The Best RV GPS Navigator Systems in 2020
Comparisons + Buying Guide + Reviews
What's the Best RV GPS? What're the Benefits? What to Consider for a perfect GPS for RV? In this article, We covered every single question like these. Our experts wrote all pieces of the information from their experiences. As our wish, This Article will guide you properly to choose one of the better GPS Navigator systems for your RV. We hope- You'll enjoy the time in here.
We now live in an era where it is not necessary to rely on maps to know where you are or how to get where you’re going. This is entirely due to the expansion of GPS navigation systems and the GPS satellite network. We’ll explain what GPS is, the benefits of using one, and much more one by one.
Top 5 Best RV GPS Systems - Comparison
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What's the RV GPS System Actually?
GPS is short for Global Positioning System. A GPS navigation system connects with three or more satellites to determine exactly where you are. There are 24 baseline satellites in orbit around the earth, though there are many others, all providing location based information for people all over the planet.
GPS systems communicate with these satellites to determine your location.
What Are the Benefits of Using the GPS in Your RV?
We could list a number of benefits of owning a GPS system like peace of mind and reduced aggravation. However, there are a number of concrete benefits that come with owning a GPS system.
01. Cell Phone Coverage Doesn’t Matter
It is possible to use triangulation off of cell phone towers to determine where you are on a modern smartphone. The problem with relying on these apps for navigation is that they’re reliant on cell phone service. If you go deep into the woods, your cell phone may not have service for either making calls or determining where you are.
Another problem with cell phone navigation is that you could have weak coverage, allowing you to make a phone call for help but not know exactly where you are. Yet another concern is the loss of navigation and communications when there is a natural disaster.
If there has been a snowstorm or flooding that kills power in an area, cell phone service goes down – and you lose your ability to navigate, too. If you’re talking to GPS satellites to determine where you are, it works even if the cell phone network isn’t.
What's the differences between GPS based systems and cell phones?
The only minor difference between GPS based systems and cell phones are that the cell phone system may be able to provide more accurate location information. For example, it could tell you where you are within a few feet, whereas a GPS system may give you that answer within a few hundred feet in a worst case scenario.
In these cases, it will tell you that there is a turn ahead that you want to take but can’t count down to the exact moment you need to turn. However, when the GPS system has a clear view and good data, it can be as accurate in hyper-local navigation as a cell phone based system.
02. Never Be Lost Again
There are times when GPS won’t work, such as a dead battery or being deep in a ravine such that the system cannot see the satellites. However, cell phone based navigation apps have the exact same flaws in addition to others. GPS works whether you’re in the ocean or deep desert, far off the grid or in downtown canyons. As long as the GPS can see the sky and has power, it can tell you where you are. With RV GPS, you’ll never get lost again.
03. Up to Date Data
One of the risks you take with maps is that they go out of date. Road names change. Roads are closed and replaced by others. In developing areas, the maps don’t include streets or even major thoroughfares built over the intervening years.
For example, your map may say you have to exit on one street when the toll road now extends another twenty miles. Many GPS systems are tied into map software that is continually kept up to date. You don’t have to wonder if a route is still viable.
A direct benefit of RV GPS systems with supporting map system is that it may give you truly up to date navigation data. It may be able to tell you that northbound traffic is shut down while recommending a better route. It could guide you through detours and ensure that you get back to your main route as quickly as possible. This is another reason that an RV GPS system saves you from getting lost.
A side benefit of navigation systems with ties to GPS is that you can search for services in an unfamiliar area. You could ask for directions to the nearest restaurant or hospital, though you have no idea where it is personally. You could do a quick search for the nearest gas station or RV repair shop when you realize there is a need for it.
04. Fuel Savings
If you can choose the shortest or fastest route to your destination, you won’t waste fuel taking a long winding route. If your RV GPS system can warn you of traffic slowdowns or closed roads, you won’t waste time and fuel driving down a route you’ll just have to backtrack. It could minimize the amount of time you spend idling, as well, in heavy traffic.
You’ll certainly avoid idling while you study maps looking for an alternate route. In all cases, the overall fuel savings could more than recoup the cost of the GPS system. Another benefit is reducing the environmental impact of your RV trip, though most people will simply appreciate the reduced wear and tear on the vehicle.
05. Greater Safety and Security
It is possible for GPS systems to provide greater security and safety. For example, they can track the location of your RV even if you aren’t in it. This means that you could report your RV stolen or missing, and police can track down where it is and, frequently, recover it. You may be able to qualify for lower insurance rates if you have a GPS system in your RV.
A less obvious benefit is being able to direct other people to where you are in case of an emergency. Imagine driving down a road and popping a tire or suffering a medical emergency. You could use the GPS to determine exactly where you are in terms of coordinates and local cross streets even if you cannot see that information yourself.
When the GPS navigation system is tied into a vehicle infotainment system, you could call for help and they use the GPS data to determine where to dispatch emergency services or a mechanic.
Here are the Top 7 Best RV GPS Navigator Full Reviews
We have created a better list of the best RV GPS navigator systems for specific reviews. It could be done after doing a long time deep research about every part of the topic. We told here what's good and what's bad in the single pick. hope- they'll help and guide you as a honest expert. Let's go...
01) Garmin DriveSmart 60 NA LMT GPS Navigator System with Lifetime Maps and Traffic, Smart Notifications, Voice Activation, and Driver Alerts
Editor Rating: 4.5/5
It is voice activated. It offers safety features like driver alerts and smart notifications of upcoming turns, school zones and speed limit changes. The “real directions” mode has it guide you through the city like a local tour guide, pointing out local landmarks as you’re driving.
This model allows you to display calls and texts on the GPS screen, though this doesn’t reduce the need to keep your eyes on the road. It supports Bluetooth calling.
This unit is cheaper than some of its rivals. You can find refurbished units for half that price (or less). The company offers mounts and carrying cases at an additional cost. The battery lasts up to an hour on a single charge; this is a better run time than some other Garmin GPS systems.
One disadvantage of this unit is that it cannot handle heat. At the temperatures it can experience on a hot dashboard, it is prone to malfunction.
The manufacturer promises lifetime map updates and software updates. A disadvantage of this unit is its limited memory. It can’t remember a lot of stops on a route or a long list of addresses.
Adding an SD card only alleviates this issue some of the time. Nor are the software update issues due to limited memory necessarily solved by connecting it to a computer and then trying to run the updates. The software setup can be frustrating. There are reports it only works with USB 2.0, not 3.0.
02) Garmin RV 760LMT Portable GPS Navigator
Editor Rating: 4.4/5
This GPS system is designed with features the RV’er will appreciate. For example, you can select truck routes instead of being sent down residential streets an RV may not be able to navigate.
You can also tell it to identify truck specific services like gas stations that have sufficient clearance for an RV or 18 wheeler or weighing stations.
Furthermore, you can give it specific conditions that help it find the right route for you such as vehicle height and weight. You won’t be sent over a small local bridge that can’t support the vehicle or told to go under a bridge that’s too short.
You’ll be directed to tow services and repair shops that will deal with your type of vehicle. This is the best RV GPS for those driving recreational vehicles rivaling an 18-wheeler in size.
Able to process voice commands
The touch screen is 7” across, fairly large for this price range of GPS systems. It is able to process voice commands. The GPS is compatible with the Garmin model BC 20 wireless back up camera.
That is sold separately, as are mounts and other companion equipment. It does come with one rechargeable lithium ion battery.
You pay dearly for these RV / truck specific features. It is hard to find, and those who sell it charge a premium for it.
Another issue with it is weak traffic updates compared to other models on this list. If you’re driving through urban areas, it is prone to constantly recalculating the route unless you’re driving straight through on the interstate.
The lifetime support warranty means as long as Garmin is supporting the model, not that they’ll support it and maintains the software forever. This may cause problems in the future since this model has already been out for a few years.
03) Magellan RoadMate RV9145-LM - 7-Inch GPS Navigator for RVers
This unit has a decent 7” wide touch screen. The lighting level adjusts based on light levels outside, so it becomes brighter as the world becomes darker.
It is designed for RV’ers. This is demonstrated by the Good Sam Trailer Life Directory that is pre-programmed into the device. This doesn’t just direct you to tow services and repair shops that can work with RVs but highly rated campgrounds.
You can also tell it the size and weight of your vehicle, and it will plan a route that you can drive. Here, you won’t be sent to a bridge you’re too tall to go under.
A novel feature is the Highway Lane Assist function. It doesn’t just tell you to turn right at the next interstate split but to stay in the middle lane so that it goes all the way through.
You pay a premium for these features. It does come with an extension mount; other brands make you pay extra for one.
It is supposed to update its map data for life for free.
A “lifetime” for Magellan is three years. Know how old the unit is before you buy it and assume the map data is up to date. Nor do you have the option to pay for the map data updates. If there are issues with software updates or database updates, Magellan tech support is nearly non-existent.
04) Garmin nüvi 2789LMT 7-Inch Portable Bluetooth Vehicle GPS with Lifetime Maps and Traffic
Editor Rating: 4.5/5
While the Nuvi is available with screens anywhere from 5” to 7” across, we’re recommending the 7” version because of its superior visibility.
It is middle of the pack in terms of price given the range of features it offers. A carrying case and sun shield for this RV GPS cost extra. You can connect this GPS with the BC 30 backup camera, though that costs extra.
Be careful of model numbers because not all backup cameras by this manufacturer are compatible with it.
You can download the Garmin Smartphone Link app to access weather data, but this may cost you money. It could also eat into your cell phone minutes and battery life.
The Garmin nüvi 2789LMT relies on FourSquare for recommended service providers. It gives you both map data and traffic data. It offers Bluetooth and voice control. Give it commands verbally, and talk to incoming callers via the GPS system. This unit stands out for the detailed navigation instructions when you reach destinations like airports or malls.
One downside is that you have to pay extra to get the vaunted traffic navigation advice. Some of the units end up being defective, and Garmin’s customer service in this area is lacking. Tech support, if you reach them, suggests updating the software, though that rarely works. Updating it in general is time consuming and error prone.
05) Magellan eXplorist TRX7 Off-road GPS Navigator for 4x4 Ram Mount Vehicles TN1705SGLUC
Editor Rating: 4.1
This GPS system is somewhat expensive. Where it stands out is its rugged design; you can put this on a 4x4 bouncing along rough trails and it won’t fall apart. However, it doesn’t come with attachments to mount it to an ATV.
This GPS system is truly designed for ATV riders. For example, it has a number of ATV trails saved to memory. However, it doesn’t have snowmobile trails in its memory, so don’t take it on dedicated snowmobile trails unless they’re ATV trails in the summer.
This is the best GPS for RV owners who want to use the same GPS on their ATVs. It has some usefulness if you’re hiking, too, along ATV trails or biking on country roads. The unit has more than 44,000 routes on public lands in its database.
You can even sort them by trail difficulty or rating. You can search for trails that fit your expectations based on height, angle and features you could see from it. It can warn when you when you’ve left the trail.
The unit has a large 7” high definition touchscreen. It has an intuitive interface. A potential issue with this model is that it is hard to find. This is why the few retailers who have it charge a premium for it.
06) Garmin 010-01535-00 RV 660LMT Automotive GPS Wireless Backup Camera Bundle
Editor Rating: 4.2/5
This GPS comes with a compatible wireless backup camera, basic suction cup mount and cleaning cloth. The entire bundle is expensive, but that has to be weighed against the value of everything you’re getting.
In this bundle, you’re paying as much for a GPS system and backup camera as you may pay for a GPS made by someone else.
This GPS is smart enough to take data on the size and weight of your RV and/or trailer and give you a route you can travel. You won’t be sent over bridges you aren’t allowed to cross or under overpasses through which you wouldn’t fit.
It doesn’t send you along steep grades that are hard for an RV to navigate. It can tell you how steep the hill is that you’re on and let you pick a different route at a touch of the screen.
The provided database contains information on campgrounds and service providers that are RV-friendly. You can search for campgrounds that have the amenities that you want.
This GPS system offers many wonderful choices
The GPS offers free lifetime and traffic updates “for life”, but that is the lifetime that the company assigns, not the time that you own it. In three or four years, they can choose to stop maintaining that database.
After that, you’re getting information from Foursquare. That data is available through the Smartphone Link app by the company.
The GPS has a 6” wide screen. It is rather easy to use. And it can give you easy to follow directions in an artificial voice so you don’t have to take your eyes from the road to read the turn by turn directions.
One of the unusual features is the ability to see key intersections from a “birds-eye” view akin to the satellite view in Google maps so you better understand what it looks like.
The GPS itself is Bluetooth compatible, so you can route smart phone calls through the device. You can extend the GPS’ memory by putting a memory card in the microSD card slot.
One of the downsides of this product is the weak visibility through the backup camera. While it works, almost automatically relaying data to the GPS screen, the image quality itself leaves much to be desired.
You’ll be able to see if someone is standing behind the trailer but not identify whom. You can tell that you’re close to a pylon or gas pump but not necessarily how close.
07) Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S RV Dedicated GPS Navigator
This GPS is part of a full bundle. You get extras like a hard shell protective case, a bamboo stylus, screen protector, a car charger and cleaning cloth.
This GPS bundle by Garmin is cheaper than several others on this list while literally coming with more.
The data is rather thorough but not always kept up to date. For example, it doesn’t always keep its list of gas stations up to date.
This is partially solved by installing the compatible app on your smart phone, but now you have to check the app for information you’d get through a higher quality GPS. And you’re draining your smart phone battery when your GPS wouldn’t.
On top of that, your location and vendor information through the app is dependent on access to a cell phone network, and that’s not guaranteed when you’re in rural areas.
However, the app is consistently accurate with regard to bridge information, though that’s not the kind of thing that will radically change, whereas restaurants and gas stations close and move often.
There are complaints that the accessories don’t quite fit the device. For example, the screen protector sent is often too large for the GPS screen. If you’re sent a stylus, it may be a metal pen, not a bamboo stylus. The charging cable that comes with the GPS may not be able to charge it.
Things to Consider before Purchasing A Perfect RV GPS
01) How Easy Is It to Install?
If you want GPS for RV driving, you’ll want to consider how easy it is to install. You have to go through a much longer vehicle to install a GPS system with an integrated rear view camera. If you’re installing a wireless GPS system, you’ll still have to mount it in the dashboard or within the control panel.
How easy it is to install will matter most if you want to use the same GPS system when hiking away from the RV or would prefer to put it in any companion vehicles. If you’re going to install it and leave it there, the complexity of installation matters less unless it is nearly impossible to do it yourself correctly.
If you plan on hiring a professional to install it, the complexity of installation affects the price you’ll pay for that work to be done, and that’s on top of the purchase price of the GPS system.
02) Display/Screen Size
The display size or screen size can affect performance in several ways. A larger screen is easier to manipulate as a touch screen, but a very large screen impacts visibility of the road in front of you. A large display or screen gives you better visibility of the map and directions; this matters most if you have limited vision yourself.
For example, if you need reading glasses, you should prefer a large screen with larger text on the GPS so you don’t have to wear bifocals to read your navigation instructions while driving.
For some, the visibility out of the front of the vehicle means you would prefer a GPS system with a smaller screen. You may be able to find a GPS that integrates with your rear view mirror. You get basic navigation information without adding anything else to the dashboard to clutter it up.
03) Memory/Data Storage
Memory and data storage affects GPS function in several ways. If your GPS device has very little memory, it has to connect to satellites and broader networks to be of any use. A GPS device with saved information about restaurants, gas stations, mechanics and campgrounds can still guide you to one of these venues even if it doesn’t have a clear view of the satellite network. It can guide you to these facilities based on where it thinks you are.
A GPS device with that saved information can also give you this answer without having to check for local references, something it may not be able to do if it can’t see cell phone towers.
Depending on the GPS device, a relative lack of memory means you have to find a compatible memory card so you can save your planned route. That adds to the cost of the GPS system, and you have to worry about not being able to save all the details you’d like. Then there’s the risk that the software in the GPS won’t like your SD card. You risk lacking access to information on your route after you’ve left the house, and you may have to go off the planned route.
Another risk you take with a GPS device with limited memory is that it could have problems updating its software. Do you really want to own a device where you have to delete your route or address book so that its software can update? Do you want to risk having to delete your route information or address list so that you can update the map information?
04) The Feature of the Text-to-Speech
Text to speech can be a very useful feature. If you are constantly checking and responding to text messages, a text to speech function could allow you to respond to text messages without taking your eyes off of the wheel. However, this does require selecting a GPS system that can connect to your phone and translate text messages to speech.
The inverse of this is a GPS device smart enough to accept voice commands and translate it to text. For example, you may want to relay an address verbally to the GPS device and save it as a destination on your route; this saves you from having to pull over and manually enter that information into the database.
Controls matter in several ways. The ease of installation is something you ideally only deal with once, or at most, several times. The controls are something you deal with every time you work with the GPS. It impacts how easy it is to set up a route, make changes to the itinerary, and look at potential stops up ahead.
Another issue is how ergonomic the controls are for you as a driver. If you simply can’t reach the buttons on the control pad or touch screen from where you sit while driving, it isn’t a good choice for you. If the control buttons are so small that your fat fingers will often trip the wrong control, that GPS for RV users isn’t right for you.
Maintenance is an under-appreciated issue with GPS systems. Some GPS systems come with software, but it has to be updated regularly. You run the risk of your GPS being unresponsive as it tries to run a software update even as you’re driving down the highway. This could also result in it being unresponsive until you are able to connect to a computer with good bandwidth to fix it.
A GPS that requires you to run a software update and then reboot it will need to run through this maintenance cycle before you hit the road. Some GPS systems need to have their database of recommended stops updated, whether or not the software itself has to be updated. Others sell you the database as part of the “package” but you have to pay for the subscription to update it.
Another variation of this is the related app, if there is one. You may be able to install a related app on your phone to see recommended services and amenities like RV friendly rest stops as part of the GPS package. However, the app itself has to be updated and maintained just to keep up with the smart phone OS updates.
Do Companies Maintain their Apps?
Some companies don’t maintain their apps, and the apps themselves may error out. Do you want your ability to find an RV friendly campground or repair shop dependent on an app that may be out of date or out of sync? GPS systems that tell you to check your phone for recommended rest stops or services are essentially saying you need to look at your phone while driving or expect you to pull over to safely peruse that information.
Don’t forget battery maintenance. How often do you need to charge a GPS device if it isn’t permanently wired into the dashboard or powered by a charger port plugged into a cigarette lighter? How often do you need to replace the rechargeable battery, and how hard is it to find a replacement battery?
07) Frequency of Your Trips
There are GPS systems that offer RV friendly recommendations. You typically pay more for this feature. The value of this information goes up based on the number of trips you take per year. Conversely, if you rarely take trips in your RV, you don’t want to spend a lot on a GPS for the RV.
08) Predictive Analytics
Predictive analytics in GPS systems typically integrate real time traffic data with navigation instructions. The practical result is that it could recommend a change in the route to get around the traffic pileup a few miles ahead. In theory, it could result in the GPS system recommending restaurants you like as your standard dinner time approaches.
Or it could, based on estimated fuel efficiency, recommend that you fill up at the next stop because there aren’t any RV compatible gas stations for the next two hours. Unfortunately, this can result in ads being broadcast to the user, and a few companies let you get out of this by paying an extra fee not to get ads.
Not all GPS systems are able to see at the level of resolution necessary to tell you which lane you should stay in as you take a split in the road.
You may want to pay for a GPS system that lets you tell it how tall and heavy the vehicle is and never send you down a road and under a bridge that won’t let you pass. This is of greatest importance for those with very tall or heavy RVs.
The best RV GPS system for you will come with the data, tools and features you would value. Bundles may be a deal, but they aren’t always a bargain, so always shop around. Create a list of what you must have in a GPS and the features you’d like to have so you can find the right GPS for your next RV trip.
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