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Best digital tyre pressure gauge 2020

Which device is the best to help keep your tyres correctly inflated? We choose from eight devices...

Modern motoring is expensive, and saving money is a priority. By using a high-quality pressure gauge you can do just that, because making sure your tyres are correctly inflated means you can get more miles per gallon and ensure they last longer. You’ll also be safer; the right pressures optimise braking and handling.

Having your own gauge is a good idea, because those in petrol stations are often abused and inaccurate. Check your handbook or sticker on the car – usually on a door pillar or the fuel-filler flap – to make sure you’re inflating correctly.

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So which is the one to ease the pressure on your wallet? We tested eight to decide which is the best.

How we tested it

Using alloy and steel rims, we tested the gauges at 20, 25 and 30psi, totting up the overall difference. A gauge that stays live for 25 seconds or more meant not having to wait for a restart when checking all the tyres. A clear display was required, ideally backlit, while a nose light was handy, too.

We checked the instructions for key information and safety requirements. Most gauges offered psi, bar, kpa and kg/cm2 scales; the first two are the most useful. No unit had a protective case – a shame with precision instruments. The prices were the best we found online.

Verdict

Ring’s RTG4 wasn’t perfect, but it was very accurate and had plenty of plus points, especially that great price. The Draper was a simple device but, again, produced good results at the right price, and despite being the most expensive here, the new Halfords really impressed.

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  1. Ring RTG4
  2. Draper 01071
  3. Halfords Digital Gauge

Reviews

Ring RTG4 Digital Keyring Gauge – Best buy

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Ring’s previous winner is still with us and, despite getting on a bit, it put up a good fight here. Many of its points were gained for its price and, of course, a size small enough to fit on a keyring, making it very wieldy. The stylish blue-backlit display provides large, easy-to-see readings and it was very accurate, being just 0.5psi off overall. We still like the instructions and diagrams, but there is no mention of cold tyres. With the machine remaining live for a healthy 70 seconds, and the display for 11 seconds, there was lots of time to move round and check all four tyres.

Buy now from Amazon

Draper Digital Tyre Pressure Reader 01071 - Recommended

On paper, this Draper is nothing special; it doesn’t have a light, which is a bit irritating, or a backlight, even more so. But it made some amends by being perfectly accurate at all three points, and we like the beep which announces that it is operational and another when it has a reading. The nozzle fitted the valves well every time, which meant no hissing air while it made a connection. The Draper stayed live for 33 seconds and has the usual four scales. It advises to check pressures when the tyres are cold, works well and has a good price.

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Buy now from Draper Tools

Halfords Digital Programmable Tyre Pressure Gauge - Recommended

This is a cracking new gauge from Halfords and we love the attractive and practical design. Beneath the chrome-plated, knurled nose is an easy-to-operate bleed valve. The 40 x 22mm display is huge and backlit blue. It stayed live for only 20 seconds, but because the gauge is automatic, it didn’t matter. The nozzle fitted the valves perfectly, regardless of wheel type, and we got a confirmation beep when it had logged a pressure reading. With four scales and an almost perfect accuracy, it was a joy to use, plus front and rear pressures can be programmed.

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Buy now from Halfords

PCL Digital Tyre Pressure & Tread Depth Gauge DTPG7

The PCL has dropped down the order in this test, with the competition upping the ante. It’s still a very good gauge that offers four scales, a nose light and a switchable backlight. We like the large display, with its clear numbering, which can easily be switched from reading pressure to tread depth; the PCL is the only product on test that can do this. Over the three test points it was 1psi adrift, which is very accurate and nothing to worry about. The display stayed live for more than 40 seconds, which was good, but it’s strange that PCL doesn’t mention cold tyres.

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Buy now from Amazon

URAQT Digital Tyre Pressure Gauge

We liked the price of this simple gauge, which comes complete with four scales and is available only from Amazon. The casing has useful finger cut-outs and the ‘on’ button is positioned perfectly for the user’s index finger. A nice bonus is that it comes packaged with four plastic valve caps and a simple, card-type tread-depth gauge. The instructions were probably Google-translated and read oddly, plus there was no mention of ensuring you had the manufacturer’s settings or testing cold tyres. Staying on for 25 seconds was good, and being 1.5psi off wasn’t bad, either.

Buy now from Amazon

AA Digital Tyre Pressure Gauge

When compared with the URAQT gauge it is hard to see any differences, other than the AA logo and a price hike. But the AA product offers only two scales rather than the four of the URAQT device. It, too, operates the backlit display as well as the funky blue nose light when the ‘on’ button is pressed. The unit stayed on slightly longer, at 31 seconds, which would do nicely for moving from tyre to tyre. As we’d expected for something AA-branded, it points the user to the manufacturer for pressure guidance and mentions the need for checking cold tyres.

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Buy now from Amazon

Racex Digital Tyre Gauge RX2935

We are fans of this Racex design, which resembles the test-winning RX0014 analogue version. The rubber surround, sculpted to look like a tyre itself, protects the gauge from damage if dropped. The nozzle is on a short chrome tube, which was easy to fit on all the tyres we tried, and features a bleed valve. The small display doesn’t have a back light and switched off after just 16 seconds, which was a bit too quick. There is no nose light, although it offers all four scales. Accuracy was good, just 1psi adrift overall, but there isn’t enough to warrant the fairly high price.

RAC Digital Tyre Gauge with Safety Hammer and Seatbelt Cutter HP228

This is undoubtedly the oddest pressure gauge we’ve seen, not least because it also includes a safety hammer to knock out a windscreen, and a seatbelt cutter. The hammer made it feel a little unbalanced and its presence means that the nozzle is on the back of the gauge, so accessing valves on some wheels will be tricky. Its nose light is powerful, but requires the addition of two AAA batteries. We think the display is a bit small for a product of this size and it isn’t backlit. Accuracy wasn’t too bad on test, at 1.5psi overall, and we liked the triple beep to confirm a reading.

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