A while ago I noticed that I wasn’t getting consistent pressure readings with my Slime digital tire gauge. So I started checking it against a few pencil style tire gauges and found that none of the pressure readings matched. Among all of the gauges, the pressure measurement varied by 5 PSI.
Needless to say, I thought it was time for a new tire gauge, but I wasn’t sure which type I should buy. So I went to one of my go-to sources, ToolGuyd.com of course. I found Stuart’s review on Joes Racing Tire Pressure Gauge and saw a comment from Paul saying he liked the Accu-Gage.
The Accu-Gage is Bourdon tube pressure gauge; I had to look up what that means. Basically there is tube inside that changes shape when it is pressurized. The movement of the tube is translated by mechanical linkage to the dial to indicate the pressure.
The gauge has a bleeder valve that you can press to release air and reduce the pressure in a tire. The dial is very readable and it is graduated in increments of 1 PSI. I’m not sure why the scale goes from 4 to 60 PSI rather than 0, other than this type of gauge probably isn’t accurate measuring that low of pressure.
I paid $10 for mine back in July, but I see the price is currently $7.68.
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Here’s a video I posted earlier this summer on Instagram:
Probably the most important aspect of a tire gauge is its accuracy and repeatability.
The problem is that I don’t have another trusted gauge to test the accuracy of the Accu-Gage. To do so properly I’d need a pressure gauge with a NIST traceable calibration, which isn’t going to be cheap and is only usually good for a year or so before you have to get it recalibrated. You’re just going to have to trust the gauge is accurately calibrated from the factory.
I have my suspicions that the one I purchased is at least within 2 PSI, because unlike my old gauges, the readings are usually where I expect them to be.
The other aspect I mentioned was repeatability. When you stick a tire gauge on the valve stem you want it to read the same pressure every time. My experience with the Accu-Gage is that the needle pretty much hits the same hash mark every time. Of course, if you try too many times the pressure will drop by 1 PSI or so.
What I like about the Accu-Gage is that it’s simple to use and read one-handed. You stick it straight onto the valve stem and hold it there, and while you are holding it there, you can actually read the dial and actuate the bleeder valve with one hand.
One thing I noticed was that the gauge does not hold pressure when it’s removed, it slowly leaks and the dial slowly spins anti-clockwise towards zero. The description of the product says that it has a “check valve and bleeder button to hold pressure,” which implies that it’s supposed to.
This doesn’t, bother me though because that’s not the way I use it. Since it’s an inline dial, I haven’t run into a situation where I couldn’t read the dial pretty much straight on — I don’t need to remove the gauge to see the reading. Also if the tire is over-pressured, you want to keep it firmly pressed into the stem so you can use the bleeder valve to remove air.
Another thing to be aware of is that when you are bleeding air, the reading on the dial goes “wonky,” It doesn’t read the actual tire pressure because you are letting out air and the gauge is no longer under the same pressure as before. As soon as you release the bleeder valve, the reading goes back to the actual pressure inside the tire.
In short, if you haven’t used this type of tire pressure gauge I highly recommend it over the pencil type and digital gauges with the readout on the side. I personally like the one-handed operation and the easy to read dial. And the fact that it’s purely mechanical means that it’s always ready to go — you never have to worry about turning it on, or changing the batteries.
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Stuart’s Note: I still love my Joes Racing Tire Pressure Gauge – here’s that review, but will likely buy one of these Accu-Gage tire gauges as well, for comparison purposes and because it looks more portable. I would think that my Joes Racing gauge is more user-friendly especially when a valve stem is at an awkward angle. I noticed that there are a number of negative reviews on Amazon, but a closer look shows that most are from a few years ago, and complain about a seller sending different gauges than was ordered.