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When divers talk about SCUBA gauges, they are usually referring to their “SPG” or submersible pressure gauge. This critical piece of equipment monitors your tank pressure so you know how much breathable air you have at all times during a dive. The best SCUBA gauges are easy to read, accurate, and stow conveniently in your equipment. Plus, some models feature additional equipment like a depth gauge or compass. But, with all the options available, which gauge is best for you?

All SCUBA gauges work the same way and serve the same purpose. So, when it comes to shopping, you should focus on the diver-friendly features that you like most. Keep reading to learn about our favorite models on the market, and the most important considerations and design elements to keep in mind before buying.

For more of our top scuba gear recommendations, check out the Best Dive Tanks

 

Quick Answer - The Best Scuba Gauges

  1. Highland Brass
  2. Genesis Compact
  3. Cressi Mini
  4. Scubapro Imperial
  5. Tusa 3G Analog
  6. Suunto SPG
  7. Scubapro U-Line
  8. Oceanic Swiv Combo
  9. Mares Mission 2
  10. Scubapro 3G

 

Comparison Table - Best Scuba Gauges

PictureNameGaugesSizeStylePriceRating
Highland Brass1SmallTech$5.0
Genesis Compact2MediumRubber Boot$4.6
Cressi Mini2MediumRubber Boot$4.8
Scubapro Imperial1SmallMolded Plastic Boot$4.4
Tusa 3G Analog3LargeRubber Boot$$4.2
Suunto SPG1SmallMolded Plastic Boot$$4.5
Scubapro U-Line2MediumRubber Boot$$5.0
Oceanic Swiv Combo2MediumPlastic Boot$$$4.8
Mares Mission 22MediumRubber Boot$$$4.9
Scubapro 3G3LargePlastic Boot$$$4.8
PictureNameGaugesSizeStylePriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Scuba Gauges

Highland Brass

Specs
  • Max Depth: N/A
  • Max Pressure: 350 Bar, 5,000 PSI
  • Gauges: 1
  • Size: Small
  • Style: Tech
  • Materials: Nickel Plated Brass, Tempered Glass
Features
  • Fluorescent Dial So You Can Easily Adjust Gauge Underwater
  • Available In Multiple Sizes
  • Solid Metal And Glass Construction For Added Durability
  • Luminescent Face For Easy Reading

BEST FOR: TECH AND WRECK DIVING

If you dive in challenging environments like caverns and caves, kelp beds, shipwrecks, or depths beyond recreational diving limits, you’ll need a gauge that’s up to the challenge. The XS Scuba Highland Brass features a solid metal case, tempered scratch-resistant glass, and a straightforward easy-to-read face. This type of SPG is perfect for overhead environments and dive sites known for entanglement hazards because it is so streamlined and easy to stow away. Plus, this is one of the most customizable gauges you can buy. The Highland Brass lets you choose between a 2″ or 2.5″ face, and is sold in both Bar and PSI.

Genesis Compact

Specs
  • Max Depth: 200 Feet
  • Max Pressure: 5,000 PSI
  • Gauges: 2
  • Size: Medium
  • Style: Rubber Boot
  • Materials: Rubber, Glass-Filled Noryl, Lexan
Features
  • Color-Coded Indicators For Safety
  • Built-In Thermometer For Temperature Readings
  • Mounting Points For Clips Or Lanyard
  • Attachment For Adding A Compass

BEST FOR: BUDGET

The Genesis Compact is a budget-friendly gauge built to last loaded with all the features you’ll want underwater. New divers will appreciate this SPG’s clearly marked and color-coded indicators for both depth and tank pressure. Plus, its tough rubber boot exterior can stand up to regular wear and tear, even if you’re tough on your gear. Multiple attachment points make it easy to streamline or stow this gauge, no matter what your SCUBA setup looks like. The Genesis Compact also features a unique mounting bracket on its backside, making it easy to add an analog compass if you want to upgrade later.

Cressi Mini

Specs
  • Max Depth: N/A
  • Max Pressure: 5,000 PSI
  • Gauges: 2
  • Size: Medium
  • Style: Rubber Boot
  • Materials: Chromed Brass, Glass, Polycarbonate, Desmopen
Features
  • Analog Compass For Navigation
  • Built-In Thermometer For Temperature Readings
  • Mounting Points For Clips Or Lanyard
  • Lightweight And Travel Friendly

BEST FOR: NAVIGATION

Most SPGs with multiple gauges display tank pressure and depth. The Cressi Mini is unique, as it features a large, easy-to-read 5,000 PSI pressure gauge combined with an analog compass. This setup is ideal for use in combination with a dive computer. Even if your equipment includes wireless air integration, you’ll want to monitor your air manually using a backup gauge. Plus, the analog compass is easier to use and more accurate than any digital version you’ll find built into a dive computer. The Cressi Mini is also lightweight and compact, hard-wearing thanks to its rubber boot exterior, and easy to mount to your equipment. This makes it a top pick for dive travel, too.

Scubapro Imperial

Specs
  • Max Depth: N/A
  • Max Pressure: 5,000 PSI
  • Gauges: 1
  • Size: Small
  • Style: Molded Plastic Boot
  • Materials: Rubber, Injection Molded Plastic, Brass, Tempered Glass
Features
  • Luminescent Face For Easy Reading
  • Fluorescent Dial So You Can Easily Adjust Gauge Underwater
  • Mounting Points For Clips Or Lanyard
  • Lightweight And Travel Friendly

BEST FOR: CHALLENGING CONDITIONS

The Scubapro Imperial Gauge is one of the most basic models on the market, but don’t let its simple design fool you. This is a rugged and durable piece of gear designed for divers using multiple gauges in the water. The Imperial works well for dropped and staged decompression tanks, or to use alongside a dive computer. This gauge’s luminescent face, clearly printed oversized numbers, and fluorescent dial make it super easy to read even in low visibility. Plus, it’s lightweight, streamlined, and easy to stow in a BCD pocket. If you’re looking for a workhorse of an SPG for use in all kinds of diving conditions, this might be your best fit.

Tusa 3G Analog

Specs
  • Max Depth: 220 Feet
  • Max Pressure: 4,000 PSI
  • Gauges: 3
  • Size: Large
  • Style: Rubber Boot
  • Materials: Rubber, Injection Molded Plastic, Tempered Glass
Features
  • Analog Compass For Navigation
  • Luminescent Face For Easy Reading Underwater
  • Mounting Points For Clips Or Lanyard
  • MDI Needle Marks Your Maximum Depth During A Dive

BEST FOR: ALL-IN-ONE

If you prefer to take a minimalist approach to dive gear, you’ll want one gauge that can do it all. The TUSA 3G Analog features oversized, easy to read pressure and depth gauges on its front, and an analog compass on its back. Its color-coded indicators make it easy to tell when you’re low on air or approaching your maximum depth. Plus, this model features an automatic MDI to mark the deepest point during your dive, helping you plan the next immersion after you surface. And, this gauge’s tough, impact resistant exterior makes it one of the hardest wearing models around, guaranteed to last for seasons to come.

Suunto SPG

Specs
  • Max Depth: N/A
  • Max Pressure: 4,000 PSI
  • Gauges: 1
  • Size: Small
  • Style: Molded Plastic Boot
  • Materials: Injection Molded Plastic, Tempered Glass
Features
  • Fluorescent Dial So You Can Easily Adjust Gauge In Low Light
  • Color-Coded Indicators For Safety
  • Lightweight And Travel Friendly
  • Mounting Points For Clips Or Lanyard

BEST FOR: BACKUP

If you’re diving with a wireless air integrated computer or multiple gauges, you’ll want an additional pressure gauge for redundancy. This way, if one instrument fails, you won’t have to end a dive early. The Suunto SPG makes an ideal backup because it’s small and convenient to clip to your gear or stow in a BCD pocket. A luminescent dial and oversized numbers make it easy to read in low lighting and during night dives. Plus, its straightforward design will never leave you guessing how much air is in your tank, with color-coded indicators for when you hit 700 PSI.

Scubapro U-Line

Specs
  • Max Depth: 200 Feet
  • Max Pressure: 6,000 PSI
  • Gauges: 2
  • Size: Medium
  • Style: Rubber Boot
  • Materials: Rubber, Non-Corrosive Plastic, Tempered Glass
Features
  • Fluorescent Dial For Adjustability In Low Light Underwater
  • Color-Coded Indicators For Safety
  • Mounting Points For Clips Or Lanyard
  • Recessed Instrument Compartments To Protect The Instrument’s Face
  • MDI Needle Marks Your Maximum Depth During A Dive

BEST FOR: BEGINNERS

Are you a recently certified diver? If you’re new to the sport, you’ll want easy-to-read and uncomplicated gauges that can handle plenty of wear and tear. The ScubaPro U-Line comes standard with all the features that you’ll need and none that you won’t, so it’s simple enough for the newest of newbies to use. Its large, luminescent gauges make it easy to tell how deep you are and how much air is in your tank at all times. Plus, a rugged exterior and recessed instruments will keep this gauge looking newer for longer and working like a charm, no matter how badly you mistreat it.

Oceanic Swiv Combo

Specs
  • Max Depth: 200 Feet
  • Max Pressure: 5,000 PSI
  • Gauges: 2
  • Size: Medium
  • Style: Plastic Boot
  • Materials: Rubber, Injection Molded Plastic, Noryl, Lexan
Features
  • Color-Coded Indicators For Safety
  • Luminescent Face
  • Built-In Thermometer For Temperature Readings
  • Mounting Points For Clips Or Lanyard

BEST FOR: EVERYDAY USE

What the Oceanic Swiv Combo lacks in style, it more than makes up for in durability and diver-friendly design elements. That’s why it’s a top pick for everyday use. This SPG combines a hard molded plastic boot with scratch-resistant Noryl and Lexan gauge faces for an ultra-tough exterior. The Combo is also an excellent fit for divers in challenging conditions. Its spacious twin mounting points make it easy to clip on your gear, even if you’re using oversized hardware intended for cold climates. If you’re diving in chilly waters or low visibility, you’ll appreciate features like luminescent gauge faces and a built-in thermometer.

Mares Mission 2

Specs
  • Max Depth: 230 Feet
  • Max Pressure: 5,000 PSI
  • Gauges: 2
  • Size: Medium
  • Style: Rubber Boot
  • Materials: Brass, Techno Polymer, Elastomer Rubber
Features
  • Fluorescent Dial For Easy Adjustability In Low Light Conditions
  • Color-Coded Indicators For Safety
  • Lightweight And Travel Friendly
  • MDI Needle Marks Your Maximum Depth During A Dive

BEST FOR: DIVE TRAVEL 

Divers who travel with their equipment know that less is more when it comes to packing. The Mares Mission 2 is a top-rated SPG that is hard-wearing enough for daily use. Plus, it’s lightweight and compact enough to squeeze into the most crowded of gear bags, weighing in at just over half a pound. This gauge combines luminescent faces, fluorescent needles, and color coding for one of the easiest to read displays on the market. If you’re traveling without a dive computer, you’ll love the Mission 2’s maximum depth indicator. This feature records the deepest point during every dive, so planning and logging are a breeze even if you’re taking a tech-free approach.

Scubapro 3G

Specs
  • Max Depth: 200 Feet
  • Max Pressure: 6,000 PSI
  • Gauges: 3
  • Size: Large
  • Style: Plastic Boot
  • Materials: Injection Molded Plastic, Polycarbonate, Tempered Glass
Features
  • Analog Compass For Navigation
  • Color-Coded Indicators For Safety
  • Mounting Points For Clips Or Lanyard
  • MDI Needle Marks Your Maximum Depth During A Dive

BEST FOR: OVERALL VALUE  

At first glance, the ScubaPro 3G looks like a bit of a “clunker.” It’s true that this isn’t the most stylish gauge on our list, but despite its appearance, this model is one of the very best values on the market. The 3G is an all-in-one option, displaying depth, tank pressure, and direction at all times. Its rugged exterior can stand up to the toughest of diving conditions, and recessed instrument faces will stay scratch-free for seasons to come. This gauge is intuitive and easy to read, with color coding for safety, a luminescent face, a maximum depth indicator, and oversized clearly printed numbers.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A SCUBA GAUGE

 

GAUGES

SCUBA Gauges come with one, two, or three instruments included. The most basic models only include an SPG to monitor tank pressure. This feature lets you know how much breathing air you have at all times during a dive. More advanced options add a depth gauge. This extra dial shows how deep you are, and may also include an MDI needle to display your deepest point during each dive. All-in-one options, also known as three gauge displays, add an analog compass to the mix. These models are typically more expensive, but they also offer the most information possible underwater, making it easy to plan your dive and dive your plan

 

SIZE

When it comes to SCUBA gear, size matters. This consideration is especially important for divers who travel with their equipment. Typically, the more information your gauge displays, the larger it is. But, some models designed especially for dive travel are more compact. Keep in mind that smaller gauges are more challenging to read underwater. And, even if you’re diving with a computer, you should always carry a backup SPG for redundancy, no matter how light you’re trying to travel. 

 

STYLE

Which gauge style is best for you depends on what kind of diving you plan to do. SPG’s designed for tech divers typically feature solid brass and glass construction, so they are the smallest and easiest to stow options around. This stripped-down design is helpful if you are diving in full overhead environments like caves and shipwrecks, or in settings known for entanglement hazards, like kelp. But, they don’t have a rubber or plastic “boot” to protect their exterior, so you’ll need to treat them with care. 

Models intended for recreational use come standard with either a rubber or plastic case. This case, referred to as a boot, is designed to protect your gauge from impact and shock, and to help it stay looking newer for longer. Most boots are removable and replaceable, so when your gauge’s exterior wears out, you won’t have to replace the entire SPG. 

 

METRIC OR IMPERIAL

Many dive gauges sold in the US and Canada use Imperial measurements. Tank pressure is represented in PSI, or pounds per square inch, with 3,000 being a standard “full” point. Depth is measured in feet, with 130 feet representing the recreational diving limit.

If you’re used to the metric system, you’ll want a gauge that displays tank pressure in BAR, or buoyancy air releases. 200 BAR is considered a full tank. Metric depth measurements will be shown in meters, and 40 meters represents the maximum depth for recreational divers. 

 

MATERIALS 

If you want a gauge that will last for years to come, choose a model made from high-quality elements. Materials like brass and tempered glass with a protective outer coating of rubber or plastic are best. Divers who are hard on their gear may prefer gauge faces made from scratch-resistant materials like Noryl and Lexan. While this type of construction will raise the cost of your SPG, the higher level of quality is worth every penny. 

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

 

ANALOG COMPASS

An analog compass uses very basic technology to help you navigate underwater. Most divers prefer this type of compass because it doesn’t require batteries or calibration. Analog models are also easier to use than more modern digital options. Check out this helpful article to learn more about how to use a compass for navigation during your dives.

 

FLUORESCENT DIAL

A fluorescent dial captures light and reflects it, creating a neon effect underwater. When used on your gauge’s dials, it makes it super easy to tell exactly where your needles are pointing. 

 

COLOR-CODED INDICATORS 

Color-coded indicators use bright, noticeable shades to alert you to potential danger underwater. Most gauges use color-coding to indicate low tank pressure and depths beyond recreational diving limits. So, if you ever see your needle dipping “into the red,” you’ll know right away that your dive plan needs to change. 

 

LUMINESCENT FACE  

Simply put, a luminescent face on your dive gauge will glow in the dark. For a brighter glow, most luminescent surfaces can be “charged” by holding a dive torch to them. This action allows light to be absorbed and reflected, making your gauges easier to read. 

 

RECESSED INSTRUMENTS

Rather than raising your gauge’s faces to the same level as its exterior boot, some models recess them. This indentation helps you avoid scratches and scrapes if your gear accidentally drags along the bottom while diving. It also prevents unwanted damage during equipment setup, breakdown, and cleaning. 

 

MDI NEEDLE

A maximum depth indicator, or MDI, needle marks the deepest point during any dive. This way, you can easily calculate your body’s nitrogen retention and plan your next dive accordingly. If you aren’t diving with a computer, this tool is invaluable for preventing decompression illness and injury.

READ MORE

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