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Stand alone tyre pressure gauge - worth it?

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Stand alone tyre pressure gauge - worth it?

Old 05-25-19, 06:26 PM
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NoWhammies
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Stand alone tyre pressure gauge - worth it?

I use the tyre pressure gauge that's on my pump to determine when the tyres on my bike are properly inflated.

At my LBS today I saw they had stand alone tyre pressure gauges on sale. My question is, are they worth the price? Does anyone have one? If so, how frequently do you use it?
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Old 05-25-19, 06:33 PM
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There's a huge range of acceptable tire pressures for your bike. The pressure gauge on the tire pump is more accurate than you need. If I fix a flat on the road, I just inflate until the tire feels good enough (or until I get too tired to want to pump any more.)
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Old 05-25-19, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
...they had stand alone tyre pressure gauges on sale. My question is, are they worth the price? ...
So, what's the price?
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Old 05-25-19, 07:25 PM
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My 2 cents: not worth it. Bought one once at MEC, used it a few times, returned it. I prefer my pump's gauge, which is accurate enough for my purposes as far as I know! Or my thumb.
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Old 05-25-19, 07:26 PM
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I trust the accuracy of my gauges more than the accuracy of the pumps' built-in gauges. The gauges are higher quality than the pumps but either are better than just feeling with fingers. But I only check pressure every few rides on my bikes. And pump as needed.
Don't carry a gauge when riding - just a pump.
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Old 05-25-19, 07:57 PM
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On skinny tires you often lose too much air trying to use the gauge, so it's often pointless.
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Old 05-25-19, 08:35 PM
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I've had the same well made zefal stand alone for donkeys years, not sure how many, but while I use my floor pump nearly always, I like having the small and light gauge when touring.

Useful for verifying or confirming pressure changes that make a real difference in handing or comfort.

In my opinion, there is still a place for them. Mine is light, which is a real bonus.
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Old 05-25-19, 08:55 PM
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Nope. Gauge on pump more than good enough. I can squeeze the tire in between inflations during the week or whenever to see if itís close enough.
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Old 05-25-19, 09:19 PM
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You choose , I bought 2nd hand a plastic Zefal made one on my bike tour ... 20 years ago..
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Old 05-25-19, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by sdmc530 View Post
Nope. Gauge on pump more than good enough. I can squeeze the tire in between inflations during the week or whenever to see if itís close enough.
+1 Squeeze a tire enough times right after pumping and you learn what "X" psi feels like. I squeeze them when I really like the ride. (I rode tubulars for 15 years before I owned a gauge of any sort. Didn't use a gauge to race. Wasn't an issue. The squeeze test told me what I needed to know.)

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Old 05-25-19, 10:06 PM
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The lower your operating pressures, the more you can benefit from a standalone gauge-- provided you get one with a more narrow range of measurement. Most on-pump gauges aren't well suited to things like fatbike tires, but you can buy a standalone 0-15psi gauge.

For roadbike pressures, any gauge will do (including those on pumps,) so long as it provides repeatable results.
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Old 05-25-19, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
I use the tyre pressure gauge that's on my pump to determine when the tyres on my bike are properly inflated.

At my LBS today I saw they had stand alone tyre pressure gauges on sale. My question is, are they worth the price? Does anyone have one? If so, how frequently do you use it?
Ask the LBS if you can try it out on a bike there.

I own a standalone gauge that I never use because it is really hard to get any kind of reading out of it (you have to align it perfectly on the stem), and because the bike pump is adequate. The few times I have tried to use it, I end up leaking enough air on my road bike tires that am assured of needing to use a pump again.
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Old 05-26-19, 12:24 AM
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There's a 10 psi difference between my Nashbar Earl Grey floor pump gauge and Nashbar standalone gauge with burp button (the latter reads 10 psi lower). The standalone gauge is easy to use without losing air. It seals well and holds air. The only trick with Presta valves is to crack the valve open just enough but not too much.

Which is accurate? I figure it's like camera light meters. Check the same scene with three different meters, get three different readings. Photos from each usually look fine.

I just split the difference. If the floor pump says 100 psi, I call it 95. Then I go by how the bike feels on our rough roads. I'll pssst out some air until the ride feels comfortable but not sluggish, well above the pressure needed to avoid pinch flats (I weigh 150 now, down from 160 last year, and have never pinch flatted even blasting across unexpected or unavoidable rough spots).
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Old 05-26-19, 01:14 AM
  #14  
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Do you really need to know the exact pressure? All I need is a gauge that reads the same every time. If the pressure inside the tyre is really 90 or 85 psi, I dont care about, I just pump to a reading I know I like. In that sense the scale could be arbitrary, as long as you only have one pump.
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Old 05-26-19, 03:28 AM
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Use one all the time when touring, especially moving from gravel to road or back. My tires are very sensitive to inflation deflation. One little sssst can change the pressure a whole lot. Surprising for 2.5" wide, but there you go... I use the Blue Schwalbe one, doesn't seem to take much lost air to work
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Old 05-26-19, 03:52 AM
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When one begins to pay more attention to small pressure changes in how handling and rider comfort are concerned, this is where a small light gauge really shines.

Going from too harsh pressure to letting some out but not actually knowing the pressures is the key issue here.

I ride bikes with different tires with different loads on very different surfaces and speeds. The operating pressures can range from 25 to 100 psi , and the very apparent riding changes that come from a couple or 5 psi can be very much felt and appreciated.

So if you are a rider who wants to improve handling or your comfort, and experiment with different pressures, and are atune to small changes--or even learn to be more sensitive to pressure changes, then a hand held is a very effective tool.

In all disciplines, small differences are the key to important improvements, and with tire pressures, it's fun to play with pressures and feel how they change how you can corner, ride faster over given surfaces, have more confidence in your front end which invariably leads to you being faster.

I guess for me I knew this from racing motorcycles a bit 35 years ago, and over the last while have become more aware of my bicycle pressures and the advantages of X vs Y psi and how changes make me a more comfortable, faster rider, while being able to confidently push harder in corners on various surfaces and conditions.
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Old 05-26-19, 05:14 AM
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It depends on the range of the gauge on the pump and the pressure you want in your tire. If the range is up to 120 psi, and the pressures are around 40ish or higher (like for my road/gravel or commuter bikes) Iíll just use the pumpís gauge. Lower than that (like for mountain biking) I use a separate gauge that can differentiate a 1-2 psi difference better.
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Old 05-26-19, 06:41 PM
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When you use a pump for a gauge you are guaranteed too have to pump the tire. Stand alone, you only pump if the gauge reads low.
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Old 05-26-19, 10:11 PM
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Good info folks. Thank you for the insight.
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Old 05-27-19, 06:32 AM
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Wasn't clear if OP was considering a standalone for accuracy's sake or convenience. If query was about out of convenience to determine if any air needs to be added, then I would say no, not worth it. If my tires have been sitting unused for even 24 hours, I attach the pump with the presumption that some (even a little) amount of air has been lost.

From accuracy standpoint, I also assume that my floor pump, if it is a bit off from 100% accuracy, is consistently off. I've now determined the pressure that works best according to my pump, so I inflate to that.
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Old 05-27-19, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
On skinny tires you often lose too much air trying to use the gauge, so it's often pointless.
Agree
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Old 05-27-19, 06:53 AM
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Trying to hit ten
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Old 05-27-19, 08:24 AM
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I use the gauge on my 25 y/o Trek floor pump. I don't know if it's correct or even close but it's my point of reference. Why agonize over it. If your ride feels harsh let some air out and note where the pressure is at. If it's too soft, add some pressure and note where the gauge is at.

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Old 05-28-19, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
The lower your operating pressures, the more you can benefit from a standalone gauge-- provided you get one with a more narrow range of measurement. Most on-pump gauges aren't well suited to things like fatbike tires, but you can buy a standalone 0-15psi gauge.

For roadbike pressures, any gauge will do (including those on pumps,) so long as it provides repeatable results.
Agree, for the road bike where I'm up in the 85-95psi range, the gauge on the pump is pretty accurate and works well. However, for my tubeless MTB tires, the difference between 18psi and 22 psi is very noticeable. But due to the wide range of the pump gauge, there is no way to actually read it to that level of accuracy down at that point on the gauge. The width of the needle itself is almost larger than 5 psi...

So the handheld gauge is very useful. I just pump up the tires a bit above where I want them, apply the standalone gauge, and press the button to release air until it is exactly where I want it.

Also, I occasionally use a compressor to fill tires on various bikes - I need an external gauge there as well.
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Old 05-28-19, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by dbf909 View Post
Agree, for the road bike where I'm up in the 85-95psi range, the gauge on the pump is pretty accurate and works well. However, for my tubeless MTB tires, the difference between 18psi and 22 psi is very noticeable. But due to the wide range of the pump gauge, there is no way to actually read it to that level of accuracy down at that point on the gauge. The width of the needle itself is almost larger than 5 psi...

So the handheld gauge is very useful. I just pump up the tires a bit above where I want them, apply the standalone gauge, and press the button to release air until it is exactly where I want it.

Also, I occasionally use a compressor to fill tires on various bikes - I need an external gauge there as well.
a good example of how especially with lower pressures, if one has the interest or takes note of differences, a small gauge can be of help (but in your example, not if the gauge is from 0-160psi for example)

but lets face it, a lot of riders dont care about details like this. They'll ride on underinflated tires without realizing, or overpump and find that "their bike" is uncomfortable and harsh. I have lots of friends who dont give a rats patootee or think about tire pressures ever.
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