A bubble balancer, also known as a manual wheel balancer, is a tool that is used to provide basic wheel balancing, quickly and easily. The best bubble balancers will feature a simple assembly, an enamel finish to resistant rust, and will be suitable for both car and truck wheels
To balance a wheel, small metal weights are clamped to the rim. These weights are placed in strategic locations, in order to balance out imperfections in mass distribution. To find out where to put the weights, the wheel is mounted on a spinning machine to check for vibrations. The weights are then moved along the perimeter of the rim until the spin is steady (Source).
You could always take your wheels to a professional to have them balanced, but with a bubble balancer, you can balance wheels yourself, right in your driveway! These simple tools are easy to use, even for a beginner, and they can save time and money.
Tire shops use expensive, hard to use equipment that must be operated by a trained professional. The machines that the shops use calculate for dynamic balancing issues, among other details. The majority of a tire’s balance problems, however, can be solved with a simple bubble balancer (Source).
There are many factors to take into consideration, such as making sure the bubble balancer is compatible with your wheels. Before buying a bubble balancer, you should consider the price, size, and ease of assembly. It’s also important to consider the frame construction.
In this article, we will explore the top-rated bubble balancers. All of the bubble balancers in this review will balance tires evenly, whether you regularly work on your car, or you are just wanting to save money in the long term.
What Is a Bubble Balancer?
A bubble balancer is an old-school tool that you can use to balance tires quickly. Although professionals rely on digital wheel balancers these days, many enthusiasts still resort to using a DIY bubble balancer.
The main advantage of bubble balancers is that they are easy to use. Additionally, they are a more affordable option than their digital counterparts. These cheap wheel balancers can provide decent results most of the time, and the accuracy will depend on the quality of the tool and whether you used it properly.
Bubble balancers are static balancers, which means they come with some limitations. However, they can do a decent job, and you don’t need any advanced skills to use the tool.
These products are portable, and you can carry them around in your trunk. That way, if you are on the road and you need some tire balancing, you can easily do the job wherever you are.
If you are looking for something handy when changing tires or undertaking any form of maintenance on your vehicle, consider buying quality electric tongue jacks.
How Much Do Bubble Balancers Cost?
Bubble balancers are useful tools, but they are not as popular as they used to be. That is why the cost of these products is under $100.
If you would like to find a bargain deal, you should be ready to pay around $50-$60.These tools may come from less famous brands, or the manufactures used materials of poorer quality than in premium devices.
The average price of a bubble balancer is approximately $70. For that money, you can expect to receive a heavy-duty and durable product that can last for a long time.
If you add a bit more to your budget, you can get a premium bubble balancer for $80-$90. The differences are rather subtle, and you can find a reliable tool in each of these categories. That is why you should consider which product fits your preference most and pick accordingly.
Reviews of Top 5 Products
1. VI-CO Portable Bubble Wheel Balancer – Best Overall
First, the assembly is simple, which you could expect from this type of product. The construction quality is admirable, and the wheel balancer contains an enamel finish to ensure it stays resistant to rust.
The product can fit 1 ½-4 diameter hubs, which gives it the necessary versatility. Each component was carefully designed to ensure optimal durability. A minor drawback is that weights don’t come with a product, but you can easily find them online or in your area.
This tire bubble balancer weighs only 11 pounds. Combined with the compact dimensions, you can easily pack and store the product in your trunk.
- Suitable for automobile and light truck wheels
- The enamel finish is resistant to rust
- The assembly is simple
- The weights don’t come with a product
2. Goplus Pro Portable Hubs Wheel Balancer – Best Design
The entire product has an enamel finish to ensure rust resistance, and top-quality aluminum should secure the necessary durability.
The dimensions are standard for this device as they are set at 24 x 11.5 inches. The machined aluminum head will accept wheels that are at least 1 ½ in diameter and no more than four inches in diameter.
You will need a bit of time and effort to adjust everything properly, but that is normal for this type of device. If you need to do some balancing on the go or don’t want to visit a professional, this tool can be of great assistance.
- Lightweight but durable
- Easy to carry and move around
- You can use it for both cars and truck wheels
- It takes a bit of effort to learn how to use it
3. Portable Bubble Wheel Balancer Bullseye Level – Budget Pick
The manufacturer used durable materials, and the product provides the necessary stability. It is, however, a bit heavy as it weighs 22 pounds. Although the size remains compact and the weight provides stability, it is somewhat inconvenient to carry the unit around.
The important thing, however, is that you can receive reliable results as long as you use this bubble balancer properly. The tool is suitable for both car and truck tires.
If you choose this product, make sure to check the base of the balancer. It should be perpendicular to the floor and perfectly square. If you notice any disbalance, you can contact the manufacturer for a replacement.
- Versatile and suitable for car and truck tires
- A sturdy tool with heavy construction
- A classic and elegant design
- The base might not be perfectly square
4. Stark Portable Hubs Wheel Balancer – Most Versatile
The product utilizes a bull’s eye level to ensure optimal accuracy. The guided rods are made of plated steel, and the components used are of high quality.
This portable motorcycle wheel balancer features a fine ratio between cost and quality since it manages to be both light and durable. The cast pivot seat and hardened pin are of impressive quality/ It might be a bit heavier than some other units, but that ensures added stability.
Although the unit has a decent construction overall, the screws that keep the bubble on the spring seem cheaply made. They might not last for a long time, but the good news is that you can replace them easily.
- Impressive versatility
- It provides optimal accuracy as long as you use it right
- The excellent ratio between cost and quality
- The quality of the screws could be better
5. XtremepowerUS Premium Portable Hubs Wheel Balancer – The Lightest Bubble Balancer
If you are looking for a static wheel balancer that can last for a long time, you can’t go wrong with choosing this tool. XtremepowerUS designed a product that is very versatile and suitable for car, van, and light truck tires with a diameter up to four inches.
The product is the lightest one on our list, but it still has decent durability. The top-quality aluminum and enamel coating ensures that the balancer remains resistant to rust. Thanks to its compact size and weight, this balancer is a definition of portable.
The springs may seem a bit too stiff, especially if you use tires for passenger cars. However, if you are skilled enough, you can resolve that with a couple of adjustments and ensure everything works smoothly.
- Very light and portable
- Enamel finish secures rust resistance
- A long-lasting product capable of providing consistent results
- Springs may seem a bit too stiff
Bubble Balancer Brands
Have you ever considered why you should stick to a reliable brand when buying a product? Here are some benefits that you can expect:
- You will receive what you ordered, and there will be no false promises.
- The quality control should be high, and the chance of any defects is minimal. That means you won’t have to bother to ask for a replacement.
- Even if anything goes wrong, most manufacturers offer a warranty. If a brand is reliable, the more chances they will have a polite customer service that can swiftly resolve your issue.
Now that you are aware of why you should stick to a reliable manufacturer, her is a list of the most popular bubble balancer brands at this moment.
Xtremepower US is a store that sells a wide range of different products. Their primary products include power tools and hardware, as well as equipment for home improvements.
The company also offers fitness gear, pool equipment and accessories, and various range of other items. They seem dedicated to maintaining the highest quality regardless of the product provided.
The headquarters of XtremepowerUS is in California, and they seem to have a reliable customer service.
VI-CO is a brand of intriguing name and a company that tries to offer an extensive range of products to its customers. Static wheel balancers are only a part of their portfolio.
The company also sells wheelchair ramps, rotating work LED lights, step stools and ladders, and many other products that you can use in your garage or workshop.
Goplus is another all-around store that offers a wide range of tools and useful products for your garage. The available gear includes but is not limited to furniture dollies, manual bag sealers, and gas welding cutting torch kits.
The company expands to other industries, too, and offers items like artificial Christmas trees, abdominal trainers, and even luggage bags. The important thing is that they maintain the highest quality regardless of the product they sell.
Factors to Consider Before Buying Bubble Balancers
You may be wondering which factors set apart the best bubble balancer from its average alternatives. Here are some features you should keep in mind during the purchasing process.
The durability of your static wheel balancer will directly depend on the materials the manufacturer used. The general rule is that the companies should go with durable materials like steel and aluminum.
It is important to ensure that the product provides the necessary material quality and thickness. If the manufacturer used enamel finish, it would improve the item’s rust resistance. That should extend the longevity of the product.
Bubble balancers are sensitive tools, and finding durable materials is imperative. Even the smallest damage or scratch on the sensitive areas of the tool may compromise finding the perfect balance. That is why you should find a tool with the best quality materials out there.
The next thing to consider is the suitability for different wheels. The majority of bubble balancers will fit passenger car wheels, but what if you want to balance van or jeep tires?
The best static wheel balancers will accommodate any wheels that have a diameter of up to four inches. That is considered to be a standard in the industry. It is good news because it means a single device can serve for car, van, and light truck tires.
Size and Weight
We could use only one word instead of the subheading above and say, “portability.” The two main benefits of wheel balancers are that amateurs can use the tool at home, and the fact that you can use the device on the go.
If you plan to put the tool in your trunk, you could benefit from keeping its size and weight under control. Compact size will ensure that the balancer won’t take a lot of room in your trunk.
As for the weight, it will ensure that the product remains easy to use. Once you need to remove it from your trunk, mount, and use it, it would be much easier if the device is light. The same applies if you only plan to use the tool in your garage.
How to Use a Bubble Balancer
Using a bubble balancer will require a bit of effort, especially if you want to achieve decent results.
First, it is important to find an even surface in your garage and workshop. That is where you will place the tool. The product will have several parts, and you want to assemble it by following the instructions.
The next thing is to place the wheel on the product. If you are balancing a used tire, make sure to remove any rocks or other small items that can cause disbalance.
Once the wheel is on, take a look at the bubble. If the wheel’s balance is off, it will point in a particular direction.
Now, you can put weights or any other items that will cause the bubble to reposition to the center. Be careful and weight gradually to balance as precise as possible.
Finally, stick the weights you used to ensure the tire remains balance once you remove it from the product.
Here is a great tutorial that explains how to use a bubble balancer:
Ready to Use a Bubble Balancer for Your Next Project?
A bubble balancer is a simple but useful tool that even beginners can use. If you want to maximize the versatility of your static wheel balancer, you need to find a tool that accommodates different wheels. Apart from car ones, that may include truck and can tires.
The crucial thing to consider is your preferred way of using the device. If you need the best bubble balancer for individual use, and you don’t plan to use it often, we suggest looking for bargain deals.
On the other hand, you may be on the road frequently and need a tool that can come in handy whenever you need it. In that case, you should go with the most portable balancer out there. It can fit into your trunk easily while ensuring that it delivers consistent results every time you use it.
Ultimately, the best bubble balancer is the one that suits your application. That is the primary factor to keep in mind when choosing a product for your needs.
Also, consider buying the right topside creeper which is a combination of a conventional automotive creeper and a step ladder. Finally, see our review of the best jack stand tool that is used to support a car or another vehicle.