9 Best Tire Pressure Monitoring Devices/Systems (TPMS)
A tire pressure monitoring device is a crucial safety feature for those who spend a lot of time driving around in their RVs. It allows you to remotely monitor the pressure on every tire’s air valve and take preemptive measures if the pressure is falling short. This can save you from getting stuck in the middle of nowhere or getting into an accident.
Since I spend most of my time in RVs, traveling actively at least 6-8 months a year, a tire pressure monitoring device is absolutely necessary for me. Over the years, I’ve used a number of different devices, some of which have been great and some have been little more than junk.
In order to purchase smartly and make an informed decision, you need to first understand what a tire pressure monitoring device is, how it works, and the factors to consider when buying one.
What is a Tire Pressure Monitoring Device?
As the name suggests, a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) or device monitors the pressure on all your tires and lets you know if they are either under or over inflated. Some of these devices also monitor the tire temperature because a higher temperature is indicative of a tire approaching failure or wearing down faster than it should.
Thus, if you find that the temperature is increasing, you can slow down and stop somewhere safe before the tire blows out or you get into an accident.
Furthermore, they inform you of possible issues with the brakes and wheel bearings, both of which increase the temperature and affect tire pressure.
Why Do You Need to Monitor Tire Pressure ?
The following are some of the primary reasons for getting a TPMS and the benefits of having one:
- Extending Tire Life: Most people run their RVs on under or over inflated tires don’t even realize it. This leads to the tires wearing down faster than normal. With a TPMS, you always know exactly how much tire pressure you have and adjust it accordingly to maximize the tires’ life cycle.
- Maximizing Fuel Efficiency: If you have under-inflated tires, your vehicle and engine have to make a greater effort to cover the same distance. More of your fuel is used up, giving you lower mileage. Using a TPMS can help you enhance fuel efficiency.
- Reduce Carbon Footprint: Under-inflated tires reduce fuel efficiency, which, in turn, leads to an increased emission of carbon monoxide, which is harmful to the environment. By optimizing the tire pressure, you can decrease your carbon footprint and do your part for the environment.
- Safety: Under-inflated tires often cause your vehicle to drive in an unpredictable way. Over-inflated tires, meanwhile, can cause your tires to skid or even blow out, resulting in accidents. Furthermore, your tires can suddenly give way, effectively leaving you stranded.
- Convenience: If you want to check tire pressure manually, you have to kneel down before all the tires, remove the valve caps, and then insert the gauge to check the pressure. This is a cumbersome process. With a TPMS, you can simply observe real-time pressure data on your screen.
Best Tire Pressure Monitoring Devices or Systems
In this article, I’ll give you a detailed overview of some of the best tire pressure monitoring devices on the market today.
The TireMinder A1A is a tire pressure monitoring system equipped with 6 transmitters, so it can be used in large RVs and motorhomes as well. This just happens to be one of the most powerful TPMS devices on the market, capable of monitoring pressure from 0 to 232 psi and temperatures up to 22 tires.
The monitor is shaped and sized like a regular smartphone with the dimensions of 4.25” x 2.5” x 0.6” and can be mounted to the windshield using a suction cup or to the dashboard using a Velcro strip. The batteries are rechargeable, and you are also provided with 2 sets of additional batteries.
The sensors on this device are designed in cap style and are equipped with a lock nut screwed to the valve stem as an anti-theft measure. You also receive two sensor versions — brass and aluminum. You can use the brass sensors for all applications. However, the aluminum sensors should only be used with aluminum valve stems in the case of internal sensors used in motorhomes. As you can see, this TPMS device has been put together with a lot of consideration, providing users with a lot of additional features.
The only thing I was concerned about was the cap-style sensors used on this device. I prefer a flow-thru sensor as they are easier to use and handle. However, they also provide an additional T adapter that protrudes 1.33” past the tire, effectively turning it into a flow-thru sensor. I am really happy with the degree of customization possible with this device.
The monitor is extremely easy to handle. When you use the monitor mode, you get a visual of all the tires that have been set up. You simply have to tap a single arrow button to scroll between the pressure and temperature of the different tires. A fully-charged monitor can last you for several hours. However, if you’re traveling long distances, you can charge them while driving. Furthermore, the monitor receives transmissions from the TPMS device every 6 seconds, so you’re always up to date with the pressure and no accidents will take you off guard.
If a problem is detected, the device starts beeping and the affected tire is highlighted and displayed on the screen along with an icon indicating the issue be it leakage, a temperature or pressure warning.
- Display is effective and icons are clearly displayed.
- Highly versatile in terms of sensor style.
- Comes with a range booster in case you need to enhance the monitor’s range.
- The icons used to indicate the problems can be confusing.
- The temperature and pressure are displayed on separate screens, so you have to scroll between them for each tire.
2. TireTraker TT-500
The TireTraker TT-500 monitors the pressure and temperature on up to 22 tires simultaneously and measures pressure from 0 to 232 psi. My biggest issue with this device is that only cap style sensors are available; however, all of them have replaceable batteries. The sensors come with locking rings that you can attach over the valve stem before installation, and then you engage the anti-theft lock by sliding the ring against the sensor.
The monitor is designed in portrait layout, which I prefer to the landscape design. The monitor can be attached to the windshield using a suction cup. One of the things I like most about this monitor is that the battery can last for 20 to 30 days, a lot more than the TireMinder device mentioned earlier.
In terms of display, you can view the temperature and pressure of the tires individually. You can either scroll through them manually or set them on auto-scroll so you can view both of them periodically without having to handle the device.
While I do quite like the monitor in this device, I have one major issue with it. The monitor turns off and enters sleep mode if there has been no motion detected for 15 minutes. If you want to activate it again, the device takes over 20 minutes to set up for all the tires to come online again. If everything is functioning normally, the system will keep checking the pressure and temperature every 5 seconds, but it will only update the screen reading every 4 minutes. However, if there’s an emergency, you are informed immediately.
This system comes with a wide range of alarm features, and the particular condition is displayed using both an icon and text, so there’s no confusion.
Furthermore, it doesn’t just inform you if the pressure is low; it informs you if there’s a pressure decrease of 15% under baseline, 25% under baseline, or even 50% under baseline.
- Alarm messages are clear and easy to follow.
- A lot of alarm options.
- Monitor life is great.
- Doesn’t come with a booster.
- Takes 20 minutes to set up after sleep mode.
- Only cap-style sensors available.
3. EEZTire TPMS
This product has been designed by one of the leading TPMS manufacturers — EEZTire. The device can monitor temperature and pressure on up to 26 tires simultaneously and monitors pressure from 0 to 188 psi.
It comes with 6 anti-theft cap-style or flow-through sensors. Keep in mind that the anti-theft housing is a bit difficult to install, and you have to use a special set of tools that come in the package. However, it’s also possible to install the sensors without it, simply like a valve cap. To secure the flow-through sensors, you have to screw them in place using the provided tools. The sensors have replaceable batteries.
The monitor has a large landscape-style display screen with plain-text alarms and a 60 hour battery life. It can be mounted using a suction cup, bolts, or with a mounting bar on any flat surface. The kit comes with a signal booster you’re recommended to use if the TPMS sensor is over 50 feet from the monitor. However, while using it, I found that I sometimes lost signal,s even when the monitor was within 30 feet, so I had to use the booster anyway.
Even though the monitor isn’t graphically advanced, it displays the temperature and pressure for the highlighted tire simultaneously so you don’t need to scroll between them. You can manually scroll past the tires or auto-scroll it so the screen scrolls through the various tires every 6 seconds. The alarm notifications are both clear and precise. Whatever the condition are, it displays the alarm in big bold letters like “FAST LEAKAGE” accompanied with a flashing red light.
- Great monitor battery life.
- Doubles as both cap and flow-through sensors.
- Plain text alarms.
- Highly secure.
- Can monitor 26 tires simultaneously arranged in the display like the user’s rig.
- The signals may be lost even before the stated 50 feet range, necessitating the use of boosters.
- Pressure range is lower than several other TPMS devices.
4. Bellacorp TPMS
The Bellacorp device can monitor up to 34 tires simultaneously and pressure up to 175 psi. You can get the kit with 4 to 12 sensors and also purchase additional sensors in pairs of two. The sensors are all cap style and come with a set of screws to set the anti-theft lock. They also come with replaceable batteries accessible via the sensor cap and are able to read nitrogen pressure just as well as regular air pressure. For more information, check for the price and reviews here.
The monitor, sized 3.5 x 1.5 inches, is similar to that of the EEZTire. The portrait mode monitor features plain text alarms. The manufacturer advertises that they have the longest range in the market, i.e., 60 feet. When I first used the device, I was quite surprised by this claim because it should be able to cover the largest of RVs and motorhomes without a booster. However, in reality, the connection starts wavering after about 40 feet or so. As such, you’ll have to get a separate range booster as this device doesn’t come with one.
In terms of setup, note that while different axles are programmable, the individual tires are not. Each of the axles can have different pressure and temperature settings; however, all the tires in a single trailer or axle must have the same pressure. The minimum pressure reading available on this Bellacorp TPMS device is 15 psi. You can, nevertheless, set up your own pressure and temperature range rather than selecting from a preset list of options. When doing so, be very careful to be aware of your tires’ limits.
- Can monitor up to 34 tires.
- Great monitor range.
- Clear and legible alarm warnings.
- No booster is provided.
- Only cap style sensors available.
5. TireMinder Smart TPMS
This TireMinder Smart TPMS can monitor up to 22 tires and a pressure range of 0 to 232 psi. My favorite feature is that you can use it with your smartphone via a mobile app. It’s compatible with iPhone, iPad, and other Android devices, as long as you have iOS 7.0+ and Android 4.3+. As such, you don’t need a separate monitor because you can remotely access all the data on cell phone. The TPMS checks the tires every 6 seconds, and if an emergency is detected, it immediately sends a push notification to your phone via the app.
The monitor also features a number of alarm settings, including temperature, pressure, and leakage. It further features auto-scroll, so it keeps scrolling through the different tires and their pressure and temperature settings. The app comes with a “Disable Sleep” feature which prevents the phone from going to sleep when the app is running, similar to Google Maps. This kit also comes with a TireMinder Rhino Signal Booster that can amplify the signals if your cell phone is over 30 feet from the TPMS sensors.
The biggest concern I have with this TPMS device is its inconsistency and false alerts. I took this device on a long 100- mile drive and had to pull over several times because it kept flashing the “Low Pressure” alert, even though the pressure in my tires was perfect. Every time that happened, I had to reset the app and wait for the tires to come online again, which proved to be a great nuisance. Initially, I thought this might be a single faulty product. However, upon contacting several other customers, I realized that this is a recurring issue.
I’m not saying ALL of these devices send false alarms. Several users I spoke to had nothing but praise for the device. But many who — like me — experienced false alarms. This is a cause of concern.
- Compatible with smartphone
- Updates every 6 seconds and sends alarms immediately.
- Auto-scroll feature so you don’t have to manually handle the phone.
- Setting up process is complex and time consuming.
- False alarms are commonplace.
The VICTONY Solar Power TMPS is meant for smaller RVs of about 30 to 35 feet in length because it only comes with 4 external sensors that can measure tire temperature and pressure. However, it’s also a lot cheaper, so it’s worth it. Each sensors comes equipped with individual chips that shut down whenever the tire has not been moving for 10 minutes. This acts as an anti-theft lock.
Still, there was one thing I really disliked and it’s the monitor. The screen is small and displays only numbers and plain text that is hard to decipher, and the controls are also hard to figure out. Nonetheless, when some issue is detected, it starts beeping and flashes a visual and textual warning, and it can be charged via solar energy or USB.
Another thing you should be aware of is that it only measures temperature in Centigrade, not in Fahrenheit, and the maximum range is only 30 feet, which is why you can only use this monitor in smaller RVs.
- Cheap and suitable for small RVs.
- Automatically shuts down when the tires aren’t moving.
- Eco-friendly as the monitor can be charged with solar energy.
- Small and illegible screen.
- Only measures in Centigrade.
- Limited monitor range.
7. RV 6-Tire Flow-Through Sensor TPMS by Tire-SafeGuard
This very popular tire pressure monitoring system has six sensors, and you have the option to add more. Unlike Victony, you can choose between a metric or non-metric system for both pressure and temperature readings. The sensors can detect pressure up to 199 psi, and you can specify the low pressure alert depending on your use.
There is no signal booster in the box, but there should be no need for it. From the dashboard of my pickup to the wheels of the camper being towing, the readings still came through. Some users even report they can reach up to 100 feet of reception.
The monitor’s battery lasts for about 12 hours when driving constantly, and they can last much somewhat with lighter use. You can also charge the system via a USB cable aside from the 12V charger supplied in the box.
One drawback, however, is that the screen itself isn’t bright enough and driving against direct sunlight makes it difficult to read. The lack of tilt and swivel action does not help either, unless you have the monitor permanently facing the driver’s seat.
The base of the monitor uses double-sided tape instead of a suction mount. For those looking to use the system on multiple vehicles, you would be better off with a monitor using a suction mount.
In installing the sensors, you start with the front tire at the driver side and then go to the front tire of the passenger side. The succeeding sensors follow the same order, so you have the proper reading in the monitor.
The sensors are flow-through, so you can inflate the tire without removing them. Two screws on the side tighten against the valve stem, and they did not come loose even after hundreds of miles of driving. They also have a slot for a hex wrench, helpful in securing them to the inner tire of the vehicle.
The sensors are waterproof and use CR1632 batteries that should last for about a year.
- You can add more sensors to the system
- You can choose between a metric and a non-metric system for measuring pressure and temperature
- You can specify the lowest pressure alert depending on your use
- There is no need for a signal booster
- The battery life of the monitor lasts for more than a day with normal use
- The monitor charges via USB cable as well
- There is a slot for a hex wrench on the top of the sensor
- The sensors are waterproof
- The flow-through sensor allows you to inflate a tire without having to remove the sensor
- The monitor’s screen isn’t bright enough when used against direct sunlight
- There is no tilt and swivel action for the monitor for better adjustability
- The mount uses double-sided tape that is hard to detach once mounted
- It can be difficult to attach the sensors to the inner wheels of a vehicle
8. YOKARO Solar Powered TPMS for RVs
Yokaro TPMS comes with six sensors and a repeater in the box, but, unfortunately, there’s no option for additional sensors. The pressure can be read in psi or bar, but the temperature can only be read in Celsius, not really suitable for US users.
The system has a limit of 87 psi and you can set the low pressure alert, depending on your use. Compared to other systems, this is quite low and indicative of the price.
The repeater is ideally mounted at the rear of the vehicle to maximize range and you can connect it to either the wire harness or the battery for power. Without the repeater, the system range is only 26 feet, but using the repeater boosts it to 33 feet.
The monitor is solar-powered, so you really don’t have to worry much about battery life. It practically runs by itself but can also be charged via the USB cable that comes in the box.
The monitor’s display, however, has a rather low contrast so when the sun is shining bright, it is almost impossible to read the display. In heavy traffic, it shuts off when the vehicle is not moving and will only update the measurements once the vehicle starts to move again. I would rather have it always on because I tend to check my readings under a red stoplight.
Only four readings can be displayed at a time, and you have to toggle to show the remaining two. If you’re the type of person who wants to know all the information at a glance, this system might not be for you.
The waterproof sensors are cap-type, which means you have to remove them when you inflate the tires and they use CR1632 batteries, which should last about 2 years or so.
- You can choose between the a metric and non-metric system for the pressure reading
- The display is solar-powered and you don’t have to worry about batteries
- The display can be charged via a USB cable
- The sensors tighten against the valve stem to prevent theft
- The battery life of the sensors lasts for up to two years with normal use
- The sensors are waterproof
- You can’t add more sensors to the system
- The display shuts off when the vehicle doesn’t move and is slow to update
- This system is not suited for vehicles that are more than 33 feet in length
- You can only read measurements from four sensors at a glance
- The temperature can only be read in degrees Fahrenheit
- The maximum pressure it can read is lower than the competition
- You have to detach the sensor when you need to inflate your tire
9. TST 507rv TPMS
The last device on our list that you can use to avoid tire blowouts and increase safety comes from TST. The black and white display comes with dasboard mound and fairly large display shows temperature and PSI at the same time.
You can choose between the English or metric system for pressure and temperature measurements. The maximum pressure that can be read is 188 PSI and the operating temperature range is between –40 – 257 degrees F.
TST recommends that you add a repeater when you need more than 10 sensors, but even without a repeater, the sensors can still be detected within 60 feet (some users who tested the repeater claim that even 100 feet of reception is possible).
The monitor has a monochrome display and a glossy surface which makes it somewhat reflective and difficult to read when the sunlight hits the screen.
The monitor is mounted on a small tray which you can be attached just about anywhere. A suction mount comes in the box so you can attach it to the windshield as well. You can tilt and swivel the monitor by using the suction mount, which just makes it more flexible to use.
Also, do keep in mind that when turning on the system, there is 10 minute delay before the sensors register in the monitor. While the system runs regardless if the vehicle is still or moving, having the delay can cost you precious time especially if you’re in a hurry.
The waterproof sensors use CR1632 batteries and lock really firmly; they do not come loose even when driving on rocky roads.
- You can add more sensors to the system
- You can choose between a metric and non-metric system of measurement
- Adding a repeater allows you to expand the already long range even further
- A suction mount is included in the box
- You can connect the monitor directly to the vehicle’s wiring harness
- The battery life of both the monitor and sensors is good
- You don’t have to remove the sensor when inflating your tire
- The sensors are secured tightly to the valve stem
- The sensors are waterproof
- The monitor’s reflective display is hard to read in direct sunlight
- There is a delay in detecting the sensors when turning the system on
- It can be difficult to detach a sensor from an inner wheel
TPMS Buyer’s Guide & FAQ
What are the Different Types of Tire Pressure Monitoring Devices?
There are two primary types of tire pressure monitoring devices based on the location of installation. Both come with unique advantages and drawbacks.
External TPMS Sensors are installed on the valve stem, the part of the tire used to fill them up. They can be installed easily, but are also easily detached and stolen. They can further be sub-categorized into two types:
- Flow-Thru External TPMS: These are screwed onto the valve stem, replacing the cap. They comes with a pressure adjustment device located on top of the sensor. They are large and heavy, so they should only be used on metal valve stems.
- Cap Style External TPMS: These are also screwed onto the valve stem, replacing the cap, but they’re a lot smaller and lighter, making them ideal for use with rubber valve stems. To add or remove pressure, you have to first remove them.
Internal TPMS sensors are installed inside the tires’ rims. Since they are located inside the tires, they cannot be stolen easily, but they have to be installed before you mount the tire. They come in two types:
- Internal Valve Stem: These are installed directly from the factory and the valve stem is attached to the sensor directly.
- Internal Bandclip: Popularized by Ford vehicles, these are located opposite the valve stem and hooked to the rim with a bandclip.
Beside the location of the sensor, TPMS devices can also be categorized based on their means of measuring pressure: direct and indirect TPMS sensors.
A direct TPMS device measures air pressure directly using an inner tube sensor attached to the tire. You can use it to adjust the pressure directly, and you also get immediate alerts the moment the pressure dips below the standard.
An indirect TPMS device measures pressure indirectly by gauging other facets of the tires’ performance. They don’t have the ability to measure pressure directly, but they have a speed sensor that works with the anti-lock brake system.
In addition, they use the wheel revolution data to measure tire pressure. They are cheaper but not as accurate, and they take longer to give you information.
Which Factors to Consider when Buying a Tire Pressure Monitoring Device?
When you go through TPMS reviews, focus on the following factors to determine if it’s right for your needs.
As mentioned, TPMS devices can be externally or internally installed, and both come with subcategories. External devices can be easily installed and monitored but can also be stolen. Internal devices are harder to install but are more secure. Select wisely!
There are a number of different brands of TPMS devices available such as VICTONY, BellaCorp, TireTracker, among others. The two leaders in the TPMS industry are Tireminder and Eeztire.
Tireminder has a TPMS model that works for all kinds of vehicles, be it an RV, motorhome, motor coach, 5th wheel, or any other. They can also monitor as many as 22 tires simultaneously.
The Eeztire TPMS devices focus on security and convenience. As such, they have large interactive monitors and come with anti-theft and anti-failure features to keep them secure.
Different TPMS devices are meant for different types of vehicles such as cars, RVs, trucks, etc. RVs, in general, require higher tire pressure than cars. You should get a TPMS that can monitor tire pressures up to 100 psi, at least. All of the TPMS devices mentioned in this article meet this standard.
You should obviously ensure that the TPMS you select has a strong battery life. However, also look into whether the batteries are replaceable. Cheaper models will come with fixed batteries so you’ll have to dispose of the device once the battery is exhausted. Also make sure that the battery doesn’t produce excess heat as that can damage the device.
You should go for a TPMS device that you can install on your own without professional help, especially if you get an internal TPMS. In addition to installation, it should also be easy to operate the TPMS and monitor the results remotely.
The TPMS should come with a monitor that’s easy to read and monitor with legible icons and graphics. It should also come with indicator lights, so you can receive urgent warnings immediately.
TPMS devices need to last a long time as they are meant to warn you of emergencies. As such, make sure the device is durable, one that can handle high temperatures and harsh environmental conditions, especially if it’s an external TPMS device.
How many Tire Pressure Monitoring Devices do I need?
The number of TPMS devices you need differs from vehicle to vehicle.
If you have a motorhome, you’ll need 6 TPMS devices, 2 for the RV and 4 for the rear tow vehicle. If you’re towing a car, you’ll need 10 TPMS devices.
However, most travel trailers, 5th wheels, and RVs require 4 to 6 TPMS devices. You should consult your RVs manufacturer about what is recommended for your specific vehicle.
Can the TPMS batteries be replaced?
Some TPMS devices come with sealed batteries so you cannot replace them. When the batteries are exhausted, you simply have to buy new TPMS devices.
However, all modern and advanced TPMS devices come with replaceable batteries, so you have to open the battery compartment and replace them.
How to Test or Replace a Tire Pressure Monitoring Device sensor battery?
Once you have installed the tire pressure monitoring device, you need to routinely check its battery to make sure it’s still functioning. The sensor transmits data every few minutes, and if it misses a few transmissions, the monitor will probably alert you of a malfunction.
That’s why you know it’s time to replace the battery. If you have an irreplaceable battery, you’ll need to replace the entire device. If not, you can remove the battery by first melting the potting material within the sensor housing. Following that, you can replace the battery.
Do I need a range extender for my TPMS?
All TPMS devices come with a specific range. As such, they can only accurately send information regarding the pressure to your monitor if it’s within range. If your monitor is usually kept far from the TPMS device, you’ll need a range extender.
If you have a short RV up to 25’ in length, you don’t need a range extender. However, if you drive a large Class A motorhome or triple axle toy hauler fifth wheel, you’ll need to install a range extender at the rear of the tow vehicle.
The range of a TPMS is determined by factors like the length of the RV, the location of the devices, the number of slides, and the material that the devices are made of.
Conditions that Set off the Tire Pressure Monitoring Device’s alarm
The following conditions will set off a TPMS device’s alarm:
- High temperature
- Leakage of pressure