Updated: Sep 13
GPS devices have become an important part of our society. Many individuals utilize the GPS function on their cell phones to help them map out their commutes or plan a trip. However, as a truck driver, it can be difficult to maintain safe driving habits, while using the GPS features on your phone. Furthermore, the GPS functions on your cell phone don’t have the capabilities that you need as a truck driver. Thankfully, there are several advancements that have been made to the GPS devices on the market, supporting you in keeping your trucking business between lines and on the road.
If you are a trucker looking for a new GPS device for your truck there are several features to keep in mind, to ensure accessibility and durability.
Many GPS devices have been created specifically for truck drivers and the numerous vehicles they drive. The truck-specific mapping feature allows you to update your GPS with your truck weight, height, length, and specifics that may affect your route. This feature gives you the confidence to know that your route will be appropriately mapped out to ensure that you arrive at your destination safely and on time.
Route and Mileage Capabilities
The newest technology for GPS devices has enhanced features that allow you to receive current information about traffic, road closures, road infrastructure changes, and road work. This allows you to compare and pick from various routes to your destination to help you mitigate any delays and reduce your costs. Additionally, some GPS devices will update you when there is excessive engine idling to help you reduce fuel expenses.
GPS devices allow you to keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road with voice assistants that provide directions to help you navigate your drive. They also come with features to warn you when you are going over the speed limit or braking too hard to mediate possible accidents. Some devices have Bluetooth connectivity that is paired with Siri and Google Now. As a result, you are able to connect your GPS to your smartphone, allowing you to make hands-free phone calls and receive text messages safely.
Now let’s talk about features specifically for GPS units meant for truck drivers. A good GPS for truck drivers will plan routes based on roads that are approved for semi-trucks. All you have to do is put in your truck’s information, including height, weight, length, and cargo. When the GPS knows this information, it will handle all the hassle of planning your route accordingly.
Drive Assist Features
A GPS for truck drivers will come stored with information that only a truck driver would be interested in knowing. They will have information on repair services, tow services, truck stops, weigh stations, rest stops, and more. These systems will also give information about curves, steep inclines, and narrow roads. Finally, a good GPS for truck drivers will provide lane assist to make sure you are in the correct lane in order to make an exit.
Fuel is one of the most significant expenses that a trucker will face. That is why it’s important that your GPS can provide you with information in order to conserve fuel and make sure you aren’t spending too much. When you plan your route, a good GPS will let you know where to stop in advance to fill up with the most cost-effective fuel. Your GPS can also alert you if you are driving excessively fast or deviating from your planned route.
Your ELD has to be synchronized with the truck’s engine to comply with the FMCSA’s ELD Mandate. This means that your GPS cannot be used as your approved ELD. However, the data that your GPS keeps can be used to verify that the numbers from your ELD are accurate. GPS units today can monitor your hours of service, driving status, hours of sleep, mileage, and IFTA fuel data.
A collection of GPS units for truck drivers can also be used by a fleet manager to see the specific location of all of the trucks on the road. This can help improve the customer service of the company by allowing the manager to let shippers and receivers know how close their driver is to arriving at their destination. Managers can also make sure their drivers are on the correct route and driving appropriately.
When it comes to being in the trucking business every minute counts. This means that it is important to find a GPS device that is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Look for a device with intuitive controls and easy-to-read instructions. Furthermore, you may want to find a GPS device that has ELD integration, which can automatically track and log your hours of service.
You and your truck spend so much time on the road, it is important to find a GPS device that will endure the rough terrain and hard weather to ensure longevity. Look for a device that can withstand hot and cold temperatures, since it will be sitting near a window in your truck. There are also some devices that have a rugged waterproof casing and reinforced corners to handle the demands of the road.
Best GPS Units for Truck Drivers
Now that you know about the features that are available to you when purchasing a GPS, here are the highest rated GPS units for truck drivers that are on the market.
Garmin is a well-known and trusted trucking GPS brand. Their devices have customizations available, which allow users to select different truck-specific settings, such as height, weight, and length. This information allows the GPS to generate the most efficient route for your specific vehicle.
4.5 out of 5 stars (4,230 ratings)
Large display with its bright and crisp touchscreen display with long battery life
Load-to-dock guidance: Guidance shows potential loading zones or storage lots to help clarify where you need to go
See popular truck routes used by other truckers
Driver Alerts: warn you of upcoming sharp curves, speed changes, railroad crossing, and more.
Truck-Friendly Parking: See truck-specific parking at truck stops and rest stops along your route while connected to the Garmin Drive app paired with your GPS-enabled smartphone.
Easy Break Planning: Receive timely notifications that help you make the most of each stop.
Voice Assistant: Your voice assistant responds to your spoken requests
Wireless Updates: Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity makes it easy to keep your maps and software up to date without using a computer
Traffic, Weather, and Fuel: Download the Garmin Drive app to access live traffic, weather, and real-time fuel prices. Plus, access to photoLive traffic cameras.
Learn more: https://www.garmin.com/en-US/search/?query=GPS
Another popular choice for truck drivers is the Rand McNally brand. Their GPS devices have accurate and truck-specific mapping and hazard updates. Additionally, they offer Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing access to real-time traffic updates adjusting routes based on traffic patterns and road work. Their designs are built to withstand life on the road with a strong mount firmly holding the GPS in place, along with thermal resistance allowing for extended use.
Rand McNally TND 550 Truck GPS $301 3.8 out of 5 (354 ratings)
Voice guidance: get advanced notifications of what’s ahead, such as turns, steep grades, or complicated interchanges
Advanced routing: compare routes, use multi stop routing, and add up to 10 stops per route
Exits quick view: quickly view amenities such as travel centers and fuel stops at upcoming exits
Fuel prices and logs: view fuel prices on the map, then track fuel purchases and calculate fuel economy
Service alerts: set service and maintenance alerts for your vehicle
3-D junction view: view upcoming junctions in 3-D with a split screen display with lane guidance for managing complex interchanges
Warning: Set warning for speed limit changes, sharp curves and more
Weather: Show the current forecast, or choose 10 different map overlays, like precipitation and wind speed.
Toll costs: view estimated toll costs, compare routes without tolls, and plan routes to lower costs
Millions of POI Listings: detailed information on travel centers, weight stations, service and repair stops.
Address book: group and sort by name or distance, add custom POIs, then choose icons to display on the map.
TomTom is known for their intuitive interfacing, user-friendly controls, and accurate mapping. Their devices include voice-guided navigation, live traffic updates, and real-time speed camera alerts. They are slim, and lightweight, making them easy to mount.
$276 (Used, Like New)
3.7 out of 5 (526 ratings)
Active Magnetic Mount
TomTom MyDrive: Plan routes, check live traffic, and save favorite POIs from your smartphone, tablet, or PC
Customized truck routing: get customized routes for your vehicle type, size, weight, cargo, and speed, making your journeys more time efficient. Customized truck routing takes the guesswork out of driving, giving you a realistic arrival time and a safer journey.
Compatible with Siri and Google Now: Activate and talk to Siri or Google Now by tapping a button and using the microphone on your TomTom Trucker. It can read messages aloud from your phone with your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
Needs Wi-Fi to update the device
Learn More: https://www.tomtom.com/en_us/navigation/gps/
Xgody is a lesser-known GPS device known for their offline capabilities and reasonable prices.
3.6 out of 5 (4,256 ratings)
Includes Bluetooth and AV-In
Battery is built in, but needs a charge every 1 hour or so (Car charger 12-36V/2A
Charging time is 2-3 hours
Lane navigation: which lane to go when encountering multi-lanes
Custom quick search
POI you can find gas stations, restaurants, railway stations, airports, and hotels near you.
Supports multimedia functions. You can enjoy the movie MPS when you are tired and want to have a rest.
Set up your truck profile to customize personalized navigation routes according to the height, length, and weight of the truck. Intelligently avoid the risks which may have route time, speed limit, height limit, width limit, weight limit etc.
Don’t Throw Away the Atlas
Although these GPS devices are specifically designed for truck drivers, it is still recommended that drivers have a physical map with them at all times. Technology continues to advance but still can’t be 100% trusted. Systems fail, break, run out of battery, etc. However, these GPS devices should work most of the time and allow you to be able to operate your truck as efficiently as possible.