Tire Pressure Gauges
Auto Parts

The Three Types Of Tire Pressure Gauges [Which Is Best?]

In my truck, I have a stick tire pressure gauge and a dial tire pressure gauge. My stick tire pressure gauge does tend to stick after a while, but it is small and easy to use. The dial gauge is accurate each time and fairly easy to use. I think that there are advantages to having both types of gauges.

The three types of tire pressure gauges are digital, stick, and dial. Each can accurately determine tire pressure. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Each is portable, fairly easy to use, and fairly small.

The best type of gauge comes down to quality. The gauges that are built with quality materials and are designed well can last much longer than cheaper built ones. So which one should you get? We’ll talk about each type of gauge and the pro and cons of each so you can choose the best one for you.

Types of Tire Pressure Gauges

Types Of Gauges

Before you decide on which one to buy, it is important to have an understanding of the different types of tire gauges that are available in the market. You need to evaluate their pros and cons to determine which one is best suited for your needs.

  • Stick Type: This type of gauge would look like a regular ballpoint pen. They are compact, simple, and very cheap. On the downside, they are a little difficult to read with all the little mark on the white stick part that extends when reading tire pressure.
    • These tire pressure gauges use a spring and piston to allow tire pressure and atmospheric pressure to push against each other. Once the gauge is remove from the tire the white measuring stick stays out so you can read the pressure.
  • Digital Type: The digital tire pressure gauges would look like a pocket calculator. They have electronic LCD or LED display that makes them easier to read than the stick type. However, they are bulkier and require batteries for you to use them. While batteries are rechargeable, digital tire pressure gauges can wear down in years.
    • The use a digital sensor to read the air pressure. This ensures an accurant reading every time, unless the seal gets damaged (not likely unless you drop the gauge a lot) or too much dust get inside the guage.
  • Dial Type: Dial gauges would look like a clock’s face but has a needle that indicates the air pressure. Some of them have features that include bleeder valve, extension hose, and dual-scale dial. They are very easy to read but may take two hands to operate unlike the others.
    • These may be bulkier than other guages but remain accurate for long periods if the guage is made well.

In this section, we are going to discuss the top five recommendations for the best tire pressure gauge available right now. We will provide you with each product’s features, pros, and cons so you can make a better evaluation before buying.

1. Digital Tire Pressure Gauges


The above tire pressure gauge is an all-in-one device that measures tire pressure and shows it on a digital display. Most digital tire pressure gauges can read up to 100 psi and this one goes to 150 psi. Helpful for high-pressure bike tires.

Digital tire pressure gauges almost all have a handheld to use so you can easily hold and measure your tire pressure. This can be helpful for those who want to quickly check their tire pressure without having to hold two parts such as with dial tire pressure gauges.

They are usually fairly durable, although they are digital so batteries are required, and dropping them from too high could break something.

The nice thing about these types of gauges is how easier they are to read and some also double as a multitool. Many have lights and some have other tools.

For example, the tire pressure gauge above has a built-in LED flashlight that helps maintain visibility even when it’s dark. a belt cutter, and a window breaker in case you’re stuck during an accident.

In addition, some digital tire pressure gauges are compatible with different types of measurements, such as PSI, KPA, BAR, and KG/CM2.


  • Easy Read Display
  • Light
  • Easy To Hold
  • Measure High Pressures
  • Displays Different Types Of Measurements


  • Needs Battery
  • May Break If Dropped Too Hard
  • Slightly Bulky

2. Stick Tire Pressure Gauges


Stick tire pressure gauges are one of the easiest to use. They are almost the size of a pen (between 5-6 inches) and easy to hold in your hand. The only drawback to its size is you might lose it if you don’t place it back in its place after you are done.

These stick gauges can read many types of air pressure just like a digital tire gauge, you only need to turn the gauge to see the various pressure measurements.

People buy these because they are easy to operate and store. It’s a fast convenient way to measure your tire pressure. In addition, these are cheap. Even if it stops working after a while, you might still choose this type of gauge because it’s so small and easy.

Most of these gauges have pocket clips for easy access and storage. Most also come with a deflation point on the back of the head of the gauge in case you overinflated your tire.

These are usually made of stainless steel so you can drop them and drop without problems.

Unfortunately, these types of tire pressure gauges can stop reading tire pressure accurately over time. Like a bike pump, you can get various types of quality gauges. Some will last a long time, but others lose pressure because of seals or low-quality parts.

A stick gauge in my opinion the most likely of the three types of gauges to fail at reading tire pressure over time. This is because they are so cheap to make, many are not made of great quality materials.


  • Can Display Many Type of Measurements
  • Convienent – Small Enough To Store in Pocket and Glove Box
  • Easy To Hold
  • Can Drop Without Breaking
  • Cheap To Purchase


  • Difficult To Read – Small numbers
  • May Get Lost More Easily
  • May Lose Accuracy Over Time
  • Usually Only measures Up To 60 PSI

3. Dial Tire Pressure Gauges


Another type of pressure gauge is the dial type. This type of gauge uses a needle that points to the air pressure measurement. Depending on the product you get these can be a solid product that will last a long time with good accuracy.

These work well over time if they are built well and have a one-piece construction. Some come with a long rubber hose. This can be handy when you need to get into tight spots, but hoses tend to fail faster in my experience than solid metal construction.

When it comes to tire pressure gauges the one seen above is a budget option but seems to perform just as well as other much higher priced options. So, some research would be helpful before you purchase a dial tire gauge.

Like the stick gauge, this one requires no battery and is easy to operate. But like the stick it usually has a spring inside that may lose accuracy over time or if it is dropped too much. Again, quality construction matters.

This type of gauge is good for those who want an easy-to-read display that is fairly accurate.


  • Some Are Small Enough To Store in The Glove Box
  • Easy To Hold And Read
  • May Resist Breaking If Dropped
  • Usually Accurate


  • Display Only One or Two Measurements
  • Can Be Bulky
  • May Lose Accuracy Over Time
  • Usually Only measures Up To 60 PSI
  • May Require Two Hands

Understanding Tire Pressure Gauges


A tire pressure gauge is a device that checks the air pressure of your vehicle’s tires. It will not fix or repair any problems on the tires, but it can prevent problems from occurring. They can help you with:

  • Increasing your gas milage – Tires at optimal pressure will give you better gas milage.
  • Decreasing how often you need to change your tires – Tires at the right pressure will last longer because tread will be evenly worn on the tire, along with regular tire rotations.
  • Prevent accidents from under or over inflation – Tires lose grip when under and over inflated. This may cause more slipping on the road in different conditions. Over inflation may also lead to a tire bursting in certain conditions.
  • Tire naturally lose pressure – Checking your tires once a month can help you know when it’s time to fill your tires so they have the right amount of air.

A gauge may not be present in everyone’s glove compartments, but it is a helpful tool for vehicle owners. It can keep you safe by ensuring your tires are in their best condition at all times.

It will also save you a lot of time and money for maintenance and reparation. Low tire pressure can significantly lessen your car’s overall fuel economy and can impact your vehicle’s braking and handling.

Tire pressure gauges have a lot of benefits. In addition, over and under-inflated tires are going to change the road handling properties of your car. This is the reason why it is also recommended that you regularly check your tire’s air pressure.

Essential Factors to Consider when Choosing the Best Tire Pressure Gauge

Before we conclude, first let’s talk about the essential factors to consider when choosing one. This is vital because not every model possesses the desired properties that make the best tire pressure gauge.

  • Easy to Use: A tire pressure gauge must be easy to use. This means that you have to choose one that you can operate using only one hand. As mentioned in the above section, dial gauges take two hands to use. However, stick and digital tire pressure gauges only require one.
  • Easy to Read: Stick and dial gauges are analog and may be difficult to read accurately, especially during nighttime. However, digital tire pressure gauges have backlit LCD or LED display that allows faster, easier and more accurate readings. You have to choose one that you will be able to read even in low light conditions.
  • Durable: Digital and dial gauges are more wear resistant, depending on the build quality and material, unlike stick gauges. With proper care, tire pressure gauges can last a while. It should be noted that experts have advised not to trust a reading that came from a roughly treated gauge. You have to choose a tire pressure gauge that can endure any weather and can last a long time.
  • Price: You should not purchase really cheap tire pressure gauges you can find at a dollar store or gas stations. Keep in mind that with a few dollar additions, you can get a better one that clearly has more features. In evaluating the top picks, make sure to relate each product’s features, pros and cons with their individual prices.
  • Accuracy: The ones mentioned above would be useless if the readings are not at all accurate, right? The newer models of digital tire pressure gauges can give almost the same accuracy as the stick types. Make sure you choose one that gives you correct readings.
  • Features: Individual features are important as you weigh them in contrast to the other models. They may be small features but may not be offered to other models. Make sure you choose one that gives you the most advantages and benefits.

When choosing the best tire pressure gauge, it’s important to review the above to help you narrow down your search. It may also save you a lot of time and effort if you already know what you are looking for.

Keeping Tires Inflated At Their Optimal Pressure

Keeping your vehicle tires properly inflated is a quick maintenance task that is very important for your safety. If you have an air compressor you can do easily add air pressure to your car tires at home.

To do this, you need a tire pressure gauge to check tire pressure and fill the tires to the correct level.

I like to check the tire pressure before I go on a long trip. What will you use your tire pressure gauge for?


Choosing the best tire pressure gauge may come down to personal preference but it should also include research from reviews about durability and quality. Consumer Reports has done research on tire pressure gauges if you have a subscription you can find out more.

I think the best tire pressure gauge is the digital type. They tend to give accurate readings over their lifetime, even though they need batteries and care so as not to drop them.

Which is the type you would choose?

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