Written By Heather Fishel
Published Nov. 29, 2021

Wideband gauges are designed to measure the air-fuel ratio in a vehicle’s internal combustion engine. They’re a special kind of air/fuel ratio gauge (also known by the acronym AFR gauge), developed for greater accuracy than the previously used ‘narrow gauge’ models. Installing a wideband gauge in your car brings a range of benefits – they help you keep an eye on the oxygen sensors, improve fuel economy, and reduce emissions. Overall, these highly accurate sensors are a boon to anyone who wants to tune a vehicle.

If you think your vehicle could benefit from a wideband O2 sensor and gauge, there are a lot of options. With so many devices to choose from, working out exactly which gauge is right for your car can be a real challenge. Luckily, we’re here to help – we’ve put together this list of the best wideband gauges on the market right, helping you to make an informed decision. We’ve also compiled a handy buying guide, so you can get the most out of this handy piece of kit.

The Best Wideband Gauge

Kicking off our list is this AEM wideband gauge. Featuring an easy to read LED display, and color changing ‘needle’, the handy device makes it easy to keep track of the changes from rich to lean in your car’s engine. Thanks to its 52mm housing, the versatile gauge will fit into the majority of gauge pods. The display itself can be remotely mounted almost anywhere in the vehicle, helping drivers or navigators to keep an eye on fuel ratios. Every AEM gauge features a 0-5V analog output, compatible with data loggers and practically any engine management system. In use, it’s highly responsive and accurate, thanks to a Bosch UEGO sensor housed inside. The gauge also features interchangeable faceplates and bezels, making it simple to achieve the ideal look for your car. To help you get started, the device comes with everything you’ll need for a hassle-free installation, including a weld-in bung.

Unfortunately, there is one potential problem with this wideband gauge kit: some users say it arrives dead, meaning it immediately has to be replaced. Make sure to check yours as soon as it arrives so you’ll be able to get it swapped out for one that works.

Specification
  • Brand AEM
  • Model 30-4110
  • Weight 14.1 ounces
PROS

Includes everything you need for quick, easy installation

Easy-to-read LED display

Highly accurate and responsive sensors

Compatible with data loggers and engine management systems

Can be remotely mounted

CONS

Some units arrive dead and must be replaced

The Innovate Motorsports Wideband Gauge is one highly value-packed product, and that’s all thanks to its sleek and effective performance. Featuring patented DirectDigital technology, the handy device can display a vehicle’s air to fuel ratio with precision and speed. The gauge can also calibrate your car’s O2 sensor, for maximum accuracy. The device offers two adjustable linear 0-5V outputs, which can transfer information to your data logger, or engine management system. For easy installation, the kit comes with everything you’ll need to get started, including a weld-on bung, programming cable, sensor cable, and a full manual. Once installed, the remote sensor is easy to read, featuring a bright LED display. Drivers say the gauge is accurate and reliable, noting that it’s simple to install, too. It’s the perfect option for drivers who want to keep an eye on their fuel ratio, and perform accurate tuning.

The only potential issue is with the instructions. Since you don’t get paper instructions; you’ll have to go online in order to figure out the installation process.

Specification
  • Brand Innovate Motorsports
  • Model 3796
  • Weight 5 ounces
PROS

Easy-to-read LED screen

Fast and responsive when taking readings

High level of accuracy Includes two adjustable linear 0-5V outputs

Installation is pretty straightforward

CONS

No physical paper instructions are included, only online

If you’re looking for top-of-the-line features and don’t mind paying a little more for them, the Auto Meter Ultra-Lite Wideband Gauge Kit is a great option. This handy gauge comes as part of a convenient kit, ensuring you have everything you need to set-up your new device. A wiring harness, weld-in bung, O2 sensor, mounting hardware, and detailed instructions are all included. Featuring a Bosch LSU sensor, the gauge provides excellent accuracy and an impressively quick response time. Once in place, the gauge emits a 0-4V output, which can be transferred into the majority of data loggers, ECUs, and laptops running tuning software. If you don’t have access to a laptop, it’s easy to see your engine’s air/fuel ratio at a glance thanks to the bright LED display. This, along with a radial bar graph display, makes the data easy to see at a glance. This handy kit is compatible with almost all street cars and race cars, for impressively diverse usage.

Unfortunately, the included instructions are pretty useless and unhelpful. Some drivers may also dislike the countdown feature, which counts down from 15 when the gauge is taking readings, meaning there’s a bit of a delay for it to get up and running.

Specification
  • Brand Auto Meter
  • Model 4379
  • Weight 1.55 pounds
PROS

Includes everything you need for easy installation

Highly accurate Bosch LSU sensor

Nice and responsive when taking readings

Brightly lit LED display

Compatible with most street and race cars

CONS

Included instructions aren’t helpful

15-second countdown to start a reading can be annoying

Best Large Display

The best feature of the AEM X-Series Wideband Gauge? It’s the display and the striking modern faceplate. The seven segment centre display makes it easy to read on the go, while X-Digital technology allows the device to measure a wide array of outputs that other sensors can’t. For ease of use, its display is actually 87% larger than other options on the market, allowing drivers and navigators to glean an accurate reading as quickly as possible. The gauge includes a 0-5V output port, for accurate data logging whatever device or engine management system is used. Thanks to its impressive response time, the gauge offers drivers a safe, powerful, and accurate tune. Users reported that the device warmed up much faster than many options on the market.

Keep in mind that if you do happen to have any issues with the sensor on the device, you won’t be able to get it replaced since it isn’t covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.

Specification
  • Brand AEM
  • Model 30-0300
  • Weight 2 pounds
PROS

Display is 87% larger than competing products

Can measure even more outputs than similar sensors

Compatible with data loggers and engine management systems

Highly responsive and quick

Good level of accuracy

CONS

Sensor isn’t covered under the limited manufacturer’s warranty

Best for Fast Readings

The impressive Innovate Motorsports Wideband Gauge is a fantastic product for those who want to get info ASAP. It’s speedy and efficient, and the gauge not only displays the engine’s air/fuel ratio, but it can also provide feedback on the vehicle’s O2 sensors. Featuring a super fast analogue output speed, the gauge ensures that you’ll clearly see any changes to air/fuel ratio live, feeding this data through the ECU (engine control unit). Thanks to Bosch LSU technology, these readings are highly accurate. The gauge is specially designed for high performance applications and forced inductions, too, making it a great option for racing vehicles. Thanks to the gauge’s 52mm diameter, it’s easy to swap faceplates and bezels for a fully customized appearance. And you’ll really like the bright LED display, which makes the air/fuel ratio easy to read at a glance for safe on the go monitoring.

The biggest drawback to this speedy wideband gauge is its longevity. When it works, it works wonderfully – but it tends to burn out and fail within months. If you aren’t looking for a long-term product, it’ll serve you well for the short-term.

Specification
  • Brand Innovate Motorsports
  • Model 3918
  • Weight 1.8 pounds
PROS

Extra-fast response time for quick readings

Easy-to-see and brightly-lit LED display

Works for high-performance applications and forced inductions

Faceplates and bezels can be customized

Illuminates changes in real-time

CONS

Doesn’t last long and can burn out within months

Best for High Accuracy

According to Innovate Motorsports, the Innovate Wideband Air/Fuel Gauge is considered the wideband gauge with the highest level of accuracy available. So, if accuracy is your goal, this is the gauge to get. It’s a sleek and stylish wideband gauge and, in addition to being one of the most accurate, it’s also one of the quickest to respond on the market. The accuracy and efficiency of this gauge make it a solid option for high-performance engines. The gauge features a modular design, making it easy for drivers to add additional tuning components as part of an MTS (modular tuning system). With two analog outputs, the detectors can be hooked up to data loggers, ECUs, and laptops without unplugging the gauge. For an all-round better tuning experience, each gauge also includes tuning software for your laptop. Finally, the gauge looks good – its sleek blue and black design features a bright LED screen.

Users don’t report any issues with the gauge, particularly when it comes to performance and accuracy.

Specification
  • Brand Innovate Motorsports
  • Model 3795
  • Weight 2 pounds
PROS

Looks sleek, with LED display and blackout appearance when off

Most accurate and responsive available

Can be used with additional tuning components

Includes laptop tuning software

Performs consistently over the long term

CONS

May not be the fastest on the market

If you’re looking for a wideband gauge that’s as versatile as it is affordable, the GlowShift Elite Wideband Gauge is a great kit – and it’s one that offers 10 different colors to choose from. As the only option on our list to feature a fully analogue display, it offers a vintage flair that’s especially at home in classic vehicles. This display can be customized in colors ranging from subdued blue to bright purple. Thanks to a handy dimmer wire, the gauge’s brightness can be adjusted to prevent distraction in darker conditions. The display itself reads from 10.0 to 20.0 AFR, providing the wide output range you need for accurate tuning and monitoring. The kit also features a second analogue output, perfect for data loggers and ECUs. When the AFR reaches a pre-programmed high or low point – set by you – the gauge will emit an audio-visual warning to let you know. Each gauge comes with mounting hardware, and easy to follow installation instructions, plus a one year limited warranty.

Overall, it’s a solid gauge, but it may not be the most accurate. The accuracy can vary, and you may find it to change over time.

Specification
  • Brand GlowShift
  • Model GS-ET02W
  • Weight 2.65 pounds
PROS

Fully analog display

Can customize the display with 10 different color choices

Dimmable display is ideal for nighttime use

Includes a second output just for data loggers and ECUs

Features audio and visual warnings for custom preset levels

CONS

Not the most accurate product available

Best Combination Gauge

The AEM 2 Wideband Gauge Display Set is one very convenient combo set. It features both a wideband gauge and a boost gauge, making it the perfect option for tuning turbo charged vehicles. Both devices are highly accurate, and easy to read, featuring a bright LED display with both numerical values and a sliding ‘needle’. The AFR gauge has an output of 0-5V, which can be easily connected to data loggers and ECUs. For added convenience, the device never requires air sensor calibration. Both gauges come with everything you’ll need for a quick and simple installation, including interchangeable bezels and weld-in bungs. The boost gauge itself features a readout range of -30 to 35 PSI. It also produces a 0-5V output, which can be hooked up to virtually any engine management system or data logger.

The only issue you might run into with this wideband and boost gauge set is faulty readings. It isn’t always accurate, and over time, you may start to encounter increasingly more inaccurate readings.

Specification
  • Brand AEM
  • Model 30-4110 + 30-4406
  • Weight 2.55 pounds
PROS

Includes both a wideband gauge and a boost gauge

Great for turbo vehicles

Easy-to-read LED display

Both gauges work with data loggers and EMS

Interchangeable bezels and faceplates for customization

CONS

Can deliver inaccurate readings as it ages

May become faulty over time

Don’t want to weigh yourself down with a large or heavy wideband gauge? The Auto Meter Ultra-Lite Digital Wideband Gauge is a great choice, as it’s built to be compact and unnoticeable unless you’re taking real-time readings. The kit includes everything you’ll need for fast installation, including an 8-foot wiring harness, stainless steel weld-in bung, and mounting hardware. The device provides an output of 0-4V, which can be easily connected to data loggers, engine management systems, or laptops running tuning software. This great versatility makes for simple and accurate tuning. The gauge is customisable, too – users can program their own specifications for lean, rich, and Stoic air/fuel ratios, and receive a visual alert when the reading enters each range. Thanks to a bright LED display, featuring both numerical data and a sliding gauge, it’s easy to work out a vehicle’s AFR.

The one drawback is that the LED display can burn out over time, which can make seeing your readings a challenge – and it may even lead to inaccuracies.

Specification
  • Brand Auto Meter
  • Model 4378
  • Weight 1.2 pounds
PROS

Easy installation with all hardware and wiring included

Responsive and accurate

Can be connected to engine management systems and data loggers

Offers visual alerts for your chosen ranges

Bright LED display

CONS

LED display can burnout over time

Burned-out display can lead to inaccuracies

How We Selected the Products

To choose the best wideband gauges available, we took a look at the many different products available online. First, we took a close look at the features, capabilities, and details of each gauge, assessing how accurate and speedy each was at taking air and fuel readings. We also compared users’ remarks about the accuracy and efficiency, getting a sense of how quickly these devices could work in real-life settings. From there, we considered factors like durability and long-term performance, choosing the best-performing gauges for both now and into the future. 

Best Wideband Gauge Buying Guide

These wideband gauges are among the best on the market right now, and we’re confident you’ll find the perfect option for your needs somewhere on the list. To help you work out which option is right for you, and get the most out of your new gauge, we’ve put together this handy guide. Below we run through some important information about wideband gauges, how to select one, and how to get the most out of it.

What is a Wideband Air/Fuel Gauge?

Since the internal combustion engine’s earliest days, over a century ago, tuning has been an important practice for maximising power output and efficiency. In previous years, tuners would use vacuum gauges, CO meters, and even attempt to ‘read’ spark plugs. However, these methods were often inaccurate, and tuning was considered to be more of an art than a science.

Wideband gauges were developed to address this important issue. These gauges measure the ratio of fuel to oxygen exiting an engine’s exhaust, using highly accurate ‘wideband’ oxygen sensors. This data is fed into a computer system via electronic signals, which is interpreted into a clear numerical figure that appears on the gauge display. At the same time, data can be channeled from these wideband sensors to the ECU, which subsequently determines the optimal fuel/air mixture for good efficiency and lowered emissions.

Things to Consider When Buying Wideband Gauges

If you decide to install a wideband gauge in your vehicle, there are few factors to bear in mind:

Compatibility

It’s important to ensure that a wideband sensor is compatible with your vehicle and other equipment. Many can be connected to existing ECUs, EMS, and data loggers, thanks to an extra output port. Outputs from a wideband gauge usually range from 0-4 volts.

Display

Wideband gauge displays are quite diverse in appearance, giving you the option to choose a display that’s easy to see. Look out for adjustable brightness, anti-glare protection, and a ‘needle’ style display that’s easy to read at a glance.

Accuracy & Responsiveness

Wideband gauges are at their most useful when they can measure and convey the air/fuel ratio quickly and accurately. Although it’s difficult to tell how well a gauge will work prior to installation, it’s a good idea to watch out for Bosch sensors, as these are typically a high quality component. Checking for feedback from other customers can also provide plenty of insight into the device’s performance.

Extra Features

Some wideband gauges come as part of a set, such as number nine on our list. This AFR gauge is accompanied by a boost gauge, making it an excellent option for vehicles fitted with turbo chargers. Other features to look out for include interchangeable faceplates and bevels, automatic air sensor calibration, and the inclusion of tuning software.

Benefits of Using a Wideband Air/Fuel Controller

Using a wideband gauge to keep track of your engine’s air/fuel ratio comes with a range of benefits, including:

  • Wideband gauges are ideal for diagnostic purposes
  • Wideband gauges are ideal for engine calibration purposes
  • Using a wideband gauge allows for more accurate
  • Wideband gauges can display live data about the AFR to your dashboard
  • Certain wideband gauges can be set up to automatically adjust AFR for optimum performance
  • The majority of wideband gauges are quick and simple to install in many vehicles

How to Calibrate Your AFR Gauge

The exact calibration process will vary between devices, but usually consists of the following steps:

  • Disconnect the O2 sensor cable, and unbolt the sensor from the O2 bung
  • Power the vehicle’s electronics by turning the key to the ‘on’ position
  • Wait at least 30 seconds
  • Turn the key to the ‘off’ position, before reattaching the sensor to its cable
  • Power up the electrical system with the sensor in free air (ie. not in the exhaust)
  • Wait for the display to read ‘CAL’
  • Power the electrical system down once again, before reconnecting the sensor to the exhaust system

For naturally aspirated cars, recalibrating around once a year should be sufficient. For forced induction vehicles, this should be increased to twice each year, while race cars running on leaded fuel should recalibrate these sensors every week.

How to Get the Maximum from Wideband Sensors

Wideband sensors are a complicated piece of equipment, but even naive tuners can get the most out of them with these tips:

  • Be sure to calibrate oxygen sensors on a regular basis, to maintain greater accuracy
  • Place the sensor at least 24 inches downstream from the cylinder head exhaust ports
  • Recalibrate the sensors if your vehicle experiences altitude changes of 5,000 feet or more – different air pressure means different oxygen concentrations

FAQs

Q:

What should a wideband gauge read?

A: A wideband gauge is designed to measure your engine’s air-to-fuel ratio, so these details are the two details any good gauge should measure. More advanced models, or two-in-one gauges, may measure more, but the air-to-fuel ratio is a minimum requirement.

Q:

What’s the ideal wideband gauge reading?

A: Ideally, you want your engine to return an air-to-fuel reading of 14.7 to 1 (or 14.7:1). That ratio should appear when you’re at an idle and while you’re cruising.

Q:

What’s the difference between a narrowband gauge and a wideband gauge?

A: While narrowband gauges have sensors that can measure anywhere from 14.0 to 15.0 air levels and report a rich or lean situation, a wideband gauge offers more. With a wideband gauge, you’ll be able to use the sensors to detect more, including oxygen in your exhaust and numbers that are way below or way above the ideal 14.7:1 ratio. It gives you a wider range so you can see exactly where problems are happening (and how extensive they are).

Our Top Pick

For us, the best air fuel ratio gauge on the market right now has to be this versatile and affordable option by AEM. Thanks to its Bosch UEGO sensor, the device can display live data with excellent precision and accuracy. It’s simple to install, too, with 52mm housing that fits into most gauge pods. For a hassle free installation process, the kit includes a weld-in bung, helping drivers to get their new gauge up and running in no time.

Once in place, the gauge display can be mounted almost anywhere in the car. It also features interchangeable faceplates and bezels, making it simple to achieve the look you want. Thanks to its LED display, featuring a color changing ‘needle’, the display makes it easy to see when your fuel ratio fluctuates from rich to lean. The gauge also features a 0-5V output, that’s compatible with most data loggers, and the majority of engine management systems. Drivers across the board were impressed with the quality and accuracy – especially considering its budget friendly price point.

Sources:

  1. How does the oxygen sensor in a car work? – HowStuffWorks

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