The best tubeless tire puncture repair tools

Tubeless tires are great until you puncture. Here are our picks for the best tubeless plugger tools for gravel tires

Gravel Week
(Image credit: Danielle Tarloff // Future)

No one wants to be the rider who has to end a ride early. Tubeless plug tools are a small item that can make the difference between getting in the miles and limping home. Gravel cycling’s growth to a major discipline over the last few years has brought with it a range of tire sizes, treads, and setups, with tubeless as the expectation for anything larger than 28mm wide. Traveling along back roads, ranch routes, rail trails, and other less-trafficked paths have been the main appeal of getting off the tarmac. These mixed surfaces are not without their hazards and nails, staples, sharp rocks, and other debris can bring a swift interruption to the gravel cyclists’ ride. 

Tubeless sealant works magic on many small punctures, but losing a substantial portion of sealant puts the rider at greater risk down the trail. For larger holes or ones that don’t seem to be sealing quickly, tubeless repair tools are incredibly handy and have become essential items in the gravel riders’ repair kit. 

Most of these function on the same principle, a two-pronged fork holds a rubbery strip that is inserted to plug the hole in the tire. There is a range of associated accessories, strip sizes, and carrying methods. Some of these are built into robust tool systems, designed to replace the traditional multi-tool, while others are stealthily hidden into handlebars, or stashed with the rest of the repair kit. For most, the goal is to rapidly plug the hole losing as little sealant and tire pressure as possible.

Tubeless Tire Plug Tools

(Image credit: Danielle Tarloff // Future)

What should you look for in a tubeless plug tool

While the traditional flat kit of tire levers, tube, pump (or CO2 inflator) and multitool is the core basic you should have on every ride, the addition of a tubeless plugger can make the difference whether or not you need to use those resources. To find the right plug tool for you, consider a few variables:

Storage - Ease of access to this tool can make the difference between losing a few PSI or leaking sealant all over the road. Many products are designed to be stored in a handlebar so they take up minimal space. Others strap onto your bike, and some are small enough to be added into your exiting flat kit or tool wrap. 

Multi-taskers - Many of the best plugger tools we tested were built to do that one thing, while others are built into multi-tools or entire tool systems. Are you happy with your existing multi-tool or other elements of your flat kit? If not then consider these multi-taskers as a clever way to build out your tool arsenal. 

Type of riding - This test was structured with gravel riding and the tires and likely punctures of this style of riding. Many of the pluggers in the market are oriented to mountain biking and size their tools and repair strips accordingly. We struggled with this larger strip size and left off several tools that fell into this category. Additionally, the kit you carry may vary depending on pace, terrain, and remoteness. Some tools are oriented toward fast and light, while others are heavier duty or feature-rich. 

The Best Tubeless Puncture Repair Tools

Below is our round-up of plug tools, our favorites as well as the ones that we tested but missed the mark.

With each tool 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.

Blackburn

(Image credit: Danielle Tarloff // Future)

Blackburn Plugger Tubeless Tire Repair Kit

The Best Overall Plug Kit

Specifications

Plug strips included?: Yes
Attached to or integrated into the bike?: Yes, comes with a frame strap

Reasons to buy

+
Reliable and easy to use. 
+
Comes with 10 plug strips. 
+
Durable hook and loop strap attaches anywhere. 
+
Great value. 

Reasons to avoid

-
A bit bulky perhaps

The Plugger kit from Blackburn does one job and it does it quickly and reliably. The plastic housing feels lightweight but durable and contains the tool and ten plug strips. It allows the plugger to be preloaded, allowing for fast deployment. A quick turn releases the tool from the housing, which is a metal tube with an open and pointed end, rather than the frequently seen fork. This difference was a benefit as strips always stayed in the tire and were easy to insert and load. 

The wider diameter of the system can be a bit tricky to insert in a smaller puncture, but those would likely seal up with sealant alone. The manual encourages loading “up to two plugs at once” for larger holes and the tube was fairly easy to load with one or two stips. Two plugs were nearly enough to seal a larger (8mm) sidewall tear, but we might not trust that as a long-term fix. The Plugger kit comes with a hook and loop strap that enables fast access by strapping the kit to the bike’s frame, fork leg, or zip tied anywhere as well. We thought strapping it to our travel pump was rather clever. Blackburn claims repairs are permanent so you can ride easy knowing that your tire should last. 

USD MSRP $25.00

Dynoplug tool

(Image credit: Danielle Tarloff // Future)

Dynaplug Racer Pro

The Best Gravel Racing Plug Kit

Specifications

Plug strips included?: Yes
Attached to or integrated into the bike?: No

Reasons to buy

+
Reliable and easy to use
+
Small and lightweight.

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than other options.
-
Expensive proprietary refill plugs

With origins in motorcycle tire repairs, Dynaplugs are fast, reliable, and beautifully machined tools. The slick aluminum housing of the Racer Pro contains “Twin Tube™ technology” so that it holds four ready-to-go plugs, including one Megaplug (3 times the thickness of their standard plug). Unlike the more common strips, these plugs are metal tipped to enable low-force insertion, making repair fast and easy. This also helps reduce the risk of nicking rim tape or nice carbon rims. This system takes seconds to insert into a puncture, with more plugs ready to go if needed for larger holes. This is a go-to choice when every second counts on a racecourse. For a bit of cost savings, the Racer holds two plugs, compared to the Racer Pro’s four. Dynaplug also claims repairs are permanent for the life of the tire.  

USD MSRP $54.99

Wolf Tooth

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Wolf Tooth Encase tire Plug Tool

The Best Stealth Plug Kit - Multi Tool Combo

Specifications

Plug strips included?: Yes
Attached to or integrated into the bike?: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Stores in handlebar or existing Wolf Tooth tool
+
Highly functional tool
+
Full-featured multi-tool system

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Full-featured multi-tool system.

The Wolf Tooth Encase Chain + Tire Plug Multi-Tool is meant to be a multi-tasker, but it’s a clever one at that. Initially, the kit seemed too large to fit in the curve of a drop bar, however, once the design of the pivoting tool was placed correctly, the installation was consistently a breeze.

The tubeless plug tool is encased in an aluminum body and threads onto the tool which pulls double duty as a chain breaker. It has space to store the included 5 repair strips and preload the fork tool with one as well. On its own, the plugger was pleasant and easy to use. Strips loaded into the fork easily, even when doubled up, and plugged punctures well, detaching from the fork to remain in the tire. 

The Encase System is well designed and richly featured, a pro if you’re looking for a full took kit and a con if you’re just after a plug tool to add to your existing kit. As a stand-alone, the chain tool seems robust, but was not tested, and does require an external 4mm hex to function. The system storage sleeves seemed to fit snugly with no noise or rattling but were not tested on the trail. Wolf Tooth does acknowledge that this system will not work with some ergonomic-style road bars with extra bends in the drops and has a running list of known bars that fall into this category. 

USD MSRP $49.95 (EnCase System Bar Kit One $119.95)

Stan's Dart

(Image credit: Danielle Tarloff // Future)

Stan's DART Tool

The Best “I don’t always puncture, but when I do I go big” Plug Kit

Specifications

Plus strips included?: Yes, but only 2
Attached to or integrated into the bike?: No

Reasons to buy

+
Small and lightweight
+
Capable of repairing large punctures or tears. 
+
Well-known brand name for sealant

Reasons to avoid

-
Fussy to use
-
Failed to work on smaller holes.

The DART Tool is certainly a different concept than most of the other tools we tested and that came with its pros and cons. The light plastic body houses two large “Dual Action Repair for Tubeless” aka DART that are almost reminiscent of a badminton birdie, and the rods to insert them. While Stan’s describes these rods as “ultralight, corrosion-resistant and incredibly strong carbon” we had one break on the first attempt and don’t seem to be alone in this issue. Luckily the tool comes with two and the other side held up and sealed an ugly sidewall tear that any other plug or strip would have struggled with. To aid matters the DART is also said to create a chemical reaction with Stan’s sealant to enable a stronger and more durable fix. This benefit, however, only appeals if you’re already a Stan’s user.  

With some breakage and the plastic head of the DART as a real struggle to insert, this tool might only be useful with large punctures. If you seem to tear sidewalls, or go big with punctures and need a way to get home, this might be the tool for you.

USD MSRP $25.00

Dynoplug

(Image credit: Danielle Tarloff // Future)

Dynaplug Air Kit

The Best Inflator/Plug Kit

Specifications

Plugs strips included?: yes, but only 3
Attached to or integrated into the bike?: No

Reasons to buy

+
Fast and easy to use
+
Useful CO2 inflation.

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Proprietary refill plugs. 

If you didn’t catch your puncture right away, chances are you’ll be airing up your tire as well as trying to plug a hole. The Dynaplug Air Kit takes all the ease of the system described in the Racer and adds a CO2 inflator. While a pump is typically handy to have on most adventures, CO2 can do the trick to help re-seat the bead of a tubeless tire if things have gotten quite flat. The versatile design allows you to inflate either through the puncture hole while repairing or separately through the tubeless valve. The hose that comes with the system is a clever attachment tool and is a great addition to an already slick system. 

USD MSRP $74.99 

Muc Off

(Image credit: Danielle Tarloff // Future)

Muc-Off's Stealth tubeless plug

The Super Wide Tire Plug Kit

Specifications

Plug strips included?: Yes, plenty
Attached to or integrated into the bike?: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Hidden in the bars, it's always with you.
+
Fun color options

Reasons to avoid

-
Not fast to deploy
-
Somewhat MTB-oriented
-
Expensive

This kit comes with the traditional fork encased in one bar end, a knife to trim plugs in the other, plus 3 packs of different size strips. The strips are described as being small for road, medium for gravel tires, and large for mountain. The first attempt with the medium strip faired poorly with the tacky strip sticking to the tines of the fork and itself, failing to stay in the tire. A second attempt using the smaller strip went smoothly and held well despite a tricky placement right next to a knob. The knife to trim down the strip worked well and did not create any resistance or pull any of the strip back out as we were concerned it might. With this in mind, this kit may be best for a more aggressive gravel adventure bike or to share with a mountain bike.  

Having a color pop or color-coordinated bar end is also an appeal as these come in 12 color options. They are the most involved to fit into drop bars and also the slowest to remove. Utilizing the 4mm hex to get a comforting snug install also means you need the 4mm to get the tools out of the bar ends. It’s not a complicated ordeal, but potentially an issue of lost time and lost tire pressure and sealant.

USD MSRP $49.99

Wolf Tooth

(Image credit: Danielle Tarloff // Future)

Wolf Tooth 8-BIT Chain Breaker and Utility Knife Multi-tool

The Best Bikepacking Plug Kit

Specifications

Plug strips included?: Yes
Attached to or integrated into the bike?: No

Reasons to buy

+
Highly functional tool
+
Full-featured multi-tool system. 

Reasons to avoid

-
Spendy
-
Overkill if you already have a multi-tool 

Much like the other plug kit from Wolf Tooth, this system is stacked, quite literally as the full 8-Bit kit is comprised of several interlocking magnetic multi-tools. The Chain Breaker and Plug tool can be purchased separately, but are still a bit of an investment. While this kit is likely a few things too many for your usual day ride, it includes some of the items that you’d want to take bikepacking or touring, like master link pliers and a knife.

The tubeless portion is the usual fork with reasonable-sized strips. The way the tool is stored doesn’t allow for a pre-loaded strip as it stashes inside the tool body and doubles as the 3mm hex for the chain breaker. It is still satisfying to use with a large grip area and good leverage. As a fairly hefty tool it’s good for broader uses, but not what we’d suggest for fast deployment or race situations.

MSRP $69.96 USD (8-Bit Kit One or Two $139.95) 

Granite Stash Plug Tool

(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook // Future)

Granite Stash Tire Plug

Best Hidden Tire Plug

Specifications

Plug strips included?: Yes
Attached to or integrated into the bike?: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Several hiding place options
+
Durable construction
+
Easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Not quickly accessible

A tool that's hidden but always there. Granite's Stash Tire Plug seamlessly disappears in your handlebars or hollow axle crank, out of the way but there when you need it.

The quality aluminium all-in-one kit  comes with a reamer and fork, medium-sized strips and two different end caps so you can choose to fit the stash tool in your handlebars, steerer tube or hollow crank for a small weight addition of 35 grams. 

The tool looks super clean, and the reamer and fork itself will do the job at hand. But the insertion and removal of the tool does require an additional 4mm hex. It's also a tad time consuming, which results in quite a bit of air and sealant loss. Stashing the tire strips inside the tool is a bit of a squeeze but Granite doesn't provide a dedicated place to store them, meaning you either stuff them in with tool or carry them in a pack separately.

Tested but Missed the Mark

Lezyne Rap II-20 Tubeless multitool

What happened? Awkward to try and plug can’t preload - Could not get stip to stay in tire liked the idea of abrasive/reamer along tool, but might be best on larger tires only. 

Price:  MSRP $39.99 USD

Lezyne Tubeless Blaster

What happened? Could not get strip to stay in tire 

Price: MSRP $49.99 USD

Genuine Innovations Tackle Kit

What happened? Goopiest feeling of the plugs and therefore hardest to thread into the tines. Includes two valve cores as well. 

First attempt stuck to fork tines as I attempted to remove. Tried again and stuck to itself, turning into a goopy bacon ball. Second attempt was successful and seemed to hold. 

Price: MSRP $28.99 USD

SWORD Plug Kit

What happened? Gigantic stips that really did not want to go into tire. Easily installed into the ends of drop bars. No obvious storage for extra plugs. Pre-loaded is loose inside bar can dry out or stick to inside of bar. “Counter clockwise spiral twist ensures lock and release mechanism for a tight and secure fit in the bar end. (ensuring plug still stays dry and sticky)”

Price: MSRP $24.95 USD

Danielle Tarloff
Danielle Tarloff

Danielle studied Journalism at Northeastern University in Boston, MA where she began commuting around the city and exploring historic areas by bike. With over 15 years in the cycling industry, she's seen and ridden her share of technologies and trends, but believes that it's probably a good thing if it gets someone out riding. She has pinned a number on for a couple of cyclocross races, and a handful of endurance events, but her favorite rides include adventures in questionable terrain and a stop for snacks. 

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