best RV GPS

The 8 Best RV GPS Of 2022: An In-Depth Review

All of us are familiar with Google Maps, but while it is helpful for urban driving, Google Maps is still lacking when it comes to off-road traveling. Drivers of large-sized motorhomes often face unique challenges that require the help of special navigation systems specifically designed to address those problems, for instance  narrow roads, low hanging bridges, or routes with low hanging trees. For this reason, any seasoned or full-time RVers would tell you to get the best RV GPS systems if you like to camp off the beaten path. 

Having the best RV GPS units is not nice to have, it’s an absolute necessity. After a long drive, you don’t want to get lost in the middle of nowhere with no signs of help in sight or get stuck in a narrow road where you cannot make a turn or reverse.  

That said, not all top rated RV GPS system offer these special benefits that campers desperately need. But worry not, as the 8 best RV GPS units in this handpicked list will deliver. There is something for every wallet and preference, and all of these units are guaranteed to be user-friendly, accurate and to deliver a well-rounded user experience. This comprehensive guide by RVing Trends will also give you all the crucial information you need to know on RV GPS systems in order to make the most informed and worthwhile investment.

Comparison Chart of The Best GPS for Motorhomes

NoTop Rated RV GPSPricesOur Ratings
1Garmin RV 785 GPS Navigator$$$*****
2Garmin RV 890 GPS Navigator$$$*****
3Garmin RV 1090 10in$$$$****
4JOGANVE GPS Navigation$***
5TomTom Via 1525SE 5 Inch$$****
6OHREX GPS Navigation$***
7ESSGOO X8F 9 inch GPS$***
8LOVPOI D9 9-inch GPS$***

RV GPS Systems: The Basics

What Is Special About an RV GPS Navigation System 

Regular GPS

GPS stands for Global Positioning System. Even those who do not know how it works use it to navigate and get to their destination in the shortest time using the most effective route available, that is the route with the least real-time traffic and the best road or weather condition. 

To make this happen, you need a global navigation satellite system with global coverage that can take images of the Earth from space, plus electronic receivers that receive signals from the satellite to provide information of real-time location and velocity of any moving person carrying a receiver or any object fitted with a receiver. Thus, a GPS system allows you to know where you are at any point in time and how to get to your destination.

And GPS is a free service with no subscription fees or setup charges. We can all use GPS at any time in a day, anywhere in the world, and in any weather conditions. Due to its necessity, this technology is widely applied, from the use in automobiles to smartphones and other personal devices like sports and smart watches. 

GPS for RV

Then what makes a GPS system for RV different from a regular GPS system? An RV GPS navigation system is specially designed to deal with the unique challenges faced by an RV driver. Firstly, while a regular GPS system like Google Maps is sufficient for navigating in urban areas and highways, the best RV GPS is much more helpful in helping you get around in rural areas and once you stray from the main roads. 

Secondly, a system designed for RV use will provide you with extra helpful information to safely drive around in your gigantic motorhome, for instance, routes with low hanging trees that will scratch your roof and your solar panels, or shrubberies that can ruin your paint job, routes with low hanging bridges, narrow roads that make it difficult to reverse or turn, and bumpy, muddy roads where a heavy and large sized vehicle might get stuck. 

best RV GPS
Photo: Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

How It Works

To track and synchronize a person’s real time location and movement data, an RV GPS system needs space satellites, a receiver that communicates with the satellites and Earth-based ground control stations that operate the satellites and monitor their transmissions.

A GPS satellite system consists of a network of six Earth-centered orbital planes, each consisting of four satellites, or 24 satellites in total that travel around the Earth at a distance of some 20,000 km above the Earth surface at a speed of 14,000 km/h. Each satellite circles the earth twice a day, and each of these satellites transmit unique signals to the Earth-based receivers or users GPS devices. 

A user GPS device can read and interpret signals from at least six satellites at the same time.  The GPS device then uses the signals it receives to determine its exact location and movement through a process of calculation called trilateration. A GPS device requires signals from at least four satellites at any given time to be able to carry out such calculations. Specifically, it needs signals from three satellites to calculate a location on the Earth’s surface, but requires a forth satellite to validate the information from the other three and calculate the altitude of the user device.

A Note on GPS Receivers

Many might think that GPS is the only satellite navigation network, but there are several, and there are devices that can receive signals from more than one network at the same time. As mentioned above, the more satellites a user device can track, the more accurate its tracking will be. Similarly, the more networks a device can communicate with, the more accurate it will be.

Similar navigation systems are called Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). For instance, The European Space Agency develops a GNSS called Galileo, while Russia operates its own GLONASS and China has its own BeiDou. Among brands that offer GPS devices that can track another GNSS as well, Garmin comes out ahead with several models that track both GPS and GLONASS, and a few even track BeiDou on top of these two. 

Why You Need an RV GPS

Effective navigation without ever getting lost: Being lost in the middle of nowhere is no joke. With the best RV GPS in place, you won’t ever need to worry about getting lost, and you won’t lose valuable time having to pull over every now and then to ask for directions.

The best RV navigation system will help you get to your destination fast and stress free, as it will point you to the most effective route available. RV GPS systems give you real-time updates with regards to traffic conditions and road conditions on your route, and in case of traffic jams or dangerous road conditions due to inclement weather, they will provide you with safe alternative routes. This can mean the difference between taking a detour in time and setting in a traffic jam for hours in pouring rain. The very best RV GPS units even have a built-in app to receive news updates. 

Avoiding mishaps unique to RV driving: What’s most valuable about a GPS system designed for RVers is that it will help you avoid routes that are undesirable or dangerous for an oversized rig to go through, whether you’re towing or not. Obstacles unique to a large sized recreational vehicle include bumpy, narrow routes where a Class A motorhome won’t be able to turn or reverse, or post-storm muddy routes where such a vehicle can get stuck. Another common problem for RVs is low clearance, including low-hanging bridges, mountain pass overhung, and routes with low-hanging trees. It can be downright dangerous, or at the very least you will receive some serious scratches and damages to your roof and exterior that might require time-consuming and expensive repairs.

A large display: There are benefits to having a dedicated GPS system with its own monitor instead of using your tiny smartphone. A larger screen means you won’t have to strain your eyes on a long drive, and it means you will less likely make the wrong turns. Making the wrong exit from a roundabout on an interstate highway, which is one the most common mistakes, can cost you tens of extra miles or an hour of valuable time that should be spent resting or enjoying nature.

Find RV-specific services and facilities: With an RV GPS device, you will be able to easily find necessary services like gas stations, dump stations, auto repair shops, free overnight parking at truck stops and big box stores, RV parks and campgrounds, laundry services and food providers.

Trip planning: One advanced feature of the best RV GPS systems that the less tech savvy campers might not know of is trip planning. You can input your destinations, any gas stations, dump stations or stores as well as points of attraction you wish to pass by along the way. Despite the many stops you’re going to make along the way and the small changes of plan, which is unavoidable, the best RV GPS device will always stay updated with real-time information to keep you on the fastest, safest route available to save you money and gas. 

Broaden your traveling possibilities : The best RV GPS devices are even preloaded with local points of interest that you can add to your trip for some spontaneous explorations. Many units also allow you to import extra points of interest as you travel to a new place.

Extra features: It’s a trend for techy devices to be multifunctional, and RV GPS systems are no exception. You will find many units that can search for signals from radio stations or can be stored with music to keep you awake and entertained during a long drive. 

Types of RV GPS

Portable vs Permanent GPS

There is more than one way to classify RV GPS navigation systems, but first and foremost, they can be either portable or permanent. Portable RV GPS devices are not permanently built into your rig but can be moved around within your motorhome and carry along with you when you’re exploring off the beaten path on foot. Meanwhile, a permanent GPS system is fixed in your RV for good. Many newer, more expensive Class A and Class C motorhomes even comes ready with a permanent GPS system in place.

Street Navigation Systems

A street navigation GPS system can either be portable or permanent. This type of GPS is the most common, and might even come permanent in high-end RVs. It typically mounts on your RV’s dashboard, and models of the type often boast the largest monitor screens. 

In addition to keeping you on the safest and most effective route, a GPS system of this type can also estimate your time of arrival, provide turn-by-turn visual and audio directions, and tell you your current speed and mileage. 

All in all, a street navigation GPS is the best RV GPS system for trip planning and exploration. It typically comes with preloaded local maps that can be used offline and can also be updated for international maps. These preloaded maps include tourist destinations and local points of interest as well as crucial services for open-road travelers like grocery stores, restaurants and cafes, gas stations, campgrounds, auto repair shops, laundromats and hospitals. Many even provide user photos and reviews about these locations.

A street navigation GPS unit will also keep you on track with regards to your chosen itinerary, saving you time and money.You can input the places you would like to visit along the way and then program your RV GPS system so that it will map out the most desirable route. Another extra handy feature that the best RV GPS units of this category offer is smartphone connectivity. This allows you to focus on driving while your companion double check directions, or to customize your itinerary on your smartphone, which might have a user interface that you’re more comfortable with.

All in all, in most camping settings, you would need a solid street navigation GPS system mounted on the dashboard in your rig for driving around. Then, depending on your camping style, you might need an extra handheld GPS system or a GPS-enabled sports accessory like a smart watch for explorations around your destination or campground:

Handheld GPS Devices

Once you have settled at your campground, the adventurous campers might want to explore nearby trails. To enjoy the best that the wilderness has to offer without getting lost, you will need a handheld GPS device. A handheld GPS device is portable and is often used for long-distance backpacking and trekking on foot. Due to their specific purpose, they often have a much smaller display screen than street navigation systems.

Sports GPS Devices

Sports GPS devices are the smallest, and are used for sporty activities like hiking, trekking, fishing, swimming, scuba diving and paragliding. To assist with navigation and safety, the best GPS units of the type come with built-in sensors to alert users of dangerous or impassable terrains, no flying zones, and potential inclement weather. In addition, GPS-enabled sports devices will give you summary statistics as to your workout performance, including your heart rate, the distance or elevation you covered and your speed. A representative example is Garmin smart watches. Models of the type are typically made to withstand water for an extended period and are generally the most weatherproof. 


Best RV GPS Units: In-depth Reviews

1. Best Overall: Garmin RV 785 Advanced GPS Navigator for RVs 7-Inch

Garmin RV 785 & Traffic, Advanced GPS Navigator for RVs
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At a glance:

  • Screen size: 6.95”
  • Screen type: Glass touchscreen
  • Screen resolution: 1024 x 600 Pixel
  • Connectivity: Wifi, Bluetooth
  • Battery life: 2 hours
  • Notable features: real-time traffic, road and weather updates, voice-activated navigation, built-in dash cam, directory of RV parks and RV-specific services, custom routing, custom road warnings, backup camera compatibility, Garmin Drive app
  • Mounting style: Suction cup

Who or What It’s Best For: Hands down the best RV GPS navigator out there for any travel needs, period.

Why we love it:

With an ideal screen size of seven inches, it’s hard to miss the next turn or make the wrong exit, and it’s easier to navigate between screen options and make changes to your route without pushing the wrong buttons. This glass screen is constructed from extra durable high-density polyethylene, which won’t break down due to photodegradation like regular plastics. As for functionality, this badass has everything that any camper might ever need: real time updates, voice-activated navigation, audio instructions, wifi and Bluetooth connectivity, backup camera compatibility, and more. 

Apart from the capacity for real time updates on traffic, road conditions and weather, Garmin RV 785 is one of the most thoughtfully designed RV GPS devices out there. One of its most notable features, and my most favorite, is custom routing. It takes into account the size and weight of your rig, then excludes routes that do not permit vehicles of such size and weight to find the best route for your vehicle, that is the shortest and safest route. While keeping your RV’s size and weight in mind, this smart system also provides timely road warnings to prepare you for upcoming sharp curves, obstacles, low-hanging bridges and trees or mountain overhang, and weight limits. It even gives you upcoming elevation information in detail to prepare for possible steep inclines along the route. 

Another feature that you will only find with the top-of-the-class GPS systems is the built-in dash cam, which enables handy features such as forward collision and lane departure warnings. This also allows you to record your drive, so that you can compile a video of your memorable journey and, although I do hope you will not need to use it for this purpose, to provide evidence in case you are involved in a road accident. 

Another perk that users of the Garmin RV 785 rave about is the included comprehensive directory of RV parks and RV-specific services, plus integrated community content from the most popular RV and travel apps such as TripAdvisor, Foursquare, PlanRV, Ultimate Public Campgrounds, overlanded, and more. This will make it less troublesome to find the nearest grocery store, restaurant or laundromat. 

Of course, you can expect this stellar device to have Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity for easy updates and hand-free calling. If you have the Garmin Drive app in your smartphone, the Garmin RV 890 can be paired with it to plan and share routes, access live traffic, real-time weather and fuel prices and smartphone notifications. 

In addition to the GPS functions, the additional features of lane departure warning, collision warning and the extensive data base of points of interest make this a great GPS for the RV user. The dimensions of the RV can be entered and it will take into account road width and over pass height. The unit is large and the screen is easy to use. Getting used to the new phrase to activate the voice command from the old one was confusing since I had used the older model for the past 7 years. Overall a great unit for the RV traveler.

Shared by The Cralls

The Garmin RV 785 is a top notch GPS unit packed with goodies for the RV’er. The screen size is perfect to view when its mounted on the windshield, clarity is HD, sound is perfect. The dash cam a real plus. Having the ability to put in length, width, height and weight of the unit allows the GPS to route you safely to your desired location. With the bluetooth capability to communicate with your smartphone allows it to communicate with external travel / highway systems including weather to advise you along your way. Looking for a truck stop to fuel up your diesel pickup / truck, is no harder than a touch screen away from locating one along your route. Its a device that will help you have a positive roadtrip.

Shared by Jerry

2. Larger Screen: Garmin RV 890 GPS Navigator for RVs with 8” Edge-to-Edge Display

Garmin RV 890, GPS Navigator for RVs
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At a glance:

  • Screen size: 8”
  • Screen type: Touchscreen
  • Screen resolution: 1280 x 800 Pixel
  • Connectivity: Wifi, Bluetooth
  • Battery life: 2 hours
  • Notable features: real-time updates, voice-activated navigation, custom routing, custom road warnings,  backup camera compatibility, preloaded RV maps, preloaded directory of RV parks and related services, trip planning and sharing, Garmin Drive app 
  • Mounting style: Suction cup

Who or What It’s Best For: Campers who want a well-rounded navigator with many handy features and a bigger screen 

Why we love it:

I was taken by surprise when I came across this Garmin RV 890 Navigator, as it costs $50 less than the Garmin RV 785 above but offers a few more features and perks. Firstly, this is the best RV GPS system out there if you need the largest screen available for easy viewing, without sacrificing any necessary features. This unit has a rare edge-to-edge 8-inch touch screen display with options for portrait and landscape mode, which is also rare.

That said, after a few drives, I noticed that the screen has a lower resolution than that of the Garmin RV 785. Furthermore, the interface design for maps are not as detailed. So while it is still easy to check visual directions, the viewing experience is not as pleasant as what the display of Garmin RV 785 offers, which for me personally justifies the slightly lower price. This might not be a problem for many drivers though, and if so the 890 might give you a better deal than the badass 785. The price gap might also come from the lack of the 785’s video recording feature.

Rest assured that the 890 delivers all the features loved in the 785, including voice-activated navigation, custom routing, custom road warnings, backup camera compatibility, Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity for hand-free calling and built-in Wifi connectivity for maps update without a computer. Always stay up-to-date with the Garmin Drive app: plan and share routes, access live traffic, real-time weather and fuel prices and smartphone notifications. In addition to a free preloaded directory of RV parks and related services, this model also comes with preloaded street maps for North America, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and Bahamas. 

I have been using Garmin GPS units for over 20 years and I will unequivocally say the new RV890 unit I purchased to replace my RV760 that died is the best GPS unit I have ever owned. This thing is amazing! Very fast responsive screen, loaded with features and combined with the iPhone app works great. My wife and I just completed over a month-long, 5,100+ mile western trip and the 890 worked flawlessly. We used it for all of our navigation. I highly recommend it.

Shared by Bill Fisher

Believe it was worth it to spend a little more on a camera system for my RV. It was prof. installed and that fee was $800 for labor. The installer stated there was plenty of cable to run for all the cameras in my 24ft RV. The day and night vision on the cameras is good. Yes, the sun gets in the lenses sometimes and you can’t see much but that’s normal. I would recommend this system. I feel much safer with it.

Shared by K ZanderTop

3. Even Larger Screen: Garmin RV 1090 10in RV Navigator GPS Portable Navigator for RVs

Garmin RV 1090 10in RV Navigator GPS Portable Navigator for RVs
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At a glance:

  • Screen size: 10”
  • Screen type: Touchscreen
  • Connectivity: Wifi, Bluetooth
  • Battery life: Can be charged at all times with Wearable4U Power Pack
  • Notable features: real-time updates, voice-activated navigation, custom routing, custom road warnings,  backup camera compatibility, preloaded RV maps, preloaded directory of RV parks and related services, trip planning and sharing, Garmin Drive app
  • Mounting style: Screw down and suction cup

Who or What It’s Best For: Campers who want a well-rounded navigator with the biggest screen available

Why we love it:

Now the 10-inch glass touch screen that you get with the Garmin RV 1090 is probably as big as it can get with RV GPS devices. Like the 890, the screen can be used horizontal or vertical, but unlike the RV 890, this screen is crystal clear and crisp, and the maps are more detailed. 

As to be expected from the price, the RV 1090 comes with all the handy features you can get with the 785 and 890. While buyers in North America get the preloaded maps for this region, European devices come preloaded with full EU and MENA maps plus access to free map downloads for South Africa, North America, South America, Australia and New Zealand. Another perk is that this model comes with the Wearable4U Ultimate Power Pack to keep your GPS device charged at all times, which includes a USB Power Bank 2200 mAh, a car charger, and a wall USB charging adapter.

Although not a deal breaker, I find that the interface of this model is not as straightforward as the 785 and the 890. It takes a bit of learning at first, but you will be able to enjoy all of its benefits very quickly afterwards. Another note is the kit includes both a magnetic suction cup and a screw down mount. You need to use both to firmly secure the unit in place due to the extra size and weight. Many campers make the mistake of using the suction cup only, as it is how you commonly mount the smaller screens, and find there is some wiggle room and vibrations while driving.

I love the large screen. When driving a mobile home, you don’t want to keep your eyes off the road for too long. Very reliable, easy to use, and the updates are great. I have made a few long trips with no issues. I own 3 Gamin, and I love it.

Shared by Jose R Perez

4. Entry Level: JOGANVE GPS Navigation GPS Navigation for Truck, RV & Car

Car GPS Navigation GPS Navigation for Truck & RV
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At a glance:

  • Screen size: 7”
  • Screen type: Glass touchscreen
  • Screen resolution: 800×480 
  • Connectivity: No Wifi, no Bluetooth
  • Battery life: 30 minutes
  • Memory: Built-in 8GB ROM 256MB RAM, support up to 32G extended memory
  • Notable features: voice-activated navigation, preloaded North & South American maps
  • Mounting style: Suction cup

Who or What It’s Best For: First-time RV owners or budget campers who do not travel far and only need a basic unit for a minimal cost

Why we love it:

While most RV GPS navigators out there cost north of $100, this JOGANVE is a rare affordable offering at onl $80, making it an ideal entry-level device for the budget or beginner campers who only need basic functions and nothing fancy. You‘ll get preloaded North & South American maps and free lifetime map updates, and if you need international maps, you can reach out to customer service to get them for free. And this model offers up to 32 GB of extended memory to store all of the maps you need. There are four route choices to choose, including fast, green, short and easy, but I actually find this a bit confusing and not too necessary. 

The major areas where this low-budget model is lacking is that it does not have built-in Wifi connectivity or Bluetooth connectivity, so it doesn’t offer real time traffic and weather updates. For this reason, this unit is more suitable for campers who only take short trips at a time; for campers who drive long-distance, the lack of real time updates might cause substantial delays in your timeline as well as frustration. In addition, despite its basic functionality, certain settings and modes need some figuring out, like changing states, so make sure you spend some time playing around with it before hitting the road.

This GPS is wonderful. screen was bigger than i thought and the touch screen works great. Very many different features available and customizable to your taste. Map works great and has audio available as well. Great purchase would definitely recommend, everything you need for a GPS

Shared by Kaylee F

5. TomTom Via 1525SE 5 Inch GPS Navigation Device

TomTom Via 1525SE 5 Inch GPS Navigation Device with Free Traffic
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At a glance:

  • Screen size: 5”
  • Screen type: Touchscreen
  • Connectivity: Wifi, Bluetooth
  • Notable features: real-time updates, voice-activated navigation, advanced lane, split-screen junction view guidance for key junctions
  • Mounting style: Reversible suction cup

Who or What It’s Best For: Campers with RVs in which a smaller screen would makes more sense

Why we love it:

If for some unique reason with regards to the interior of your RV, a smaller screen would make more sense, you might want to consider this 5-inch TomTom Via 1525SE GPS navigator. In addition to real-time updates and voice-activated navigation, you will get spoken instructions in more than 30 different languages, and the most special feature that’s hard to find with other models: advanced lane guidance. When you’re approaching major junctions, you’ll get a split-screen view to clearly see which lane to take, so no more worrying about sudden lane changes or missed turns.

Although this might not be a deal breaker for some campers, the 5-inch screen can make it harder to decipher the visual directions at times, for instance when determining which exit to take at a roundabout. In cases like this, you might have to rely more on the audio instructions. Another major drawback that many buyers complained about is despite advertising free lifetime map updates, the manufacturer actually charges an additional $130.00 for the computer driver to update the maps. And although it is not that bad in my case, most users report that it takes hours for the update to complete (up to 10 hours in the worst cases), with it freezing up from time to time in between, which is quite frustrating.

Bought this for a 2800 mile road trip, it works great, the traffic part seems to work only near big cities, but that was as expected. It did a great job routing me around traffic in the Tacoma and Seattle area. Does a good job giving a warning about upcoming turns or exits. The only time it let me down was when the exit was from the HOV lane, it didn’t tell me to be in the HOV lane, by the time I realized that it was too late, but it quickly rerouted me using the next exit. I also used it to find hotels, gas stations and restaurants along the route. It was very nice not to have the phone tied up doing this and sucking up my data plan in the process.

Shared by Kirk C. Nelson

6. OHREX GPS Navigation for Truck RV Car

OHREX GPS Navigation for Truck RV Car
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At a glance:

  • Screen size: 7”
  • Screen type: Touchscreen
  • Screen resolution: 800 x 480 Pixel
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Memory: Samsung 8 GB rom 256M Rom, support TF card up to 32GB
  • Notable features: active lane guidance assist, active speed camera detection, custom routing, route planning, preloaded North America map
  • Mounting style: suction cup

Who or What It’s Best For: Campers who want a cheap unit that offers good features

Why we love it:

For $70, this unit is a pleasant surprise. Yes, this is from a Chinese maker, so I didn’t set my expectations very high, but to be fair, it is a good deal considering the features it offers. There are many negative reviews saying this is a cheap and not functional GPS device, but after spending some time patiently trying out all the settings and features on a few trips, I dare say it delivers. The catch though is the manual is very poorly written with Google-translate level of English, so it’s not at all helpful. If you’re a budget traveler or first-time RV owner who is willing to take a bet on a cheap model, I say go for it. Just play around with it to learn how to use it properly, and you’ll get your money’s worth.Several route options like short, fast, green and more. 

For such an affordable price, you’re getting a reasonably large screen, reasonably large memory and all the basic features: 2D or 3D maps, Bluetooth connectivity, preloaded North America map, route planning, custom routing that takes into account the size and weight of your vehicle, plus active lane guidance assist and active speed camera detection. 

7. ESSGOO X8F 9 inch GPS Navigation for Commercial Drivers  

9 inch GPS Navigation for Car Truck GPS Commercial Drivers RV GPS Navigation System for Trucks
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At a glance:

  • Screen size: 9”
  • Screen resolution: 800 x 480 Pixel
  • Memory: 8GB ROM, 256MB RAM, support TF card up to 32GB
  • Notable features: 2D/3D mode, custom routing, custom warnings, preloaded North America maps
  • Mounting style: Suction cup

Who or What It’s Best For: Campers who need an extra large screen with all the basic functions at a reasonable price

Why we love it:

This is another lesser known model from a Chinese maker that might deliver excellent value for money for many campers. For its price, perks include an extra large 9-inch touchscreen, 2D/3D mode, audio directions, preloaded North America maps, plus custom routing and custom warnings. This unit takes into account the size and weight of your rig, then finds the shortest and safest route for your vehicle. It also provides timely road warnings to prepare you for upcoming sharp curves, obstacles, low-hanging bridges and trees or mountain overhang, and weight limits. 

You might not expect custom routing and custom warning function from an affordable China-made model, but this unit is intended for use by commercial drivers, so the ability to point you to the shortest, safest route for your oversized vehicle is essential.

This unit comes with preloaded maps for the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and you can contact their customer service to get maps for Europe, the UK, Ireland and Australia for free. With the custom POI’s function, you can add additional points of interest to your device’s internal memory. All in all, it is a good deal. The biggest catch is perhaps the fact that this device only supports Windows, so if you own a Mac, you won’t be able to download map updates.

8. LOVPOI D9 9-inch GPS Navigation for Trucks and RVs

9 inch GPS Navigation for Truck, RV Trucker GPS Navigation System
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At a glance:

  • Screen size: 9”
  • Screen resolution: 800 x 480 Pixel
  • Notable features: 2D/3D mode, custom routing, custom warnings, preloaded North America maps
  • Mounting style: Suction cup

Who or What It’s Best For: Campers who need an extra large screen with all the basic functions at a reasonable price

Why we love it:

This is another Chinese model with an extra large screen and good functionality offered at a reasonable price. Like the ESSGOO model above, perhaps the biggest drawback is that this unit only supports Windows. I find the maps not as detailed and the graphics generally not as visually appealing as more expensive options above, but it’s just personal preference and this does not really affect your ability to get a clear reading of the screen. Resolution can be better, but as the screen is large, you won’t have any problem deciphering visual directions. 

There are negative reviews on Amazon, but I found that this is mostly due to the poorly written manual that’s practically useless. Most negative reviews complain about the device pointing them to less than ideal routes or not allowing them to change the settings or modes, but most of these are due to the use of incorrect input data, for instance, the type of vehicle you’re driving, or how you want to choose your route (fastest or easiest). 

Without a proper manual, it will require some playing around to know how to do certain things, but if you’re patient, you will learn that you’re getting excellent value for money with this unassuming RV GPS device. Many reviewers who are professional truck drivers have taken note of how this unit delivers the same level of functionality as more expensive units from bigger brands. 


How To Choose The Best RV GPS For Your Needs

Types

Most full-time and dedicated campers, especially if they like to camp in remote locations, would need an RV street navigation system for getting around and trip planning. Depending on your travel style, you might want to get a handheld, battery-operated GPS device instead, so that you can take it out of your RV and bring it along for long-distance on-foot explorations around your campground once you’ve settled at your destination. While these two types of GPS devices are for navigational purposes, a GPS-enabled sports watch would mainly be for recreational use where you need something waterproof. If you don’t need a dedicated waterproof GPS device, remember that you can use your mobile phone for on-foot explorations.

Functionality

Trip Planner: The best RV GPS devices should allow you to plan your itinerary to save driving time and fuel. A GPS trip planner offers several features to help you keep the logistics of your RV vacations dialed in, such as adding trip scheduling information, optimizing stop orders, and saving trips so that you can navigate those routes again at a later date. This is a super handy feature that not all GPS devices out there are capable of, but if you’re on the road full-time or often, trip planner will be an essential feature for customizing and getting the most out of your travel.

Data Entry Method: The best RV GPS system should always allow you to input the address of your next destination by voice command, in addition to data entry by hand. This means you will be able to use your GPS device without having to take your hands off the steering wheel and eyes off the road, which is a big no-no. While you might always have a companion at the ready to do this for you, this is not an option for many campers, and like I do, you will find that voice-activated navigation will make the driver much more proactive at the steering wheel, thus minimizing the chance of missing your next exit for instance.

The best RV GPS systems might even offer an advanced feature called predictive data entry. They keep track of your frequently visited destinations and will recall later so that you can pull up directions more quickly and focus again on driving.

Memory: The best RV GPS device should have ample memory size so that you can add on features or load more maps in the future. This is often overlooked by many novices, but as you travel down the open road, you definitely will load more maps and most likely want extra features to better customize your trips. Memory is crucial in improving a GPS device’s future functionality. The best RV GPS units should come with an SD or micro slot that will allow many different memory formats and types, which is ideal.

WiFi Connectivity: Most seasoned campers who take on long trips at a time have Wifi, either by using their mobile as a hotspot or adding a hotspot router to their existing phone plan. Wifi is essential for any long-distance traveler, and as such, the best RV GPS for your money should have Wifi connectivity. This will allow you to get updated with real-time traffic and weather information for your current location or destination. Staying up to date means you can timely adjust your trip to avoid connections, accidents, inclement weather and bad road conditions to arrive at your destination safely and frustration-free.

Bluetooth Connectivity: In addition, the best RV GPS devices with Wifi connectivity should also allow you to connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth technology. This function not only enables voice-activated navigation, but also allows you to listen to the radio or music through your rig’s speakers and receive or place phone calls through the GPS interface. All in all, Bluetooth connectivity is handy as you will be able to interact with your GPS in a more streamlined fashion.

Automatic Update 

Road conditions, including the information on roads under maintenance, changes all the time, and even a slight detour due to road closure can cause a significant delay in your travel timeline. To make timely adjustments on the way, you would need the best RV GPS system that can update itself so that it can access real-time information on weather, road and traffic conditions at all times. Most modern RV GPS units come with lifetime map updates. While automatic update is an extremely important feature and is the most convenient for the busy travelers, note that many GPS systems on the market need to be manually updated. Also, the very best RV GPS models out there will give you several options for update schemes with regards to method of update and update interval.

Screen 

Screen Resolution: Resolution is measured in pixels and the higher the resolution, the clearer the graphics and images on your screen will be. While 720p is HD and 1080p is Full HD, the bare minimum that you would want is at least 400p.

Screen size: To make sure you keep your eyes on the road, in most cases, you would mostly use voice commands as well as relying on audio directions from your GPS. That said, any seasoned driver would use both at the same time, since it’s always twice better to double check visually. This is why in addition to a high-resolution display, your screen should be big enough, and also non-glare, so that you can see what’s on it at a quick glance in any lighting condition. A larger screen will make it so much easier to determine when to make the next turn. 

I find that between 5 and 7 inches should be the ideal size, which is big enough for easy navigation but not too big so that it can be mounted anywhere without obstructing your view of the road. 7-inch models are perhaps the most popular option these days for long-distance truckers and full-time RVers, as they make it much easier to use the touch screen feature. They are understandably the most expensive though, but it’s worth it. Of course, if you do opt for a larger screen, make sure you mount it in a way that will not obstruct your view of the road. 

User Interface and Graphics: In addition to screen size and resolution, a good RV GPS device should have an easy-to-follow interface and graphic design. A poorly designed interface might easily cause you to make an early turn or exit from the roundabout, resulting in delays in your timeline.

Installation and Mounting Options

The best RV GPS units should come with several mounting accessories to allow for multiple mounting options. This will give you the flexibility to mount your unit where and how it would make the most sense in your own motorhome. The most common installation methods for RV GPS units are a windshield mount, a suction cup, or a snap-in or slide-in application. 

Another important consideration is that the best RV GPS device should come with an angled arm that will keep the unit secured without shifting positions, as off-road driving can get bumpy quite often. If the display gets shifted or vibrates on rough terrains, you will have a hard time deciphering the visual cues. Also, with time, excessive vibration can cause permanent damage to the unit itself. On this note, many users have complained about models with gooseneck arms, as this design tends to cause a lot of vibrations.

rv gps reviews
Photo: Ryan McVay / Getty Images

Battery Life

Most RV GPS units these days need to be wired into the power wires in your RV to keep running, but the best RV GPS systems should also have a built-in battery to act as a backup power source. Some campers specifically look for models that are battery-operated only, so that they can bring their GPS device with them for on-foot explorations once they have reached the campground. If you opt for this type of hand-held, battery-operated GPS devices, make sure you get one with the longest battery life available, as well as a short recharging time. The best RV GPS units of the type often boast at least 5 hours of battery life, which is often sufficient for one long-distance hiking trip.

Price

If you are a budget camper or a first-time RV owner, you might want to grab an entry-level RV GPS device with the most basic navigation functions. Such a model typically costs less than $150, and usually come with a smaller display screen. If you want a larger screen and more advanced features like voice-activated navigation, Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity, real-time automatic updates, trip planning with multi-stops function, you’ll need to spend closer to $200 and up to $350. I find that in addition to better functionality, the more expensive units are generally better designed and more solidly constructed, including more secure mounting, which will no doubt contribute to the unit’s durability in the long run. As such, they might not be “more expensive” after all. 

Brand

While you should rely on user reviews as well as your own budget, camping style and needs to select the best RV GPS system that will give you the highest value for money, it’s always a good idea to start your search with the most prestigious brands. These brands often offer longer warranty and better tech support, and as their models are more popular, you will have more reviews to base your decision on. Below are the biggest names in the industry who make some of the best RV GPS devices catered for different preferences:

Garmin: You might have known Garmin primarily for their best selling GPS-enabled sports watches, but the brand is also universally hailed as one of the top three makers of navigation systems for various applications, including some of the best RV GPS units. Like their sports watches, Garmin offers a range of RV GPS devices catered for every type of traveler, all of which boast a solid construction, handy features including automatic updates, a user-friendly interface and easy-to-follow 2D/3D graphics and a high quality screen. 

TomTom: Although TomTom might not be as established as Garmin, this brand listens to their users and constantly applies the latest technology to always improve their RV GPS systems. Full-time RVers often praise TomTom units for their functionality as well as durability. TomTom GPS devices do offer some unique advanced features that long-distance RVers and truckers highly appreciate, such as a split-screen view when you’re approaching a complicated network of interchanges and junctions, so that you’ll enter the right lane or make the right exit.

Magellan: Although models from Magellan might not offer a very broad range of advanced features like those from Garmin and TomTom, their more affordable offerings might be a more suitable investment for first-time RV owners or the budget travelers who do not travel too far or for too long at a time. Despite their reasonable price tag, RV GPS systems from Magellan still offer user-oriented features and designs that will make navigating the open road so much more stress-free.

Rand McNally: Although not as well known as Garmin and TomTom, Rand McNally is another tried and true brand that makes some of the best RV GPS systems. In addition to all the basic and advanced features you usually get, the brand also offers a few models with unique features that are harder to find. Some of their best selling GPS units allow you to download your favorite apps for streaming music and podcasts so that you can stay awake and entertained during a long drive. Some come with a built-in dashcam that will record footage, which means you can compile cool time lapse videos of your trips or provide solid evidence in case you’re involved in an accident.


FAQs About RV Navigation Systems

1. Is an RV GPS worth it? 

Any seasoned campers would tell you to get the best GPS for RV if you love taking on the open road. If you only travel around cities, Google Maps might be sufficient. However, when you’re RV-ing, a GPS system dedicated for RV traveling is much better at helping you get around rural areas and places off the beaten path. 

Furthermore, what’s special about a GPS system designed for RVers is that it will help you avoid routes that are undesirable or dangerous for an oversized rig to go through, whether you’re towing or not. Obstacles unique to a large sized recreational vehicle include bumpy, narrow routes where a Class A motorhome won’t be able to turn or reverse, or post-storm muddy routes where such a vehicle can get stuck. Another common problem for RVs is low clearance, including low-hanging bridges, mountain pass overhung, and routes with low-hanging trees. It can be downright dangerous, or at the very least you will receive some serious scratches and damages to your roof and exterior that might require time-consuming and expensive repairs. 

Another unique benefit of an RV GPS system is trip planning. You would need to make several stops on a long road trip, both because you’re sleeping overnight at different campgrounds and because you need to use necessary services like gas stations, dump stations, grocery stores and laundromats. The best RV GPS systems allow you to program your customized route that includes these services as well as your chosen points of interest and landmarks, and many units will also take into account the weight and size of your RV when deciding the optimal route. 

Despite the many stops you’re going to make along the way and the small changes of plan, which is unavoidable, the best RV GPS device will always stay updated with real-time information to keep you on the fastest, safest route available to save you money and gas.

2. What is the difference between RV navigation vs. car navigation?

The features that that a navigation system designed for RV applications can offer that is absent in a regular navigation system for passenger cars is that an RV GPS system will help you avoid RV-specific obstacles and mishaps, including narrow roads, post-storm bad road conditions that can get your RV stuck, low hanging bridge or mountain pass or jungles. The second benefit that you will not get with a regular car navigation system is the ability to program an optimal route that includes multiple stops along the way.

3. RV GPS vs. Smartphone Maps: Which one works better?

Smartphone maps are typically designed for average passenger cars and moderate-size trucks, thus unlike a dedicated RV GPS system, they do not take into account the unique challenges that the drivers of an extra large and heavy vehicle like recreational vehicles will face, as listed above. Furthermore, most will typically have a limit as to the number of stops you can add along the way. 

4. Best smartphone apps for RV navigation

If you want to save some money, instead of buying a complete GPS system that mounts on your dashboard, you might choose to purchase a navigation app designed specially for RV use and use your existing smartphone or tablet as the screen. The best paid app should cost you not more than $60, which is quite extravagant as far as mobile apps go, but the cheapest RV GPS unit would cost you $150 or more. Do note that this is not recommended, as I have emphasized above, due to the fact that a smartphone might be too small to be useful. A tablet will be much more functional, size-wise, but make sure you can mount it securely. Below are the best navigation apps particularly designed for oversized vehicles such as trucks and RVs:

RV Trip Wizard: This is the equivalent of Google Map for RVers and long distance truckers. There are many navigation apps out there, but RV Trip Wizard is definitely in the Top 2 apps that are tailored for big vehicles. This app is constantly updated and will point you to the best real-time route on which your oversized vehicle will have no problem maneuvering. 

Roadtrippers: While RV Trip Wizard is perhaps the most popular navigation app when you need to find the most effective and safest route for your oversized home on wheels, Roadtrippers is the most loved app by travelers when it comes to suggestions for explorations. This app will make your road trip so much more enjoyable with scenic routes, local roadside attractions, quirky and lesser known points of interests, and more. It also allows you to save itinerary or locations as you go, just note that with the free version, you can only include up to seven stops along the way. This is based on the fact that campers typically customize trips with 8 stops maximum, but you can always check out the paid version that costs $29.99 for unlimited features.

FleetSharp: Fleetsharp offers some unique features in case you’re looking for an app that gives you navigational guidance as well as comprehensive tracking and maintenance information for your vehicle. You will get updated information about your rig, including tire pressure level, oil level, fuel efficiency and much more, so that you can make sure your motorhome is always in a workable condition. Fleetsharp also sells the monitor separately to make a complete RV GPS navigation system.

CoPilot GPS: This is another handy navigation app loved by millions of RVers and truckers. It offers an intuitive interface, clear graphics, clear directions, offline maps, and trip planning features.

Waze: If you often pass by cities as rest stops along your trip, it might be a good idea to pair any of the above navigation apps with Waze. Waze is particularly useful for driving in and near urban areas. It will help you cut down on travel time and all the frustration associated with city driving, as it has the most updated real-time data, including user data, to alert you of congestion, road accidents, construction, other roadblocks and even the police.

5. What are common issues with RV GPS?

The most common issues with RV GPS are:

Urban canyon or Signal multipath:  Adjacent tall buildings can block satellite signals, while open areas with no such obstacles are ideal for accurate calculations of location and trajectory. When you’re driving in cities with tall buildings, the satellite signal is first blocked, and then bounced off one or more buildings before it is finally read by the device. This indirect receipt of signals will increase the travel time of the signal and to some extent cause miscalculations of the receiver’s location and path. In addition, GPS signals also reflect off other objects such as large rock surfaces before it reaches the user device.

Underground loss of signal: GPS signals can also be blocked when you’re underground or underwater, so you may get inaccurate or possibly no position reading at all. This is unless you’re getting the best RV GPS with high sensitivity, which will still be able to track some signals. 

Satellite geometry: Sometimes you will get errors when the satellites coincidentally form a tight grouping while traveling along their orbits. GPS signals are most accurate when satellites are located at wide angles relative to each other.

6. How to use an RV GPS? 

Each RV GPS unit will come with different features and instructions, but in general, they are designed with super user-friendly interfaces that are intuitive to use. Every function will have its dedicated buttons and drop down menu and search bars. And in essence, RV GPS is similar to Google Maps, so even the beginners should have no problem figuring things out. Be sure to consult your instruction booklet to take advantage of all the available features.

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