When it comes to buying a truck GPS you want much more than a GPS that will guide you on how to get to a highway, or what off-ramp to take in a city. For example, let’s say you have a load that is 13 feet 6 inches tall, typically the highest load allowed on most highways. However, there is just one problem. Twenty miles down the road there is a bridge with a maximum clearance of 12.5 feet. You’ve got yourself a problem, which may involve backing up 60 to 100 miles and finding an alternative road that will take you to the destination.
- Best Basement Dehumidifier In Canada
- The Best Fishfinders in Canada
- Best Cordless Chainsaw in Canada
- The Best Coffee Grinders in Canada
- The Best Coffee Grinders in Canada
Another thing of concern is that you really need a truck rest stop. Maybe you simply need a couple of hours rest, or to take at least 30 minutes for a mandatory meal break. But how do you easily find all those rest stop locations? Or maybe a road seems like the straightest and shortest path to your destination, but it turns out there is a weight-restricted section of the road. You could be turned back by the highway patrol, and find yourself struggling to find an alternate way of getting to your destination. Finally, there is inclement weather such as a tornado or a snowstorm? Should you risk it.
These GPS systems allow you to enter the height and weight of your truck and load and compare them to a database of truck-relevant facts such as bridge heights or weight restrictions. And as trucker rest stops and parking are also included, you simply the entire process of creating a route. In addition, if it might take an extra two or three hours to drop off a load, you can justify the reason why to your truck dispatcher.
What to look for in a truck GPS?
- First, you definitely want a GPS that allows you to enter your vehicle size data and informs you of all bridge and weight restriction rules.
- Secondly, you will usually want a GPS that can handle multiple truck profiles so that if a driver is not assigned to a particular vehicle, but rather drives what becomes available, all the relevant details will be in your GPS.
- Third, you want your GPS to alert you whenever you go past the posted speed limit. Not only are speeding tickets expensive, but they significantly affect your CSA (Safety Compliance, Accountability Scores.) Poor CSA scores can not only determine whether a driver gets hired by a trucking company but also what premiums a trucker will pay for truck insurance. And warning letters from the FMCSA may jeopardize your total trucking career.
- Fourth, HasMat drivers are under greater scrutiny, so be sure you pick out a truck GPS that supports hazmat loads.
- Fifth you want a GPS system that provides up-to-the-minute information about traffic accidents, road construction, detours, as well as steep inclines, dangerous curves, narrow roads, and weather alerts such as icy roads, snow, or tornadoes.
- Finally, you’ll want a system that tells you about rest stops and trucker parking.
There are also a lot of extra features. These include:
- Excellent sound quality
- A larger and easier to look at display
- Lane assist features
- Crossing alerts when you go across a state line, as each state may have different trucking regulations
- Be sure the GPS includes on-the-air updates. Be sure to pass if a GPS doesn’t have this feature.
- Avoid buying a system that requires you to use proprietary hardware. Not only does this get expensive, but it doesn’t allow you the flexibility to change or expand as your needs change.
- Rely on review sites. There are many Truck GPS review sites out there and it will help you choose the best. Most review sites thoroughly test the Truck GPS systems they recommend, and although a few may get a small affiliate fee if you buy off of one of their links, it’s quite literally one of the best ways to choose a GPS. You may save a few bucks along the way and you’ll certainly find out which GPS system others prefer.
- Make sure there is a subscription cost. This may seem counter-intuitive, after all. with most things, we just purchase an item and we are through paying. However, without a subscription fee, a GPS company will not have the resources to update all the thousands of miles of roads properly. A company without a subscription plan may rely on public releases to tell them a temporary road closure may last only one month when in actuality, the reality is the road will be closed for 6 months.
- Realize there is no federal department of GPS information where all the important information is updated and released for free. It costs real money to update a quality GPS system, and that will only come from subscription fees.
5 Tips to choosing the right GPS for your truck
A GPS truck navigation system is essential to your needs as a trucker, so buy the very best system that meets your needs.
Our top choices for Trucker GPS Navigation Systems
Often called the best buy from many trucking review sites, the Garmin Garmin’s dezl 580 LMT-S truck navigator has a large, easy-to-read 5-inch color screen which is superior to most Truck GPS. Garmin is a name you can trust in a Trucker GPS as the company invests millions of dollars updating their equipment, and when you purchase the dezl 580 LMT-S truck navigator you get free for lifetime map and traffic updates. The Garmin records your hours of service automatically, shows your speed, the highway you are on, has a split-screen to show you your pending off-ramp, and more.
The Garmin 580 shows you bridge heights, weight limits, when sharp inclines and curves are coming, comes preloaded with points of interest such as hotels and rest stops, allows you to send text messages to dispatch, allows you to communicate with a Garmin ELog, and paring with your smartphone, it shows you the weather, works with voice commands and has a built-in directory of truck and trailer services. Yet we have to be cautious with the Garmin. Some truckers complain that Garmin doesn’t do well on speed limits, and there are better Truck GPS systems out there.
The Rand McNally TND 750 comes with a very large 7-inch color screen and the system uses a powerful magnet mount to keep it in place. Like the Garmin, the Rand Mcnally has booth Bluetooth capability and Wifi. The TND 750 also has Lane tracking technology. The Rand Mcnally offers real-time traffic, dynamic weather overlays, current fuel prices, mileage and fuel logs, and onscreen alerts.
We think the Rand McNally TND 750 is a great system but to be honest, many Amazon shoppers gave it bad reviews. Canadian buyers seem to have loved the TND 740 but generally hated the TND 750. That may be in part due to you having to register the product to get the latest updates, and we had no problem with it.
The Tom Trucker 520 offers most of the same features, truckers’ points of interest, a GPS customized for your truck’s size and weight, updates via Wifi, hands-free calling, stopped traffic alerts, and more. Again, keeping things honest, we were quite underwhelmed by the TOM Trucker. Many of the trucking routes seem out of date and there are much better buys for your money.
The Truckway GPS is about half the price of the Garmin or the Rand McNally, and the company boldly brags the Truckway GPS will not get you lost on roads that Rand McNally has a tendency to use.
If you want the very best screen for your GPS, by all means, consider the Garmin 780, and at well close to $17000, it should. The Garmin 780 will do everything the 580 does with a better screen, but outside of that, there is no appreciable difference. At a fraction of the cost, most people elect to purchase the 580, which has all the bells and whistles of the higher-priced
We’d like to say that there is one truly great GPS mapping system for truckers but there really appears to be no true Rolls Royce of trucking apps. Whether you choose Garmin or Rand McNally, there tend to be problems as noted by professional truckers. That’s why many truckers also supplement their GPS for supplementary information from programs such as Google Maps and Waze. When in doubt about the information you are receiving from a GPS app, consult these alternative apps for a second opinion.