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Driving an RV is different from driving a car. Due to their weight and size, RVs have to follow a different set of rules and laws. However, there are ways to make your RV driving safer, easier, and more enjoyable. One of those ways is by investing in a good RV GPS unit. A regular GPS unit won’t cut it. You need a device that is designed specifically for recreational vehicles. RV GPS units will not only help find directions but they will also do so while taking into account the vehicle’s weight and size. On top of that, these devices can help you plan your trip in advance by helping you locate RV-specific facilities that come up on your route. Now, if you’re looking for the best RV GPS unit in 2021, here are 10 top picks you should consider checking out.
Best RV GPS in 2021
|Image||Product name||Check price|
|Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S|
|Garmin RV 760LMT|
|Magellan RoadMate 1700|
|Garmin RV 780|
|Garmin RV 785|
|Garmin dezl 780 LMT-S|
6 Top Rated RV GPS Reviewed
Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S
The top rated RV GPS in 2021 is the Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S model. It offers the perfect compromise for those who want a lot of features in a simple and inexpensive product.
The first thing to note about this high quality RV GPS is the large 6.95-inch display. It’s a high resolution edge-to-edge display that is bright and easy to read. And the touch screen feature is easy to use for programming when driving or towing. All the controls are intuitive and the commands perform instantly.
With this unit, you can enter your vehicle information, such as size and weight. Then, using your RV’s profile, it will find the most efficient route. And it will do so including RV-related restrictions.
The GPS also gives visual and audible warnings for these restrictions, such as low clearance and weight limit restrictions. On top of that, it provides warnings for steep hills, sharp curves, speed limits, school zones, etc.
Another advantage of this RV GPS unit is that you can use it hands-free by pairing it with your smartphone. It will allow you to take hands-free phone calls and view notifications on the display. On top of that, it offers voice activated navigation so you can program the device while your hands remain on the steering wheel.
If you download a free app, you can also access live traffic information in order to find alternate time-saving routes. The app also offers weather and other types of information.
This GPS also includes an extensive directory of RV parks and services. It contains nearly 20,000 sites across North America, including both national and privately owned campgrounds. Moreover, it allows you to search this directory for different amenities that you might need, such as pet-friendly, laundry, etc.
Unlike most other navigators, this GPS updates through Wi-Fi without connecting to a computer. It can automatically download the latest updates of maps and other RV features.
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- Large 6.95-inch display.
- Creates an RV profile to find the most efficient routes.
- Updates through Wi-Fi.
- Route warnings.
- Hands-free operation.
- An extensive directory of RV parks and services.
- Free app for live traffic information.
- The voice command doesn’t always work.
- Sometimes too restrictive when routing in RV mode.
- Lacks the address book feature.
Garmin RV 760LMT Portable GPS Navigator
Our next pick is from the same popular GPS manufacturer. The Garmin 760LMT is a premium device that offers an impressive amount of features to help you plan your trip and make getting to your destination as easy as possible.
The unit features a 7-inch display that makes it easy to view all the maps and instructions when you’re driving. It offers plenty of room for navigation, as well as lots of other information that you can customize to your preference.
You can create your RV’s profile in the settings by inputting its weight and size. This would allow the GPS to provide the best routing possible based on the restrictions for your particular vehicle.
Another great thing about this RV GPS unit is the hands-free operation. It features voice-activated navigation so instead of typing in the place or city you’re looking for, you can just give it a verbal command. This would allow you to easily change your destination without taking your eyes off the road.
This GPS can also be synced with a smartphone via Bluetooth. Garmin offers a free app that would allow you to view current traffic conditions, as well as detailed forecasts of the weather. On top of that, it would allow you to make and take calls with your hands remaining on the steering wheel.
To further increase the safety of your driving, particularly when you’re backing up your RV, you can add to this GPS a Garmin BC 20 wireless backup camera. Though, keep in mind that the camera is sold separately.
With the GPS’s RV parks and services directory, you can access nearly 20,000 sites across the US and Canada. Moreover, all these locations can be filtered based on the amenities you’re looking for. For example, it can be filtered by sites that have electrical hookups, internet access, handicap accessibility, etc.
In the services directory, you’ll find 14,000 service locations. They include repair and service locations, tow services, tire shops, and truck stops.
With this GPS, you get a lifetime map and traffic updates, ensuring that you’ll always drive on the latest maps.
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- 7-inch high resolution display.
- White backlight.
- RV routing based on customizable restrictions.
- Gives alerts and warnings.
- Voice-activated navigation.
- Lifetime map updates.
- Bluetooth connectivity.
- RV parks and services directory.
- 5% of the time will send you down the wrong road.
- Basecamp software could have been easier to use.
Magellan RoadMate 1700
Another popular brand in the industry is Magellan and one of their best selling RV GPS units is the RoadMate 1700. It also offers good RV navigation with lots of intuitive features.
The device comes with a large 7-inch screen design that offers a high resolution clear picture quality. The generous size of the screen allows you to view at a glance, not just your current location but also different points of interest, ETA, street names, and more. And there are 6 million points of interest saved in this device, so you can easily find whatever services you need, such as restaurants, hotels, ATMs, and other businesses.
There’s also an AAA TourBook guide that is built into this Magellan GPS. It offers information on campsites, places to stay, dine, and save.
One more advantage of this GPS that is missing on Garmin products is the ability to save your favorite places. You can create personalized bookmarks so later during your travels you can easily access them with just a single touch.
The GPS comes with two mounting options. You can either use the suction windshield mount or the adhesive disc for dash mounting. Both options offer a good range of adjustments so you can position the unit for the most convenient viewing.
There are also a few downsides to this unit. It doesn’t offer PC route creating software, which means that you can create a customized route on your computer beforehand and then upload it to the GPS.
And the routing function on the unit itself is not very flexible. It offers the option of the fastest, shortest, most highway, and least highway route. However, you can’t just touch the screen and add a point for rerouting. The only way to reroute is by creating a multiple destinations list.
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- Large screen.
- Ability to save points of interest.
- AAA TourBook.
- Quick satellite acquisition.
- Auto on/off with ignition.
- Comes with a padded pouch for storage when not in use.
- Includes vehicle power adapter and USB cable.
- Lifetime updates.
- Doesn’t offer PC route creating software.
- Low battery life.
- Routing isn’t flexible enough.
- No live traffic data.
- No Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Garmin RV 780 GPS
Garmin RV 780 is an advanced GPS navigator that is perfect for RV owners and camping enthusiasts. It comes with all the features to make your RV driving easier and safer.
The GPS navigator features a 6.95-inch display that makes all the necessary information easily viewable at a glance. The edge-to-edge screen is bright and offers a clear picture both day and night time.
This handy gadget is designed to help you navigate through towns and cities, giving you routes that are based on your RV profile. You can input your vehicle’s dimensions and weight and these characteristics will be accounted for when creating a route. Moreover, you can save your RV profile so you won’t have to put in the information every time you drive.
One of the differences between this GPS and other Garmin RV models is that it can display 3D maps. If you’re tired of the 2D maps, this one can make it feel like you’re in a video game.
With this RV GPS unit, you will also be aware of any upcoming road warnings. For example, it will give you an alert if there’s a steep grade, sharp curve, or a weight limit coming up.
Users will also find useful the up-ahead feature. It notifies the driver of any gas station, rest areas, and RV parks that are coming up on the exit. Moreover, it allows you to access local points of interest, which it shows from Tripadvisor, Foursquare, and other services.
To help you find the best places for camping, the device also comes with a directory of RV parks and services. Additionally, it includes Ultimate Public Campgrounds, KOA, iOverlander, and PlanRV. All of these services you can filter by price, amenities, and other features.
Similar to the other Garmin RV GPS units, this model also offers Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. By pairing the GPS with a smartphone using Bluetooth connectivity you can use the device hands-free. While keeping your hands on the wheel, you’ll be able to take calls, view phone notifications and use the voice activated navigation.
As for Wi-Fi connectivity, it can be used for getting the latest software updates without the need of connecting to a computer.
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- 6.95-inch display.
- RV mode routing.
- Embedded traffic ready to use.
- Alerts of any road warnings up ahead.
- Up-ahead feature.
- Directory of RV parks and services.
- Local points of interest.
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.
- The RV mode isn’t always accurate.
Garmin RV 785
Garmin RV 785 comes with many of the same features as the above mentioned RV GPS units. However, it also offers a few additional features that some users might find useful.
In the RV mode, you can find routes that would take into account the size and weight of your RV. And you can save the profile that you create so you don’t have to input the information every time you drive. And on top of that, you can save profiles for multiple vehicles.
There are also a few features in this GPS unit to help you with navigation. It includes a traffic cable so you can get live traffic updates from this unit right out of the box. Moreover, it keeps you aware of upcoming road warnings, allowing you to prepare in advance of any upcoming sharp curves, weight limits, and elevation.
With this RV navigation device, you can also easily find the best camping spots. It offers an extensive directory of the best places for a pit stop. And the information in the directory can be filtered by price and amenities, allowing you to find a location that is perfect for your needs.
Moreover, the campground information is shown from multiple sources, such as Tripadvisor. It allows you to view reviews from different perspectives in order to find the most suitable place.
With this GPS, you can also enable Bluetooth and connect it to your phone. You can use this feature if you’d like to be able to make hands-free calls and view any phone notifications on the GPS.
The difference between this one and other Garmin devices is the addition of the dash cam that allows recording your drive. And if it detects an incident, it automatically saves the footage that you can refer to later. With the footage, it also saves the details of when and where it occurred.
The GPS is also compatible with the Garmin BC 35 backup camera, which will help you back up with more confidence. So you can additionally purchase the camera, hook it up and have better viewing of what’s behind you.
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- Large, bright, and easy to see display.
- RV mode.
- Basecamp for route planning.
- Forward collision and lane departure alerts.
- Road warnings.
- Dash cam.
- Bluetooth connectivity.
- Wi-Fi updates.
- Directory of the best campgrounds.
- Includes a traffic cable.
- Voice recognition doesn’t always work if there’s a lot of background noise.
Garmin dezl 780 LMT-S
Our last pick for this RV GPS list is Garmin dezl 780 LMT-S. It’s designed for big rig drivers and it makes the perfect road companion by offering advanced features for navigation.
It allows finding RV preferred routes by adjusting to the size and weight of your vehicle. You just create a profile of your rig by inputting such data as weight, height, length, and width. And you also add if you have any hazardous materials onboard. The GPS will use this information to find a route that would be suitable for your rig.
With this RV GPS, you can also easily find different service facilities on the road. There are over 30,000 repair and service locations. Moreover, the device also has Service History Log that saves all the dates and service types that were performed. It offers the convenience of keeping track of oil and tire changes, mileage, etc.
There are also millions of points of interest on the maps. The GPS shows the information on hotels, restaurants, and attractions from Tripadvisor and Foursquare. And to make your life easier, it displays notifications of the upcoming points of interest, so you can plan ahead for a rest stop.
When you want to reroute with this GPS, you can do it by simply touching the screen. The device will automatically reroute to add your preferred location.
With this device, you can also access real time traffic information. However, for this, you need to download a free app on your smartphone and connect it to the GPS. By pairing the two devices, you will also be able to enjoy a few hands-free features. You will be able to take calls and receive notifications without diverting your attention from the road.
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- 7-inch touchscreen.
- Customized RV routing.
- Easy break planning.
- Directory of service facilities.
- Directory of points of interest.
- Voice activated navigation.
- Real time traffic information.
- Wi-Fi updates.
- Not always accurate when routing.
- Cheap mount.
What Is an RV GPS?
RV GPS units are similar to those that are used in cars. However, these offer a few additional features that are designed specifically for use in all types of recreational vehicles, including trailers, 5th wheels, motorhomes, and campers.
For one, these devices allow customizing the route based on the characteristics of your vehicle. So, you can input your RV’s information and get a route that would be the best for your specific vehicle. And when you’ll be driving, the GPS unit will provide you with alerts and warnings if you’ll be coming up on low bridges, elevations, or road curves.
Another feature that sets RV GPS units apart from the standard ones is the inclusion of the campsite directory. There, you can find locations of all RV parks and services. Moreover, on their maps, you can find recommendations of different points of interest, such as attractions, restaurants, hotels, ATMs, etc.
So, they not only help with planning the driving but also with planning on what to see, where to camp, eat and get the RV serviced.
How Does It Work?
An RV GPS works the same as any other regular GPS. To make it work, three parts come into play: satellites, ground stations, and receivers.
Ground stations use radio signals to keep track of the position of satellites, so we know at any given point where they are supposed to be. And receivers, which can be found in GPS units, are constantly calculating how far these satellites are and how long it takes for the message to arrive. Once it can calculate the distance and the difference in signal arrival time from at least four satellites, your GPS can pinpoint your location. This allows determining your location with incredible precision. And the more satellites you’ll have above you, the more accurate will be the location found by your GPS.
Benefits of RV GPS
There are numerous benefits to investing in a GPS unit for your recreational vehicle. So if you’re still unsure if you need it, here are some of the benefits that you’ll be able to enjoy if you do install one.
1. Route Planning
When traveling with your RV, you want to spend more time in the campground and not getting lost on the road. Especially if you’re going to an unfamiliar place, you’ll need some type of navigational tool. And an RV GPS makes a perfect choice.
It will help you plan your route from point A to point B. It will also do so by taking into account the specifications of your RV. This means that it will only show routes down the road that are allowed for the size and weight of your vehicle. It will allow you to avoid low bridges, overly narrow roads, weight limits, and heavy traffic.
First of all, having an RV GPS unit adds a lot of convenience. It eliminates the hassle and stress of getting lost and not being able to find the way to your destination.
RV travel constantly brings into unfamiliar territory and without a GPS, you would be wasting a lot of time trying to find the right road or location. A GPS will provide you with accurate information about your location and will help you find the best route from one place to another.
You could use a smartphone instead but then it can send you down a road that is not suitable for an RV. On top of that, smartphone screens are usually smaller, which makes it more difficult for the driver to see his directions at a glance.
Safety is another important benefit. With a GPS unit installed in your vehicle, you’ll be able to focus more on the road than on trying to find directions. Before setting off on the road, you can input the desired location and the GPS will find the best possible route. And as you drive, the system will speak out the directions for you to follow. This means that you won’t have to keep checking the screen and can just keep your eyes on the road.
Moreover, some of the more advanced RV GPS units offer voice activated navigation. This feature allows adjusting the route with voice prompts, which also helps non-distracted and safer driving.
One more feature that adds to safer driving is the ability to get warnings of any road restrictions that might be coming up on your route. For example, the system will notify you if there’ll be low bridges, weight restrictions, sharp curves, or elevations coming up. This can greatly improve the safety factory of driving such a large vehicle as an RV.
4. Traffic Tracking
Some of the RV navigation units also offer real time traffic and weather tracking. This means that you can be notified if there’s a traffic accident, construction, or other traffic holdups ahead. It can also notify you if you’re approaching an area with a severe weather event. By getting these notifications, you can plan ahead and reroute to your destination. This will not only help cut time on the road but will also improve your safety.
5. Reduce Fuel Costs
A GPS unit can help reduce the amount of time that your RV spends sitting idle in traffic.
6. Access RV Amenities
Most RV GPS units come with preloaded directories of campgrounds and servicing locations. This feature allows planning your trip ahead of time, so decide beforehand at which campground you’ll be staying for the night.
The directory’s options can also be filtered by different amenities that you might need at your campground. These can include electric hookups, showers, Wi-Fi, and other features.
7. Access Points of Interest
Making your RV travel more convenient, GPS devices also allow accessing different points of interest that come on your route. These points of interest usually include hotels, restaurants, gas stations, ATMs, attractions, health centers, etc.
The device will show if there are of these amenities coming on the route up ahead. This makes it easier to plan for a rest stop to refresh the driver’s mind.
8. Easy to Use
Compared to reading a physical map, using a GPS is very simple. You just need to input your desired destination and the device will do all the work of finding the best route all on its own.
9. Available Anywhere
When using a GPS on your smartphone, you can run out of data or lose the network connection. Then, you’re all on your own without any navigational help.
A GPS eliminates this issue since satellite technology is available across the entire globe. This means that you’ll never be caught out not knowing your location.
10. Offers Continuously Updated Maps
Unlike paper maps, GPS maps are continuously updated, so you always get accurate navigational information. This means that you don’t need to worry about your GPS unit going out of date.
To get the updates, GPS devices usually need to be either connected to a computer or to a Wi-Fi network.
11. Other Useful Features
One of the additional features that some of the GPS devices also offer is Bluetooth connectivity. It allows you to pair the GPS with your phone in order to receive a few extra benefits. For example, you can make hands-free calls, view notifications, or listen to the phone’s music.
RV GPS Buying Guide
RV specific GPS units can help to get the most out of your journey. However, a bad GPS device can actually make your trip a nightmare, sending you down the wrong road that your RV should not be on. That’s why you’re looking not just for any RV GPS, but for the best one. But how to find out what is the best RV GPS unit for you?
There are certain factors that contribute to the quality and reliability of a GPS device. So, if you’re unsure what to look out for in order to choose the perfect RV GPS, here is a buying guide with the most important features to consider.
One thing to consider is the screen size. A large screen is a lot easier to read than a small one. This also adds to safety since you would be mostly keeping your attention on the road and not spending more time trying to figure out the directions.
If you’re traveling with a companion who would be helping you with navigation, this might not be as important. However, if you travel on your own most of the time, try to avoid small screens.
Look for a GPS with at least a 5-inch screen. However, 7-inch would be better as it will make it easier to read all the displayed information.
A larger screen also often means more information that is displayed at a time. This means that in addition to the map, you’ll also be able to view such helpful information as speed limits, traffic warnings, points of interest, and more.
If you choose a GPS with a larger screen, it will also make it easier to adjust the settings. These units usually come with bigger buttons and more visible information, making searching and selecting settings quicker and easier.
With all that being said, also keep in mind that an oversized screen is not always the best. If it’s too big, it will take up too much space on your dashboard or windshield. This can obstruct the view of the road and make your driving less safe. That’s why an optimal size would be up to 7 inches.
It’s also important that the GPS has intuitive and easy to use controls. After all, you don’t want a system that would be so complicated to use that it’d be useless. So, check the overall interface and how user-friendly it is.
Most recent GPS systems feature a touchscreen display. They are easier to operate and use. However, some of these touchscreens are not very intuitive, making it difficult to input locations and search for information. To avoid this, check user reviews to understand how easy it is to use the touchscreen.
Another thing to consider is how fast it takes for the device to load. If it takes too long, you will be missing turns all the time and heading in the wrong direction. This would make getting to your final destination a lot longer.
Traffic tracking is another essential feature to have if you don’t want to be stuck in traffic all the time. It will provide you with real-time updated information on where you’ll get the least and most traffic, allowing you to find the fastest route. This feature will also provide you with other traffic information, such as road closures, accidents, or anything else that may cause you delays.
You could also just use your phone’s GPS to view traffic. However, it’s a lot more convenient to view both the navigation and traffic in one device.
To avoid ending up on roads that no longer exist, it’s also important the GPS is regularly updating its maps. Your navigation device should be able to keep up with the new mapping. So, check that the manufacturer offers lifetime updates.
Predictive Data Entry
One of the things that will make it easier using your new RV GPS is predictive data entry. This feature works by automatically suggesting the most common searches after you’ve put in the first few letters. So, you don’t need to type in the full address or the full city name. You just type in a letter or two, scroll down and choose the right one. This makes a faster and easier entry of destinations.
The text-to-speech feature is included in most RV GPS units. Though some older models might not have it, so it’s best to check that the GPS you’re looking at buying does offer it. With this feature, the GPS will speak out all the directions, informing you when to take an exit, turn left or right. This would allow you to keep on the track of your route while still keeping your eyes on the road.
One of the newest features that many GPS units have is voice control. It gives you the ability to control the device with your voice commands. You can keep your eyes on the road and operate the unit hands-free. This means improved safety with less distraction while driving.
You should also check the GPS mounting options. Most of them either mount on the windshield or the dashboard. Consider which would be more convenient for you and check that the GPS you’re thinking of buying comes with that option.
Moreover, a good RV GPS should also be easy to attach and detach. And when mounted, it should stay securely in place without falling down.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
These two features are optional. However, they do offer some benefits. Wi-Fi connectivity can be used for getting regular updates. And Bluetooth connectivity allows pairing your GPS with a smartphone, which provides additional functionality. You’ll be able to view notifications right on your GPS and take phone calls without taking your hands off the steering wheel.
If you plan on keeping the GPS connected to your vehicle’s power backup, then you don’t really need to worry about its battery life. However, if its operation will mostly rely on the battery, look for a unit that can go for a minimum of 2 hours.
Choose a GPS unit that also has plenty of memory. It will allow you to add more points of interest, maps, or other features. It will also allow you to expand the system with new software.
Ideally, your GPS device should have a micro or SD slot. It will make it possible to expand the memory whenever you need it.
To ensure that the new RV GPS will be ready for use right out of the box, check that the product comes with all the necessary accessories included in the box. These accessories should include cables and mounting brackets.
Consider also if you’ll need any additional accessories. Some GPS units also come with backup cameras and dash cams. However, these are usually sold separately as add-ons.
RV GPS Frequently Asked Questions
What are good RV GPS brands?
Garmin is definitely the most popular brand. However, it’s not the only one that offers great GPS units for recreational vehicles. A few other good brands include Magellan, Randy McNally, and TomTom.
Do RV GPS units have a trip planner?
You won’t find this feature on all GPS units. It all depends on the brand and model. However, most of the top brands do include this feature in their devices. For example, all of the Garmin devices offer it, allowing you to create and save your trips for future use.
Do GPS systems come with lifetime updates?
Most GPS devices today offer lifetime updates, providing you with the most current maps.
Where can I buy an RV GPS?
The most convenient way to shop for an RV GPS is online. Here, you’ll find a vast amount of options with products offering a variety of features and coming in different price ranges. And if you shop online, you can also check Amazon, which probably has the biggest selection.
Getting an RV GPS unit is not just a matter of convenience, but also a matter of safety. It will significantly simplify your route planning, helping you to find the fastest route, while at the same time helping you to avoid potentially dangerous situations. On top of that, it will allow you to easily find convenient places for pit stops and overnight stays.
Our top pick in 2021 is the Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S. It comes with all the necessary features to make your RV driving easier and more comfortable. And you get all those features for a reasonable price.