Best Car GPS Device of 2018 | Best Vehicle Navigation System

Are you looking for best car gps device? Check out our top pick up and buying guide below.

Today’s mobile devices integrate talented and a lot of times, free navigation apps, but not everyone wants to use a smartphone or a tablet for driving directions. With a standalone GPS, you can just leave it in a car and forget about it, until, of course, you are lost in an unfamiliar place. Or you are on a road trip, it’s late night, or you want to avoid sitting in hours of traffic. With goodies like lifetime map updates, local search and free traffic reporting now commonplace, today’s GPS devices do a lot more than they ever have, and they have never been more affordable, thanks in part to stiff competition from those aforementioned nav-enabled smartphones and tablets.

best car gps device 2018Nowadays car GPS system is a must. There’re many reasons as to why you would end up using a separate GPS unit and not your smartphone. Any GPS application such as Google Maps, Waze GPS Device or Apple Maps, will end up eating up so much more battery, date and will bog down the performance of your phone during the whole process. While convenient this proves to be a frustrating thing in some cases, making you wish that there was a dedicated GPS navigation system.

GPS manufacturers with millions of real-world test miles and with years of experience now offer an advanced driver assistance features, geo-based recommendations, voice commands, Bluetooth connectivity and much more on a large HD display.

Furthur for many smartphone users, day-to-day life includes watching their weekly/monthly data allotment dwindle, but modern GPS unit operates independently of Wi-Fi and your data plan. If you are looking for a way to make all this travel more manageable, you will probably love using a proper navigation system. And a navigation system for your car can help you to optimize your route for better driving, travel safely and avoid traffic.

Whether you are upgrading your older car with new technology or just looking for a high-quality navigation partner, our list of best in-car GPS devices is sure to have something to meet your needs. Simply plug yours into a cigarette lighter, adjust your settings, enter your desired destination and you are ready to go.

Check out : How GPS Technology Work?

Updated List Of Best Car GPS Devices

GPS DeviceProduct DimensionCheck Price
1. Garmin nuviCam LMTHD 0.6 x 7.2 x 3.7 inches
2. Garmin Nuvi 3597 LMTHD 6.6 x 6.5 x 3.3 inches
3. TomTom VIA 1605TM 6.2 x 1.4 x 4.2 inches
4. Garmin DriveLuxe 51 LMT-S 0.6 x 5.6 x 3.2 inches
5. Garmin DriveSmart 61 LMT-S 0.7 x 6.8 x 3.9 inches

1. Garmin nuviCam LMTHD  – Best Garmin Handheld GPS

best car gps deviceComplete with a built-in dash cam, the Garmin nuviCam LMTHD offers an incredible overall user experience and comes with great features to help you drive a little safer. While the battery life is not great it only lasts up to thirty minutes; the device comes with a magnetic windshield mount which automatically charges your navigation system. The built-in dash cam is a great feature but is positioned too low for some car models.

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Pros

  • Six-inch screen with high resolution
  • Pinch-to-zoom technology
  • HD traffic updates every thirty seconds
  • Free maps for the device’s lifetime
  • Voice commands for hands-free navigation
  • Bluetooth capability for hands-free calling

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Cons

  • View-obstructing camera position
  • Poor battery life
  • Hard to access video
  • Lower video quality relative to screen size


2. Garmin Nuvi 3597 LMTHD – Best Navigation System Over All

best garmin gps 2018The Garmin Nuvi 3597 LMTHD comes with an easy to use interface and sleek design, which makes it the appealing choice for those who want a simple navigation system. This device is magnetically attached to your dash cradle and is easy to remove and replace with one hand. Voice command capabilities make hands-free searching easy, and you can even search for a variety of locations of interest that come preloaded or add your own to the database.

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Pros

  • Voice and touch responsiveness
  • Dual orientation
  • Bright and clearly displayed picture
  • Capacity for add-on storage
  • The accurate voice command system
  • Bluetooth capability

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Cons

  • Smaller screen than the nüviCam LMTHD
  • Reflective glass
  • Unreliable HD traffic updates


3. TomTom VIA 1605TM – Best Car GPS Device

best tom tom gps deviceThe TomTom VIA 1605TM is a top-notch budget GPS device, thanks to its sharp 6-inch screen, solid feature set, and fair price.

Still not convinced smart-phones are as good as GPS devices? You are not alone. The TomTom VIA 1605TM features the largest screen TomTom has ever used for a GPS device 6 inches, and it’s sharp. And now Magellan has been rocking 7-Inch panels on its RV-focused RoadMate series for a while. But most of those devices are much heavier and larger. Apart from the compelling design, the TomTom VIA 1605TM Best Price at Amazon is a solid performer with a newly refined user interface and accurate routing. Combined with an affordable price, this makes it our new Editors’ Choice for budget stand-alone GPS devices.

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Pros

  • Accurate routing
  • Massive, sharp screen
  • 3D lane assistance looks great
  • No Ads

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Cons

  • No Bluetooth hands-free support
  • No HD Traffic plug-in support


4. Garmin DriveLuxe 51 LMT-S – Best Car Navigation

best car gps 2018Garmin’s DriveLuxe 51 LMT-S has a premium feel to it and is chock full of functionality, features and free lifetime updates for software and maps. It ships with millions of points of interest, along with preloaded maps of North America, and also has a microSD slot in case if you want to download additional maps for other regions.
Furthur maps and other navigation features are easy to see on the color capacitive 5-inch touchscreen, which has an 800 x 480 pixels of resolution. And the straightforward colorful interface is easy to navigate, or you can interact with it using simple voice commands also.

As you drive, you can glimpse at the Garmin DriveLuxe 51 to see navigation info such as nearby upcoming turns, landmarks or lane changes as well as the current speed limit. You can view incoming traffic alerts if you pair your smartphone to the device via Bluetooth such as those for construction, traffic cameras or accidents – through the companion mobile app. It can even help you find parking or allow you to share your location with your friends. Pairing your smartphone to the DriveLuxe 51 also means that you can read a text message, view calendar notifications or see incoming calls at a glance while keeping your hands on the wheel.

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Pros

  • Has voice-activated navigation features
  • Has real-time traffic, parking and map information
  • The fast processor keeps up with you

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Cons

  • Standalone battery life only lasts up to one hour
  • Screen isn’t full high definition
  • Notifications stay on-screen for too long


5. Garmin DriveSmart 61 LMT-S – Best GPS For Your Car

best garmin gps deviceThe DriveSmart 61 LMT-S is not only extremely easy to use, but it also proved capable and plenty powerful during our tests. Inside of its sleek, modern exterior lies an arsenal of both premium and essential features, and an interface with a clean design.

This GPS unit comes with preloaded maps of the United States, Mexico, and Canada, and if you need to download more, there is a slot for a microSD card you can use it. The 61 LMT-S also comes with free map updates for the life of this device. This navigation GPS has an enormous 6.95-inch capacitive touchscreen, with 1024 x 600 pixels of resolution and an edge-to-edge full display. You can also pair your smartphone to the DriveSmart 61 using built-in Wi-Fi so that you can receive traffic, map, software updates as well as make hands-free calls.

It has a battery life of 1 hour and is compatible with a backup camera. This GPS device comes preloaded with maps of North America along with millions of built-in points of interest, like gas stations, hotels, and restaurants. There is also the option to input custom waypoints, like the workplace or your house. You can enter one or many ways, and it automatically gives you the most efficient route for you. While driving, the DriveSmart 61 LMT-S alerts you of upcoming toll roads, turns and changes in speed limits also, and it even tells you when it is time to take a break if you have been going for a while.

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Pros

  • Has a large 6.95-inch capacitive touchscreen display
  • Provides real-time traffic, map, and parking updates
  • Extremely easy-to-use interface

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Cons

  • Powers off/on with a vehicle
  • Mount is snap-in, not magnetic
  • Alerts stay on-screen for too long


Also Check : Best Dashboard Camera for your car.


Car GPS Buying Guide

Here are some of the most important aspect that may influence your decision to buy the best GPS for your car:

Budgeting For Car GPS
Unless money is no object, it is a good idea to start off by setting a general price range. If you are looking to spend less than a hundred dollars, you are probably going to scrimp a little on the features and have to settle for a small screen. You can also look for a bargain on an old model, but make sure that you do not end up with outdated maps that are impossible to update or either costly.
Your budget will also inform your decision to go for an integrated GPS or a standalone device. Head units that include built-in GPS navigation are usually a quite expensive, so you may want to drive away from them unless your existing head unit is begging for an upgrade. In such case, there are some head units, which include integrated GPS navigation that can boast some pretty impressive features.

Core GPS Navigation Features
There are a handful of GPS features that you should look before buying a GPS for your car, but here we listed down the most important ones are:

Screen size and resolution – Though larger screens are more accessible to see at a glance, which is important since you do not have to take your eyes off the road too much. Here resolution is also important since low-resolution images can be tough to read at a distance.

Audible directions – Text-to-speech, or spoken direction is tremendously important from a safety perspective. Most of GPS unit offer this, but some are difficult to understand. And you absolutely want to be able to understand your GPS unit from a safety perspective first.

Type of receiver – This is not an exciting feature, but the overall quality of a GPS is highly depended on how well its receiver works. If a GPS unit has poor sensitivity, it would not accurately show the position of your vehicle on the road.

Automatic routing – Automatic routing will automatically recalculate your route if you deviate from it. This feature is extremely important since reality includes things like accidents and construction that you may need to drive around.

Other less important aspects that can come in handy include:

Traffic – Some of GPS units and apps are capable of displaying traffic data also, which can help you gets where you are going without getting stuck in traffic jams.

3D map view – This feature allows you to view a 3D map of the location, which can help you orientate yourself in different/unfamiliar place.

Lane assist – This feature shows some infographic every time you approach interchange or an exit on a freeway. This is tremendously useful when driving in an unfamiliar place/area since it can help you avoid dangerously late lane changes.

Points of interest – This feature is useful on road trips, and when driving in an unfamiliar place, since it can help you locate restaurants, gas stations, motels, parks, rest stops and other local businesses and landmarks.

Voice input – Some GPS units and apps allow you to set your route, and make alterations, with your voice command. This is useful if you do not have a co-pilot and need to make changes to your route on the fly.

Map Availability
Before you buy a GPS unit for your car, you should also look into availability and timeliness of map updates.
This is important especially if you are buying a discounted unit that is a little long in the tooth. While it is possible to find some incredible deals by shopping for old stock and factory refurbished car GPS units, it is vital to make sure that you do not get stuck with old map data.
If the map updates are expensive — or the company is not putting out updates anymore — then it might be wise to take a pass.


How Does GPS Technology Work?

How GPS Technology Work? Every aspect will be discussed about a GPS technology, let’s start:

The (GPS) Global Positioning System is a technical marvel made possible by a group of satellites rotating in Earth’s orbit. It transmits precise signals, allowing GPS receivers to calculate and display accurate location, time information to the user and speed. GPS is owned by the U.S.

By capturing the signals from satellites, Global Positioning System receivers are able to use the mathematical principle of trilateration to pinpoint your current location. With the addition of computing power and data stored in memory such as points of interest, topographic information, road maps, and much more, GPS receivers are able to convert speed, location, and time information into a useful display format.

how gps technology workInvention and Evolution of GPS
GPS was originally created by the U.S Department of Defense (DOD) as a military application. This system has been active since the early 1980s and began to become useful to civilian people in the late 1990s with the advent of devices used by people that support it. Consumer Global Positioning System has since become a multi-billion dollar industry with a wide array of services, products, and internet-based utilities. As with most technology, its development is ongoing; while it is a true modern marvel, engineers recognize its limitations and continuously working to overcome them.

GPS Capabilities

  • In all weather conditions, GPS works accurately, around the clock, and all around the globe.
  • There are no subscription charges to use GPS signals.
  • GPS receivers generally work well within 15 meters, and newer models that use (WAAS) Wide Area Augmentation System signals are accurate within 3 meters.

GPS Limitations

  • GPS signals may be blocked by skyscrapers, dense forest, canyon walls, walls, bridges, and the like, making accurate GPS navigation difficult or impossible.
  • Likewise, GPS does not work well in indoor and underground spaces.
  • Radio interference, satellite maintenance, and solar storms can cause coverage gaps.

An International Effort
The United State.-owned And -operated GPS is the world’s most widely used space-based satellite navigation system, but Russian GLONASS satellite constellation also provides such global service. Some consumer GPS devices use both systems to increase the likelihood of capturing sufficient position data and improvement of accuracy.

GPS systems work in 5 simple steps.

  • GPS is based on the “Trilateration Principle.”
  • To trilateration, a GPS receiver measures the distance through the travel time of radio signals.
  • Along with distance, GPS can locate the exact position of the satellites in space.
  • GPS uses very accurate timing to measure the travel time.
  • Finally, this system can correct for any delays that signal experiences as it travels throughout the atmosphere.


Trilateration Principle
Trilateration Principle is used to find the exact location of something or someone. It compares a person’s exact location from three or more places to determine a person’s exact location. Let us say there is a GPS unit located 600 miles away from Minneapolis. This means that it must be some point on a circle with a 600-mile radius around Minneapolis. If it is also 450-miles away from Boise, the GPS unit must be located at one of the two points where these two circles intersect. If we add a third measurement, like 700-miles from Tucson, we find that the three circles intersect in Denver. The GPS unit is therefore located in Denver.

Interesting Facts About GPS
The working of GPS is a mystery to many of the people who use it regularly. These factoids might surprise you:

  • Civilian GPS uses one frequency, while military uses two frequencies. This increases accuracy. Dual-frequency GPS devices are available to civilians, but their size and cost make them impractical.
  • The United State’s government is engaged in an ongoing, modernization program and multibillion-dollar improvement.
  • U.S. taxpayers fund the world’s GPS services, through the Department of Defense. The 2017 budget was about 900 million dollars.
  • An American joint military/civil body, the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Timing, and Navigation oversees the GPS. The U.S. Air Force maintains and operates it.
  • As of 2017, 24 GPS satellites circle the Earth.
  • GPS is essential to devices, services, conveniences we take for granted every day, such as cell phones, computers, watches, weather forecasting, navigation, energy delivery, and emergency/disaster response.
  • GPS is crucial to national security. All new military equipment is GPS-equipped.
  • Industries from banking, aviation, construction, and shipping to financial markets, farming, and so many more rely on the accuracy of GPS.
  • GPS informs the world’s sea, air, and road transportation systems.

GPS has many real-world applications. It is used by farmers, pilots, delivery drivers, sailors, scientists, soldiers, and many other professionals. The applications for GPS, however, fall into five broad categories:

  • Mapping
  • Location
  • Tracking
  • Navigation
  • Timing
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