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Best car foot pumps 2023

Which unit takes the pressure off inflating your tyres?

Weekly tyre pressure checks are an easy way to stay safe and save cash. Under-inflated tyres can affect your car’s handling and braking, plus lead to extra wear. Low pressures also increase fuel or battery use.

Having your own pump means you can check pressures and top up when it suits you. Electric inflators are easier, but in these cost-conscious times, are generally more expensive than a decent foot pump.

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Tyres will frequently only need a few psi to bring them back to the ideal pressure, so it’s no great physical effort. But which is the puff daddy? We got physical with eight pumps to find out.

How we tested them

Larger tread plates were favoured, because these make pumps easier to use. We also looked for an accurate, easy-to-read gauge and a lock to keep the plate secured when not in use. 

Using a 225/70R15 tyre, we pumped 20 times from a start reading of 25psi and logged the final pressure. The longer the hose the better and we looked for hose fittings that prevented excessive loss of pressure during disconnection. We also assessed build quality, the adaptors included, instructions and each pump’s weight. 

Finally, we took into account price from online sources.

Verdict

The Michelin 12209 remains our choice, with both the Ring RFP2 and the Halfords Essential balancing price and performance well enough to keep it honest.

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  1. Michelin 12209 Digital Double Barrel Foot Pump
  2. Ring Double Foot Pump RFP2
  3. Halfords Essential Twin Barrel Foot Pump & Gauge

Reviews

Michelin 12209 Digital Double Barrel Foot Pump

  • Price: Around £28 
  • Rating: 5/5 stars
  • Contact: halfords.com

The £28 Michelin pump was the most expensive we tested by some margin, but it boasts a specification and performance to match its price. We liked the foot plate, which was the largest we tried and features a stylish and useful tyre-effect rubber covering. 

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Twin, easy-to-use sliding lock bolts kept it securely closed, with the solid screw-on connector and the three accessory adaptors fitting neatly into clips under the chassis. The three-scale digital gauge was easy to read, only 0.5psi adrift, and we got an increase of 3psi for 20 pumps.

Buy now from Halfords

Ring Double Foot Pump RFP2

Ring’s RFP2 gave the Michelin a run for its money, not least because it was more than £10 cheaper and had a similarly long hose. The foot plate was the joint second biggest (with the Clarke FP300) and we liked the rubber covering and feet that helped keep the chassis stable. 

The four adaptors are supplied in a Velcro bag and a rear locking bar kept the pump safely closed for storage. The analogue gauge has three scales and was easy to read and, although 1psi out at both test points, it offered a healthy 3psi increase.

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Halfords Essential Twin Barrel Footpump & Gauge

In this case, Essential means basic, but with a price to suit, the Halfords unit is one of the best foot pumps that we tested. We liked the large analogue gauge, which is fitted with an adjustable needle to mark a target pressure, while the operating instructions are duplicated from the box onto one of the barrels. 

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However, we found the simple thumb lock on the valve was quite stiff, while the foot plate is one of the smallest and had no rubber covering. It’s certainly basic, but it matched the first two with a 3psi increase and just a 1psi reading difference at the 25psi marker.

Buy now from Halfords

Clarke FP200 Twin Barrel Foot Pump

Clarke’s budget pump went head to head with the Halfords Essential on price. It costs just 40p more, and its foot plate is exactly the same size, although it’s covered in rubber for extra grip, which was handy in wet conditions. 

The 2.5psi gain in pressure was good, although the hose was the shortest we tried, at just over 56cm. The reading was 2psi down at 25psi, but 0.5psi up as we finished, which made it hard to trust for accuracy. It features a red target needle that requires the outer bezel of the twin-scale gauge to be turned. Losing just a handful of points during the test dropped the Clarke down to fourth place.

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Clarke FP300 Twin Cylinder Foot Pump

The Clarke has a very similar design to the Sealey FP4, although the chequer-plate foot pad is nearly a third larger. We liked the four rubber feet – some pumps only had two at the rear – and the hose length was also okay, at 66cm. 

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The analogue gauge features three scales, but has no target needle, and we found the gauge some way off, reading 4psi off at 25 and 27psi, which really hurt its chances. The pressure increase was 2psi, which seems okay, but three of its test rivals produced half as much again and the Clarke was one of the slowest performers.

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Draper Double Cylinder Foot Pump 25996

This is another basic pump, with more than a passing resemblance to the Halfords and FP200, not least the small foot plate, again with no rubber pad. The handy underside locking bar at the rear held the plate firmly closed when not in use. The 2.5psi gain was respectable and about par for the course, but at the two test points it was 3.5psi off. 

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As with all the pumps, with the exception of the Michelin, the instructions didn’t mention cold tyres. Its biggest drawback compared with the two other similar designs is the price, which is about £10 over the odds.

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Sealey Heavy Duty Twin Barrel Foot Pump FP4

The Sealey’s two 50mm-diameter barrels created plenty of pressure and easily gave us an increase of 2.5psi. The 102cm hose was by far the longest we tried and was fitted, like most pumps here, with an aluminium/plastic thumb lock. We found the 150 sq cm chequer-plate foot pad was comfortable to use and the twin-scale gauge was clear, but it doesn’t have a target needle. However, we were disappointed that it was showing 3psi and 3.5psi out at our two test points.

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Sealey Twin Barrel Foot Pump FP6

  • Price: Around £20  
  • Rating: 2.5/5 stars
  • Contact: sealey.co.uk

If storage is a key factor, then you’ll be tempted by this pump, which is the narrowest here at just 112cm at the chassis and still comes with a large, rubber-covered foot plate. The downside was that the narrow design made the Sealey a little unstable, so it had to be placed on fairly level ground. 

We liked the two adaptors, and the 70cm hose was a decent length. The pump’s twin barrels were smaller than usual, so there was much less puff, but also far less resistance, making pumping a lot less effort. Yet, after 20 pumps, we’d gained just 1psi and the gauge read an overall 5psi adrift.

Buy now from Amazon

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