Best Tire Pressure Gauges: Under Pressure

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Top 7 Best Tire Pressure Gauges

Most mechanics – shadetree and otherwise – will advise you that once a driver can actually see an air pressure deficiency in the tires on one’s car, the amount of atmosphere in those rubber hoops is far below recommended inflation. This is why most modern cars have some sort of tire pressure monitoring system, blaring a klaxon worthy of the Enterprise-D under Romulan attack.

Even with TPMS sensors, there’s the chance a person has swapped rims for the winter (raises hand) or simply has occasion to check the tire pressure on an ATV or bike. Here are a few good options we found on Amazon.

Table of Contents

1. Editor's Choice: JACO Deluxe Tire Pressure Gauge - 100 PSI

If you’re inflating passenger car tires to 100 psi, we recommend you take a step back from the air compressor and calling a professional. Still, many of us never use the full sweep of our car’s speedometer, so the markings here are not without precedent.

This curiously capitalized JACO brand seems to pop up all over the place on Amazon when searching for tools like these, with most of them collecting positive feedback along the way. This unit is no different, earning a 4+ star rating with over 1300 reviews. The round dial and red needle are easy to read and its shape, meant to - har har - look like a tire, is easy to grip.

Pros

  • Simple display, compact size

Cons

  • Not great for really low pressure tires

Bottom Line

  • Solid choice for the glovebox

2. TEKTON Instant Read Digital Tire Gauge With Lighted Nozzle

When digital readouts started popping up on car radios and dashboards in the 1980s, your author coveted them massively. This gauge, which looks an awful lot like an ear thermometer, reads out tire pressures in digital numerals to the nearest tenth.

This is great for precision, so if you feel the family CR-RAV-5 needs 32.1 psi instead of 32.2 psi for the run to soccer practice, this thing has you covered. It’s available in a natty red finish and includes a helpful light on the nozzle so you’re not fumbling for the Schrader valve like a rookie QB fumbles a football.

Pros

  • Digital readout, handy illumination

Cons

  • Batteries will run out eventually

Bottom Line

  • Cheap addition to a gearhead’s gift bag

3. Vondior Heavy Duty Tire Pressure Gauge - (0-60 PSI)

Sounding for all the world like a hostile alien race on Star Trek, the Vondior gauge shares much with the unit heading up this list. It is, however, a slightly better choice for off-roaders airing down their truck’s tires before heading out on the sand dunes.

Why? Climbing to just 60 psi reading means the hash marks for individual steps of pressure are much easier to read, so go ahead and plan an air down to 15 psi instead of guessing “somewhere around 20”. Its dial is glow-in-the-dark for those late-night dune runs.

Pros

  • Good psi step readout, visible after dark

Cons

  • Vondior politics can be tricky

Bottom Line

  • Fling one of these in your bug out bag

4. AstroAI Pencil Tire Pressure Gauge

The classic. The original. The “my dad had one of those”. Shaped like a pencil and as straightforward to use as one, this basic as dirt tire pressure gauge might be all you need to ensure you’re not rolling down the road on a set of underinflated pancakes.

Made of stainless steel, you should be able to chuck this thing in the trunk and forget about it until needed. There are three units of measure on its readout - psi, kPa, and bar ... not that anyone outside a German manufacturing plant refers to tire pressures in bar. Maybe in a bar over a grog of Beck's, perhaps.

Pros

  • Dead simple to use, takes up practically no space

Cons

  • Fine tuning accuracy may be an issue

Bottom Line

  • It was good enough for your dad, and he drove uphill both ways

5. Handheld Pistol-Style Heavy Duty Pressure Gauge by Neancer

This gauge is actually more than a gauge (“But wait! There’s more!”) as it includes the proper hosing and chuck to work with an air compressor. This is another digital readout on our list, shutting off in about 20 seconds after its last use in an attempt to save on batteries.

Plenty of consumer reviews exist on the selling page, a testament to the psychosis enthusiasm of people who splash out nearly 50 bucks for something like this. However, for a professional, or simply someone who likes precision, this unit provides all the toys.

Pros

  • Performs multiple tire-related tasks

Cons

  • Costly

Bottom Line

  • All-in-one tire fun

6. MILTON s-586e Precision Digital Tire Inflator & Pressure Gauge

Actually, if I was carping about the price of that last unit, someone should hand me some smelling salts while I type out a description of this thing. With a list price exceeding what your author paid for several derby cars, this pressure gauge may put pressure on your bank account.

Touted as“the most accurate tire inflator gauge available anywhere on the market”, it is supposed to be accurate to within 0.05 percent. Great for race teams or other pros, its screen has a clear readout that far exceeds any other LCD readout on this list and is apparently able to automatically rotate from portrait to landscape view.

Pros

  • Accurate, dandy display

Cons

  • Wallet hoovering price

Bottom Line

  • Hendrick probably has a few on his race teams

7. MSQL TPMS Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Playing slightly outside the rules of this list is the tire pressure monitoring system shown here. The best pressure gauge is the one you never need to use right? These little electronic readers can be installed by a tire pro the next time you change over a car’s winter rubber.

Using a built-in sensor, these readers beam information back to a screen inside your car, one which draws its power from a 12V socket. It is supposed to sound an alarm if pressure is outside the recommended range. It can provide a readout of tire temperatures as well.

Pros

  • Install it and forget it

Cons

  • Consumes a 12V socket

Bottom Line

  • Decent solution for TMPS on an older car

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main photo credit: Soonthorn Wongsaita / ShutterStock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

More by Matthew Guy

Comments
Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • TheTireWhisperer TheTireWhisperer on Feb 23, 2024
    Please please! Avoid all the fuss, spend the extra money, and look up Longacre Racing. Their lineup: Analog: Basic - Deluxe - Magnum - Pro, and Liquid-filled Digital: Basic - Semi-pro - Pro Price from $40 up to over $100, but.. Are extremely easy to read pressure on, accurate, repeatable readings, and, especially the analog dial gauges: are built as sturdy as tanks! And the pressure you see on the dial or read out is the pressure in your vehicle's tires. I own their basic digital, Deluxes in 40 and 60psi flavor, and a massive 3 1/2 dial 60psi Magnum - theee reference gauge in my car maintenance crate. Go on Longacre's website, and look for their state-by-state list of affiliated dealers if you want to go pick one up in person instead of waiting for it to be delivered. Chances are there might be a reseller within an hour and a half drive of your location. You'll have a gauge that glows in the dark(analog), and also bleeds air down to the required tire pressure for your vehicle. One piece of advice: Keep the Longacre gauges indoors when not in use, away from extremes in temperature. They are investments - the last tire pressure kit you'll need to buy. Then, put a Milton S921 plunger "stick" gauge in the glove compartment of your family's cars!
  • Lou_BC Ironic, the Honda Ridgeline, a truck that every truck guy loves to hate is in 6th place.
  • 28-Cars-Later I keep forgetting I own it, but the space look on the ext cab reminds me of my 'Yota pickup of the same model year. I'm pretty sure there is some vintage of Hilux which features the same looking ext cab window (maybe '88?) its a shame these things are mostly gone and when available are $1,000,000,000 [INSERT CURRENT CURRENCY].
  • Sayahh Imagine if Ford had Toyota design and build a Mustang engine. It will last over 300k miles! (Skip turbo and make it naturally aspirated.) Maybe Yamaha will help tune it...
  • Sobhuza Trooper Isuzu's crime was to build some damn good trucks.Shame on them.
  • El scotto Listen, unless you were Lord Headly-Stempmoor or such when you got off the off the boat, boot in Canada, you got the short end of the stick. People got on the boat, these days a plane, to escape famine, becoming cannon fodder in yet another stupid war, or the government thought it was A-OK to let soldiers kill you. Juneteenth is just a way to right one of the more bad ideas in the American experiment. Instead we have commenters who were buying tater chips and diet soda at Wal-Mart and got all butt-hurt because they heard someone who wasn't speaking English. I'm going to go fix a couple of frankfurters with salsa and guacamole and wash them down with a lager or three
Next