The use of gauges and meters have been debated incessantly among data visualization experts and dashboard designers here on the pages of The Dashboard Spy and else where. See Dashboard Eye Candy as an example of the kind of debate that can occur.
Of course, as slick gauge and meter graphics become easier and easier to embed in our dashboards, the more people will be polarized on the issue.
If you want to join in on the design fun and stick slick graphs, charts and gauges on your excel and powerpoint dashboards, be sure to check out the Be Graphic gauges and meters. Take a look at this nifty image viewer below for the sort of gauge you can quickly embed (and did I mention that these dashboard gauges are free? – watch for the link under the graphic.)
To investigate these gauges and meters further, check out this link: