I cannot remember not owning a bicycle pump. If you own a bike, soccer ball, pool float or anything else that requires air, you certainly need one.
Both floor-standing and hand-pumps, they have always disappointed and left me frustrated. I have often pondered throwing my old floor-standing pump into the ravine across the street, stopped only by some sense of environmental responsibility. One day a year or so ago, I sought advice from my local bike and ski shop: “Please, I want to buy a pump that doesn’t suck. I don’t care how expensive.” He pointed over the Joe Blow Pump by TopPeak, and at $50 it’s not over-the-top expensive.
The Joe Blow head has a very reliable lever that clamps the ball needles, when inflating my soccer balls, and nicely snugs the Schrader valve on my bike tires. Its name also gives me endless amusement, almost reason enough to buy it – nothing like household tools that we can anthropomorphize or give personas. When clamping onto the bike tires, there is no awkward fiddling or fussing, as the head clamps reliably onto the valve and pulling the lever gives you assurance it’s on nice and snug. You get the same satisfaction when clamping on the ball needles. The gauge is accurate and easy to read, and the pump has a hose dock that keeps the hose snug and tidy against the pump, and keeps the head from rattling around on the ground. It has a hardened steel base and is well constructed. Most importantly, it delivers a lot of air with each pump – you get to save the effort for the bike ride or soccer pitch, unless you want the excitement of pretending to pump and handrail car down some train tracks.
The bottom-line: Just go buy one. You’ll have it forever, and the good quality head will make attaching your valves and pin needles frustration-free.