Nowadays, everyone has a portable GPS in their hand with their smartphone. Gone are the days of road trips with maps spread across the dashboard. It’s pretty hard to get lost walking or driving, no matter where you find yourself. But what happens when signal is lost? How do you find your way? Cue handheld GPS devices. These devices work independently using GPS or GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System). Handheld GPS devices are made to be used for hiking, camping, or hunting. They help navigate the user through trails or woods to their final destination. Below is our list of the top 3 best handheld GPS devices to keep you safe and on track.
The first on our list is the Garmin GPSMAP 64st Worldwide Handheld GPS. This handheld is consistently rated one of the overall best by users. It achieves this honor by being high-quality, dependable, accurate, and easy to use.
This GPS comes preloaded with a worldwide basemap and full topographic maps of the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Maps are in such detail that users can view bodies of water, points of interest, trails, and terrain contours.
It also has an electronic compass, and a barometric altimeter that tracks even the slightest changes in elevation, allowing you to pinpoint your exact altitude.
The Garmin GPSMAP 64st also allows you to share your favorite trails and routes wirelessly with other compatible devices. Another useful feature is that this handheld GPS connects with your smartphone to allow you to receive notifications and messages from your phone so you don’t have to constantly be juggling multiple devices.
-Preloaded worldwide basemap and US topographic maps
-Wirelessly connects to cell phone for notifications and messages
-The buttons can be difficult and tedious to navigate
-Some of the preloaded maps are outdated
-Initial setup is time-consuming and can be confusing
The Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS is a wearable GPS device that allows the user to carry and operate hands-free. This feature gives the user two free hands to climb, carry, cycle, etc. This devices gets great customer reviews for its portability, ease of use, and versatility.
This GPS, although small and portable, has many of the same important features as the full size handheld GPS devices. No need to worry that it’s size will inhibit signal reception.
This device has an ultrasensitive GPS receiver, as well as HotFix, a feature that gives you a strong connection even in heavy tree cover or deep canyons.
The Garmin Foretrex 401 has a great battery life that will last over a day’s worth of use. Display resolution is easy to read, even in bright sunlight, and it keeps great track of routes, even allowing you to easily retrace your steps. This GPS is also loaded with sunrise/sunset times, hunting and fishing information, electronic compass, and barometric altimeter. To top it all off, it is completely waterproof, perfect for fishing or in case you get caught in the rain.
-Very sensitive GPS and HotFix for strong signal strength
-Strong battery life
-Uses regular AAA batteries
-Instructions that come with the device are difficult to follow
-Wristband is difficult to adjust
Although the Garmin Montana 680t is the most expensive on the list, it has many features that justify its price. The Garmin Montana is a touchscreen, so no fiddling with buttons that are hard to press. Users rave about how user-friendly the touch screen is, and how helpful the pre-loaded information on this device is.
The Garmin Montana 680t comes preloaded with 250,000 worldwide geocaches. This device is also equipped with both GPS and GLONASS, so your position is always located quickly and accurately and maintained in all conditions. As previously mentioned, the touch-screen is user-friendly and allows for easy navigation through the device.
The purchase of this product comes with a 1-year Birdseye subscription, so users can benefit from the satellite imagery it provides. The most unique feature of this device is that it has an 8 megapixel digital camera that allows you to capture the perfect moments from your travels.
-250,000 preloaded worldwide geocaches
-1-year Birdseye subscription
-Both GPS and GLONASS
-8 megapixel digital camera
-Touch-screen can be too sensitive
-Zoom feature is not the greatest
-Difficult to learn to use-steep learning curve
In the end, you should consider the type of activity you plan to do before choosing the right handheld GPS for you. This will ensure the features of your device will perfectly match your activity. For example, if you are using your device for hiking, the Garmin GPSMAP would be a perfect fit for you.
If, however, you are hunting or fishing, the Garmin Foretrex 401 is the device for you, as it allows hands-free use. No matter which way you go, any of these top 3 best handheld GPS devices is sure to lead you in the right direction.