Home Geeks Buying a Tire Pressure Gauge: So many options? What to choose?

Buying a Tire Pressure Gauge: So many options? What to choose?

Hand holding air pressure gauge

When the time comes for you to buy a tire pressure gauge, you could go to the nearest dollar store and pay a couple of bucks, but be aware, you are going to get exactly what you pay for. Do you really want to risk your safety on 2 dollars? If you thought these gauges were the only option, read on.

Why do I need a tire pressure gauge?

Tires that have low pressure can be dangerous, sometimes deadly. Uneven pressure can cause difficult handling, alignment issues, uneven tire wear, and the chance of a blowout. Considering the fact that these four points of rubber are all that stand between your family and the pavement, you may want to pay more attention to them. On the sidewall of your tires is a manufacturer recommended maximum capacity air poundage. If you are the only occupant using the vehicle, the pressure does not need to be as high. In the owners manual, you should find a chart for safe air pressure. To be absolutely certain you are in the safe zone, you will need a tire pressure gauge that is accurate and reliable.

Aren’t they all the same?

When you spot a low tire, you could stop at the corner gas station and use their air pump. These usually have a built in gauge and it is usually broken. Guessing how much air you have in a tire is the worst mistake you can make. So you grab your cheap gauge, try to get a reading, and the insert flies out across the parking lot. Not only that, but quite a bit of air has seeped out of your tire while you were trying to get the gauge to register. You soon learn that all gauges are not the same. You are now willing to pay a bit more for an accurate gauge, and some peace of mind.

We recommend you read this review of tire pressure gauges, or check out the BIFL subreddit for recommendation.


[BIFL Request] Air pressure gauge for car / motorcycle tires. from BuyItForLife

So many options

You do not have to settle for the basic, hard to read, silver stick style anymore. Like all things, tire pressure gauges have evolved. At the low end of the price range is the basic stick style. These are also some of the hardest to read, and not always accurate, but they will do in a pinch.

Climbing the scale, you will find dial gauges. This style resembles a clock face with a needle, similar to the blood pressure gauge at the doctors. These are great for reading. The numbers are clear and the needles do not float. You can find these in sizes suitable for the family car to the weekend RV.

Once we hit the top of the scale, we find the digital tire pressure gauges. Again, these come in a variety of sizes from personal use to industrial use. The digital display screen is the easiest to read with no guesswork. You can even select a model with a back light for night time emergencies. You will, however, want to keep a spare pack of batteries on hand.

Always remember, no matter which version gauge you decide on, They are only efficient with proper care. Keep the nozzle clean and always replace a dropped unit.


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