Low Pressure Air Gauges
Airing down your tires is the most important thing you can do for improved traction and flotation in snow.
That means you need an air gauge that reads low pressure from 1-5psi.
There are 3 main types of air gauges
Digital Air Gauge
Analog Dial Air Gauge
Pencil Air Gauge
Digital Air Gauges are my first choice. They generally can read a wide range of pressures. You can find them in
nice compact sizes that are easy to stuff in a pocket or hang from your mirror, or you can step up to high end racing
gauges. One big drawback to digital gauges is they are electronic, and they will go bad from time
Analog Dial Air Gauges are my second choice. While they are generally pretty accurate, the low pressure gauges
are limited to a small range of pressure, 0-15psi or whatever. This means you'll need another gauge for airing
up to street pressure.
Pencil Air Gauges have their place, but they should be avoided when considering a low pressure gauge. Pencil
gauges are popular in the tire service industry because they are fast, and "close enough" when dealing with normal operating
pressure. There are pencil gauges that read 1-20psi, but I've found they are not very accurate. Many times people with pencil
gauges think they are at 4 or 5 psi, and when I check with my gauge, I find that they are actually at 8 or 9psi. That's
leaving a significant amount of traction on the table.
I've listed several guages below that have been tested, and a couple that I would like to test. If you know of a good compact gauge that reads
below 2psi, please leave a comment below or join us in this thread
in the Snow Wheeling Forum.
Available by varius names
- **CONFIRMED LOW PRESSURE**
- Below $10 at Amazon.com
- November 2013
I think we have a winner! My new Generic VT708 air gauge arrived today. It's advertised pressure range was 2-150psi, but it seems to read
accurately down to 1psi, in .1 psi increments! It also allows rapid rechecks. Best of all this thing is cheap! I purchased mine
for $5.22 delivered off of ebay. If you are willing to wait, you can get them direct from china for even less. Hopefully it will
hold up to the elements.
- **NOT TESTED** - $9.92 at Amazon.com
- November 2013
I saw this gauge on Amazon. Specs claim 0-100 psi in .5 psi increments. It is a larger gauge, but it has a nice illuminated nozzle and display,
which can be nice in the dark. Amazon feedback is overwhelmingly positive.
Cen-Tech 95079 - **NOT TESTED** - $6.99 at Harbor Freight
- November 2013
I saw this gauge at Harbor Freight. It's a larger gauge, but the specs on the package claim 0-100psi in .5 psi increments. The instructions mentioned waiting for
a "beep" when checking pressure, so retest times may be slowed down. Also includes cheesy tread depth gauge.
- **NOT AVAILABLE**
This was simply the best low pressure air gauge I have owned. It read pressures from 1-60psi in .5psi increments.
You didn't have to bother with turning it on of off, or selecting PSI, BAR or KPa. It was nice and compact and
lasted many snow wheeling seasons. Unfortunately, they are no longer available
in the United States
I reached out to Measurement LTD
to see about getting more of these gauges,
they said they were discontinued several years ago and replaced by the MS-4652 listed below.
- $8.32 at Amazon
Similar to the MS-46B above, but I can't get mine to register below 3psi. It's still a decent air
gauge, but I need something that reads lower pressure. At 3 PSI, this is the best replacement gauge I've found
Meridian Point Digital Air Gauge
- $9.07 at Amazon
My kids bought me a gauge that I believe is this Meridian point gauge. It reads down to 3psi in .5psi increments. The display is a bit too
small, and the keychain attachment point is on the cap which is kinda pointless.
- **NOT TESTED** -
$10.36 at Amazon
This is a low pressure dial guage that reads 0-20psi. While I have not tested it, it seems like a decent bang for the buck.
It's a little bulky, but no batteries!
- **NOT TESTED** - $7.49 at Amazon
I received this guage as part of a set that included the MS-46B above. I never used it, so I gave it to a friend. He
Ultimately he ran it over, so I never had the chance to test how low it would read. Regardless, it was too bulky.
- $8.40 at Amazon
In my quest to find a decent low pressure guage, I ordered the VIAIR 90052 from amazon. At the time the product
description claimed 1-100PSI, but once I received and tested the gauge, I found it only registered above 5PSI.
The backlight was nice, but the size, power button, and modes were annoying. I returned it to Amazon.
- **NOT TESTED** - $8.87 at Amazon
I've looked at the Slime 20017 in stores. It's a little bigger than what I would prefer. It's rated 5-150psi,
but like the other gauges, it may read lower. I have not tested it yet.