The best tubeless tyre sealants will make tyre installation easier and can plug punctures and cuts in your tyres before you even realise you’ve got them. But which are the best recipes for high impact mountain bike trails, thorny gravel tracks or the high-pressure world of road riding?
We’ve tested a whole load of sealing liquids to see which works best, where and which aren’t worth bothering with at all. Don't know where to start when looking for tubeless sealant?
For everything you need to know, check out our guide below:
Muc-Off’s signature pink sealant is on the pricey side but it’s worth the investment as it works brilliantly in any situation. Both cost and performance are less surprising when you find out they’ve been trying various recipes for six years with every tyre brand and riding style around and they even built an oven for testing mixes in different temperatures.
The result is a great blend of fast-reacting mobility, so it’s worked great for road commuting and even on big sidewall splits on off-road bikes. We even had a fractured and bulged carbon MTB rim seal so fast we rode it home without even needing to top up the pressure.
The sealant also shines under a UV light (you get a UV torch with the £10.99 sealant kit and bigger 1l and 5l bottles) to help you spot holes that you didn’t notice at the time but may want to plug for longer-term security. It also shows up micro leaks in porous ‘tubeless ready’ sidewalls so you know where to apply further sealant. It lasts a long time in all weather conditions without forming boogers, it’s fine with CO2 inflation and it even smells pretty nice.
If this was a tyre sealant test for motorcyclists, farmers, HGV drivers or earthmover specialists OKO would be the most recognised name here but it’s not even on the radar for most bike riders. We even know some riders who use their tractor mix diluted down for their bikes because they didn’t know there were bike-specific versions. That’s a bit rude considering the UK firm was one of the pioneers of liquid tyres sealants for heavy-duty vehicles back in the 70s. Even at the full retail price, its Magic Milk sealant is half the price of some better-known brands but with distributor Planet-X regularly discounting massively (it was 60 per cent off at the time of typing) it’s often even more of a bargain.
Low-cost doesn’t mean low performance either. The standard Magic Milk formula is a synthetic ammonia-free, non-allergic latex mix that’s great for coating porous tyres and fast fixing small to medium-sized holes. It’s happy with a wide range of temperatures and while it coats tyres well it doesn’t ‘booger up’ either, so you just need to top up after a few months. As the name suggests Magic Milk Hi-Fibre is loaded with micro fibres for a faster seal of bigger holes and it’s the same price as the normal mixture so MTBers aren’t paying a premium.
Dubbed by many testers as the 'white gold' of tyre sealants, Squirt's SEAL tyre mixture is fast-becoming the go-to remedy for mountain bikers all over the world - especially those who traverse the hostile and often unforgiving trails of marathon stage racing and need fast-acting puncture protection.
Squirt's SEAL sealant is not limited to mountain bike use exclusively but can also be used for road and gravel tyres, too. Furthermore, the sealant is compatible with both tubed and tubeless applications, and fosters effective puncture-sealing properties.
Available in three bottle sizes - 150ml, 1l and 5l - Squirt caters for all disciplines as well as ensures each of its products is green and safe for the environment. That said, this particular sealant boasts minimal to zero bioaccumulation.
Stan’s No Tubes can be credited with getting the whole tubeless setup ball rolling with its cunning conversion kits at a time when most tubeless tyre and rim systems were a heavy, numb-riding headache. You can still get its original latex-based sealant too, and if you’re only looking to coat a tyre to seal it and heal small holes fast - e.g. on the road - then the lightweight mix performs well. It’s also cheaper (£26 for 946ml) and comes in smaller sized bottles as well. The Race mix contains bigger crystals in the same base mixture and works significantly better to plug the bigger holes and splits that come with rough off-road play.
Either mix is tolerant of a wide temperature range and you’ll normally be more than halfway through the year before it starts to form ‘Stanimal’ clumps. It’s not so happy when used with C02 cartridges though and it smells a bit acrid, too.
Effetto Mariposa takes a suitably Italian approach to solving punctures with its Caffelatex sealant. Not only does it have a light coffee coloured tinge but the very fluid, lightweight mix starts to foam when forced through holes, creating a distinctive ‘crema’ as it seals. Not only is this entertaining in a slightly rabid way, but it also seals small to intermediate holes really rapidly and holds high pressures fairly reliably afterwards. Add a reasonable lifespan and decent value pricing in the larger bottles and that makes it great for road use. The basic mix struggles to plug bigger holes and hold them shut once you start thumping about post puncture though, so Effetto makes a ‘Vitamina CL’ additive supplement for plugging bigger holes more effectively. At £20 for 200ml that bumps up the price significantly though.
Released in conjunction with the tubeless tyre of the same name, Specialized’s RapidAir sealant is specifically designed to work very quickly at higher pressures. We’ve only been using it for a few months but we’ve run through a lot of thorns and other debris without suffering significant pressure loss. It’s cleared for CO2 use and temps from -20 to +70-degrees too.
The lightweight mix is road specific though, only claiming a 3mm max hole fill. It currently only comes in 60ml bottles too and with a 2-4 month lifespan depending on the environment that makes it hyper-expensive to use long term.
Japanese tyre company Panaracer has taken a while to get into the sealant business but its 2019 introduction was completely nuts. Okay, not completely nuts as the main carrier liquid is a natural latex rubber, but the gritty, hole-blocking ingredient is crushed walnut shells. That makes it the most natural sealant available and - presuming you don’t have a nut allergy - it’s one of the kindest mixes for skin and bike if it gets spilt. It works pretty well too, clogging small to medium-sized holes quickly and holding pressure well afterwards once the walnuts are wadded together. With a bit of help tapping the tyre round to flood the area, it’ll handle proper big holes and sizeable slashes
It only comes in half litre sizes though and that natural recipe comes at a high cost compared to more established brands with similar performance.
Hutchinson was one of the pioneers of tubeless and tubeless-ready tyres and was into the sealant game early too. It’s a very fluid, lightweight mix designed to coat porous tubeless-ready tyres fast and it’s slippery enough to help installation too. That all makes it good for road and gravel/cyclo-cross use, especially as it’s really well priced for a shop supplied - rather than direct buy - product. Where it struggles is plugging and holding larger holes and slashes reliably, so you’re going to need to add some DIY bits or another thicker, latex-based sealant if you want it to handle more traumatic environments.
Another early adopter of TubeLess Ready (TLR) tyre tech, Bontrager’s lightweight milk is also typical of early generation mixes. The rise of tubeless road tyres has given it a second lease of life as it rushes to small holes and rips quickly and generally seals them well. It also coats tyres well and eases installation which is particularly useful if you’re using Bontrager’s super tight rims and tyres. It stays mobile at a wide range of temperatures for a long time too, and it’s ammonia-free so it’s relatively skin/paint/metal friendly. The sealant represents decent value compared to its rivals, although it only comes in a quart bottle.
If you want it to cope with more gaping damage, you’re going to need some glitter or something similar mixed into the recipe and Bontrager’s recommended dosages (EG 60ml for a 29er) are definitely on the low side for longterm, multiple puncture protection
If you tend to get small holes that need fixing fast before you lose a lot of pressure then you’re probably a roadie and Vittoria’s Pit Stop TNT (or the EVO version) is worth a glance. It’s a very liquid mix so it swills around the tyre easily, helping with mounting, sealing porous carcasses and getting to any holes fast.
The latex mix seals very quickly too, so there’s minimal pressure lost or spray on your frame and it generally stays plugged reliably afterwards. It’s not as effective at plugging larger holes and slashes/knob tears though, so it’s less suitable for aggressive off-road users. It’s also more expensive than more consistent, versatile mixes like original Stan’s, and while the double-headed dispenser bottle arrangement looks ingenious it's more awkward to use in practice than a separate scoop.
Orange Seal is the second most expensive mixture here but it’s got few equals when it comes to plugging big holes fast. We’ve had good results watching the mixture seal holes a couple of mm bigger than their claimed 6mm limit without losing much pressure, and it coats porous lightweight tyres really well too.
You’ll still be lucky if it lives up to its 19mm slash sealing claims but the ‘nanite’ (we presume these aren’t bits of shredded nan) enriched mixture deals with partially torn knob gaps and more normal trailside - rather than sword-fighting sized - slashes well. The latex-based mix is also reasonably temperature tolerant unless you’re going ice biking. The downside is that it degrades really really quickly (4-6 weeks is the Orange Seal advised top-up time) and at £40 a litre that makes it extremely expensive to use, even if you go for the discounted refill packs (£20.99 for 473ml).
While the Endurance version doubles the lifespan it’s not nearly as good at sealing medium to large holes. Even when it does plug bigger gaps, it struggles to hold higher pressures too before blowing out. It’s still useful as a road/gravel tyre mix, particularly with a porous ‘tubeless ready’ tyre that needs a good base coat of sealant.
Best tubeless tyre sealants: What is sealant?
Sealant is designed to do exactly what it says on the bottle. Seal small holes in your tyres to stop the air escaping. The base liquid is generally water based (glycol or propylene) with added cellulose thickeners or a latex derived mixture. These stay liquid in the tyre so they can swill round to the puncture site easily but solidify when they’re forced through a small hole under pressure. The exact composition of the sealant defines how liquid it is and how it reacts when it gets to the puncture in terms of sealing speed and size of hole it can plug.
For example, Specialized’s RapidAir is designed for sealing small holes very quickly in a road riding scenario while Orange Seal’s Endurance blend is slower moving but can block bigger holes, making it more suitable for MTB use.
Best tubeless tyre sealants: Smooth or ‘bitty’?
While the base liquid mix makes a difference most sealants also include extra ‘bits’ in them to help plug the hole faster. Depending on the brand these can be given all kinds of fancy names including; particulate, additives, crystals, polymers, fibres etc, but as a general rule the bigger the bits, the bigger the hole the sealant can plug. More liquid sealants can get to the hole faster though so if you’ve not got much air to spare in a road tyre a more liquid mix might be better.
Best tubeless tyre sealants: Shake it to wake it
You’ll only get the intended mixture of bits and liquid in your tyres if you make sure you shake the bottle really well before loading up the tyre. Otherwise the contents will settle in storage and the first tyres you fill from a big bottle will only have largely useless liquid in it. That means you’ll be left with a load of sludge in the base of the bottle, not in your tyres where it needs to be
Best tubeless tyre sealants: How much should you use?
As tubeless sealant seems expensive and you’re adding weight to your bike it’s tempting not to put much in. You need to remember that you’re effectively replacing an inner tube that can weigh from 100g (road) to 250g (large MTB) and cost from £3 - £12 depending how shrewd your shopping is, so you’re generally still winning on weight and cost with tubeless. The bottom line is that the more sealant there is in the tyre the more there is to plug multiple holes or keep trying to plug one big one. While different manufacturers suggest different amounts we find a relatively simple formula based on twice the ml of sealant to the mm width of the tyre (EG 50ml in 25mm tyre, 80ml in a 40mm tyre 120mm in a 60mm/2.4in tyre) is enough to coat the tyre and leave some left for plugging holes. If you know you’re heading into cactus country or broken glass backroads on a regular basis, use more. Also, larger diameter tyres will obviously need more than smaller tyres.
Best tubeless tyre sealants: Boogers, Stanimals, CO2 and general maintenance
More recent mixes tend to stay in solution better inside your tyres and sealants will always work and last better in regularly used setups than ones left to stand. However, some recipes (particularly older, simpler ones) can coagulate and lump together in ‘boogers’ or ‘Stanimals,’ making the mix much less effective at sealing holes. Really big lumps can even be felt in the rotation of lightweight tyres.
Different brands also quote wide-ranging lifespans for their tyres from OKO’s optimistic ‘lifetime’ to Orange Seal’s butterfly-style 'month and a bit'. Extremes of temperature can affect different mixes too so it’s worth checking if you’re heading to the Arctic or Arabia. Be careful using CO2 cartridges with some mixes as the freezing temps of the released gas can kill the mix.
That means while it’s a pain, unseating tyres to check the state of your mix is definitely a good idea if you want your tubeless set up to work the way it should.
Best tubeless tyre sealants: Don’t buys and DIY
While we’ve listed different sealants in our puncture beating round-up we actually used several more in our hunt for the best. In the case of Schwalbe’s Doc Blue, it’s basically the same as Stan’s original No Tubes sealant (it’s made by Stan’s) but more expensive. Continental’s RevoSealant is very liquid so works okay for road tyres, but struggles with bigger holes and is expensive. The two we’d actively avoid are Finish Line and Peaty’s which are too thick to react to road tyre punctures before total deflation and aren’t even very good at plugging medium to large holes.
You need to remember that if you can’t find your favourite, any of these recipes can be altered to suit your needs. Thick liquids can be diluted with more latex or a lighter solution, and thin ones can be bulked up with a thicker brand or DIY additives like glitter. Be sure to mix latex-based sealants with latex and water-based sealants with water though or they won’t work well together.
Finally, lots of riders make their own home-brew sealants from latex and glitter (art and craft shops sell both) and we even have one mate who waters down OKO tractor tyre sealant for epic rides on plus tyres. For the record, another mate who tried the organic approach never had much luck with eggs or milk-based sealants and it’s surprising how soon they start to really stink!