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. You can’t ride a bike if your tires don’t have air in them! Having a good bike pump will ensure your enthusiasm for riding will continue even when things become a little “flat.”

We put nine different floor bike pumps through rigorous testing. With a particular focus on families in mind, we tested each pump on a kids 12″ balance bike with air tires, a 12″ pedal bike, a 24″ mountain bike, as well as a 700C adult road bike. From presta valve pumps to schrader valve bike pumps, we’ve tested them all!

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

Highlighted below are our top three picks as well as several other honorable mentions. We provide a quick run-down of all the bike tire pumps we tested, and also break down how we selected our favorite pumps.

Best Pumps for Families: Top Picks

Bike PumpAwardFit 12" Tires?MSRP
ToPeak Joe Blow SportBest All AroundY$49
Lezyne Steel FloorBest for Mountain or Road Biking FamiliesN$59
Planet Bike CompBest BudgetY$35

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. Bike’s Wheel Size: If you have 12″ kids bikes, some bike tire pumps are much easier to use than others. The smaller the head of the pump, the better it will work with 12″ tires.
  3. Presta Valves: While all the bike pumps on this list are compatible with Schrader (most common) and Presta (less common) valve, if your bike has Presta, a pump with a screw-on metal head protects the center core, which can easily bend.
  4. 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.
  5. Tube Length: Pumps with longer tubes are easier to use than pumps with shorter tubes. Longer tubes also allow you to attach the pump’s head to the valve while standing up.
  6. Ball and Bladder Needles: Most bike pumps come with needles for pumping up balls and inflatables. The best pumps also come with convenient storage areas so you won’t lose the needles!
  7. Tire Pressure: Road bike tires are required to be pumped up to a much higher psi than standard tires. If you have a road bike, be sure to select a pump that can easily reach at least 120 psi (some we tested could not). Kids, mountain, and hybrid bikes rarely reach psi’s over 80. On any bike, the recommended psi for the tire can be found on the tire’s sidewall.

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 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.

THE BEST BIKE PUMPS FOR FAMILIES

Taking into consideration all of the criteria we outlined above, these three floor bike pumps came out on top. The pump that is best for you depends on whether you have a 12″ bike or a bike with a Presta valves, as well as your budget.

Topeak Joe Blow Sport III

All Around Best Pick

stock image of topeak joe blow III bike pump

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.

MSRP: $49

Fits 12″ Bikes: Yes, but a very tight fit

Pressure Rating: 160 psi / 11 bar

Warranty/Replaceable Parts: 2 year / Parts not readily available

Ball/Bladder Needles: Included w/ onboard storage

PROS:

  • 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

CONS:

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

Lezyne Steel Floor Drive

Best Presta Valve Pump

stock image of red Lezyne steel floor bike pump, best presta valve pump

The Lezyne Steel Floor Pump is the ultimate pump for families who regularly use Presta valves on their mountain or road bikes. 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 pressure release button in 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.

MSRP: $59

Fits 12″ Bikes: Fit on balance bike, but not on 12″ pedal bike with larger coaster brake hub

Pressure Rating: 220 psi / 15bar

Warranty/Replaceable Parts: 2 year / replacement head available

Ball/Bladder Needles: Included w/ onboard storage on the tube

PROS:

  • 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
  • Extra-long tube is great for pumping up larger tires
  • Ball needles screw into pump head, making them more secure during inflation
  • Pressure release button on head to easily adjust psi

CONS:

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


Planet Bike Comp

Best Budget Pick

stock image of white Planet Bike Comp bike pump

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 that more expensive pumps, it was significantly easier than the Schwinn and Bell pumps we tested.

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.

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.

MSRP: $35

Fits 12″ Bikes: Yes, but a very tight fit

Pressure Rating: 200 psi / 13 bar

Warranty/Replaceable Parts: Limited lifetime warranty/ Replacement parts readily available

Ball/Bladder Needles: Included with on-board storage on hose

PROS:

  • 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

CONS:

  • Tube much shorter than other pumps

HONORABLE MENTION BIKE PUMPS

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

crankbrothers Gem Bike Pump

Smoothest pump with unique high pressure/high volume switch

stock image of crankbrothers gem bike pump

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.

MSRP: $49

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

PROS:

  • 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

CONS:

  • Pressure gauge not reliable
  • Several reviewers reported bent Presta valves (we didn’t have an issue though)

Planet Bike ALX

Clever autofit head design with amazing warranty

stock image of a red planet bike ALX bike pump

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 :-).

MSRP: $55

Fits 12″ Bikes: Balance bike yes, pedal bike no.

Pressure Rating: 200 psi / 13 bar

Warranty/Replaceable Parts: Limited lifetime warranty/ replacement parts readily available

Ball/Bladder Needles: Included with on-board storage on hose

PROS:

  • 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

CONS:

  • 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

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.

MSRP: $39

Fits 12″ Bikes: Yes, but a very tight fit

PROS:

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

CONS:

  • 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

Schwinn Air Center Plus

Great budget buy when used at lower pressures

stock image of the schwinn air center plus bike pump

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.

MSRP: $25

Fits 12″ Bikes: Yes, but a very tight fit

Pressure Rating: 120 psi / 8 bar

Warranty/Replaceable Parts: None

Ball/Bladder Needles: Included with secure on-board storage box on cylinder

PROS:

  • 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

CONS:

  • 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

NOT RECOMMENDED

Bell Air Attack 350

Inexpensive, but hard to use

stock image of the bell attack 350 bike pump

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.

MSRP: $25

Fits 12″ Bikes: Yes, but a very tight fit

Pressure Rating: 100 psi / 7 bar

Warranty/Replaceable Parts: None

Ball/Bladder Needles: Included with on-board storage on tube

PROS:

  • Gets the job down for a super budget price

CONS:

  • 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

After testing out nine different floor bike pumps over two months, we quickly learned that there is 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.

Overall the Topeak and the Lezyne stood out as favorites, but the best bike tire pump for your family really depends on how you plan on using it. By taking the time to learn the differences in bike pump designs, you’re much more likely to find a pump that’s a great fit for your family.

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?

Stability

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

22 Kids Bike Accessories to Make Biking More Fun – From baskets and bells, to wheel lights and funky helmets, your kids will love these fun add-ons.

Best Hydration Packs for Kids – Camelbak, Osprey, and budget-friendly options. We tested 15 packs to find the best!

Kids Bike Ramps – 30+ Ideas to DIY or Buy – We’ve made our own ramps and tested ramps you can easily buy. Check out over 20 different options.

Subscribe
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

2 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top
Send this to a friend