Best Garmin GPS Devices Rated & Reviewed
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If you’re reading this, chances are that you’ve heard about Garmin. It could also be that you have an idea that they’ve been around for 30 years and that the brand is still quite strong. Indeed, the company is an industry-leader in the production of GPS systems for:
Lately, they’ve ventured into wearables. Yup, they have launched some pretty awesome GPS-enabled watches – but that’s a story for another day. Today, I would like us to talk about the best Garmin GPS systems.
One thing we really like about this company is that they are a one-stop shop for top quality fishing equipment. Whether you’re heading out for an ice fishing trip or just looking for something that you can easily mount on your kayak, they’ve got something for everyone.
What’s more? They don’t leave anything to chance. They supply you with high-quality accessories such as batteries and cables.
Garmin GPS System Comparison Table
Before we proceed with the in-depth reviews, we’d like to provide you with a quick idea of the items reviewed below. Here is a short and comprehensive list that you can specifically use for that.
Garmin nüvi 2597LMT
3.3 x 0.8 x 5.4 inches
Garmin Drive 50
5.5 x 0.8 x 3.3 inches
Garmin eTrex 10
1.3 x 4 x 2.1 inches
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Garmin nuvi 2460LMT
3.3 x 0.6 x 5.4 inches
Garmin Nuvi 2639LMT
0.8 x 6.6 x 3.7 inches
Garmin GPSMAP 64st
1.4 x 2.4 x 6.3 inches
0.7 x 6.8 x 3.9 inches
Garmin RV 770
6.8 x 0.7 x 3.9 inches
Garmin Edge 520 Plus
2.9 x 0.8 x 1.9 inches
Garmin Edge 1030
2.3 x 0.8 x 4.5 inches
10 Best Garmin GPS Systems Reviewed
1. Garmin nüvi 2597LMT
- Easy-To-Use, Dual Orientation, Touchscreen...
- Garmin Real Directions With Garmin Real Voice...
- Photoreal And Bird'S Eye Junction Views Offer...
- Up Ahead Displays Nearby Services Info...
If you enjoy traveling, yet you have a poor sense of direction, a GPS tracker would come in handy in helping you avoid getting lost in what would appear like a thick Amazon jungle due to your unfamiliarity with the place.
Garmin GPS systems are quite reliable and have received positive reviews over the years. At this point, we shall introduce you to the Nuvi 52LM Portable Vehicle GPS by this franchise, which we believe will encourage you to explore more areas without the nagging fear of getting lost in new places. Let us dive into a more in-depth review of this GPS Tracker.
There are a lot of insane specifications in this tracker. First, it comes with lifetime maps for the USA with constant updates. The manufacturer understands that neighborhoods are always changing and these updates will keep up with the developments so that it does not become necessary to acquire a new gadget after a short while.
It also comes with the voice-prompted commands, which means you can make use of the gadget without even looking at it. There is also the speed limit indicator, which will help you remain on the right side of the law even when you are new to a particular town. Other notable features include a sturdy suction cup mount, a touchscreen interface with a 5" color display, and the junction view lane assist.
Other Features and Benefits
The feature that is likely to appeal to you is the lane assist with a junction view. This is because it will alert you on the specific lane that you should be taking as you approach a junction, an exit, or any other turn off the main road.
Then, there is the automatic route recalculation, which will be useful if you take a diversion as it will help you know the way to your first destination as well as the distance. The battery life is also impressive as it is rechargeable, and when fully charged, the battery should serve you for two hours.
The display is touch-sensitive and very easy to use, so you should not experience too much confusion even if it is your first time trying it out. It has a sturdy cup mount that is easily adjustable and also allows for a quick-release of the device.
2. Garmin Drive 50
- DRIVER ALERTS : Receive alerts for upcoming...
- EASY TO USE : Dedicated GPS navigators...
- GARMIN REAL DIRECTIONS : Guides like a...
- FOURSQUARE: Pre loaded data from Foursquare...
If you are on a budget and you need a simple Garmin GPS Tracker, the Garmin 50LM model would be a reasonable place to start. It does not possess extra features like bells, whistles or Bluetooth but features a 5" display, which is a significant preference by RV and car owners.
For the RVs, it would be easier for the driver to view the screen while on a mounted seat. As for the car owners, the touch-sensitive interface is more accessible, and the map visuals are clearer. The 50LM is available at less than $200, and our review will give you more reasons why you should go for it.
The Garmin Nuvi 50LM is made in the USA, and it features a 5" touchscreen that is user-friendly and gives a better visual interaction than a smaller display. It comes loaded with maps with lifetime updates, including changing roads, street names, and points of interest (POIs).
It features up to five million points of interest, and it has a feature that speaks out the street names. It supports a microSD card for expandable memory, weighs 6.30z and has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Other notable features include a Speed limit indicator and a lane assist with junction view.
Other Features and Benefits
With over five million POIs, you can plan on the routes you will be using since all the essential structures such as gas stations and restaurants are included. Further, the free lifetime map updates will ensure that you never have to incur replacement costs just because the scenery has changed.
The lane assist with junction view will ensure that you never miss an exit from the highway. Further, if you need to retrace your route, the device allows you to recalculate the distance and will help you find a way out. The battery life is reliable and will last you up to 2 hours when on a full charge. The 50LM also comes with a suction cup mount and USB cables as extra support for more efficiency.
3. Garmin eTrex10
- Rugged handheld navigator with preloaded...
- WAAS enabled GPS receiver with HotFix and...
- Waterproof to IPX7 standards for protection...
- Support for paperless geocaching and Garmin...
If you are new in the world of GPS tracking devices, the eTrex10 GPS by Garmin would be a decent choice to start with. It is a basic entry-level tracker, and you will have to do without features such as color display and expandable memory. This does not mean that it is an inferior product since it is packed with features such as quick GPS functionality and advanced track navigation.
Further, it is compact with rugged construction that makes it well-suited for hiking, geocaching, and other outdoor explorations.
The eTrex10 comes preloaded with a worldwide base map, and this means that it can be of great help even outside the USA. It is equipped with WAAS and HotFix Satellite prediction that will allow for a more accurate and faster location of your position. So if you are lost deep in the jungle or in a valley, this tracker will bail you out.
It features a 2.2” display which is easy to use. There are also six controls that should help you get the most out of this device. It has a rugged and durable construction plus has a waterproof body to make it suitable for outdoor use even in the harshest weather conditions. The device is powered by two AA batteries that will last you up to 25 hours, which are more than enough for an entire hiking expedition.
Other Features and Benefits
This device is portable, and it comes with a spine that will help you in mounting it on a bike or watercraft. You also have the option of attaching a carabiner clip to it so that you can hang it on your clothes.
You will also be pleased with the paperless geocaching support that will provide accurate information and eliminate the need for walking around with paper printouts or manual entering of data. Just use your USB connection to upload the GPX file onto the device, and you will be good to go. Lastly, it is waterproof up to 1m deep for approximately 30 minutes and comes with a one-year warranty.
4. Garmin nuvi 2460LMT
No products found.
If you are a tech-savvy person and you are always interested in the latest and more advanced GPS trackers, the Nuvi 2460LMT by Garmin would be the right place to start. It contains most of the features from the earlier designs and has some extra ones to ensure that it never disappoints you when you need it.
This GPS navigator is easy to use and affordable, and our review will give you a better understanding as to why we believe you should go for it.
The Garmin Nuvi 2460LMT features a 5" screen which is large and easy to use since the features are clearer and more accessible. Just talk to it, and it will execute whatever you are asking from the gadget. It also allows for hands-free calling and comes with free lifetime maps and traffic. There is also the lane assist with junction view that will help you stay on the right lane as you approach a junction or an exit off the main highway.
Other useful features include Traffic trends that include historical traffic, speaking of street names, Free Lifetime Map Updates, POIs, and additional vital navigation information.
Other Features and Benefits
The Lifetime Map and traffic updates will ensure that you have any changes in the surroundings at your fingertips as they are available for download up to four times a year. The gadget will execute all your voice commands instantly, and this feature allows for hands-free operation to let you focus more on the road.
As for the lane assist and junction view, it will come in handy to help you stay on the proper lane as you approach an exit or simple turn. It will display road signs and junction by use of arrows to give you proper guidance on the lanes that you should be using.
The Garmin Lock is an anti-theft feature that will protect your device from burglars while the emergency locator will come in handy during times of crisis as it will help you find the nearest hospitals, gas stations, police stations, and addresses.
5. Garmin Nuvi 2639LMT
- 6” glass, pinch to zoom display with...
- FOURSQUARE - Search million of additional new...
- Direct Access - Simplifies navigating to...
- LIFETIME MAP UPDATES - Businesses open and...
When it comes to GPS Navigation trackers, there are people with different preferences. There are those who are after low-budget devices with basic features while there are those going for high-end appliances with more advanced qualities. In this case, we are going to look at the Garmin Nuvi 2689LMT that caters for the latter group of customers.
The Nuvi 2689LMT features a 6” display that is bigger and easily viewable from afar. The screen is made from glass, is highly responsive, and you can pinch to zoom. It features Lifetime Map Updates to give you the latest map data so that you can choose your routes adequately in an ever-changing world.
There is also Foursquare that will help you discover the coolest places around such as restaurants and shopping malls. Other useful features include Voice Activated Navigation and Smartphone Link Capability.
Other Features and Benefits
The voice command of this device is handy. You will first issue the command for the Voice Command App to come up and then mention the specific locality that you are interested in. The gadget will comply without any issues.
This voice command feature will especially come in handy when you are driving as it allows you to put more focus on the road. You can also use the Bluetooth function to pair this tracker with your Smartphone, and it will enable hands-free calling, and the device can inform you of a phone call even if your phone is still in the bag.
Further, if a Smartphone operates on Android or iOS, you can use the Smartphone Link app for more remote operations on your device. The Garmin Real Directions feature involves the device talking back to you, and this makes the device more user-friendly. There is also the Direct Access feature that gives you more precise information such as the floor of a store, and so on. Other useful features include the Active lane guidance, the PhotoReal Junction view, and the Bird’s Eye View.
6. Garmin GPSMAP 64st
- Sunlight Readable 2.6 inches color display....
- Expanded Internal Memory 8GB.Display...
- DUAL BATTERY SYSTEM Use with 2 traditional AA...
- Receive Smart Notifications* and pair with...
If you love hiking or bag-packing, it is vital that you have a reliable GPS unit that will help you find your way around and will come in handy if you ever get lost. Most people tend to bring their phones and use their GPS to navigate their way through the hike, but there is always the risk that the battery could die and leave you stranded.
With the Garmin GPSMAP 64st, you have a unit solely dedicated to GPS tracking, though you have to contend with an outdated OS and a short battery life.
The 64st GPSMAP features a 2.6" display and it weighs 9.3oz when the batteries are put in. The manufacturer states that it has a battery life of sixteen hours, although, in reality, it is less. It is IX7 water resistant and has a barometric altimeter to check for changes in altitude and will monitor changes in the weather as well.
The device features a high sensitivity GPS and GLONASS receiver for more accuracy in locations. Its memory is expandable, and it allows up to 8GB of expansion. Lastly, it arrives preloaded with up to 250,000 caches for geocaching.
Other Features and Benefits
If you hate the high maintenance touchscreen devices, this gadget is just for you as you will do all the operations via buttons. It will work even in snowy or wet conditions, and you will not have to be bothered about not being able to operate the device due to a cracked screen as with a touchscreen.
Its water-resistance means that it can withstand splashing from rain, snow, or even the shower. This feature makes it ideal for use by fishermen and hunters as well. Even when loaded with AA batteries, the 64st remains relatively light and will not be too much of a burden for you to carry around.
7. Garmin DriveSmart
- Easy to use GPS navigator with connected...
- Detailed maps of North America with free...
- Provides real time services, such as Live...
- Bluetooth calling, smart notifications and...
If you acquire a pricey GPS tracker, then it should be one that lasts you for a decent duration such that you do not have to incur replacement costs and not see the value for your money. It is for this reason that Garmin introduced the DriveSmart 61 model, which is lightweight and resembles a premium smartphone. It comes with many useful features, the main one being the expansive 6.95" display that will come in handy for those with trouble reading out smaller letters, numbers, and diagrams.
The Garmin DriveSmart 61 NA is a user-friendly GPS tracker with a bright and colored 6.95" Capacitive touch display with a resolution of 1024 X 600 Pixels. It features highly detailed maps of North America and is equipped with free lifetime updates. The built-in Wi-Fi will ensure that updating software and maps is a straightforward process.
The gadget will offer you real-time services such as Live traffic and Select Live Parking, and you can also connect it to your Smartphone via the Smartphone Link app. It is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that should last you for up to one hour when on a full charge. Other notable features include Voice-activated navigation, Bluetooth calling, and smart notifications.
Other Features and Benefits
To start with, the Garmin DriveSmart 61 is easy to use and is loaded with essential features that will ensure that you get excellent performance out of it. The design is sleek while the settings are customizable according to your preference.
The free map updates will ensure that you rely on the most updated information to avoid confusion or getting you lost. The voice navigation feature will guide you in every step you take by referring to the nearest landmark. The voice-activated navigation is also a safety feature as it allows for a hands-free operation and lets you place both hands on the steering wheel for better focus. The speed limit indicator will help you remain on the right side of the law and remain safe as well.
Other safety features include alert for school zones, traffic delays, sharp turns ahead, and even fatigue warning. It comes preloaded with millions of POIs, and this will make your trip around the country much more comfortable. You can also add some of your locations such a work, or even a relative's house. Lastly, it comes with a one-year warranty, and in case of anything, the customer support team is always available via email or on the phone.
8. Garmin RV 770
- Large, high-resolution, 6.95” edge-to-edge...
- Custom RV routing based on size and weight of...
- Access free live traffic, basic weather and...
- Learn of suggested attractions along your...
For the average person, a GPS Navigator for an RV and an average car may seem the same, but a GPS enthusiast can quickly tell you where the difference comes in. A typical car GPS will only give you directions but will not factor in restrictive zones such as low bridges, and this may be a hindrance if you are using an RV.
An RV navigator will help you avoid getting into such a mess, and it is at this point that we introduce you to Garmin 770 RV navigator.
The RV 770 LMT-S GPS Navigator is an advanced navigator that features a large 6.95" display that is easy to read and comes preloaded with maps from the USA and Canada. It features free lifetime maps and traffic updates that will be vital in helping you avoid getting stuck in gridlocks. The device comes with a Dual 12V Car Charger, a micro-fiber cleaning cloth, and an LCD Screen-protector.
Other Features and Benefits
This is an advanced GPS navigator that is lightweight and portable and will fit into your RV comfortably without much complication. The custom routing will help you make adjustments based on your vehicle. The large display will help you view the information more quickly as you try to find your way around. There also route warnings such as bridge heights and weight limits on the North American roads, which will help you prepare for significant changes on the roads.
It also comes with hands-free features such as Smart notifications, Bluetooth calling, and Voice-activated navigation. Lastly, its Smartphone Link app will allow you to connect the device to your Smartphone and enable remote operation.
9. Garmin Edge 520 Plus
- Advanced GPS bike computer for competing and...
- Features advanced navigation, including new...
- Preloaded Strava Live Segments let you...
- Stay connected with your compatible...
The Garmin Edge 520 Plus is an updated version of the 520 Edge, and it is packed with more features than its predecessor. It remains sturdy and button-controlled, but its battery life is improved, and it allows for automatic re-routing, which was not there before. The fact that it does not have a touchscreen means that it is low-maintenance and easier to use.
This bike computer weighs 62.5g and has IPX7 Water-resistance that means it can survive 1m deep underwater for up to thirty minutes. It features a 2.3” diagonal color display and seven buttons for entering commands.
It has no built-in Wi-Fi but has Bluetooth and ANT+ technology sensors. The battery life is 15-hours without navigation and nine-hour with navigation. It pairs with Garmin Radar and Smart Headlight and features advanced fitness metrics.
Other Features and Benefits
The edge 520 Plus is effortless to use with seven buttons to fully control the entire device. The buttons are clearly marked so that you know each function without any confusion. It has a rechargeable lithium ion battery which can last you for up to nine hours. This duration is adequate for most riders to complete a full expedition. The device also comes with a micro-USB cord for charging and also for transferring data to your computer.
Then, it utilizes GPS and GLONASS satellites to achieve more accuracy. Additionally, it has advanced navigation features such as turn by turn navigation, Garmin cycle map, Trailforks App, and Trendline Popularity routing.
10. Garmin Edge 1030
- 3.5” bike computer with comprehensive...
- Trend line popularity routing uses billions...
- Preloaded Garmin cycle map provides...
- New rider-to-rider messaging lets you stay in...
Garmin has a tradition of adding more features as it upgrades its GPS devices and the Edge 1030 is not an exception. It is a fantastic bike computer that targets all cyclists, whether you are a professional or a recreational rider. It came in as a replacement for the Edge 1000 and borrows some features from the Edge 820 to make it bigger and better in most aspects. Let us have a more in-depth review of this device.
The Edge 1030 features a 3.5" color touchscreen that you can operate even with some types of gloves on or even in moist conditions. It weighs 123g without the out-front mount, and it measures 59mm by 114mm by 15mm. This tool arrives preloaded with Strava Routes and even also allows you to add more applications.
It allows Bluetooth pairing with Android and iOS Smartphones, and this will enable the transfer of data. The battery has a battery life of up to 20 hours in addition to the Garmin charge external battery. This device records and measures the cyclic metrics that you cover, and this will be handy for the fitness enthusiasts.
Other Features and Benefits
The back of the device features a removable panel that holds the microSD slot, meaning that it allows for expanding storage. The display is customizable, and you can lay it as per your preference. There are some useful features from the Edge 820 such as the Grouptrack, Incident detection, and LiveTrack, while there are some additions such as rider-to-rider messaging that allows bikers communicate with each other and even share ideas.
You can use the Garmin Connect IQ Store to add third party apps which enhance the usefulness of this device. The battery life and the screen size are improvements from the predecessors for better user experience. Lastly, there is the Trendline feature that will be of great use when you go to explore new areas.
Considerations When Buying A Garmin GPS System
The truth of the matter is that despite the fact that Garmin is a leading producer of GPS systems, not all of their devices are suitable for you. So, just like when choosing any other brand of devices out there, it’s important to be armed with the right guidelines. In the following few lines, we’ll provide you with tips on some of the key features to insist on when buying these systems.
For a long time, GPS systems have been thought of as some clumsy and complicated systems that require a steep learning curve to get used to. But that should not be the case. Luckily, Garmin has been doing a good job of making units that are highly user-friendly.
Some of the key features you should insist on include durable and effective buttons, a backlit screen and a grippy surface for handheld systems. Besides that, lately, there has been an influx of touchscreen devices. These are highly user-friendly although they come at a high cost. We’d specifically be against the use of touchscreen systems for ice-fishing because in that case, you’d need to wear gloves.
Overall Size of the Device
GPS systems are designed to be of different shapes and even sizes. But generally, your best bet is to go for a large screen. With a large screen, it becomes easier to track down all the details that matter. Unfortunately, large screens come at a cost and often increase the overall size of the unit which can reduce its portability.
Another thing you need to keep in mind in relation to the screen is that its resolution also matters. Ideally, you want to invest in a machine that comes with 720p HD or full HD resolution. These perks enable you to get a clear look and can are also easy on your eyes.
So, ask yourself, do you want to prioritize portability or image quality or both? Depending on your preferences you can always adjust your expectations accordingly. We have a thing for not-too-large screens that provide full-HD content. We prefer them over the extra-large ones which may actually offer a low-quality content view.
When it comes to map details, the more the merrier. You want to solely invest in GPS systems that have detailed maps of the location you want to tour. Such gadgets are typically categorized as LMT which means they have Lifetime Maps + Traffic.
Basically, a good GPS system should be capable of providing you with real-time information that you can use to make a practical decision. For instance, it should contain details on important routes and landmarks. If you’re using it to drive, you’d also expect it to have real-time traffic information. The availability of real-time data can help you make proactive choices. For instance, it can help you avoid bad routes and if on the road, it can help you avoid traffic jam and road closures.
The Availability of Voice Commands
Let’s say you are in the middle of a lake, focused on paddling your kayak with your GPS system mounted somewhere on it. You want to keep your eyes keenly on the water or something. And since you only have two hands, how do you go about controlling the GPS system?
This is where voice command control comes in handy. And so, if you know that you’ll be going for solo trips, this is an important feature to have. Not only does it give you an easier time when controlling your watercraft but also it enables you to focus more on things that matter more e.g. the stability of your yak. Plus it also frees up your hands so you can prepare the bait and cast accordingly.
How much are you willing to spend on your device? You really get what you pay for as far as these devices are concerned. For instance, if you are looking for the best Garmin GPS system under 100, chances are that you will end up with a system with a monochrome display. A monochrome display can be quite limiting in detail although can still be used at a small-scale level.
Another alternative way to get a really cheap GPS system is by opting for the used ones. Luckily Amazon also lists down the used systems alongside the new ones for your reference. In our view, if you really want something new and powerful, your best bet is to aim for the under 300 Garmin GPS market. There you’ll find a wide variety of options with features such as:
Please note that you may not always need these features. Some of them are merely add-ons meant to add to your convenience. But quite a few of them like an expanded memory and dual-battery system are quite important – in fact, we’ll break them down further for you below.
You don’t want to compromise on the battery power of your system. That’s because these systems are mainly used outdoors and there is barely enough time to recharge them. As such, your best bet is to go for a system that comes with a powerful battery. As far as batteries are concerned, you can either settle for rechargeable and replaceable ones.
This is the category in which NiMH and Li-ion batteries belong to. Li-ion batteries are known to be the most powerful although quite expensive. NiMH batteries, on the other hand, are more affordable and light in weight though not as powerful as their Li-ion counterparts.
The most common kinds of replaceable batteries used for Garmin GPS system is the AA one. They are typically made up of electrochemical cells and typically take 1.5 volts unless specified otherwise. The main benefit of these batteries is that they are cheap and easy to find.
All the maps and waypoints that you may mark using these devices have to be stored somewhere. And that’s precisely where the need to analyze the options that exist in regards to internal and external storage arises.
In most cases, GPS systems come with internal storage. This may vary depending on the quality of the device you’re using. Of course, if you are going for a system that’s capable of recording high-quality detail, you’ll want to settle for something with 2GB internal memory and above. The option to add external memory through MicroSD card is always a great way to unlock the full potential of some of these devices. So, look out for that feature as well.
There are quite a few things that can affect the quality of your GPS system. For instance, signals can be reflected off walls or blocked by trees or large buildings. As such, it’s important that your GPS system is capable of remaining accurate for your own safety and convenience.
First off, a good Garmin GPS unit is one that provides you with lifetime map updates. That’s because new features always come up and it’s important that your map captures the latest of this kind of data. Besides that, a unit with a good GPS receiver (ideally WAAS-enabled receiver) would be great. That’s in addition to features such as GLONASS support which are extremely important when it comes to ensuring that you get a reliable signal.
Editors Top Garmin Pick?
For us, the Garmin Nuvi 50LM GPS system meets the cut. It has a user-friendly screen with a generous 5” diagonal color display. We really like the fact that it’s easy to control using voice prompts. Unfortunately, it’s quite large and, therefore, not convenient to put in the pockets or hold on your hands for long hours. The good thing, however, is that the manufacturer provides a sturdy suction cup that you can conveniently use to mount it on the surface.
Whether you’re going fishing, planning a road trip or even heading out for a hike, it’s important to have the map around your destination all the time. This way, you can avoid getting lost and if you’re into fishing, you can save the details of the exact places where you catch the most fish.
And as we have seen above, the Garmin line up of GPS systems remains one of the best in the industry. So, you can hardly go wrong if you give one of their systems a shot.