Getting lost during delivery or being stuck in traffic for hours on end can be really frustrating. The frustration gets ten folds more when you are a truck driver as every hour lost in traffic means an hour of productivity gone.
A navigation GPS system can, however, help you sort out such issues. But finding the best truck GPS is in itself a significant problem.
Due to the overwhelming number of options, people often get confused and end up getting the wrong device for them.
This article will help you avoid the same fate and show you exactly how to find the GPS system you are looking for. Here, I have reviewed the best GPS for truck drivers and included a buying guide as well.
Let’s get started.
Who Is This For And Why Your Phone Is Not Enough?
You must be wondering why to pay hundreds of dollars for a GPS device when Smartphone GPS apps come free.
Admittedly, GPS apps such as Google maps and apple maps can be of great help and may prove good enough to bail you out from difficult situations, but they have some limitations.
For starters, using your mobile phone while driving can land you into hot water with legal authorities as it’s illegal in almost every state.
Moreover, GPS apps require a data connection for information. While that’s not an issue in urban areas, countryside areas with limited connectivity may force you to rely on asking locals for the directions.
To cap it off, most of the smartphones have short battery life and is likely to run out of power if used as a GPS system.
Reasons to opt for a GPS device over GPS apps are numerous.
To begin with, GPS devices collect data from satellites and don’t need internet connectivity to help you with navigations.
Many truck navigation devices allow you to put specifications of your rig into the system, which helps the system to create a customized truck route ideal for the weight and size of your truck.
Navigating with the GPS devices is easier due to the larger display and 3-d views.
In addition, you can get up-to-the-minute data on traffic and information on locations of toll and its cost.
Therefore, if you are a trucker who spends the majority of his time on the road and tends to explore unknown areas, then you would do well to opt for a GPS device than a Smartphone GPS app.
And never use a car GPS for a truck. Know the different GPS features.
Our Picks for the Best Truck GPS
Coming up with the compilation of top rated truck GPS wasn’t easy. There are simply too many options, and each had something different to offer. But after hours of research, we have managed to come up with the very best products available on the market.
Our Top Pick
Garmin had been found in 1989 and since it has grown exponentially. This technological juggernaut brings in more than 1.7 billion in revenue per year. As of 2018, it operates in many several countries including the UK, Taiwan, and United States.
The Dēzl 770, which wears the crown of best Garmin GPS, is a fairly large navigation device with a 5-inch color display. It produces extremely clear images and the 3-d map mode option means you will have 3-d views of your surroundings. Unfortunately, the 3d view option is only available in urban areas.
Where thing gets really interesting is with its customized truck routing feature. With this feature, you are going to be able to enter your trucks specifications into the system, which then creates a customized truck route suitable for your rig based on the input.
You might be tempting your fates by taking your eyes off the road too often. To eliminate the risk, the Dēzl offers spoken direction which lets you continue driving with your undivided attention. On top of that, it’s also compatible with the backup camera, so that you can see the back of your truck.
Not only the package includes Lifetime map of entire North America, but it also offers lifetime traffic data. That means you won’t have to pay a single dime for the updates. Furthermore, Truck and trailer service directory contains millions of POIs and lets you search rest stops by name.
This GPS unit logs your hours of service, sleeping time, and fuel consumption, which then can be downloaded for further analyzation. These data help to make the trips more productive. Besides, the device is Bluetooth compatible, so you can connect it with your Smartphone to listen to songs and weather updates.
Dutch GPS system manufacturer Tomtom is a multinational company that sells its products worldwide and has offices in 37 countries. Recently they have come to an agreement with Uber and Apple to become their official mapping data provider.
Fiddling around the touchscreen while driving is no fun. Thanks to the voice command feature, you will no longer have to put up with that. It allows you to insert addresses, find routes, and POIs via the sound of your voice. To activate the voice command option, you will need to tap the microphone icon on display.
You will also be getting a 5-inch color display, which ensures superior visibility and easy map reading. Its interface, which comes with a WebKit based operating system, is extremely user-friendly. The home screen feature’s useful options such as navigation, destination, help, plan route, settings, and services.
Bluetooth connectivity allows you to use the device in conjunction with your cell phone and make phone calls. As a result, you won’t have to pull over or break traffic rules to make an urgent call.
Besides featuring the lifetime map, it also allows you to toggle between 2d and 3d viewing modes. Thanks to the 3d-mode, you will get clearly illustrated buildings, exits, and overpasses. Besides, the package also includes lifetime traffic data meaning lifelong free updates.
What makes the device a bit more special is IQ routing. It helps the device to come up with the best route options and calculate arrival time. Data collected over a long time from subscribers are utilized in estimating arrival time and devising the best routes.
The Nuvi 57 features a speed limit indicator, which helps you escape speed tickets and put a break on your ever-increasing insurance rates. By notifying you of both the speed limit and your current speed, it helps you stay within the speed limit.
Something that separates this guy from other super-budget options is its solid navigations system. Not only it gives you precise directions, but it also enables you to establish various waypoints on your route. As a result, it gets easier for the device to create the most efficient route for you.
There is also going to be a rechargeable battery so you can use the device without plugging it in. The 2-hour battery life can be incredibly helpful to recharge your cell phone if you have only one charging port.
The GPS unit is rocking a 5-inch color display with 480 x 272 resolutions, which is on par with other budget options. This might not be the greatest color display available on the market, but at this price range, I’m not complaining. Additionally, the foursquare technology lets you search millions of rest stops.
Instructions like, “in 200 yards, turn left” can get confusing making you calculate the distance in your mind. However, Unlike GPS apps, the Garmin real direction guides you using landmarks. You will hear instructions like, “turn right after McDonald’s” which can be a lot simpler.
There are a few things that I didn’t like about this GPS device. For starters, it doesn’t come with lifetime map, which means you will be required to pay for the updates. Secondly, it doesn’t include traffic data, which can be a bummer. To cap it all off, it doesn’t even have Bluetooth connectivity.
Junsun is a Chinese car GPS manufacturing company with a track record of producing high-quality budget options. Not only they offer the lowest price on the market, but they also ensure that the GPS unit is up to the standard. The key to their immense success is creating cheap truck GPS without cutting corners.
If you are an immigrant and find it hard to make head or tails of the English directions, the Junsun GPS system should be your go-to choice. For, it supports up to 24 languages, including Russian, Spanish, French, Italian, and polish. If you are from Europe, the chances are you will understand at least one of them.
Loneliness on the road can be soul-crushing, which often makes you wish for a companion. Although Junsun GPS system can’t provide a partner, it offers the next best thing; Music. The unit includes a music and video player which helps you escape boredom on the road by playing your favorite songs.
Screenwise, you are getting a solid 7-inch display with 800 x 480 resolutions. When you fire up the device, the first thing you will notice is a large icon which leads you to the map. The rest of the icons allow you to search rest stops, create multiple waypoints and other facilities. This GPS unit features seven different vehicle modes and including truck and car.
Not only does the GPS unit comes with the map of North America, but it also offers the option of downloading maps of Europe, middle east, Australia, and Asia. That means you can use the device outside the US if you want to. If that wasn’t enough, they have also made the map updates free for life.
What sets it apart from other navigation systems is its superior performance. Its routing is flawless and takes you exactly where you want to go. One thing that I didn’t like is that it doesn’t come with traffic data. But given how inexpensive it is, I can live with that.
Founded in 1868, the Rand McNally & Co. started as a printing company. They published their first roadmap in 1904. Over the last century, they have gradually but steadily transformed into a technological company that produces mapping, hardware, and software for commercial purpose.
The TND 530 features a 7-inch HD vibrant display, which is able to show clear and bright images. It has a user-friendly interface which is very easy to operate. The unit also includes a huge suction-mount for installation. Plus a wi-fi support.
What really exciting is though is its ability to forecast weather, which informs you of how the weather will be like. Such small details can be remarkably helpful when you are working on a tight deadline as it lets you plan accordingly and save your precious time.
You are also going to be able to conduct a local search for POI such as truck services, rest areas, and weigh stations. What’s more impressive is that you can search for fuel by brand, price, or fuel type. Moreover, fuel log feature allows you to track your fuel purchases and easily monitor your fuel expenditure.
Another impressive feature is its ability to create customized routes based on information such as vehicle weight, size, and trailer type. That means the route will include minimum hurdles and fit your vehicle perfectly. Regarding the performance, it has a fast processor and can provide directions without delay.
The fact that this unit doesn’t feature live traffic data can bother some people. But that shouldn’t be a deal-breaker as you can include live traffic data by paying an annual fee of less than 20$ from the Rand McNally Dock. Also, map updates are free and take less than a minute to update.
There’s actually a ton to like about this GPS device. To start out with, it allows you to pre-plan your own route with your preferred POIs. Secondly, its custom software is able to create customized routes for your rig, so that you can avoid roads that don’t allow to fit your vehicle.
Featuring a 6-inch color display, it has the most stylish design by far. The welcome screen includes a map with your location and a menu. There is a large speaker on the back, while the ports are located on the bottom. Another fantastic addition to the device is its ability to support more than 30 languages.
Of course, no quality navigator system will be complete without live traffic data and map updates. Fortunately, both lifetime map and lifetime traffic data are included with the price. That means no subscriptions or additional payments for the map updates or real-time traffic data.
You can store no less than four vehicles in the GPS unit, which allows the GPS navigator to seamlessly toggle from one vehicle to another for devising the most efficient routes accordingly.
By pairing the GPS navigator with your Smartphone via Bluetooth, you can play music from your phone or answer your cell phone. What’s also impressive is that it comes with an internal 16 GB memory and also supports MicroSD cards.
What really makes the device unique is its versatility. Its use is not only limited to trucks but can be extended to other vehicles such as cars and buses. The price point makes the device irresistible. Despite having so many high-end features, it is priced at under 250$, which is totally crazy.
Named after Ferdinand Magellan, who happens to be the first person to circumnavigate the whole world, Magellan Navigation Inc. is a renowned manufacturer of GPS devices. The fact that they invented the first GPS navigation makes them an authority in this industry.
Navigating through unfamiliar territory can be tricky and may often result in a speed ticket. The Magellan Roadmate comes in handy to avoid such situations as it can tell if you are speeding and warns you about speed cameras in that area.
Getting live traffic data is often the difference between on-time delivery and hours of delay. Thankfully, this device can tell you if there’s traffic, accident or any construction work going and reroute accordingly. Most importantly, along with the map, traffic updates are free of charge.
One of my favorite features of this navigator is that it uses landmarks to give directions instead of street names. That means instead of saying, “make a right onto Houston Street,” it will say, “once you get to the KFC, turn right” which is a much more effective and simple format than the former.
Another cool thing about the GPS unit is that it contains more than 7 million points of interests. So, finding repair shops or restaurants should no longer be a matter of concern for you.
The 9612T-LM features an extra large 7-inch touch-sensitive color display. Certain buildings are shown in 3d to provide a more realistic experience. To top it off, it supports both landscape and portrait mode.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below, you have a few of the most common queries asked around the internet. Pretty obviously, you may not find an answer to your unique question here. In that case, a google search will help.
1. What does a GPS device do?
A GPS unit is a navigation device, which gives you directions and helps you navigate through unknown places. Apart from that, its functions may include creating customized routes, searching POIs, providing live traffic data, etc.
2. How does the navigator system work?
GPS navigation device receives data from GPS satellites, which enables it to estimate the geographical location of the device. With the help of an operating system, it manages to demonstrate the geographical position on a map and delivers right directions.
3. What is the best truck GPS device for me?
Adopting a one-size-fits-all approach wouldn’t be a wise thing to do as different people have completely different requirements. That being said, some of the best GPS brands are Garmin, Tomtom, and Rand McNally.
4. Is a larger display screen better for GPS devices?
Larger screens help you to see things more clearly. That said smaller screens shouldn’t be an issue if they have clear images and large fonts.
5. Can I install the GPS navigation device by myself?
Installing a GPS device is insanely easy. You can certainly do it on your own and without any professional help.
6. What is the power source of a GPS navigation device?
GPS units come with a rechargeable battery, which can be plugged into the charging port of the vehicle.
7. Does GPS device affect vehicle warranty?
Rest assured that GPS units won’t void the manufacturer’s warranty. The Moss Magnuson Warranty Act of 1975 made sure of that.
8. Can I check fuel usage on my GPS device?
Most of the GPS navigation units allow you to monitor fuel usage and other fuel relevant information.
9. Does the device require an internet connection to provide directions?
No internet connection is required as the device receives data from satellites and shows your position from a previously installed map. However, internet connection is necessary to get live traffic data.
10. How much does a GPS device cost?
It depends on the brand and quality. The price of a quality navigation unit ranges from under 100$ to 500$.
Things to Consider for Shopping
Proper evaluation of a GPS device is vital to make sure that your investment won’t go down the toilet. Here are some features that will help you evaluate the options and identify the best truck GPS for you.
Taking your eyes off the road and squinting at your tiny screen constantly for directions is a dangerous practice and can lead to catastrophic consequences.
So, do yourself a favor and get a GPS navigation system with widescreen and save yourself from eye strain,
Because wider screens allow a better view and easy readings of the directions.
To be able to see properly, at least 5-inch screens are required, while 7-inch screens would be ideal.
If you are wondering whether a large navigator will block your view, then rest assured it won’t. The distance between the dashboard and the windshield in trucks is larger than in cars, and hence, offers a clear view of the road.
Lifetime Map Updates
The map needs to be continuously updated.
Map updates allow the unit to incorporate new roads, make corrections, delete closed businesses, and bring the point of interests up to date.
Now, some brands ask a yearly subscription for the updates, while others include lifetime updates in their price. That said, the initial price of the navigation systems that provide free lifetime map updates might be higher than the ones that don’t feature lifetime updates.
I’d recommend you to go with a GPS device that includes lifetime map updates as it will be more cost-efficient in the longer run.
Traffic jams are a nightmare for truck drivers.
Getting caught in traffic often means spending the night on the road or a significant delay in delivery.
However, a commercial truck GPS can help you escape the traffic.
Several GPS units nowadays offer live traffic data making it possible for you to reroute early and avoid the traffic.
Therefore, buying a navigation system that includes live traffic data can save you both time and money.
Some of the navigation systems offer free lifetime traffic data while others require a monthly/yearly payment.
Being able to create a customized route for your vehicle by entering its specs into the system is surely a fantastic feature to have.
It will avoid low overpasses or neighborhoods that don’t allow trucks to pass.
As a result, you will no longer run the risk of running into a dead and being forced to turn back.
That means it will save you time and help you remain on schedule.
Talking on cell phone while driving can get you into deep trouble.
However, sometimes we need to make urgent calls to clients, owner, or our family members.
A GPS unit with Bluetooth connectivity can be the perfect solution in such occasions. Since they allow you to pair your Smartphone with the device via Bluetooth, you can make or receive calls without breaking the laws.
Every GPS device worth its salt can deliver accurate routing.
After all, the primary objective of getting a navigator is to get proper directions.
Therefore, make sure the routing accuracy of the device is up to the scratch before you invest.
Point of Interests
Point of interests means rest stops such as restaurants, repair shop, gas station, and hotel.
Nearly all of the GPS units contain an extensive amount of detail about POIs to make them easily accessible.
The general rule is: the more POIs a GPS device contains, the better it is for you.
Voice command functionality means you can put addresses and perform other tasks without removing your hands off the wheel.
While it’s undoubtedly cool being able to perform certain tasks with the sound of your voice, but I wouldn’t call it a must-have feature.
People who aren’t native English speakers and find it difficult to understand the direction in English should opt for a device that supports multiple languages.
After all, what good are directions and all the features if you can’t even understand them?
Speed Camera Alerts
Many of us can have a hard time escaping speed tickets, which can result in an increased insurance rate. Even worse, it can even get your driving license suspended.
You may want to buy a GPS device with speed camera alerts to ensure you don’t find yourself in such dreadful scenarios.
Thus, you would do well to get a GPS tracker system that gives speed camera alerts and warns you of the speed limits.
In A Nutshell
While you are on the road, a GPS device is your friend, guide, and companion.
But finding a reliable friend or in this case, the best truck GPS is a tricky job.
The most important question you need to ask before you make a purchase is, does the device meet all your requirements?
If the navigator system ticks all the right boxes, then you have to check if the price is within your budget.
If you are running on a tight budget, you might have to temper your expectations a little bit. In any case, even the best GPS navigation systems aren’t likely to cost you more than a couple of hundred bucks.
Now that you have read my best GPS reviews, you are fully equipped to make your pick. Let me know in the comments section which one you have decided to go with. Gracias!