The Best GPS Devices for 2024

Dedicated Global Positioning System (GPS) devices cost much less than smartphones and are something you can leave in your vehicle so its always available. Most newer models offer free traffic reporting, lifetime map updates, and local search, helping them compete with phone-based navigation apps. The market has shrunk significantly in recent years—so much so that PCMag no longer tests and reviews individual GPS devices (something we started doing nearly 20 years ago).

GPS makers such as Magellan and TomTom used to compete in the US, but no longer. Magellan sold off its consumer business to Taiwan-based MiTAC in 2008, and its most recent (but still old) products focus on off-road trails. Meanwhile, TomTom no longer appears to sell standalone GPS units in the US. It does still offer the Go Navigation app (available for Android and iOS), however. Garmin is the only major hardware player left in the US, so our list exclusively covers its most popular and best-rated models. We’ve selected a range that covers different prices and features.

Recommended by Our Editors

Most Affordable

Garmin Drive 53 & Traffic

Why We Picked It

The Garmin Drive 53 & Traffic is one of the smallest, most affordable navigation devices you can get for your car. It has a 5-inch touch screen and comes with 16GB of internal storage for maps and other data, but you can always add more space via the microSD card slot if you run out. You pay a little extra over the standard Drive 53 model to get traffic reports, but you might as well use your phone if you don’t opt for that feature.

Who It’s For

If you want a compact, dependable GPS to leave in your car, the Garmin Drive 53 & Traffic is the way to go. It doesn’t cost a lot and has useful features like driver assists, traffic alerts, and spoken turn-by-turn directions.

Biggest Screen

Garmin DriveSmart 86

Why We Picked It

The Garmin DriveSmart 86 has an 8-inch touch screen that eclipses most phones, providing you with ample space for navigation tasks. It offers live traffic and weather, and supports calling via a Bluetooth connection to your phone. In addition, you can use the built-in Garmin voice assist to get directions. Like the other mainline Garmin models, this comes with 16GB of storage and includes a microSD card slot for expansion.

Who It’s For

If you want to see maps and directions on one of the biggest screens available, the Garmin DriveSmart 86 is the GPS to buy.

Best for a Built-In Dash Cam

Garmin DriveCam 76

Why We Picked It

With a 7-inch screen for navigation and a built-in 1080p dash cam, the Garmin DriveCam 76 serves several purposes. It can help you avoid traffic on the way to your destination, as well as record footage of incidents on the road. Voice support makes using it easy, while smartphone notifications allow you to monitor communications while you keep an eye on the road. You get 16GB of on-device storage but might want to add a microSD card for recordings.

Who It’s For

If you don’t want to pay for both a dash cam and a GPS, this combo device should suit your needs. The screen is large enough to view comfortably and offers all the features of the DriveSmart 86.

Best for Bikers

Garmin zūmo XT2

Why We Picked It

The Garmin Zumo XT 2 provides a 6-inch screen for navigating on your motorcycle. It goes beyond the pavement with offroad maps, satellite imagery, and a track recorder for saving and sharing your routes. An IPX7 rating ensures the device is safe from rain, while 32GB of internal memory and a microSD card slot cover your storage needs. Advantages over the original 5.5-inch Zumo XT include a USB-C port for charging (compared with mini-USB) and the ability to visually plan routes on the device.

Who It’s For

For long-distance motorcycle riding, whether alone or with friends, the Zumo XT 2 has an impressive range of navigation features.

All the Car Tech You Can Handle

Car Tech

(Credit: metamorworks / Shutterstock)

For more advice on upgrading your vehicle, check out some of our favorite ways to soup up your current car with tech. We also have lots of tips on buying the best dash cam. And if you decide you want to use your phone for GPS after all, do it safely with one of the best car phone mounts.

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