Top 4 Best GPS for Truckers
GPS for truckers is an important safety tool. The best trucker navigation systems help truck drivers avoid roads that are not truck-friendly – low bridges, weight restrictions – recommending the best route to get them from point A to point B. Some truck carriers purchase GPS navigation for trucks and require their drivers to use them. When that happens, the trucking GPS does more than plot out the best way to travel. It also logs miles, records speeds, and takes note of other driving habits that may make a driver unsafe on the roadways. The truck’s GPS also can help meet the federal government’s ELD rule (we talk about that more later).
If you are an independent owner-operator, it is up to you to decide whether to use a GPS for truckers and which one to choose. It is important to note that the GPS systems that are suitable for most vehicles on the roadways are not ideal for truck drivers for several reasons. A regular GPS will not warn truck drivers about road conditions that are unfavorable or dangerous for them to drive their rigs on, nor will it prioritize trucking routes, which makes planning long-haul trips easier. You will want to select a trucking GPS made with a truck driver’s needs in mind. We have compiled a list of the best GPS for truck drivers to help take the guesswork out of finding the right trucking GPS. We also discuss the benefits of using GPS navigation for trucks.
Best Trucker Navigation Systems
There are several trucking GPS systems from which to choose. Some have more features than others, so it is important to identify how you plan to use your truck’s GPS before you buy. We rank the best GPS for trucks, listing the pros and cons for each model to help truck drivers make an informed decision. When we were choosing our list of the best truckers’ GPS systems, we kept the following factors in mind: brand, special features, and customer reviews. While we recognize that no trucking GPS is perfect, these ones have a variety of features and benefits making them worth considering if you are in the market for the best GPS for truck drivers. Here are our favorites in no particular order.
1. Garmin Dezl 580 LMT-S
Garmin is a name brand known for producing quality navigation systems. The Garmin dezl 580 LMT-S is no exception. This Garmin model is the best trucker’s GPS system if you have value in mind. It is loaded with the best trucker navigation maps for North America and is ideal for long-haul truck drivers who visit all 50 states plus Canada or Mexico on their regular routes. Small but mighty, the 5-inch screen on this trucker’s GPS records Hours of Service and features a truck and trailer service directory.
Truck drivers can filter the service directory to look for stops that specifically have showers or other amenities that include hot meals or a place to rest. With its built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, you can easily pair it with your smartphone or a pair of wireless earbuds for hands-free operation. This model is voice-controlled, offering true hands-off GPS navigation for trucks. As a bonus, truck drivers receive free lifetime maps and traffic updates.
The only con with this trucking GPS is the small size of the screen. While it ticks all the other boxes on features a truck driver would want, the screen size is a small drawback. If seeing the screen is problematic, truck drivers can always activate the voice control feature and communicate with the GPS verbally.
2. Rand McNally TND 740
When it comes to the best trucker navigation systems, two names are synonymous with quality: Garmin and Rand McNally. Truck drivers associate these two brands with top-notch features at affordable prices. When we were comparing them side-by-side, it was tough deciding which of these two brands was the better deal. The selling point for the TND 740 is it helps truck drivers conserve fuel by choosing the fastest route. Other fancy features include the ability to enter latitude and longitude coordinates to pinpoint locations and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
The TND 740 earns bonus points for how easy it is to mount in your rig. It also has a slightly larger display (7-inches) than the Garmin dezl 580 LMT-S. Truckers will like that it comes with audio out capability and customizable warnings. It also features truck-specific routing and free lifetime map updates. The advanced lane guidance and lane assist features are helpful for keeping your truck between the lines to avoid accidents while maneuvering your truck on the roadways or in parking lots.
While this handy gadget is easily one of the best trucker GPS systems on the market, it is a bit on the pricier side. The other disadvantage to this GPS is it requires a lot of updates. Truckers who have little time between daily routes may find that a bit frustrating.
3. TomTom Trucker 620
What is not to like about this functional and portable GPS? It easily is one of the best trucker navigation systems out there for a price that will not pinch your piggy bank. It is equipped with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, plus a memory card slot that can handle up to 32 GB of data. It seamlessly integrates with your smartphone to offer true hands-on operation for both devices. You can answer calls and receive real-time traffic updates that are voice-activated to reduce driver distraction. TomTom’s Trucker 620 also boasts customized truck routing and mounts firmly to your windshield for easy operation.
There are two drawbacks to what is otherwise the best trucker GPS available on a budget. First is the screen size. At just 6 inches, it can be difficult to view while operating your rig. That is easily remedied by turning on the voice command function so you can talk to your GPS and receive verbal commands from it in return. The other downside is the battery life. It lasts for about an hour when fully unplugged. Long-haulers will want to keep this device plugged in at all times or risk losing it mid-route.
If a large HD touchscreen is an important feature for you, then the SIXGO 9-inch HD Touchscreen Truck GPS is the right fit. Besides the screen size, there are plenty of things to like about this trucker’s GPS. It comes equipped with a voice assistant and information about specific truck routes. The 3D map viewpoint allows for a more accurate and in-depth view of the route. A day and night mode function makes sure the screen is never a distraction by being too bright or not bright enough. It also boasts an FM radio, audiobook feature, and built-in MP3 player, and supports up to a 32 GB memory card.
There are some downsides to this trucking GPS. The biggest negative is this device has no wireless compatibility with smartphones. While you can transfer files using a memory card, that can get tedious in a hurry. If you can overlook this flaw, it is an affordable device with some worthwhile bells and whistles.
Benefits of Using a Trucking GPS
Truck driving is without a doubt an essential service. Commercial trucks in the U.S. alone haul 10.8 billion tons of products each year. Truckers move 71 percent of American freight, surpassing other modes of transport like boats, planes, and trains.
Numerous challenges await truck drivers, including anxiety, exhaustion, and time spent away from friends and family. Other risks involve reckless drivers and poor weather conditions. Truck drivers should invest in their own well-being with GPS navigation for trucks. There are several benefits involved with using a trucking GPS. Here are just a few.
- It improves driver safety. When you are behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer loaded with precious cargo, fewer things are more stressful than being unsure of which route to take. The best trucker navigation systems can help identify the quickest and safest way to travel. Getting lost or stuck behind slow-moving traffic is never an issue when you are using the best GPS for trucks. A truck’s GPS does more than provide route directions. They also can monitor your speed and driving behaviors to encourage safer driving practices. If you break down, your GPS can help roadside assistance locate you for quicker service.
- It increases productivity. GPS for truckers is one of the most efficient ways to boost productivity. GPS navigation for trucks can identify the quickest routes and help truck drivers avoid accidents and other slowdowns on major routes by interpreting real-time traffic data and providing guidance.
- It makes documentation easier. A U.S. federal government mandate called the ELD rule is designed to enforce Hours of Service (HOS). Truckers must use an ELD to electronically record their Record of Duty Status. ELD replaces the need for a paper log to prove compliance with HOS. The best trucker GPS records your mileage so you can rest easy knowing you have evidence of miles traveled and breaks taken.
Features of the Best Truckers GPS
The best truckers’ GPS systems come with certain features that truck drivers find indispensable when on the roadway. When we were compiling our list of the best GPS for trucks, special features played a crucial role in our selections. Here are some of the common features available in most trucking GPS systems and why they are important.
- Approved roadways. This is one of those features that sets the best GPS for trucks apart from regular GPS systems meant for other vehicles. Truck drivers will never experience the frustration of finding themselves on a road with a weight limit they are exceeding or heading toward an underpass with height restrictions they will not clear with their rig. A top-quality truck’s GPS will alert drivers to these inconveniences and redirect them to better routes.
- Connectivity. The best GPS for truckers comes with the ability to connect to virtually everything – backup cameras, Bluetooth, hands-free voice control, microphones, smartphones, speakers, and Wi-Fi.
- Detailed maps. Any GPS navigation for trucks worth its salt will include this essential feature. If your trucking GPS system is not providing you with detailed maps and verbal guidance for following the instructions, then it is not a quality GPS for truckers.
- Drive assist. The last thing a truck driver wants to think about is breaking down along their journey. It can and does happen, so choosing a GPS for truckers that includes a drive assist tool is a smart move. Drive assist features include information like towing and repair services, truck stops and weigh stations, and other information trucks drivers need to know when on the roadways.
- Fuel conservation. The national average price of a gallon of diesel fuel is over $3 per gallon as of the writing of this article. Fuel easily is one of the biggest expenses truck drivers face. That is why the best trucker navigation systems include features designed to help truckers conserve fuel and track real-time fuel data so truck drivers can evaluate and determine cost-saving measures. Some quality trucking GPS systems will notify truckers in advance of the places with the cheapest diesel fuel along their routes.
- Traffic alerts. Truck drivers can avoid upcoming accidents, construction, and bad weather causing delays with the best GPS for trucks. Some will even warn of speed traps and weigh station requirements along your route.
- Trip logging. A truck’s GPS cannot be used as an approved ELD. That is because an ELD must be synchronized with your truck’s engine to comply with the federal ELD mandate. It can, however, be used as a backup method for verifying the accuracy of the data from your ELD. The best trucker GPS systems record your driving status, mileage, the break and sleep hours, and IFTA fuel data.
The best GPS for trucks will include some, if not all, of these features. Make sure the trucking GPS you choose has the basics so you can get the most bang for your buck.
A Final Word on the Best Truckers GPS
The four trucking GPS models mentioned in this piece are certainly not the only ones available. We opted for a selection that appealed to truck drivers on a tight budget and those who are interested in a fully loaded GPS. Just remember to use your GPS wisely while behind the wheel to avoid safety concerns that can arise from distracted driving.