The Best GPS Choices for Truck Drivers


Being able to find your destination is one of the biggest requirements of a truck driving career. However, long gone are the days when you were forced to depend on a paper map. The truck drivers of today have a whole slew of technological advancements that help them run their routes. Take global positioning systems (GPS), for example. If you have a GPS set up in your rig you can generally get your load delivered without fail. Yet not all GPS devices are well suited for the needs of truck drivers. Find out which GPS options will get you places in a big rig.

Trucker Only GPS

The first thing to note is that there are GPS devices on the market that are geared at commercial truck drivers. Truck driver GPS units are sold exclusively for truckers, but does that mean you should buy one? These GPS units can be more costly compared to standard devices so you need to know if the extra expense is worth it.

The answer is yes, you should be looking for a truck driver GPS device. This system is set up to help you navigate those highways and byways that allow truckers. As you are well aware there are plenty of roads throughout the US that have weight and size limits. Tunnels, bridges, dirt roads, residential neighborhoods and the like are all no-goes for truck drivers with tractor-trailers. So while a regular GPS unit will get you places, it will not take into account that you have to avoid certain roads. A commercial trucker GPS will show you the routes to take that are legal for your rig.

Top Brands for GPS Units

As you shop for GPS units you want to go with the best brand name on the market. A well-reviewed GPS provider will feature the following services for truckers:

  • Free or inexpensive updates for mapping
  • Easy to download maps, typically handled via an SD memory card
  • The ability to program and save frequently used routes into the system
  • Multiple power options, i.e. AC and DC power cords, internal battery to hold a charge, etc.
  • Features Wi-Fi capability
  • Ability to connect easily to your laptop or computer typically using a mini USB cable

Other perks to look for in a professional GPS device for truck drivers include:

  • Ability to call a phone number through your GPS, i.e. phone numbers included with contact info on addresses, when paired with Bluetooth and your cell phone
  • A lock code so you can protect your route information when not in your rig

You also want to look for a GPS unit that allows you to force a different route. This is especially useful when hauling oversized loads that require you to take specific roads as stipulated by your oversized load permits.

Best Brands for Trucker GPS

In terms of the most quality for your money there are some stellar brands of trucker GPS devices on the market. Here are some of the best:

  • Garmin
  • Rand McNally
  • Magellan RoadMate

Pricing varies but a good quality trucker GPS will run you at least $200. Also make sure to look at the specific model you are considering for purchase to see if it has been discontinued. Several such models are sold on Amazon, for example, as new devices yet the fact they are discontinued will cause you trouble down the road. These devices are going to have more difficulty with mapping and tech updates. Also you would be unable to replace these with the same model in the future.

Financial Matters

Another key point is you might want to consider a warranty on your device when you purchase a GPS unit. This will protect your investment in case your device unexpectedly shuts down, which indicates a computer glitch or power failure. Considering how much you will be using your GPS device it’s worth the extra spent on a warranty. A final note, the GPS is a tax deduction for you as a truck driver so make sure to keep that receipt and give it to your accountant when it’s time file your income taxes.

So truckers, do you have a GPS brand that you prefer? Any horror stories about GPS units gone wrong?