Reviews

Best RV GPSes: Control Your Routing Preferences

Find the best route to your favorite camping destination with any of these RV GPS units.

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BY Andra DelMonico / LAST UPDATED ON September 30, 2021

Due to their weight and size, RVs need to navigate more carefully than regular cars and trucks. For that reason, standard GPS units may not efficient in selecting routes. That’s why you need a GPS unit designed specifically for RVs. To help you maneuver through sharp curves, narrow roads, lateral winds, and more, here’s our buying guide for the best RV GPS units.

 
Garmin RV 785 GPS Navigator
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Summary
Summary

A custom-routing GPS navigator with dual-screen orientation that uses your RV’s size and weight to map out the best route for you. It also includes voice-activated navigation and is compatible with smartphones. 

Pros
Pros
  • Intense color display 
  • Gives road warnings and alerts 
  • Includes public RV parks
Cons
Cons
  • Software may crash 
  • Dashcam has a relatively narrow viewing angle
Garmin RV 785 GPS Navigator
 
Ohrex GPS Navigation System
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Summary
Summary

Enjoy fast and accurate tracking of your speed, navigation, and estimated arrival time with this GPS unit. It comes loaded with 2D and 3D maps for North America.

Pros
Pros
  • Free lifetime map updates 
  • Intelligent route planning
Cons
Cons
  • Must contact the manufacturer for map updates 
  • No Bluetooth or Wi-Fi
Ohrex GPS Navigation System
 
Garmin RV 890 RV Navigator
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Summary
Summary

Easily read the eight-inch display on this RV-specific GPS unit. Use the built-in voice assistant for navigating custom pull-behind routes, points of interest, and road warnings.

Pros
Pros
  • Wi-Fi connectivity 
  • RV specific routes, views, and lodging
Cons
Cons
  • Low screen resolution 
  • Simplified maps
Garmin RV 890 RV Navigator

Why Trust Us


Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Why Buy an RV GPS?

  • Convenience. If you are a lone traveler, it may get hard to rely on your smartphone for directions. Furthermore, you may find yourself pulling your RV to the side a couple of times to read the information on your smartphone. Most RV GPS tablets typically have a larger screen than most smartphones, and you won’t have to strain your eyes to read the directions; the information is typically presented in a clear manner and in a well-lit background.
  • Focus on the road. Some RV GPS systems come with voice command software, where the driver speaks out his intended destination, and the system speaks out the directions for the driver to follow. Therefore, the driver doesn’t have to keep on checking the screen for any changes in the route and can also experience hands-free calling via Bluetooth.
  • Entertainment. Most GPS units have a large storage capacity where you can store your music for entertainment when you are on a road trip. Some have FM receivers that provide you with entertainment from your favorite radio stations, and with Bluetooth functionality, you can play the songs that are on your smartphone.
  • Stay on the best roads. RVs are large and heavy, and for that reason, they need to stay on roads that will help the driver avoid low bridges, heavy traffic, narrow roads, weight limits, and roads with plenty of cyclists. Most GPS systems feature live traffic and weather updates, and you will always know what to expect on a specific route.
  • Access the best RV amenities. Most RV GPS systems for travel come preloaded with millions of points of interest. They essentially help the driver access amenities such as hotels, restaurants, service shops, gas stations, recreational centers, and health centers.

Types

Plug-In 

This is the most popular type of GPS unit. It comes with a plug that you will hook into your RV. These units are nice because you can take them with you from one RV to another or use it in your car. Installing them is easier because you’ll mount them on a base that hooks to your dash or the window. They are the most affordable and come with a range of features. For more functionality, some plug-in models also have a battery backup. 

Hardwired 

This type of GPS unit requires you to install it into your RV permanently. It will be a screen that looks similar to a modern passenger car infotainment system. These are the systems that are most likely to have an Android-based operating system. They will also have more infotainment features beyond navigation. This is nice if you have the dashboard space for installation and are looking for more than just a GPS. 

Battery-Operated 

These are the most portable GPS units. You won’t find many RV GPS units that are solely battery-powered. However, there are some, and they are perfect if you plan to take your GPS with you on adventures once you reach the campground. Look for one with a powerful battery that will last several hours. It should also have a quick recharge time, so you aren’t stuck waiting for it to charge. 

Top Brands

Garmin

Founded in Kansas in 1989, Garmin is one of the most well-known brands in global positioning system technology. This company develops and manufacturers navigation technology for automotive, marine, aviation, outdoor, and fitness activities. The Garmin RV 1090 RV GPS Navigator will be the perfect addition to your next RV trip. 

TomTom

Founded in 1991, TomTom is a company that is known throughout the world for portable navigation. Its products are trusted for their reliable performance of satellite navigation. The TomTom - Go Comfort 6-Inch GPS with Built-In Bluetooth has a nicely sized screen and the connectivity you need. 

Rand McNally

Founded in 1856, Rand McNally began as a map, atlas, and globe company. As technology developed, it expanded the product line to include innovative navigational tools. Today its name is trusted for consumer drivers, commercial transportation, and education markets. The Rand McNally TND540 GPS Vehicle Navigation System has an impressive suite of features and reliable performance. 

RV GPS Pricing

  • Under $150: Most RV GPS systems at this price range only offer basic navigation features. You may find either some GPS tablets from a few high-end brands that are old versions or refurbished tablets.
  • $150 to $300: Budget around this much if you are looking for a GPS unit that offers advanced navigation features with a few frills like voice-command software, live traffic updates, Bluetooth functionality, and a large storage capacity.
  • $300 and up: This is the price range for most new and improved GPS tablets from high-end brands. The tablets carry an RV user-specific interface that’s meant to help an RV driver find the easiest, fastest, and most fuel-efficient route to their destination. However, most have a short battery life due to the extra features.

Key Features

Screen Size

The size of the screen you choose will depend on your personal preferences and the amount of space you have available. GPS devices range in size from 3.5 to 10 inches. Generally, the larger the screen, the more expensive the GPS unit will be. Also, consider the screen resolution. The higher the resolution, the sharper the image will be on the screen. Most people like a larger screen because it shows more information and is easier to read. However, a small screen will be less distracting and fit in the cockpit area easier. 

Traffic Data 

Don’t get stuck in unexpected delays from accidents, rush hour traffic, or another traffic-related incident. A GPS unit that gives you live traffic updating will help you avoid the gridlock and keep you on the move. The unit should be able to tell you the current road conditions and give you alternative routes that have less traffic. Advanced units will have features that help you to drive better, such as speed limit changes and traffic camera presence. 

RV-Specific Features

While nothing is stopping you from using any automotive GPS unit, some come with RV-specific features. These are nice to have because they make driving your RV easier and more enjoyable. Some units customize your route to suit the weight and size of your rig. Others provide you with RV points of interest, such as parking, fuel, and campgrounds. 

Other Considerations

  • Portability. If you plan to rent or borrow your RV, then you’ll want a portable GPS that you can take with you. If you don’t have room in the dash for a permanent unit, then a portable one will also be easier to find a place for. You could also bring your portable RV GPS with you in your car for daily driving or shorter road trips. 
  • Updating. Roads are constantly changing, and you need your GPS to have the latest information for the most accurate navigation. Check whether or not the unit comes with free updating or requires you to pay. Then look at how often the manufacturer updates their maps. Some units are quick and easy to update by connecting to Wi-Fi, while others must be plugged into a computer. 
  • User Interface. If the user interface is confusing or the screen is unresponsive, then you’ll find the GPS hard to use. Some units use a familiar platform, such as Android. Others have a custom interface created by the manufacturer. Look at how you navigate through the menus, create a route, or add waypoints.

Best RV GPSes Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Garmin RV 785 GPS Navigator

The Garmin RV 785 GPS Navigator is one of the best RV GPS navigations systems. It has a large, dual-screen display that’s easy to manipulate with voice commands or by touch. The unit offers customized routing according to the size and weight of your vehicle to find the best route for you. You will also get road warnings for lane departure, weight limits, speed limits, and potential hazards including sharp curves, steep grades, and low bridges. 


This Garmin navigator features a special built-in dashcam that records and automatically saves footage from your drive. With an included traffic cable, you can get accurate traffic information and navigate your way out of traffic. You can connect it to a compatible smartphone to get smart notifications or to make hands-free calls. This is possible with the help of the Garmin Drive app, which can be downloaded for free on your smartphone and linked to the GPS navigator via Bluetooth. The unit also features built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, which makes it easy to download world maps and get software updates while you are on the road. 


However, you may experience a software crash when you give it too many commands. This can happen when you try to access more information when it’s in dual-screen mode. The dashcam has a relatively narrow view in comparison to most dashcams, and you may, therefore, get limited information on the incidents around your drive zone. Moreover, it sometimes doesn’t respond to voice commands, especially during high-speed driving.


Best Value
TomTom GO 520 GPS Navigation Device

We recommend the TomTom GO 520 GPS Navigation Device for anyone on a budget but in need of a clear and easy-to-use RV-routing tool. It has a 5-inch touch screen and allows you to make voice-commands when you are driving. When connected to Wi-Fi, you will get free lifetime map updates around the world and updates for the latest software. You will also get accurate and instant traffic updates, while the device intelligently plans an alternative route around the traffic. 


The device can connect with your smartphone via Bluetooth, and is compatible with Siri and Google Now. You only have to tap a button to use the microphone to talk to the voice assistant. The microphone is also designed to facilitate high-quality, hands-free calls. It can also read out your smartphone text messages. What’s more, it can help you save time in inputting data such as street names by saving your previous destinations and bringing them up as suggestions that you can quickly pick from. 


One drawback of the device is that it doesn’t come with sufficient internal memory. You may need to install a micro-SD card to get complete downloads for world maps and system updates. Setting up the GPS may be a slow process and the same goes for linking it to the TomTom smartphone app via Bluetooth. Also, the TomTom app may remain active in the background when the Bluetooth is turned off, which can drain your battery.

Best Value
Ohrex GPS Navigation System

Travel everywhere with this commercial-quality GPS that comes preloaded with maps for the USA, Mexico, and Canada. It stands out because it comes with 2D and 3D maps. While the maps are up to date with 2021 versions, you’ll enjoy free lifetime map updates. To update, you’ll need to connect your unit to a Windows PC. Several nice features come with this navigator, including active lane guidance, speed camera detection, driver alerts, postcodes, addresses, points of interest, coordinates, street name broadcasting and turn-by-turn directions. The screen measures seven inches and is touch-responsive. Program in your rig’s height, width, and weight for custom routing on the best roads. 


One drawback of this GPS unit is that you have to contact the manufacturer to obtain the map updates. This can be tedious and a more intensive process than other navigators. It also doesn't come with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. 

Honorable Mention
Garmin RV 890 RV Navigator

Enjoy the journey with this Garmin GPS on your dash. It features a large eight-inch screen that can display your map in landscape or portrait mode. The routes provided are custom-created for your motorhome and pull-behind. You’ll appreciate the road warnings that help you prepare for sharp curves and changing road conditions. It also comes preloaded with the best spots for staying a few nights in the RV or admiring the view. The built-in Wi-Fi is nice for keeping your maps up to date. The built-in voice assistant makes operating your GPS easy and safer. 


Unfortunately, the screen resolution for this navigator isn’t as sharp as other units on this list. This can result in maps that look slightly blurry or not as crisp as other units. The maps are also simplified, which can leave you feeling like they lack information or details.

Honorable Mention
Garmin Overlanding GPS & Mounts

If you’re looking to do more than just travel in your RV, then this GPS unit is going to be the perfect addition to your setup. It features a seven-inch touch screen that shows you clear on-road navigation and off-road guidance. It comes with preloaded Overlander points of interest and public campgrounds. A standout feature is the topographic maps with public land boundaries, which are perfect for 4x4 riding. The routing created takes the height, weight, and length of your rig into consideration. This unit can pair with four driver-assist cameras and satellite communications. 


The downside of this unit is that you’ll have additional costs if you want full functionality. The four cameras are sold separately. You’ll need to pay for a satellite subscription if you want weather communications, interactive SOS, and two-way text messaging.

Honorable Mention
Rand McNally OverDryve 7 RV GPS

Remember every mile of your next trip with this GPS unit that comes with dual dash cam capabilities. It comes with an 8.0-megapixel forward-facing camera and a 2.0-megapixel self-facing camera. You’ll enjoy RV-specific navigation and free lifetime map updates. The GPS comes with digital Road Atlas and TripMaker. It has a bright 7-inch high-resolution screen and a user-friendly interface. What makes the unit stand out is that you can download your favorite apps, stream audiobooks, podcasts, and music. You’ll like how easy it is to snap the GPS on and off the powered magnetic base. Your unit will come with an aux cable, RV charger, anti-glare screen protector, dash mount disk, magnetic base, and FM transmitter antenna. 


One drawback of this unit is that it uses an Android platform for the interface, which some people may not like. It also doesn’t come with built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Honorable Mention
Garmin RV 1090 RV GPS Navigator

Have more fun on your next RV adventure with this advanced GPS navigator. It features a large, 10-inch high-definition touch screen. It stands out because it creates custom routes that take into account the size and weight of your rig. This ensures you have the best route for your motorhome or pull-behind. It will also issue warnings for sharp curves, weight limits, and steep grades. That way, you are never caught unprepared. Your GPS will come preprogrammed with a directory of RV parks and services. The Wi-Fi connectivity makes updating easy. The voice command feature makes using your navigator while driving safer. 


Unfortunately, you may find the user interface to be confusing to navigate at first. However, it gets easier as you use it. The suction cup may also struggle to hold the oversized screen in your windshield.

Tips

  • Avoid buying GPS systems with a gooseneck arm. They tend to vibrate a lot when the vehicle is in motion, and it gets worse when you get on a rough road. The tablet could also fall off and crack if the suction cup comes loose.
  • Always ensure that your smartphone is within 33 feet from the GPS tablet if you would like to maintain a perfect connection between the two.
  • Always ensure that your GPS device’s data communications are enabled to improve signal acquisition time. This will enable your device to give you an accurate estimation of your expected time of arrival and traffic updates in a given location.

FAQs

Q: What general issues should I expect when using an RV GPS?

One common problem you may encounter with high-performance GPS navigation systems is short battery life. Also, some GPS systems have a loose micro SD slot and a poor display. Check if the product has a warranty or purchase a GPS tablet from a reputable source to avoid such inconveniences.

Q: Is an RV GPS reliable at camping sites with overgrown trees?

It depends on how good the signal receiver is. Some GPS systems perform poorly in areas with large trees, tall buildings, or tunnels, as they are blocked from getting a clear signal. However, if you have a portable GPS system, you could walk around before the battery dies and get to a higher or clear point where the GPS system can get a signal.

Q: What should I do if my smartphone doesn’t connect to the GPS?

If you are sure that the GPS unit is Bluetooth compatible, turn both your smartphone and the GPS off and turn them on again. Turn on the Bluetooth on your smartphone and try to reconnect it again. Alternatively, download the GPS system manufacturer’s app on your smartphone and try reconnecting to the GPS tablet via the app.

Final Thoughts

We chose the Garmin RV 785 GPS Navigator as our best pick since it is a top-quality product with a large screen and RV-specific routing technology.

For a more affordable option, the Ohrex GPS Navigation System won't let you down with its lifetime promise of free map updates and intelligent route planning. It can track your speed, navigation, and arrival time.