If you’re a car enthusiast, then you’re aware of how important the right instruments are in your car. When I speak of the right instruments, what I’m referring to are the gauges that track the performance of the engine and all its mechanical components. Now, although your former OE gauges do a remarkable job, there are instances when the best aftermarket car gauges come in handy.
The first case is when you’re planning to replace your vogue or inoperative gauges with something young and more accurate. The second case is when you’re performing a complete overhaul of your car’s interior then you realize you need an aftermarket gauge that matches the new design.
So, whether it’s for performance or aesthetics, the world of aftermarket gauges has lots of incredible options lined up for you. With that said, this lengthy discussion will detail ten of the best aftermarket gauges that are available in the market. We’ll also discuss some factors you need to consider when choosing these gauges then finalize by answering some pressing questions you might have regarding aftermarket gauges. So, if you’re ready, let’s begin.
Best Aftermarket Car Gauges: Editor’s Top Picks
Top 10 Best Aftermarket Car Gauges Reviews:
1. Innovate Motorsports Air/Fuel Ratio Gauge Kit
- Measures: Fuel/Air ratio & Pressure Range (-29 inHG to 43.5 PSI)
- Type: Digital
- Material: Plastic
Are you looking for an advanced standalone booster controller that will never disappoint you? Well, the Innovate Motorsports Air/Fuel Ratio Gauge is an excellent pick you might need to check out. Considered the best for high-performance vehicles, this gauge is designed to alert drivers when over-boosting. It also keeps the engine running at optimal levels to prevent any severe damages when driving.
About the performance, the SCG-1 is designed to measure high boost levels up to a maximum of 43.5 PSI. It also takes vacuum readings from as low as -29 inHG and gearshifts up to 20460 RPM. But, other than recording boost and vacuum readings, the SCG-1 is an excellent gauge that displays an accurate fuel/air ratio when the car is moving.
To accomplish this, this gauge uses its highly accurate sensor to monitor the exhaust’s composition when driving. As a digital gauge, the SCG-1 is equipped with a bright OLED display that offers you a crisp view of the readings in low light conditions. Construction is also on the premium side as this gauge is housed under a solid water-resistant casing to boost longevity.
- This gauge works with both diesel and gas fuels
- Has an OLED display for improved visibility
- Housed under a water-resistant casing for added durability
- The oxygen sensor is very accurate when taking readings
- Shift lights notify you when over boosting
2. Auto Meter 4379 Ultra-Lite Wide Band Air Fuel Ratio Kit
- Diameter: 2.3125 Inches
- Type: Digital
- Measures: Air/Fuel Ratio
If you’re into motorsports, then there are several reasons why you’ll need to add the Auto Meter 4379 Air Fuel Ratio Kit to your wish list. One of those features is, of course, the uncompromised accuracy that’s offered by this gauge. With the aid of the .1 AFR Resolution Bosch LSU4.2 Sensor, this gauge is capable of tracking the air/fuel ratio without giving wrong data.
Other than the accuracy, the Auto Meter 4379 is housed under a solid stainless steel casing to protect it from any possible damage. Since the gauge is designed for high-performance racing vehicles, the digital display has a bright LED-backlit that gives you a clear view of the readings. In fact, Auto Meter has increased the size of the gauge to 2.3125 inches to improve visibility.
When it comes to compatibility, the Auto Meter 4379 is designed for gas-powered engines only. It’s compatible with a 12V and 16V power system making it an excellent option for most street cars. Installation is fast and easy as the package comes with all the required mounting hardware alongside a detailed manual.
- Has a clear LED radial bar graph display
- Large diameter makes the readings visible
- Stainless steel housing boosts longevity
- Compatible with 12-16V DC
- Designed for gasoline-powered engines
3. AEM 30-4407 0-150 PSI Oil Pressure Gauge
- Pressure Range: 0-150 PSI
- Type: Digital
- Display: LED with 24-Color Coding
If a high-end air/fuel ratio gauge is what you’re searching for, then the AEM 30-4407 Boost Gauge is what we’d like to recommend to you. You see, an air/fuel gauge is a crucial instrument that monitors the ratio of air in relation to fuel for optimal engine combustion. In case there’s an issue with the fuel/air ratio, then it means combustion will be inefficient something that can cause premature wear to the engine.
And since the engine requires optimal operating conditions, this gauge is equipped with accurate sensors that measure the pressure ranging from 0-150 PSI. The AEM 30-4407 Boost Gauge is a digital gauge with an integrated three-digit display to accurately reveal the pressure range in real-time. In case you’re driving in low-light conditions, this gauge uses its 24-color coded lights to make the readings visible.
Just like most of the aftermarket gauges we’ve discussed, the AEM 30-4407 Boost Gauge is designed to fit on a standard 52mm gauge socket making it the best for most vehicles. The gauge comes with interchangeable silver and black bezels and two black and white faceplates to personalize the looks. This gauge comes with a 0-5V analog output and a 4.9 LSU sensor to make it highly compatible with a wide range of engines.
- Offers an excellent pressure range of 0-150 PSI
- The data logger and 0-5V analog output makes this gauge compatible with most engines
- Suitable for both new and experienced drivers
- Has interchangeable faceplates and bezels for easy customization
- Consumes less energy
4. Equus 8200 Triple Gauge Kit
- Measures: Oil Pressure, Water Temperature & Battery Voltage
- Power: 12 Volts
The Equus 8200 Triple Gauge Kit is very different from what we’ve discussed earlier. While most gauges come with single dials, this one comes as a set consisting of three key instruments that include the oil gauge, water temperature gauge, and battery voltage gauge. The voltmeter gauge measures battery voltage from 8-18 volts with a sweep of 90° while the oil gauge measures oil pressure from 0-100 PSI with a sweep of 270°.
The water temperature gauge, on the other hand, measures engine temperature from 130-280°F with a sweep of 270°. Other than being accurate, the Equus 8200 Triple Gauge Kit is equipped with a very bright backlit that provides improved visibility when driving at night. The dials glow with different shades of Blue, Red, Green, and Yellow colors depending on your demands.
About the construction, the bezels of this triple gauge kit are made from lightweight aluminum to reduce weight and improve durability. Installation is quite easy thanks to the twist-on ring mount, dash mount, and a couple of other installation hardware.
- Comes with the required installation hardware
- Fits a wide range of vehicles
- There are four different colored backlights to pick from
- Comes as a kit consisting of three instruments
- The aluminum bezels have a classic look
5. AUTO METER 2397 Oil/Volt/Water Gauge
- Measures: Oil Pressure, Water Temperature & Battery Voltage
- Diameter: 2.3125-Inches
If you’re looking for a mechanical gauge that will take your NASCAR racing experience to the next level, then the AUTO METER 2397 Autogage is exactly what you need. Similar to our previous Equus 8200 Triple Gauge Kit, the AUTO METER 2397 Autogage comes as a kit consisting of three key instruments namely the oil pressure gauge, water temperature gauge, and battery voltage gauge.
As one of the best aftermarket gauges, the AUTO METER 2397 Autogage is hailed for being accurate as compared to most stock gauges. The design is on the higher end as AUTO METER has used a black polished bezel to make the gauges attractive. The gauges are designed to measure oil temperature at a range of 0-100 PSI, water temperature at 130-280°F, and battery voltage at 10-16 volts.
When it comes to visibility, this triple gauge kit is equipped with black faceplates that offer a dark background. The needle and the calibrations are colored white to provide improved visibility during the day. At night, these gauges use LED lighting technology to illuminate the dials making it much easier for you to view the readings. This triple gauge kit comes with all the necessary mounting hardware that consists of 1/8” NPT fittings, 2 x 6ft nylon tubing for oil and water, ¼ “ NPT bushing, and 3/8”/1/2 “ NPT adapter fitting.
- The package includes mounting hardware
- Provides accurate readings of oil pressure, water temperature, and voltage
- The housing consists of a stylish black housing
- The gauges are perfectly lit for improved visibility
- The gauge fits in most standard openings
6. AEM 30-4402 Oil/Transmission/Water Temperature Gauge
- Temperature Range: 100-300°F
- Display: Digital
Whether you’re replacing a faulty temperature gauge or just performing an overhaul of your car’s interior, the AEM 30-4402 Oil/Water Temperature Gauge is an excellent alternative you can’t miss picking. Designed to measure oil and water temperature, this gauge is integrated with very powerful sensors that allow it to give highly accurate readings of oil temperature.
When it comes to the aesthetic side, this gauge comes with interchangeable silver and black bezels that allow you to customize your car. The inside of the dial is fitted with black and white faceplates that match virtually any color of your car’s interior.
Other than that, the AEM 30-4402 Oil/Water Temperature Gauge is housed in a standard 52mm housing that fits most stock gauge pods. To improve visibility, AEM has added an integrated three-digit display alongside an LED-backlit to improve visibility in low light conditions. Designed with a wide temperature range of 100-300°F, the AEM 30-4402 Oil/Water Temperature Gauge is one of the best automotive gauges you can’t miss installing.
- The package includes a complete installation kit
- It can be mounted virtually anywhere
- LED-backlit offer improved visibility
- Interchangeable bezels and faceplates allow you to personalize the gauge
- Has a high-temperature range.
7. Nitrous Express 15508 Nitrous Pressure Gauge
- Pressure Range: 0-1,500 PSI
- Type: Mechanical
- Size: 1.625-Inches
The Nitrous Express 15508 Pressure Gauge has managed to stand out from the crowd thanks to its flashy design. Unlike most of the instruments we’ve discussed, this one comes with a colored face that forms the background of the dial to keep the gauge looking classy. The numbers and the pointer are black making it quite easier to view the readings.
About the performance, the Nitrous Express 15508 Pressure Gauge is designed to give highly accurate readings of nitrous pressure. It has an accurate sensor and a wide pressure range that extends from 0-1,500 PSI.
Now, one of the notable traits of this gauge is the bargain-basement price that makes it the least expensive. Perhaps the reason why it’s affordable is the fact that it comes as a single piece without any add-ons. What this means is that buyers will have to spend some extra bucks to procure mounting hardware, which sometimes can be a challenge when it comes to compatibility. But, other than that, the Nitrous Express 15508 Pressure Gauge is an excellent pick that offers great value for your money.
- Small size allows this gauge to consume less space
- Has a high-pressure range of 0-1,500 PSI
- Highly affordable
- Offers uncompromised accuracy
- The dial has a flashy design
8. Equus 8264 Oil Pressure Gauge
- Material: Aluminum
- Pressure Range: 0-100 PSI
- Type: Electrical
The Equus 8264 Electric Oil Pressure Gauge is a perfect example of an instrument that works with great efficiency. As an electrical gauge, this instrument takes a much simpler approach that makes it a convenient choice among most motorists. First, this gauge doesn’t have LED backlights to illuminate the dial.
Instead, it’s equipped with an incandescent bulb that rests behind the gauge face to illuminate the pointer and the numberings. In case you’re not interested in the warm color of the bare bulb, then you’re free to add any of the colored sole nods to give the dial a customized backlight color. About the performance, the Equus 8264 Gauge is designed to read oil pressure at a range of 0-100 PSI with a sweep of 90°.
Being an electric gauge, Equus has polished the aluminum bezel with a colorful chrome finish to make your car’s interior pop out. When it comes to the installation, this gauge comes with the right installation hardware and adapters. In fact, these installation kits allow this gauge to be mounted both on vintage and newer vehicles.
- The rear-twist-on ring mount makes installation fast and easy
- Has a high oil pressure range of 0-100 PSI
- The aluminum housing makes the gauge extremely light
- Mountable on both old and new car models
- The backlight color is customizable
9. Aeromotive 15632 Fuel Pressure Gauge
- Pressure Range: 0-15 PSI
- Diameter: 1.5”
Although it’s manufactured by a brand that appears higher in the rankings, the Aeromotive 15632 Fuel Pressure Gauge has appeared so late in our discussion. Perhaps the reason why this gauge has appeared at the bottom is due to its simplistic design and affordable price range. The best thing about it is that motorists looking to replace their faulty OE gauges will have a chance of picking this gauge as a cheaper alternative.
About its performance, the Aeromotive 15632 Fuel Pressure Gauge is equipped with a very strong sensor that monitors fuel pressure to ensure it doesn’t go beyond the recommended levels. It has a decent pressure range of 0-15 PSI and a 1/8” NPT oil fitting for improved accuracy.
Now, the Aeromotive 15632 Fuel Pressure Gauge is very different from most of the best aftermarket car gauges we’ve discussed here. This one is filled with oil inside the dial to stabilize the needle when recording the readings. To relieve pressure inside the dial, this gauge is fitted with a pressure release valve that can be opened and closed easily. This gauge is designed with a white background and a black needle/numbering for improved visibility when taking the readings.
- The tiny diameter of 1.5” allow this gauge to fit in most dashboards
- The dial is oil filled to stabilize the pointer
- Has a decent fuel pressure range of 0-15 PSI
- The pressure release valve allows you to bleed excess pressure from the dial
- The dial is clearly visible
10. Actron SP0F000054 Bosch Style Triple Gauge Kit
- Type: Mechanical Gauge
- Diameter: 2-Inches
- Measures: Oil Pressure, Water Temperature & Battery Voltage
The Actron SP0F000054 Triple Gauge Kit is our last gauge in today’s discussion. It’s quite unfortunate to see how this gauge has come last yet it’s among the best gauges manufactured by Bosch. But, looking at the price range, it’s easy to tell that Bosch has decided to offer its diehards with a gauge that will surely meet all their demands.
By just looking at it, it’s easy to tell that this gauge is a triple gauge kit that consists of an oil pressure gauge, a water temperature gauge, and a battery voltage gauge. With these three gauges, I believe you’re sorted as you already have the perfect instruments to monitor key engine parameters.
About the design, the Actron SP0F000054 Triple Gauge Kit is housed inside a black polished bezel that aids in keeping the gauges safe. The bezel can be removed to free the gauges to allow you to mount them in any part of your choice. These gauges have a black background, a red pointer, and a white numbering to make the readings visible during the day. At night, this triple gauge kit uses special incandescent bulbs to illuminate the background to let you view the readings.
- Comes with all the required mounting accessories
- 2” diameter allows the gauges to fit almost anywhere
- Black bezel enhances the looks of your dashboard
- The bezel can be removed to free the gauges
- Records readings with high accuracy
Things to Consider When Choosing the Aftermarket Car Gauges
Although we’ve discussed ten of the best aftermarket gauges, reading the review part alone is not enough to help you choose the best gauge that will meet all your engine needs and demands. For that reason, we’ve included a very detailed buyer’s guide section where we’ve detailed some key parameters you must consider when choosing an aftermarket car gauge set.
1. Mechanical vs. Electrical Gauge:
When it comes to car gauges, you need to understand that they come in two different variations. These are the mechanical and the electric gauges. Since it can be overwhelming to know which type will best suit your demands, here’s a little explanation about the two gauges.
- Mechanical Gauge:
These gauges are the traditional variants that were hugely relied on in the past. These gauges have sensors connected to the pipes to record the flow of fluids. Since pipes give accurate readings, these gauges are known to be very precise making them the best. However, for them to maintain efficiency, you need to inspect the condition of the pipes often to ensure there’s no leakage.
- Electric Gauges:
These types of gauges are newer models that have come to replace the old-fashioned mechanical gauges. Instead of pipes, these gauges are equipped with electrical wires or connectors that record accurate readings. In fact, some models are connected to the car’s onboard computer to read the car’s data.
Size is a very critical parameter when buying an aftermarket gauge. In most cases, these gauges come in different sizes depending on their purpose and the specific car model they’re mounted to. As you can see, most of the gauges we’ve discussed here have different sizes. Some have small diameters while others have large diameters.
Therefore, when choosing a specific size, you need to consider two factors. One is the size of the gauge pod in your dashboard and the second one is the visibility. If your eye vision is not good, you’ll need to pick a large gauge that will not strain your eyes when checking the readings.
On the other hand, you’ll need to measure the size of your gauge pod to determine the exact size of the gauge you’ll be getting.
Although this point didn’t come first, accuracy is the most important parameter you need to consider when buying a gauge. In fact, other than aesthetics, accuracy is the main reason why you would want to replace your former gauge.
But, unlike other parameters, predicting whether a gauge is accurate or not can be very difficult. For that reason, you need to consider the brand, price range, and customer feedback regarding the gauge. To get authentic information, you need to read various reviews and feedback from the manufacturer’s website to see what verified customers are saying.
While accuracy is an important parameter, visibility is equally important as the readings need to be visible to you when driving. As you can see, most of the gauges we’ve discussed here are equipped with either incandescent or LED backlights.
Some, such as the Equus 8200 Triple Gauge Kit are equipped with colored sole nods that produce customized color codes to illuminate the dial. Other gauges have a dimmable feature that lets you switch from high contrast colors to low contrast depending on your needs. So, when choosing a gauge, always make sure that you pay close attention to this parameter.
5. Ease of Installation:
When choosing the best aftermarket car gauges, make sure that you pick a model that’s easy to install. Although most of these gauges are universal, installation can sometimes be overwhelming if you don’t have the right installation hardware.
Therefore, to avoid wasting both time and money, you should pick a gauge that comes with all the required mounting accessories. Thankfully, most of the gauges we’ve discussed here come with all the needed hardware for a quick and efficient installation process.
Finally, yet importantly, there’s the issue of maintenance. Just like any other mechanical component, a car gauge requires regular maintenance to stay in good shape. But, since maintenance and repair can sometimes cost you a lot, you need to pick a gauge that has low maintenance demands. In most cases, electrical gauges are the best options as they have fewer maintenance demands as compared to their mechanical counterparts.
Differences Between Mechanical Gauge and Electric Gauge
Unlike in the past, most manufacturers today are considering reducing the number of instruments in the cabin to avoid confusing drivers. Unfortunately, this idea is preventing drivers from accessing crucial information about the performance of their cars.
So, to remedy this situation, most people are considering adding aftermarket gauges to access critical information about the performance of the engine and all its mechanical parts. But, there’s a problem. The heated debate on whether to pick a mechanical or electrical gauge has left most motorists literally confused. So, to help you out, let’s discuss the main differences between these two aftermarket gauges.
- Working Mechanism
When you argue that a gauge is mechanical or electrical, what you’re referring to is how the gauge gets information from your car. For instance, a mechanical gauge comes with connect tubing that runs from the engine to the gauge to take direct measurements.
On the other hand, electrical gauges have wires connected to the gauge and specific sensors in the engine. The needle is then attached to a motor that’s driven by the movement of the sensor. One drawback to mechanical gauges is that you’ll have so many tubes, cables, and lines connected at the back of the dash.
Although this gauge is accurate, regular inspection will have to be done to ensure there’s no leakage in the tubes.
- Ease of Installation
When it comes to installation, mechanical gauges are the hardest to install. Remember, we mentioned that the working mechanism of these gauges involves connecting them directly to the engine using tubes. So, during installation, you have to carefully route-specific tubes to the gauge without damaging them.
This process can take a lot of time to accomplish. As with electrical gauges, all you need is to connect a wire to the specific sensor in the engine bay and you’re done.
A gauge is reliably provided it’s giving accurate readings. However, there are times when reliability gets to another level. As for mechanical gauges, these ones can become unreliable when it comes to safety.
Since the gauge is connected directly to a specific tube, having an oil or fuel pressure gauge in your cabin can be dangerous if there’s fuel leakage. In fact, this is the main reason why most oil/fuel pressure gauges are electrical despite others being mechanical.
As for electrical gauges, all you need is a wire that goes straight to specific sensors in the engine. Such a gauge is considered reliable, as it doesn’t suffer any leakage issues.
How to Install Aftermarket Gauges?
Now that we’ve discussed a lot regarding car gauges, it’s time to install the gauge in your car. In most cases, the installation process varies from one gauge to another depending on whether it’s oil pressure, water temperature, or battery voltage gauge.
Also, the process varies depending on whether it’s a mechanical or an electrical gauge. So, whether it’s an ordinary gauge or the best gauges for race car, here’s a simple installation process you can follow.
- Step One: Start by picking a favorite spot in the dashboard where visibility will not be interrupted when driving.
- Step Two: In the case of a volt gauge, run one wire to the power ignition and the other wire to the ground. In case of an oil pressure gauge, run the plastic oil line from the back of the gauge and thread it on the engine block. For the water temperature gauge, run the wire from the back of the gauge to the front of the engine block.
- Step Three: When you’re through with the installation, mount the gauge in the gauge pod on the dash and secure it using the available installation hardware.
Frequently Asked Questions about Aftermarket Car Gauges
What are Racing Gauges?
If you’re a fan of NASCAR or street racing, you’ve likely asked yourself what are racing gauges right? Now, racing gauges are specific types of gauges that can be installed on the dashboard, A-Pillar, or the console. These gauges serve two purposes, which are customizing the interior and tracking the performance of key engine parts such as battery voltage, boost, air/fuel ratio, and temperature among others.
Do I Need a Boost Gauge?
If you’re driving a turbo or a supercharged engine, a boost gauge is an essential instrument you can’t miss having. This gadget enhances the performance of the engine by keeping the pressure at the recommended levels.
Which Gauges Are the Most Important?
When it comes to automobiles, there’s no limit to the number of gauges you can have in your dash. However, most car manufacturers have opted to lower the number of gauges to tidy up the dashboard by including a few most essential gauges. So, with that said, the most important gauges you can’t miss having in your dash are the oil/fuel pressure gauge, temperature gauge, speed meter, voltmeter, and tachometer.
Should I Choose Mechanical or Electrical Gauges?
When it comes to mechanical vs. electrical gauges, there’s no specific answer as both instruments are preferably better. However, when it comes to reliability, electrical gauges are considered much better as compared to their mechanical counterparts.
Electrical gauges rely on wires that connect the gauge to the engine block. This is considered much better than having tubes, cables, and wires running directly from the engine to the gauge. In terms of safety, mechanical gauges are riskier than electrical gauges as a little oil/fuel leakage in the car’s cabin can prove fatal.
So, there you have it. As you can see, there’s a lot to talk about on the topic of the best aftermarket car gauges. With an overwhelming number of options, picking the best gauge from a wide range of options can be quite difficult if you’re a newcomer. Thankfully, this guide has detailed ten of the best car gauges you can consider.
Other than listing the ten gauges, we’ve added a very detailed buyer’s guide section where we’ve discussed some key parameters you can consider when picking an aftermarket gauge. So, if you’re out there hunting for an accurate and reliable aftermarket car gauge, then this guide has all the information you need.