When it comes to best handheld GPS units, you may find that a lot of the time it is difficult to figure out what unit is best for you. There are a lot of different features to consider and it can be tough to know which is best.
The following information is going to help tell you what things you need to consider as well as what are some of the best products that you can buy.
Table of Contents
- Things To Consider – Best Handheld GPS
- Best Handheld GPS in 2021 – Reviews
- Final Verdict
Things To Consider – Best Handheld GPS
As with anything, the price of the unit itself is going to be one of the biggest considerations when you go to buy a unit. This is why it is so important for you to set a budget before you go and look for one. Without a budget, you’ll catch yourself wanting to spend more money than you should.
Even on a low budget, you’re still going to be able to get a great GPS unit.
For most people, the memory of any GPS unit you buy is going to be more than enough since the majority of people only want one or two different maps to be loaded onto their GPS. However, if you’re the type of person that would really like to have a lot of maps on their GPS, then you should probably try and get a GPS that has a lot of storage so you can keep all the maps that you need on your device.
Size of the Unit
Since the unit is going to be a handheld unit and you want to make sure that it isn’t too big for you, the size of the unit is a very important consideration. YOu want to make sure you get a unit that is small enough to carry with you with ease.
However, you want to make sure that it is big enough to see everything you need to see. If the unit is so small that you can’t see anything, it won’t do you any good.
Size of the Screen
Similar to the size of the unit as a whole, you’re going to want to pay attention to the size of the screen as well. Typically the screen size does not necessarily relate to the size of the unit. You will find that some screens go right up to the edges of the device while others give a border on the side. Make sure the screen is big enough for you to see and easily navigate and you’ll be good.
Some of the GPS units that you are going to find will offer a lot of different features that you might find useful. However, the majority of these extra features are types of features that you don’t really need and will probably cost you extra. If you think it’s something you really want or need, consider buying it. Otherwise, you can do without.
There are now a lot of GPS units that operate strictly on a touchscreen platform in hopes of providing an easier to use and better interface. While this might be true for a lot of people, you absolutely want to avoid touchscreen GPS units if you are using your unit in cold weather situations where you have gloves on.
Since the touchscreen won’t work with gloves, you would be forced to remove your gloves in order to use the GPS, which is less than ideal in the cold.
When it comes to GPS units, all of them are going to be able to tell you what direction you are going in when you are on the move. However, if it is includes an electronic compass, then you will be able to figure out what way you are facing while standing still.
This can be incredibly beneficial if you need to orient yourself or if you want to plan the remainder of your route when you take a break.
As you’re going to learn in the next point below, there are a lot of units that comes with some of the maps preloaded onto the device. However, if a map you want is not on there, you will have to buy the map yourself to get it on there. Maps from the manufacturer can be pretty expensive so if you can find a unit that supports third-party apps that can be much cheaper or even free, it will help you save plenty of money.
When it comes to almost any GPS unit that you are going to buy, you’re going to find that all of them have some kind of maps preloaded on them. For most of them, they will have some of the more simple base maps included while others are going to include full maps that display a ton of different details.
If a unit does not come preloaded with the map that you need, don’t worry. As mentioned above, you can always use third-party maps. However, preloaded maps will make your life easier when it comes to using the unit out of the box.
Best Handheld GPS in 2021 – Reviews
1. Garmin Oregon 450t Handheld GPS
If you’re looking to buy the most expensive handheld GPS on this post, then Garmin Oregon 450t Handheld GPS is going to be the one you want to buy.
Despite coming in at one of the highest prices by quite a bit, it is still going to provide you with some features that I’m sure you’re going to love such as a large display, wireless capabilities and plenty of preloaded maps as well.
While some have a smaller display for viewing, this particular handheld GPS unit has one of the largest screens out of all of the GPS units reviewed and you’re going to love to use it. With a 3-inch color, touchscreen display, you will be able to do just about anything you want to do with this unit since screen size is no problem at all.
Another great feature that I’m sure you’re going to love is the wireless capabilities offered by this unit that allows it to send stuff with ease to the other units that might be around it. When you buy this GPS, you will be able to share your tracks, waypoints, routes and other information with other uses so that you can all link together.
U.S. TOPO 100K
While all but one of the previously reviewed GPS units only comes with the basemap included with your purchase, this one is going to come with both the basemap and the U.S. TOPO 100K which is what you’re going to want if you do a wide range of activities with your GPS. It will provide you all of the information you need to get the best results.
Garmin Connect is one of the best features about this GPS because it allows you to get a detailed reading regarding your activity for the day. You can see all of your activities right on a map and you can share all of your results with friends on Twitter and Facebook as well as other in the Garmin community.
- 3-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass
- 3” color touchscreen display
- Preloaded U.S. TOPO 100K
- Wirelessly share routes, tracks and geocaches
- High-sensitivity GPS receiver
- Wireless technology makes everything easier
- Easy to add more maps
- Works in covered or deep areas
- Garmin Connect is a great tool
- Easy to add more maps
- Comes with extra maps
- Bulky design
- Short battery life
When it’s the most expensive GPS unit on the review post, you expect it to come with some of the best features that you can find. This GPS does pack in a ton of great features that you might enjoy, but the expensive price tag makes you wonder if it is worth the extra money.
2. Garmin GPSMAP 64st, High-Sensitivity GPS
You’re going to notice a pattern when it comes to the GPS units reviewed below as every single one is a Garmin. In short, Garmin is going to be the best of the best when it comes to a handheld GPS unit.
Garmin GPSMAP 64st, High-Sensitivity GPS has a ton of great features such as the 16 hour battery life, BaseCamp software, and a preloaded TOPO map. With all of these features, you’ll be ready to hit the trails at anytime.
16 Hour Battery (50 to 80 words)
When you’re out and about, the last thing you want to worry about is the battery life of the unit you are using. You don’t want it to die when you are in the middle of your trip and you might hate it if you have to limit your use to save the battery. Thanks to the 16 hour battery life on this unit, you’ll be able to use it as much as you want and it will last you all day.
Standard with almost all Garmin purchases, the BaseCamp software is going to be one of the best features because it allows you to view and organize all of your maps, routes and tracks on. It is completely free and it even allows you to create trips or journeys that you can then share with friends or family or even the public if you wish! It’s one of the best ways to connect with others who have the same passion you do.
Easily Finds Your Location
Some GPS units that you are going to find are way less than adequate when it comes to the coverage in certain areas. Some of them struggle when it comes to the larger areas of coverage that leave you under thick cover. With this GPS, you won’t have to worry about that and you will easily get access to your location no matter where you might be.
While most of the GPS units only include some of the most basic maps, this one is actually going to come preloaded with TOPO 100K, which is going to give you full coverage of the United States. If this is a map you want, this unit is perfect since it comes preloaded and will save you from having to buy it on your own.
- 2.6” sunlight color screen
- 160 x 240 pixels
- High-sensitivity GPS
- Quad helix antenna
- Worldwide basemap with shaded relief
- 8GB of internal memory
- 16 hour battery life
- Great location ability
- BaseCamp software
- Includes a TOPO 100K map
- Perfect for climbing, hiking or just information
- Clunky software
- Should have improved more on the older version
When push comes to shove, this is going to be one of the better handheld GPS units that you can buy because it packs in a ton of great features. With a long battery life that will last you an entire day combined with a bunch of maps that are preloaded on the device, this will be the perfect companion to your hikes or climbs.
3. Garmin Oregon 600 3-Inch Worldwide GPS
Last but not least in this review post, you’re going to find that Garmin Oregon 600 3-Inch Worldwide GPS is still one of the better options that you can find and you’re going to love the extremely responsive touchscreen display along with the two battery options you have to extend the battery life.
Additionally, you’ll have the ability to share routes wireless and you’ll enjoy the multiple sensors that improve the accuracy of this design.
Double Your Battery
When it comes to the battery life, you are going to be able to choose between two different battery options so that you can get the best results and the longest battery life. You can either use the NiMH battery pack or 2 AA batteries depending on which works best for you at the time.
The touchscreen display on this device is going to be one of the best ones out of all of the products that you have seen reviewed on this post. It is a large display at 3 inches diagonally and is easily readable in the sunlight as well. It also supports multi-touch capability for the best results possible.
If you are going on a hike or climb with some other individuals that have similar trackers, you are going to be able to share all of your information with them without having to connect to a computer. This can be helpful to share information such as your routes, geocaching and other significant data.
As you have seen from all of the different ones mentioned above, the BaseCamp software is going to be one of the better options that you can find because it allows you to share just about everything you can do. Additionally, you can find out information from other users.
- 3-inch touchscreen display
- Dual-band GPS GLONASS satellite positioning
- Multiple sensorsANT or Bluetooth technology
- Dual battery system
- Two different battery options
- Responsive touchscreen display
- Ability to wirelessly share information
- BaseCamp software for connecting with other GPS users
- Freezes up too often
- Poor battery life
- Expensive for what is offered
4. Garmin Approach G3 Touchscreen Golf GPS
If you’re looking for a GPS that is going to help you when it comes to your golf game, then this is going to be the perfect choice for you.
Approach G3 Touchscreen Golf GPS from Garmin is specifically designed for use on the golf course to give you maps of courses and show you how far away each target is.
When you use this GPS for your golf game, you’re going to find that you will no longer need to guess how far away the pin is or where the trees are located because you’re going to be able to see all of that from the GPS. With all of this information at your disposal, the guesswork is gone and you will have better success with golf.
Since you’re bringing this with you when you golf, it’s important to make sure that it is perfectly sized so that it isn’t too big too carry but it also isn’t too small where you can’t see anything. This unit is the perfect size that will be easy to use and carry around with you at all times.
Doubles As A Scorecard
In addition to providing you with all of the great features to help you with each shot you take on the golf course, you’re going to be able to keep your scores in this GPS unit as well so you can accomplish two things with one device. Once you are finish, you can transfer your scores to the computer and then view or share them from their.
Tree Line Coverage
While you might be able to see what trees lie ahead of you, it might be tough to see where the trees are further down the course. With this GPS, you can see on screen where the trees are located so you can adjust your shot and shoot it accordingly.
- 2.6” inch screen
- Preloaded with thousands of courses
- Provides free course updates
- Touch targeting
- Green view for moving pins
- Fits perfectly in your pocket
- Eliminates any guessing
- Tells you where trees are
- Allows scores to be kept digitally
- Easily zeroes in on the pin
- Strong and durable performance
- Free updates
- Recessed screen makes it tough to hit the corners
- Smaller screen than you might be used to
As mentioned previously, if you’re looking for a great way to improve your golf game, then this GPS unit is going to be one of your best options. Not only is it waterproof and provides you with detailed maps of all the courses, but it is also going to be the perfect size for you to carry and it will eliminate all of the guesswork from your game. If you want better scores, this is going to be one of the best tools you can find.
As you can tell from everything discussed above, when you take into consideration both the prices and the features offered by this GPS unit, you should be more than happy with the results you’re going to get. This makes for a great choice for anyone looking to buy a handheld GPS without spending a ton of money.
5. Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS
Continuing with the theme of only showing off Garmin products for this particular review, you’re going to love what Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS has to offer.
It is definitely going to be one of the more affordable options when it comes to a handheld GPS unit and I think you’ll find that you will enjoy the large battery life, 2.2 inch display screen and the waterproof features that help make this the perfect choice to go with you anywhere.
As was mentioned in the previous review, BaseCamp is the software that allows you to to view and organize everything you do including your maps, routes, waypoints and tracks as well. With this, you can create specific adventures to share with your friends and family or even with the public if you choose to do so.
When it comes to the display, you’ll find that you have no problem using it to the best of it’s abilities thanks to the large screen. It allows you to see everything that you need to see on the screen and you’re going to love the monochrome display as well.
25 Hour Battery Life
Battery life is by far the most crucial aspect of your entire GPS. If you have a bad battery life, then you’re going to find yourself distracted from the hike because you need to constantly change the batteries. With the 25 hour battery life that this GPS offers, you’re going to have no problem using this GPS for everything you need without worrying about the battery life.
GPS and GLONASS
The eTrex series is one of the first consumer receivers that is able to track both GPS and GLONASS satellites at the same time. When the unit is using the GLONASS satellites, it is going to be able to lock in on your position much fast than if you were using regular GPS.
- Preloaded worldwide basemap
- 2.2” monochrome display
- WAAS-enabled GPS receiver
- GLONASS support
- Waterproof to IPX7 standards
- Paperless geocaching
- Only uses 2 AA batteries
- Incredibly long battery life
- Access to basecamp software
- GPS location even in covered areas
- Plenty of maps
- Monochrome display
- Paperless geocaching
- No pocket clip
- Slow on startup
- Outdated interface
When it comes down to it, the price of this unit is by far one of the best things about it. Despite the low price tag that it offers, it still has plenty of things to love about it. If you’re just looking for a simple model and you don’t need high-end technology, this is the perfect choice for you.
Now that you have had the chance to learn all about what you need to look for in a handheld GPS and which GPS unit are some of the better ones that you can buy, I think you’re ready to decide which one you want! Be sure to reference this guide if you need any help deciding and be sure to check out our recommendations to help get the best results!