The best mini pumps for gravel bikes are, mostly, a compromise between getting the high volume of a mountain bike pump and the easy filling of a road bike pump.
In fact, there’s only one mini pump that’s purpose-built for gravel (and it’s my top pick), but I found others that work really well, each with different features and air volume movement. I’ve also included notes on the key features you want, some you don’t, and how to pick the best one for you…
Key Features & How I Tested
Here are the key features that make a great mini pump:
- Extendable Hose is the most important. This keeps pressure off the valve stem, which can break or wiggle loose. But…
- Twist-on versus Locking Chucks. How the pump attaches to the valve stem is key…twist-on is secure, but can sometimes unthread the valve core as you remove it, so make sure the valve core is tightened securely.
- Valve Head Covers are important so they don’t get clogged with mud and muck.
- Tight Tolerances are key if you’re going to mount it to your frame. Any rattle in the pump will be very audible as you’re bounding down bumpy roads.
- High Volume vs High Pressure. Mountain bike pumps are “high volume” because they need to fill big tires, but at low pressures. Road pumps are “high pressure” to hit 70+ psi, but don’t have a lot of tire to fill. High-volume pumps require fewer strokes but get harder to push as pressure increases; High-pressure pumps stay easy, but require a lot more strokes to fill the tire.
How I tested these pumps:
I pumped up the same tire from from “basically flat” to ~34psi and counted strokes. Each pump has different volumes, so it ranged from 100 to 400 strokes to reach a ride-able pressure on a 700×40 tire mounted on a hookless carbon gravel rim.
I rode mixed surfaces to make sure the mounts were solid and the pumps were quiet (one wasn’t), and then compared features against the criteria above. I’ve had most of these pumps for more than a year (or two!), and photo’d the key features of each below. These are the best I’ve tested so far, but I’ll update this list as other pumps come out.
Top Mini Pumps for Gravel:
Best Overall – Silca Gravelero
The Silca Gravelero is, so far, the only mini pump designed specifically for gravel tires. As expected from Silca, it exudes quality, and is the only pump with a locking lever on its chuck, so there’s no risk of unthreading the valve core. It holds securely, and took 200 strokes to reach ~34psi and remained easy to pump the entire time.
The included mount is extremely secure, with a rubber strap as a backup. The completely round design makes it easier to keep it tight against the downtube, and the diameter is easy to hold during use.
The head is reversible to fit Presta/Dunlop and Schrader valves. Inside, Silca’s cone-shaped plunger seal is a big upgrade over the common O-ring – it pumps smoothly and efficiently, and it should last a lot longer since it can expand to fill the space (versus O-rings that wear down and lose efficiency over time).
While it lacks the add-ons and bonus features of the others, if you’re just looking for the best possible pump, this is it. Specs are:
- Weight: 143g
- Length: 9.5″ (243mm)
- Max Diameter: 27.5mm
- Max Pressure: 80psi
- Compatibility: Presta, Schrader, Dunlop
- MSRP: $75
PROS: Locking chuck with secure cover; Designed specifically for gravel tire volumes; Solid build quality with Silca reputation.
CONS: No CO2 chuck or other integrations.
Best All-In-One – OneUp EDC Pump
The OneUp Components EDC (Every Day Carry) pump is massively popular among mountain bikers thanks to it’s ability to hide a mini tool, tire lever, chain quick links and breaker pliers, tire plugger & plugs, and a CO2 chuck…all inside the pump! If you want one thing on your bike that carries everything you need (except the CO2 canister), this is it.
It’s also a damn good pump. It’s very high volume, only taking 100 strokes to get to ~34psi, but it started getting progressively harder after 70 strokes. Big volume means a bigger diameter, and with the included mount, it sticks out a bit further from the water bottle bolts. It cleared my cranks fine (see FAQ at bottom), but double-check your bike.
The OneUp EDC is the only mini pump here without a hose. Generally, I prefer a hose, but I love the included tools (all of which are also very good, they’ve saved my day more than once) and the ability to have everything self-contained. (I recommend the 100cc pump shown here as it holds everything…a smaller 70cc version is available but will only hold the tool, not the tire plugger kit)
The pump head only fits Presta valves, but unthread it and it becomes a CO2 chuck. All of the small parts are available separately, so it’s infinitely rebuildable. The included mount is rock solid, and it’s also sold separately if you want to add one to another bike. Specs are:
- Weight: 159g (100cc pump, plus 130g for tool bundle shown)
- Length: 10″ (254mm)
- Max Diameter: 33.4mm
- Max Pressure: 50psi
- Compatibility: Presta only
- MSRP per item:
- EDC Pump: $65.00
- EDC V2 Tool: $65.00
- EDC Tire Plugger/Pliers Kit: $39.50
PROS: Quick inflation makes it the most likely pump here to be able to reseat a tubeless tire; Compact way to carry everything you need except a tube & CO2.
CONS: Effective 40psi max, it gets really hard to pump any higher than that; Very tight weatherproof seal makes the tool hard to remove.
Slimmest & Lightest – Blackburn CO2’fer
The Blackburn CO2’fer has been one of my favorite pumps for years. It’s small, light, and has an integrated twist-to-release chuck that gives you easy control over inflation. And it includes a CO2 cartridge in the package.
It’s low volume, taking 400 strokes to hit a rideable tire pressure, but remained super easy to pump. The bottom end has a removable valve core removal tool that’s handy for ensuring your core is tight before threading the hose on.
Its small size makes it slightly harder to hold, and it’s easier to pinch fingers at full compression, but only minimally.
The hose is shorter than the others, but the head swivels effortlessly and puts zero strain on the valve stem. If you want one pump for road and gravel, this is it.
- Weight: 101g (pump only, full kit is 159g)
- Length: 8.5″ (215mm)
- Max Diameter: 21.8mm
- Max Pressure: 120psi
- Compatibility: Presta only
- Colors: Silver or Pewter
- MSRP: $50
PROS: Lightweight; Easy to pump; Slim profile should fit any frame; Clean chuck integration with adjustable pressure release dial.
CONS: Takes more strokes than others to fill a tire.
Best Pocket Pump – Crank Brothers Klic HV Gauge+CO2
The Crank Brothers Klic HV Gauge+CO2 is a killer pump, with two killer features. First, the hose goes on the valve stem before it attaches to the pump, so it’s really easy to thread on.
Then, it magnetically “clicks” onto the pump and holds tight no matter how aggressively I pump. When finished, just pull the pump off and unthread the hose, easy peasy.
Second, there’s an inline tire pressure gauge so you’re not just guessing when it’s ready to ride. The hose hides inside the pump’s shaft, retained by the flip-open T-handle, which also makes it easier to pump.
It took me only ~150 strokes to get to my ~34psi target, and 200 strokes got it to 44psi. The first 100 strokes are easy, the next 100 are only marginally harder, but they move a lot of air.
Lastly, there’s an integrated CO2 chuck with a thick plastic shell that shouldn’t freeze your fingertips.
It comes with a frame mount, too, but I don’t recommend using it because the pump’s internal parts are a little loose and rattle…so I can only recommend this pump if you’re putting it in your pocket or a pack, which is worth it because this pump is amazing.
- Weight: 151g (pump only, full kit is 186g)
- Length: 10.25″ (260mm)
- Max Diameter: 29.25mm
- Max Pressure: 110psi
- Compatibility: Presta/Schrader
- Colors: Black or Silver
- MSRP: $60
PROS: High volume; T-handle makes pumping easy; Magnetic hose attachment and inline pressure gauge are brilliant.
CONS: Rattles when mounted on the bike.
Quick & Simple – Lezyne Gauge Drive HV
The Lezyne Gauge Drive HV also puts a pressure gauge on the hose, but places it near the pump (rather than the valve stem), which makes it easier to read while pumping. Just use the bottom (not the center) of the red indicator to measure actual inflation level.
It took 110 strokes to get to ~34psi, only slightly more than the OneUp but feeling easier to pump. The hose hides inside the pump, but there are no other special features (like a CO2 chuck) on this pump.
The hose has a pressure-release button that releases air from the hose and pump prior to unscrewing it from Presta valve stems, which reduces the likelihood of it unthreading the core with it.
It comes with a just-OK plastic frame mount. Complete rebuild kits, replacement hoses, and alloy and composite mounts are all available separately, too.
- Weight: 144g
- Length: 9.5″ (246mm)
- Max Diameter: 31.7mm
- Max Pressure: 90psi
- Compatibility: Presta/Schrader
- Colors: Glossy Black or Silver
- MSRP: $55
PROS: Pressure release button; Easy to read gauge; Inflates quickly.
CONS: Lacks CO2 chuck; Mount tolerances are a little slack, definitely pull the integrated Velcro strap really tight.
Mini Pump FAQs:
Will any mini pump work on any bike?
The real question is, will they work on any valve stem? A locking chuck like Silca’s will. But thread-on chucks require a valve stem with threads. Most tubeless valve stems have threads, but some high-end ones, like the excellent Reserve Fillmore, do not.
If your valve stems do not have a threaded body, then you’ll need a pump with a locking head. Make sure your spare tube has a compatible valve stem, too.
Does it matter how many strokes it takes to fill a tire?
There are two things to consider: How much time do you want to spend? And how hard do you want to work?
Higher volume pumps will fill your tire faster, but require more effort. If you’re concern is speed and you don’t mind wearing out your arms a bit, these are good. But late in a 100-mile race, any extra energy expenditure will feel harder than it is.
Higher pressure pumps will take longer, but are easier to pump. If you’re planning on using a CO2 first anyway, these are a good backup that are usually smaller and lighter, too.
Several brands use “HV” and “HP” to indicate High Volume or High Pressure, respectively, but you can also check the “Max PSI” rating…higher volume pumps will have lower PSI ratings.
Will the mini pump frame mounts fit my bike?
Most likely, yes. The trick is, will the pump clear your crank arm? Above and below are images showing the two largest diameter pumps here and how close they get to the crank arms.
Larger pumps like the OneUp EDC will stick out more, but size isn’t the only consideration:
- If your bottle cage mounts are really low on your downtube, this puts it closer to the cranks.
- If your downtube is really wide, it may require the pump to be mounted further out.
- You could probably mount the pump to your seat tube if your down tube is too wide.
Most, but not all, frame mounts use bolt slots that allow lateral adjustment, so you can tuck the pump as close to the frame as possible. Just leave a slight gap so that nothing rubs your frame.
How can I measure if a mini pump will clear my frame and crank arms?
Use the “Max Diameter” measurement listed for each pump to measure for clearance. Roll a paper tube to test, use this formula:
Diameter x 3.14 = width of paper to roll into tube
Here’s a template to create your own 3D fit test:
Hold the paper tube adjacent to your bottle cage bolts, with the center of the tube aligned with the bolts to mimic where it will sit in its mount.
How long do mini pumps last?
All of the pumps here are entirely or mostly metal, the Crank Brother’s plastic T-handle being the exception. So, the pump bodies will last a long time under normal use.
Virtually every pump made except Silca’s uses a rubber O-ring to create a seal inside the pump, and those O-rings wear down over time. Most good brands offer replacement seals and rebuild kits, which is why it’s worth buying a quality pump versus a cheap no-name item.
If you routinely ride in foul conditions, it’s worth rinsing/wiping down the pump and making sure no dust or mud has gotten into the valve or body as this will wear down the seals faster and possibly create grooves on the inside of the shaft, which will trash your pump.
How do the CO2 chucks work?
All of the chucks here require threaded cartridges. Some release the air once pressed onto the valve stem, others have dials or levers or triggers to release the “air” into the tires. Check the instructions that come with your device before you need to use it so you don’t waste a cartridge.
The important thing to know is this: When a CO2 cartridge is used, the outside will freeze, and if you’re holding it with your bare fingers, it can cause painful frostbite-like feelings. Always, always, always use your gloves or something to hold the cartridge!
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