valve.

The Pressure Drive is advertised as a low-volume, high-pressure pump for road bikes, and we were able to get to 100 psi on our 700c tire in 300 strokes. Even though that’s a serious, sweaty workout, it’s a high bar to set for a handheld pump, one that not all of the pumps we tested could accomplish. Knowing that high-pressure road tires are this pump’s specialty, we were surprised we could fill a lower-pressure tire without taking a long, long time. It took us 150 strokes to fill a hybrid tire to 35 psi, and 290 strokes to get a mountain bike tire to 30 psi. That may sound like a lot, but those are very respectable numbers, especially given the pump’s small size. (The pump comes in two sizes; we tested the smaller one, which is a little over 7 inches in length. The medium is closer to 9 inches—we’d recommend buying that one only if you have large hands and enough room in your jersey pockets. The price is the same for both.)

With pumps like this, which attach to a valve stem by screwing it on, it’s possible to unscrew a removable valve core (a few Presta valves have these) while removing your pump. (There goes all your hard-earned air, in a rush!) If you like to use valves with removable cores—you know who you are—the Pressure Drive has an integrated valve core tool. This is also what you need to fix a leaky stem, which could be the cause of your flat in the first place.

Lezyne also provides a two-year warranty that covers manufacturer defects, and you can replace worn-out O-rings and the like with replacement parts from the Lezyne site.

As with all hand pumps, this is no substitute for a floor pump. You will be tired and frustrated if you regularly use this to inflate your tires the entire way. In addition, if you ride a mountain bike or any kind of tire that has a very low psi rating, a high-volume, low-pressure pump may be a better choice to take on the trail with you. The Lezyne Alloy Drive is the equivalent of the Pressure Drive for mountain bike tires.

If our budget floor pump isn’t available: Consider the Specialized Air Tool Sport SwitchHitter II , which only narrowly came in second. It has a higher build quality than anything similar on Amazon, including the the Topeak Joe Blow III and the Vibrelli pump. The air hose is longer, the base is more stable, and it inflated our tires faster than anything we tried in our tests. If you can get your hands on this model, we think you’ll be very happy.

If you find operating a handheld pump exhausting: Consider the Topeak Mini Morph, which has an extendable foot peg and a T-shaped handle that allow you to leverage it against the ground, just like a floor pump. However, it’s longer and heavier than the Lezyne Pressure Drive, and changing from Presta to Schrader valves requires pulling apart the pump head. That’s less of an issue with an at-home pump, but an important consideration with a portable one. The plastic pieces are small, and wind, darkness, cold hands, and impatience could complicate making the switch in the field.

Truth be told, all pumps are pretty decent. “Anything you get at a bike shop, if you don’t use it as a hammer, you’ll be fine,” said repair-manual author Lennard Zinn. With that in mind, here are the reasons we’ve set aside these other models:

The Lezyne Steel Floor Drive is very similar in build quality to our top pick. It was, however, the worst performer in our pump test, requiring 10 to 15 more strokes at all psi levels than the better performers.

The biggest ding to the Specialized Air Tool Sport was the illegible dial. Lots of leaning down to read this one. We also prefer the wooden handle on our budget pick.

The Crankbrothers Sapphire had the best pumping performance, taking fewer strokes than any other model. Even so, our budget pick was only five to eight strokes behind, is more stable, and doesn’t have a plastic handle.

The Crankbrothers Klic attempts a solution to an annoying storage problem––the floppy tube gets stored in the handle. Our testers liked it but felt that the gauge seemed breakable, and losable, since it was no longer attached to the pump. In addition, not all the edges of the base are flush with the ground, just the foot contact points, and we noticed less stability with all pumps designed this way.

The Silca Pista has one of the strongest builds (all metal everything), but it’s small. That’s as intended––it’s meant to be easy to carry around in a car trunk. But the two-footed base is wobbly, the handle was too small to be comfortable, and testers were afraid they’d lose the detachable Presta valve adapter. The Pista Plus remedies these issues but for more than twice the price of our top pick.

The Bontrager Dual Charger pressure gauge appeared to be defective. It hovered at 60 psi on the dial even while attached to an uninflated tire. We’re assuming this was random, and not endemic, but either way we found sturdier pumps that cost less.

The Topeak JoeBlow Sport III has consistently positive user reviews, but our budget pick is the same price and has a wooden, not plastic, handle. Plus, the gauge sits in a bad spot––too low on the barrel to easily read, but high enough that the pump sometimes tips over.

Both the Pedro’s Prestige and Super Prestige pumps have wobbly, two-footed bases that couldn’t outperform three-footed options.

We tried the Vibrelli for due diligence, but with a shorter height and shorter hose than anything in the test pool, it felt like a toy in a giant’s hands. Our testers also disliked the plastic base. If your biggest worry is cost, it will get the job done, but as we said before, the difference in quality between a $30 pump and a $60 pump is enormous.

The head of the Park Tools PFP-8 blew off a total of three times for two testers—a surprise, considering Park Tool’s good reputation.

We also tested two pumps from Serfas, the FMP 500 and the TCPC. The first had a maximum pressure rating of 260 psi, which added so many digits to the dial that it become hard to decipher; the second pumped 30 percent slower than virtually all other pumps and came with a plastic base. Both now appear to be discontinued.

The Lezyne Sport Drive we tested broke. The plastic fingers on the plastic base that holster the head snapped off while riding in the trunk of the car. There is a new version of the Sport Drive that incorporates the same dial as our top pick, but the base remains plastic.

The Silca Tattico Mini-Pump worked well with Presta valves but did not stay attached to Schrader valves when we pumped vigorously.

Like our runner-up pick, the Lezyne Micro Floor Drive HP/HPG functions like a small floor pump (similar to the Mini Morph), but it was bigger and more cumbersome. It does come with a mounting bracket, but the pump is so big that it’s hard to find an out-of-the-way place for it on smaller bike frames.

Another in the mini-floor-pump camp, the Topeak Road Morph G was the fastest pump in our tests, but its size—it’s nearly 14 inches long—seriously pushed the boundaries of portability.

The Crankbrothers Klic HP folds out into a T shape for a good grip. The length of the stroke is unusually short, though, which meant we had to work hard for results. T handles are generally a good thing, but this one has some weirdly sharp edges.

The Birzman Infinite–Apogee Road recorded a much higher number of strokes than average to fill the three test tires, and it just couldn’t make it to 100 psi for the 700c tire.

The Topeak RaceRocket was also not able to pump a 700c road tire to 100 psi; with this pump, it took us 60 more strokes to get our mountain bike tire to 30 psi than it did with our top pick. It’s true that it’s not a high-volume pump, the kind that is best suited for mountain bike tires. But neither is our top pick.

The Planet Bike MicroPro Mini Bike Pump uses a thumb-lock valve in a fixed position on the end of the pump body. While it’s a classic setup, we believe a pump with an extended tube design is an all-around superior design. It took 370 strokes to inflate the mountain bike tire and 260 strokes for the hybrid—second to worst of all the pumps in the test. We were not able to get the road bike tire to 100 psi at all.

The Planet Bike Mini Versair Bike Pump has a hose that’s much too short to be effective. We had to keep the pump uncomfortably close to the tires.

Any old-school cyclist will recognize the Topeak Pocket Rocket, but it’s a below-average performer. It took us 200 pumps to get the hybrid test tire to 35 psi. Topeak describes the Pocket Rocket as a pump for roadies, but we couldn’t get our 700c tire up to the 100 psi mark.

This article was edited by Ria Misra and Christine Ryan.

Eve O'Neill is a former senior staff writer reporting on travel and outdoors at Wirecutter. She can remember the titles on her childhood bookshelf that set her in this direction: Into Thin Air, On The Road, The Call of the Wild. She has always been drawn to ideas about how to relate to, and play in, the wilderness.

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The Best Bike Pumps of 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

Suction Tube Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing so you can make quick and confident buying decisions. Whether it’s finding great products or discovering helpful advice, we’ll help you get it right (the first time).