Best Truck GPS (Review & Buying Guide) in 2022
Get where you need to go on time with these reliable truck GPS options
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BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED ON November 5, 2021
Trying to navigate a large truck through busy and congested streets can be stressful, especially if you don’t know where you’re going or how to get there. Add to that the fact that some streets are inaccessible to big rigs, and things can get really hectic. This is when having a reliable and up-to-date truck GPS system to help navigate can be a lifesaver. Top-of-the-line truck GPS units offer valuable features that regular handheld or smartphone GPS systems don’t have. Many will show you which roads are closed off to trucks, and they’ll help you navigate some of the country’s most remote roadways without the need for cell-phone reception. If you’re looking to upgrade or purchase a new truck GPS, check out our extensive list of top picks and our informative buying guide. While even the best truck GPS can’t make you a better driver, it can at least help keep you from getting lost in those unfamiliar cities and towns.
This truck navigation system has a compact five-inch screen and includes free lifetime map updates and free live traffic..
- Plan your route based on the size and weight of your truck
- Generates alerts for bridge heights and weight limits
- Features a truck and trailer services directory
- Might take you down dead-end roads
- Screen is rather small
- Unit can be difficult to hear even at maximum volume
The TomTom has a six-inch touchscreen, lifetime truck maps, more than 1,500 truck-related points of interest, and lifetime traffic with real-time updates.
- Free maps and traffic reports are accurate and timely
- Fast integration with a cellphone is easy to set up
- Screen is big, bright, and very legible
- Might take you on roads where trucks do not belong
- The device might be difficult to set up
- Interface is clunky
The Rand McNally Truck GPS has a seven-inch screen and gives current weather forecasts along your route, so it’s easy to read on the go.
- Features dynamic current weather forecasts along your route
- Allows you to track fuel purchases and mileage to gauge fuel economy
- Offers 3-D renderings of surrounding buildings and landmarks
- Long-term functionality concerns
- Might not work properly without current updates
- Might not take you on the most direct route
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.
When it comes to choosing a top-of-the-line truck GPS that delivers on all its promises, there are quite a few options to weed through. In order to narrow the field, we decided to stick with name brands that you’re probably familiar with. These companies have a solid track record of providing reliable and high-quality products. We wanted to provide a variety of different price options so that there would be a good option to suit any budget. We also selected only those units that have the most up-to-date technology and user-friendly applications that are specific to the needs of truck drivers, not just regular car GPS users. For more about our selection criteria and methodology, check out The Drive’s Gear About page.
Best Truck GPS Reviews & Recommendations 2021
Our Verdict on Truck GPS Systems
If you’re looking for the most reliable, user-friendly, accurate, and affordable truck GPS, it’s tough to beat the Garmin LMT-S Truck GPS Navigator. It has a compact display and a lot of customizable features for your specific rig.
If you want a great value option that offers excellent functionality without a tough-to-swallow price tag, check out the TomTom Trucker Six-Inch GPS Navigation Device. You won’t be disappointed.
Do you have a go-to when it comes to a reliable and top-quality truck GPS that didn’t make our list? Let us know about it in the comments below.
What to Consider When Buying a Truck GPS
Most GPS units come with some pretty standard features and options, but when you’re buying a GPS for your truck, it needs to have a few added features. You can’t just use the GPS on your cell phone and think that you’ll be able to successfully or easily navigate congested urban streets, low bridges, narrow roads, and restricted access. Check out these must-have specs.
The best truck navigation systems will produce a detailed route, but different systems have different features. For example, some include a 3-D image of the road and allow you to zoom in for a more detailed look. Certain units might also include approved roads for trucks, turn-by-turn directions, and re-routing should you miss a turn.
One of the best things about a high-quality GPS unit is that information is constantly updated so you can receive the latest information about road construction, traffic accidents, and other delays. The systems include additional alerts about toll roads, steep inclines, and other variables that can affect a trip.
This feature enables you to monitor fuel data, mileage, hours of service, hours of idle status, and driving status. The majority of truck GPS devices are automated, which means the data from multiple trucks is sent to one server. This allows fleet managers to keep track of the drivers and troubleshoot any issues.
Fuel locations and pricing
A GPS system can provide fuel-stop locations as well as the cost of fuel at these spots. This allows drivers to select the most cost-effective vendors. Fleet owners can also monitor excessive speeding and engine idling times, which can adversely affect fuel costs.
Truck GPS Key Features
GPS systems come in several sizes. For easy readability, a trucker GPS tablet should be five inches or larger. If it's too small, it will be difficult to see and use the touchscreen. Larger screens are fine, too, because the windshield on a truck is much larger than one on a passenger car. Even one that's eight inches will do the job without blocking the view.
This added feature can be very convenient. Some GPS systems direct you to points of interest on your trip, including rest stops, gas stations, restaurants, hotels, and repair and towing facilities. If required, you can also find the closest health-care facilities, law enforcement agencies, and other emergency services.
Passive versus real-time tracking
Fleet managers often take advantage of this feature. A passive tracking system collects data from a trucker's trip that can be accessed at a later point. In contrast, a real-time tracking system uses satellites to provide information about a trucker's trip in real time.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
Some truck GPS units have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology that allows drivers to use the system hands free. You can operate the device with a microphone and speakers instead of your hands, which keeps your eyes on the road and minimizes distractions. Some also include ports for rearview cameras, smartphones, and other electronic devices.
A truck GPS should have a reliable mounting system so you don't have to hold it in your hands or put it somewhere that's not secure. Most portable truck GPS devices come with mounting hardware to allow you to install it in a safe, easy-to-see location.
Benefits of a Truck GPS
- Get reliable service. Very few people use paper maps these days, and a smartphone has its limitations. A truck GPS is powered by the vehicle's battery, so it will provide a reliable connection and will often stay powered up for at least an hour if it's unplugged.
- Access truck-specific information. A truck GPS device includes information that is not provided by your smartphone. If you want to know which routes are most accessible for trucks or what the various weight limits and speed limits are on certain roads, a truck GPS will provide that kind of information.
- Access maintenance reports. In addition to navigation, the best truck GPS will provide information about the truck itself. For example, it will report the number of miles and hours driven, fuel usage, and tire mileage. This allows you to keep track of your vehicle and make sure you're compliant with maintenance requirements.
- Save money. Time is money for many truckers. You want to get to your destination as quickly as possible, and a GPS system for trucks can calculate the shortest routes. Delays can be costly, but a truck GPS can help you reach your end point efficiently and expeditiously.
- Manage your fleet. If you're a fleet manager, you can track your employees' driving habits and make sure they don't engage in any reckless behavior. Drivers will also be aware that their progress is being tracked, so they are more likely to make safe decisions.
Brands You Should Know
Several engineers founded Garmin in 1989, when it began life as ProNav. The company, which was headquartered in Olathe, Kansas, changed its name to Garmin as an amalgamation of founders Gary Burrell and Min Kao. Today, it’s headquartered in Switzerland and is one of the world’s leading players when it comes to GPS technology. With branches in automotive, aviation, marine, fitness, outdoor recreation, and wireless industries, its products are everywhere. Check out the Garmin Zumo 395 Motorcycle GPS or the Garmin GPSMAP Handheld Unit for your special needs.
Dutch company TomTom was founded in 1991 by four entrepreneurs and is headquartered in Amsterdam with offices in 30 countries. The first TomTom satellite-based navigation system was one of the fastest-selling consumer technology devices ever made. It solidified TomTom as a major player in personal navigation. The company concentrates on connected vehicles, smart mobility, and soon, autonomous driving. The TomTom Go Expert and the TomTom Go Discover are two of the company’s biggest sellers.
Rand McNally has provided motorists with navigational tools and aids for more than 150 years. Founded in 1856 in a small printing shop in Chicago’s Loop, the company began by printing tickets and timetables for the Chicago railway system. It has slowly and steadily expanded to become a behemoth in the mapping and navigation industry. Today, the company uses the best-in-class technology to map out road infrastructure, and its navigation tools are reliable, detailed, and accurate. Its Fleet Management System is one of the most trusted platforms in the trucking and transportation industry.
Truck GPS Pricing
There are a few price points for truck GPS units. If you’re looking for a bargain, you can get a decent GPS for less than $150. They typically have smaller screens and don’t offer a lot of added features but will generally get you where you need to go. For a bit more of an investment, you can spend between $150 and $300 and get easier-to-read, larger touchscreen displays with better graphics, more stable mounting systems, and even truck-specific features such as gas mileage tracking and maintenance reminders. More than $300 is what you’ll spend for the upper echelon of truck GPS units. These models will have many truck-specific features, including customizable routes based on your truck’s size and weight, weather forecasts, longer battery life, and substantial manufacturer’s warranties.
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.
Q: Can a truck GPS help me monitor the condition of the goods I’m transporting?
A: Yes. Most truck GPS systems have the ability to capture data concerning the condition of your cargo, including the temperature of refrigerated units. You can also receive alerts when you engage in activities such as speeding that might compromise your safety when transporting gas or petroleum.
Q: Do truck GPS units have hazmat-specific routes?
A: It depends on the type and brand of device you have. Some allow you to input the type of hazmat you are hauling. This will then create a route based on the class of hazmat in your cargo.
Q: What do I do if my truck GPS device doesn’t respond?
A: Disconnect the device from the power source, turn it off for about 10 minutes, and then power it on. If that doesn’t work, look for a reset button and long-press it. Reconnect the GPS unit to the power source. If the problem persists, contact the brand’s tech support for assistance.