The SmartGuage D2 is a must have for any semi-serious biker. We have taken a close look at the SmartGuage Tire Pressure Gauge and provided our Topeak SmartGuage D2 review.
Who needs a digital pressure gauge?
If you have been using a floor pump with a needle gauge you know how inaccurate they can be. With our current pump on a road bike tire, we can put in three pumps before the needle re-adjust, then it jumps up from 1 to 5 PSI. We were tired of never having an accurate reading and just going off the feel of the tire.
We were ready to get a little more serious about our PSI’s this year and went full digital. You might have seen our review on the Fox digital shock pump, now we are reviewing the Topeak SmartGuage D2, one of the most trusted gauges on the market.
Overview and How to use
To use the tire gauge first, select the type of valve you will be attaching to. Next push the power button, you will hear a beep and the gauge will turn on. Next align the perpendicular with the valve. Press down firmly, and you will hear another audible beep indicating that the pressure has been recorded. We noticed if there is not a good seal the first time you measure the pressure you can get inaccurate readings. You should not hear any air leak out when you measure the pressure or you should reset and check again.
The SmartGuage D2 works with both Schrader valve and presta valve. There is a sliding lever on the top of the gauge head that rotates back and forth to select the correct stem. The stem is indicated by a painted on image of the type of stem attaching to.
To get started, you simply push the power button, after which you will hear an audible beep. The gauge turns on and reads 0.0 and the last unit you used is selected. To change the unit just push the unit button and it cycles through bar, kg/cm2, and our favorite PSI. With each push of a button you hear the beep which is nice to know if you accidentally push it while getting in some of those tight valve stem places.
After taking a reading, the pressure remains on the screen for easy reading without getting your nose down to the valve stem. To clear this off and test again just hit the power button for a second. For best results always start measuring the tire pressure from 0.
Built into the gauge is an air release valve much like the high pressure shock pumps now you can bleed your tires right down to the perfect pressure. To do this takes a button press on the “Pulse” button, this will monitor the pressure as you are bleeding it. Pretty nice feature to be able to make the pressure sticky on the screen or adjustable. As we mentioned before we don’t like getting our nose right up to the stem just to read the gauge with our poor eye sight. One other feature is that you can rotate the stem to the top of the tire, and the gauge display also rotates to you can still read the output from any angle.
If “HI” appears on the screen your gauge isn’t trying to make introduce itself to you, it means the pressure it over maximum range. Also worth noting if you see “HI” on the screen while not checking pressure your gauge has been damaged.
If you see “Lo” displayed on the readout, your battery is low and needs replacing.
Features & Cautions
- 0-250 PSI Reading
- 0 to 85 degree operating temperature
- The Topeak SmartGuage D2 takes a CR2032 Battery
- Weights just 95 grams
- Not waterproof, or dust proof
- Don’t drop or shake violently
- Don’t push hard on LCD
- Don’t clean with solvents
- Can be used with Tires, Forks, and Shocks
- The screen only stays on for 30 seconds.
- There can be some air spillage of about 1 to 1. 5 PSI after each pressure measurement.
There is a 1-Year mechanical components warranty against defects, and no the battery is not covered under warranty.
Some of the downsides to the tire gauge are that it doesn’t rotate in 360 degrees, so on occasion we found ourselves still not being able to read the gauge without removing it. This is really only a problem if you are trying to bleed the pressure down to a certain PSI.
Also a nice addition to the gauge would be a light and better viewing angle. If you are not looking directly down on the LCD and viewing from a top or bottom angle it’s fairly hard to read. Also, we wear polarized sunglasses and they do not mix well with digital LCD screens just a warning it will drive you nuts.
While we don’t have a fat bike tire handy to test on, we have hear some others complain that it doesn’t work great with super low pressures like that of a fat bike.
Higher pressure like shocks, forks and road tires are a little more tricky to test the pressure with the SmartGuage D2. If you don’t get it measured the first or second PSI and may have to go back and forth with the pump, adding air and checking pressure again. Other than that, we have had good success with the gauge, and has become part of our pre-ride check. We keep track of our pressure readings in our bike diary and how the bike and tires perform at different pressures. It’s a fun little tool, little enough to keep with you in your ride bag. We hope to see a few improvements with the SmartGuage D3 like a lite screen, and 360 degree rotating head. Other than that, it’s one of the best digital gauges we have used.
As always keep an eye on GearChase.com for great prices on the SmartGuage D2 from all your favorite retailers