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A Guide to Boost Gauges: Everything You Need to Know

A Guide to Boost Gauges: Everything You Need to Know

If your vehicle is equipped with a turbo or supercharger to boost your engine’s performance and efficiency, then you must get a boost gauge. These accessories monitor the pressure going into your combustion chamber. Superchargers and turbochargers require just the right amount of pressure to perform ideally, as low pressure will make them inefficient, whereas high pressure can destroy the engine. Boost gauges are aftermarket accessories that come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. But before I get into the different types, let’s discuss the advantages.

Advantages of Boost Gauges

Improve Safety

Improve Safety
Source: thedrive.com

As aforementioned, too much pressure can blow your engine up. Boots gauges allow you to easily measure turbo intake pressure while driving, and make sure the engine gets the right amount of boost from it.

Boost Performance

Boost gauges allow you to keep track of the compression and pressure levels, allowing you to fine-tune and enhance your engine’s overall performance.

Better Looks

Of course, going into a car with a boost gauge will turn heads and throw questions your way. The device is mounted on the air vent, dash, or any other place you see fit. Most gauges look elegant and improve the interior of your car.

Types of Gauges

Mechanical Gauges

Mechanical gauges are the simpler type, and they’re very easy to install and use. They operate on most vehicles and are very reliable, as there are few electrical things that can go wrong. Mechanical gauges measure the pressure directly, which is why they’re usually more accurate than digital gauges. The retro design makes them ideal for old-school vehicles. Lastly, they’re more affordable than digital gauges.

Digital Gauges

Digital Gauges
Source: youtube.com

As you can guess, these gauges electronically monitor the pressure and applied the boost of the supercharger or turbocharger. Then, they send the information to the display of the gauge. That being said, they’re considered less accurate than mechanical gauges. However, they’re more comfortable to operate and provide a modern design that fits just in with newer vehicles. More often than not, these gauges can be quite pricey and they’ll require a professional electric mechanic for installation.

Key Features to Look for


The most important thing to keep in mind when shopping for a gauge is compatibility. If the gauge is not compatible with your model and make, it’s of no use. This is even more important for electrical gauges, as they require an electronic setup, which they won’t work without. Additionally, make sure you have the physical space inside your cabin to mount the gauge. 52mm boost gauges are the most common size, but there are other sizes available as well.


Gauges are priced differently based on whether they’re mechanical or digital, plus the brand that sells them. I personally categorise them as gauges under $50, and gauges over $50. Those under $50 are typically mechanical, and if they’re digital, they come with only the most basic functions. Those above $50, on the other and, come equipped with many different features, such as colourful LED displays.

Popular Models

RaceTech EVO Digital Boost Gauge

aceTech EVO Digital Boost Gauge
Source: autometer.com

Manufactured to the highest quality, tested and tried in Australia to suit harsh conditions. It features a 270° dial sweep and digital number readout for easy reading of engine performance. With the help of this gauge, you can install modifications and see how they impact performance, giving you an idea of how to fine-tune your vehicle for peak performance. They’re 52mm boost gauges that are covered with a 12-month warranty.

GlowShift Boost Gauge

This gauge is capable of reading the boost levels from 0-30 PSI, making it ideal for keeping the engine at the right level and preventing potential damage. It looks great, and you can choose between 7 colours. The GlowShift comes with a LED lighting system and a lit-up red needle for extra visibility. You can easily read the display, no matter the conditions. GlowShift offers free lifetime technical support, so you can rest assured you’ll have help should you run into any problems, which is unlikely in the first place.

Bosch Mechanical Gauge

Bosch is one of the leading manufacturers of automotive tools and devices. The bosch mechanical gauge can measure from 0-20 PSI boost with a vacuum scale of 270° sweep for quick pressure monitoring. It ensures reliable measurements, and is useable in all types of vehicles. It has a standard black dial and white calibration, a red needle and internal backlights to provide ideal visibility. It comes packed in a simple, yet elegant design, making it suitable for all types of vehicles. Additionally, the gauge is easy to install and very durable. Last but not least, it comes at a great price, so it can be afforded by all.

One of the downsides to mechanical gauges like the one from Bosch is that they may create some noise when measuring big boosts. Moreover, the included tubing is stiff, and it doesn’t come with the needed tee fitting for a complete installation, so you’ll need to buy it separately.

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