Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Welcome to our big air pressure gauge test 2021. Here we present all the air pressure gauges that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best air pressure tester for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy an air pressure gauge.




Summary

  • Tyre pressure gauges measure the air pressure in tyres. The correct tyre pressure is essential for safety but also for fuel-efficient driving.
  • A basic distinction is made between digital and analogue tyre pressure gauges. However, both have the same function - to check the tyre pressure.
  • Tyre pressure gauges for car valves can also be used with a suitable adapter for other valves (e.g. for bicycles).

The Best Air Pressure Gauge: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an air pressure gauge

Is a digital air pressure gauge preferable to an analogue one?

Technically, analogue air pressure gauges work the same as digital ones. Depending on your preference and handling, analogue or digital air pressure gauges can be considered.

Air pressure gauges are needed to check tyre pressure. (Image source: pixabay.com / bernswaelz)

If you are more "old school" and don't really trust the (battery-powered) technology of today, an analogue gauge will also do the job. These consist of an almost airless metal box that has an elastic corrugated metal lid and is connected to a spring. The corrugated metal lid is pressed in by variable air pressure.

This slight movement is amplified by a lever and transferred to a pointer which indicates the air pressure at the end. The advantage of analogue gauges is that they are easy to use and that physics never lies to you. On the other hand, such devices are somewhat heavier.

The digital version shows the air pressure on an electronic display, the accuracy is equal to the analogue air pressure gauge, but it relies on a full battery.

Batteries run out after a while, a disadvantage for the digital air pressure gauge. Whichever one you choose, both measure tyre pressure equally well.

Are there air pressure gauges specifically for cars?

Car tyres have a special valve - the so-called Schrader valve. Special air pressure gauges fit exactly on such valves. Other air pressure gauges are suitable for bicycle valves, these do not fit car valves.

You should check the air pressure at least every fortnight! Even a barely noticeable, small deviation from the target inflation pressure leads to higher tyre wear.

What does calibration of an air pressure gauge mean?

Calibration is the testing and stamping of a measuring device to be carried out by the responsible calibration authority in accordance with the calibration regulations. Testing confirms that the measuring device meets the requirements.

Simultaneous stamping indicates that at the time of testing the measuring device met the requirements and will continue to do so if handled correctly. Air pressure gauges should usually be recalibrated every two years and readjusted if necessary.

Where can I buy air pressure gauges and how much do they cost?

Air pressure gauges can be bought at tyre shops, but DIY and technical stores also sell air pressure gauges and it is best to compare prices on the internet. You can also find air pressure gauges on amazon.de and ebay.de. Prices vary from a very reasonable 3.50 euros to an outrageously expensive 100 euros.

Decision: What types of air pressure gauges are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between two types of air pressure gauges:

  • Analogue air pressure gauge
  • Digital tyre pressure gauges

Both air pressure gauges work in the same way. The only differences are in the display and the design. This results in advantages and disadvantages, which we will illustrate for you in the following section.

In terms of measuring accuracy, it does not matter which type of tyre pressure gauge you choose. Both work with similar accuracy in this respect. In principle, you can choose the respective measuring device according to your preferences.

How does an analogue tyre pressure gauge work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The key advantage of analogue tyre pressure gauges is that they do not require batteries. Since they indicate the air pressure by means of a pointer and scale, they can never run out of power. However, this also brings a disadvantage: the display is not illuminated. In poor lighting conditions, the tyre pressure is therefore not optimally readable.

Metal parts are usually built into this type of air pressure gauge. This makes their construction quite solid. However, these tyre pressure gauges also weigh somewhat more. Another advantage of analogue air pressure gauges is that they are easy to use. You just plug the device into the valve of the tyre and you can read the air pressure on the scale.

Advantages
  • No batteries required
  • Solid construction
  • Easy to use
Disadvantages
  • No light
  • Heavy weight

How does a digital air pressure gauge work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Digital air pressure gauges are usually made of plastic and are therefore light and easy to handle. The disadvantage is that they are less solid.

A big advantage of these tyre pressure gauges is the illuminated electronic display. The numbers are easy to read even in poor lighting conditions. Decimal places are also displayed. Of course, this display does not work without electricity. Therefore, batteries are required for digital tyre pressure testers, which is a major disadvantage.

Advantages
  • Light weight
  • Illuminated display
Disadvantages
  • Less solid
  • Batteries required

Both tyre pressure testers are equally suitable for different types of tyres, such as car tyres or bicycle tyres. This does not depend on the type of tester, but only on the measuring range of the device and the matching valve.

Additional displays and functions, such as a psi display or a deflation function, are built into the respective measuring devices regardless of the type of tyre pressure tester.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate air pressure gauges

The following section deals with the various features of an air pressure gauge. We show you which features you can use to compare and evaluate air pressure gauges.

We have summarised the following features for you here:

  • Measuring technology
  • Measuring range
  • Additional psi display
  • Multiple valve selection
  • Drain function

The quality of the devices varies from a rickety plastic shell to a finely rubberised metal housing.

Measuring technology

Air pressure gauges are available in two different versions: digital and analogue. As already described in detail in the guidebook section, the technology works in the same way in both versions.

With an analogue air pressure gauge, the air pressure is displayed on a measuring scale with a pointer. The integrated diaphragm manometer is connected to a movable rod, which in turn is connected to the pointer. If pressure acts on the membrane, it deforms and the pointer moves to the respective air pressure.

The same thing happens with the digital version, except that there is no pointer here, but the air pressure is shown on a display using digital technology. These devices are always battery-operated and have an integrated light in the display so that it can be read even in the dark.

Measuring range

The measuring range varies with the respective air pressure devices. Depending on the vehicle for which the air pressure is to be checked, the appropriate air pressure device with the sufficient measuring range should be used.

Smaller air pressure gauges go up to about four bar. This is quite sufficient for checking the air pressure of a car tyre, as the tyre pressure is normally in the range between 2.1 and 3.5 bar. This is even sufficient for bicycles, where you can use an even smaller version.

For truck tyres or tractor tyres, much more bar is required, which makes an air pressure device of up to 12 bar advisable.

Tractor tyres, for example, often have a tyre pressure of ten bar, depending on the load. However, since this guide is aimed specifically at car drivers, it should be said here that the smaller more common air pressure gauges are quite sufficient.

Additional psi display?

Air pressure can be measured not only in bar, but also in the American unit psi. PSI means "pounds per square inch". However, this is not the same as the German unit bar, but must be converted.

1 bar = 14.504 psi

1 psi = 0.0689 bar

Many air pressure gauges have an additional display in psi and convert automatically.

psi to bar bar to psi
1 bar = 14.504 psi 1 psi = 0.0689bar

Selecting multiple valves

How practical would it be if an air pressure gauge could not only measure the tyre pressure of the car tyre, but also that of the bicycle? Some air pressure gauges fulfil this wish.

There are three common types of valves in Germany:

  • Dunlop valve
  • Sclaverand valve
  • Schrader valve

Dunlop valve

The Dunlop valve is most common in Germany for city and touring bicycles. It was named after the inventor John Dunlop, the founder of the tyre manufacturer of the same name. Most Dunlop valves are designed for a maximum of 6 bar.

MrHandwerkCar Expert, Youtuber
After unscrewing the valve cap, place it visibly in front of the wheel so that it does not get lost.

A valve cap should always be screwed onto a wheel to protect the valve from dust and moisture, as these can contaminate the valve, lead to air leakage or, in the worst case, render the valve unusable.

(Source: youtube.com)

Sclaverand valve

The Sclaverand valve was invented by a Frenchman and is therefore also called the "French valve". "Sclaverand" originally means "fast, hurried, immediate". Due to its ability to build up and maintain a high internal pressure in the tyre, this valve is perfect for racing bikes or mountain bikes that require low rolling resistance.

Schrader valve

The Schrader valve - also called the car valve - is used on all common cars. An air pressure gauge with an autovalve attachment therefore does not fit other valve types. An adapter is needed for this.

Did you know that the numbers after the letters DOT indicate the production date?

This date is important to know the age of the tyre. This makes it possible to determine the exact age at any time, even if the tyre changes hands. You should also change the tyre after 8 years at the latest.

Deflation function

Some air pressure gauges not only measure the air pressure in the tyre, but can also deflate it. Air can escape through a special release valve. In addition, some gauges also allow you to set the exact air pressure to which the air should escape.

Facts worth knowing about air pressure gauges

What is the right tyre pressure for me?

The correct tyre pressure is always specified by the vehicle manufacturer. This can often be found on a label inside the driver's and rear doors. Sometimes it is also written on the inside of the fuel filler cap. However, the owner's manual always notes the correct tyre pressure. A distinction is made between the front and rear tyres.

These have different tyre pressures that should be observed. However, it is important that the tyres on one axle (both front tyres, for example) have the same tyre pressure.

The vehicle manufacturer also indicates the load conditions and which tyre pressure should be maintained. For longer and faster journeys with a fully loaded car, the specified tyre pressure may be exceeded by max. 0.2 bar, as the air escapes more quickly than with an empty vehicle.

Did you know that complete wheels should always be stored with higher air pressure?

Even when the wheels are stored and not in use, they constantly lose air. Therefore, you should fill the complete wheels with about 0.5 bar above the full load pressure. However, only use compressed air for this.

Why and how often should you check the air pressure of a car tyre?

The inside of a tyre is coated so that air cannot escape to the outside. However, since the coating, like all other materials, consists of interlinked molecular chains at the micro level, there is still a certain degree of semi-permeability.

This allows air molecules to pass between the molecular bonds, lowering the tyre by 0.2 bar per month. Temperature fluctuations also change the tyre pressure. If the temperature drops, the air pressure also drops. If the temperature rises, the tyre pressure increases.

Therefore, the tyre pressure must be readjusted in the different seasons. As a general rule, a temperature difference of 10 degrees Celsius makes a difference in air pressure of 0.7 bar.

In general, tyre pressure should be checked at least once a month, preferably every fortnight. But especially before a long journey by car, it is indispensable to check the tyres for their air pressure. A tyre that is too flat also means increased fuel consumption, which is not only a burden on your wallet but also on the environment.

If winter suddenly sets in, you should also increase the tyre pressure immediately and pay more attention to the tyre pressure changes from then on.

Should I measure the tyres warm or cold?

You should generally measure the air pressure on "cold" tyres. Cold tyres mean that the car has been standing for a longer period of time (e.g. overnight). Once a car has warmed up, the air in the tyres expands and can give a distorted picture on the tester.

Image source: Pixabay.com / bernswaelz

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