There’s no charge to await on your smartphone or smartwatch for navigation. We angled up the best handheld GPS accessories for award your way.
While smartphones and GPS watches are absolutely advantageous for navigation, they can’t bout the alternate and abundant capabilities of a handheld GPS. A high-quality handheld GPS will acquiesce you to actualization a layered overview of the terrain, admit waypoints and plan a route, and seamlessly log data.
Compared to a smartphone, a handheld GPS has above advantages, including above backbone and abundant best array life. Simply put, no added affectionate of accessory on the bazaar can booty the abode of a acceptable handheld GPS.
Whether you’re aggravating to break on advance through a whiteout or blueprint an able aisle through the desert, the carriageable GPS accessories on this account will get the job done. While we do still acclaim bringing a map and ambit as an analog advancement in case technology fails you, the articles on this account are the best of the best, and we angle by anniversary one.
We disconnected this account into advantageous categories so you can calmly acquisition the best handheld GPS for your needs:
For added advice about handheld GPSs and what they’re acclimated for, analysis out our buyer’s adviser and FAQ at the end of this article.
Garmin’s GPSMAP 66 alternation ($500) contains four audible models. Of these, the 66sr is the best feature-packed advantage in agreement of technology and functions. Admitting the 66sr is congenital in the aforementioned alien case as some of the added models in the 66 lineup, it’s arranged with a deluge of above features.
The 66sr sports a 3-inch blush affectation that presents adumbration in brittle and alive detail. Abounding users abode that the affectation is brighter and easier to actualization than added models in Garmin’s 66 lineup. Notably, the affectation has been advised to be ablaze alike aback it’s adverse absolute sunlight. No charge to squint!
Garmin congenital multi-band technology into the 66sr, which helps you clue your avenue in abnormally arduous environments such as attenuated canyons and close forests. Area added GPS accessories attempt to abide online, the 66sr shines.
Connectivity via Bluetooth allows you to allotment your waypoints, routes, and geocaches wirelessly with added enabled devices. For abreast acclimate forecasts and activated acclimate radar, the device’s Alive Acclimate affection is authentic and attainable to use.
What absolutely sets the 66sr distant from added models on the bazaar is that it’s the aboriginal alfresco GPS assemblage to advance bristles accessory systems. A accompanying aggregate of GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and IRSS badly improves the accurateness of the device’s mapping capabilities.
The Garmin GPSMAP 66sr comes with the accepted able case and an centralized rechargeable lithium-ion array that the added handheld GPS accessories in the Garmin 66 calendar include. The array can aftermost up to 36 hours in accepted approach and 450 hours in campaign mode. The 66sr is advised waterproof and can bear submersion in baptize up to one beat abysmal for up to 30 minutes.
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The atomic Garmin eTrex 10 ($110) is the absolute analogue of a handheld GPS. For $120, this is a abundant accessory to accede for users who are accommodating to cede a few higher-end actualization in abode of artlessness and affordability. Because the eTrex 10 is advised a baseline unit, it lacks the GPS capabilities of added big-ticket options from Garmin, admitting it still manages to accomplish with absorbing acceleration and accuracy.
The eTrex 10 performs its basal tracking and waypoint-marking duties acutely well. Acknowledgment to its bunched size, this accessory takes up absolute little amplitude in your pack, authoritative it a acceptable addition for expeditions or adventures area weight is a factor. The asperous alien case and affectation are rated to IPX7 and won’t abort aback apparent to rain, splashes, and snow.
For a baseline unit, the eTrex 10 provides solid GPS accession acknowledgment to its chip WAAS/EGNOS receiver that can clue its user with an accurateness appraisement of /- 7 feet. In close timberline awning and attenuated canyons, this accessory is still generally able to advance accessory accession — an absorbing affection for such an affordable device.
Four preset buttons and a distinct toggle for abyssal about the awning add up to a simple user interface that feels automatic appropriate out of the box. Alike while cutting gloves, the eTrex 10 is attainable to operate.
The above downside of this accessory (and its low price) is its complete abridgement of mapping capability. The preloaded abject map that comes with the accessory is bare of detail, and there’s no way to actualization absolute topo maps on the eTrex 10.
While in the field, you acquire to cross after actuality able to actualization any absolute advice about the area you’re covering. For added circuitous aeronautics or expeditionary biking area congenital mapping capabilities are needed, this accessory avalanche short.
For users attractive for a simple accessory that can save and clue waypoints for geocaching or simple abyssal excursions, the eTrex 10 is a pocket-size account advantage that’s able-bodied account its amount tag acknowledgment to a affection body and an automatic user interface.
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The Garmin inReach Mini ($350) is an all-in-one handheld GPS accessory and two-way accessory messenger. Admitting this accessory deserves its abode on this account of abundant handheld GPS devices, it’s absolutely a advice accessory aboriginal and a aeronautics accessory second.
Still, in an abundantly bunched package, the inReach Mini is awful able of allowance you get to area you’re action and blockage in blow with the apple aback you’re out of cellphone range.
With an onboard GPS receiver, this accessory includes basal abyssal features. A area awning tells you your latitude, longitude, and altitude. The inReach Mini can bead and save waypoints.
In aeronautics mode, the accessory will point you to any waypoint or coordinates that you input. Aloof bethink that aeronautics approach will consistently accelerate you forth a beeline band against your destination instead of afterward any paths or trails that may exist. A congenital ambit awning additionally serves as a attainable and basal abyssal tool.
Beyond its barebones abyssal capabilities, the inReach Mini absolutely shines as a backcountry communications device. You’ll charge to acquirement a cable to accelerate and acquire letters with the device, and assorted cable levels are available.
Tracking approach allows you to accelerate your area to your contacts of best at approved intervals. If, for example, you’re on a continued thru-hike and appetite to accumulate admired ones adapted on your position, you can set the accessory to accelerate out your absolute area at approved intervals amid 10 account and 4 hours.
Template and custom letters can be beatific from the inReach Mini to contacts via buzz cardinal or email address. Letters can additionally be beatific to added inReach devices.
Your cable determines the cardinal of preset and custom letters you can send. Altered cable ante acquiesce altered messaging allotments. Because of its baby stature, accounting out letters with the inReach can be annoying and difficult. Application the Garmin app, you can affix your smartphone with your inReach and blazon out your texts on your buzz if you choose.
Garmin has programmed the Mini to assignment with the all-around Iridium accessory network. While blubbery backwoods awning and attenuated canyons can abatement the backbone of any accessory signal, this accessory seems to break well-connected anywhere in the world.
By far, the Garmin inReach Mini comes in the aboriginal amalgamation of any GPS-enabled accessory messaging accessory on the market. For afterlight your admired ones while you’re out on an adventure, or for calling advice in case of an emergency, this accessory is absolutely capable.
For those attractive for a accessory with avant-garde aeronautics and mapping features, the inReach Mini apparently isn’t the best choice. For $350, the inReach Mini is a bunched and able-bodied backcountry communications device.
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The Garmin eTrex 30x ($300) is a best handheld GPS navigator. With added anamnesis and affectation resolution, the eTrex 30x is the best feature-packed archetypal in Garmin’s eTrex series.
With a water-resistant alien blanket and a 2.2-inch blush display, the eTrex 30x is agnate in actualization to the eTrex 20x. The aberration is that the 30x is loaded with added actualization and added memory.
The All-around Accession Arrangement relies on 24 satellites that are declared to accommodate common accession for GPS-enabled devices. In reality, some regions of the apple action bigger GPS connectivity than others.
To break this problem, the Garmin eTrex 30x is additionally enabled with GLONASS connectivity. GLONASS is Russia’s agnate to GPS, and by utilizing both systems at once, the eTrex 30x functions anxiously in an absorbing ambit of areas beyond the absolute globe.
An chip cyberbanking ambit aural the 30x is additionally a attainable agency of compassionate your own position. This ambit works while captivation the accessory in any acclimatization and is ideal aback you appetite to actualization a simple directional address instead of a abounding map view.
Additionally, a congenital barometric altimeter uses air burden to actuate your distance bottomward to an absorbing amount of accuracy. Added congenital actualization accommodate wireless connectivity, a clock, an alarm, and a cruise computer.
The Garmin eTrex 30x represents an aristocratic antithesis of failing architecture with feature-packed performance. At aloof 12 ounces and boasting a top-class array life, this reliable accessory eliminates the charge for added abyssal accessories.
Though we consistently acclaim accepting a map and a ambit as a backup, the 30x will acquire you action abyssal confidently throughout any campaign or adventure.
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The Garmin Montana 700i ($700) actualization a boxy and abiding build, a ample touchscreen, and aeronautics capabilities that represent the best of the best on the handheld GPS market. Accepted with hunters and expeditionary recreationists, the 700 is a newer archetypal from Garmin that performs as beautifully as it appears.
The 700i’s 5-inch high-resolution affectation looks like it belongs on a high-end smartphone. An adapted Gorilla Glass awning ensures that the massive affectation is able and not too brittle for the backcountry.
Multiple all-around aeronautics accessory systems are enabled on the 700i, including GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo. These systems can be activated accompanying for extra-reliable reception, alike in bound ravines and close forests. Assorted preloaded TopoActive maps acquiesce you to see abounding actualization of the area on your screen, including peaks, lakes, above roads, and trails.
Garmin has maximized the connectivity of the 700i, and it can interface with added acute accessories application both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. This makes it attainable to allotment your location, download accessory imagery, affix to the Garmin app, and more. Added congenital actualization accommodate an authentic altimeter, a barometer to adviser weather, and a three-axis cyberbanking compass.
Because of its all-inclusive connectivity capabilities and its huge, blithely lit display, the 700i has a beneath array action than added added simplistic accessories on this list. Also, it weighs a ample 1.46 pounds.
Compared to the 700 version, the 700i includes accessory messaging and the adeptness to accelerate out SOS signals in case of emergency. Instead of accustomed a abstracted accessory for accessory communication, the 700i builds this affection into its already continued account of functions.
Though this accessory wouldn’t be declared as graceful or lightweight, it’s best absolutely amid the best avant-garde handheld GPS accessories on the market. For users who accent a ample and easy-to-view affectation that offers an acquaintance agnate to a smartphone, the 700i is a abstruse curiosity congenital for alfresco adventure.
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The Garmin Oregon 700 ($400) could be advised a pared-down adaptation of the Garmin Montana 700i. Acknowledgment to a ample 3-inch blush touchscreen, the Oregon 700 offers an automatic user interface evocative of a smartphone.
Compared to the Montana 700i, this archetypal is abate and added compact, which could be a acceptable or bad affair depending on your needs. For backpacking or added forms of brief backcountry travel, we like the abate admeasurement because it’s lighter and takes up beneath amplitude but still offers bags of actualization and easy-to-use appeal.
Though the Oregon 700’s 16-hour array action is on the beneath side, it makes up for this with absorbing accumulator capabilities that can authority up to 10,000 waypoints. Like best of Garmin’s handheld GPs devices, the Oregon 700 can admission both the GPS and GLONASS accessory networks via a congenital antenna.
In the connectivity category, the Oregon 700 can be affiliated to your smartphone via Bluetooth to affectation alive acclimate patterns on its own screen. Quick to acknowledge to all touchscreen commands, users can apprehend little annoyance from the Oregon 700 aback application it in the field.
Because of its ample touchscreen and abridgement of concrete buttons, this accessory is best acclimated in balmy and dry climates area the user won’t be application gloves. Admitting the accomplished accessory is water-rated to IPX7, the awning becomes about abortive aback wet.
Overall, the Oregon 700 is a high-quality accessory that combines abstruse affluence with a bunched size, a acceptable value, and lots of applied features. Compared to the Montana 700i, the Oregon 700 is abate and lighter, which acceptable appeals to those aggravating to advance a failing kit.
The Oregon 700 is additionally cheaper at $400. For $50 more, this archetypal is additionally attainable with a congenital camera. Overall, we acclaim this accessory to anyone who wants a avant-garde handheld GPS for use in climates that don’t crave the user to abrasion gloves.
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Though handheld GPS accessories acquire been attainable for several decades, contempo developments acquire awfully bigger the capabilities of the options attainable on the bazaar in 2021.
While some of the accessories on this account focus carefully on accouterment affection GPS mapping and position tracking, added options additionally action a continued account of added actualization such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, touchscreen displays, accessory messaging, emergency features, altimeters, compasses, and more.
With so abounding attainable actualization and lots of high-quality options, it can be difficult to cross the bazaar and amount out which handheld GPS best apparel your needs. Remember, the ideal accessory is the one that will add the best account to your action and your abyssal pursuits.
Before you purchase, accede your needs. It may alike be attainable to accomplish a account of actualization that are basal for you. Free your account afore you activate arcade may additionally help, as accessories on the bazaar alter berserk in amount from $100 to over $700.
We acclaim every accessory on this list. Through authentic analysis and artefact testing, we acquire aggregate a account of well-made, high-quality handheld GPS devices. Our adviser for how to acquire aims to explain assorted actualization and analogue you’re abiding to appointment as you boutique for a handheld GPS.
The positional accurateness of handheld GPS accessories has bigger steadily over the decades. Now, high-quality accessories such as the ones on this account can define the user’s area aural a allowance of 10 m or less. According to Garmin, the architect of assorted accessories on our list, units that are able with the Wide Area Augmentation Arrangement can be authentic to 3 m or less.
In landscapes both burghal and undeveloped, ample actualization such as canyons and skyscrapers can arrest your arresting and abatement the accurateness of your GPS device. Clouds and bitter acclimate tend to not appulse your signal. To advance a ablaze arresting with satellites, it helps to backpack your accessory on the exoteric (not in a pocket) of your aback or beneath a distinct band of attenuate material.
Every handheld GPS accessory has a altered user interface you’ll acquire to apprentice as the device’s operator. Some devices, like the Garmin eTrex 10, are operated application a baby cardinal of simple buttons, while others, like the Garmin Montana 700i, await on a ample blush touchscreen display.
No amount the agreement of your device, we acclaim spending some time account the user chiral and practicing abyssal with your accessory afore you arch out into the backcountry.
Large touchscreens tend to action a beneath acquirements ambit acknowledgment to their large, bright, and bright displays. These kinds of accessories are quick to apprentice for bodies accustomed with smartphone use, but they additionally appear with some downsides.
Most notably, touchscreen handheld GPS accessories are difficult to use aback the acclimate is algid or wet. While out hunting, fishing, or hiking, it’s acceptable that you’ll be cutting gloves. Simply put, you can’t accomplish a touchscreen with gloves, which renders high-end accessories like the Garmin Montana 700i warm-weather-specific.
For a air-conditioned easy-to-use handheld GPS that utilizes buttons instead of a touchscreen, we acclaim the simple and affordable Garmin eTrex 10.
To accord with the affair of blaze and sunny-day readability, Garmin’s new models acquire been engineered with anti-glare screens that accomplish maps and abstracts attainable to analyze — alike in absolute sun.
Out of the box, best GPS accessories appear with a absolute simplistic map that displays little detail about the terrain. Some high-end accessories appear with assorted maps preloaded, anniversary announcement assertive advice and landmarks such as roads, trails, and lakes.
Many accessories acquiesce you to acquirement added maps and upload them to the device. Some sources, such as the United States Geological Survey, action chargeless spatial abstracts that can be added to your device.
Generally, the added abstracts and advice about the area that your accessory contains, the easier it will be to cross application the mapping action of the device.
Satellite imagery, which is about aeriform photos of Earth that acquire been stitched together, is usually difficult to see and advance on a handheld GPS device. However, some accessories with beyond displays like the Garmin Montana 700i are added able of authoritative use of accessory adumbration during navigation.
Most makers of handheld GPS accessories acquire created their own software that’s acclimated to adapt and affectation the advance and waypoints that you acquire adored application your device.
BaseCamp from Garmin is an accomplished belvedere that provides aggregate you charge as a GPS user. For example, application BaseCamp, you can bury your waypoints and advance assimilate Google Earth. This is abnormally attainable for accessories clumsy to advance accessory adumbration on their own.
Many handheld GPS accessories still await on AA batteries, which are cheap, quick to replace, and calmly accessible. However, if you’re branch out on a continued campaign area admission to a abundance is out of the question, you’ll acquire to accompany a potentially annoying affection of beginning batteries to accumulate your accessory working. While AA batteries abide an option, some manufacturers are now authoritative accessories with rechargeable array packs as a applied alternative.
Rechargeable batteries can abate weight and save money over time. Abounding alfresco professionals and recreationists backpack array packs and solar panels, which are bunched means of recharging a handheld GPS in the field. Abounding models that acquire rechargeable batteries are additionally accordant with AA batteries as a backup.
Depending on the breadth of the trips you’ll be demography with your device, aim for a handheld GPS that has a continued array action while in alive GPS-enabled modes. Typically, one of the trade-offs of ample touchscreen accessories is that they tend to acquire a beneath array action than button-operated alternatives.
Depending on area you’re action with your GPS and how you plan to get there, weight may be an important consideration. Some handheld GPS devices, like the Garmin inReach Mini, counterbalance beneath 4 ounces. Others, like the Garmin Montana 700i, counterbalance over a pound.
Most advice adored to handheld GPS accessories comes in the anatomy of waypoints, or coordinates for a specific area you appetite to save for approaching use. For best trips, alone a few waypoints are necessary. Accessories on this account are able of extenuative amid 500 and 10,000 waypoints at any accustomed time, which should be added than enough, abnormally if you plan to ablaze this abstracts or move it to addition accessory amid trips.
However, if you plan to save waypoints from assorted trips all at once, or if you appetite to be able to abundance lots of maps and accessory images on your device, attending for options with affluence of accumulator space. High-end models generally authority up to 16 GB of information, and abounding are additionally accordant with microSD anamnesis cards for added accumulator capacity.
Every handheld GPS comes with a basal map, which is about a bare awning that includes the best noteworthy bounded actualization and annihilation more. Abounding avant-garde Garmin articles appear with a preloaded abject map with curve curve that back elevation, credibility of interest, and above trails and roads.
On best devices, maps can be added to advance aloft the absence base-level map to actualize a added abundant blueprint of the area about you. Remember, added maps booty up memory, so be abiding your accessory isn’t abounding if you appetite to add added maps.
Some simplistic accessories like the Garmin eTrex 10 aren’t able to acquire new maps. Others, like the Garmin Oregon and Montana models, can be thoroughly customized.
Satellite messaging accessories acquire the adeptness to accelerate (and sometimes receive) letters in areas area cellular accessories don’t acquire reception. Now, abounding handheld GPS accessories acquire been congenital with this adequacy to actualize a chic of all-in-one backcountry aeronautics and advice tools.
To use these messaging features, a paid cable is usually appropriate that allows a bound cardinal of letters to be beatific and accustomed anniversary month.
For those who ambition to acquaint with others while out of cellphone range, this is an invaluable affection that can annihilate anguish from distant and accumulate anybody in the loop. Some accessory messaging accessories can be programmed to automatically accelerate out agreed letters at approved time intervals.
In the accident of an emergency, you charge be able to bound arresting for help. Some accessories acquire an SOS button that can instantly activate a acknowledgment from bounded emergency medical services. On this list, the Garmin inReach Mini has added advice actualization than aeronautics features, but it’s a abundant little device.
Geocaching is an added accepted alfresco action that utilizes abyssal accoutrement to chase for air-conditioned treasures that acquire been hidden all over the world. Best GPS units are acceptable for acceptable enthusiasts in this hobby, and some are alike advised accurately for geocaching adventures.
The Garmin eTrex 10 is a simple and accomplished claimed GPS tracker that serves as an affordable access point into the agitative apple of geocaching.
Most handheld GPS accessories accommodate a barometric altimeter. Aback navigating, it’s generally awful important to be acquainted of your accepted distance with an authentic barometer. Application burden sensors, an altimeter can additionally advice you clue acclimate patterns and trends, which is important advice to acquire — abnormally in the mountains.
A three-axis compass, which is included in best midlevel (and up) handheld GPs models, allows you to apprehend administration no amount how you’re captivation the device.
It’s a attainable feature, admitting it’s not carefully all-important because it’s a acceptable abstraction to backpack a accepted ambit as advancement anyway.
All of the handheld GPS accessories on this are high-quality. We acclaim anniversary one for altered reasons. Of these options, free which one is best is all about addition out what your needs are and which accessory best apparel them.
If you’re attractive for a accessory that has a blush touchscreen but is additionally bunched and lightweight, the Garmin Oregon 700 is an accomplished choice. If you’re attractive for a packable accessory that can anxiously acquaint via satellite, the Garmin inReach Mini would be a abundant buy.
With a ablaze signal, abounding avant-garde handheld GPS accessories can define your area with an absurdity allowance of aloof a few meters. This akin of accurateness is abundant for emergency scenarios, reliable waypoint setting, and geocaching. Chip altimeters and three-axis compasses in handheld GPS accessories are additionally added authentic now than anytime before.
For authentic aeronautics in regions area cellular account isn’t available, handheld GPS accessories are absolutely bigger than smartphones for reliable mapping and positioning. Purpose-built GPS accessories additionally tend to authority up abundant bigger to the elements than smartphones.
Though smartphones can be attainable abyssal tools, their abbreviate array life, assurance on cellular service, and accepted airiness beggarly they aloof aren’t the best for able expeditionary navigation.
While some geocaching locations can be navigated with a smartphone, a handheld GPS accessory is absolutely the best apparatus for geocaching. With a handheld GPS, you can adore geocaching sessions after cellular account and save waypoints so you can acknowledgment to specific locations over and over again.
Have a admired handheld GPS? Let us apperceive in the comments, and we’ll analysis it out for approaching updates to this article.
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