Tire balancing beads are a fast, easy, and maintenance-free way to balance some car, truck, and motorcycle tires. But which are the best?
The best tire balancing beads are Magnum+ tempered glass beads, E-Z Tire ceramic dynamic balancing beads, StainlessBeads stainless steel beads, and Counteract motorcycle glass beads. All of these beads are environmentally safe, and some come with easy applicator kits.
In this article, we’ll review four of the best and most popular tire balancing beads. We’ll explain the difference between glass, ceramic, and stainless steel beads. Also, we’ll compare balancing beads to traditional wheel weights.
We sourced the specifications of each balancing bead kit directly from its manufacturer or a trusted distributor.
What are Tire Balancing Beads?
Tire balancing beads are an alternative to wheel weights for balancing. They are designed to help compensate for wheel and tire weight differences. Balancing beads are a somewhat old-school part of the automotive world. Many people say they work best on trucks and older cars with tall tires.
But why balance tires? In short, it’s because small differences in the weight of wheels and tires can cause significant vibration and loss of efficiency when they start to spin.
Balancing beads are small pellets that come in a bag. They’re added to a tire by weight, and they roll to areas that need balancing due to the centrifugal forces of a spinning tire.
Do Balancing Beads Work?
Yes, balancing beads work—but they don’t do everything, and they aren’t a miracle solution to unbalanced tires. Balancing beads are lower maintenance than wheel weights, and they balance tires vertically.
Benefits of Balancing Beads
Balancing beads have a few notable advantages over traditional wheel weights. For one, they’re really easy to use—you just put them in the tire and pump it up. Then you’re done.
Balancing beads also never have to be replaced, as they’re good for the life of the tire. They don’t wear out and don’t ever need adjustment, as beads are self-adjusting once inside the wheel.
Plus, balancing beads are not a major environmental or health concern when compared to traditional tire weights. Tire weights used to be made predominantly of lead—which is toxic and difficult to clean up once it contaminates an area or dumping site.
Tire beads are made of zinc, steel, or glass, which is much safer than lead. However, some beads are made of lead and are similar in consistency to birdshot. But you don’t need to use lead, and the majority of balancing beads on the market today are made of non-toxic materials.
Another chief benefit of tire balancing beds is that they can significantly reduce wheel and tire vibration on the road. This prevents unnecessary bearing and axle wear, improves comfort and fuel economy, and extends tire life.
Tire balancing beads are not a cure-all solution and may not work for all vehicles. However, they’re a great low-maintenance option for cars that do a lot of highway driving, and they’re also increasingly popular on trucks and trailers.
Top Four Balancing Beads and Installation Kits
So, what are the best tire balancing beads on the market? They’re made of a wide variety of materials, and the best options are not made of lead or toxic metals. Here are the most affordable and highest-quality balancing beads on the market today.
1. Magnum+ Tire Balancing Beads 17.6 lb Bulk Tub
Here’s a big old bucket of beads, and they’ll work for virtually any car or truck. These Magnum+ tire balancing beads are some of the best in the industry, and they’re made specifically for balancing tires.
This product comes in a large plastic bucket with a wide opening, which makes measuring easy and reduces the likelihood of the inevitable bead spill.
Magnum+ tire balancing beads are made entirely out of tempered glass. They’re non-magnetic, virtually unbreakable, and they don’t wear out—even after thousands of tough miles. These beads come in clear and orange to differentiate them from other substances easily.
One of the things that make Magnum+ tire balancing beads unique is their size. These beads are larger than many competitors, which is key to avoid clogging tire valve cores. Additionally, the tempered glass beads are dense, so you don’t need a whole lot to balance a tire.
Tempered glass is the perfect material for tire beads, as it doesn’t absorb moisture, and the weight doesn’t change over time. Additionally, they don’t corrode or decompose, and they’re environmentally safe.
2. E-Z Tire Ceramic Dynamic Balancing Beads
But there’s another material that’s even better than tempered glass for tire balancing: ceramic. The automotive industry is no stranger to ceramic, as this material is key for the production of asbestos-free brake pads and spark plugs.
Ceramic is non-conductive. Ceramic doesn’t rust, it never decomposes, it doesn’t absorb moisture, and it doesn’t poison the environment if a few beads fall out into the dirt. It’s also one of the hardest materials known to man—and the only one economical enough to sell as tire beads.
E-Z Tire ceramic dynamic balancing beads are some of the best and most affordable ceramic beads on the market. They come in a kit with four three-ounce bags, which is the perfect amount for balancing a set of car tires.
You can also feed them into the tires without removing the tire from the wheel, using the handy Schrader valve core removal tool. The kit also comes with a nozzle bottle for holding the beads and a hose for making the transfer into the tire clean and easy.
Just be sure to take off your wheels, and deflate your tire before removing the valve stem. Also, don’t let your car sit on a deflated tire when you’re adding the beads.
These beads are small, but they won’t clog your valves if used properly. Additionally, the easy application kit makes it easy to balance your tires at home without visiting an auto shop—no need for expensive balancing instruments or tire machines.
For the price, these beads are an excellent value. You don’t get as many as the bulk bead providers, but if you’re just balancing the tires on one car, you don’t need a big bucket of balancing beads. Plus, once you get new tires, you can reuse the beads and installation kit as many times as you want.
3. StainlessBeads Stainless Steel Tire Balancing Beads
There’s one tire balancing bead material that we haven’t covered yet, but it deserves attention. Stainless steel balancing beads, like those manufactured by StainlessBeads, are an excellent option, and they’re superior to lead or cheaper carbon steel beads.
Stainless beads are durable and dense and thus require fewer beads to get the job done. That’s because they’re made of iron-based metal, which is much heavier than glass or ceramic.
Stainless steel tire beads are a bit more costly than other materials, but they’re also denser, cleaner, and more durable. They aren’t magnetic, so they’re unaffected by metal road debris and won’t become magnetized.
Stainless steel won’t rust like carbon steel, and it’s pretty safe and non-toxic for humans and the environment. Just don’t let kids play around them, and sweep up well after adding them to your tire.
These beads are high-quality and designed to be used more than once. They’re also larger than standard balancing beads, which prevents them from clogging your tire valves.
These beads don’t come with an applicator kit. However, they do come with four filtered valve cores, which can prevent contaminants that are kicked off the inside of the tire from clogging your valves. Additionally, filtered cores keep gunk out of your tires when you fill them.
The final and most notable benefit of stainless steel tire beads is that they’re highly durable and impossible to crush. Additionally, they aren’t affected by static electricity, which can cause tire beads to cling to the inner walls of the tire or to each other.
4. Counteract KIT-D Motorcycle DIY Wheel Balancing Bead Kit
But what about motorcycles? Motorcycles need tire balancing, too—and the process is often overlooked by riders. But balancing your motorcycle tires is a big deal, and it can save you money on fuel and make the ride much more safe and comfortable.
Balancing your tires can also reduce tire wear and replacement intervals. And the Counteract KIT-D motorcycle balancing bead kit is an excellent choice. These glass beads come with everything you need to balance your motorcycle tires—and they never need replacing.
The kit includes a valve core removal tool, an injection bottle, and a hose for making their installation easier. Be sure to deflate your tire before removing the valve core, as you don’t want it flying across the room.
The Counteract KIT-D motorcycle balancing bead kit also includes two brand new valve cores because it’s always smart to replace valve cores regularly. Additionally, it includes valve caps, which protect the core and the valve from water, dirt, leaks, and wear.
For the price, there’s hardly a better or more economical way to balance your bike tires. And it’s easy, as you only need to do it once for the life of the tire. Glass beads are immune to corrosion, durable and environmentally safe as well.
About THE AUTHOR
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding