Getting your tyre pressures right is critical to having a good ride – and the only way to achieve that is by using a good, quality floor pump (also known as a track pump).
If the pressure is too low in your tyres, you will have sloppy handling and a heavy road feel; too high and you will be bumped around and uncomfortable while handling suffers.
>> Subscribe to Cycling Weekly this Autumn and save 35%. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<
You also need to adjust your tyre pressure to the conditions: in winter, you should run lower pressures to improve grip on wet roads, whereas in summer slightly higher pressure means less rolling resistance and helps you cover longer distances more easily.
Our pick of the best bike floor pumps
With each product is a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Best Deal’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.
Topeak JoeBlowMax II floor pump
If you’re looking for something towards the budget end of proceedings, then this may be the one. Affordable but still finished with a steel barrel and a quality gauge. That, plus available replacement parts if anything stops working is pretty nifty.
We found that it took just 19 strokes to get a 23mm tyre up to 100psi, which makes it a very efficient pump. The pump comes with a plastic twin-sided head that works with both Presta and Schrader valves and has a lever to lock it onto the valve securely.
Buy now in the UK: Topeak JoeBlowMax II Amazon for £24.50
Buy now in the US: Topeak JoeBlowMax II from Chain Reaction for $34.95
Topeak JoeBlow Booster reservoir floor pump
A more expensive option from Topeak but this floor pump comes with a reservoir tube that holds air in making seating tubeless tyres more of a doddle.
It stands 75cm/30in tall and weighs 3.3kg/7.3lbs, so it’s not something you’re likely to want to lug around with you, but perfect for leaving in the garage. This is certainly a good, reliable option if you’re serious about going tubeless.
Buy now in the UK: Topeak JoeBlow Booster at Wiggle for £104.77
Buy now in the US: Topeak JoeBlow Booster at Wiggle for $149.95
SKS Rennkompressor floor pump
The Rennkompressor is a beautiful and timeless pump with a steel barrel and tactile wooden handle. Although there are more practical modern pumps out there with larger pressure gauges, this icon pump still delivers and is capable of pressures up to 23opsi.
There are four valve head connectors on offer with this pump: Multi-valve, Thumb lock, EVA Head, and Brass Nipple Connector. In terms of performance, it took 40 pumps of the SKS Rennkompressor track pump to inflate the tyre from near flat to 100psi, which is respectable but not class-leading.
Buy now in the UK: SKS Rennkompressor floor pump at Tredz for £59.99
Buy now in the US: SKS Rennkompressor floor pump at Amazon for $64.69
Zefal Profil Max FP60 floor pump
The follow up to the successful Zefal Profil Max FP50, the classy looking FP60 now features a sophisticated wooden handle to go with the efficiency.
With its Z-switch system, it is easy to change from Presta to Schrader or Dunlop valves. It also features a gauge with a magnifying lens, which makes taking gauge readings significantly easier.
Buy now in the UK: Zefal Profil Max FP60 at Amazon for £43.96
Buy now in the US: Zefal Profil Max FP60 at Amazon for $123.95
Lezyne Steel Travel Drive floor pump
This compact floor pump is a great choice if you move around a lot and want to bring some serious pumping power with you.
It has a steel barrel and piston, an aluminium base and is finished off with a varnished wood handle – making this a stylish option. Also included is a Speed Chuck which means the pump is compatible with disc wheels.
Buy now in the UK: Lezyne Steel Travel Drive at Pro Bike Kit for £45.99
Buy now in the US: Lezyne Steel Travel Drive at Competitive Cyclist for $64.99
Axiom Propelair 160 floor pump
From the same creators of the Annihilateair track pump, Axiom not only have a knack for placing ‘air’ in their pumps but also creating some quality track pumps.
Its lock-on valves provide confident, no-hassle inflation and the extra wide base prevents toppling. Schrader and Presta valves are both compatible with Axiom’s Headrush dual-valve connecter that is fitted on this pump.
Buy now in the UK: Axiom Propelair 160 at Ebay for £21.99
Buy now in the US: Axiom Propelair 160 at Amazon for $29.99
Pro Team Compressor tubeless reservoir floor pump
The Pro Team Compressor has a steel barrel and base, and provides a robust, easy-to-use solution to seating tubleless tyres at an affordable price.
There is no gauge to show tyre pressure and the valve is not as secure as some, but at such a low price these slight design failings are to be expected, and the pump still does the job.
Buy now in the UK: Pro Team Compressor at Bike Inn for £43.49
Buy now in the US: Pro Team Compressor at Amazon for $79.78
Topeak JoeBlow Ace DX floor pump
The Topeak JoeBlow Ace DX towers over other pumps not only in height but in capability too. We found that in its ’60’ setting the Ace DX inflated our test 700x25c tubeless tyre to 100psi in a 11 monster strokes. But as expected it took a lot of leaning on to get that much air in in one stroke once it got beyond 60psi.
It is an excellent performer and features a bleed valve that lets air out the tyre rather than just the hose – which is useful for getting pressure spot on.
Buy now in the UK: Topeak JoeBlow Ace DX at Chain Reaction for £94.15
Buy now in the US: Topeak JoeBlow Ace DX at Backcountry for $149.95
Birzman Maha Push and Twist V floor pump
The Editor’s Choice winning Maha Push and Twist from Birzman is a great value floor pump that we found to be easy to use, accurate, and above all reliable.
Its push and twist head makes an easy, fast connection to the valve and the large gauge allows for accurate pressure reading. Birzman doesn’t skimp on hose length. Twice as long as the barrel and secured via a hook in the base, there’s plenty of length to reach a bike in a stand.
Buy now in the UK: Birzman Maha Push and Twist at Alpinetrek for £67.95
Buy now in the US: Birzman Maha Push and Twist V from Amazon for $69.99
Cannondale Airport Carry-On floor pump
With a slimline profile and weighing just 830g, Cannondale’s floor pump is the perfect companion for travelling, especially when flying.
It still has a gauge and gives readings up to 160psi, even if it does take a little longer to get up to pressure than a standard track pump. With such a lightweight and thin design, the base isn’t so stable, but it didn’t fall over when we tested it.
Buy now in the UK: Cannondale Airport Carry-On at Ciclimattio for £49
Buy now in the US: Cannondale Airport Carry-On form Bicycle Buys for $49.99
What to look for
Making sure you have the right air pressure is key to having a comfortable and easy ride. Road users will know all too well the problems of not having a properly inflated wheel feels like. On the other hand, if it’s too pumped up your bum will certainly feel every bump in the road.
For those who ride off-road, either on a mountain bike, a cyclocross or gravel/bikepacking rig, getting the tyre pressure just right is even more important because it is critical to ensuring grip in loose conditions and, if you are using inner tubes, avoiding pinch flats.
Many entry-level and children’s bikes come with Schrader rather than Presta valves, so you will need your pump to be compatible with both types. And if you intend to use it for a track bike, it will need to reach much higher pressures.
Inflating your tyres with a mini-pump before you set out is an option, but it’s a lot quicker, easier and more comfortable if you have a separate track pump at home. Most track pumps come with a gauge, so that you can accurately determine the tyre’s pressure.
They have a stable base, and most have a metal barrel good for longevity and pumping efficiency. The handle needs to be comfortable and wide enough that its ends don’t dig into your hands.
It’s helpful to have a long hose on a pump so that you can find somewhere stable to place the pump body without needing to move the bike. If you use a bike stand, a long hose helps access the valve while the bike is lifted off the ground, without having to fiddle around with the valve’s position.
The connector from the pump to the valve needs to be easy to fit, without disturbing the core of a Presta valve, which can result in loss of air from the tyre. The connector should be compatible with Presta and Schrader valves, so that the pump can also be used on MTB tyres.
A floor pump should have a gauge so that you can easily assess what pressure you have reached. Often this is at floor level, so it needs to be clearly graduated and large enough to ensure that you can read it — particularly if you have poor eyesight.
None of these pumps falls flat on performance. They all get a road tyre up to pressure far quicker than does a mini-pump, and work with Schrader-valved tubes. Each has a gauge, letting you set the pressure spot-on before you set out.