At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.
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Recently we tested the Blackburn Piston 1 floor pump, which was okay. The Piston 3 is the next one up, and it's an improvement, although the price takes it up a rung into competition with some pretty heavy hitters.
The Piston 1, with its plastic base and 140psi maximum pressure felt a little bit on the weedy side. By comparison the Piston 3 is much better. The steel base makes it feel a lot more sturdy, and you also get a much-improved dial that's really easy to ready. The 37-inch hose ends in a better quality head but it's still a reversible-insert design meaning you have to take it apart to switch from Presta to Schraeder.
It's not unusual at all to see a smart head on floor pumps over £50, so that feels like a bit of an omission here. I didn't have any issues with the function of the head though, save for the fact that the locking lever requires plenty of force to actuate and the sharp edges at the back mean you need to be a bit wary of your fingers. There's a bleed valve to let air out if you accidentally shove too much in.
The Piston 3 is rated to 160psi and doesn't struggle to achieve it. The only thing I routinely pump up to anything like that pressure is a tubeless tire booster, and putting 150psi into that was easy enough. If you're inflating a 25mm tyre then 100psi is achievable in 29 strokes of the handle without any problems. The handle itself is comfy enough, too. The gauge appears to be accurate by comparison with my digital gauge.
For £52.99 you're getting a pretty well-made pump: it's easy to use, and it's built well enough for you to be confident it'll last. Having said that, the price puts it in direct competition to the SKS Rennkompressor, which will be knocking about with the cockroaches after the nuclear apocalypse. The SKS isn't quite as easy to use with its 2-part head, and the gauge isn't as user-friendly. Horses for courses: if it's for your shed and you're going to use it regularly but not heavily, the Piston 3 will do the job just fine and should last for years and years. The Lezyne Steel Floor Drive is a very similar price and is also worth a look.
Good all-steel pump with easy-to-read gauge and less-easy-to-use head
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Blackburn Piston 3 Floor Pump
Size tested: 160 PSI/11 BAR MAX * SUPERSIZED 4
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?
MASSIVE GAUGE, BOMBPROOF BARREL SMART, SIMPLE, BUILT TO LAST
No more squinting or bending down low to see your tire pressure. The Piston 3, with its massive 4" gauge, lets you dial in the precise pressure. And a tough steel barrel and base means you'll have this pump for years to come.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Pump head features rugged alloy cap.
Extra long 37" hose to reach valves in stands or car racks.
Convenient integrated hose keeper on handle.
PSI and Bar increments on gauge, with vibrant color matched background.
160 PSI, 11.0 Bar maximum
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Pretty well, it's a solid pump
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Easy-to-read dial, sturdy construction
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, mostly
Would you consider buying the product? There are other pumps I'd probably buy before this one
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your score
Solid pump with good performance, not stellar value. Overall it's good.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.