Car Bibles is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
Truck drivers face unique challenges. Not only are they behind the wheel of much larger vehicles with a lot of weight and cargo, but they’re also more restricted than other drivers. Trucks can’t drive on all the same roads, and they often have to follow different routes in order to get to their destinations. Fortunately, there is a device that can make any truck driver’s life easier: a truck GPS. A truck GPS is similar to a typical car GPS system, only it’s uniquely specialized to benefit truck drivers. These GPS devices can offer customized routes just for semis as well as accurate navigation and special features like warnings, rest stop notifications, and other options just for truckers. We’ve rounded up some of the best truck GPS devices available to help you find the perfect fit for your behind-the-wheel needs.
The Best Truck GPS
Featuring a 7-inch display screen, this system offers free lifetime map upgrades, so you can get the most accurate picture of the roads currently available. One of the most important things for truckers is finding good rest stops on the road, and this piece of equipment allows you to search for stops based on their brand name or the amenities available. You can also search for restaurants and shops using Foursquare.
The system will also help your journey by offering route warnings such as sharp turns, bridges, and any weight limits that you need to be concerned about. You can check important information such as hours of service and fuel usage too.
Lifetime North America maps
Custom truck routing
7.0-inch glass display screen
- Weight14.4 ounces
Good viewing angles
Easy to adjust based on your preferences
Relatively short battery life
Struggles to navigate certain areas
This truck GPS features a 6-inch display screen and a built-in dash cam which can continuously record your journey and save the files automatically. As you would expect from a device that is specifically made for truckers, you can customize your route and adjust the settings based on the size and weight of your truck.
One of the other features that truckers like is the location and services setting which tells you about places that have been highly rated by other drivers. You also get route warnings, so you know the places that you should avoid.
Built-in dash cam
Detailed North America maps and free updates
Truck services directory
- Weight12 ounces
Clear and sharp focus on the screen
Some reports of inaccurate routes for trucks
One of the most difficult parts of being a truck driver can be knowing when to move into the correct lane, but this device features an advanced lane guidance system to help you through the process. You can also check out toll costs, so you know can calculate a potentially cheaper route.
On the seven-inch screen of this Rand McNally truck GPS, you can view the map in more detail. And you can also choose between a couple of different interface settings depending on your personal preferences. Compared to previous editions, the processing speed is faster, and the hardware has all been updated.
Optimize your journey with multi-stop routing
Improved lane guidance system
- BrandRand McNally
- Weight2.2 pounds
Lane guidance helps you plan your route
Helps avoid congestion
Higher price point than other models
Reports of unit freezing
The Rand McNally TND 540 GPS Truck Navigator is a great option if you’re looking for a GPS that offers more than basic directions. This truck GPS is more advanced with features and functions that can benefit every truck driver. It provides turn-by-turn directions to any destination, but it also offers more. This navigation device can show you the current weather as well as a forecast, so you can anticipate challenges like wind and rain. You can check out fuel prices in the areas you’re driving through, even sorting by fuel type and price. There’s a local search option, so you can easily find nearby businesses, restaurants, and more.
This truck GPS, which measures 4.5 x 7 x 9 inches, is perfect for using inside larger vehicles. But the bigger screen isn’t the only benefit for truck drivers. This unique, truck-friendly GPS also offers a route comparison feature that you can use to pick your primary route, and you can choose an alternate route just in case. Specialized warnings offer advice and preemptive warnings just for trucks, like speed limit changes, sharp curves, and other potential problems. Overall, you’ll get 35-percent more truck routing information than a basic GPS unit.
10 different map overlays available, including weather and local businesses along your route
Customized warnings help you get advance notice about potential obstacles or challenges
Includes lifetime map updates
- BrandRand McNally
- ModelTND 540
- Weight1.43 pounds
Offers updates about road warnings, construction, and junctions
Truck-specific routing ensures you’re on the right roads for your vehicle
Route preview allows you to see where you’re headed before you start driving
Reports of truckers being directed on the wrong routes
Need to sync to phone to get updates
The modern GPS systems have all sorts of Wi-Fi connected systems to improve your driving experience, and this one allows you to get weather updates and check the fuel prices and different stations that you pass. The high-definition screen makes it easy to read the maps on your display with ease. Free lifetime updates are included.
Advanced lane guidance helps you to choose your road positioning with accuracy, while you can also choose truck-specific routing to ensure that you go the right way. And you can even get your map updates over the air.
7” HD display screen
Advanced lane guidance system
- BrandRand McNally
- Weight2.25 pounds
Maps are easy to update
Solid magnetic hold and release system
Highly simple functionality
Strong route planning features
Not long battery life
Less affordable than other similar units
If you are looking for a smaller GPS device, the Garmin 5-inch Display Truck GPS Navigator has a display of just five inches, making it one of the more compact options out there. You can customize your journey based on the size and weight of your truck and play breaks on the road in advance, so you are not left having to search for them.
Warnings and alerts on the road ahead help you to avoid getting into any sticky situations when you are out on the open road. You can even control the device with your voice to avoid having to fiddle with your Garmin truck GPS while you are driving.
5-inch display screen
Customizable truck routing
Break planning and hazard alerts
- Weight8 ounces
Straightforward to use
Accurate route planning
Smaller screen may be difficult to see
Not as loud as other devices
Our final choice on the list of truck route GPS devices is another one from famous brand TomTom, the TomTom Trucker 620 GPS Navigation Device for Trucks. The 6-inch screen is fully interactive with a lifetime worth of map updates to download, giving you access to the latest routes.
As well as planning your route, you can also get traffic updates to ensure that you take the best possible direction to avoid getting stuck. Everything is hands-free to minimize distractions and maximize your safety.
6-inch interactive screen
Live traffic updates available
- Weight1.38 pounds
Screen works in both direct sunlight and low light
Good value for money
Slow map updates
Reports of poor route planning
Best Truck GPS Buying Guide & FAQ
There’s a wide array of different truck GPS devices available for you to consider. But that can make the prospect of choosing just one for your truck difficult. Which GPS devices offer the best features? How do you know what to look for in a truck GPS? Is there a difference between similar options? If you’re confused, you can use our guide on how to choose the best truck GPS for your needs. Whether you’re looking for easy navigation or need features like voice control, road warnings, and weather updates, there’s a GPS that can meet each one of your needs on the road. Read more on what you need to know about selecting the right truck GPS.
Features to Look for in a Truck GPS
Before you settle on a truck GPS system, you need to know what features you are looking for. Otherwise, you may find yourself investing in something which doesn’t do the job that you expected of it. To help you zero in on the features that a good truck GPS should have, here are some of the top factors to consider.
- Accurate Mapping
The primary function of a GPS system is to tell you where you are going, so accuracy in this area is highly important as a starting point. And good systems should allow for map updates as the roads around you change, which can often happen at a frequent pace. Look for the systems which offer a lifetime of free map updates. Your system should also offer information such as your gas mileage and your estimated time of arrival.
- Approved Roads
Some roads are suitable for trucks to travel on whereas others are not. A good truck GPS system should be able to differentiate between the two. You should be able to set the dimensions and weight of your truck to ensure that you stay on the right course. This way, you won’t have to worry about suddenly being confronted by a bridge which is way too low for your vehicle. Some systems offer you a detailed £D look at the road in front of you which may come in handy.
- Traffic Alerts
Not only do good GPS systems tell you the right way to go, but they also inform you of any traffic which you need to watch out for along the way. Having this information can save you a whole heap of time when you would otherwise be sitting in a queue. The more accurate the system, the better you will be able to avoid delays before they occur.
- Hands-Free System
Using technology while you are driving can present a major problem as it is a distraction. Rather than fiddling around with your device with your hands, it is much safer if it is voice-activated. You should also be able to place and receive calls using it as well.
- Drive Assist
Look out for the other useful features which can enhance your driving experience. For example, lane assist will ensure that you get into the correct lane well in advance to ensure that you are not having to maneuver such a large vehicle dangerously. There are plenty of other features that can improve your overall driving experience such as warning you of potential hazards ahead like rest areas and petrol stations, as well as discovering where is selling the cheapest fuel in the area. Some systems will also allow you to plan out your route and stops in advance, so you can simply follow the instructions provided to you.
- Trip Logging
Trip logging is another useful feature that allows you to monitor things such as fuel usage, mileage, driving status, etc. This can be used by fleet managers to keep an eye on drivers and deal with any issues as they occur, so if you are running your own business, you can ensure that your employees are doing the best job possible. This will help you to run your company in the most efficient way possible.
- Screen Size
There are several sizes of GPS screen to choose between, so think about getting the one which is most suitable for you. Generally, these tend to vary between five and seven inches. While this may not seem like that much of a big difference, think about how they are going to be positioned on your dashboard, so you get the clearest view in front of you. If you struggle to see your GPS, this could lead you to taking your eyes off the road for longer than needed, which can put you in a more dangerous situation.
- Mounting System
Another point to consider is how the GPS mounts to your dashboard, as you want it to be positioned comfortably to ensure that you are not having to strain to see the screen. You also need it to be secure enough that it is not going to fall off when you are driving over bumpy roads.
Why You Should Use a Truck Navigation
There are plenty of advantages that make a truck navigation system a worthwhile piece of equipment to have in your vehicle. Here are a few of the main pros.
- The Latest Updates
Take a look at some of the truck navigation models that we have discussed above. Many of them offer free lifetime map updates, giving you access to the latest routes and keeping you up to date with road changes and differing routes. This is useful in ensuring that you have access to all the latest information, which is so important when you are a trucker who needs to get from A to B as efficiently as part of your job.
- Save Money
There are a couple of ways in which a truck navigation system can save you some money. First, portable systems tend to be cheaper than in-car factory models. Also, a high-quality system will ensure that you get to your destination in the shortest possible time, as well as helping you to avoid any unnecessary delays along the way. Plus, you may be able to get access to maintenance reports about your vehicle. These can tell you about the distance that you have driven.
- Good Reception
As these portable units use satellites to get their information, you can usually guarantee that they are quite reliable. If you are still relying on your smartphone to get information, you should experience a noticeable improvement.
Difference Between a Car GPS and a Truck GPS
If you were wondering what the difference between a car GPS and a truck GPS is, there are a couple of main differences that are worth noting.
- Truck-Specific Routes
Most importantly, you can access information that is specifically geared towards truck drivers which is important when you are driving a larger vehicle. You can find out the most accessible routes, as well as any weight and speed limits which may apply to you. There are plenty of roads out there which are not going to be suitable for trucks, and you need to avoid these to prevent any dangerous situations or irritating diversions. And then you have details about any roadside objects which could cause a problem such as overpasses or bridges.
- Specialized Information
Beyond route planning, there is other information that is going to prove useful to you. For example, you can plan to avoid any toll roads which are going to amount to a significant sum of money if you have to keep driving on them. Also, many of these devices allow you to discover truck stops along the way, so you can plan out where you are going to refuel your vehicle and yourself! You may also be able to find out the places that offer the cheapest prices, so you can save in this area as well.
- Fleet Management
If you are a fleet manager, you can obtain useful information about your employees and their driving. And when people know that they are being monitored, it is more likely that they are going to drive safely. You can gather information such as the number of vehicle stops, as well as mileage and breaks. All of this can be used to improve your delivery time and overall customer service, thereby making your business stronger.
Best Truck GPS Buying Guide FAQ:
Q: How often will my GPS send updates?
A: The number of times that your truck navigation system sends updates depends on the specific model that you buy. Some will update on a more regular basis to tell you about changes on the road such as speed limits, construction projects, and points of interest along the way. And then you have the Lifetime Map updates that we have mentioned several times in this blog post. These usually come on a yearly basis and are large, as you would expect. You are better off connecting to Wi-Fi rather than a mobile hotspot due to the size of them. You may need a separate SD card to enhance your available memory.
Q: Can I keep the connection to my GPS while on the go or when I’m out of the grid?
A: GPS systems are continually improving, and you can keep the connection in most areas. Make sure that your maps are updated in the area that you are driving well in advance.
Q: What data should I expect my GPS to capture?
A: As well as data about your location, your GPS device can also capture information such as your mileage, fuel economy, number of stops, etc. You can often control what data your device takes from your journeys, so go into the settings and toggle on and off the ones you like.
Our Top Pick
The Garmin dezl 770LMTHD Truck GPS Navigator is our choice for the top truck GPS. Backed by one of the biggest names in GPS navigation, this handy truck GPS offers all of the navigation needs and functionality you could want. Truck drivers will love the large 7-inch display, which allows you to clearly and easily see directions. This Garmin truck GPS gives you the ability to completely customize your route, and you can even make adjustments based on your truck’s weight and size. Lifetime map updates ensure this GPS is always in the know, which helps keep you from getting lost in unfamiliar areas. It’ll even log critical info about your drive, like fuel use and hours of service. This Garmin truck GPS is a great asset to have inside your truck.