The Best Bike Pumps: Schrader and Presta Valve Pumps

Bike pumps are often an afterthought, but beyond a bike itself, it’s one of the most necessary pieces of biking equipment. Nothing’s worse than being grounded by a flat tire and not being able to pump it back up!

Over the years we’ve put more than 15 bike pumps through rigorous testing. With a particular focus on families, we’ve put pumps to the test on everything from small 12″ kid’s bike tires to high-volume fat tires and high-pressure road tires. So whether you’re looking for a pump suitable for your suite of family bikes or a more specialized pump, we’ve got you covered.

collage of 9 different bike pumps for families in a test to find the best, including presta valve pumps and schrader

Below are our top picks for each category. As an overview, “General Pumps” are for the average rider – they put out average volume and reach average pressures (120 max PSI). Pumps for MTB push out more air per pump to quickly fill up tires, but can’t reach high pressures (40+ max PSI). Pumps for road bikes can reach the highest pressures (200+ max PSI), but take more pumping to fill up a tire.

Later in the review we provide a quick rundown of all the bike tire pumps we tested, and also break down how we selected our favorite pumps.

Best Pumps for General Bike Riding
Schwinn Air Center Plus Best Budget $25
ToPeak Joe Blow Sport Best Overall $59
Best Pumps for Mountain Bikes
JoeBlow Mountain EX Best on a Budget $55
Specialized Air Tool MTB Best Overall $90
Best Pumps for Road Bikes
Planet Bike Comp Best on a Budget $40
Lezyne Steel Floor Best Overall $69
Pocket Pumps
Lezyne Sport HV Hand Pump Best Value $40

Quick Tips About Bike Pumps

  1. Valve Type: Bikes have either Schrader or Presta valves. Make sure your bike pump has a head that is compatible with your valve style. All pumps on this list are compatible with both.
  2. Presta Valves: While all the bike pumps on this list are compatible with Schrader (most common) and Presta (less common) valves, if your bike has Presta, a pump with a screw-on metal head protects the center core, which can easily bend
  3. Gauge on Pumps: During our tests, we found that most onboard gauges are off. They also tend to fail over time. If you need precise PSI readings, invest in a digital tire pressure gauge.
  4. Tubeless Tires: If you run tubeless, an air compressor will always be your best bet for seating tires or this method with a standard pump. Floor pumps designed for tubeless tires often fail with time.
  5. Stability: Some floor bike pumps fall over quite easily, which can be really frustrating when you’re trying to attach the head to the tire valve. We give extra points to pumps that are designed with exceptionally stable bases.
  6. Tube Length: Pumps with longer tubes are easier to use. Longer tubes also allow you to attach the pump’s head to the valve while standing up.
  7. Tire Pressure: Road bike tires are required to be pumped up to a higher PSI, so be sure to select a pump that can easily reach at least 120 PSI. Kids, mountain, and hybrid bikes rarely reach PSI’s over 80.
  8. 12″ Wheels: For 12″ kids bikes, pumps with small heads are essential to fit between the spokes and the hub.

For a more detailed discussion on the most important features of bikes pumps, jump down to Bike Pump Criteria: How We Tested and Why.

Bike Tire Pumps Video Review

If you prefer to see our favorite bike pumps in action, check out our video review. We also demonstrate all of our Quick Tips About Bike Pumps mentioned above.


If you’re in the market for a quality, reliable pump to easily serve a wide range of bikes (from kids bikes to your city bike), pumps designed for general riding are your best bet. In addition to being easy to use, they fit both Schrader and Presta valves and pump up tires at a descent rate.

Topeak Joe Blow Sport III

All Around Best Pick

stock image of topeak joe blow III bike pump
  • MSRP: $59
  • Pressure Rating: 160 psi / 11 bar
  • Volume per Stroke: 318 cc
  • Warranty/Replaceable Parts: 2 year / Parts not readily available
  • Fits 12″ Bikes: Yes, but a very tight fit
  • Ball/Bladder Needles: Included w/ onboard storage

The Topeak Joe Blow stands out from the crowd because it’s easy to use with a wide variety of bikes . The design of the head is great for smaller wheels and for wheels that may have different spoke construction.

The head is unique because its locking lever is on the side of the head rather than on top, making it easier to maneuver in small places. Schrader valves attach on one side of the head and Presta on the other.

With a weighted, wide, 2-footed base, the Joe Blow is stable during use and was one of the few pumps that didn’t knock over every time we walked past it!

For those who want to dial in an exact psi, the Topeak gauge was our favorite of all the pumps we tested. In addition to being placed higher up on the pump, which makes it easy to read, the gauge is also the only one to include a sliding psi marker.

Prior to pumping, simply slide the yellow arrow shaped marker around the gauge until it points at your desired psi. Once the gauge hit the marker, you know it’s time to stop pumping!

Tall or hate leaning over to pump? At just over 27″ tall, the Topeak was the tallest pump we tested. As a point of reference, the shortest pump we tested was only 22.5″ tall.

The one downside to the Joe Blow for families is its poor needle storage. While the pump does come with a ball and bladder needle, the needle storage consists of just two slots next to the psi gauge. The needles simply rest in position and do not lock into place, so they are certain to easily get lost.


  • Locking lever goes to the side, versus back, making it easier to use with 12″ tires
  • Dual head fits Schrader and Presta without any adjustments
  • Extra tall for easier pumping without leaning over
  • Gauge is positioned higher up on the pump making it very easy to read
  • Sliding psi marker on gauge helps you easily remember your desired psi
  • Stable weighted base
  • Easy-to-use over-sized ergonomic handle
  • Rotating tube connection keeps hose tangle-free
  • Comes with ball and bladder needle


  • Needles easily fall out of onboard storage, so likely to quickly get lost
  • Hose shorter than other pumps

Schwinn Air Center Plus

Great budget buy when used at lower pressures

stock image of the schwinn air center plus bike pump
  • MSRP: $25
  • Pressure Rating: 120 psi / 8 bar (but difficult to pump over 80ish)
  • Volume per Stroke: 483 cc
  • Warranty/Replaceable Parts: None
  • Fits 12″ Bikes: Yes, but a very tight fit
  • Ball/Bladder Needles: Included with secure on-board storage box on cylinder

The Schwinn Air Center Plus is a good-quality, affordable buy for those on a budget. With a sturdy base, enclosed needle storage, and an accurate psi gauge, the Schwinn is a solid bike pump.

To help ensure a proper lock on tire valves, the head on the Schwinn has a color-coded window – red means not-locked and green means locked. This feature is especially beneficial to help kids pump up their own tires, frustration-free.

The shorter tube on the Schwinn did make it more challenging to use than other pumps. Pumping at high-pressure was also extremely difficult, making it unsuitable for use with road tires.


  • Head has a red and green colored locking notification to ensure proper attachment
  • Bladder and ball needle are safely stored in a box on the pump’s cylinder
  • Accurate psi gauge


  • Very difficult to pump tires to higher pressure (mostly road tires)
  • Shorter hose makes it more difficult to use on larger tires
  • Low max psi of 120 makes it not suitable for some road tires


Mountain bike tires hold a lot of air, but at low pressures. In order to allow for fast inflation, pumps designed for mountain biking push out a lot of air with every pump, allowing you to pump up high volume tires fast!

For example, the Topeak Joeblow Mountain EX pumped up our completely flat 29″ MTB tire in 14 pumps while the Lezyne pump (listed in road section below), took 27 pumps to fill the same flat tire to the same PSI.

If you are running tubeless and need to seat the tire to the rim, we highly recommend using an air compressor with a presta chuck. While there are floor pumps with boosters for tubeless tires, they don’t tend to be very durable and you might as well save your money and get an air compressor. If you don’t want to deal with an air compressor, we recommend using this method for seating tubeless tires with a floor pump.

As a trade off, these pumps cannot pump up to high PSIs, but considering most MTB tires run at less than 30 PSI, that’s not really a concern. Kids MTBs however, can run a bit higher PSI’s, so you’ll want a pump that goes up to at least 60 PSI like the Topeak.

Topeak Joeblow Mountain EX Floor Pump

Best MTB Pump on a Budget

topeak joeblow mountain ex floor pump
  • MSRP: $55
  • Pressure Rating: 60 psi / 4 bar
  • Volume per Stroke: 683 cc
  • Warranty/Replaceable Parts: 2 year / Parts not readily available
  • Fits 12″ Bikes: Yes, but barely!
  • Ball/Bladder Needles: Not included

If you want a well-priced, quality MTB pump, the JoeBlow Mountain EX is the perfect pump for you. With a massive 683cc air volume per pump, you’ll be surprised at just how quickly this pump will have your tires filled to your desired PSI.

In fact, the first time we used this pump on a 12″ tire, we honestly thought something was wrong when it became hard to pump after a few pumps. Turns out, it just fills tires (especially small ones) super fast!

The “SmartHead” head works great on both Presta and Schrader valves, but with the rear placement of the lever (unlike side placement like the JoeBlow Sport III), it’s harder to use on smaller 12″ tires than the JoeBlow Sport III.

Compared to the Specialized, the Mountain EX’s lower price point in apparent in its plastic base and shorter tube. While the Mountain EX isn’t hard to use, it plastic base doesn’t provide nearly as much stability as the Specialized’s wide metal base. It’s hose is also 10mm shorter.


  • Massive 683 volume per pump quickly fills up any tire!
  • Head automatically adjusts to Presta or Schrader (single hole)
  • Easy-to-read gauge


  • Base is not weighted, not as stable as the Specialized MTB pump
  • Head is an extremely tight fit on 12″ wheels

Specialized Air Tool MTB Floor Pump

Best Overall

Specialized Air Tool MTB high volume pump
  • MSRP: $90
  • Pressure Rating: 40 psi / 2.7 bar
  • Volume per Stroke: 508 cc
  • Warranty/Replaceable Parts: 1 year / Parts not readily available
  • Fits 12″ Bikes: Extremely tight fit!
  • Ball/Bladder Needles: Not included

It’s hard to believe that an expensive pump only maxes out at 40 PSI, but in the world of MTB it only makes sense. Considering most riders run their tires at less than 30 PSI, Specialized’s MTB pump puts a greater importance on volume than on pressure to allow you to pump up your tires in less time.

While the Air Tool MTB pump does have less volume per stroke (508 cc) compared to the Topeak, it still tops our list in MTB pumps because it’s a breeze to use. Its wide metal base with grippy footrests, paired with a long tube, make it much less finicky to use. The pump rarely falls over, and its 108mm long tube makes it easy to reach the valve without having to spin the tire. As an added bonus, the Air Tool MTB also has an easy-to-reach bleeder valve on top of the handle to help fine tune the PSI of your tires without removing the pump head.

For those not running tubeless, the pump’s SwitchHitter head is also compatible Schrader valves. The larger head is, however, an extremely tight fit on small tires.

Based on reviews, the gauge has been problematic for some users, but we didn’t have any issues with ours.


  • Super stable base with long tube make it a breeze to use
  • Pressure relief valve on the pump’s handle to allow for easy PSI adjustments
  • Dual head fits both valve types without any adjusting
  • Large numbers on gauge make it very easy to read
  • Includes a spare rubber seal for the head allowing for easy replacement if the seal were to wear with time


  • Gauge is known to be less reliable over time
  • Large head makes it very hard to fit on small tires


If you’re running your tires at higher PSI (over 160 PSI), a high pressure pump is a must. While any pump on this list can fill a tire with enough air so the tire is no longer flat, they don’t have the ability to continue to pump air into the tire in order to reach high PSI’s. Reaching high PSI’s requires a pump to have enough force to overcome the resistance from the air already in the tube and continue to push more air in.

How high should the PSI in your tires be? The sidewall of every tire lists the recommended PSI. For those who want a precise PSI, Silca’s Professional Tire Pressure calculator will help you dial it in.

Lezyne Steel Floor Drive

Best High Pressure Floor Pump

stock image of red Lezyne steel floor bike pump, best presta valve pump
  • MSRP: $75
  • Pressure Rating: 220 psi / 15bar
  • Volume per Stroke: n/a
  • Warranty/Replaceable Parts: 2 year / replacement head available
  • Fits 12″ Bikes: Fit on balance bike, but not on 12″ pedal bike with larger coaster brake hub
  • Ball/Bladder Needles: Included w/ onboard storage on the tube

The Lezyne Steel Floor Pump is the ultimate pump for those who need to run high pressure, as well as those who just want a quality pump that will last you for years. With a screw-on head to protect Presta valve cores, a built-in Presta core remover (essential for running tubeless set-ups), as well as a bleeder valve on the head to fine-tune PSI, the Lezyne is impressive.

Like any screw-on pump head, the Lezyne does take much longer to attach to the valves, but its extra-long, 4-foot tube and super sturdy 3-footed base make it pretty dang easy to use otherwise.

Switching from Schrader to Presta requires unscrewing and flipping the red barrel at the end of the head. The longer barrel did prevent the head from being able to attach to the valve on our 12″ pedal bike, but was barely able to fit on our 12″ balance bike.

The air pressure gauge on the Lezyne was actually the largest of the lot and is very easy to read.

Although not shown in the stock image above, the Lezyne comes with ball and bladder needles. They are stored on a simple clip on the hose that only loosely holds the needles in place.


  • Screw-on metal head prevents potential damage to valves
  • High max pressure of 220 psi performs great with road bikes
  • Head has a built-in Presta core valve remover for tubeless setups
  • 3-foot aluminum base is super stable
  • Bleeder valve head to easily adjust psi
  • Extra-long tube is great for pumping up larger tires
  • Ball needles screw into pump head, making them more secure during inflation


  • Screwing head on and off takes more time
  • Pumping motion not as smooth as other pumps
  • Head is very hard or impossible to screw onto 12″ tires
  • Ball needles clip onto hose and likely to get lost with time

Planet Bike 2.0 Comp

Best Budget Pick with High PSI

stock image of white Planet Bike Comp bike pump
  • MSRP: $40
  • Pressure Rating: 200 psi / 13 bar
  • Volume per Stroke: n/a
  • Warranty/Replaceable Parts: Limited lifetime warranty/ Replacement parts readily available
  • Fits 12″ Bikes: Yes, but a very tight fit
  • Ball/Bladder Needles: Included with on-board storage on hose

There are a lot of budget bike pumps on the market, but the Planet Bike was by far the best of the three we tested under $40. Compared to its competitors, the Planet Bike Comp was the smoothest to operate and worked the best at higher PSI’s.

While the Planet Bike Comp was noticeably harder to inflate road bike tires to higher PSI’s than more expensive pumps, it was significantly easier than the Schwinn and Bell budget pumps we tested.

The Comp stood out from the rest due to its limited lifetime warranty. The pump is also re-buildable, so if one part breaks, Planet Bike offers replacements parts to quickly and easily get it working again.

The included bell and bladder needles are securely stored on the tubing with a plastic case, which is a bonus. Although a tight fit, the pump connected with both the 12″ pedal bike and balance bike.


  • Works great for the price
  • Dual head fits both valve types without any adjusting
  • Amazing warranty with replacement parts available
  • Enclosed ball and needle storage
  • Double the psi rating (200 psi) than other budget pumps


  • Tube much shorter than other pumps

Lezyne Sport Drive HV Hand Pump

Great little high volume pump for use on the go

Lezyne Sport HV Hand Pump
  • MSRP: $20
  • Pressure Rating: 90 psi / 6.2 bar
  • Warranty/Replaceable Parts: 2-year warranty, replacement tube, seals, and bike mount available
  • Fits 12″ Bikes: Yes
  • Ball/Bladder Needles: Not included, purchase separately

Small hand pumps are a must for your on-the-go biking tool kit! Flats can happen when you least expect it and having a pump on hand is essential for a quick fix. We love the Lezyne Sport HV for several reasons – it is easy to use on both Presta and Schrader valves, delivers a lot of air with each pump, is small and compact, and is also budget-friendly.

The Lezyne’s compact, yet easy-to-use design can be attributed to the extension tube that is stored within the pump itself. The black tube (shown in the image above) easily unscrews and is stored inside the pump via the opening on the other end. When fully compacted, the pump is only 7″ long but grows to 17.5″ when fully extended.

The tube is also a huge perk because its small attachment end makes it much easier to attach to the tire than the bulky head of other hand pumps. The tube is dual-sided with screw-on Presta and Schrader fitting on either side. To use the pump, simply screw the correct side of the extension tube onto the wheel’s valve and then screw the other end into the end of the pump and start pumping!

If you have a road bike and need a high-pressure hand pump, the Lezyne Sport also comes in a high-pressure (HP) version that pumps up to 120 psi vs. 90 psi. The Lezyne Sport HP offers higher pressure at lower volume (so it will take longer to fill your tires), while the Lezyen Sport HV offers lower pressure at a higher volume.


  • Small and compact
  • Weighs a mere 2.6 oz
  • Extension tube makes it easy to pump up all tire sizes
  • Screw on valve prevents bent valve stems on Presta valves
  • Delivers high volumes of air with every pump


  • None, we love it!


While these floor bike pumps didn’t make our top spots, they are all still recommended. Depending on your budget or riding style, one of these pumps be a better option for you.

Planet Bike ALX

Clever autofit head design with amazing warranty

stock image of a red planet bike ALX bike pump
  • MSRP: $59
  • Pressure Rating: 200 psi / 13 bar
  • Warranty/Replaceable Parts: Limited lifetime warranty/ replacement parts readily available
  • Fits 12″ Bikes: Balance bike yes, pedal bike no.
  • Ball/Bladder Needles: Included with on-board storage on hose

The taller and fancier version of our favorite budget pump, the Planet Bike ALX is another solid choice for families. With a limited lifetime guarantee as well as readily accessible replacement parts, you can rely on the ALX to be around for years to come.

Compared to the budget COMP, the ALX is aluminum instead of steel, is taller, has a longer tube, and an upgraded head. The head on the ALX is unique in that it only has one opening that fits both Schrader and Presta valves. No need to swap internal components or switch anything around, the ALX’s head auto fits to both valves.

The longer locking arm of the head, however, does make it more challenging to fit onto 12″ tires. We barely made it work on our 12″ balance bike, but could not get it to fit on our 12″ pedal bike.

Lastly, the Planet Bike ALX is one of the tallest pumps in the lot, so it was especially appreciated by our taller testers :-).


  • Single pump head insertion point fits both Schrader and Presta
  • Long hose for easy hook-ups
  • Extra tall for easy pumping
  • Higher-pressure rating at 200 psi
  • Amazing warranty with replacement parts available
  • Sharp looking anodized aluminum barrel


  • Does not work on 12″ bikes with coaster brakes

woom Airflo

Unique portable bike pump for flats on the go

stock image of the woom Airflo mini bike pump
  • MSRP: $39
  • Fits 12″ Bikes: Yes, but a very tight fit

While not a full-size pump, woom’s Airflow is a handy little pump for those who are either looking for a small pump to take along on trail rides, or if you really don’t want one more thing cluttering your garage floor.

As expected from woom, the overall feel and construction of the Airflow is impressive. Taking everything into consideration, woom even designed the plunger to be a bit longer than the main cylinder to prevent your knuckles from hitting the cylinder when pumping.

With a metal screw on head (one side for Schrader and one for Presta), the Airflow is great for all standard tires. The pump wasn’t able to get our road tire up to high pressures, but is certainly usable in a pinch.

Although the tube is quite short, compared to most hand pumps that don’t have a tube, the Airflow’s tube is a blessing as you don’t have to kneel down quite as far in order to attach the head.


  • Screw-on head prevents potential bent valves
  • Lightweight and compact, easily fits in a hydration pack
  • Gap between handle and cylinder prevents pinched fingers


  • Due to short hose, kneeling, squatting or sitting on ground required to pump up small tires
  • Small foldable foot works great for shorter kids, but we found it easier for parents to bend over and hold the pump when pumping


crankbrothers Gem Bike Pump

Great pump, but not durable

stock image of crankbrothers gem bike pump
  • MSRP: $50
  • Fits 12″ Bikes: Yes, but a very tight fit
  • Pressure Rating: 160 psi / 11bar
  • Warranty/Replaceable Parts: 5 year / Parts not readily available
  • Ball/Bladder Needles: Included with on-board storage

We originally loved the Gem, but sadly can’t recommend it as it stopped working after less than a year of sporadic use. Based on reviews on REI and Amazon, our issue does not appear to be isolated.

OUR REVIEW BEFORE THE PUMP BROKE: The crankbrothers Gem’s unique footswitch allows the pump to switch between high volume and high-pressure airflow.

The high volume setting quickly fills up high volume tires, such as plus size tires on mountain bikes. For your average tires, the high volume setting also works wonders as it quickly fills up standard tires in no time.

High pressure air flow allows you to quickly fill up tires that run at high pressure but have a lower maximum volume, such as road tires.

In addition to offering the two modes, the crankbrothers Gem was also a standout because it was the easiest and smoothest pump to operate. This was in part due to its wider diameter plunger (the part that extends and retracts into the cylinder).

Every other pump we tested had a plunger about 1/2″ in diameter, while the crankbrothers was twice as wide at just over 1″. The wider diameter plunger paired with its weighted 3-foot base allows the Gem to pump smoothly with minimal wobbles.

Another standout feature of the Gem is its hidden ball and bladder needle storage. The needles are securely and discreetly stored in the handle of the pump. To access the needles you simply pop the cap off the end of the handle.

While we loved the Gem, we could not get the psi gauge to work. Upon checking customer reviews, this appears to be a consistent problem. If the gauge had worked, the Gem would have easily earned a top spot on our list.


  • Head allows for Schrader and Presta valves without any swapping
  • Secure onboard storage of needles (the best of all the pumps!)
  • Two settings for high-volume pumping (for regular tires) as well as high-pressure pumping for road bikes
  • Very sturdy 3-foot base design
  • Extremely smooth pumping action


  • Stopped working after less than a year of sporadic use
  • Pressure gauge not reliable
  • Several reviewers reported bent Presta valves (we didn’t have an issue though)

Bell Air Attack 350

Inexpensive, but hard to use

stock image of the bell attack 350 bike pump
  • MSRP: $25
  • Pressure Rating: 100 psi / 7 bar
  • Volume per Stroke: 567 cc
  • Warranty/Replaceable Parts: None
  • Fits 12″ Bikes: Yes, but a very tight fit
  • Ball/Bladder Needles: Included with on-board storage on tube

The Bell Air Attack gets the job done, but it is beyond frustrating to use. The Attack 350 was by far the most unstable pump we tested and was rarely spotted upright! Weighing under 2 lbs. and with small 2-foot base, the 350 would fall over with the slightest nudge.

The pump itself is also very short. With the top of the handle 5 inches lower to the ground than the Topeak, the Bell requires you to lean over quite a bit in order to even reach the handle to begin pumping.

Attaching the tube to the tire valve is also problematic as the tube on the pump is only 22″ long, which is 6″ shorter than the Topeak. The short tube requires you to constantly maneuver the pump and the tire in order to attach the pump’s head without causing the pump to fall over.

While compatible with Schrader and Presta valves, switching between the two does require you to unscrew a portion of the head and flip some internal components.

As shown in the stock image above, the 350 provides clips on the hose to store ball and bladder needles, but the clips are very weak and the needles quickly came off.


  • Gets the job down for a super budget price


  • Max pressure only 100 psi – lower than other pumps, but suitable for most bikes
  • Easily falls over – very lightweight with a 2-footed plastic base
  • Tube is very short which causes the pump to fall over when connecting the head
  • Pump is several inches shorter than other pumps, user must lean over much more to reach handle to begin pumping
  • Switching between valve types requires unscrewing head and flipping internal parts. This takes more time than we anticipated.
  • No psi gauge (Bell’s Upgraded Air Attack 650 has one)
  • Bladder and bell needle easily come out of tube storage

Bike Pump Criteria: How We Tested

Over the last 3 years we have tested over 15 different pumps on tons of different bikes. We quickly learned that there’s a lot more to pumps than we initially realized. While some pumps excel in a few areas, they failed in others. In the end, none of the pumps excelled in all of our criteria, but they certainly got the job done.

The best pump really depends on the types of bikes you plan on servicing. Have a road bike, get a high-preessure pump. Ride mainly MTB, high volume pump will fill your larger tires quickly. Have mostly city bikes, a “general” pump will be your best bet.

Beyond volume and PSI’s, the often overlooked features of pumps – such as base style and tube length – make pumps easier to use. From valve style to pump head style, we’ve covered everything you need to know below.

High Pressure (Road Bikes) vs. High Volume Pumps (MTB)

High pressure pumps are able to force more air into a tire in order to reach a higher PSI. High volume pumps are able to push more air in per stoke, but can’t force enough air into the tire to reach high PSI. While the max PSI is typically always listed, the pump gauge also tells you the max PSI.

PSI of bike pumps

A high volume pump pushes out more air per stroke, but this measurement is not always listed as clearly as PSI. The difference can range greatly though – the Topeak JoeBlow Sport III provides 318 cc per stroke, while the Topeak Mountain EX provides over double at 683 cc! As a result, the Mountain EX will be able to fill up the same tire with half as many strokes than the JoeBlow Sport III.

While it’s hard to measure the volume per stoke of a pump, as a general rule, the wider the pump’s barrel, the more volume it will produce per pump. So if you want a high volume pump, be sure to look for one with a wide barrel! On the flip side, if you want a high pressure pump, look for one with a narrow barrel.

bike pump high volume vs. high pressure

Having switched between many pumps over the years, since we mainly ride MTB, high volume pumps are our go-to pumps. Considering kids bikes typically don’t run at high PSI’s either, we love how much faster MTB pumps fill up tires \compared to other pumps. Our ToPeak MTB pump was able to fill up a completely flat balance bike tire in 3 strokes!

Head Design and Valve Type – Presta vs Schrader Valve

There are two main types of valves on bike tires, Presta and Schrader. Schrader is the most common valve on kids bikes as well as everyday adult bikes. Presta valves are standard on road bikes and new and/or high-end mountain bikes.

Schrader vs. Presta valves

side by side image showing a schrader bike valve and a presta bike valve

All the pumps we tested were able to pump up Schrader and Presta valves, but the shape of the pump head and how they attached to the different valves varied greatly. The two main issues we had with the head design was their large size and their compatibility with Presta valves.

Various bike pump head designs

collage showing the heads of four different bike styles

Large heads not compatible with 12″ tires

Pumps with pressure fit heads (heads that include a lever to lock the head onto the valve) tend to be larger than metal screw on heads (heads that screw on so no lever required). But both had trouble connecting to some 12″ tires.

The space between the end of the valve and the hub of a 12″ rear wheel is pretty small. As a result, it can be very challenging to get the head of a bike pump to attach to a 12″ tire in order to inflate it. This is especially difficult on 12″ bikes with coaster brakes, because the rear hub is significantly wider and therefore closer to the end of the valve.

Topeak Joe Blow pump head on a 12″ balance bike and pedal bike tire

two side by side images showing a the head of a bike pump successfully attached to a 12 inch valve stem

During our tests, we found that all our full-size pumps were either challenging to attach to 12″ tires or couldn’t connect at all. With the Lezyne, we couldn’t even attach the pump head to the valve because the head was too long.

For the rest of the pumps, we could attach the head, but the problem came in the head’s locking mechanism. Whether on the side or the rear of the pump’s head, engaging the locking lever in so small a space is incredibly challenging.

Lezyne and Planet ALX pump head’s too big to clamp onto 12″ pedal bike valve

side by side image showing how the head of the Lezyne steel floor pump and the head pf the Planet Bike ALX are too big to fit onto 12 inch tire valves

To help the head fit in, we found it helpful to let almost all of the air out of the tire and slightly pull the valve over to one side of the rim. Moving the valve even a couple of milometers helped us to eventually lock the head onto the valve.

Some bikes with 12″ tires come with angled valves to make inflating easier, they are pretty rare. But if you are willing to take the time to replace the tube on your 12″ bike, 12″ tubes with angled stems are a quick fix.

Adapters are also available to help create a bend in Schrader valves. The adapters simply screw onto the end of the valve and create a bend at the end where you attach the pump. While these adapters aren’t particularly easy to use, they are an inexpensive and quick solution to the problem.

Bent valve tubes and valve adapters

stock image of a 12 inch tire with a bent valve and bent valve stem adapters

Presta valves are common on higher-end mountain bikes and road bikes. The center core of a Presta valve is very prone to bending, which provides some unique concerns for inflation.

Standard pressure fit heads (which lock on with a lever on the head) can accidentally be attached or removed at an angle which can cause the center core of a Presta valve to bend.

Pumps with screw-on metal heads are preferred for Presta valves because they offer a much more precise fit without the risk of bending the core. The Lezyne and woom Airflow pumps we tested both had metal screw-on heads.

Lezyne screw-on metal head attaching to Presta valve

the head of the Lezyne steel floor pump about to attach to a presta tire

The downside of screw-on pump heads is that they take much longer to attach and detach the head of the pump to the valve. So unless someone in your family is regularly riding a bike with a Presta valve, a pump with a pressure-fit head is your best bet.

If you do have to pump up a Presta valve with a pressure-fit pump, not to worry, it can still safely be done. When inflating the tire, just be sure to attach the head squarely on the end of the valve. Keeping the head still while pumping, as well as making sure to pull straight up on the head when removing, can help to prevent a bent core.

How Easy is it to Use the Floor Bike Pump?

Some pumps are significantly easier to use than others. In addition to head design, we used three main factors to determine ease of use.

(1) Stability – Does the pump easily tip over when trying to attach the valve?

(2) Tube Length – Is the tube plenty long to reach tube valves without having to perfectly position the tire (especially with larger tires)?

(3) Ease of Pumping – How hard is the pump to execute the pumping action, especially at high pressure?


Pumps that always fall over are a pain to use and a pain to store. The most stable pumps have a 3-footed, weighted base. With a heavier and wider base, the bike pump is much less top-heavy.

Unstable Bell Attack 350 base versus Stable Lezyne Base

image showing the difference between the Bell Attack 350 bike pumps wobbly base and the Lezyne Steel floor pump's stable base

Tube Length – Longer is Generally Better

Bike pumps with short tubes are much more challenging to use, especially with larger 27.5″+ tires. Longer tube lengths allows for much more maneuverability when adhering the head to the valve.

The Lezyne Steel Floor pump had the longest tube of 49.25″, while the Bell Air Attack 350 had the shortest at 22″.

Long Lezyne tube versus short Bell Attack 350 tube

image showing how much longer the Lezyne steel floor pumps tube is as compared to the bell attack 350 bike pump

With short tubes, you have to spin the wheel to position the valve close to the ground and then place the pump right next to the tire. Long tubes provide much more flexibility and don’t require nearly as much positioning of the pump and the tire. Longer tubes also prevent you from having the lean over as far to attach the head to the valve.

Ease of Pumping

Some bike pumps are much harder to pump at higher-pressures than others. The lower-end budget pumps were especially challenging and required a decent effort to reach higher psi’s, which are generally found on road bikes. The more expensive pumps felt much smoother to pump and required much less effort at the same psi’s.

Gauge Accuracy

All but one of the full-size pumps we tested had a pressure gauge. Getting the right psi is important to not only allow for a comfortable ride, but to prevent flats as well.

To test the accuracy of the bike pump’s psi, we compared the pump’s psi gauge to a stand-alone digital psi reader. Upon reaching the desired psi on the pump’s gauge, we removed the pump and tested it with our digital psi reader.

Overall, the gauge accuracy was better than we anticipated, with the differences only varying from about 2 to 7 psi.

Ball and Bladder Needle Storage

From filling up beach balls and pool toys to footballs and soccer balls, ball and bladder needles are a lifesaver. All of the full-size bike pumps we tested came with needles, as well as a place to store them. However, the functionality of the storage area ranged from fantastic to pointless.

Our favorite needle storage provided an enclosed area to prevent them from getting lost. The crankbrothers Gem pump offered our favorite storage solution as the needles were cleverly hidden inside the pump’s handle.

Bell’s clip for needles on tube vs. crankbrothers enclosed storage in pump handle

the ball and bladder clip-on tube storage on the bell attack 350 as the in handle storage of the crankbrothers gem bike pump

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