Helpful Hints When Buying a GPS Receiver


The choice in Brands is made somewhat easy due to the fact that there are only a handful of major manufacturers in the GPS Receiver field.

Garmin, Lowrance, Magellan, and TomTom are the most popular and are the leaders in the industry.

Which unit to buy

When trying to decide which unit to buy you should decide which features are important to you because you will pay for almost all of the added features. Usually the smaller the unit the more it will cost. A larger screen, Bluetooth hands free calling, and traffic receivers may all add extra cost.

Do you want a portable unit that you can move from car to car?

Do you want a portable unit to use while hiking?

Do you want a unit that will always stay in the car?


Most top of the line units will offer sufficient accuracy for most uses. If you travel within major cities where tall building can offer a challenge for the receiver you may want to inquire how the unit you're interested in will perform.

Important Features

•Turn-by-Turn Voice Direction

This feature provides verbal turn-by-turn directions. If the unit does not offer this feature you will have to read the screen for directions.

•Automatic Rerouting

This feature refers to the ability of your GPS unit to provide an alternate route if your primary route is not desirable (for traffic jams for example) This feature integrates with traffic receivers so that the GPS unit can automatically reroute you if there are traffic problems on your primary route. Traffic subscription required.

•Manual Rerouting

This feature works by pushing the button on the unit to change your route, maybe due to a detour or some other problem with the road your on or are about to turn onto.

•Screen Size

Units come in various screen sizes. Check out the one you're interested in and make sure it will work for you in your situation.

•SD and CF Cards

SD and CF Card slots allow flash memory cards to be plugged into your GPS for adding additional information to your GPS database and for storing information from your GPS device as well.

•Battery Life

For portable and pocket GPS units the quality of the battery system is very important and is measured by the battery life or the amount of time you can use your GPS before you have to plug it in to recharge the batteries. You should look for battery life of 6-8 hours.


There are various technologies that are designed to reduce theft of your GPS. Some units offer a locking system whereby you have to enter a personalized code to get the GPS unit to operate.

•Preloaded Information

A GPS unit needs a database of maps and points of interest to be a valuable navigational help. If your GPS unit comes preloaded you can usually hit the power button when you get it home and it will start working. If it is not preloaded with data then you will need to connect your GPS to your computer and download the important information into the GPS.


You can check and for what experts have to say about various GPS units.

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