If your truck doesn’t have a GPS, now is the time to get one. Today’s best truck GPS devices can do a lot more than they ever have, and they’ve never been more affordable thanks in part to stiff competition from GPS apps on smartphones and tablets.
Most come with simplified touch-screen interfaces, as well as faster GPS positioning, detailed 3-D graphics and turn-by-turn directions in which the voice speaks the street name or other identifying information. Some of them can even connect to a smartphone via Bluetooth, to get better traffic info, weather updates, voice commands, and alerts to calls, texts, and so on. These days you can also search destinations and plan routes on your desktop or smartphone and send them directly to your truck GPS device.
If you’re searching for the best GPS for your truck, the information below will help you understand how to choose the best GPS for trucking that fits your needs. There are many factors to consider and so many options available, it can be a hard choice to make. Also, to help you narrow down your choices, we’ll also review some of the best truck GPS models on the market that we think are worth your money.
Best Truck GPS Overall
After spending more than 60 hours researching the latest truck GPS models and asking many experienced truck drivers, we recommend the new Garmin dēzl 770LMTHD 7-Inch GPS Navigator as the best truck GPS for most people. This is a GPS device that is designed dedicated to trucks, you’ll find it’s easier to use and more driver-friendly than any other competitor. For a reasonable price, you get Garmin’s highly rated interface, lifetime maps of North America plus lifetime HD digital traffic, more precise voice directions, excellent navigation tools, and the ability to connect with your smartphone via Bluetooth to get extra trip info or to share your location so other people can track your progress.
There are many great features but our prefered feature is “Customized Truck Routing”. Garmin dēzl 770LMTHD has detailed maps for North America that also include truck-related restrictions – like bridge heights, sharp curves, weight limits and more – and related information for most major roads and highways. Just enter your vehicle profile information (customizable by height, weight, length, width and hazardous materials) and find truck-preferred routes suitable for the size and weight of your truck. This is awesome and we think your truck will love. Overall if you are looking for the best truck GPS, then we think the Garmin dēzl 770LMTHD is a perfect choice for you.
Video: Garmin dēzl GPS for Truck
WHY Garmin? We’ve found the Garmin GPS for truckers to be very reliable. By reliable, we don’t mean infallible. All GPS units can and will make errors. But, in our experience, and many other truckers we know, Garmin makes the least number of mistakes. We’ve tested several GPS models, including models for cars, trucks, and RVs, we find them easier to set up and operate than most others on the market. The onscreen programming is easy to set up and they are nice and clear and easy to read.
If Garmin’s truck GPS units are not your choice, Rand Mcnally and TomTom, the two other largest GPS makers for trucks, are a great option to consider. The three companies now offer the best truck GPS units on the market.
Why You Need GPS for Your Truck?
Many people now rely on their smartphone GPS apps for turn-by-turn directions. Google Maps, Waze, Apple Maps are great, their up-to-the-minute traffic information is hard to beat. But these apps have their limits. Most apps use 3/4G connectivity that need a data connection to calculate a route, so if you find yourself in a rural area or other dead zones with limited connectivity, you may wind up hunting around for the right road or asking for directions at a local gas station. And many people like to keep their phones free for calls and music. There’s nothing more frustrating than having your phone’s screen switch from the nav display to an incoming call just as you’re reaching a tricky interchange.
Trucking GPS devices tend to be more expensive, but they are much better than a smartphone GPS app for many reasons. The best truck GPS devices don’t require internet connectivity to access maps and satellites, they use satellite signals, the system keeps track of your position and guides you along the plotted route with visual instructions on the display and verbal instructions via a computer-generated voice. Therefore, if you drive a lot in an area with a poor 3G/4G connectivity or if you don’t own a smartphone (there are a lot of people who don’t own or want a smartphone) then a dedicated truck GPS is the best option.
Using a GPS device in your truck to navigate to your destination is also much easier than using a phone thanks to handy features such as built-in databases and displays. These features clearly show what lane to be in at interchanges and which highway signs to follow (the best Garmin truck GPS devices show 3D views which are great at guiding you through interchanges), a speed-limit display for the road you’re on, a variety of driver and safety alerts, and more natural, landmark-specific voice directions.
Some of the best truck GPS models, such as the Garmin DezlCam LMTHD 6-Inch Truck Navigator, come with a built-in dash cam that automatically captures and saves footage of any collision, which can make all the difference when a fault is being determined.
One of the best things we can get from a GPS app, such as Waze, is the real-time traffic and road info which are very helpful if you’re driving around city streets. Now many truck GPS devices, such as Garmin’s, TomTom’s and Rand McNally’s can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth or cables to give you live traffic information as what you can get from an app.
Tips for Choosing The Best Truck GPS?
When it comes to choosing the best truck GPS, here are things you’ll want to look at:
1. Screen size:
You may be tempted to save a buck by opting for a device with a tiny 3.5-inch screen, but a larger screen is helpful for being able to view the maps and turn-by-turn directions at a glance, which means that you’ll potentially end up spending less time scrutinizing the screen and more time scanning the road ahead. The best GPS for trucks should have a screen size not less than 5-inch. Visibility improves as size increases. Touch screens are easier to use on larger screens. The 7-inch screen has become the preferred size for truck GPS devices. Most truckers with 7-inch GPS were satisfied with their choice.
Bigger Is Usually Better – large vehicles such as trucks and RVs often have windshields that are further away from the driver than in passenger cars. Also, trucks often have larger windshields overall, permitting larger GPS devices without blocking your view of the road. A big-screen 7-inch screen GPS is easier to see in large cabs. Some GPS makers, such as Rand McNally, offer even larger screens, such as the 8-inch Rand McNally OverDryve 8Pro Truck GPS.
2. Lifetime Map Updates:
This is probably the most important thing to look for when selecting the best truck GPS. Map updates not only add new roads to the locally stored map, but also fix errors in older maps (street names, traffic directions), and refresh the database of points of interest (POIs), removing dead entries for closed businesses and adding new destinations. Paying for these updates can get expensive over the long run, but paying a bit extra on the front end for lifetime map updates can save you money and dramatically lengthen the lifetime of your GPS device.
TomTom and Garmin offer lifetime maps of North America (USA and Canada) for all of their truck GPS models. While Rand Mcnally only offers lifetime maps for its “LM” series, including TND 730 LM and TND 530 LM.
3. Built-in Dash Cam
The best GPS for trucks don’t really need a built-in dash cam, but you should consider it. Dash Cam recorded visuals might be a crucial legal evidence to protect you in an unfortunate accident or from an insurance fraud. Sometimes you will be lucky enough to capture a rare footage on your cam that can be viral on YouTube and other social media. Remember, you can’t compare these dash cams with your professional video camera or smartphone camera.
Many GPS makers are offering truck GPS stand-alone units with integrated dashcams. Garmin also sells a unit that, in addition to the dashcam, features lane departure and forward collision warnings. The Garmin DezlCam LMTHD 6-Inch Truck Navigator yet has a Snapshot feature that allows you to capture still images — and even remove the unit from your truck to take pictures of any collision damage.
Some footages recorded from Garmin DezlCam’s built-in Dash Cam (very good quality):
4. Traffic Data
Like built-in dash cam, real-time traffic data isn’t a must. But if the truck GPS device that you’re looking at offers free “lifetime” traffic data, then this issue becomes a no-brainer. For those who live in areas where traffic isn’t a huge issue, traffic data isn’t really necessary. However, for truck drivers in major metropolitan areas where gridlock can be an issue, such as San Francisco, traffic services like TomTom’s HD Traffic and Garmin’s HD Digital Traffic can mean the difference between getting home in time for dinner and sitting in a jam caused by a baseball game.
5. Customized Truck Routing
This is another important feature to take into account when it comes to choosing a new GPS device for your truck. The best truck GPS units should have the truck route feature. Most models reviewed in this article come with this feature.
Customized Truck Routing allows for the creation of truck profiles which allows you and other truck drivers to enter the dimensions of the truck like length, width and weight. This information allows the GPS units to create customized routes that are suitable for the size and weight of the truck.
Best Truck GPS Reviews
1. Garmin dēzl 770LMTHD 7-Inch GPS Navigator Review – Best GPS for Trucks Overall
After spending more than 60 hours researching the latest truck GPS models and asking many experienced truck drivers, we recommend the new Garmin dēzl 770LMTHD 7-Inch GPS Navigator as the best truck GPS for most truck drivers. Its advancements in technology make trucking WAY more convenient than in the good old days.
- 7.0-inch glass display
- Lifetime maps of North America, plus lifetime HD Digital Traffic
- Custom truck routing for the size and weight of your truck
- Truck & Trailer Services Directory, plus points of interest (POIs) highly-rated by truckers
- Road warnings, including sharp curves, bridge heights, weight limits and more
- Display resolution: 800 x 480 pixels
- Voice-activated navigation (via Garmin Speak), Bluetooth, compatible with Garmin backup cameras (sold separately), microSD card (not included)
Customized Truck Routing
One of the features that makes dēzl 770LMTHD the best truck GPS is its simple-to-use “Customized Truck Routing” feature. dēzl 770LMTHD has detailed maps for North America (USA and Canada) that also include truck-related restrictions – like bridge heights, sharp curves, weight limits and more – and related information for most major roads and highways. Just enter your vehicle profile information (customizable by height, weight, length, width and hazardous materials) and find truck-preferred routes suitable for the size and weight of your truck.
Lifetime Maps & HD Digital Traffic
The dēzl 770LMTHD comes bundled with lifetime maps of North America and lifetime real-time traffic. The models with “LMT” in the name mean “free Lifetime Maps & Traffic”. They’re ready to go, right out of the box with no subscription or update fees and no expiration dates. Traffic information is constantly updated. And map updates are available for download up to 4 times a year. So you can always have the most up-to-date maps, points of interest and navigation information available at your fingertips.
Best GPS for truck drivers should come with best real-time traffic service. Garmin’s HD Digital Traffic is one of the best traffic services out there. It delivers updates as often as every 30 seconds over the HD Radio system. That means, driving 60 mph, your dēzl 770LMTHD can receive traffic messages up to every half-mile. On the road, a few seconds’ notice can save minutes or even hours of delay. HD Digital Traffic can tell you how many minutes of delay to expect and if there are any possible detours. It can even confirm whether or not you are on the fastest route. It has a greater coverage area to include interstates, highways and secondary roads – in fact, up to 3 times more side road coverage.
When navigating with a Garmin dēzl GPS, you have several options for how to display the map onscreen, including both 2D and 3D map view modes. 3D map view will display 3D images of surrounding buildings as you navigate. However, 3D building data is not available in all areas, and are most commonly present in major urban areas.
Truck-specific POIs and Services
Need help finding places to go? Locate POIs that professional drivers care about – and have given high ratings – including truck stops, weigh stations, parking, lodging, Wi-Fi and more. You can even search and filter truck stops by brand name or by your preferred amenities, such as showers, scales, Wi-Fi and truck wash.
If the unexpected happens, you can make smarter decisions on the road. The Truck & Trailer Services directory lists more than 30,000 truck repair and service locations in the U.S. and Canada, including those offering after-hours road service.
The Garmin dēzl 770LMTHD Truck GPS comes with all features the best truck GPS has to offer, including voice command, Bluetooth, Smartlink compatible, wireless backup camera compatible, friendly display. If you’re looking for the best GPS for your truck, this is a perfect choice. If you’re looking for a model with a built-in dash cam, consider the Garmin dēzlCam LMTHD 6-inch.
2. Rand McNally TND730 7” IntelliRoute GPS Truck Navigator Review
The Rand McNally TND730 IntelliRoute GPS is one of the best GPS for commercial truck drivers who need a system with an as fast as possible processor for quicker route calculation, point of interest searches, route comparisons, and faster screen-to-screen transitions. This truck-specific GPS unit incorporates hours of testing by truck drivers and was designed to help truckers in each phase of their work day, from planning to driving. With 35% more truck routing information than other GPS units, the device leverages Rand McNally proprietary truck data and know-how derived from over 70 years in the commercial transportation industry.
- 7.0-inch HD touchscreen
- Wifi connected services check the weather, fuel prices, real-time traffic, and estimated toll costs
- Lifetime Maps
- Real-time Traffic sold separately (a receiver + 1-year subscription cost about $60-$100)
- Advanced lane guidance: Be prepared, whether you’re approaching a turn or heading through a complicated intersection
- Compatible with backup camera
Designed for Professional Truck Drivers
The TND730 IntelliRoute is designed to be the best truck GPS unit for professional truckers. One of the key features is RoadWork. Research on the trucking industry reveals that the most persistent problem truckers face is delays caused by road construction. RoadWork provides real-time data on road construction along the route plotted by a driver. Armed with this information, a truck driver is able to be proactive in determining what route to take for optimal efficiency. Plus, TND730 IntelliRoute also provides the up-to-date US and Canadian postal codes, and toll costs, as well as information about weigh stations, rest areas, service plazas, and welcome centers.
One of the key features that makes TND730 IntelliRoute one of the best truck GPS units is its fast, quad-core processor. Although its prior generations (TND720LM) have been fast, the TND730 is positively speedy when it comes to plotting routes and providing other information needed by a truck driver.
3. TomTom Trucker 600 GPS Device Review – Best Budget Truck GPS
Dutch navigation provider TomTom has jumped into the North American truck GPS business with its Trucker 600 GPS Device. TomTom is a giant in Europe but this is its first attempt to crack the US truck navigation market. This device folds around a six-inch screen and can be paired with a smartphone (either iPhone or Android system) to enable the traffic function. It also comes with a secure locking mount so it won’t come tumbling off your windshield when the defrost fan is turned on.
TomTom trucker 600 functions well enough without the phone-driven traffic function, but it’s worth connecting since it does come with lifetime traffic as well as lifetime trucking maps of Canada and the US. Also, TomTom’s MyDrive app allows you to plan a route on your home computer, send it to your phone, and when you start the truck in the morning the route will be automatically downloaded to the GPS. TomTom traffic services need your device to be connected to the Internet to receive the latest information.
Like Garmin and Rand Mcnally, TomTom has “Customized Truck Routing” feature. The unit switches easily between truck, van, auto and bus modes.