If you’re driving around in your truck and want to start using a Truck GPS unit, then you need to realize that you cannot simply buy a standard car gps off the shelf as you will run into problems.
When you’re driving around in your truck, you need to think about what streets you can drive down and which you cannot. If you don’t, you could find yourself driving down a road that has a really low bridge halfway along that you cannot fit under. The consequences of this are not worth thinking about and at worst case will probably ruin your day.
Choosing the right Truck GPS device can be challenging as you need to find a device that you can trust and almost put your life in its hands. A truck GPS navigation system will work by calculating the best route for you based upon a criteria that fits into your trucks dimensions. It will therefore take into account your trucks length, width, height and weight meaning that any routes that it calculates for you, will take you around low bridges or restricted roads.
Typically these types of satellite navigation systems also come with much larger screens to allow you to see you device from across your cabin and also to allow for much more information to be shown at any one time than a standard GPS system.
Typically they will also come with dual-screens meaning that at any one time you can view both your direction to your destination and other information such as the weather, your current speed, the speed limit and even the gradient of the slope that you’re driving down.
As an added bonus, the points of interest databases in truck specific models will also be different given that overnight truck stops will more than likely not be shown on a standard GPS unit.
What’s The Best GPS For Your Truck?
If you don’t want to read the whole review and simple want to know what we thought was the best gps navigation device for your truck or large vehicle, then check out the Garmin Dezl 780 LMT-S which offers trucking-dedicated navigation, including custom truck routing and road warnings, all in one durable device.
Garmin Dezl 780 LMT-S
The Garmin Dezl 780 is our favorite truckers gps navigation unit in 2020 due to its large 7-inch screen rugged design, crystal clear maps, directions and fantastic traffic alerts. It is also possible to buy with a small screen, the 580 has a 5-Inch screen, and even add a camera, the 785 can act as a dash-cam, however our favorite version is the 780 LMT-S that comes with a 7-Inch screen and step-by-step directions. Most importantly, the garmin has been designed for truckers in mind and therefore comes with settings to allow you to enter your trucks length, weight, height and width and calculate routes that take into account of these things.
Overall, we love the Garmin Dezl 780.
What To Look For In A Great Truck GPS Unit
- Screen Size – Look out for the larger screen sizes above 6-inches as these are easier to see especially when they are located on your truck dashboard. Larger screens are also easier to use especially when you’re wearing gloves.
- Detailed Mapping – Look out for units that come with zoom images that offer the ability to zoom all the way into street level and use 3D Maps for streets and highways.
- Traffic Alerts – As a trucker, there is nothing worse than being stuck in traffic knowing it’s costing you money sitting in traffic when you should be getting to your destination and on to your next job. Traffic Alerts keep you out of the worst of the traffic jams and therefore keep you on the move
- Turn-By-Turn Directions to include the ability for your gps navigation unit to show you which lane you should be in at any complex interchanges.
- Weather Forecasts – Ask any trucker and the worst thing they face apart from traffic is the weather. Look out for gps unit that can give you a weather update and keep you out of any storms or snow jets.
- Customizable Features – to include the ability to enter your trucks length, width and height and ensure that our direction are calculated taking into account these dimensions to ensure that you avoid any low bridges or restricted zones.
- Trucking Driver Assists – these could include trucking gas stations or over night locations where you can park your truck and spend the night.
- Extra Features – Estimation of fuel cost, saving preferred routes, toll roads and the cost, Trip Logging with automated log monitor and driver information such as average fuel consumption speed and time to destination.
Best GPS For Truckers 2020
Over the last few years, we’ve reviewed many, if not all the trucking, or truck related GPS models on the market from a range of manufactures. For 2020, we’ve got new models from TomTom (Trucker 600), Garmin (dēzl 780 LMT-S, dēzl 580 LMT-S, dēzlCam 785 LMT-S), Rand McNally (TND TABLET 85, OverDryve 7 Pro, OverDryve™ 8 Pro).
My thoughts on the best GPS for truckers is actually very simple and this is how I made my decision. The Rand McNally’s are all out of contention as they are just too darn difficult to use. The software is a nightmare and I’ve had so many problems.
As an example, if you’re looking for US10, you need to write “US-10” in the address bar, otherwise it will not find it. If you make a mistake while typing the address, you need to start again as you cannot place the curser anywhere but the end. Finally, on my test, the GPS could not find the address I wanted even though Google could, turns out I wasn’t spelling the address right. Either way, its not for me.
This leaves TomTom and the Garmin. The difference between the two is very slight, however I would prefer the TomTom for the simple reason, I hate having to use a smartphone app, to get live traffic updates. When I’m driving, my phone is in my pocket and my GPS on my dashboard. That all said, they are both great units.
One point, Garmin make a DezlCam which is effectively a navigator and a dashboard camera together in one unit. Personally, I would not recommend it. If you want a Dash Cam, then buy a dash camera, but don’t try to combine the two models.
Truck GPS Reviews
In this section we’re looking at truck gps reviews and our written reports from our tests over the last few years. As always we would highly recommend that you stick with the brand names within the Truck GPS sector.
Tom, Garmin and Rand McNally are going to provide you with a GPS unit that will provide you with direction, while at the same time stop you driving into restricted zones and highways. In this sector you cannot rely on a simple import to give you directions when the consequences could be that you’re will drive down a road and have to reverse all the way back as there is a low bridge that you cannot get under.
For this reason, we have left out many of the cheaper imports and trucking gps units that you could buy, but you probably should not be buying.
TomTom Trucker 600/620
The TomTom Trucker 600/620 is the new all new 2020, TomTom Trucking specific GPS and comes with a range of features to get your truck to its destination. The actual unit is not much of an improvement from the older model below.
What has improved vastly is the traffic alerts, and the “mydrive” feature allowing you to plan your routes in advance.
The GPS comes as standard with a 6-Inch screen which while not as big as the Garmin below, is a decent size allowing your to see your directions. Maps have been improved and are now great, as our traffic alerts which are now included as standard and unlike the Garmin, don’t require a smartphone application to work correctly. That said, I do feel the Garmin’s traffic alerts are better, especially in the countryside.
The unit is compatibility with Google Now and Siri and most importantly offers customized truck routing that takes into account your trucks height, weight and length when calculating directions. We specifically like TomTom’s myDrive that allows you to plan routes, check live traffic and save favourite POIs from your smartphone, tablet or PC directly to your navigation device.
Garmin Dēzl 780/580/785 LMT-S
The Garmin 780 LMT-S is a fantastic truckers gps unit, so mcuh so that we think, its the best gps for truckers in 202. The Garmin Dezel comes in a range of three models, the 780 with a 7-Inch screen, the 580 with a 5-Inch screen and the 785 with a 7-Inch screen and a dashboard camera. What we love most is that the Garmin is a tried, tested and developed over the last ten years, gps unit.
Map coverage includes pre-loaded street maps for the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and Bahamas and other than the usual features such as Map updates, Traffic updates and a massive database of truck specific, the device works with Garmin eLog compliant ELD (sold separately) for subscription-free Hours of Service (HOS) recording with no smartphone or tablet required
The key downside of the Garmin Dezl range is the price. They are very expensive, however make sure you check out the refurbished models as often they’re very good and half the price.
Rand McNally 85, 7 Pro, 8 Pro
The Rand McNally range comes with three different models, the TND TABLET 85 with an 8-Inch screen, the OverDryve 8, also with an 8-Inch screen, and the OverDryve 7 Pro with a 7-Inch screen.
In principle, this range comes with lots of useful features that in principle are fantastic. The problem is that this is where the good things stop and the bad starts to appear and just keeps going.
In principle, the Rand McNally GPS units are award-winning, truck-specific navigation devices that offer traffic alerts, directions, receive real-time updates about the weather, traffic, and fuel prices according to your route, include truck POIs, advanced lane guidance, toll costs, warnings, fuel logs, and even allow you to play your favorite SiriusXM satellite radio stations right through your truck stereo.
Garmin Dezl 770LMTHD
The Garmin Dezl 770 LMT-D Trucker’s GPS unit the previous model to the Dezl 780 above. It comes with a range of two models with our favourite being the 770LMT-D with a 7-Inch dual orientations screen and a fleet of features that have be specifically designed to help you get your truck from A to B.
As with the new 2020 version, the 770 comes in a smaller model being the 570 that is great if you’re driving a van or a small truck. The Garmin Dezl 570LMT comes with a 5-inch screen. We like the 770LMT given it comes with a 7-inch screen that will offer the flexibility to see your directions whilst at the same time altering your location whilst your wearing gloves, given the screen is a glove friendly screen.
As soon as you switch on the screen, you’re directed to a screen where you can enter your trucks length, width, height and weight meaning that your trucking gps will calculate routes taking into account your trucks dimensions and any traffic along your route. The Garmin comes with free lifetime traffic updates that allow you to stay out of the worst of the traffic, whilst the free lifetime map updates mean that you are always driving on roads that exists in your gps unit.
Maps are great and provide detailed routes and building locations to help you find your destination, whilst if you reach a difficult junction, the unit switches to a dual orientation screen meaning that on one side of the device you have your route and directions and the other lane guidance showing you which lane you should be in. Bluetooth comes as standard meaning that you can make a receive calls using the in-built speaker and even connect the wireless back up camera to help you when you need to reverse your truck.
Overall the Garmin Dezl 770LMT is a cracking sat nav unit and the free lifetime map, traffic and speed camera alerts will help you keep your sat nav working and up to date for the foreseeable future.