Reliable tire gauge


Anyone know of a reliable brand of tire pressure gauge? I have three. A regular stick type, a digital from Radio Shack and a dial type and they all give me different readings. HELP !!!


I would hope the digital and dial units are reading within a pound of each other and would think they are the most accurate. To get any two gauges to read exactly the same would be pretty hard I would think. The main thing is they should to be close to the actual pressure and by always using the same gauge you will have the tires at the same pressures at least.


Well, unless the packaging that the gauges came in stated that it was GUARANTEED ACCURATE, you don’t know which is.

But out of the three? I would believe the dial type gauge over the stick or digital type. The reason being, this gauge uses a bourdon tube to measure pressure. This type of gauge has been around for decades. Whereas, the digital gauge is new technology and I doubt that each gauge is tested for accuracy. The stick type? I never trusted the pressure reading from this type of gauge. Any amount of debris on the stick can result in inaccurate readings.

So, if you’ve never dropped the dial type gauge, that’s the one I would believe.



You can buy accurate gauges almost anywhere. I am suprised there is a difference between the dial and digital types. I thought they were equally accurate. Throw out the stick gauge.

I suggest you buy a cheap new dial gauge and test the remaining two. Whichever agrees with the new one is the most accurate. I like the Accu Gauge brand.


Toss the stick gage. I like an analog (“dial”) gage. They’re a direct linkup between a bourdon tube and a needle. A bourdon tube is basically a banana shaped sealed metal tube that straightens as the inside pressure increases and moves a needle using mechanical linkage. Bourdon tubes are highly reliable, highly repeatable, very durable, and any problems such as a problem mechanical link are obvious when they’re used.

I never liked digital. Analog allows me to interpolate. I’m old fashioned. Unless it’s lab calibrated on a scheduled basis I never feel confident in a digital gage.


The pencil kind are useless, I bought a deavy duty commercial dial type on Clic & Clac’s recommendation and it is as accurate as the tire shop’s.


You need two tire pressure gauges. You need a quality dial gauge for about $15 that you use as a reference standard for any old gauge, including a pencil gauge, that you will use to check your tires. Keep the reference gauge in a safe place to be occasionally used to verify the other. I have several pencil gauges that read accurately in the 30 - 35 psi range according to my dial gauge. Store your pencil gauge in a plastic bag and warm it in your hand before using it in cold weather.

If your community has a scientific instrument calibration service, they can check your reference gauge for accuracy at a few appropriate pressure readings using their standard traceable to NIST for about $30 but that may be more than you want to spend and tire pressure for consumer’s cars is not extremely critical if correct within a PSI or two.

Another thing that you can do to check your standard is to compare it to several others at car dealers, gas stations, truck stops etc. to arrive at a consensus that may be adequate.

You don’t need to adjust any gauge; just need to know indicated reading vs actual pressure.


I use an old dial type VDO that I’ve had for years, very heavy duty and accurate. Does anyone else make auto instruments?

How much is the difference?  A couple of PSI is not likely to be an issue [b] if [/b] it is consistent.  That is if you are two PSI over or under (I would prefer over) the PSI recommended in the owner's manual, you should be fine.  That is within what I consider the fine tuning range.  

As noted most stick type gauges are not very accurate, although some are good. Generally the dial type are good and the digital one I have happens to be very close to the dial gauge and is very consistent.

You do want them to be consistent. While being a couple PSI over of under the recommendation (note the number of the tyre is NOT a recommendation, but rather a maximum limit for that tyre.) is not bad, being a couple over of one side and under on the other (or front and back) is not a good idea as it can cause handling problems.