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Low Tire Pressure Can Cause Blowouts and Waste Gas — Stay on Top of Things With These Tire Gauges

It’s easy to take your car’s tires for granted. That is, until you get a flat. But tire maintenance is as easy as it is essential, and it starts with ensuring proper pressure. Properly inflated tires will last longer and give you better mileage. Crucially, you’re more likely to avoid blowouts and flats, keeping you safe on the road. A tire gauge is an incredibly easy way to keep an eye on your tire’s pressure.

What To Consider Before Buying A Tire Gauge

You can check your tire’s pressure at the gas station, but there are a few reasons it’s worth having a tire pressure gauge and keeping it in your car. For one, gas station air pumps often cost money. Even if it’s just a few cents, buying a pressure gauge will save you money in the long run. There’s also often a line at gas station tire machines, so having your own tire pressure gauge will save you time, too.

Believe it or not, you can even skip the trip to the gas station altogether by inflating your tires with a bike pump. It may sound odd, but most non-racing bicycles use Schraeder valves, which are the same as what’s used on a car’s tire. If you only need to add a few PSI, inflating your tires with a bike pump should take less than five minutes. In the event that your tires are severely underinflated or you suffer a blowout, you’ll want to invest in an air compressor.

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Another important factor when inflating your car’s tires is to remember to do so with cold tires. If you have been driving around for a while, the air inside your tires will start to move, which will give you an artificially high PSI reading. Checking your tires in the morning or after a few hours of having not moved will give you the most accurate results.

Of course, key to properly inflated tires is knowing what the right pressure is. If you can’t find it in your manual or on the tire’s sidewall, the easiest place to find the proper inflation is on the inside of the driver-side door. You’ll see a sticker listing proper inflation information in the door’s frame.

What To Consider Before Buying A Tire Gauge

There are a few different kinds of tire gauges worth considering. There are manual and digital tire gauges. Pencil tire gauges are manual readers which are thin, pocket-friendly and affordable. There are also dial tire pressure gauges, which are also manual and have a needle and markings to help you read the pressure.

You can also invest in a digital tire pressure gauges, which can be easier to read because they take out the guesswork. They’re typically backlit, making it easier to read them in the dark. However, these require batteries and typically cost a few dollars more than manual styles.

We’ve rounded up a range of tire gauges that you can buy now. All of them are an affordable investment in road safety and better gas mileage.

1. AstroAI Digital Tire Pressure Gauge

This tire pressure gauge can take some finagling to get into place, but the light-up nozzle and backlit display make it easier to read in dark garages or at night. Plus, it reads in multiple different metrics, including PSI and kPA. It’s simple to use; there’s a single button that turns the device on and toggles through the different settings. The device turns off automatically after less than a minute, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally draining the battery. The ergonomic grip is easy to hold, and there’s a lanyard loop. 

Pros: Backlit display and light-up nozzle. Converts to multiple metrics. Comfortable to hold. 

Cons: Can be tricky to properly get it into place. 

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2. Milton Pencil Tire Pressure Gauge

This tire pressure gauge is made from metal using machined parts, and it’s manufactured in the USA. The sturdy build and ergonomic angle put it a step above the average pencil tire pressure gauge, but it’s still an affordable pick for everyday use. Plus, it has a pen clip for easy storage in your pocket. It reads both PSI kPA in  1-lb. increments and 10-kPa increments, respectively. 

Pros: Sturdy metal construction. USA-made. 

Cons: Narrower reading range than some other options. 

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3. AstroAI Digital Tire Pressure Gauge with Inflator

If you want a tool that can do double-duty, this digital tire pressure gauge has a nozzle that lets you attach it to an air compressor. That means you can use it to read and inflate. It uses AAA batteries, which are included and are easy to replace once they die. You can change the units using the button on the front, and also press the light button for easier reading in the dark. The device automatically shuts off with inactivity, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally draining the battery. 

Pros: 2-in-1 design. Can be used with an air compressor to inflate your tires. Backlit display and multiple units of measurement. 

Cons: Pricier than some other options. Compressor not included.

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4. VONDIOR Tire Pressure Gauge

Another style of manual pressure gauge worth considering is a dial gauge, and this is a good option in that department. It has a textured grip that resembles a tire, which serves the practical purpose of making it easier to hold in the hand. The clever design includes a rotating nozzle, making it easier to read at different angles. If the tires are overinflated, the bleeder valve allows you to safely and slowly release air. Pressure is displayed in increments of ten, with individual notches for each unit of PSI and thicker ticks for units of five, making it easier to read and get an accurate measurement. The gauge reads up to 60 PSI. 

Pros: Intuitive manual option that doesn’t require batteries. Rotating nozzle for easy reading at different angles. Release valve to let out excess air. 

Cons: Only displays in PSI. 

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5. CZC AUTO Pencil Tire Pressure Gauge

This economical pencil-style tire pressure gauge has an extending scale plate that reads in PSI and kPa, and it has a handy pocket clip for secure storage. The pressure from the tire pushes out the scale plate, allowing you to take a measurement. Its fully manual construction means you never need to worry about replacing batteries. As an added bonus, there are four stem caps for replacing lost or damaged valve caps. The head of the gauge is made from zinc alloy, while the body is made from stainless steel. After using it, you simply press the scale plate back into place.

Pros: Economical option. No batteries are required. Includes a pen clip.

Cons: Small size means it might be easy to lose. Lack of digital display can make it harder to read in the dark. 

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