A tire pressure gauge is the perfect tool for enabling you to take care of the expensive tires you have on your car, truck or ATV. A pressure gauge can keep you from running your tires with too high or too low of pressure, both of which are damaging and dangerous. While pencil-style and analog gauges are quite popular, digital tire gauges—with their easy-to-read LCD displays—are the best tool for most jobs. To make a good selection when shopping for a digital tire gauge, consider three important factors—the readability of the display, how the gauge attaches to the valve stem and the maximum pressure the gauge will measure.
This digital pressure gauge features a backlit LCD display and lighted nozzle. Amazon
The display is one factor that makes most digital tire gauges better than the other more old-fashioned types. However, not all digital tire gauge displays are created equal. When it comes to readability, bigger is nearly always better. However, since you need to be able to handily store your gauge in your glove box or some other place with limited space, there is a point where a gauge can be too large. Backlit displays make reading a digital tire gauge much easier than those that are not backlit. They also make reading the gauge easier in low light conditions that are common in many garages, often where tire pressure is checked.
This digital tire gauge features an extension hose and a clamp-on attachment mechanism. Amazon
If you’re not good at attaching typical tire gauges to the valve stem of your tire, you’re likely to lose much of the remaining air while trying to check the pressure. You should either practice a lot until you’re good at it or look for a gauge with some kind of attachment mechanism. Some are made to attach easily to the valve stem and not turn loose until a lever is flipped, making checking your tire pressure simple, even at bad angles or in less than optimum conditions. Some digital gauges also have extensions for checking tires with hard-to-reach valves. If you need to check the pressure of tires mounted on deep wheel wells, an extension hose makes reaching them much easier.
This digital unit measures tire pressure up to 100 PSI in half-pound increments. Amazon
This might not be an important consideration if you only plan to check the tires on your car or pickup truck. But if you have bigger vehicles, this could be the most important factor in your decision. Normal car and pickup tires can be checked with a gauge that reads up to 50 or 60 pounds. However, larger tires for heavy vehicles often require higher tire pressure, thus a gauge with a higher maximum pressure reading is needed. If you’re going to be using your gauge for tires that require higher pressures, a gauge with a higher range will serve you well for those tires and your car or pickup tires.