Your scuba gauge is one of the most crucial pieces of diving equipment you need to keep you safe underwater. The best scuba gauges are reliable and easy to understand.
An SPG, or submersible pressure gauge tells you how much air is left in your scuba tank while a depth gauge tells you what depth you are at. Many divers these days choose to dive with a computer attached to their wrist like a watch, which carries information in a digital form, but still have an analog scuba gauge attached as a backup. Other divers prefer to rely on the analog system.
You can buy consoles which allow only for an SPG, a double console for both SPG and depth gauge or even a triple console with room for a compass.
Here at The Adventure Junkies, we want to make your life easier when it comes to choosing the right scuba diving gear. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to choose a combo scuba gauge with both pressure and depth gauges as well as show you our selection of the best models of the year.
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST SCUBA GAUGES
|MAX DEPTH INDICATOR||TEMPERATURE INDICATOR|
SCUBA GAUGES 101
THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST SCUBA GAUGE
Scuba gauges come in both imperial or metric systems. Like any other measuring system, this often depends on where you have come from and where you have learned to dive. The US and a few other countries still use the Imperial system, but if you’ve been trained to understand dive depths and air tank pressure in the Metric system then using an Imperial gauge may cause some confusion. Choose what is easy for you to read and understand.
2. WEIGHT & SIZE
Scuba gauges can carry a bit of weight at times which you may not want if you plan to do a lot of dive travel. Younger or smaller divers may wish to choose a lighter gauge than their heavier or bigger diving companions.
Some brands make compact gauges which are smaller and more lightweight versions which are ideal for travel. However, if you’re long-sighted or have trouble reading off the gauge then choose a larger sized gauge. You should be able to read your gauges clearly and quickly.
3. TEMPERATURE INDICATOR
Some gauges come with a temperature indicator, which is a handy feature to know what the water temperature is and also to keep an eye on any sudden changes in water temperature.
4. MAXIMUM DEPTH NEEDLE
Most gauges have a maximum depth needle, which is usually a fine red needle which will drop with your depth gauge, but it will stop at the point of the deepest part of your dive. This helps you keep track of your dive which is important if you are doing multi-level dives.
5. COLOR CODING AND LUMINESCENT DIALS
Choosing a gauge with color coding can help you stay in control of your dive. The color on the pressure gauge acts as a warning signal when you’re starting to run on air. Depth gauges can also have color coding to mark out safety stops during your dive and when you’re heading beyond recreational limits. Most gauges have luminescent dials which are easier to see especially if you plan on doing night diving.
Some gauges have eyelets on the rubber boot (the housing) which allow for clips so you can attach the gauge to your person while diving, rather than letting it drag below and potentially damage precious underwater life. If you need to clip your scuba gauge somewhere, choose one that has eyelets for a clip or lanyard.
Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/ZavgSG
SCUBA GAUGE REVIEWS
1. BEST ALL ROUND SCUBA GAUGES
FEATURES: Luminescent dials
PROS: Easy to read in low light, different configurations available, extremely reliable
OCEANIC OIL FILLED COMBO
FEATURES: Oil filled, attachment points for clips, temperature gauge
PROS: Oil filled gauge so won’t crush with pressure, rugged design
CONS: A little bulky and heavier than other models, no maximum depth needle
FEATURES: Bracket for clip, impact resistant boot, oil filled depth gauge
PROS: Durable and reliable
CONS: No temperature indicator
2. BEST VALUE FOR MONEY SCUBA GAUGES
TUSA DOUBLE SCA 230
FEATURES: Luminescent dials, color coding for safety
PROS: Illuminates, easy to read even at night, compact and lightweight
CONS: No temperature indicator
TUSA 2 SCA-280
FEATURES: Temperature gauge, eyelets for clips, luminescent dial
PROS: Lightweight, reliable
CONS: Accuracy a little slow at times
3. BEST SCUBA GAUGES FOR TRAVEL
CRESSI MINI 2
FEATURES: Bright color coding all over both gauges
PROS: Small and compact
CONS: Very small loops make it difficult to clip or attach to anything during your dive
FEATURES: Low profile, temperature gauge
PROS: Extremely lightweight and compact
CONS: Readings not as accurate due to circle markers rather than lines
GENESIS 2 COMPACT
Check out the latest price on:
FEATURES: Eyelets for clips or lanyards, high visibility graphics, temperature gauge
PROS: Low profile, ergonomic design
CONS: Tank pressure not as precise as larger designs
4. BEST NITROX COMPATIBLE SCUBA GAUGES
MARES MISSION 2
FEATURES: Ergonomic design, nitrox compatible to 40%
PROS: Excellent accuracy
CONS: Heavier design
OCEANIC MAX-DEPTH SWIV COMBO
FEATURES: Nitrox compatible to 50%, luminous displays, temperature indicator
PROS: Easy to read
CONS: Depth changes can be a little slow at times