Top 5 Best Portable Car GPS Navigation Systems

Dedicated portable car GPS navigation systems are still popular among drivers, and for good reason. Using a PND instead of your phone frees up your phone’s battery and data for other tasks. Because the maps are stored on the device, there are no disappointments when trying to plan a journey in an area where there is no mobile reception.

On-screen and spoken directions, as well as free lifetime map updates, are included with each of the five models that have been put through the test. In the event that the power cord is lost, the devices will continue to function thanks to the onboard batteries. Those that excel at both usability and utility are the finest.

Depending on the model, some of these five may feature different screen sizes, map locations, traffic information, Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or a backup camera connection for different prices. We looked for the best value in terms of both specs and cost.

Best Portable Car GPS Navigation Systems

1. Garmin DriveSmart 66

Garmin DriveSmart 66 | Car GPS Navigation

Garmin provides the best visual and audible directions, as well as a wide range of useful navigational extras, in all of its products. There’s also Amazon Alexa compatibility, and the DriveSmart 66 has an impressive 6.0-inch display with driver-friendly voice control. The backup camera from Garmin can also be connected to it.

The 6.0-inch capacitive touchscreen is super sharp and allows easy multi-touch zooming More expensive than most smaller GPS models
Includes intuitive voice control, Bluetooth for connecting with Garmin’s smartphone app and Wi-Fi for easy updating As with all dashtop GPS devices, the 66’s traffic info isn’t up to what you get from Google Maps or Apple Maps
Pairing it with Garmin’s smartphone app lets you see live traffic info, weather, fuel prices and parking Map updates for countries outside of North America can be pricey


2. Garmin Drive 52

Garmin Drive 52 | Car GPS Navigation

In terms of navigation, the Garmin Drive 52 is just as good as the DriveSmart 66, but without all the extra features. It’s a great option if you’re just looking to save a little money. The Drive 52 & Traffic adds traffic alerts for about $40 more.

Very good visual and audible navigation at a lower price Its display is smaller and less crisp than the DriveSmart 66’s
Like the DriveSmart 66, it also gives you several handy navigational extras, like driver alerts, TripAdvisor ratings, FourSquare data, US National Park info, and a guide to historic sites You don’t get traffic info, voice control, Bluetooth connectivity or Wi-Fi updating
Can be connected with a Garmin backup camera Can’t be paired with Garmin’s smartphone app for live information


3. TomTom GO Discover 7

TomTom GO Discover 7 | Car GPS Navigation

There are many similarities between TomTom GPS and Garmin GPS DriveSmart models in terms of features and price. In addition, you’ll save money on purchasing new maps when traveling abroad. But overall, it’s not up to the standard of the DriveSmart 66.

Provides free “world” map coverage (with most other models, you need to pay extra for maps outside North America) It lacks many of the handy nav extras of the Garmin models
Has Bluetooth connectivity, Wi-Fi updating, a multi-touch display and a slick powered magnetic mount After the first year, you have to pay for live fuel prices and parking info
Provides real-time traffic, fuel prices and parking info via the TomTom smartphone app More expensive than most of our other recommended models


4. TomTom GO Supreme 5

TomTom GO Supreme 5 | Car GPS Navigation

There are fewer features, but the 7-inch GO Discover’s comprehensive “world” map coverage and most of its other functions are available in the GO Supreme’s 5.0-inch version. For an additional $50, you can get a larger screen (6.0 inches).

Smaller and less expensive than the TomTom GO Discover It has a lower-resolution display than the TomTom GO Discover or Garmin DriveSmart 66
Provides free “world” map coverage (most other GPS models charge extra for maps outside North America) Lacks the GO Discover’s more responsive touchscreen
Has Bluetooth connectivity, Wi-Fi updating, a slick powered magnetic mount and real-time traffic info via the TomTom smartphone app Lacks many of the handy nav extras of the Garmin models


5. Garmin RV 890

Garmin RV 890 | Car GPS Navigation

Mounting this 8.0-inch GPS navigator horizontally or vertically is ideal for larger dashboards. To top it all off, its directions are specifically tailored to the size and weight of your RV or pull-behind trailer, ensuring you won’t encounter any unpleasant routing surprises. Additionally, you get a directory of RV parks and services and other RV-related information from the RV 890.

Calculates the best routes, based on your RV’s size and weight Measuring about 8 x 5 inches, it takes up more room on the dash than smaller models
Provides handy voice control, Bluetooth connectivity to Garmin’s smartphone app and Wi-Fi updating More expensive than traditional GPS devices
Compatible with Garmin GPS PowerSwitch for controlling RV accessories As with all dashtop GPS devices, the RV 890’s’s traffic info isn’t up to what you get from Google Maps or Apple Maps

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FAQs About Best Portable Car GPS Navigation Systems

Why buy a portable GPS instead of using my phone?

Using a phone for navigation is common. It is possible to begin a journey from any location, even in the most remote areas, using a portable GPS, portable navigation device, or dashtop GPS (all the same thing). In order to plan a trip and download maps, a smartphone requires a cellular signal, whereas a portable GPS has built-in maps. Unlike most smartphones, the display on a portable GPS can be as large as 7.0 inches across. Using the GPS device’s microphone and speakers, you can make hands-free phone calls if you have an older car that doesn’t have Bluetooth.

What makes one GPS cost more than another?

They differ in terms of screen size and functionality. You can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi for traffic or device updates, Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, photo radar (traffic camera) alerts, or the ability to connect to a backup camera via a USB port.

Can I use my GPS device outside the US?

For the most part, the device comes preloaded with maps of North America, the United States, and the United States-Canada border region. The ability to purchase additional maps for other continents is available on some mobile devices. Maps of the world are included in a few of them.

How accurate is a portable GPS?

About the distance of a full car length. If you’re driving on a divided interstate highway, it won’t tell you whether you’re in the left or right lane, but it will let you know when to make a right turn. In addition, a GPS can use clearly defined turns to verify the car’s position. Parking garage exits can be a little confusing at first.

Is a GPS better than Google Maps?

Other functions are not an issue with a GPS device that is specifically designed for that purpose. As a result, it’s less prone to stuttering, quitting, or draining the battery as quickly as a smartphone running Google Maps or a similar app. Some GPS units, on the other hand, have built-in data services that can display real-time traffic information, but these services require a smartphone app to be open. There will be more frequent updates, better suggestions, and no need for a second device to use your smartphone’s free GPS apps.


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