Hands-on Gear Review

Topeak JoeBlow Sport III Review

Editors' Choice Award
Price:  $50 List | $45.28 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Metal base, good gauge, accurate, good value.
Cons:  Odd base shape, heavier than most, short hose.
Bottom line:  Built to last, this affordable model performs above its list price.
Editors' Rating:   
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Max PSI:  160
Weight:  4.0 lbs
Height:  27 in
Manufacturer:   Topeak

Our Verdict

The new JoeBlow Sport III replaces the popular JoeBlow Sport II, offering excellent all-around performance and receiving our Editors' Choice award for the best floor pump. It uses metal where you need durability and stability. The plastic is where it should be to save weight. This pump works well at home or on the road as it's not light but still packs relatively easily. We loved the head design and found the accuracy top notch.



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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Mark Schanzenbach

Last Updated:
Thursday
April 19, 2018

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ToPeak's new JoeBlow Sport III replaces the popular and highly rated JoeBlow Sport II, which received strong marks and a Best Buy award in our review. The III is still a good value at about $50, but improvements to the new model and consistent, excellent all-around performance led us to award this pump with our Editors' Choice award for the best floor pump.

Performance Comparison


The Joe Blow Sport III  our Editor's Choice award winner
The Joe Blow Sport III, our Editor's Choice award winner

Stability


The sturdy metal base of the JoeBlow Sport III is rounded and smooth with a small notch at the rear. This design, while it is attractive and extremely durable, did not score as well in our stability tests as other models, most of which incorporated variations on a tripod design for their bases. This pump is also one of the tallest we tested, making it even easier to throw off balance. The weight of the base helps it to stay upright most of the time, but when the pump is free-standing it is actually one of the easier models to knock over; it especially has a tendency to fall forward onto the gauge. Luckily the gauge is solidly built and handled the abuse well in our tests — see below for more on that.

Instability was much less apparent when standing on the base during pumping, which of course is the base's primary purpose. A large, inflexible, flat surface under your feet is very effective at holding the pump in place (go figure!). The perimeter of the hardened steel base is almost sharp on the bottom and has no padding to protect delicate surfaces, so care should be exercised to prevent floor damage if using this pump indoors.

Ease of Attachment/Detachment


The JoeBlow Sport III's pump head is well-designed and easy to use
The JoeBlow Sport III's pump head is well-designed and easy to use

The pump head has been upgraded from the previous JoeBlow model, but still works essentially the same way, and that's a good thing. The TwinHead pump head has dedicated holes for schrader and presta on opposite sides, clearly marked with an S and P to help eliminate any confusion. The locking lever moves smoothly in either direction to secure the head in place.

This head design is one of our favorites of the pumps tested. Users who had little previous experience with tire valves or bike pumps were mostly able to intuit their way into successfuIly operating it on either schrader or presta valves. In our tests we found this head to be one of the easiest to attach and detach regarding user-friendliness, and also regarding physical effort required. Unlike some other pumps, not much muscle is needed to get this pump ready for action. We also had no trouble with any significant air escaping from the pump head during attachment or detachment from either schrader or presta valves. The Vibrelli pump we tested uses a similar head design, but that head can lose significant air in the time between pushing head onto the valve and locking it into place. A previous review of the JoeBlow II also mentions air loss with that model; it seems that ToPeak has addressed this in their updated design.

One setback of this model is the length of the air hose, a rather short 30 inches. It caused no problems for us, but is on the short end of the models we tested, so it's something to be aware of for anyone who likes a lot of space between their pumping position and their tires, due to factors like garage layout or work stand preference. We appreciated the extra-long hoses of the Lezyne Steel Floor Drive and Rennkompressor.

Gauge


The chronograph style gauge on the ToPeak JoeBlow Sport III is one of the best.
The chronograph style gauge on the ToPeak JoeBlow Sport III is one of the best.

One upgrade to the new JoeBlow III that we especially appreciate is an increase in the size and clarity of the gauge to a hair over 3 inches (the previous model was under 2.5). This comfortable size combined with clear labeling and an adjustable guide make accurate pressure measurement a breeze. The JoeBlow's gauge is the top rated of all pumps tested.

Space is used very efficiently on this gauge. Large white numbers along the outside rim measure PSI, with numerals on the 20's and notches on the 5's. Large yellow bar readings live inside by the needle, with odd numerals 1 through 11 and each bar broken into fourths. It's all very easy to read on a black background. Even in bright sunshine or dim indoor light our testers had no trouble determining these measurements while standing tall above the pump. The adjustable guide along the outside rim is hardly necessary considering the ease of reading the numerical measurements, but it's still a great addition — just set the guide to your desired pressure, pump until the needle points to that spot, and you're good to go. It's also handy for users with one set of tires who tend to forget what PSI they should use!

As the stability of the JoeBlow III is not its strongest suit, our tests saw it topple forward once or twice with the gauge taking the brunt of the impact. We also tossed it around onto the sidewalk a few times just to be certain. The body of the gauge is all plastic, but it doesn't look or feel flimsy, and it sustained no significant damage from these falls beyond some small surface scratches.

Inflation Speed


The JoeBlow III was on the quicker end of our inflation speed tests. The number of pump strokes required to reach a desired pressure was always on the lower end, though there were a couple of pumps that required fewer strokes. However, this model also receives high marks due to a smooth, easy pumping motion that feels just about the same at 20 PSI as it does at 100 PSI. The 10-inch-wide, padded handle also helps make pumping a quick, comfortable experience.

Accuracy


The Sport III is among the top scorers in accuracy as well, always within 1-2 PSI (which seemed to be the margin of error) of our independent gauge after several tests pumping to different pressures on various tires. As was previously mentioned, there are no significant problems with air escaping from the pump head when removing it from the valve, which can be a major cause of inaccuracies.

The sliding adjustable guide is a nice touch on this highly accurate gauge
The sliding adjustable guide is a nice touch on this highly accurate gauge

Best Applications


This is a very user-friendly and versatile pump which can be appreciated by newbies and pros alike. It's on the heavy side of the pumps we tested, so avid travelers may prefer another model, although its added sturdiness could offset the weight concerns, depending on your priorities. Ultimately, the JoeBlow is well suited to pump up just about any tire for any user.

Value


The previous iteration of the JoeBlow Sport was reviewed as our Best Buy last time around, and the Sport III offers excellent value as well. There are thriftier options out there, and several of the models we reviewed alongside the JoeBlow cost less, but the savings are modest and none of the cheaper models we reviewed performed as well as the JoeBlow across the board. If the price is your top concern and you're willing to make a little compromise here or there, the Aergun or Vibrelli pumps will get the job done for $20 less.

Conclusion


This pump is an excellent all-around performer. Attach the TwinHead with ease to either schrader or presta valves, set your desired pressure on the big clear gauge, and pump away on the big cushiony handle. Accurate, intuitive and simple, it will be workable by beginners and appreciated by veterans. It's not as stable as some other pumps, but it's not going anywhere while you're standing on it, and it's sturdy enough to take the occasional tumble and make it out alive.

Mark Schanzenbach

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Most recent review: April 19, 2018
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (5.0)
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