Bicycle Pumps Buyers Guide

A bike pump is an absolute essential for any cyclist.

It’s important to keep your tyres in peak condition to get the best performance out of them. Equally, if they do not have enough air in them, you are much more likely to get a puncture and cause damage to your tyres.

There are a range of bike pumps to choose from so it’s important to get the right type of pump for your particular needs.

At Halfords, we have pumps suitable for all different sorts of bikes; road bikes, mountain bikes, leisure bikes and kids’ bikes and all different types of riders.

PSI is the unit used to measure the air pressure in your tyres. Each kind of bike needs a different level of PSI, from anywhere between 25 to 130 psi. The right PSI for your bike tyres can be found on the side of your tyres. This is the best way to ensure that you have the optimal pressure for your specific tyres. However, as a rough guide, children’s bikes require 40 psi, leisure or hybrid bikes require up to 80 psi, road bikes typically require 80 to 130 psi and mountain bikes, 25 to 35 psi.

All tyres leak air over time so it is a good idea to check your tyre pressure regularly, preferably each time you go out but if not, at least once a week if you are a regular rider. Otherwise it is likely that your tyre pressure will be wrong the majority of the time! It is also wise to check your pressure the day after you repair a flat tyre with a CO2 pump to make sure that it hasn’t lost any air overnight.

Our pumps generally fit all types of bike tyre valves but there are some which need to be adjusted depending on whether your tyres have Presta or Schrader valves. If you’re not sure what type of valve your bike has and don’t want to end up with the wrong type of pump, why not pick up a pump with a ‘clever valve’? These nifty pieces of kit adjust to fit both types of valve automatically.

Hand pumps

If you’re looking for a pump to take out with you on rides, a hand pump is the choice for you. They are compact and lightweight, perfect for popping in your cycling jacket or bag, or attaching to your bike frame. However, due to their size, they aren’t as powerful as other pumps so we suggest you get a bigger pump for the general maintenance of your bike which will get the job done much more quickly.

Although they may have different descriptions, hand pumps all do pretty similar jobs. Some have special features such as Dual Action pumps which inflate your tyres in half the time as it pumps air both when you push and pull the plunger, such as the Bikehut Dual Action Bike Pump. This type of pump is perfectly suited to the leisure bike rider who may just require a quick top up during outings.

High volume pumps

High volume pumps are useful pieces of kit to have as they allow you to re-inflate your tyres by volume or by pressure at the flick of a switch. Volume focused inflation is ideal for inflating wider tyres such as mountain bike tyres quickly and pressure focused inflation is good for pumping up road bike tyres where precision is more important. This means that you can inflate the whole family’s bikes with it and all of your bikes if you have more than one. Additionally, the T bar shaped handle makes it easy to grip while you’re using it. The Bikehut High Pressure High Volume Bike Pump has a pressure gauge for accurate inflation and a clever head to fit Presta and Schrader valves.

Track pumps

Don’t let the name put you off, track pumps are suitable for all levels of cyclist from beginner to advanced. Keep one in the garage or shed ready to get everyone’s tyres in shape before a family bike ride. They are a quick and efficient way to pump up your tyres as they have a larger barrel, an extra-long, flexible hose and can reach higher pressures than hand pumps.

A lot of track pumps also have a large gauge so you know you are pumping your tyres to the exact required pressure. To make it easier to maintain multiple bikes, get a pump with a clever valve or twin head valve so that you don’t have to manually adjust the head of the valve each time you need to pump up tyres on different bikes.

CO2 pumps

Fix flat tyres quicker than you can say CO2 with a carbon dioxide pump! They work using a compressed CO2 cannister and will inflate your tyre up to 120 psi in a matter of seconds. As they are pocket-sized, they are perfect for taking out on your ride if you like to travel light and, conveniently, they have a clever valve so can be used with any of your bikes. However, the cannisters are single use so if you think you might need to pump your tyres up a few times, you’ll need to take a few spares with you. One thing to note is that the cannisters do get pretty cold when being used, so be sure to use a cannister cover and wear gloves so you don’t get chilly fingers.

Get pumped with our fantastic collection of bicycle pumps available online or in store, where our friendly colleagues will be on hand if you need any help or advice!

Remember that you can also bring the whole family's bikes into your local Halfords store for a Free Bike Check to make sure that your tyres and other parts of your bikes are all in good working order.