Saturday, July 14, 2012

Review of Joe's Racing 32307 Tire Pressure Gauge

Images and First Impressions
I recently bought a couple of new tire pressure gauges. Here's one of them, the Joe's Racing 32307 glow-in-the-dark 0-60psi gauge. There are plenty of good reviews for this item on Amazon but none of them have photos! The unit cost me $23.99. It has a 2-3/8" glow-in-the-dark dial marked in 1-lb. increments, a 17" hose, and includes a pre-installed rubber protective cover for the gauge, preattached swiveling angle chuck and a ball-type chuck.

Here's another look at it, you can see that it also has a bleeder button that allows you to release air from a tire until it reaches the desired pressure. From this angle it's hard to see inside the chuck, but inside it has a brass thing to depress the valve stem. No worries about plastic parts breaking. The whole unit has a solid feel like it should last a lifetime.

A slightly better view of the inside of the angled chuck. It swivels, making it easy to line it up with your valve stem.

Here's a shot of the chrome-plated angled chuck and the included ball-type chuck, which is made of metal and is quite a bit beefier than most I've seen.

Here you can see the glow-in-the-dark dial. The entire dial illuminates after being in the sun or being held in front of a headlight for a few seconds. It's a nice touch.

Another shot of the dial. It's kind of different but the psi is marked in 1-lb increments all the way around the dial. No more guessing if you're at 32 or 33. It's easy to measure to the nearest 1/2-lb. and I would say if you were really inclined to you could guesstimate to the nearest 1/4-lb. of a psi.

The back of the dial and other side of the angle chuck. The rubber protective cover goes over the entire back of the gauge, making it easy to grip and absorbing bumps while it's in your toolbox. Of course, the included directions note that it will be knocked out of calibration if you drop it, so the cover is mostly just to protect it during transport and give a better grip - I doubt it would save it if you dropped it.

Here's the bleeder button and hose from the side. This is the only area where the country of origin is referenced. I believe it just means that the hose they use to make the gauge is made in the USA, so I'm not sure if the whole unit is made in the USA or not. The joint where the bleeder button and hose meet the gauge does not swivel, just the angle chuck to hose joint does. It's also worth noting that the product does not reference the Joe's Racing model number (32307) anywhere on the unit itself.

Here's the package before I opened it. There's no reference to the country of origin on the package either. Also no warranty information, but at least there is a bar code with the model number of 32307 shown. The package seems like it was done on a small-scale vacuum packaging system, it's not very fancy (yes, that is an ordinary rubber band) and the back of the package is simply a piece of plain white cardboard. The quality of the gauge makes up for it though.

Use Notes
This gauge is a joy to use. It can be finicky to get a good seal with the valve stem, but if you ensure that you are meeting the stem squarely you can hold it tightly to a tire stem without any air escaping. The bleeder button is a nice feature and works smoothly. I have not tried the ball-type chuck yet, so I can't comment on that.

Accuracy
I don't have the lab equipment required to determine how well calibrated this unit is. In head-to-head testing with the Accutire MS-4021B, the Accutire digital gauge measured about 3/4-lb. higher than the Joe's Racing gauge. (This was on a typical July day at about 80 degrees F, with two readings taken on the same tire a few seconds apart.) (You can read my review of the Accutire gauge here: Accutire Model MS-4021B Tire Pressure Gauge Review.)
 I would be more inclined to trust the Joe's racing gauge because it measures a smaller range and costs more. The Accutire gauge actually does list the accuracy as plus or minus 1%, and it measures 5-150 psi, so it seems like it could be off by as much as 1.45 psi, but it only measures in 0.5 psi increments.
Of course, your tires heat up to varying temps depending on the speed you're driving anyway. The change in temperature causes a change in pressure. And the ambient temperature is hardly constant between the morning and afternoon when you're commuting to work, for example.
So does the increased accuracy of the Joe's Racing gauge matter to the average Joe? Probably not.

The Final Word
If you're careful with your tools and want an air gauge that should last a long time, I'd say this one should be near the top of your list. It also seems to be plenty accurate, but as explained above that 1 psi probably doesn't make much difference.

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