When in need, the best MTB pumps can save your ride and prevent the notorious walk of shame. A decent compact pump is any rider's best friend and an essential tool to load on your bike or carry in your bag. That said, not all pumps are made equal, so we have been putting plenty through the wringer to ensure you find the best MTB pump for the job.
If there is any one item that we suggest you always carry with you on an offroad ride it's a pump. Whether you are running tubes or a tubeless set-up bolstered with foam tyre inserts, a tool that will enable you to reinflate your tyres is mandatory. While modern mountain bike tyres filled with tyre sealant go a long way to keep your rubber rolling, punctures are still an unwelcomed issue that plagues riders and could result in you being stranded a long way from assistance.
This buyer guide highlights the best MTB pumps and CO2 inflators that scored highly during our extensive tests. Each featured pump will include a brief synopsis of the product and a handy link to read our full review if any of the best MTB pumps take your fancy.
Keep reading to learn more or skip to the bottom for answers to the most frequently asked questions about what to look for when buying one of the best MTB pumps.
Sometimes, great things come in small packages. That's absolutely the case with the Truflo MiniMTN. It’s a super-compact little pump constructed from CNC-machined aluminium with an anodised finish and laser-etched graphics. It extends to nearly double its 180mm size for a good stroke length. The MiniMTN packs a short hose to protect your valve from damage if you get a little carried away inflating your tyre.
The head is made of durable plastic. It also packs a lock-on feature to hold onto the valve. Talking of valves, the head is reversible to cater for either type. This is a premium quality, highly finished product that is also light enough to not cause the weight weenies among us too much concern.
We will all need to call on air support at some point on our rides. The Bontrager Air Support HV Pro is a lightweight mini pump that’s small enough to stash in a pocket but easily capable enough to inflate large-volume tyres easily. The first thing you notice with this pump is the all-metal construction means it has a reassuring quality that is dependable during times of need. Don't be fooled into thinking this a chunky lump; it nudges the scales to just 175g.
It features a neatly nestled away braided hose that attaches to Presta valves and won't ruin your ride by rattling about as it's screwed securely inside the pump. This hose ensures a tight and reliable seal on the valve, meaning less wasted effort.
The Mountain TT G by Topeak is a brute of a mini pump. While it doesn't pretend to be the most compact and neatest mini pump, thanks to the built-in Twin Turbo technology, it pushes some serious air and will fill tyres efficiently. The Topeak Mountain TT G is made to inflate for large-volume mountain bike, fat bike and gravel bike tyres with minimal effort.
It measures 25cm long, packs a handy gauge, and the twin-head design works well with its twist-to-lock function securely gripping hold of either valve type. But that is not its real party trick, this pump forces air into the tyre on both strokes of the pump ensuring faster inflation.
The Crankbrothers Gem S pump is small yet can deliver on high-volume requirements. The pump shaft isn’t that long, so expect to adopt a more frantic pumping speed in order to reach a workable pressure - this can be tiring. What it lacks in stroke length, it makes up in girth. The diameter of the Gem S is wider than many pumps, which helps push that air through the valve a little quicker.
The head twists to select either volume or pressure settings which is ideal if you want a single pump for every type of bike in your arsenal. The head locks onto the valve by activating the lever. It can be adapted for either Schrader or Presta valves by reversing the rubber insert, proving that this pump is as adaptable and versatile as it is simple.
SKS’s Injex Lite is made using quality high-grade plastic. This construction design allows for a sturdily built pump with great value for money in a lightweight package. The SKS Injex doesn't move the most amount of wind per stroke compared to other mini pumps we have tested, but its well-thought-out ergonomics make it a comfortable option when it's in use.
At 25.5cm long, this offering from SKS places with the lengthy pumps on the market. It has two separate insert holes in the head for either valve type and it locks on securely with a lever. It is not breaking efficiency records, but the Injex Lite is a reliable pump and more affordable than many on the market.
The Topeak Mini Dual looks like a no-frills basic mini pump but, as the old saying goes, 'don't judge a book by its cover'. The Mini Dual has one clever trick up its sleeve – it pumps air on both the in and the out stroke.
In keeping with all of the Topeak products, the Mini Dual has been well put together in a robust package. You will find a lock-on-head that, with a quick flip of the rubber insert, allows the pump to fit the more popular Presta and the Schrader car-type valves. The simplicity and sturdy build quality at this price are a major win for those on a budget.
- For more details on this wallet-friendly option, read the Topeak Mini Dual review.
The Blackburn Core Mini pump is constructed using anodised aluminium and is 24cm long, so it will fit neatly into a handlebar bag that all the cool kids are rolling with these days. If that's not you, no stress it comes with a bottle boss-mounted carrier. It weighs 124g and is designed with larger volume tyres in mind as used for off-road escapades.
Beneath the rubber cap is a classy-looking bronze valve chuck that fits Presta valve type only. The bronze chuck pulls out from the main pump body to reveal a 150mm flexible hose. To match the bronze chuck head at the other end of the pump, a knurled bronze coin can be unscrewed from the pump that fits a Presta valve core. Nice touch Blackburn. The cherry on top of this Core Mini pump is the Blackburn lifetime warranty for added peace of mind.
- Head over to our Blackburn Core Mini review to read more about how it performed during the testing period.
2022 lezyne cnc tubeless drive hero.jpg, by Liam Mercer
The Lezyne CNC Tubeless Drive Hero doesn't look like your regular mini pump. As the name suggests, it is made using CNC aluminium and has a flexible hose that wraps over the handle. It definitely isn't the lightest mini pump you can pick up, but it is more than just a pump. It combines a flip valve head to inflate both valve styles. It also hides a neat tubeless repair kit and even a CO2 inflator. So you can somewhat forgive the Lezyne for its mass.
Lezyne has done its homework with this product; it packs so much punch that it can even help inflate your new tubeless tyre setup, a testament to this mini pump's inflating credentials. No, it is not cheap or a featherweight, but this is a one-stop shop for all your tubeless tyre woes when you're on the trails.
2021 SKS Airboy XL mini pump-3.jpg, by Rachael Wight
The SKS Airboy XL mini pump is a sleek-looking bit of kit. Its ergonomic shape means it's delightful when put to use, and the construction quality matches its appearance. The mini pump compresses to a length of 18cm, meaning it will slip almost unnoticed into your pocket if you so wish.
The Airboy XL mini pump comes ready to blow through Presta valves and with the head unscrewed and a quick flip of the inside it can tackle your Schrader flats, too. It comes with a bottle cage mount if you want to keep it on your bike until your hour of need.
The Birzman Roar 25g set costs 20 quid; for that money, you get a well-made, CNC-machined product and three 25g canisters. This means you are ready to roll with some spares that should see you're good for a little while.
The head is small, making it a little fiddly to get loaded with a canister, but once a canister is primed, you will not lose any gas; simply press the head onto the valve and it opens automatically. The harder you push, the greater the flow. As well as being a sleek quality item, it is lightweight and comes with a neoprene sleeve to protect your hand from the canister freezing as it is discharged - and the cover also sees that the canister stays safe when it's stuffed in your bag alongside other trailside tools.
2022 peaty's holeshot co2 inflator 5ct.jpg, by Liam Mercer
The Peaty's Holeshot CO2 Inflator is a beautiful work of art. It comes in a choice of twelve Chris King colours and is a joy to use as well as gawp at. Made using CNC-machined 6061 aluminium, it has a laser-etched logo, measures 45mm long and weighs a scant 14 grams, which is nothing.
The operation is easy; simply push down to inflate and release to stop. The spring-loaded valve head allows for lightning-fast filling which can help with setting up tubeless tyres on the bead, too. That said, the inflation is controllable for times when only a partial top-up is needed.
This inflator is more expensive than many others on offer, but it looks incredible, it's built to last, works superbly and comes with two 25g canisters as well as a protective sleeve.
How to choose the best mountain bike pumps
It doesn't matter if you are shredding the gnar at the downhill track, dizzily lapping in the woods on a cross-country mountain bike or heading into the wilderness on a gravel adventure. They all require that you carry the correct tool to inflate a flat tyre. There are a lot of pumps on the market, meaning there is a lot of confusion on the subject. In this section, we'll look to answer all your questions and help you decide which product is best for your budget.
What is the best size mini pump for the job?
If you ride mountain bikes, you will need your pump to push more air when rolling with big-volume tyres. The bigger the tyres you run, the more air you need for your pump to move. Compared to road bikes, mountain and gravel bike tyres have higher volumes but run lower pressures. This means the best MTB pumps will feature a large air chamber allowing you to inflate them quickly and efficiently. Of course, a high-pressure/low-volume mini pump more suited to inflating road tyres will still get the job done, but you can expect it to take a while longer to reach the desired pressures.
Is there anything I need to look out for when buying an MTB pump?
The head that suits the type of valve you have fitted to your wheels is crucial - and it all comes down to Schrader vs Presta. While some pump designs will work or adapt to Schrader (car valve type) they mainly cater to the more common Presta valve. Carrying around a pump that won't work on your bike wastes time and could leave you stuck with a flat tyre, so worth checking before you set off - or even better - before you buy a mini-pump.
Having a pump that locks onto the valve will ensure that you don't have any unwanted leaks that waste your pumping effort.
Pumps that feature screw-in flexible hoses, built-in gauges, fold-out handles and extra storage are great but usually, these details will nudge the price of the pump up.
Suppose you are considering laying down some serious cash on a premium pump. In that case, we recommend that you do a little research into whether the pump is serviceable and whether replacement parts are available to ensure your investment lasts a long time.
Is a CO2 inflator better than a mini pump?
Even the best MTB pumps are slower to use than CO2 inflators, as they require more effort and they are a larger item to carry or stash. The plus side of pumps is that the air they push is free, and you can use it as many times as you need to ensure that your bike gets you home.
CO2 inflators are more compact and an easier option to stash away. They provide you with an instantaneous burst of air that can be helpful also when seating up tubeless tyres (but try to do this without sealant in the tyres, as the two don't always work well together). The quick burst of air makes the best CO2 inflators great for race day applications.
You cannot recharge them yourself, so they are a one-use throw-away accessory, which makes them more expensive. We recommend that you protect your hand by wearing a glove during use as they freeze as they discharge. CO2 canisters can be a lifesaver, particularly when you are in a pinch for time, providing they work as intended. Because of the material of the canisters, you should dispose of them responsibly and recycle them, ensuring they are not left to litter the trails.
There are some modern alternatives to CO2 inflators. Liquid inflators like the Muc-Off BAM inject liquid sealant into your tubes or tubeless tyres. This seals your puncture hole and inflates your tyre simultaneously, which is super handy when you are in a rush, like in a race scenario.
What about hybrid CO2 mini pumps?
If you want the best of both worlds, a combo package like the Lezyne CNC Tubeless Drive Hero combines a mini pump with a built-in CO2 inflator. Some designs package both inflators together in a bundle and simply share the same hose to attach either the hand pump or the CO2 canister to your valve.
Other designs allow you to twist the CO2 cartridge into the hand pump while it remains attached to the valve. The idea of a hybrid pump is to use the CO2 inflator to make light work of the initial inflating from a flat and then top up to your desired pressure using the pump.
How much does a mini pump weigh?
The size and weight of your mini pump aren’t a concern if it is going to be left at home in your shed. You will be far better off with any pump that gives you the means to repair a puncture, but if you’re looking to carry it with you, ideally, you don't want anything too big and bulky - that is why you are not hauling your floor pump with you on the trails.
The most expensive pumps are now made with lightweight materials such as aluminium and carbon fibre. There are plenty of plastic options that might save you a few quid and don't weigh much more than the most expensive premium options. Don’t trade low weight for something unsuited to your needs. A reliable construction that works and inflates your tyre efficiently is more useful than something made with the most exotic and lightweight NASA materials.
Where do you carry a mini pump?
Pumps can be mounted on your frame using a bracket usually supplied with the pump. These mounts are designed to fit underneath a bottle cage and will ensure that you always have the means to reinflate a tyre whenever you ride. The downside is that, just like your bike, your pump will get caked in mud and soaked when the weather deteriorates. The last thing you want to discover when you have a flat is a seized and corroded pump.
That is why we suggest you keep your pump stashed in your riding pack out of the worst trail elements. The alternative to a frame mount or riding with a pack are handy cubby boxes built into frames like the Specialized "SWAT box" or systems like the OneUP components EDC that hides your repair kit in the fork steerer tube underneath a swivel stem cap.