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A tire pressure gauge is an affordable tool that every car owner should have. Keeping your tires properly inflated ensures they wear out evenly and that you’re getting optimal fuel economy. It’s a small investment for the convenience of checking your tire pressure on a monthly basis.

There are a good variety of tire pressure gauges now available in the market, from mechanical to digital ones, and even multi-functional tools. Take a look at the top 10 best tire gauges below.

Updated 03/06/2020: Our Editor’s Pick, Rhino USA’s Heavy Duty Tire Pressure Gauge is currently on sale for 37% off. You can also save 22% on the AstroAI Digital Tire Pressure Gauge!

1. Editor's Pick: Rhino USA Heavy Duty Tire Pressure Gauge

rhino usa heavy duty tire pressure gauge

Similar in price and style to the JACO ElitePro is the Rhino USA Heavy Duty tire pressure gauge. This gauge only reads up to 75 PSI, however, but is also calibrated to ANSI B40.1 standard. It has a two-inch glow in the dark dial with a premium braided hose and solid brass hardware. Like other mechanical gauges on the list, it has a 360-degree swivel chuck and comes with a lifetime warranty.

It also can lock in the reading until the reset button is pushed, while the rubber cover protects the gauge from accidental drops.

If a max reading of 75 PSI is enough for you, the Rhino tire pressure gauge is one of the highest rated products on Amazon.

2. Tekton Digital Tire Gauge (5941)

tekton digital tire gauge

One of the most popular digital tire pressure gauges available on Amazon comes from Tekton. It features a lit nozzle and display screen, giving the user great visibility when using it in low light or even at night. The nozzle seals to the valve stem for a quick and accurate measurement. The Tekton digital tire pressure gauge is easy to use, with simple push-button control that turns the unit on and selects one of four measurement ranges and has an automatic shut-off feature after 30 seconds to save on battery life.

This tire pressure gauge is contoured to fit your hand, with its ergonomic shape highlighted by a soft, non-slip texture. It is able to read 0-100 PSI, 0-7 BAR, 0-700 kPa, or 0-7 kg/cm2, and has a minimum increment of 0.5 psi. The gauge is powered by one CR2032 3V lithium-ion cell, and three LR44 1.5V button cells, all of which are included.

3. Accutire Digital Tire Pressure Gauge (MS-4021B)

accutire digital tire pressure gauge

Featuring heavy-duty construction and a rugged design, the Accutire digital tire pressure gauge is designed for long-term use. It sports an angled head and rubber-coated handle for easy gripping, along with a large, backlit, and easy-to-read LCD display. This tire pressure gauge is able to read air pressure from 5-150 PSI in 0.5 increments and is said to be accurate within 0.05 PSI. It is also equipped with an auto shut-off feature to save on battery life.

This product has an overwhelming number of positive reviews on Amazon but some users do report issues with the tip of the pressure gauge.

4. TireTek Premium Tire Pressure Gauge

tiretek premium tire pressure gauge

If you prefer a mechanical gauge rather than a digital one, TireTek’s is one of the most reliable, inexpensive, and popular gauges available today. It’s a heavy duty mechanical gauge calibrated to ANSI B40.1 Grade B international accuracy standard, so you know you’re getting a precise and accurate pressure reading each time you use it. It features a steel and brass construction with an extended 5-mm chuck tip, helping make a great seal with no air leakage. The gauge itself is surrounded by a rubber cover, protecting it from accidental drops while making it easy to grip.

Since this is a mechanical gauge, no batteries are necessary. It’s also reliable to use in all weather conditions, although it’s not backlit so it isn’t ideal to use in the dark. The dial is a two-inch display and the chuck can swivel 360 degrees. There is also a pressure release button, which allows for controlled reduction of tire pressure.

5. AstroAI Digital Tire Pressure Gauge

astroai digital tire pressure gauge

This digital gauge from AstroAI features a backlit LCD and non-slip grip in a classy silver finish. It also has a lighted nozzle for increased visibility during nighttime use, while easily forming a seal with the valve stem. The AstroAI digital tire pressure gauge is designed to give quick and accurate readings in 0.5 increments and has four settings with the following range: 0-150 PSI, 0-10 BAR, 0-10 kgf/cm2, or 0-1000 KPA.

It uses a single button for all its features, toggling on/off and the unit of measurement. The device will automatically shut off after 30 to 40 seconds to save power. Included with the tire pressure gauge is a one-year warranty and batteries.

It’s worth noting this particular tire pressure gauge doesn’t work with Presta stems.

Read More Top 15 Best Portable Tire Inflators and Air Compressors

6. JACO ElitePro Tire Pressure Gauge

jaco elitepro tire pressure gauge

A more expensive, but high-quality mechanical gauge comes fro JACO. The ElitePro tire pressure gauge is calibrated to ANSI B40.1 International Accuracy Standard and ensures precise readings without having to rely on batteries. Manufactured with premium heavy duty components, the gauge is surrounded by a rugged, gear-style guard and has a flexible no-leak air hose. There is a built-in bleeder valve to reduce pressure in overinflated tires, while the 360-degree chuck makes it easy to access your valve stems.

The two-inch dial reads up to 100 PSI and glows in the dark, while readings are locked in place until the pressure reset button is pushed.

7. Milton Single Chuck Head Pencil Tire Pressure Gauge (S-921)

milton single chuck head pencil tire pressure gauge

Don’t want anything fancy at all? Milton offers a single chuck head pencil tire pressure gauge for those that want to just go back to the basics. The affordable tire pressure gauge is made in the U.S. from durable plated brass and includes a built-in deflator valve, single chuck head, and four-side white nylon indicator bar. It measures 5-50 PSI in 1-lb increments, and 40-350 kPa in 10-kPa increments.

This basic tire pressure gauge is designed for passenger cars and is portable so you can store it in your glove compartment. There’s even a pocket clip so you don’t accidentally drop or lose it.

8. McLintech 5-in-1 Tire Pressure Gauge

mclintech tire gauge

If you want a multi-functional digital tire pressure gauge, the McLintech 5-in-1 tire pressure gauge can also serve as a safety hammer, flashlight, seatbelt cutter, and red safety light. Featuring a backlit digital display, the device reads up to 150 PSI, while serving as an emergency tool if necessary. Pressure measurements can be displayed in PSI, BAR, KPA, and kgf/cm2 on Schrader valves.

The gauge is rubberized for easy grip and leverage while using. It requires one AAA battery that is not included, and a CR3032 lithium battery, which is included.

9. Tacklife Digital Tire Pressure Gauge (TG01)

tacklife tg01 digital tire pressure gauge

A more affordable digital gauge comes from Tacklife, with the TG01 boasting a backlit LCD display for nighttime use. Lightweight and ergonomic, this digital pressure gauge fits nicely in the palm of your hand and reads in four measurements: 0-150 PSI, 0-10 BAR, 0-10 kgf/cm2 or 0-1000 KPA. A single button serves for on/off as well as selecting the unit.

This device includes the batteries it requires and automatically shuts off after 30 seconds. It comes with a 24-month warranty and is not compatible with Presta stems.

10. Slime Digital Tire Gauge (20017)

slime digital tire pressure gauge

One of the cheapest digital tire gauges available comes from Slime. It’s a fairly basic unit but features an easy-to-read LCD display, auto shut-off feature, and a green translucent lighted tip and backlight for nighttime use. It’s an ultracompact device with an ergonomic rubberized grip. There’s a reset button and it reads in PSI, KPA, and BAR.

While it is a highly rated pressure gauge, just keep in mind that it is extremely affordable so it’s not very durable. Some users reports it doesn’t last very long. Also, when it comes time to replace the battery, you might be better off just purchasing a replacement since it’ll be comparable in price.

Everything You Need to Know About Tire Pressure

Tire Pressure

Photo credit: FLUKY FLUKY via Shutterstock

Often overlooked and even sometimes forgotten, your car’s tire pressure is an important factor in making sure your car runs optimally. These days, most modern vehicles come equipped with Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS), which takes the guesswork out of wondering whether your car’s tire pressure is low or not. But what if your car doesn’t have TPMS? And if it does, are there still things you should know?

You may be surprised by how great of an effect your car’s tire pressure has on your vehicle’s performance. In fact, if you’ve noticed that your gas mileage has gone down a few MPG, it’s likely attributed to your car’s tires.

Top 15 Best Portable Tire Inflators and Air Compressors

How do I know if my tires are properly inflated?

Even if your car is equipped with TPMS, you will want to know the recommended tire pressure for your specific vehicle. Typically, there is a sticker found inside the driver’s side door that will list the recommended tire pressure. This figure is normally indicated in PSI, which stands for pounds per square inch of air. In addition, your tire’s maximum air pressure will be labeled on the tire’s sidewall. That figure is the maximum PSI the tire can safely hold. In other words, don’t inflate your tires beyond the number found on the sidewall.

If you are not able to locate a sticker on the inside of your driver’s side door, refer to the owner’s manual to determine the recommended tire pressure for your car.

Keep in mind that the recommended tire pressure values could be different between your front and rear tires. Make sure you’re checking both front and rear values when you’re determining whether your tires are properly inflated.

Why is proper inflation important?

tire pressure

There’s a reason why vehicles have recommended tire pressures. Proper inflation of your car’s tires not only ensures it’s comfortable to drive and ride in, but it can also affect your fuel economy. More importantly, they ensure your tires are wearing out uniformly, extending the life of your tires.

Overinflating or underinflating your tires could have adverse effects on its performance. Not only do underinflated tires appear flatter, they have increased surface contact with the road. If driven over a long period of time, that contact can result in premature tire wear. Underinflation also has a direct effect on the car’s fuel economy.

Overinflating your tires with too much air can cause increased rigidity and stiffness, resulting in a harsher ride. Contact with the road is typically increased around the center area of the tire when it is overinflated, causing additional wear in the center. If you notice the sides or outer sections of your car’s tires are less worn out than the center, it’s a good chance they’re overinflated.

How to check your tire pressure

Checking your car’s tire pressure is a fairly straightforward and simple task. The easiest method is to use a tire pressure gauge that you can purchase online or at any automotive parts store for cheap. It’s normally recommended to check your car’s tire pressure levels when the tires are cold, or after the vehicle has been parked for at least three hours. Since friction causes heat, and heat increases tire pressure, doing a check after driving will likely give you an inaccurate figure. The recommended tire pressures you find in either the decal inside your driver’s side door or in your owner’s manual refers to the tire pressure before you start driving.

Using the tire pressure gauge, remove your valve stem cap and simply place the gauge on the stem with some pressure. A number will appear on the gauge, and it never hurts to check it two or even three times to make sure you have an accurate reading. Once you’ve checked the tire pressure on all four tires, make sure to replace the valve stem cap.

If you don’t own a tire gauge, nearly all public air compressors will have an integrated tire gauge. More modern units at gas stations may have digital readouts to show your tire pressure. If your tire is overinflated, you’ll want to let some air out to get it back to the optimal PSI range. Make sure to check it periodically while you’re letting air out, so you don’t end up underinflating your tires.

Types of air compressors

If you don’t live near a gas station with accessible air, you could invest into a portable air compressor that’s designed to inflate tires. There are, of course, heavy duty air compressors also available. But unless you plan to use it to work on your car, they’re not necessary just for putting air into your tires.

There’s a wide range of offerings when it comes to air compressors and tire inflators, ranging from extremely affordable to fancy digital systems that require a power outlet. There are also 12-volt portable air compressors, which means you can use the cigarette lighter in your car.

If you have access to an air compressor, you can just purchase a tire inflator and gauge, which are also available in digital form. But most car owners won’t have an air compressor in their garage, so you’re likely shopping for a portable air compressor.

When shopping for a portable air compressor, you’ll naturally need to determine your budget and whether the size of the air compressor matters to you. If time is an important factor, some air compressors do inflate tires quicker than others. Keep in mind, with a 12-volt air compressor, you will want to make sure your car’s engine is running while using the air compressor.

How often should I check my tire pressure?

Nowadays with TPMS in most vehicles, there’s a good chance you will hardly check your tire pressure unless the light illuminates. Or maybe you go with the “eye test,” where you just look and gauge whether your tire is flat or not. It’s always a good idea to do a quick visual check before driving your vehicle, especially if you’re taking a long trip. But if you want to make sure your car is running optimally and you’re not sacrificing fuel economy, routinely checking your tire pressure is a good idea.

Checking your tires once a month is recommended, and if you keep a tire gauge in your car, it’s not a bad idea to just do a quick check while you’re filling up gas. It’s a relatively painless process and could go a long way in making sure your tires last as long as they should.

How do I use a tire pressure gauge?

Most tire gauges are straightforward to use, regardless of whether they have an analog or digital gauge. Conventional or standard tire gauges are typically compact and resemble a writing utensil. Simply attach the gauge to the valve stem and a plastic rod will extend from the gauge to show your tire’s PSI reading. If you’re using a conventional tire gauge, it’s recommended to check the tire pressure two or three times to make sure you have an accurate reading.

Most conventional tire gauges will also allow you to easily let air out of your tire by putting the opposite end into the valve stem.

While they do cost a bit more than a conventional tire gauge, digital tire gauges typically give a more accurate reading and are easier to use. All you have to do is turn on the gauge and place it on the valve stem to get a PSI reading. But since they are digital, they’ll require batteries so always keep a spare set handy.

Is it safe to drive my car with low tire pressure?

It is not recommended to drive your car for an extended period of time with low tire pressure. If your vehicle is equipped with TPMS and the light is on, you’ll want to address the issue as soon as possible. Low tire pressure not only results in uneven wear on the tire, it increases the risk of getting a flat.

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