How to Choose a Handheld GPS? (According to Experts)

For individuals who tour a lot, a handheld GPS could be a great travel partner. Handheld units arrange great flexibility and suitability for its owner.

Being a tiny bit larger than a cell phone, these minor GPS units approach navigational info. They work perfectly for any spot on the globe.

Downloadable maps would let you view and steer any terrain. The splendor of a small GPS unit is that you can carry it from your car and stand it in your boat.

Then put it in your carriers to use in a rental car at your tour endpoint. The easy case of the handheld unit duos as a holster to securely and suitably conveys it. Especially when trekking in the backcountry.

Selecting one you can pay for means getting a basis for discount handheld GPS. The charge of a class handheld can fluctuate from less than hundred to as high as thousand dollars.

Units that price in the range of five hundred dollars usually have all the traits most users would want.

Why Should You Get a Reasonable Handheld GPS?

A handheld GPS unit might not be as usual as other equipment. But these small devices can play a surprising number of roles that can significantly help hikers.

Here are a few motives why any hiker must have a handheld GPS unit.


Perfect for Getting Started

Numerous handheld GPS units are valuable even before the hiking tour begins. There are multiple maps preloaded into these units. So that hikers can start preparing for a visit even before they reach their last stop.

Sure of these handheld GPS tools have the primary functions of a car GPS device. So that they can offer directions to the beginning point.

Also, they can dynamically track the car’s spot in real-time to get awareness on how long the journey will take.

Very Customizable

Handheld GPS units do not only assist as dynamic maps, but they are customizable also. Beginners can add indicators or points to these maps.

So that the users can effectually return to a bright spot in case they get missing. Several handheld GPS models have numerous points of benefits built in.

Moreover, the users can still add extra. Unlike routes can be complete to plan for hiking drives to confirm that hikers never go off course. Several GPS units can also attach to a laptop or computer.

So that the users can download extra maps online. Then they can upload these maps to the handheld GPS unit.

Tracking Options

There are various dissimilar handheld GPS units obtainable on the market these days. Each GPS unit may have a disparate set of features.

The ultimate necessary handheld GPS tools are solely attentive to navigation. Then again, the midrange and high-end units supplement various screens. So hikers can track their growth in different parts.


Consider and Decide Your Needs

Before selecting a specific handheld device, it is vital to know what you would be using it for. For instance, a GPS device used for hiking may be less valid for mountain climbing or, maybe less, running.

Tools for industrial applications have specific musts and qualities. Are you see for a handheld GPS tool that can be helpful in different circumstances? If so, then a multi-use unit could be the solution.

Additionally, you want to have a clue about what features you are more likely to spend money on. You need to know what you require in addition to the typical GPS and mapping functionality. Some of them could be-

  • A touchscreen display.
  • A black and white or color screen.
  • Just like the smartphones a built-in camera.
  • The memory card expandability
  • Weatherglass
  • MP3 Music Player
  • Outer antenna connector
  • Sound recorder
  • Built-in electric compass

Perceptibly, as the feature list upsurges, so does the bill. One more important thing to bear in mind what geographical maps might need to get included.

Something that would apply to your needs. Such as outdoor and recreational maps, road maps or sea maps. Maximum handheld GPS devices complement some pre-loaded or built-in geographical maps.

For instance, a base map of the USA and Canada covering main highways, city hubs, bodies of water and further. You have to find out if you need extra detailed plans for the device.

For instance thorough cartographic maps, topographic maps, and other.

Important Features to Look For

After a lot of researching, I came to understand that there are some key features. These are vital to look for in a handheld GPS unit.


A WAAS Enabled Device

WAAS means Wide Area Augmentation System. It is a set of 25, unlike ground-reference stations. If you have a GPS element that is capable of reading these signs, then it would work well.

You would be able to track your position to less than 10 feet. In other verses, if your handheld is WAAS qualified, it would be extraordinarily exact and precise.

The Number of Waypoints

Waypoints are orientation points, and they aid to show your position. They are instrumental in helping to class the best routes for your tour. As they leave a sort of breadcrumb track for you.

I would advise choosing a proper handheld GPS that can store a minimum of 500 waypoints. That method you are secure no matter if you are on the water, in the wilds or on the highway.

Examine the Maps

Maps, sure enough, is an essential feature of any GPS device. Each receiver would come with diverse types of plans. It would be smart to pick early what kind of maps you would need the most.

As well as how complete you would want them to be. A distinctive handheld GPS would come with a specific amount of maps.

These maps are usually previously stored within. While some would have the competence of adding more maps if you want them.

Waterproof Tool

It is imperative to have a handheld GPS that is waterproof. A waterproof piece is far more adaptable and useful in the rain, while skiing, or even when boating.

If you pick a waterproof unit then go for a waterproof score of IPX7. This denotes that it can bear accidental dunks, rain, and splashes from the water. It should also tread the water.

Top GPS Brands

Here are the five most prevalent manufacturers to cogitate when hunting for a GPS device.


Garmin is probably one of the most admired manufacturers for GPS units. Garmin started its business in the year 1989. They covered at that time of some engineers worked to advance and make navigation tools.

The Garmin handheld GPS units are well known for presenting great excellence. Also, they are famous for using the newest technology. They are every so often voted the finest in their class.



The Magellan Company has altered ownership and name quite a few times. The user GPS units are still advertised under the Magellan brand.

They have a full line of handhelds along with automotive navigation tools. Despite the continuous change of ownership Magellan even produced good superiority GPS units.


DeLorme has been in the industry since 1976. They generate machinery, mapping tools, and data. These devices are not only for clients but also for specialists. They always shaped great superiority products.

But they got fame in the 1990’s. That time they initiated GPS solutions for laptops, Palm OS tools, Pocket PC’s. Lately, they worked for Bluetooth applications and color topographic maps. They have a quite good collection of handheld units to select from.


Lowrance Electronics Inc. is one of the eldest GPS builders. They have a comprehensive line of SONAR and GPS units for open-air recreation. They have groups for flying, sea and automotive. They have a good range of handheld GPS units.


Bushnell has a wide choice of free technology devices. For example eyeglasses, rangefinders, track cameras, penlights and of course handheld GPS units.

They have been in the high functioning sports optics business for more than fifty years. They only have a small number of handheld GPS receivers. But they are custom-made for all outdoor activities.

More straightforward in design and features than the maximum GPS manufacturers listed above. Their units are perfect for any beginners looking for a GPS tool made simple.


So the final thing that comes down is the fact that the selection depends on what best suits your needs.

To make it easy on your pocket in the long run, it is essential to determine the maximum you can spend. Going for a portable GPS unit with the maximum features is the best for travel enthusiasts.

Consider whether you can use them immediately or not. Know if you want it for an extended period. This way, you won’t discover yourself buying a new one too soon since you need more qualities.

It is better, to begin with, a bit more than you want at the time. So later you would already have what you need. This way you won’t have something that becomes useless almost too early once you get it home.

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A passionate blogger! Editor at Chooserly, and a regular author at HuffingtonPost, LifeHacker & Forbes!

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