Best GPS for the Money by Category

Choosing the Best GPS for the Money

A guide to help you find the best GPS for the money. The recommendations are broken down by category and by price range.

Although GPS prices have fallen considerably over the last few years, it is still important to do quite a bit of market research if you want to find the best GPS for your money. In this article I am going to try and provide a helpful buying guide by creating a list of the best GPS systems in various categories. The categories I have chosen take into account the intended use, the cost, and the features each unit provides. Based on my research I am going to pick the Unit that I consider to be the best value for your money, as well as a couple of alternatives.

Best Entry Level (budget) Automotive GPS

Garmin nüvi 52LM

Garmin Nuvi 52 LM

Our choice in this category is the Garmin nüvi 52LM. It doesn’t offer a ton of features, but for anyone looking for a simple easy to use GPS Unit, it is a great choice for the money. It features a 5″ WQVGA color TFT with white backlight screen with a resolution of 480 x 272 pixels. It comes preloaded with street maps of the lower 49 states and offers free lifetime map updates. Its main features include lane assist with junction view, spoken turn-by-turn directions, speed limit indicator, route avoidance and custom POIs. Finally, if you need more memory it has a microSD card slot.

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Also Worth Considering

Garmin Nuvi 2557LMT

Garmin nüvi 2557LMT

-5″ dual orientation, touchscreen interface
-PhotoReal and Bird’s Eye junction views
-Detailed maps of North America -With Lifetime updates


Garmin Nuvi 42LM

Garmin nüvi 42LM

-4.3″ diagonal color display
-Lane assist with junction view
-Voice prompted turn-by-turn directions with spoken street names

Best Mid-Level Automotive GPS

Garmin nüvi 2597LMT

Garmin Nuvi 2597LMT
Our choice in this category is the Garmin nüvi 2597LMT. This navigator features a 5.0″ dual-orientation display with a resolution of 480 x 272 pixels. It comes preloaded with detailed maps of North America with free lifetime updates. One of its main features is Garmin Traffic with free lifetime traffic alerts. Another useful feature of the 2597LMT that you won’t find in any of the budget models we listed is Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to sync bluetooth enabled devices. Finally, it offers Garmin Real Directions, that according to Garmin redefine spoken turn by turn instructions.

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Also Worth Considering

garmin nuvi 65lmt
Garmin nüvi 65LMT
-Free lifetime map updates and traffic avoidance.
-Bright 6″ dual-orientation display
-Lane Assist with Junction View
-Garmin Real Voice

Best Top Level Automotive GPS

Garmin nüvi 3597LMTHD

Garmin nüvi 3597LMTHD
Most of the units that we have listed up until now will cover most people’s need. However, if you feel that you need a device with a better display then the Garmin nüvi 3597LMTHD is one of the highest rated Car GPS systems. It shares a lot of the same features with the 2597LMT that we listed above. The main differences are the higher resolution of the display (800 x 480 pixels vs 480 x 272 pixels), and the fact that it is a multi-touch screen. Other additional features include 3-D terrain view and HD Digital Traffic.

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Best GPS Sports Watch for the Money

Garmin Forerunner 110

Garmin Forerunner 110
This GPS watch returns to the basics by displaying distance, pace, and time. With the heart-rate monitor add-in, it also displays your heart rate and calculates your calorie burn. And, since it’s not bogged down with virtual training partners or multisport modes, it actually looks like a watch. The snappy information display and simple setup procedure appeals to nearly everyone; you don’t have to be a technology guru to use this device.

This versatile system introduces beginning runners to the convenience of having GPS, but its waterproof build allows triathletes to monitor progress during the entire workout, including the swim. A wireless USB fob automatically uploads the data from your run when you approach your computer. Then, you can log in to Garmin Connect, an online training interface and community, to map routes or analyze your metrics.

The battery offers eight hours of use in GPS/training mode or three weeks when in power-saving mode.

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Also Worth Considering

forerunner 310XT
Garmin Forerunner 310XT
-Waterproof to 50 meters
-20 hours of battery life
-Tracks position, distance, pace, heart rate (with bundled monitor).


New Balance NX950
New Balance NX950
-Monitors speed, distance, pace
-50M Water Resistant
-6 Customizable Interval Timers

Best Golf GPS for the Money

Garmin Approach S1 GPS Golf Watch

Garmin Approach S1 GPS Golf Watch
This GPS golf watch comes preloaded with 14,000 USA and Canada courses. Its slim, sleek form fits nicely in your wrist, and the rechargeable battery offers 3 weeks in watch mode and 8 hours in GPS mode on just one charge. It features a 1.0 in. monochrome LCD display and high-sensitivity GPS receiver.

It provides yardages to the front, back and middle of the green. Additional, features include an odometer and alarm. Finally, the Approach S1 can set the time and time zone automatically. It is not the most feature-rich Golf GPS but it comes at a good price, does what it is supposed to do well, looks good and has been praised by expert reviewers as well as consumers.

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Also Worth Considering

GolfBuddy Voice GPS Rangefinder
GolfBuddy Voice GPS Rangefinder
-Pre-Loaded with 35.000+ courses
-Distance to Front / Center / Back
-Audio Distance Information


Garmin Approach G6
Garmin Approach G6
-Preloaded with 25,000+ courses
-2.6″ glove-friendly touchscreen
-Digital scorecard
-Stat tracking

Best Handheld Navigation System for the Money

Garmin eTrex 20

Garmin eTrex 20
As a handheld GPS, the eTrex 20 is intended for campers and hikers; it includes a mounting spine for a carabiner clip or bike mount. High-end features previously found only on fancier GPS models have been incorporated into the eTrex 20, including paperless geocaching, BirdsEye aerial imagery plus topographical maps for a subscription fee, advanced track navigation, custom maps, calendar, and multiple profiles. It will also manage waypoints, tracks and routes, and you can add free maps any time.

An informal test using fully charged rechargeable batteries found that the eTrex 20 is no power hog. With the backlight turned on full, the batteries lasted for over 10 hours; with the backlight turned off, the eTrex 20 ran for an impressive 23.5 hours straight.

Overall, the bright display, small size, and customization options make this an excellent option for outdoors lovers.

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Also Worth Considering

Garmin Oregon 550T
Garmin Oregon 550T
-3″ sunlight-readable, color touchscreen display
-Barometric altimeter
-3-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass
-3.2 megapixel digital camera


Garmin Rino 610
Garmin Rino 610
-Two way radio
-2.6″ glove friendly TFT touchscreen
-1.7GB internal memory

Best Motorcycle GPS for the Money

Garmin Zumo 660LM

Garmin Zumo 660LM
Although the number of motorcycle GPS units is limited, deciding which one is the better for the money is not as easy as it looks. One of the choices should be the TomTom Rider since it is one of the cheapest options and has a nice set of features. However, we decided to pick the Garmin Zumo 660LM although it is considerably more expensive because the the available reviews.

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