Where GPS models differ the most is in ease of use and features. For our ratings we factor heavily the qualities that make it easy to input destinations and give the most helpful directions. Our recommendations break out the best-performing models overall, and those that perform core navigation chores well and do so at an attractive price.
There's almost no excuse for getting lost anymore. Using GPS (global positioning system) is a fact of modern life—whether it's on your smartphone, built into your car, or as a stand-alone portable navigation device that can be moved from car to car.
Most of us are familiar with how GPS makes travel easier. You can choose routing preferences (fastest, no tolls, or most fuel-efficient) and sometimes get real-time traffic info. The system works via satellite and can be set to show icons for gas stations or hospitals, or direct you to points of interest like national parks or tourist attractions.
Many factors will determine which GPS system is best for you, including price, features, screen size, and portability—but most important: Are you glued to your smartphone? If so, you’ll be drawn to phone apps or in-car infotainment systems. We give the pros and cons of portable units, as well as built-ins and apps.