Fringe pattern profilometry (FPP) is one of the most promising 3D profile measurement techniques, which has been widely applied in many areas. A challenge problem associated with FPP is the unwrapping of wrapped phase maps resulted from complex object surface shapes. Although existing quality-guided phase unwrapping algorithms are able to solve such a problem, they are usually extensively computational expensive and not able to be applied to fast 3D measurement scenarios. This paper proposes a new quality-guided phase unwrapping algorithm with higher computational efficiency than the conventional ones. In the proposed method, a threshold of quality value is used to classify pixels on the phase maps into two types: high quality (HQ) pixels corresponding to smooth phase changes and low quality (LQ) ones to rough phase variance. In order to improve the computational efficiency, the HQ pixels are unwrapped by a computationally efficient fast phase unwrapping algorithm, and the LQ pixels are unwrapped by computational expensive flood-fill algorithm. Experiments show that the proposed approach is able to recover complex phase maps with the similar accuracy performance as the conventional quality-guided phase unwrapping algorithm but is much faster than the later. © 2012 SPIE.