Have you ever jumped in your car and fumbled with the maps app on your phone to get directions to your destination? It wasn't that long ago that most people drove around with a thick, detailed street directory lying on the back seat of their cars.
In 2018, many new vehicles come fitted with a built-in Global Positioning System (GPS) to assist with navigation and route planning. However, plenty of people don't have a new car and not all built-in systems are as useful, efficient, advanced or reliable as external in-car GPS devices that you can purchase.
The cost of car GPS devices generally ranges from $100 to $400, although some high-end, sophisticated systems can cost upwards of $1,500. The GPS you select will depend upon your personal requirements and preferences, as well as the device's technical capabilities.
Our guide explains the different types of car GPS currently available so that you can purchase the device that best suits your needs and budget. We'll explain the key features you need to be aware of, plus information on where to buy and what you can expect to pay.
Compare some of the best GPS devices
What is GPS
The GPS or Global Positioning System is a satellite-based navigation system that uses a network of orbiting satellites to transmit maps and directions directly to your GPS unit. The system is maintained by the United States Department of Defense.
GPS allows you to determine your location from anywhere in the world with a GPS signal to four or more satellites. You can use a GPS device to access up-to-date maps and get accurate directions to your desired location.
What types of car GPS devices are available?
- These are basic portable navigation devices that can be affixed to a car's dash or interior windscreen and primarily assist you by providing directions, among various other features.
Hybrid GPS and dash camera
- These devices include GPS and a front-facing dash camera to capture any accidents (eg a crash) and incidents (eg vandalism) that may occur while you're either driving or stationary.
A new car GPS typically ranges in price from $100 to $400, although some high-end systems can exceed $1,500. The total cost will depend on the brand, model and technological capabilities. These devices are customarily sturdy, lightweight and portable but these features aren't necessarily guaranteed. Identifying essential attributes will help you determine the cost.
For example, it would be helpful to consider whether or not you will be transporting your GPS device between different vehicles? What size screen will you need to accommodate the driver's vision? How is the device powered? Will you need a device with extensive battery life? Do you plan to use your GPS overseas? You may need a system that allows you to download international maps. Discover all the different features available for car GPS devices below.
Important features to consider
The various features of car GPS devices can affect the capabilities, quality and total cost.
Where to buy car GPS devices in Australia
The most convenient way to buy a car GPS device is to shop online. Regardless of your budget or specific requirements, retailers generally offer the same deals and products online as they do in-store. In some cases, they'll also offer exclusive online-only prices and discounts.
If you're interested in purchasing a car GPS device, you can browse our featured products above.
Top car GPS
There's no one car GPS device to suit everyone's needs and budget. Below, we've compared five popular products and highlighted the pros and cons raised by users in reviews on Amazon, so you can see how well these devices perform in the real world.
|Type||The good||The bad|
|Eonon GA2170||In-car GPS|
|TomTom Start 42||In-car GPS|
|Magellan Roadmate 6630T-LM||Hybrid GPS and dash camera|
|Garmin DriveSmart 51 LMT-S||In-car GPS|
|Rand McNally OverDryve Pro||Hybrid GPS and dash camera|
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