Foot pumps group test

16 Oct, 2012 3:15pm Jamie Fretwell

A traditional foot pump can still do the job, and is a vital piece of kit for an emergency. We pick from 20

Keep a foot pump in your car, and you’ll always be prepared for a flat tyre.

While some drivers prefer the convenience of a 12-volt air compressor, a traditional foot pump only needs leg, rather than electric, power. Plus, many come with accessories, allowing you to blow up a camp bed or child’s toy when you’re on holiday.

But which is the best? We test 10 single barrel and 10 double barrel pumps.

How we tested them

We rated each foot pump’s comfort, build and stability by pumping up a tyre on a concrete garage floor.

Hose lengths were measured to ensure they’d reach an 18-inch tyre with the valve at the top of the rim. Points were awarded for clear displays and psi and Bar readings, plus for gauges that let you store a preferred pressure on the bezel.

As you’d expect, accuracy was central to this test, with the dial readings at 30psi compared to our favourite digital gauge. (It’s always worth checking the pressure against a digital gauge.) To rate efficiency, we judged how much air each product added with 20 pumps to a tyre at 30psi.

Comfort was also assessed – those with large footrests scored well – plus we liked mechanisms that kept the pump closed when stored. Our final criteria was price.


This test developed into a straight battle between Michelin and Ring. The former’s 12202 double barrel pump is the best here; although it’s expensive, it edged the RFP2 into second among the double barrels.

The Ring RFP1 is the most accurate and efficient single barrel, ahead of the Michelin 12200, and takes second overall from its RFP2 stablemate.

1. Michelin 12202 Double Barrel
2. Ring RFP1 Single Barrel
3. Ring RFP2 Double Barrel

Also tested

Your garage doesn’t have room for 20 foot pumps, and neither does our test. Listed below are the eight products that we also assessed, along with their price and the rating we gave them.

Double barrel pumps

Sealey FP4, £23.94 ★★
Clarke FP300, £15.59 ★★
Halfords 970095, £19.99 ★★
RAC HP148, £17.99 ★

Single barrel pumps

StreetWize SWFPHP2, £17.99 ★★
Argos Value Range, £4.99 ★★
PCL FP4, £15.58 ★★
Draper DIY-FP, £5.35 ★

Disqus - noscript

Looking at the pictures of these pumps there seems to be two basic contructions/designs with slight variations in the footplate etc. The barrels look virtually identical on all of them. I could believe they all come from the same factory in China. It is amazing that they have differing pumping performances, I'd have expected this to be much the same and they'd have to be separated on ease of use and features.

My old Halfords twin barrel broke recently. The bar anchoring the barrels broke. No recent reviews on Autoexpress so I went off to Halfords to see how things had changed. As far as I could tell the same design weakness still exists and I couldn't see any difference with the Michelin alternative they had so I came home found a bit of bar and some nuts and bolts and repaired the one I had rather than buying a new one which would break in the same way eventually. The other fault they have is the thumb lock which can spread and come apart and the soft plastic wears so it doesn't seal well - this was fixed by rassembling and putting a bit of tyrap under the cam.

There doesn't seem to be a well made pump.

As for the alternative of 12 compressors; that was the biggest waste of money purchase for the car I've ever made.

I hope this has made you think. Go in with your eyes open when you buy any of these.

I have had two Michelin twin barrel foot pumps. The spot welds failed on both pumps. In short not worth the money.

All these foot pumps are, in my opinion, total crap.

As noted, all are from probably the same chinese source, badged accordingly with styling variances. The only way to get anything decent is to find something 30 years old plus on Ebay.