The best tubeless sealant is what makes road tubeless tyres work, it’s quite literally the glue that holds the system together. It’s also one of those things, like the best tubeless road tyres, that can suck up a lot of time with searching and testing to find what works best for you. There are options that are thinner, options that are thicker, some that are best for bigger holes, and some that last longer before needing a refresh. Tubeless is a system that is well worth figuring out.
Switching to a tubeless road setup is the gateway to a world where punctures are rare and the ride is more comfortable. Without the need for a tube, you can run lower pressures, which not only means a more comfortable ride, but better handling and lower rolling resistance too. It works hand in hand with the best tubeless sealant to help make sure you almost never experience a flat tyre. In the best situations, you might not even realise that anything happened, you’ll just keep rolling while the sealant does the work.
We’ve spent time comparing all the options against each other in a bid to find the best-sealing, longest-lasting, easiest to use tyre sealants on the market right now. So, if you’ve felt like diving in but don’t know where to get started, keep reading to see our picks. Or, maybe you are an old hand but like everyone else, you think maybe there’s a better option out there, take a look at our choices and see if they line up with yours.
Best tubeless sealant available today
Stan’s No Tubes is arguably the most recognisable name in the tubeless cycling market, it’s in the name after all. Stan’s was among the very first to produce a sealant specifically for cycling, and now offers two sealants, Original and Race. They are both based on the same base sealant solution with the Race offering twice the amount of sealing crystals to help fix larger holes (or smaller holes more quickly). The downside to the larger crystals is that it won’t work to inject it through the valve. When it’s time to add more sealant you’ll need to break the bead and pour in the sealant. Don’t worry though, both of the sealants work well with small holes, with the race sealant being more suited to gravel or off-road use.
Being the first to market and the most well-known has its own set of advantages. Most sealants don’t play well with others and if you sometimes have your wheels mounted at a shop, it’s almost guaranteed Stans is what they’ll use. If you use the same thing at home, you’ll never have to think about it.
One of the biggest advantages of Orange Seal is that it’s compatible with Stans formula in your tyres. That might seem like a backhanded compliment but given how popular Stans sealant is with shops it allows you to use something different and not worry about it.
While Stans does a great job of sealing holes it also tends to ball up in your tyre as it dries. Orange Seal also does a great job of handling punctures but it doesn’t ball up. Instead, it puts a coating on the inside of the tyre that actually protects against air leakage through the casing of thin tyres. For a lot of people that’s a great reason to make the choice of Orange Seal but then you’ve got to decide which version. There’s a regular and an endurance version but neither option is all that long lasting, according to the manufacturer. In our experience they do last far longer than those recommendations though and without a noticeable difference in performance between the two we tend to stick with the Endurance formula. The only thing of note about how long they last is that bottles can be difficult to get mixed after sitting for a while.
There are two different ways to talk about the Effetto Mariposa Caffelatex. As it comes out of the bottle, what makes it special is that it foams up and coats the inside of the tyre better than other sealants. As the tyre rotates this constant action of foaming keeps the sealant from sitting in one spot at the bottom of the tyre. The idea being that small punctures will seal faster and you’ll never have to stop. The obvious downside is that it only works with small punctures. This would be perfect for race day situations where the road is smooth and it’s unlikely you’ll encounter a large puncture. If you want to be able to handle larger punctures you also have the option of adding the Effetto Mariposa Vitamina CL sealant additive. You can mix in the amount you want and the stated puncture protection jumps to 8mm “or more.” The challenge being you can’t inject it through the valve and it’s expensive. The choice is yours in how you use it though. For gravel race day, you could load up with the additive and expect to have to clean it out later. No one else gives that kind of flexibility.
There’s one very easy claim to make about the Bontrager TLR sealant, it’s by far the bluest of the bunch. There is actually a point to that beyond differentiation of the older version and the newer version. If you’ve got a small leak the bright colour is easy to spot against a tyre. On the other hand, the bright blue can make a mess in the shop during installation, and after I sprayed an outside wall during a tyre explosion incident, you can still see the spot months later.
The blue faded but the glittery sand-like particles used to help seal punctures continue to catch the light. Aside from the installation discussion, Bontrager TLR is a very thin carrier fluid, even thinner than Orange Seal, with a good amount of solids in it. It’s not thick enough to chunk up and plug large holes but it does well with medium-sized holes where the thin carrier gets the particles to the spot in a hurry.
This isn’t the first time that Finish Line has come to market with a tubeless sealant. In 2018 the company claimed their sealant would last the life of the tyre then had to walk that claim back. While it won’t last forever, the updated formula retains the Kevlar particles that help it seal larger holes. The new formula thins out the viscosity with the addition of natural latex in what is both an acknowledgement that sealant doesn’t last forever but also to help get the Kevlar to the puncture in a hurry.
The claimed puncture protection is bigger than the others on this list and while claims are just that, a bigger claim is a good sign. The only challenge with the current product is the smaller bottle uses a squeeze format. It might be helpful in some situations but we’d suggest using an injector such as the Park Tool TSI-1 and the nature of the bottle makes that harder.
Muc-Off is one of the leaders in tubeless technology. Their rim tape is some of the best on the market and it’s not a surprise that their sealant is among the best as well. The biggest hole they expect the product to work with isn’t the largest but otherwise, the product loads up on features. The length of time before needing a top off is one of the longest and it’s visible under UV light for detecting hidden leaks.
One of the more unique claims though actually has to do with CO2. In most situations, the extremely low temperatures of CO2 will render your sealant unusable if used to refill a tyre. Muc-Off calling out CO2 compatibility is a unique feature in an already very good option. Like Finish Line Fiberlink though, the smaller bottles use a direct to tyre design that might be a hassle for some.
Silca is no stranger to making bold claims and sitting on the cutting edge of pretty much everything it does. Silca Ultimate Tubeless Sealant with Fiberfoam is no different and comes to market as a completely unique product. Sealants are a mix of a carrier liquid, plus some kind of dissolved solid to physically clog a puncture. Where Silca differs is that it uses recycled carbon fibre as the particle of choice. Thin particles in a blend of 6mm, 9mm, and 12mm are larger than what other brands use. That helps with better puncture sealing but it also means it’s impossible to use an injector through the valve stem. To combat this inherent hassle, Silca then offers a replenishment product that adds more carrier without carbon fibre particles. You can inject the carrier through the valve which leaves the biggest hassle to a once a year task and for those that ride a lot, it’s probably more like once per tyre.
The king of thin casing, ultra supple, tyre design has to be Rene Herse and given that, it’s no surprise to see the brand recommending Panaracer Seal Smart. Most sealant out there aims to be as liquid as possible to move quickly to a hole and serve up some kind of particle as a dam. One of the biggest points of differentiation in the Silca design is the idea of using a better particle. Panracer does use particles in that same way, walnut shells in this case, but it also has a much thicker liquid design. It’s better at stopping tiny leaks through the casing of supple tyres. The downside is yet another product that won’t travel through an injection system. You are going to have to break the bead on one side of the tyre and pour the Seal Smart in.
WTB goes into a fair bit of detail about how it hasn’t optimised its sealant for the coldest temperatures. That’s why we suggest it for winter riding, confused? It has to do with how the sealant works. We’ve discussed the particles quite a few times but the other half of the system is all about the liquid carrier evaporating and leaving latex, either synthetic or natural, behind. When it’s cold and wet that evaporation is slower if it happens at all.
Instead of making its sealant work with temperatures that no one is riding in, WTB used more synthetic latex and fewer thinning agents. That means less evaporation is necessary in the temperature ranges people actually ride in. If you’ve got epic winter rides planned for rainy days above freezing this is a great choice. In practice what all this means is a thick sealant. You’ll want to make sure your valves aren’t too small on the wheel side. Some valves narrow as they open into the wheel, others don’t.
How to choose the best tubeless sealant for you
How often do you need to add more tubeless tyre sealant?
Some brands list their expectations for sealant life and there are a few that don’t even do that. Finish Line has a statement on the bottle that says “Tire porosity varies greatly from tire to tire. Porosity and climate affect sealant longevity. Refresh as needed.” In some ways that’s a sidestep to avoid consumers blaming the brand for a different experience than what’s stated, it does hold some truth though. Different tyres, different climates, and different riding will mean different experiences. If you are looking for a blanket rule, checking once a month is a good idea but we’ve experienced far longer than that in most situations. If you ride a lot, it’s probable that you’ll need to replace the tyre before the sealant.
How do you check tubeless tyre sealant?
You could use an injector and suck out whatever you can get then make a decision that way. You could also use something small and thin as a dipstick. The way we tend to do it though is to take the path of least resistance. Turn the tyre so that the valve is at the bottom and let it sit for 10 minutes or so. Deflate the tyre and remove the valve core then push it flat against the ground. You should get a bit of sealant leaking out of the valve. If not, it’s time to add sealant.
How much tubeless tyre sealant do you need to use?
If you feel like squeezing the tyre against the floor and checking for sealant to come out isn’t exactly accurate, there’s a reason for that. The right amount of sealant isn’t an exact science. Although Finish Line, again, has recommendations on its bottle, Effetto Mariposa actually goes into the most detail.
The idea is to balance enough sealant that it gets to a puncture when it needs to but not so much that you carry excess weight. Bigger tyres need more sealant and you can check the detailed table that Effetto Mariposa lays out to get an idea. It is worth noting though that other brands tend to recommend higher quantities. The general rule of thumb is 60ml for road tyres under 30mm and more as you go up in size.
Can different brands of tubeless tyre sealant be mixed in the tyre?
The simple answer is no but there is a long answer also. We’ve had a lot of experience mixing Stans and Orange Seal and it worked out fine. That’s only our anecdotal experience though.
Those two brands happen to be pretty widespread and people have done it then reported back. Other brands may mix just fine as well but no brands are testing others then recommending you mix the two. There’s no incentive to do that and really, the incentive is the opposite. So, we can’t tell you that in every case it won’t work but there’s no data and every brand recommends not mixing. It’s best practice not to do it.
How do we test tubeless sealant?
The best tubeless tyre sealant is a lot like the best tubeless road tyres in that no two situations are the same and it’s incredibly hard to draw any concrete conclusions. There have been times when we’ve gone an entire season without getting a single flat and there have been times when every ride has meant a new flat tyre.
Even testing in a stand is fraught with challenges as it’s an ideal situation and these sealants will do a good job under an ideal scenario. As is the case with claims of aerodynamic efficiency or head injury prevention, we’ve got to accept a certain amount of faith in the claims of the manufacturer. Still, there’s more to the best tubeless tyre sealant than the ability to stop a puncture. Good quality tyres that are in good shape will do an incredible job of stopping punctures. Beyond just stopping punctures, a good sealant has to be easy to use and easy to live with. We’ve put together a list of the best options pulled from our experience that not only do a good job of stopping leaks but also have a unique selling point. Something that makes them perfectly tailored to a specific type of rider. Everything here is a good choice, look for what matches your needs.