For the road bike, I’ve used a number of pumps and the pressure gauge isn’t the thing that makes me love a pump, it’s stability and volume of air delivered with each downward stroke. Right now I’m using the Specialized Airtool Pro and I like it a lot.
For the mountain bike, I want a gauge that makes it easy to read small changes in pressure – like 0.5-1 pound. I haven’t found a floor pump out there that does this. Maybe one exists, but I haven’t found it.
The second issue I have on the mountain bike is that when I use another rider’s pump, 26 pounds on their pump gauge never feels like 26 pounds on my gauge. They feel the same way about my pump.
A great recommendation by pro racer Ernie Watenpaugh lead me to a digital pressure gauge. There are a lot of them out there, but Ernie had been using the SKS Airchecker so that’s what I picked up. For mountain bike pressures, I love having a digital readout. I will admit to some princess-and-the-pea syndrome and digital readout is perfect for me.
I was really surprised that the pump I normally use for mountain biking (not the Specialized Airtool) would deliver digital pressures +/- 2 pounds for what appeared to be the same pressure reading on the gauge.
I haven’t played with the Specialized pump enough to know if my eyeballed pressure varies as much or not.
If you’re looking for more accurate pressure readings from any pump, including borrowed pumps, consider using a digital pressure gauge.
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