When you're buying the best truck gps Navigation Unit in 2017, you need to realize is that a Truck GPS is very different from your average car navigation unit. When you're driving a truck, RV or Big Rig, you're going to have special requirements when it comes to navigation. There is no point driving down a road if it has bridge half way along that you cannot get under. As a truck driver, you're going to need a Truck Specific GPS Device that will come with trucking unique features such as the ability to identify and avoid restricted routes, Trucking Points of Interest and larger screens to make them easier to read. In this review, we're looking at the best gps for truckers to use to get them from A-to-B.
What Makes A Trucker's GPS?
The key difference between a navigator that has been designed for a trucker and those that have been designed for car or motorcycles can be put down to two things. Firstly, for a truck gps you need to make sure that you can enter your trucks height, width, length and weight and ensure that when the gps calculates routes, it take this information into account. There is no point in having a gps unit that take you down routes with low bridges that you cannot get under or restricted zones where your weight is a problem.
The other key difference is the points of interest database. You need to make sure that the gps comes with a truckers points of interest database and therefore will tell you which gas stations you're allowed into and where you can spend the night in the comfort of your truck.
Screen size is an important question and one that you need to take into account when you're buying the best truckers gps unit. This is especially important if you're going to be working in gloves and therefore want a gps unit where you don't have to take your gloves off.
7-Inch gps units need to be the size that you should be buying. Any smaller and you're not going to be able to see your screen and those important directions and more importantly be able to press the buttons whilst you're wearing gloves.
Typically, we would recommend 4-to-5 Inch screens for motorcycles, 5-to-6 inch screens for cars and 7-inch screens for truckers. Yes you can get away with a six inch screen when you're in your truck, however life is much is easier with a bigger screen and lets be honest you have room to put it.
What's The Best Truck GPS Navigator
Well this is where is gets very easy, but at the same time very difficult. The honest answer is that both the Garmin and the TomTom are fantastic truckers GPS units. Both have been specifically designed for Truckers and come with a range of features to help you get your truck from Point A to Point B.
Which is better, honestly, it comes down to whether you prefer Garmin Directions or TomTom Directions. The difference is very small, but personally I think the Garmin provides better directions. I have always found the TomTom maps to be dull and lacking information, while the directions to not be as clear as on the TomTom. With the Garmin, I love the fact that the screen splits into two sections with one side showing your map, the other showing an image of the junction and where you should be going.
The choice however is yours, would you prefer a TomTom or a Garmin.
TomTom Trucker 620 VS Garmin dēzl 780 LMT-S
- 7" high-resolution touchscreen display
- Product Dimensions 4.5 x 0.9 x 7.4 inches
- Powered Magnetic Mount
- Lifetime TomTom Traffic
- Standard Traffic updates
- Customized routes for your vehicle type, size, weight, cargo, and speed
- Dedicated Truck POIs
- Route Warning
- Wireless backup camera compatible.
- Updates via Wi-Fi
- Easy Routing
- Bluetooth headset compatible
- MyDrive route planning
- 7" high-resolution touchscreen display
- Product Dimensions 1.1 x 7.8 x 4.8 inches
- Active Docking Station
- Free Lifetime map Updates
- Lifetime HD Digital Traffic
- Custom truck routing for the size, load and weight of your truck
- (POIs) highly-rated by truckers
- Route warnings, including sharp curves, bridge heights, weight limits, steep grades
- State And Country Border Notices
- Easy Route Shaping, Service History Log, HOS and IFTA Tracking
- Bluetooth Headset Compatible
- USA, CAN, MEX Maps
Truck GPS Reviews
The Garmin Dezl 780 LMT-D Truck GPS unit is Garmin’s replacement for the 770LMT that we reviewed a couple of years ago when it first came onto the market. At the time, we thought the 760LMT was the best truck gps unit on the market so there are high hopes that this all-new 2019 model will be even better. One point to note, the truck gps units are pretty expensive because they allow you to customize your trucks dimensions to make sure that you don’t drive down roads that will not allow your trucks size to drive down.
As soon as you switch on your device, you’re given the opportunity to enter the length, width, height and weight of your truck. When the gps is calculating routes, it will take into account these dimensions when choosing the best route. What makes Garmin’s so great is the fact they come with free lifetime map and traffic updates meaning that whilst the old 760LMT might not have all the latest features, it will still have up-to-date maps and be able to get you from A-to-B.
If you’re looking for a great truck gps, then Garmin has both the all new 2019 780LMT, but it’s also worth looking at the previous model as it’s nearly as good, but at half the price.The all-new Dezl range of Trucking gps units comes in a range of two models, the 780LMT that comes with a 7-inch screen and the 580LMT that comes with a 5-inch screen.
Honestly, go for the 7-inch screen model as it makes life much easier. The five-inch version is too small and you cannot see the screen from sitting back in your chair, let alone press buttons if you need to make changes.
We really only recommend five-inch screens to sports car drivers and therefore they are going to be too small to truck drivers. Once you have entered your trucks dimension and your destination the gps will calculate a route for you based on your truck size, but also any traffic along the route. The maps are great and provide detailed routes and building locations along your route. If you come across a difficult junction where there are a few choices of which lane to be in, 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.
Given the 780LMT has been designed for truckers in mind the extra features are very different from the car gps units. Yes there is Bluetooth to connect your phone to your gps unit, but there are also alerts for road conditions ahead, speed camera alerts, sharp corner alerts and even steep hill alerts to make sure you know that you need drop down a couple of gears.
Overall the 780LMT is a great truck gps unit. We love the free lifetime map and traffic updates, the fact that the points of interest database have been specifically designed towards truckers in mind and the performance is great. Whilst we have not done much is the way of trucking over the years personally, from what we have heard on the market and on the review boards, the 780LMT is the best truck gps unit and the best of the Garmin trucking gps units.
In response to Garmin’s all new 780LMT above, TomTom have also brought out a new trucker gps unit that has been specifically designed for the trucker's in mind. The TomTom Trucker 620 has been designed to replace the out-going Trucker 600 which to be honest, we did not very much. One point that did drive us crazy, was that whilst it did come with free lifetime map updates, the traffic update require you to plug in your cell phone. Surely this defeats the whole point of having a GPS unit and you would be better just using your phone and google maps, which has live traffic updates.
This all-new 2019 TomTom Trucker 620, moves away from these problems of the past and takes the new TomTom to a level pegging with the Garmin above. As discussed above, there is now very little difference between the two models. The TomTom Trucker 620 comes with a superb 6-Inch screen which works well in the day time, however during the night it’s far to bright even when you turn down the settings to less that 5%. The maps however are great and with the 3D maps allowing you to see buildings and landmarks. Once you’re ready to go, switch on your gps, enter your trucks dimensions and the gps will calculate routes based on which streets you’re allowed to go down.
Route calculation is quick and has been improved over previous models. In the past, if you made a wrong turn, you could be waiting for minutes whilst it thinks about another route. It just seems like the TomTom Trucker of old did not have enough processing power to really run the calculations at speed whilst the gps is moving. This new model changes all of this, route calculations are quick and re-route calculation are almost instantaneous.
Extra’s include voice commands which I must say does work well, lane guidance for difficult interchanges, one-year subscription to TomTom Traffic and TomTom Speed Cameras and the ability to pre-plan routes using their smartphone or computer and then upload these routes direction onto their gps unit.
Overall the TomTom is a fantastic trucker's gps unit. There are TomTom fans that say the TomTom trucker is far better than the Garmin’s and there are Garmin fans that think the opposite. Personally we think it’s very good.
Garmin Dezi 760 LMT
The Garmin Dezi 760LMT is our third favourite Trucking GPS Model on the market today. When buying a Garmin GPS you know you're buying quality and this model is no exception. This model is Garmin’s best and most up-to date attempt as a Trucking specific GPS Unit and comes with a 7-Inch, super-sharp touchscreen, a fast processor, Bluetooth Compatibility, Traffic Alerts and Free Lifetime Map updates. Remember, this is the older model that has been replaced by both the 770 and the 780 above, however we prefer the 770 due to it's value for money.
The 7-inch device comes with a high-resolution screen, WVGA TFT Technology to help with colors, upto date maps and turn-by-turn directions that speak street names through an in-built speaker system that works very well.
When you buy your GPS Unit, you simply need to enter your height, weight, length and width and the processor will calculate routes for you that fit your load. If along your route you come across a complicated junction the device will automatically show you an animation with arrows to help you pick the right lane to be in.
Garmin’s PhotoReal also helps you with realistic images of complicated interchanges to help you along your route.The Unit is full of useful features such as voice-activated navigation, Bluetooth for mobile connectivity, traffic alerts for any oncoming traffic jams and a massive points of interest database showing you trucking specific place to stay over night or Gas Stations.
Rand McNally TND 720LM
The Rand McNallyTND 720LM is a trucking specific GPS Unit that comes with a wealth of experience gained from over 70 years in the commercial transport industry and over 35% more useful features when compared to other trucking specific GPS units on the market today, to help along your route. The navigator comes with a sharp, high-resolution 7-Inch screen and a fantastic in-built speaker to allow you to hear your directions even with the windows down.Given the large screen size and fast processor, the maps are very easy to use and give you lots of information that could be useful during your journey.
Junction view provides a 3D display of the approaching junction, whilst active lane guidance help you manage complex interchanges with bright arrows to show which lane you should be in.The GPS Unit will connect to WiFi which brings a whole host of features such as current and forecasted weather data to include wind speed along your route, Road Work construction updates and enhanced truck routing options such as Exit Quick View to help find truck-friendly locations along your route.
How Long Is Lifetime Map Updates: - I have asked the question on forums across the US as to how long actually is lifetime updates. The general feeling is that lifetime updates is probably around 10 years before you can no longer upgrade your device.
Generally the problem is not that you cannot update the maps, it's that the maps simply don't fit onto the device any longer. In the past, navigation devices came with 256mb memories, however now you can get devices that can store up to 1 terabytes of maps.