planet bike airmate gauge

Whenever I get a new air pump, or borrow someone’s, the built-in gauge is never the same. Sometimes it is close, but when I got a pump that read 20 psi when my tires were rock solid, I knew I needed more consistent readings!

But not only did I want consistent readings, I wanted super accurate readings on a digital display (not one of those $1 analog gauges.) So I got a Planet Bike Airmate digital air gauge, which measures tire pressure and does it well.

This $20 tool will read air pressure on both Presta and Schrader valves, so it should work on all your bikes and cars. It will take readings in PSI, BAR, kg/cm2, and kPa, and with the digital display, it will give you the exact pressure.

The air release button allows you to release air in a controlled fashion, in case the tires are overinflated.

There is even a little LED light built in, so that you can use this in the dark. It is just bright enough to be useful, and the light does illuminate the display slightly, so it’s possible to use this in the dark.

Putting the Airmate to Work

To start, just press one of the buttons until the device reads “on” and then gives you the “0.0” screen. Then press the gauge firmly onto the tire’s valve.

The gauge will beep twice, and then the pressure will be displayed. It’s extremely fast once you get used to it. At this point you can remove the gauge from the valve. (The pressure reading will remain on screen. It won’t vanish as soon as you remove the gauge, which happens with most analog gauges.)

You can also use the air release button if you wish (before removing the gauge). Press it in slightly and you’ll hear the air escaping. To recheck the pressure, though, you’ll have to reset the display and start over.

It would be neat to get a “live” pressure reading when using the air release button, so you know exactly when to stop. Having to reset the gauge could get kind of annoying if you need to achieve an exact pressure, but in my use, it never bothered me.

(Realistically speaking, how often do you need to get exactly 93.8 PSI in your tire?)

On the bright side, if you have a bad memory, it’s nice that this gauge keeps the reading on the screen for you.

I found one drawback with this though… the battery life.

The Airmate’s battery life is terrible. After having the thing a little less than one year and only using it occasionally (never even needing the light), the battery died! And this is the same type of battery I use in my cyclocomputers that get used daily, but still yield a three year battery life!

using planet bike airmate gauge

My final verdict is…

This is a good tool that’s worth the money if you can afford it. It’s not totally necessary though. Invest in a good floor pump (with gauge), tire levers, and a mini tool, first.

But it’s great to see how accurate your pump’s built-in gauge is, and this gives you a standard pressure reading no matter what pump you are using. And I use it all the time to check my car tires (low pressure equals bad gas mileage!) So yeah, it’s a good tool, the battery life is just disappointing.

[Note: This tool seems to have been discontinued. Consider this Topeak gauge instead.]

Official website: www.PlanetBike.com

Product Review Details
Company: Planet Bike
Product: Planet Bike Airmate Digital Air Gauge
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 3.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2017-07-28
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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