Accurate enough for workshop duties, yet compact enought to slip into the smallest of seat packs or jersey pockets, the SKS Air Checker is the best digital tyre pressure gauge I’ve used to date, but isn’t perfect.
Powered by CR type battery and weighing a mere 60g it scores over other designs by virtue of light yet solid construction.
The swivelling presta/Schrader heads might be less convenient than the Smart valve type but promise better longevity coupled with greater accessibility, especially used on small-wheeled folders, trailers or children’s bikes. It comes in handy for checking car and motorcycle tyre pressures too.
A single on/off button allows toggling between bar and PSI while the orange back light ensures the relatively small display is legible even in low light. The bean shaped deflate button safeguards against over inflation that can have explosive consequences, especially when using CO2 cartridges or track pumps without gauges. However, readings don’t update in situ so you’ll need to remove and refit especially as the auto shut-off kicks in after fifteen seconds - precious moments that could cost dearly in a racing context.
Tested against another leading brand, it enjoys precision accuracy up to the indicated maximum of 160psi - servicing even the most demanding of tubulars. However, undoubtedly well made and competitively priced alongside other digital units, better quality analogue models seem equally precise and don’t require batteries. Small niggles aside, it outshines other digital gauges.
The king of the digital gauges but pricey compared with analogue models.
road.cc test report
Make and model: SKS Air Checker
Size tested: Std
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Air checker is a digital tyre pressure gauge aimed at cyclists demanding the most accutrate readings.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Dua, swivel headeded (Presta/Scharder) design with digital gauge reading between 0 and 160psi powered by CR type battery. Features on/off switch allowing readings in both Bar and PSI, backlight, insulated and tactile nylon casing.
Enjoys clear, pinpoint accuracy.
60g including battery.
Very pleasant to use.
At the upper end of what I'd pay but arguably the best of this particular breed in my opinion.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Delivers precision readouts but it's a shame pressing the deflate valve doesn't update the reading in situ.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Accuracy, build quality and tactile materials.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing but needing to remove and refit the valve when fine tuning pressures was irksome.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Generally, yes
About the tester
Age: 35 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)