When you use a sat nav in a car, it doesn’t take into account some of the things that you would need to think about when driving a bigger vehicle. If you don’t purchase a sat nav that has been tailored to things like trucks, campervans and HGVs then you may find yourself on a route that just isn’t accessible.
But where do you start when looking for the best truck sat navs and how do you know which are the best products? Well, without trying and testing them, you can’t. But we have done all of that for you so that you don’t have to worry.
In this guide, we will explain everything you need to know about buying a sat nav for your truck or other larger vehicle. You’ll also discover some of the top products on the market right now that are reliable, efficient and will get you to where you need to go!
Best Truck Sat Navs - Our Top Picks
Not everyone will have the same requirements so we have scoured the market to find a variety of reliable truck sat navs for different needs. All of these sat navs have great reviews and features that make getting from A to B much less of a headache.
OUR TOP PICK
Snooper is a well known brand so right from the off you can feel confident that this is going to be a good quality sat nav. OK, there is the issue of the price which is slightly outside of ‘normal range’ but it’s not overly expensive.
This one features a seven inch LCD touchscreen which is big enough for great visibility but not so big that you may as well have a smart TV in your cab. But what’s really great about this one is that you can search up to 16 postcodes at once so if you’ve got several stops along the way, you won’t need to worry about inputting each one individually.
When you’re driving a larger vehicle, bridges can be a nightmare so knowing what is coming up and how to avoid sticky situations is a must. There is a Snooper Bridge Saver which is a separate device but you can also enter the dimensions of up to 10 vehicles on the Truckmate which will provide you with details of upcoming bridges and suggest alternative routes.
You get lifetime map updates and other handy features such as lane assist so the Truckmate really does have it all. But there is one little niggle that a lot of drivers have found and that is the consistency of the truck speed. It’s not that the device doesn’t read speed correctly, it’s that you have to configure the settings in order for it to do so. This is something of a pain and a feature that I feel should be ready set up out of the box but with everything else the Truckmate has to offer, it’s not a deal breaker. For professional drivers with lengthy routes and lots of stops, this is a great choice.
Good sized screen
Some confusing settings
Gives information on bridge heights
Optional add on hardware
Lifetime map updates
Just because you live in the UK, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to venture over to the continent from time to time, especially if you’re trucking for work. A lot of sat navs only have UK maps built in but this one from well known brand TomTom has extensive European maps as well. If you regularly cross the channel, you shouldn’t be without this.
For people who haven’t got time to faff around connecting their sat nav to their computer, the built in wifi means that you won’t need to. The device updates without any need to connect it elsewhere and it does so regularly so you know you’ve always got the most up to date information.
Speaking of up to date information, the TomTom Go Professional is bursting with everything you need to know on your journey. Traffic updates in real time, hazard alerts, road restrictions and much more, this is a device that’ll get you from A to B as easily and quickly as possible. The reason it’s so good for professionals is because it has been designed purely with large vehicles in mind.
One thing that I find does let it down slightly is that the screen is only 6 inches which is markedly smaller than some of the competitors. It is clear but if you have a large cab and have to place your sat nav further away from you, this could restrict how well you can see.
Slightly smaller screen
Bluetooth connection is sometimes unreliable
Bluetooth connection for your smartphone
Points of interest including petrol stations
Before we get into the many good points about the NavPal, I first have to note that while there is a restricted route feature on the intelligent system, this isn’t always 100% reliable. Some drivers have noted that even when they have been sent via a route that should be compatible with the height of their truck, the sat nav has got it wrong. For this reason, I would suggest this as a tool for people who have alternative ways of checking restrictions just to be certain.
But, that’s just one fault compared to the whole host of things that the NavPal has going for it. For example, there are plenty of rave reviews about how easy this one is to use. Whether you’re working or eager to get on your latest road trip, having a clear user interface is a must if you don’t want to be held up.
What’s more, the screen is designed to work in all light conditions so even on bright days, your view won’t be limited.
The NavPal is loaded with information on all sorts of things such as local places of interest, lane guidance, 2D and 3D maps and even an option to tailor your experience according to what type of vehicle you are driving. If you want something you can use in your truck just as easily as you can in the car, this is brilliant.
Easy to use and clear
Some issues with accurate information
Good sized 7 inch screen
Lifetime updates with no hidden fees
Can be used for other media
BEST SLIMLINE TRUCK SAT NAV
Garmin is another of the most well known sat nav brands and it certainly doesn’t disappoint with this nifty bit of equipment. What really makes it stand out is the lightweight, slimline design but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s not well made because it’s really sturdy and robust.
But let’s get down to the nitty gritty; how well does it direct you to where you want to go? The answer; very well! The device is loaded with both UK and European maps so it’s incredibly diverse and what I really like about this one is that you can view commonly used routes by others which allow you to pick the very best and most convenient way to go.
If you’re in need of a pitstop, the Garmin dezl is packed with data on places to park and when it comes to working, there’s even info on loading docks so you can be prepared upon your arrival at your destination.
It’s got a two hour battery life which is pretty standard among sat navs but I still feel this is quite short and something that could perhaps be improved on by all manufacturers in future but I would have expected someone like Garmin to be leading the way. Yes, you can plug it in especially when you’re on the go.
UK and European maps
£80 fee to activate certain features
Voice control for hands-free use
Well built but compact
Info on hazards and restrictions
Info on weather, fuel prices, traffic and much more
BEST SAT NAV WITH FREE LIFETIME UPDATES
As we have seen with the Garmin dezl, a lot of sat nav manufacturers have a hidden fee for certain features like traffic updates, map updates and other things. So when you learn that the XGODY offers free lifetime updates, that’s certainly a selling point, especially when you consider how affordable this device is in the first place.
This is a great option for larger cabs as the nine inch screen can be easily seen even when you have to place it a little further away from yourself. The user interface isn’t quite as attractive as something like the TomTom and kind of reminds me of those Windows phones but this doesn’t affect how easy it is to use.
If you’re worried about the battery giving way on you halfway through a journey then you will love that this one lasts up to three hours. This is much longer than a lot of other sat navs so is massively convenient for lengthy journeys.
Whether you are travelling in the UK or across Europe, the XGODY has you covered since it has maps of more than 50 countries! With voice control, 2D and 3D maps, points of interest, lane assist, different vehicle modes and so much more, this is an incredibly versatile piece of equipment that won’t break the bank.
Long lasting battery
Lots of features and information built in
Risk routes aren’t 100% reliable
UK and European maps
What To Consider When Buying A Truck Sat Nav
As with anything, you will need to think carefully about what you are looking for from a truck sat nav, we have already done a map apps review. While all products are essentially designed to do the same thing, each one will have its own pros and cons so you’ll need to assess these before making a decision. Here are some of our top tips on choosing a sat nav for your large vehicle.
How Easy Is It To Update?
One thing that a lot of people find to be a challenge is updating their sat nav. You would think this would be an easy process but in a lot of cases, it’s nothing but a headache. Now, of course, this isn’t a statement that can be applied across the board and there are plenty of higher end sat navs that will update without much fuss.
Some of the TomTom models give you alerts when it’s time up to update and everything is done directly through the device which is far simpler. However, if you have a cheaper sat nav then it probably won’t come with a wifi connection which means you will have to hook it up to your computer when you want to update it.
Make sure you find a device that is user friendly and doesn’t require a computing degree to update. I’ve heard lots of stories about truck drivers and motorhome owners that have just chopped in their old sat nav and got a new one because of the hassle of updating it. There’s no sense in spending extra money, surely?
What Features Does The Sat Nav Have?
Depending on how you’re going to use your sat nav, you may require a whole host of different features. For example, people who are trucking for work would need vastly different features compared to RV drivers looking for some leisure time. However, as a general rule, the following things should be included on a good sat nav.
Traffic updates provide you with up to date information on traffic and may even provide you with alternative routes to get you to where you need to be more quickly. This is great if you want to avoid getting stuck in an unexpected traffic jam
Many sat navs have a feature that warns you of any roadworks or hazards that may be upcoming. Things like this can drastically slow you down so being aware of them ahead of time is essential, especially if you’re making a delivery that needs to be on time.
When you are driving a larger vehicle, you won’t necessarily be able to use the same routes as cars and vans as your vehicle may be too big to get through. Your sat nav should therefore provide you with information on low bridges, narrow roads and other such obstructions that would be difficult for you.
If you should find yourself in an accident or emergency then it’s important to be able to access help as quickly as possible. In the trucking industry, accidents are a lot more common than people think and while most of us have smartphones these days, you do need to have an alternative method of contacting emergency assistance. Some sat navs can alert the emergency services, call for a tow truck and even contact local mobile mechanics.
Having bluetooth connectivity allows you to operate your sat nav more safely especially if you will be making calls. It’s also ideal for entertainment.
When you are driving in areas that aren’t all that familiar to you, it can be very easy to veer off into another lane or cause disruption to other traffic while you’re trying to find the right route. A lane change assist feature will ensure that you stay on track and in the right lane so that your journey is much safer.
Some sat navs provide you with a 3D map which is often much easier to follow than the 2D counterpart. This can make it easier to get to where you need to be and is a feature that regular users should consider.
If you are travelling for fun then you’ll want to know what there is to do in the local area. Some sat navs come with information on points of interest such as places to eat, attractions, hotels, petrol stations and even car parks. This saves you from having to stop to Google these things and further cuts your journey time.
If you want a totally hands free experience, you might look for a sat nav that comes with voice control. Not only is this more convenient but it’s also much safer.
How Big Is The Screen?
Generally speaking, a truck sat nav will have a screen that is anywhere between four and nine inches. Of course, the bigger the screen, the easier it will be to read and you won’t need to strain your eyes as much. That said, you do want to be careful not to buy something so big that it takes over any available space and looks like an eyesore.
When choosing a sat nav for your truck or other large vehicle, you want to consider how much it’s going to cost. Now, you can’t expect to get a sat nav with all the very best features on a minimal budget. The more things the sat nav offers, the higher the price tag is going to be, generally speaking.
There are some affordable sat navs out there that have a good number of features but it's certainly worth reading reviews of these before purchasing.
As a rule of thumb, you will want to look for truck sat navs that are within the £50 to £300 price range. There are those that are far more expensive than this; sometimes double the price but these are really top of the range and should really only be reserved for people who are going to use them all day every day. Otherwise, you won’t make the most out of them and it’ll be a waste of money.
Getting from A to B in your truck, motorhome and any other large vehicle can be especially tricky. Your route needs to be tailored to your vehicle and a standard car sat nav probably won’t have the features you are looking for. Fortunately, there are a lot of truck-specific sat navs out there that will allow you to get to where you want to be safely, quickly and efficiently.