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Buyers Guide & Information

Best RV GPS Devices Reviewed

Enjoy real-time traffic and weather updates while on the road with these top-rated RV GPS brands.

by PITeam

Buyers Guide & Information

Best RV GPS Devices Reviewed

Enjoy real-time traffic and weather updates while on the road with these top-rated RV GPS brands.

by PITeam

by PITeam

Before hitting the open road in your RV to enjoy the sights of the world, invest in an RV GPS, and make sure you get there safely and on time. When driving an RV, you will need to avoid certain routes that will not fit a vehicle so large. But with an RV GPS, you can rest easy knowing you will not be turning your RV into a convertible thanks to a low overpass. In this article, we look at what, why, and how RV GPS systems work and provide background on the best RV GPS and apps on the market.

Image

Product

Screen/Display Size

Memory Capacity

Check Price

Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S RV Dedicated GPS Navigator...

Garmin RV 770

6.0” x 3.5”/6.95” diagonal

Expandable with microSD card (not included)

Garmin RV 785 & Traffic, Advanced GPS Navigator...

Garmin RV 785

6.0” x 3.5”/6.95” diagonal

Dash Cam- 8GB microSD included, accepts up to 64GB

Garmin RV 760LMT Portable GPS Navigator

Garmin RV 760LMT

6.1” x 3.4”/7” diagonal

Supports microSD (not included)

Garmin RV 780 GPS Navigator with Traffic

Garmin RV 780 

6.0” x 3.5”/6.95” diagonal

Supports microSD (not included)

DEWALT MOBILELOCK DS600 Portable Alarm System and...

DeWalt Mobilelock DS600

None

N/A

Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S, Advanced Navigation for...

Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S

6.0” x 3.5”/6.95” diagonal

Supports microSD (not included)

How RV GPS Systems Work & The Benefits of Using One

An RV GPS is more than just a tool to avoid the wrong route and more of a guide to the best places and most comfortable accommodations for the unique experience of RV travel. RV GPS systems core functionality is the same as all other GPS systems.

Using data from a satellite network to map routes and real-time data from traffic sources, an RV GPS displays and recommends the fastest route from one point to another and shows points of interest along the way. These GPS systems take things a step farther and only recommend routes that can accommodate a larger vehicle.

They can even refine the points of interest to include stops for an RV or RV parking. By using an RV GPS, you can take the guesswork out of your trip and make the most of the moments in and out of the RV by planning stops or making that last-minute pit stop for fuel or a bathroom break.


Types of RV GPS Devices

  • Street Navigation System
    When you think of a GPS, you most likely think of something like Google Maps where directions are given to find your way by car, bike, or walking along street routes. This is the most common type of GPS and is great for basic navigation.
  • Sports GPS System
    In the world of sports or exercise, it can be helpful to gather data around the distance traveled or the particular route chosen by athletes. A sports GPS is used to track where, how fast, and when a given device is moving and can later be displayed on a map. For more info on how GPS systems are used in sports, check out this article.
  • Handheld GPS System
    For those looking to track where they are or remember a location that is off the beaten path, a handheld GPS system can come in handy. Although not as accurate as other systems, a handheld GPS can be used for coordinate directions and used in activities like geocaching for its portability and ease of use.

Choosing a High-Quality GPS for your RV

Screen Size/Display

When determining the best RV GPS for you, a significant factor is going to be how easily you can see what is on the screen at a glance. In general, an RV GPS screen is going to be around the size of a larger smartphone and have a reasonable resolution for the size.

If possible, try and see the RV GPS system in person from a reasonable distance as if you were driving. Other features that will enhance visibility are the brightness, night mode, or contrast options that will vary depending on the model.

Portability/Usability

Unless the RV GPS comes preinstalled within the console of your motorhome, you are likely going to be working with a separate system. With that in mind, many devices are designed to be quickly inserted into a mount and taken off for recharging or storage.

You can easily take the device with you to plan out a trip before you hit the road. For systems that are designed more to track a trailer, they are generally heavier and not really intended to be used outside the trailer itself.

Controls

Looking at the best RV GPS systems, there is a common control scheme for use which is touchscreen and voice control. Using the GPS will feel more like navigating an app on a smartphone or tablet and less like using a controller to adjust settings.

Many newer models are coming with voice control to help drivers be able to change a route or get directions without having to interact physically with the device. This helps ensure driver and passenger safety on the open road.

Installation Options/Ease of Mounting

Installing a GPS system in your motorhome is going to be as easy as setting a mount (either magnetic or a suction cup) and placing your device within the mount. Typically, this type of dock set up should allow for the device to sit horizontally and allow for charging during driving if there is a car charger for the device.

Some motorhomes may come equipped with a built-in GPS system that will require no installation. If using a trailer GPS for tracking, you will want to secure the device somewhere within the trailer that is out of sight, and some do include mounts to attach to the interior of the motorhome.

Passive vs. Real-Time Tracking

Depending on what you intend to use the data from your GPS for, a device that allows passive tracking or active tracking will better suit your needs. When using a GPS to plan out a route or to navigate, active tracking is the preferred option as it will adjust in real-time and tell you where to go.

Passive tracking is better suited for when you want to understand where you have gone or what route you had previously taken to go somewhere. Passive tracking data can be downloaded off a device and accessed later, while active tracking is not stored anywhere on the device long-term.

If you are interested in learning more about the difference between passive and real-time tracking (active), you can learn more here.

Travel Frequency – Driver Assist Features

If you find yourself traveling to new places often, an RV GPS system can help cut down on much of the guesswork on the route. Aside from the usual ability to tell you the best course and the state of traffic in an area, many GPS systems offer other alerts to help the driver best understand and handle the situation.

Alerts for sharp curves, school zones, traffic cameras (red lights/speeding), and other factors can allow for the driver to have a much greater knowledge of the area than driving without a GPS.

Memory Capacity

As new routes are being added and old maps are becoming obsolete, your GPS will need to be able to store more information than what it started with. Through the manufacturer's update process, you can receive this new information and store it on your device.

To better assist with those updates and any additional preferences you store (routes, points of interest, etc.), you can use a microSD card with many systems to expand the storage of your device. Most devices will have a smaller internal memory that can handle most updates, but to ensure your device can stay usable longer, a microSD card will significantly alleviate any memory concerns.

Connectivity & Versatility

Many of the best RV GPS systems on the market are using a smartphone app to help enhance the experience of setting up and using your system. If you connect your phone via Bluetooth to the device, you can actually make calls through the device's microphone and speaker. When you are setting up the device or planning a trip, you can connect the GPS to Wi-Fi for any map updates. 

Extra Features

On top of being able to tell you the fastest route and alert of any closings, a GPS can help with other information on your trip. By connecting with Foursquare and TripAdvisor, some devices allow you to see points of interest on the map and their ratings from other users. Things like speed limit indicators and speed limit change notifications can also help keep the trip rolling.

Price & Warranty

Depending on the features and quality of the GPS you are shopping for, you can generally find a device for between $299-$499. Many, like those made by Garmin, offer at least a one-year manufacturer's warranty on the devices in case of any malfunction or defect. In the case of warranties, it is always best to research any warranty offerings, especially if not buying directly from the manufacturer.


6 Best RV GPS Systems Reviewed

1. Garmin RV 770 Bundle

Best RV GPS

Screen/Display Size

6.0” x 3.5”/6.95” diagonal

Display Resolution

1024 x 600

Battery Type & Life

Rechargeable lithium-ion lasting up to 1 hour

Connectivity

Bluetooth calling and Wi-Fi maps

Memory Capacity

Expandable with microSD card (not included)

Warranty

When looking for the best RV GPS on the market, it is hard to beat a trusted brand like Garmin. The RV 770 NA LMT-S Essential Camping Accessory Bundle comes with everything you need to hit the open road with confidence. Aside from the GPS itself, this bundle comes with a car charger, hard-shell case, bamboo stylus, and three microfiber cleaning cloths, allowing you to take your RV 770 anywhere and keep it fully charged on longer trips.

The device itself comes packed with plenty of features to accommodate any traveler or motorhome. In addition to the usual specialized RV routing, this RV GPS displays junction signs and lane assistance for tricky highway navigation. The display on the 770 is a high-quality screen just under seven inches and utilizes simple contrasting colors to make it easy to understand at a glance on the edge-to-edge screen.

The GPS can be controlled by touch and voice while driving and can connect with your Garmin smartphone app when not driving to plan the next trip. This GPS does come with a suction mount to attach to a windshield or console in the vehicle. Other mounts can be bought separately. With all the accessories included, expandable memory, hands-free control, and edge to edge display, the Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S is one of the best offerings on the market today for RV GPS navigation systems.


Pros

  • Includes accessories
  • Hands-free controls
  • Expandable memory

Cons

  • Does not include microSD card

2. Garmin RV 785

Best RV GPS with Dash Cam

Screen/Display Size

6.0” x 3.5”/6.95” diagonal

Display Resolution

1024 x 600

Battery Type & Life

Rechargeable lithium-ion lasting up to 2 hours

Connectivity

Bluetooth calling and Wi-Fi maps

Memory Capacity

Dash Cam- 8GB microSD included, accepts up to 64GB

Warranty

If you require a bit of extra information on your route or just prefer the peace of mind of traveling with a dash cam, the Garmin RV 785 & Traffic is worth the money. This device comes with all the features you would expect out of an RV GPS from Garmin, including voice operation, large display, and point of interest suggestions and navigation. After entering your motorhome's dimensions and weight, the RV 785 & Traffic takes over and finds the ideal route for your individual trip.

What truly sets this device apart from other RV GPS systems is the built-in dash cam that records, and in the case of an incident, automatically saves the video, audio, and GPS coordinates of the event. The camera also allows for lane departure and front collision warnings to enhance the already included safety features.

The RV 785 & Traffic comes with an included traffic cable to easily allow you to get up to the minute information on congestion along your route and offer alternatives if available. The device comes with a magnetic mount for ease of installation, and an optional backup camera can be purchased and linked to the RV 785 & Traffic for additional assistance.

GPScity.com review says:
“Used the RV 785 for the first time. Great GPS, fully featured. The maps are great, much better than my old Nuvi unit. Like the ability to input length, width, height of truck and fifth wheel and get warnings of low bridges, etc... I also like the traffic feature. Highly recommended!”

Pros

  • Battery lasts twice as long as similar models
  • Dash cam in case of an incident
  • Lane departure and front collision warnings

Cons

  • Requires more precise installation for dash cam

3. Garmin RV 760LMT

Best Rated Portable RV Model

Screen/Display Size

6.1” x 3.4”/7” diagonal

Display Resolution

800 x 480

Battery Type & Life

Rechargeable lithium-ion lasting up to 1 hour

Connectivity

Bluetooth calling

Memory Capacity

Supports microSD (not included)

Warranty

For those looking for something easy to pick and up go, the Garmin RV 760 LMT offers the best of Garmin's features in a simple and quick device. With a full seven-inch screen and extra loudspeakers, the RV 760 LMT is one of the easiest to read screens when it comes to RV GPS systems. Voice and touch controls come standard on this best rated portable RV model. Included with the purchase of the RV 760 LMT (and many Garmin devices) is the lifetime map and traffic updates that allow you to make sure you are always on the best route for any trip across the United States or Canada.

Along with that information, Garmin also includes a searchable directory of America's RV Parks and Services that lets you quickly find your next stop or plan an entire trip all at once. The directory also includes services like towing and repair shops in case of any unforeseen problems with your motorhome. While you are driving, the RV 760 LMT will display next to your map any upcoming restaurants, stores, hospitals and fuel stations with its Up Ahead Services feature.

The RV760LMT can be connected with a backup camera sold separately and also pairs with the BaseCamp app on your smartphone to share information.

“We used this product for the first time on a 4500 mile trip to US. Lane assistance was nice as we are 40 foot long plus the towed vehicle. The advance warning of sharp curves, windy area steep down grades and change of route was very useful. We were able to use features like RV campsites and fuel locations with great ease.” - GPScity.com Review

Pros

  • Slightly larger screen
  • Directory of RV parks and services
  • Up Ahead Services

Cons

  • Lower resolution screen

4. Garmin RV 780

Best RV Navigator for Road Warnings

Screen/Display Size

6.0” x 3.5”/6.95” diagonal

Display Resolution

1024 x 600

Battery Type & Life

Rechargeable lithium-ion lasting up to 1 hour

Connectivity

Bluetooth calling and Wi-Fi maps

Memory Capacity

Supports microSD (not included)

Warranty

It should come as no surprise that the best RV navigator for road warnings is another Garmin device. The RV 780 GPS packs extra alerts for steep grades, sharp curves, weight limits, and even upcoming elevation information to help make the ride ahead as safe and smooth as possible.

Both audio and visual warnings will be given to warn of anything that might require extra caution when handling a motorhome, and with the customized routing based on the size of your vehicle, you can be sure you are on the safest route possible. The device's active tracking allows you to map out your route and shows traffic information for the road ahead. The RV 780 GPS comes already stocked with maps for the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas.

In addition to the preloaded maps, you can keep your GPS up to date with Garmin's lifetime traffic service by connecting to the internet. That means in rain, shine, beach, or mountain; you know you are on the right track. Whether it’s a road warning or the route ahead, you can hear and see everything on the large edge-to-edge display. This model can also be paired with other accessories like the backup camera from Garmin or the Garmin Drive app.

Pros

  • Hands-free operation
  • Extra loud speakers for warnings
  • Pre-stocked maps for North America

Cons

  • Battery only lasts an hour on its own

5. DeWalt Mobilelock DS600

Best GPS Tracker for RV Trailer

Screen/Display Size

None

Display Resolution

N/A

Battery Type & Life

Rechargeable; 30+ day runtime per charge/6 months in deep sleep mode

Connectivity

Bluetooth radio to pair with sensors (sold separately)

Memory Capacity

N/A

Warranty

1-year limited warranty

An RV trailer has its own unique challenges, unlike a traditional motorhome, but the DeWalt Mobilelock DS600 seeks to provide peace of mind for travelers. This device, when paired with your email, text, or phone, can notify any number of users if the device has been moved outside of the area you set it in.

Once you have set up the device by pairing it with your information, simply place it within the RV trailer somewhere out of sight but where it will not move around. When you need to adjust commands to the device, you can text them instead of having to use the online account or the device itself. To deter any would-be thieves, the device's built-in speaker can be configured to serve as an alarm. However, you can also set up audio cues for arming/disarming the device or even to page it if the device is within fifty feet.

If you are interested in added security for your RV trailer, you can pair the DS600 with up to ten Mobilelock sensors (sold separately) to monitor motion inside the trailer, the door, and the cable lock. With the DS600, you can rest assured that your RV trailer can be easily located and be notified of any movement in case of an incident.

Pros

  • Can be accessed through text, apps and web browsers
  • Customizable audio cues
  • Adjustable zone tracking

Cons

  • Requires monthly subscription for use

6. Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S

Best Garmin Model for the Money

Screen/Display Size

6.0” x 3.5”/6.95” diagonal

Display Resolution

1024 x 600

Battery Type & Life

Rechargeable lithium-ion lasting up to 1 hour

Connectivity

Bluetooth calling and Wi-Fi maps

Memory Capacity

Supports microSD (not included)

Warranty

If you are looking to find the best bang for your buck when shopping for an RV GPS, the Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S is going to be the one for you. The bundle with added accessories already won our top spot for the best overall RV GPS system, but the offering with just the device saves some money and still provides all the wonderful features described above.

Once you have your dimensions in for the motorhome that you are installing the RV 770 into, you are ready to start planning or hit the road with just a destination in mind. The built-in RV Parks and Services directory and the live services make sure that this active tracking RV GPS is continuously up to date with the latest points of interest and routes. You can even add or change your course on the fly with voice commands. When paired with a smartphone, you can have the RV 770 make calls for you hands-free and play them through the device's microphone and speaker.

As with other Garmin models, the RV 770 can be paired with a backup camera (BC 30), but unlike some other models can also be connected to a Garmin Smartwatch to push driver alerts to your wrist for even easier notification.

One verified Best Buy purchaser says, “The unit is easy to handle. The features are tremendous, especially the "Garmin Smart Link" that makes me send my routes from my smart phone to the GPS and it also makes me send "Live Track" to someone. The "Say Command" is a magnificent feature, as it allow me to give voice commands to the GPS. The only set back is the USB cord is too short to connect from the GPS to my vehicle's USB connector.”

Pros

  • Cheaper than other devices
  • Hands-free calling when paired with a smartphone
  • Can be paired with the Garmin Smartwatch

Cons

  • Does not include microSD

RV GPS vs Car GPS

While both an RV GPS and a Car GPS can get you directions, the key difference is in how the device performs the routing. An RV GPS takes into consideration the size of the vehicle and will only suggest routes that support the height and weight, as well as suggest RV specific stops such as campgrounds or service stations.

It is strongly advised not to use a Car GPS in an RV as you run the risk of being routed through areas that cannot or legally will not allow a vehicle of that size.


RV GPS Phone Apps

If you are more comfortable using your phone for navigation, there are a number of apps that can assist with the basic features of the best RV GPS systems. InRoute and CoPilot GPS are free RV GPS apps that allow for in-app purchases to enhance or add features. SmartRV Route does require a subscription but has a much more robust feature set than other RV GPS phone apps.

Phone App

Android

iPhone

Best Feature

No

Yes

Local weather conditions

Yes

Yes

Offline maps

Yes

Yes

Voice control


How to Use an RV GPS

Using an RV GPS system should feel very intuitive to those familiar with Google or Apple Maps. The main difference is when setting up your device, you will want to know the weight, width, length, and height of your vehicle. Inputting this information during setup is key to getting the right and safest routing.

When setting up the device, you will also want to consider pairing it to the manufacturer’s smartphone app to help keep the device up to date and to be able to plan trips without the device physically in your hand. The devices themselves will have on-screen instructions for the setup process.

When mounting your GPS, it is crucial to follow the included directions. Most notably, make sure the surface you are connecting the mount to is free of dust and other debris that may inhibit the connection between the mount and the surface it is being placed on.


RV GPS Maintenance

Since many RV GPS devices are designed to be mounted and dismounted before and after trips easily, it is essential to make sure that you are safely storing the equipment when not in use. Covers or cases can be purchased for devices, but the most important thing to remember is to keep it somewhere dry and secure.

When charging the device, it is vital to make sure it is disconnected once fully charged to avoid overcharging the battery and risking decreased battery performance as time goes on. A car charger can help keep the device at top battery life during use.

Due to the nature of ever-changing roads, construction, and traffic, it is important always to update your device's software and maps when possible. This varies from device to device, but generally, you will need to connect your device to the internet or an internet-connected computer and follow the included instructions.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Car GPS be used on an RV?

Yes, however, it is not recommended due to a lack of RV specific routing capabilities with car GPS systems.

How do I update my RV GPS?

Follow the included instructions for your device, generally including connecting the device to the internet or an internet-connected computer.

Can RV GPS work without the internet?

Yes, as long as your GPS is up to date and has maps for the location you are traveling. The GPS will continue to work via satellite.

Do GPS systems come with lifetime updates?

Garmin systems come with lifetime traffic and map updates on models with LMT in the name; however, other manufacturers may vary.

What are the best RV GPS brands?

Garmin, TomTom, and Rand McNally are some of the leading RV GPS brands at this time. You can't go wrong with any of the brands mentioned on our list.


Conclusion

Before you hit the road for your next RV adventure, travel with peace of mind by investing in a Garmin RV 770. The RV 770 can not only map out the safest and most effective route for your motorhome, but it has a wealth of points of interest and service stations for anything the open road may throw at you.

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