Analog vs Digital MTB Pressure Gauge

topeak smartgauge d2 digital tire pressure gauge on a wooden work table


An often overlooked part of bike setup is tire pressure, and it depends an an almost infinite list of factors, from terrain conditions, weather reports, tire sidewall, rim width, whether or not you run an insert, etc. Since your tires are the only thing connecting you to the trail, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of deciding on the right tire pressure. Regardless of what pressure you find to be your goldilocks, that information is useless without putting exactly that much pressure inside your tires.

Digital air pressure gauges are more accurate than mechanical gauges in all scenarios, allowing you to get exactly the ride qualities you’re looking for from your tires.


  • Higher degree of accuracy
  • Easier to read
  • Swap between units at a click of a button


  • More expensive than not buying one
  • Uses a battery

Digital Tire Pressure Gauges

Typically, mountain bikers fill up tires using a floor pump and use the mechanical gauge right on the pump. Floor pumps are fantastic for putting a bunch of air in a tire without any fuss, and if that’s all you’re trying to accomplish, then they are the perfect tool for the job. Where they fall short is ease of readability and accuracy. Most of the gauges on these pumps go over 100 PSI, when we’re really only interested in the first 30% of that range. With all those numbers packed in such a small space, it’s hard to tell the difference between 5 PSI jumps, and impossible to tell between each pound. Each pump gauge is also slightly different, and I’ve seen up to a 5 PSI swing in either direction when verifying with my digital gauge.

Using a topeak d2 mountain bike digitial tire pressure gauge on a rear maxxis mountain bike tire

Digital pressure gauges give more than enough accuracy, even splitting hairs between each PSI. Unless you’re a world cup racer, measuring to the 10th of a PSI definitely seems like overkill to me. Being able to say with confidence exactly how much pressure is in the tire without any margin of error does give me peace of mind out on the trail. When I air up my tires, I’ll overinflate them with the floor pump and then slowly air down while monitoring with the digital gauge to get to the sweet spot.

Here at The Lost Co, our mechanics typically use the Topeak Smart Gauge D2 because it does absolutely everything we need it to! It’ll tell you PSI, Bar, or kg/cm2, if you have a passion for physics. It has a bleed port to let air out of the tire without removing the gauge, and you’ll be able to use this on both presta and shrader valves.

a topeak smartgauge d2 mountain bike digital tire pressure gauge

So who should be using one of these digital gauges? Anyone that wants to make sure they have exactly the correct amount of pressure in their tires and doesn’t want to play the guessing game with the inaccuracies of floor pumps.

Shop Mountain Bike Pressure Gauges

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Got questions? Feel free to shoot us an email or give us a call!

(360) 306-8827



Tor Weiland



Bellingham, WA

Current Bikes: Transition Spire Custom Build

Bike Size: Medium

Favorite Trails: Oriental Express, Galbraith

About Me: Hailing from the sunny landscape of California, Tor headed north and landed here in the cloudy town of Bellingham, WA. His riding style is "PINNED" and he loves to scope out those seemingly impossible triples. He loves riding and also loves sharing his experiences with others. You can catch Tor in front of the camera or behind the keyboard, but best of luck catching him on the trail!