While many motorists rely on their cell phones for navigation, a GPS system is still a very useful tool for travelers. The best car GPS navigation units are developed by experts with a lot of experience in the industry. Unlike smartphones, the best GPS units for cars typically feature large HD displays and several advanced features to help you reach your destination. Continue reading to learn more about the best GPS units for your car.
Benefits of GPS Navigation for a Car
- Have peace of mind. If you’re on a trip and you have no idea where you’re going, particularly if it’s off the beaten path, the best navigation system will seamlessly get you there. You won’t need to use a map or ask for directions.
- Avoid driver distraction. Distracted driving kills thousands of people a year in the United States. Stay safe by using the best voice-activated GPS so you can keep your eyes on the road.
- Wifi and data signals are not required. The best car GPS system works independently and doesn’t require a WiFi signal or data signal to work. If you lose your cell phone signal or don’t have a robust data plan, a GPS unit is a good alternative.
- Conserve your cell phone battery. While it’s very common to use a smartphone’s map for navigation, the action can quickly drain the power from your phone’s battery.
- Locate nearby amenities. The best GPS units for cars will include not only the route, but also other stops you may like to make during your trip, including restaurants, gas stations, rest areas, and shopping malls.
- Navigate traffic jams. This is particularly important if you’re on a schedule. The best GPS with live traffic will include alerts about roads and highways you may want to avoid, making your trip more pleasant.
Types of GPS for Car
Portable GPS System
The most common types of GPS tracking use cellular and satellite networks. Satellite-based GPS vehicle tracking is more useful in part because it works when cell towers are unavailable. GPS units that are compact are also convenient because you can use them in more than one vehicle.
In-Dash GPS System
In-dash navigation systems are becoming increasingly common in new vehicles. They are no longer restricted to high-end, luxury cars, trucks, and SUVs. They’re intended to give you a wide view without distraction. Your vehicle automatically adjusts radio volume and incoming calls. Even though they come preloaded with maps, they can become outdated over time. Also, you can’t take the GPS with you, and they’re more expensive than portable navigation units.
Several engineers founded Garmin in 1989. The company, which is headquartered in Olathe, Kansas, produces automotive, aviation, marine, fitness, outdoor recreation, and wireless products and is the global leader in GPS navigation technology. One top product is the Garmin Nuvi 2597LMT Navigator System.
GPS navigation consumer electronics company Magellan was founded in 1986 and is headquartered in San Dimas, California. It’s a subsidiary of MiTAC International Corporation, based in Taiwan. One of its top products is the Magellan RM6230SBLUC RoadMate 6230-LMX.
Dutch company TomTom was founded in 1991 and is headquartered in Amsterdam, with offices in 30 countries. It concentrates on connected vehicles, smart mobility, and, in the near future, autonomous driving. One of TomTom’s popular products is the TomTom GO 520 5-Inch GPS Navigation Device.
GPS for Car Pricing
- Under $100: There are some GPS devices in this price range, but they tend to be of lower quality and have fewer features, such as traffic information, and may be less user-friendly.
- $100-$250: Models in this price range usually have numerous features, including voice activation, and are very intuitive. They also tend to have larger screens.
- Over $250: The most expensive GPS navigation systems include in-dash units that either come with your vehicle or are an added feature. They can cost several hundred to several thousand dollars.