ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Car GPS Navigators

Updated on June 30, 2012

Top 5 Car GPS navigators

Anyone who has ever gotten lost on a long trip or in an unfamiliar area or finds reading a map difficult will appreciate car GPS navigators. Anyone who had directions that they printed off of the computer get lost, have a drink spilled on them or had them fly out the window while traveling at 70 mph down the interstate, will find the perfect solution with car GPS navigators. These global positioning systems are so simple to use, come in a wide array of price points, and are available with a multitude of different features that there is sure to be one for perfect for every driver.

For those of us old enough to remember the days of traveling, before the current advanced technology of car GPS navigators, will remember how the trip had to be plotted out in advance on a paper map or atlas. They will certainly appreciate car GPS navigators. Usually there were several maps involved in the process. First there was the large atlas which showed all the major interstates and highways to give a general sense of how to get from point a to point b. Next there were usually a few state maps to chart the more detailed directions once getting off of the major roadways. They were extremely large and awkward to look at and forget trying to fold them back into their original shape. There was also the possibility that they were somewhat out of date or things had changed since they were printed and distributed to the stores. Then, once close to the destination, the driver was usually on their own in trying to navigate through local streets to find their destination. As if all of this was not difficult enough, there were the inevitable curveballs of road construction, detours and heavy traffic delays.

Car GPS Navigators

Car GPS Navigators have changed the way people travel.
Car GPS Navigators have changed the way people travel.

How Car GPS Navigators work

The introduction of the computer and internet sites for mapping out a route certainly made things much easier. However, even that has its limits. The step-by-step directions can be printed out for the route to the destination and the reverse route back home. But again, these rarely take into account for the road construction, detours and heavy traffic delays like Car GPS Navigators. Printed computer directions don't allow much freedom to stray from the set path if an unexpected adventure comes up. They also don't tell you which hotels are the least expensive when you get tired along the way and want to stop for the night. Nor do they tell you which gas station in the area has the least expensive gas. Car GPS Navigators, on the other hand, are capable of all of these things and so much more.

Car GPS navigators have totally transformed the way people travel. Many people think they don't need car GPS navigators because they only take a long trip once a year, therefore, they feel the price is not worth it. But car GPS navigators can be used for so much more than just the annual cross-country vacation. They can be used for short trips or even locally. Car GPS navigators will help the user find the office building in the city where they are going for a job interview. Car GPS navigators give street-by-street and turn-by-turn directions in any city or town, no matter how large or how small the area. Car GPS navigators can also be a useful asset in the case of an emergency because many have direct access to phone numbers for the closest police station, fire station, hospital or tow truck company.

Car GPS navigators go beyond basic directions. They can give information not only on the location of a restaurant, gas station or hotel, but also the prices, telephone numbers and ratings by customers to help make a better informed decision. Some car GPS navigators will give the weather report, the speed limit and even speed warnings. Many car GPS navigators also feature things like wireless FM transmitter, Bluetooth-phone compatibility, as well as allow you to play music or view photos.

Best Car GPS Navigators

Car GPS Navigators; now there is the way to go!
Car GPS Navigators; now there is the way to go!

Car GPS Navigators even come with Snoop Doggs Voice

Best Car GPS navigators

Many newer cars come with or have the option to add built-in car GPS navigators, but when compared with the portable car GPS navigators they are so much more limiting. With the portable car GPS navigators there is the option to use it either in the car or outside of the car. The portable car GPS navigators are great for families with more than one car because it can be used in any of the cars. Car GPS navigators are also a great asset when renting a car. Simply take the portable car GPS navigators in the rental car. This way all your personal preferences are already in the car GPS navigators system. Another advantage to the portable car GPS navigators is that they can be used outside of the car while on a bicycle or while walking down the street. They are not limited to the car. Most car GPS navigators are sleek and compact so they can be transported easily in a bag or pocket. Being able to remove car GPS navigators from the vehicle will also prevent them from being stolen if someone breaks into the car.

Car GPS navigators are systems that work on a network of satellites that circle the earth to provide the user with information on how to get from one location to the next based on latitude, longitude and altitude. However, car GPS navigators do much more than tell the user how to get from point a to point b. The functions of car GPS navigators will vary with each model, so when trying to decide between car GPS navigators it is important to think about how it will be used. Virtually all car GPS navigators will do the basics, such as show the location of the nearest emergency buildings and personnel like hospitals, police and fire stations. More technologically advanced car GPS navigators will do a large assortment of tasks.

Some car GPS navigators will only work in the United States, while others will work overseas in places like Europe. If you never travel overseas, then this is a feature you will not be worried about having on your car GPS navigators. Other people like to be prepared for any event and want to look into the fully loaded car GPS navigators. Of course, the more features on car GPS navigators, the more expensive the unit will cost. The number of features and amount of details that are standard on car GPS navigators versus the features and details that will need to be purchased or subscribed to in addition to the purchase price is another factor to consider.

It has been proven through research that drivers who use GPS navigators are safer because they are more alert, have less stress and fewer accidents. In addition, car GPS navigators reduce a driver's workload. Also, when driving through an unknown area to an unknown destination, car GPS navigators reduce the number of miles driven, reduce travel time and improves the behavior of the driver. This in turn has positive effects on the environment and lower fuel costs, which can help offset the purchase price of car GPS navigators.

Car GPS navigators are becoming increasingly popular as more people see what a great asset they are and as more styles and price points become available. However, with so many different car GPS navigators on the market it can be very confusing and a bit overwhelming when trying to decide which one to purchase. In order to make the best selection, it is important to know what it will be used for, where it will be used and the price range. The three major companies for car GPS navigators are TomTom, Magellan and Garmin. They all have excellent reputations in the area of car GPS navigators. Garmin the the biggest selling brand of car GPS navigators. Magellan can brag that they developed the first commercially available handheld GPS receivers. TomTom, which has offices in Europe, North America and Asia it the world's largest provider of car GPS navigators, and is widely considered one of the easiest car GPS navigators to use.

When comparing car GPS navigators, some features to look for and compare between models are things like screen size, spoken street names, real-time traffic reports, predictive data entry and dynamic search, detour feature, routing option, mounts and mounting options, power supply, Bluetooth compatibility, MP3 player feature, video player, photo viewer and foreign language options. Obviously not all car GPS navigators will have all of these features, so when trying to decide between car GPS navigators, figure out which are most important to you and your lifestyle. The more technologically advanced the car GPS navigators are, the more expensive they will be to purchase. Also, be aware of which features are free and which ones require a subscription or an additional fee. Below are four different car GPS navigators that show that a few of the different sizes and options available. Technically, the last example does not fit into the car GPS navigators category, however, it is an example of a great choice for anyone in the market for the ultimate GPS device.

Garmin Nuvi 255W car GPS navigators


Garmin Nuvi 255W GPS

Garmin nüvi 255W 4.3-Inch Widescreen Car GPS Navigators

List price: $179.99
Unit dimensions: 4.8"W x 2.9"H x .8"D
Display size: 3.81"W x 2.25"H, 4.3" diag
Display resolution: 480 x 272 pixels
Display type: WQVGA color with TFT white backlight
Weight: 6.1 ounce
Power source: rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Battery life: 4 hours
Built-in maps: North America or Europe
In the box: comes with vehicle suction cup mount, vehicle power cable, dashboard disc, manual

The Garmin nüvi car GPS navigators have a sleek, slim design that fits comfortably in a purse or pocket. The 4.3 inch color touch screen display on these car GPS navigators are easy to read from any direction because of the bright, brilliant color on the screen and because it is sunlight-readable. It is easy to view map detail, driving directions, photos and everything else on these car GPS navigators. They are ready to go right out of the box because they are preloaded with City Navigator NT street maps, as well as a points of interest database, with hotels, restaurants, fuel, ATMs and more. Since these car GPS navigators even announce the name of streets and exits, the driver never has to take their eyes off of the road. The voice-prompted turn-by-turn directions on these car GPS navigators give the exact latitude and longitude coordinates, the nearest address and intersection, the closet hospitals, police stations and fuel stations. The special "Where Am I?" emergency locator provides the user with their exact location at all times. There is also a speed limit indicator which displays the speed limit for most major roads in the U.S. and Europe. Another feature on these car GPS navigators is the ecoRoute, which calculates the most fuel-efficient route, and Garmin Lock, which is an anti-theft feature.

The Garmin nüvi car GPS navigators have 2-D and 3-D maps, as well as a smooth map redraw feature. The digital elevation maps show you shaded contours at higher zoom levels, this provides you with a big picture of the surrounding terrain. In addition, the Garmin nüvi 255W car GPS navigators accept have the ability to accept custom points of interest, such as school zones and safety cameras, as well as let you set proximity alerts to warm you of upcoming points of interest. These car GPS navigators have a special HotFix satellite prediction. What this feature does is it calculates your position faster so you can get there quicker.

Go beyond navigation with the many travel tools on these car GPS navigators including JPEG picture viewer, world travel clock with time zones, currency converter, measurement converter, calculator and more. With photo navigation, you can download pictures from Garmin Connect Photos onto these car GPS navigators. They are also compatible with the free Garmin Garage, where you can download your choice of animated vehicles that will show your location on the map. Optional plug-in microSD cards, such as Garmin Travel Guides for detailed data on attractions, is also available with these car GPS navigators.

Magellan RoadMate 1412 car GPS navigators

Nice, where can I get one?
Nice, where can I get one?

Magellan RM 1412 GPS

Magellan RoadMate 1412 4.3-Inch Widescreen Car GPS Navigators

List price $149.99
Unit dimensions: 4.84"W x 3.2"H x .67"D
Weight: 5.5 oz
Screen size: 4.3"
Power source: 720 mAH, Li-ion rechargeable, CLA 12-24 or AC adapter
Battery life: 2 hours
Built-in map: United States, Puerto Rico and Canada
In the box: Magellan RoadMate 1424 GPS Receiver, Windshield Mount, Vehicle Power Adapter, Adhesive Disk for dash board mounting, reference maual

This large and ultraslim model of car GPS navigators can simply be turned on and it is ready to go. This is because it is loaded with premium features like QuickSpell with SmartCity search which helps you quickly enter addresses and narrow your address and city searches, making destination entry easy. These car GPS navigators also have multi-destination routing with route optimization that lets you plan your trip with multiple stops, in the order you want or optimize a trip for the most efficient route, helping you save time and money. The spoken street name guidance on these car GPS navigators is convenient because it allow you to keep your eyes on the road since it announces both the street name and the turn direction. These car GPS navigators also have highway exit POI, or points of interest, so when you are traveling down the interstate and you need to find places like gas, food or lodging in a hurry, simply touch the highway exit POI icon to see which upcoming highway exists have the services you need. The exclusive OneTouch favorites menu with a single touch on these car GPS navigators enables you to easily save your favorite destinations or find them anytime, anywhere you travel.

AAA Member Roadside Assistance on these car GPS navigators provides your location so help will know where to find you. Get support fast with the AAA Member Roadside Assistance phone number and your location displayed on the RoadMate 1424 screen. The AAA TourBook option on these car GPS navigators helps you to easily locate points of interest at your command. Find gas stations, restaurants, ATMs, coffee shops and much more. If you need information or want to save money, select the AAA search menu after your search entry. AAA TourBook provides ratings and descriptions on AAA approved places to stay, play, dine, and save.

TomTom XL 325S 4.3-Inch Portable Car GPS Navigators

I think some of these companies are afraid to step out of the "box" with these car GPS navigator designs.
I think some of these companies are afraid to step out of the "box" with these car GPS navigator designs.

Tom Tom XL 325 GPS system

TomTom XL 325S 4.3-Inch Portable Car GPS Navigators

List price: $159.95
Dimensions: 4.7 x 0.9 x 3.2 inches
Weight: 6.6 ounces
Screen size: 4.3 inch full TFT color LCD touchscreen (480 x 272 pixels, 64,000 colors)
Power source: Internal Lithium-Ion battery with up to
Battery life: 3 hours
Built-in maps: USA (including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico).
In the box: Easyport mount, USB Car Charger and USB cable, manual

It is very easy to use these car GPS navigators right out of the box thanks to the intuitive user interface and touch screen technology with 3D graphics. The Text-to-Speech for spoken street names feature allows you to focus on the road instead of looking at the unit because you can program in your speech preferences that you do and do not want read aloud, such as street names, foreign street names, road numbers, traffic warnings, weather information and POI warnings. These car GPS navigators also instantly modify street names, street direction, road speeds, turn restrictions and POIs in your own car GPS navigators, in addition to benefitting from corrections made by other people who own these car GPS navigators. You can make corrections to your own map and benefit from thousands of corrections made by TomTom users every day, all completely free. There is also instant route re-calculation if you decide to deviate from the previously planned route. The car GPS navigators are also compatible with something called the RDS-TMC traffic receiver. This is a feature that adjusts your route for the traffic ahead. As you are driving, you will receive traffic update messages and alerts, such as road work or delays, as well as the estimated time of delay. The car GPS navigators will then give you the option to reroute and the directions.

The TomTom Home feature ensures that the TomTom car GPS navigators are always up-to-date and allows you to access additional features with the free software applications. Download things like updated maps, new voices, music, and quick GPS fixes. The 30 Day Latest Map Guarantee promises that if a new map is released within 30 days of purchase, you can simply download it for free to your car GPS navigators from TomTom HOME, via the free desktop application. The Help Me! Emergency Menu lets you easily access local emergency providers like police, fire stations and hospitals, as well as tow trucks. The EasyPort mount is the device used to attach the unit to the windshield. When it is not in use it will fold flat for easy storage. When it is mounted, it can also swivel from side to side for either the passenger or the driver to see the screen on these car GPS navigators.

Magellan RoadMate 5045 5-Inch Widescreen Car GPS Navigators

Ah, green, that is a change.  Come on sell it to me!
Ah, green, that is a change. Come on sell it to me!

Magellan RoadMate 5045 5-Inch Widescreen Car GPS Navigators

List price $219.99
Weight: 6.4 ounces
Screen Size: 5.0"
Unit size: 5.6"W x 3.5"H x .6"D
Power source: Li-ion rechargeable battery
Battery life: 2 hours
Built-in map: U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico
In the box: Magellan RoadMate GPS Receiver, windshield mount, vehicle power adapter, USB cable, user handbook

The larger screen on these car GPS navigators, which is 35% larger than the standard 4.3-inch screen on most car GPS navigators, is great for larger vehicles like, RVs, SUVs and trucks, as well as those with less than perfect vision. Auto night view adjusts the color of the screen and the contrast for better night viewing. The ability to keep your eyes on the road as you drive, thanks to the spoken street name guidance that announces the street name and direction of each turn, will help keep you safe and focused. QuickSpell quickly narrows your address and city searches as you type making destination entry easy. With these car GPS navigators it is easy to locate cities and streets without worrying about misspelling them. Highway lane assist will guide you in the right direction when approaching interchanges and exits and steer you towards the correct lane. Find over 6 million points of interest at your command and easily locate gas stations, restaurants, ATMs, coffee shops and more. Route customization lets you choose either the shortest distance or the fastest time. These car GPS navigators also let you choose whether to use the most freeways, or use the least amount of freeways. Automatic re-route lets you quickly get back on track in case you got off track or missed a turn.

These car GPS navigators are packed with features like the exclusive Magellan OneTouch favorites menu, free lifetime traffic alerts, highway land assist and built-in AAA TourBook guide with ratings and descriptions for the US and Canada. AAA Member Roadside Assistance for current AAA members will provide your phone number and your exact location on these car GPS navigators. The Free Lifetime Traffic alerts provide real-time traffic information to avoid traffic jams, detours and construction zones with no subscription fees. The OneTouch favorites menu lets you bookmark your favorite destinations and searches, while the address book enables you to create and store contact information.

GPSMAP 62St 2.6-Inch Handheld Car GPS Navigators

Not exactly one of the car GPS navigators, but I bet it gets the job done.
Not exactly one of the car GPS navigators, but I bet it gets the job done.

GPSMAP® 62st Overview

Garmin GPSMAP 62St 2.6-Inch Handheld Car GPS Navigators

List price $549.99
Unit dimensions: 2.4" x 6.3" x 1.4"
Display size: 1.6" x 2.2". 2.6" diagonal
Display type: transflective, 65-K color TFT
Weight: 9.2 oz
Power source: 2AA batteries, NiMH or Lithium recommended
Battery life: 20 hours
Waterproof: Yes
In the box: GPSMAP 62st, carabiner clip, USB cable, manual
Built-in maps: built-in U.S. 100k topographic data for the continental U.S. and a worldwide base map with shaded relief. These provide all the tools for serious hiking or climbing. Map details include national, state and local parks and forests, along with terrain contours, elevation information, trails, rivers, lakes and points of interest.

While this is technically a handheld device, it can definitely be used in a vehicle like other car GPS navigators and has accessories like a suction cup mount for a car and even a handlebar mount for a bike. There are also a few antennas that can be mounted onto the car to further improve the signal strength. The sleek design features a special electronic compass compass that has the ability to show your position regardless of the how the unit is held. A barometric altimeter tracks changes in pressure. This is a unique feature that allows you to pinpoint your precise altitude, which is beneficial because it allows you to track weather conditions and any changes in the weather. It is preloaded with 100K topographical maps, and supports Custom Maps. BirdsEye Satellite imagery is an option that is available for an additional fee when you subscribe to the service. It has a quid helix antenna for unparalleled reception, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver and HotFix satellite prediction. The technology on this system is so advanced that it can track your position in virtually any location, no matter how remote. It has a high-speed USB connection and connects wirelessly to compatible Garmin handhelds. Additional maps can be added at any time. This rugged and waterproof device can also be used for geocaching.

All car GPS navigators provide optional add on items that can purchased for an additional cost. Some additional accessories that do not come standard on many car GPS navigators are things like a deluxe leather case, travel case, carry case and strap, additional USB car chargers, and the bean bag dashboard mount, which is perfect for use where windshield mounting in prohibited. The price range for additional accessories is typically low and can range in price from $7.95 to $24.95, although some may cost more. For the TomTom car GPS navigators there is also a tailor-made ProClip mounting kit which is specifically manufactured for your vehicle and your TomTom.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • sbyholm profile image


      8 years ago from Finland

      Funny, I must be one of the few people that still don't have a gps in my car. I use the new-old fashioned way to plan my trips... printing paper maps from Google maps and if I'm visiting someone I ask them for direction. It can be challenging and a lot of fun :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I think the most useful feature for GPS users will be nowadays real-time traffic reports- especially in big cities.

      Tomtom recognizing this fact took over a sponsorship on the competition about Road Traffic prediction for GPS Navigation. If the participants succeed GPS users would be able to choose their way knowing its traffic prediction for the next 30 minutes. Good luck to them! :)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)