Best Truck GPS: Optimize Your Driving

Find the best route, no matter the job

byElijah Nicholson-Messmer| UPDATED Aug 9, 2022 4:31 AM
Best Truck GPS: Optimize Your Driving

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Best Overall

Garmin dēzl OTR710

Summary
Garmin’s newest dēzl model offers the best combination of intelligent software and durable hardware on the trucker GPS market today.
Pros
  • Segment leading durability
  • Arrival planning with BirdsEye satellite imagery
  • dēzl app integration displays loyalty programs for Love’s Travel Stops and Pilot Travel Centers
Cons
  • Most expensive GPS in the segment
  • Complicated user interface
Best Value

Rand McNally TND 750

Summary
Rand Mcnally’s TND 750 offers some of the best software in the segment at a nearly $200 discount over the Garmin dēzl.
Pros
  • Competitive price point compared to the dēzl
  • On-screen alerts for speed changes, sharp curves, and more
  • Rand Navigation 2.0 customizes navigation based on truck dimensions, fuel prices, live traffic
Cons
  • Users report that the magnetic mount is weak
  • Overall hardware is lower quality than dēzl unit
Honorable Mention

TomTom Trucker 620

Summary
TomTom offers more durable hardware than the Rand McNally unit and a lower price point than the dēzl, but it’s ultimately a master of none in the trucker GPS segment.
Pros
  • Customized navigation for hazardous cargo, truck size, weight, and speed limits
  • Free map updates over built-in Wi-Fi
  • Siri and Google integration available by tapping a button for voice commands
Cons
  • Some users report the Trucker 620 taking them down roads with height and weight limits
  • Sluggish software response at times

Summary List 

Best Overall: Garmin dēzl OTR710

Honorable Mention: TomTom Trucker 620

Best Premium GPS App: Trucker Path

Best Budget GPS App: CoPilot

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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Our Methodology

In a world of Google and Apple Maps, buying a separate GPS unit might seem unnecessary, if not counterproductive. While standard navigation apps do a good job for the average car or SUV, semi-trucks are a different matter. Truckers need to be able to customize their navigation based on cargo, height, weight, and more. I started the search by reading through forum posts of professional truck drivers talking about their experiences and preferences when it comes to navigation options. 

Beyond that, I employed The Drive’s review methodology to evaluate an array of other features including things like real-time traffic updates, hardware durability, mapping updates, and cost. For my primary picks, I included the best GPS units on the market today, but I also included two of the most popular trucker navigation apps that more and more drivers are using in place of a separate unit.

Best Truck GPS Reviews & Recommendations

Specs

  • Battery Life: Up to two hours
  • Screen Size: Seven inches
  • Mounting Device: Suction cup mount

Pros

  • High-resolution BirdsEye satellite imagery creates easy docking
  • Durable, high-quality hardware and bright display
  • App connectivity provides on-screen weigh station and bypass notifications
  • On-screen truck and trailer services directory

Cons

  • High price point compared to other options
  • Some features buried in complicated user interface

Whether you’re a veteran commercial driver or an average sedan driving commuter, you’ve probably heard of Garmin, and for good reason. The newest seven-inch version of the dēzl model, the OTR710, offers arguably the best combination of long-lasting, durable hardware and feature-packed software on the market today. BirdsEye satellite imagery provides drivers easy-to-read, precise aerial views of loading docks, truck entrances, and security gates. Garmin’s mapping creates routes based on the size and weight of your truck. It also will alert drivers to upcoming bridge heights, weight limits, sharp curves, steep grades, and more. Many users debate over which software they prefer best when it comes to GPS units, but where drivers agree the Garmin unequivocally beats out the competition is in its build quality. From its power cable durability to its temperature management, users report that the Garmin has far better build quality. As one driver put it when comparing the screens on the Rand McNally and Garmin units, “it's like moving from standard def to HD compared to the [Rand McNally].”

Specs

  • Battery Capacity (mAh): 4000
  • Screen Size: Seven inches
  • Mounting Device: Magnetic mount

Pros

  • Rand Navigation 2.0 allows for truck-specific route setting
  • Drivers can monitor traffic and weather conditions in real-time
  • Competitive price point in the segment
  • On-screen alerts for speed changes, sharp curves, and more

Cons

  • Poor build quality compared to Garmin GPS
  • Weak magnet makes mounting difficult

With a much greater commercial market, Rand McNally might not be a common name when you think of GPS units. But, for truck drivers across the country, the TND series of GPS navigators has been a longtime travel companion. With the sixth generation TND 750, Rand McNally is offering even more features over its previous models. Rand Navigation 2.0 provides drivers with real-time traffic and weather overlays, 3-D structures and junction views, and comprehensive, truck-specific points of interest. Drivers can track fuel purchases and mileage to calculate fuel economy. The TND allows drivers to create truck-specific routes based on height, weight, and cargo type. Rand McNally regularly garners praise for its software capabilities from truck drivers, but those same users bemoan the lackluster build quality. Drivers report having issues with the power cable durability, reading the screen in bright conditions, and keeping the unit properly attached to its magnetic mount. Still, at a $200 discount over the Garmin unit, many drivers opt for the Rand McNally option despite its hardware shortcomings.
Honorable Mention
TomTom Trucker 620
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Specs

  • Battery Life: Up to one hour
  • Screen Size: Six inches
  • Mounting Device: Magnetic mount

Pros

  • Customizable navigation based on weight, size, and cargo
  • Siri and Google connectivity with a smartphone
  • Large database of relevant points of interest
  • Durable, high-quality hardware at a competitive price

Cons

  • Lacks the more advanced features offered by its competitors
  • Some users report poor route setting

Like Garmin, TomTom is likely a familiar name regardless of if you’ve ever sat behind the wheel of a semi-truck. TomTom makes GPS units largely for regular, everyday sedan and SUV drivers, but their Trucker 620 GPS is targeted specifically at professional truck drivers. The Trucker 620 offers customized navigation for hazardous cargo, truck size, weight, and speed limits. It also includes free map updates over built-in Wi-Fi. If you connect your Android or Apple smartphone you can also access Google and Siri by tapping a button for voice commands. With stopped traffic alerts, the Trucker 620 alerts you ahead of time to slowed traffic so you can avoid harsh braking. With its extensive database of POIs, you can easily find anything you could need on the road, from gas stations to service centers. The TomTom offers better build quality than Rand McNally at a lower price than the Garmin unit, but it still lacks some of the more advanced, useful features that you can find in both the dēzl OTR710 and the TND 750.
Best Premium GPS App
Trucker Path
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Specs

  • Cost: $299 /year
  • Size: 107MB on Android; 274MB on Apple
  • Languages: English

Pros

  • Truck-specific, multiple stop route setting
  • Seven day Diamond plan free trial to try out
  • Large database of POIs expanded by drivers themselves
  • Allows for versatility across devices and mounting systems

Cons

  • Subscription system can become expensive after multiple years
  • Background location tracking can take a toll on device’s battery

While physical GPS units still have a lot to offer, the reality is that for many people their smartphone has long replaced any separate GPS devices. The same is true for professional truck drivers. While apps like Apple and Google Maps don’t offer the array of features that truck drivers need for their work, there are specialized phone apps that fill the gap. Namely, Trucker Path. For $299 a year, the Trucker Path Diamond plan offers users truck-optimized navigation, parking prediction, and multiple stop trip planning. Users also get access to a growing database of POIs, including CAT scales, weigh stations, and repair shops. The Diamond version also includes features such as weigh station status prediction, fuel optimization, and HOS planning. Trucker Path is as durable and reliable as the device you use it on, giving you countless options across Android and Apple devices. With a massive variety of different mounting options for your phone or tablet, you’ll never have to deal with the one, possibly less than perfect, factory mounting option.
Best Budget GPS App
CoPilot
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Specs

  • Cost: $119 /year
  • Size: 65.6MB on Android; 78.4MB on Apple
  • Languages: English and Spanish, plus 23 others

Pros

  • Customizable navigation based on weight, size, cargo, and Hazmat settings
  • 3D map views for easier navigation
  • Competitive price point compared to similar apps and GPS units
  • 14-day premium free trial

Cons

  • Some users report the app creating inefficient routes

With 5+ million downloads on the Google Play Store, it’s safe to say that the CoPilot GPS app is a popular option among trucker drivers looking for a navigation app for their smartphone or tablet. With one year of truck navigation in the app costing $119, CoPilot is not only the most budget-friendly navigation app on our list, it’s one of the most affordable GPS products on the entire market for truck drivers. CoPilot creates customized routes based on weight, size, cargo, and hazmat settings. The app also includes useful features like voice guidance, turn-by-turn instructions, and 3D map views. Navigation provides drivers precise ETAs based on real-time traffic tracking as well as speed limit alerts to help drivers arrive at their destination quickly and hassle-free. Some users report software bugs after updates, but others have also praised CoPilot’s customer support in helping to resolve any issues they’re experiencing. You can find CoPilot on the Apple and Google app stores, making it usable on almost any Apple or Android device.

Our Verdict

If you want a dedicated GPS unit that does a good job at everything, the Garmin dēzl OTR710 offers the best combination of features packed, reliable software with well-built, durable hardware. If Garmin’s price tag is a bit too steep, Rand McNally’s TND 750 offers incredibly competitive software at a big discount.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Truck GPS

Screen Size

For our best overall and best value picks, we opted for the seven-inch versions of the Garmin and Rand McNally units. This is a popular size among truck drivers for its ease of viewing and compactness. However, the ideal screen size is ultimately going to vary depending on what you want out of your GPS and how you use it. Some drivers say they turn off turn-by-turn voice directions entirely, opting instead to look at a large screen. Other drivers are exactly the opposite, buying the smallest model available since they rely entirely on voice directions from their GPS. Screen size is a big factor in determining the overall price of a GPS, so it’s worth considering exactly what size you need.

Mounting Options

Considering that a mount is one of the simplest pieces of technology you’ll find in a GPS unit, it’s surprising to see how many drivers complain about their shortcomings. Without a solid mount for your GPS, you’re going to be catching it as it falls from your dash or awkwardly rigging up a DIY solution. If you’re looking at physical GPS units, you may not have many mounting options at your disposal. That’s one of the upsides to apps like Truck Path and CoPilot. Since you can use them on whatever Android or Apple device you want, you’re free to select from an entire marketplace of mounting options.

Long-Term Support

A GPS is only as good as the database of information it has to work with. If a GPS doesn’t receive periodic updates to its maps and POI list, it becomes slowly obsolete for the drivers using it. When buying a GPS, it’s worth reading the company’s policy on continued mapping and software updates. As part of this process, you should seek out actual user experiences. Not all updates are useful, some users report them making a device less useful than it was before. An application like CoPilot is notable in part because of its ability to let users generate new POIs, allowing the software to expand and stay relevant to the reality on the road.

Truck GPS Pricing 

A physical GPS device can run anywhere from $200 to $700 depending on the features and screen size you want. The smallest, simplest GPS will still provide you the truck-specific routing you need, but will lack the large, easy-to-read screen and some of the helpful added features found in higher-end models. Depending on your uses, this may or may not be an issue.

Pricing changes when you look at GPS apps. Subscriptions for the ones we listed can run anywhere from $119 to $299 a year, but those prices become more significant across years of use.

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: Can I buy a used GPS?

A: Buying a GPS secondhand can earn you significant savings, but you want to be careful about buying older model years of certain GPS units. As a model gets older, manufacturers may not continue to offer map updates.

Q: How do I equip GPS units for my fleet?

A: If you’re looking to purchase GPS devices for an entire fleet of trucks, you want to look for features such as ELD compliance, real-time tracking, and fleet management software.

Q: Are these GPS devices only for professional drivers?

A: Not necessarily. While many of the features you find across the GPS devices included here are targeted toward working truck drivers, these devices are also popular among groups such as RV drivers.

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