Getting from A to B has never been easier. Here are some of the best sat navs you can buy today.
While the road atlas may not be totally dead yet, sat navs are now by far the easiest way of making sure you don’t get lost when driving to new destinations.
There are a host of different devices on the market, but which one is best?
In reality, this depends on your needs. There’s no one sat nav that’s best for everyone, even if there are things that everyone wants from their sat nav, such as accuracy.
Most of us like our tech to be simple, but this may limit the number of functions.
Other things to consider are live updates versus offline sat navs. Traffic information can be great, but if you often travel in a rural area with no data signal, this can be pointless.
Each of the devices below could be described as ‘best’, depending on your needs and your budget.
Garmin Drive 50LM – the really accurate one
The Garmin Drive 50LM is one of the most popular sat navs in the Garmin range, and for good reason.
The accuracy of the Garmin Drive 50LM is superb both for the mapping of roads and for speed limits, which the device shows for your current location.
Garmin is also proud of its more realistic instructions. Instead of simply saying ‘turn left in 100 metres’, it can give instructions to ‘turn left at the Ford dealer’ or use other landmarks such as restaurants or churches.
The idea behind this is to make directions easier to understand, while also cutting the amount of time you spend looking at the device, making for safer use.
The Garmin Drive 50LM, with its 5-inch screen, is reasonably priced at £109 and comes with free map updates for life.
TomTom GO6100 – the fancy one
The GO6100 is TomTom’s best sat nav. At £299.99 it’s not the cheapest, but it includes lifetime world maps, speed camera positions and traffic updates using the built-in SIM card. This works globally with no roaming charges.
It has a 6-inch touch screen with TomTom’s intuitive menu system which makes setting routes very simple. And if you don’t want to manually enter the destination, it’ll even do voice recognition.
It’s also designed with a clever mounting system that means it’s easily removable when you’ve finished your journey.
Garmin nuviCam 6 – the one with a dashcam
For those that want a sat nav and a dashcam then Garmin has the nuviCam 6, priced at £289.99.
As well as Garmin’s accurate mapping (for which free lifetime updates are included) and clear routing, there’s also a forward facing dashcam.
Coupling the two features means not only does it record the road ahead and any incidents that may occur, it also uses GPS to record where any incidents occur.
Thanks to the camera, the nuviCam 6 will also offer lane-departure and forward collision warnings.
TomTom Start 42 – the no-frills one
If you’re after the simplest and easiest sat nav, then the TomTom Start 42 shows you the way forward. It marks the entry point to the TomTom range at £109.
It may only have a 4-inch screen, but does include free lifetime map updates and three months’ worth of updates for speed camera locations.
Mio Spirit 8500LM – the smart one
Mio may not be one of the mainstream brands, but has a 6-inch screen and it’s packed with features for a competitive £124.
As well as lifetime map updates and speed camera alerts, the Spirit 8500LM learns your driving style and usual routes. It can then give better arrival time estimates and choose routes that suite your driving habits.
Sat nav alternatives
If you don’t want to spend big, then here’s a couple of downloadable apps that will do the job too.
CoPilot Premium UK & Ireland
CoPilot is downloadable sat nav for your phone. It’s available on all three major mobile operating systems and costs just £16.49.
Because it’s an app it can make use of your mobile’s other facilities. For instance it’ll allow you to search for your destination using Google or Wikipedia as well as its own internal listings.
CoPilot also offers the ability for users to drag routes if you want to edit the way you’re travelling, add in a stop or avoid an area.
If £16.49 is still too much to pay for sat nav, then Waze is the best free app. It’s a community-based system which means it uses information from other Waze users to provide accurate traffic information, even at a local level.
Currently only available for iOS and Android phones, Waze also has some clever features such as allowing drivers to send their location to other people. So if colleagues or family want to know if you’re going to arrive on time, you can give them access to your location.
Being a dedicated sat nav app also means it has one over on the Google Maps app and allows the easy setting of favourites, home and other locations for future use.