Installing a boost gauge allows you to monitor vacuum and compression levels of your turbo or supercharger. The majority will be able to measure up to 35 PSI of boost pressure but there are alternatives for those running more boost.
The best boost gauge is the AEM 30-4406, which is a standalone system with a pressure range of -30 inHG and 35 PSI.
Depending upon the type of gauge that you choose will determine the complexity of the installation. Mechanical gauges requires more involvement whereas the electronic alternative runs a vacuum line to a sensor for feedback.
Table of Contents
- Best Boost Gauge
- Boost Gauge Buying Guide
Best Boost Gauge
|AEM 30-4406||Digital||-30 inHG & 35 PSI|
|Auto Meter 4301 Ultra-Lite||Analog||-30 inHG & 20 PSI|
|Innovate Motorsports 3851 MTX||Digital||-29 inHG & 43.5 PSI|
|GlowShift Tinted 7 Color||Analog||-30 inHG & 30 PSI|
|Defi DF06501 Racer||Analog||-30 inHG & 30 PSI|
Whether you own a race, dirt or street car, installing a boost gauge can be highly beneficial. Not only do they look great but they ensure you monitor the performance of your turbo or supercharger.
Installing a turbo boost gauge can be achieved by using an air vent, side pillar or matching it up with a wideband gauge inside of a custom pod. Most of the gauges will come as a complete kit with all the wiring and mounting hardware included.
Below is a list of the best boost gauges that will accurately provide both vacuum and boost pressure in a digital or analog format.
AEM 30-4406 Digital Boost Gauge
By far the most popular boost gauge is the AEM 30-4406, which is a complete stand alone system. It requires no additional sensors or programs to operate the gauge and can be installed relatively easily.
AEM produce a range of gauges and are well-known for their superior build quality and accurate data feedback.
Other features of the AEM 30-4406 include:
- Gauge range of -30 inHG and 30 PSI
- 24 color-coded LED lights
- Integrated 3 digit digital display
- Standard 52 mm gauge housing
- Able to be remotely mounted
- Interchangeable silver and black bezels
- Interchangeable white and black face plates
The AEM 30-4406 is the best option that combines performance and value for money into a single package. Another benefit is that the digital display with the sweeping needle provides two boost readings that are easy to view.
AutoMeter 4301 Ultra-Lite Mechanical Boost Gauge
AutoMeter are another reputable brand and the 4301 Ultra-Lite is a cheap boost gauge that is easy to install. It uses mechanical components without the need of any electrical wiring to operate the gauge.
Included within the kit is a 1/8 inch nylon line, T-fitting, vacuum and compression fittings, bulb and socket assembly, mounting hardware and instructions.
Other features of the AutoMeter 4301 Ultra-Lite include:
- Incandescent lighting illuminates around the dial
- Compatible with all street or race cars
- Clear and easy to read
- Gauge range of -30 inHG and 20 PSI
- Made in the USA
- 1 year warranty
Overall, the AutoMeter 4301 is an excellent all-round boost gauge that provides reliable and accurate boost readings. Considering the low price tag, it offer great value for the money when you consider everything that is included within the kit.
Innovate Motorsports 3851 MTX Digital Boost Gauge
The Innovate Motorsports 3851 MTX is a premium digital boost gauge with a three digit output and sweeping radial display. It also has the ability to connect to your PC or smartphone via a MTS serial connection for data logging.
As this boost gauge is completely digital, you are able to display the output as HG/PSI or BAR depending upon your preference.
Other features of the Innovate Motorsports 3851 MTX include:
- -29 inHG and 43.5 PSI
- Over boost warning
- Progressive shift light
- Interchangeable face plate and bezel
- Includes all mounting hardware
Overall, it is the best digital boost gauge available that offers a range of unique features. If you require both vacuum/boost and RPM feedback from a gauge, the Innovate Motorsports 3851 MTX is by far the best option.
GlowShift Tinted Turbo Boost Gauge
Another popular boost gauge is the GlowShift kit, which includes a mechanical hose and T-fitting for the installation. As with any of the GlowShift gauges, there is multiple color option with this boost gauge having the choice of 7 different colors.
To ensure the installation goes smoothly, included is 6 feet of silicone hose, T-fittings, power wire harness, gauge visor and other hardware.
Other features of the GlowShift Turbo Boost Gauge include:
- Color change button and nighttime dimming
- Max boost level of 30 PSI
- Vacuum compression levels from -30 inHG
- All mounting hardware included
- Includes a 1 year warranty
The GlowShift Turbo Boost Gauge is one of the cheapest and most popular available with the best color customization. If you run boost over 30 PSI, the brand offer alternative models with max readings of up to 100 PSI.
Defi DF06501 Racer Turbocharger Boost Gauge
The Defi DF06501 is a premium option that displays vacuum pressure from -30 in HG and boost to a maximum of 30 PSI. It may look fairly basic but the Defi DF06501 is designed for superior accuracy and build quality.
For those that are into motor sports, you would have seen many Defi gauges installed inside of the cars due to their excellent reputation.
Other features of the Defi DF06501 Boost Gauge include:
- Black face color, blue backlight and red needle
- Gauge range of 30 inHG and 30 PSI
- Self diagnostic functionality
- Stepping motor for fast and smooth operation
- Includes all mounting hardware
- Does not require a control unit
- Includes a 1 year warranty
For those that compete in competitive racing, drifting or simply want a professional-grade gauge, the DF06501 is the best option. The Defi brand have an excellent reputation worldwide and this boost gauge will not disappoint.
Boost Gauge Buying Guide
Installing additional gauges such as a boost gauge is an easy way of improving your interior. They can be installed in the dashboard, side pillar, air vent as well as a range of custom placements. The purpose of the gauge is to indicate the amount of vacuum pressure and boost via an easy to read analog metric or digital display.
Depending upon your preferences, you have the choice of a mechanical or electronic boost gauge. The electronic alternative is more desirable and easier to install but the mechanical alternative is more reliable and provides an OEM look and feel.
To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding boost gauges.
Analog or Digital Display
Depending upon your preferences, you will have the choice of an analog or digital display, which outputs the pressure. Choosing a digital boost gauge will require an electronic setup but is worthwhile because it is easier to read.
However, many people will prefer the classic analogue display, which matches the OEM look and feel inside of the car.
Multiple Colors and Customization
Most boost gauges will come with the ability to adjust the LED color of the backlight and needle. To change the color, you can simply switch a dial at the front of the gauge. Some brands provide different color face plates that you can switch by removing the bezel.
If you want to take the customization further, you could use a car vinyl wrap on the housing to match the rest of the wrapped interior.
Installation of the Gauge
Installing a boost gauge is relatively simple if you have experience with vacuum lines. Depending upon whether you choose a mechanical or electronic boost gauge will determine the complexity of the installation inside of your vehicle.
The mechanical installation involves splitting the vacuum line, inserting a T-fitting and then placing the vacuum hose to the rear of the gauge.
Using an electronic boost gauge will have the vacuum line connected to a sensor, which then connects the sensor wire to the rear of the gauge. This prevents any damage to the vacuum line, which prevent any loss of pressure. However, it does mean that you will require a constant 12V power source.
There are many step-by-step guides that will assist you when fitting a gauge. You will want to avoid causing any damage to the vacuum lines as this can be time consuming to replace.
Ensuring that the gauge that you choose to connect with a supercharger or turbocharger is compatible is vital. The majority of boost gauges will have no issues but you may come into difficulty trying to mount the gauge.
Not every vehicle will have space in the side pillar, air vent or around the vehicle. The best option would be to build a custom pod with 52 mm cut outs (as shown below), which can be installed under or above the dashboard.
What are the Best Boost Gauge Brands?
There is a wide variety of gauges to choose from but we highly recommend purchasing those produced by reputable brands.
Some of the best boost gauge brands include:
- Innovate Motorsports
All of our recommendations are produced by reputable brands and will not disappoint when installed to your car.
The benefit of a turbo or supercharger is extra power but they also allow for a range of other accessories. These include anything from a blow off valve to a boost gauge such as the recommendations within this article.
All of the boost gauges listed within this article are suited to a range of budgets and include both mechanical and electronic models. We advise that you stick to reputable brands to avoid disappointment.