As a commuter where space and weight is everything, it’s easy to look at your pump and leave it at home due to being too bulky and taking up too much room. For this reason, we’ve created this post to look at some of the best portable bike pumps for people that commute or anyone for that matter where space and weight is premium.
What to Look for When Buying a Bike Pump
Size and Weight
We recommend not compromising on size and weight too much. If you go too small the pump will be too awkward to use and have poor air output.
CO2 pumps are more commonly seen with road riders who obsess over their weight which makes sense when you aren’t riding with a bag and space is premium. But are CO2 pumps worth it? Yes and no.
CO2 pumps are great if concerned about space as they come with a small adaptor the size of your pinky finger that slots onto your tyre valve. From here, you simply connect the CO2 tube to the mount and you’re away. The downside is that this introduces an ongoing cost where you need to buy new CO2 tubes for each use ($1-3 depending where you live).
Our past experience of using a CO2 based pump has been nothing short of a disaster where the cannister started releasing air before it was properly mounted and the tyre ended up only half pumped. For this reason, maybe try practice a few times at home before attempting to use it in the pouring rain like we did!
With smaller bike pumps, you will find the output of air from the pump is less than a larger more stationary based pump. From our experience, the smaller the pump the less air output from the pump.
When looking at portable bike pumps, we measured them based on how easy it was to pump the tyre to 100 PSI. We found this challenging with more cheaper pumps where there was little leverage and it became uncomfortable to pump for longer periods.
Presta and Schrader Adaptor
Be sure to buy a pump that is compatible with the tyres on your bike whether this is presta or a schrader adaptor. Generally most pumps will come with an adaptor to fit both types but there are some pumps which only work with one type as a way of saving weight and bulk.
Another thing to consider when buying a pump and considering valves is how well it mounts to the valve. There’s nothing worse than having a chuck on the tyre valve that’s not secure and constantly comes loose. For this reason, consider how well the pump will mount and dismount from your tyre to provide a secure connection.
From our experience, it’s best to get a pump which suits both tyre types as this will be handy if you ever need to help someone else pump their tyres up or change your bike in the future which has a different valve type.
How will you be carrying the pump? In your jersey pocket? Bag? On your bike?
Depending on the answer above, you may wish to consider a holder that mounts on to your bike allowing you to conveniently carry your pump. Most will mount on either one of the drink cage bottle mounts that most bikes come with. If you find you’re already using both drink bottle cage mounts, some portable pumps will come with an alternative mounting system that relies on
How Comfortable is the Pump?
We won’t lie... Using portable bike pumps can be awkward especially if inflating a tyre from being dead flat. For this reason, we strongly recommend considering how comfortable the pump looks to use. Some things we’d consider looking for in a comfortable pump:
- Handle material - Look for something with a nice soft but grippy handle so the pump is bother comfortable to hold and your hand doesn’t accidentally slide off
- Longer pumps are generally more comfortable to use. From our experience, shorter pumps while great for helping save space, are less comfortable to use than longer pumps. This is largely due to smaller pumps requiring a lot more effort to pump than a larger pump which is able to take in more air and require less pumps.
How durable will the bike pump be? Generally we found pumps that are made of metal or aluminium are built to last longer than pumps that are made of plastic and feel a lot more sturdier than their plastic counterparts.
If you must buy a plastic pump, we’d recommend prioritising a pump where the hardware such as the valve attachment point is at least metal or aluminium as this can often break due to the high amount of pressure.
Best Bike Hand Pump for Commuting
Pro Bike Tools Pump
As a commuter, you want something that’s both small and just works. Fortunately the Pro Bike Tools Pump is exactly that.
The Pro Bike Tools Pump is capable of pumping both presta and schrader tyres to 100 PSI. Included with the pump is a tyre pressure valve which makes tracking your bike tyre pressure a breeze. While requiring 30% less pumping actions to get there compared to other portable bike pumps on the market.
In terms of length and size, the Pro Bike Tools Pump is small 8.75” and weighs only 130 grams. If you don’t have space in your bag to carry the Pro Bike Tools Pump, you will be pleased to know that it also comes with a bike mount for attaching the pump to your bike.
One problem we see with a lot of bike pumps is that they have a poor connection with the bike tyre which can result in a lot of unnecessary effort in getting the tyre pumped to a satisfactory level. You’ll be pleased to know that the Pro Bike Tools Pump comes with a super tight connection between the pump and your bike tyre to avoid any leaks.
Best CO2 Bike Pump For Commuting
Pro Bike Tools CO2 Inflator
It wouldn’t be right to have a post about portable bike pumps and not include at least one CO2 inflator. From our experience, the Pro Bike Tools CO2 inflator was the best in the bunch thanks to its great design and build quality being made from machined aluminium alloy that is built to last.
The Pro Bike Tools CO2 inflator is capable of inflating both presta and schrader tyres in seconds with its 1 turn valve system. The pressure can be controlled thanks to a carefully designed lever system which helps you regulate the speed of the air entering your tyre.
The Pro Bike Tools CO2 inflator is compatible with a range of CO2 canisters from 12g, 16g, 20g and 25g.
Our only major criticism of the Pro Bike Tools pump is that the rubber seal on the pump is quite thin so you may find you get cold hands when inflating your tyres. Most people will be wearing gloves so this won’t be a problem.
Who are CO2 inflators for? Anyone but we find they are most best suited for road cyclists who are making an effort to reduce weight as much as possible by being able to have \it in their jersey pocket. We’ve had mishaps in the past with CO2 cartridges only partially releasing which can result in a half full tyre. Not so great when you still have a decent distance to ride home! With this said, practice at home before you decide to use it out on your commute.
Topeak Mini Morph Bike Pump
The Topeak Mini Morph portable bike pump was one of the more efficient pumps we reviewed, being able of pumping both presta and schrader tyres to 160 PSI. Nothing to sneeze at!
The ability of the pump to pump to 160 PSI is largely due to the fold out food pad which helps you pump more efficiently and get more air into your tyres.
In terms of weight, the Topeak is relatively light and weighs 160 grams and is 262mm long.
One criticism of the Topeak Mini Morph Bike Pump was the lack of air gauge to show pressure level however this will only add additional bulk so wasn't a deal breaker.
DOKO-IN Mini Bike Pump
Taking out the most efficient portable bike pump we reviewed was the DOKO-IN Mini Bike Pump which is capable of pumping both presta and schrader valves to a whopping 210 PSI. Decent if we say so!
The DOKO-IN pump is made from machined aluminium alloy and also includes a tyre pressure meter which is great for anyone that is looking to pump their tyres to a specific level.
For anyone that is looking to mount this pump to your bike then you will be pleased to know that the DOKO-IN Portable Bike Pump includes a bike mount for attaching to your bike.
One thing we liked about this pump was the inclusion of a pumping needle that also allows you to pump sports balls like a basketball. A great idea especially when the pump is capable of pumping to 210 PSI!