Installing a boost gauge allows you to monitor vacuum and compression levels of your turbo or supercharger. The majority are able to measure up to 35 PSI of boost pressure but there are alternatives for those running even 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 require more involvement whereas the electronic alternative runs a vacuum line to a sensor for instant feedback.
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Boost Gauge Comparison
|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|
|Bosch Style Line||Analog||-30 inHG & 20 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 allow you to monitor the performance of your turbo or supercharger to ensure that its running correctly.
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 come as a complete kit that includes all the wiring and mounting hardware.
Below is a list of the best boost gauges that accurately provide both vacuum and boost pressures in a digital or analog format.
The Best Boost Gauge
1. AEM 30-4406 Digital Boost Gauge
By far the most popular boost gauge is the AEM 30-4406, which is a complete standalone system. It requires no additional sensors or programs to operate the gauge and can be installed relatively easily to most setups. The AEM brand are well-known for their superior build quality and accurate data feedback and this boost gauge follows that great reputation.
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 great benefit is that the digital display with the sweeping needle provides two boost readings that are easy to view.
2. AutoMeter 4301 Ultra-Lite Mechanical Boost Gauge
AutoMeter are another reputable brand that produce a range of gauges and their 4301 Ultra-Lite model is one of their most popular. It uses mechanical components without the need of any electrical wiring to operate the gauge and is one of the easiest to install.
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
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’s included within the kit.
3. 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 features the desirable 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’s the best digital boost gauge on the market 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.
4. 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 options available and this particular boost gauge has the choice of 7 different colors.
To ensure the installation goes smoothly, included is 6 feet of silicone hose, T-fittings, a 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 that also offer the best color customization. If you run boost over 30 PSI, the brand offer alternative models with max readings of up to 100 PSI.
5. 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 superior performance.
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 around the world and this boost gauge won’t disappoint.
6. Bosch Mechanical Boost Gauge
Another popular option that’s perfect for those that are on a tight budget is the mechanical option by Bosch. It comes as a complete kit that includes a 2 inch black dial face, 72 inch tubing and all of the mounting hardware and fittings.
This particular model known as the Style Line is designed to provide a clean, easy to read look and feel. However, the brand also offer a number of alternative styles to best suit your requirements.
Other features of the Bosch Style Line Mechanical Gauge include:
- 270 degree sweep
- Gauge range of 30 inHG and 20 PSI
- 12V internal back lighting
- Black dial and bezel
- Bright pointer for easier readings
Although it’s one of the cheapest, it’s built by the reputable Bosch brand and includes all the hardware required to install it. There is also a great range of styles to choose from but the Style Line is the best option for the clean OEM look.Check it Out
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 to output the pressure. Choosing a digital boost gauge requires an electronic setup but is worthwhile because it’s easier to read in most cases. However, many people prefer the classic analogue display, which matches the OEM look and feel inside of the car.
Multiple Colors and Customization
Most boost gauges 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, which 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. 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 whilst 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 is compatible with your supercharger or turbocharger 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. Therefore, 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 won’t 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 our recommendations are suited to a range of budgets and include both mechanical and electronic models.