• Top 10 Best Car Navigation Systems to Buy Online 2020 1
  • Top 10 Best Car Navigation Systems to Buy Online 2020 2
  • Top 10 Best Car Navigation Systems to Buy Online 2020 3
  • Top 10 Best Car Navigation Systems to Buy Online 2020 4
  • Top 10 Best Car Navigation Systems to Buy Online 2020 5

Top 10 Best Car Navigation Systems to Buy Online 2020

In 2018, many vehicle owners simply use their smartphone’s map app, but there’s a whole range of advantages to having a physical GPS system in your car. These devices come with a variety of optional features, such as advanced lane guidance, forward collision warning, and even DVD players.

We’re going to recommend the top 10 GPS systems for your vehicle, taking into account the features they offer and how well they get you from point A to point B. Let’s explore the world of GPS technology!
  • Last updated: 10-24-2019
  • 158 views
Table of Contents

How to Choose a Car Navigation System – Buying Guide

Sometimes, a smartphone just doesn’t cut it. Having to constantly look down, then back up towards the road is dangerous. So, if your car doesn’t come with one, it’s probably a good idea to acquire a NAVI system (unless you’re one of those dads that stick to physical maps; in which case, good for you).
So we’re going to take a look at a bunch of different NAVI features and help you settle on a system that’s right for you and your vehicle.

Is It Going to Fit? Let’s Look at Form

Navigation systems come in all shapes and sizes. We can break them up into roughly three categories. So think about where you want the device in your car, how you’re going to use it, and let’s find a form that’s going to work for you.

The 2DIN: No Messy Wiring

The 2DIN: No Messy Wiring
DIN and 2DIN refers to the height of the area where the audio, or GPS system will fit into. 2DIN systems tend to fit neatly into cars, and there is no exposed wiring.
However, depending on the make and model of your vehicle, the screen could protrude above the dashboard and into the line of sight of the windshield, so make sure you double check before you purchase one.

Portable: The Cheaper and Removable Option

Portable: The Cheaper and Removable Option
The cheaper and alternative option are portable NAVI systems, which are the Bluetooth headset equivalent of NAVI systems. Sometimes, they just look weird. However, they are portable, meaning your NAVI system isn’t married to your car for life.
If you’re parked in a sketchy area and are worried it might get swiped, simply unplug it and bring it with you. If you buy a new car, you can swap them out.
They range in price from $60 to nearly $500, all depending on what features you want. Garmin, TomTom, and Magellan are the most popular portable NAVI system companies.

In-Dash: The Go-to Option When 2DIN Is Too Big

In-Dash: The Go-to Option When 2DIN Is Too Big
In-dash NAVI systems are integrated into the dashboard of the car with little to no wiring exposed. Some systems might not be compatible with your car’s dashboard, so make sure you check with the manufacturer of the in-dash system and your car’s manufacturer before you purchase one.
They tend to be called “infotainment systems,” because they come with a bunch of entertainment options. There’s also inputs for auxiliary cables and USB devices. As such, they tend to be more expensive. Pioneer is one of the most popular in-dash NAVI system companies, but we’ll explore some alternatives, too.
When you buy an in-dash, unless you’re a tech savant, you’re probably going to have to go to a mechanic to help get it installed. The actual navigation module can usually be hidden away under the seat, so you’re only stuck staring at the monitor. But the screen does jut out, so make sure it’s not going to get in the way of your air conditioning or emergency light buttons.
Also, your car might not have the ability to integrate the in-dash NAVI without exposing the wiring, or it simply might look clunky. If you’re rolling around in a 1970s Camaro and throw a large screen in the middle of the dashboard, it’s going to look weird.

Choose a Memory Type Depending on Price or Power

Map data and other types of media files (MP3, MP4) can be stored in SSD (Solid State Drive) or memory cards. HDD (Hard Disk Drives) are more outdated and only a few types of systems still rely on this type of memory. So, we’re going to focus on SSD and memory cards.

Memory Cards are Cheaper and More Widely Used

Memory Cards are Cheaper and More Widely Used
Memory cards are used in most car navigation systems and tend to be more common in cheaper models. HDD was much more common in the past, but memory cards are pretty much required due to the computing power needed for map navigation. If you aren’t looking for high-processing speed in your GPS system, we recommend settling on a system that only requires memory cards.

SSD Memory Is Faster and Better At High-Speed Data Processing

SSD Memory Is Faster and Better At High-Speed Data Processing
In recent years, SSD has been the memory recording method adopted by the majority of laptops. It can do many different things at the same time and is recommended if you don’t like having to wait for startup time as you switch from task to task on your GPS system. However, this increase in data processing power will cost you.

Map Updates and Traffic Alerts

Map Updates and Traffic Alerts
In order to keep up with the smartphone apps, most GPS companies offer lifetime free map updates. Having map updates is crucial, so you know you’re getting the most recent route and POI (point of interest) information that’s out there.
Some NAVI systems require you to sync the device with your phone in order to get the updates; others can download them when connected to Wifi or simply from the satellite connectivity; others require you to plug them into your computer. Many NAVI systems are already loaded with maps of the United States, and some come with maps of Europe, Canada, and Mexico, and even the world.
These companies are also in the process of developing crowd-sourced traffic information, where cars with NAVI systems from the same company will communicate with each other to learn the most up-to-date traffic conditions, and update your route accordingly.
Some of Garmin’s higher end models give you extremely precise route directions, such as when you’re going in school zones and when sharp curves are approaching. It’ll even tell you when you’re speeding.
The lower end models will require you to connect your smartphone to get live traffic updates; the higher end ones can update via WiFi.

Have a Pickup? Get a 7 Inch Screen

Have a Pickup? Get a 7 Inch Screen
When you buy a NAVI system, one could argue that everything really boils down to the screen: how responsive it is, how big it is, how clear it is, whether or not it’s a touch screen. The screen of the NAVI system essentially acts as the physical map, so you better make sure you’re getting a good one.
4.3 inch screens (measured from left to right) are the minimum size you’re going to want to have on your NAVI system. Anything smaller, and you’d be doing yourself a disservice and might as well stick to your phone. As the screen gets bigger, the resolution tends to get clearer, too.
If you’re driving a car with a big windshield, like a pickup, it’s all the more important to get a larger screen, so don’t be scared to upgrade to a 7 or 8 inch screen. If you got the real estate, might as well use it.
Kenwood offers a 12 inch screen, which while impressive in that regard itself, is probably too obstructive to place in front of your window while driving. 9 inches is where we’ll recommend you stop, unless you’re an 18 wheeler driver.

The More Features, the Higher the Cost

You’d be impressed by what GPS NAVI systems can do these days. Some NAVI devices know exactly which lane you’re driving in on the road; that’s how accurate these devices can be. Here are some other features that might make your system a gem.

Chat with Your System via Bluetooth

Chat with Your System via Bluetooth
Most systems have the ability to talk the route to you step-by-step, and others allow you to hook up your headphones and listen to these instructions via Bluetooth technology. Additionally, some systems are voice-command, which means you can literally talk back and forth with then, having it set your route without having to touch anything. That’s better service than Siri can offer.

Cameras for Parallel Parking Fledglings

Cameras for Parallel Parking Fledglings
Some NAVI systems, both in-dash and portable, offer front and rear view cameras if your car doesn’t have them. Some of the more advanced (and expensive) NAVIs that have front cameras can detect when you’re veering from your lane, or when you’re close to hitting a car in front of you. A smartphone won’t do that.
They come with additional wiring which might not be that sightly, but these cameras can prove invaluable when backing up or parallel parking. The more money you spend, the more you’re getting. It depends on what you want. If you’re only interested in looking at the map, then these features won’t really matter.

Entertainment Capabilities for Road Trips

Entertainment Capabilities for Road Trips
Let’s say you’re taking a road trip, let’s call it a 12 hour road trip. You’re trying to do it all in one day. Oftentimes in the US, you’ll be taking the same highway for hundreds of miles. From Los Angeles to Houston, it’s a straight shot on the I-10, literally 24 hours on one road.
If you’re driving with your family, it wouldn’t hurt to have a CD/DVD player, and some NAVI systems offer just that. Throw on a movie for the kids (not you) while you’re driving. You can even receive route instruction notifications that will pop up on the movie, so you can make sure you’re heading in the right direction while your family enjoys the entertainment.
You can also upload MP3 files to your NAVI system, and if you opt for the voice command option, you can select your playlist all while keeping your eyes on the road. Sirius XM, FM, AM radio; they can all be there if you want to pay for it.
Apps. Yes, NAVI systems can now come with apps. Garmin’s newer portable models now come with TripAdvisor built in, so you can get a restaurant or hotel recommendation on the go, just another way NAVI systems are becoming more like phones. And remember, you’re saving on that costly data. In-dash systems from companies like Boss and Sony come with Spotify and Pandora too.

TOP 10 Navigation Systems

Based on what we’ve discussed, you’ll want your GPS system to be at least 4.3 inches wide, have touch screen capabilities, and offer map updates. Here’s our list of the best GPS Navigation systems to buy online.

10. Garmin Drive 5’’ USA EX GPS Navigator

$64.95

9. Magellan RM6220

$71.33

8. Garmin Drive 5’’ GPS Navigator

$92.99

7. TomTom VIA 1515M Auto GPS

$89.05

6. Pioneer AVIC-7201NEX

$696.42

5. Garmin DriveAssist 51

$294.98

4. Garmin Drive 51

$169.99

3. Garmin DriveLuxe 51

$329.99

2. TomTom GO 520

$184.90

1. Power Acoustik PDN-626B

$136.49

Summary

GPS navigation companies are having to up their game due to the proliferation of map apps on smartphones. While you may not be convinced of the necessity of a navigation system for you car, they’re a whole lot safer than looking at your smartphone while driving. And we’ve also talked about a bunch of devices with additional features that no smartphone has (for now). So we hope you’ve found one that’ll get you on the road again.

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