Some readers ask me to find an answer to the question Which is the Best GPS for Truck Drivers.
Well, to answer this question I need to do online research, and luckily my neighbor is the truck driver with about twenty years of experience and his point of view and knowledge hopefully help me to come closer to the answer.
As always, I conducted comprehensive research on the topic and made conclusions with whom I would like to share with you. My conclusions may be not set out in order of importance, but let it be just like it.
From the very beginning just short notice. As I mentioned before, my neighbor is the experienced truck driver and transporting goods all over Europe with the new Volvo FH16 truck.
He recently purchased brand new Garmin dezl 560LMT in addition of factory installed easy-to-use navigation Dynafleet infotainment system.
I asked him the reason why he spends extra $500 for GPS navigator as his Volvo cab looks so equipped.
The short answer was that not always on-board GPS do a job correctly, but Garmin mapping for trucks is perfect on roads he used to drive.
I found in some truck driver forums that some claims Garmin GPS for trucks for inconvenient update mode. I do not think that it is so difficult. In fact, even so simple, connect PC or Mac, and in 15 to 20 minutes your device is loaded with latest map updates. You can do it even wirelessly via smartphone’s Bluetooth.
Garmin dezl 560LMT include quarterly lifetime map updates. LMT means lifetime maps and traffic. The traffic information feature is not very up-to-date and exhaustive.
By my mind, Waze smartphone app gives more accurate information regarding actual traffic, police, road construction zones and other dynamic and constantly changing road info.
One more addition to dynamic traffic situation o road is that it is no secret that truck drivers have unwritten rules to inform each other by on-board VHF radio of the situation along the route. And you must be fully deaf to miss it unless your VHF is switched off or not to a correct channel.
I would not like to list all features what Garmin dezl 560LMT offer as specially for trucks designed GPS unit. Actually, the main GPS for trucks features such as identifying and avoiding restricted routes, trucking POIs, customizable by height, height, width, and length are very much the same for all latest generation truck navigation systems.
It means trucks and other oversized vehicles specific routing:
– An advanced fleet management device
– Reliable vehicle tracking
– Remote download of digital tachograph data
– Fleet management solution (FMS) integration (including real-time fuel consumption, fuel level indicator, and over-revving)
Let’s see what competitors are.
After reading manufacturers description, this TomTom GPS for truck looks to fulfill all functions for truckers needs. I guess that for European drivers it is good devices as mapping covers almost entire Europe, Russia and some other parts of Asia. Moreover, the following two GPS for trucks has not Europe map coverage at all.
The US, Canada and partly Mexico truck drivers are in a bit more comfortable situation and have the wider choice, although not quite.
Rand McNally TND730 IntelliRoute GPS Truck Navigator and similar five inches TND530 is a device to compare with Garmin dezl 560LMT.
After reading the technical characteristics and features what Rand McNally TND 730 offers than theoretically, it is better than Garmin dezl 560LMT.
But how it perform in real life?
Here is a paragraph from Amazon’s customer review of the real professional driver which have used both navigators in real life.
„I have a tech background before becoming a Pro Driver, which I have been for 12 years. That said, the Dezl would freeze constantly, was sent back to Garmin which they promptly returned to their credit. It just never worked right reliably, constantly had to “hard boot” it with a combination of key presses. I have always found Garmin reliable until this product. Anyways…… just want to give experience as I have had both and liked reviews that stating such experience when considering buying. “
Read entire review Here
My very personal feeling is that no matter how great in theory, Rand McNally would not be, it is a great map producer and publisher who is forced to break into the electronics market. Garmin and TomTom have decades of experience gathered and is hard to beat it. But who knows, miracles happen.
To be honest, need to take a look at PC Miler 550.
Even so that PC Miler Navigator (all models) is discontinued, and there are no newer map cards or software or repair centers for these models now, this program has been turned into an app for tablets, cell phones, and laptops now, I found that many truck drivers still used this brand GPS device.
As you see my post is not a typical review type as you can easily read devices details and characteristics online.
My conclusion is that many truck drivers use stand-alone GPS for trucks regardless of factory-installed GPS systems and so popular smartphone apps. For some, it is just as a backup option, but many are sure which GPS is best for truck drivers and investing their money in Garmin, TomTom or Rand McNally.As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Good review. I know a couple of truck drivers pretty well, so I’ll have to ask what they use, if anything. At the same time, my husband is a driver for a black car service, and he just uses Google Maps. Personally, I’m not a Garmin fan. Just had an experience where my friends and I were told to get off the highway, then get right back on, and it took us through a construction zone we could have avoided if we had just stayed the way we were going. Maybe it’s different for truck drivers? What do you think of Google Maps? Thanks for the article!
Thanks Suze for the comment.
I always say that Nothing Is Perfect and Garmin GPS including.
Regarding Google Maps it not a good choice for truck drivers but when it comes to cars or to find a street address it is ok. Although I prefer the Waze app for smartphones. Your mentioned construction zone in Waze app definitely would have been labeled.
Hi , nice website you have here. Haven’t come across a website with so much information about navigation! What do you think about Pioneer in dash radio/navigation units? Thinking about buying a Pioneer AVIC-5200NEX. Are the aftermarket radios with built in navigation then just a Garmin/Tom Tom stand alone unit?
Hi, Isaiah and thanks for stopping by. I am sure that the Pioneer brand is a good choice. I looked at Pioneer AVIC-5200NEX DVD CD Navigation Receiver w/ 6.2″ Touchscreen. What to say, the perfect choice for $ offered on Amazon. Actually, you gave me an idea for next post about built in car infotainment systems. Even so that Naviextras GPS mapping is not the best on the market, Apple Carplay with Apple maps can make up for this. Good Choice.
Wow, tons of good information. I was a truck driver for years but only local…the reason I hated going over the road was this reason exactly. I was scared to death I was going to take a wrong turn and end up trying to turn around in a one lane resident driveway (I’ve seen this many times with truckers following a gps of some kind and it telling them to take a bad turn). Needless to say they ended up in the ditch trying to turn their rig around. There are several in dash GPS’s for cars nowadays, I wonder just how good they are?….there are parts of some cities I’d rather not end up in.
Thanks Pam for stopping by!
As far as I know the latest factory installed turn by turn navigation is good enough for trucks. Mapping and other specific oversized vehicles features generally are the same just different manufacturers adding their own details for the specific truck. Almost every GPS device has the internet connection, so updates and real-time traffic information data are consistently fresh.
My advice is- never drive unknown directions without backup equipment. Although almost everyone today has a smartphone with Waze, Apple Maps or Google Maps applications. Have a safe trip!
Great Post! I think having a GPS specifically for trucks is a good idea. Like you say truck drivers don’t just have to worry about getting lost like the rest of us (or is it just me?). They also have to worry about not taking restricted roads especially with the higher and heavier trucks to avoid fines and damage ( to the road and the truck)
A good GPS is vital to show them the most optimal route. It is definitely worth the investment considering how much trouble relevant information can save you down the line.
It is very important for truck drivers not to drive extra mileage. Special GPS device and information can help save the money.
Although I am not a truck driver, I did find your post really helpful.
What I particularly liked was that you asked your experienced truck driver friend for advice and tips.
Experience trumps theory any day. i am sure he has some really great stories and also tips for choosing the right tool.
I am assuming that these GPS systems can be used by anyone?
Are they small enough to fit into a backpack?
I travel a lot around Asia and having something that gives up-to-date information would be really helpful.
Nice post! Great job!
Hi Tim and thanks for the comment. You certainly can put GPS device in your backpack, and there will still be enough place for an external battery charger for GPS.
Interesting topic. I have always thought that there is the end to GPS system as most of the new cars have them built in, or you can use the google maps one. How accurate do you think google maps is compared to garmin you have mentioned in here? Is actually worth buying a GPS if you have just a phone with the internet?
Hello Eugen. If honestly, I use the iPhone myself while driving. I mostly use Waze because there is up-to-date information on both congestion and police outposts and speed cameras.
Google’s maps are relatively good and don’t differ much from Garmin’s maps.
This article talks about GPS navigation for the trucks.
Not everywhere can and may be driven by big machines, so routes have been set up specifically for that purpose, etc. AppStore and Google Play also offer different apps for truck drivers, but the phone screen is too small to use safely and easily.
My guess is that the most important information any truck driver wants to know is:
Is the road safe to drive on? Is it a dirt road? Is it a narrow road because it’s underconstruction? Does the road pass through some undesirable areas jeopardizing safety?
These are all valid questions and I’m not so sure a Garmin will provide all that detail. In the country I come, undesirable areas are a huge factor and it’s best not to travel through them. These a well noted on paper maps and updated regularly, however, not detectable on a Garmin which gives plenty other information.
Do you know if these Garmins are customizable so that you can add your own information into them and avoid routes that have road hazards and dangerous areas?
This would be a great bonus from the developers if this option were available. Although it may take some time to put the information in, it would save a lot of time and money in the long run.
Hoping to hear your response soon.
Great comment and thanks for a useful issue. You’re right that not everywhere, roadmaps are in line with the real. It depends on how often updates are received at Garmin’s offices.
But everything isn’t so hopeless. You can correct or supplement the information yourself and send it to the Garmin map developers.
For example, in the Waze app, you can do it more easily, but it’s a little different topic.
Great post and good info.
I’m not a truck driver as you already know, but this will really help a friend of mine, who is looking for a GPS.
He always drove with road maps, yes, even in the day of today he still was doing it, but he is getting a bit older, and he wants things more easy, so that is why.
I will share this post with him, and I’m confident he will be happy.
Some older people still use paper road maps, but it also changes. Use the GPS device is simple. There are even such devices, smartphones including, where voice commands can be given.
I had not really thought that Truck Drivers would need specific GPS units, but upon further reflection it really does make sense. I know there is a certain road through a gorge that has tight hairpin turns – if an oversize truck tries to go through there, it can cause traffic chaos when it gets stuck. The same thing when an overheight truck gets stuck in a tunnel.
Thank you for your article – I’m hoping more truck drivers out there will see this and find a unit that will prevent any traffic issues.
It is a nice review. Nowadays I generally use my phone as GPS, but many times the phone gives me wrong directions. For trunk driver it is good idea to have a dedicated GPS. There are so many choices. Days before cell phone, I’m a Garmin fan, which is reliable. If I need one, I will choose Garmin. Thanks for the article!
I’ve tried two other GPS and they are great. But I do love mapsme than the waze because it is an offline application that doesn’t need connection to internet.
I don’t know if this garmin gps is an offline or an online application.
It’s interesting to talk about GPS this time and which is really comfortable and convenient to use, as long as it helps in the journey particularly to routes where you’re never been to.
Thanks, Abagatan for the comment. Garmin GPS devices typically operate in offline mode. On the one hand, this is good because there is no need for an Internet connection through the GSM network. There are also their flaws, there is no online information about congestion or police outposts. Some of the latest Garmin GPS models have the option of contacting the phone in such a way as to obtain the necessary information online.