RV drivers know that driving an RV is very different from driving a traditional vehicle in a number of important ways. So the GPS you use to drive an RV is also different from a traditional GPS. RV GPSs are similar to traditional vehicle and phone GPS products, but an RV GPS will take into account the major differences of driving an RV — the limitations of additional weight and height, RV-friendly stop data, larger displays, additional customizability, and more. There are quite a few options on the market. Here’s our guide for the top options for an RV GPS.
Table of Contents
- Why do you need an RV GPS?
- Types of RV GPSs
- Features to look for on an RV GPS
- Top RV GPS Brands
- Best RV GPS on the Market Review
- 1 Garmin RV 770 LMT-S RV GPS Navigation Bundle
- 2 Rand McNally TND530 Truck GPS
- 3 Garmin RV 760LMT Portable GPS
- 4 Garmin RV 770 LMT-S GPS
- 5 Garmin RV 780 GPS Navigator
- 6 Rand McNally Intelliroute 8-inch TND Tablet
- 7 Garmin dēzlCam 785 LMT-S GPS with Built-In Dash Cam
- 8 Magellan RoadMate RV9145-LM RV GPS
- 9 Garmin dēzl 770LMTHD GPS
- 10 OHREX RV GPS with Free Lifetime Maps
Why do you need an RV GPS?
As was mentioned above, there are a range of issues and challenges you might face driving an RV that you won’t come across if you’re driving a typical vehicle — you’ll need a device that can take on those challenges with you. The last thing you need is a typical GPS sending you down a side street that’s far too narrow for your recreational vehicle. The same goes for roads that are too steep, tunnels that top out too low, or bridges that don’t have the weight capacity to handle your behemoth. In an RV you’re probably less concerned about your GPS system notifying you of the cop car around the corner (since you’re most likely not speeding along in an RV) and more concerned about finding a campground that’s RV compatible — a lot of RV GPS systems can do just that.
Types of RV GPSs
There are a few different types of GPSs you can select for your RV adventures.
Features to look for on an RV GPS
Do you want your RV GPS to be built into the dash for a streamlined, high-tech look? Or do you want to be able to bring your RV GPS on adventures away from the RV? There are a lot of upsides to a portable RV GPS. Adventurers often find themselves in need of a GPS they can take on the trail, in the snow, on the water, or wherever else their adventure might take them. At the same time, built-in RV GPS systems often have bigger screens, and you never have to worry about battery life. Basically, there are upsides and downsides to both.
As was mentioned above, RV GPS systems come with a relatively wide range of screen sizes. There really aren’t a lot of reasons that you wouldn’t want the largest screen size you can have for ease of visibility, control options, and display settings. The only thing to really consider is portability. The larger the screen size the less portable the RV GPS system is. Do you typically strain your eyes to read computer or phone screens? Could you get by with a smaller, more portable screen size?
With the seemingly endless list of features and functions on these RV GPS systems, the controls can get a little overwhelming. Pay attention the accessibility of the RV GPS you’re considering buying. Do you find yourself hitting buttons forever to find the important functions? Is the system mapped in a way that makes sense to you? Will it be easy to find the functions you need while you’re driving? Are a lot of the functions blocked to drivers? You’ll definitely want to tap around in the system a decent amount before you commit to one GPS system or another.
How easy is it going to be to install your RV GPS system? How much will it cost? Some RV GPS systems can be mounted using a suction cup or other low-tech device. Some systems come with dash cams or back-up cameras that will also need to be installed. Is there a clear spot on your dashboard to mount more technology? Would you consider having the system built-in to the dashboard instead? These are all things to keep in mind when considering which RV GPS system will best suit your needs.
Different RV GPS systems boast different battery lives. The best way to really know how long the battery of your device will last is through the customer reviews. Battery life for large devices such as an RV GPS system can be affected by things like the colder temperatures near a windshield or, conversely, the hotter temperatures in hotter climates. How far away from your RV do you want to be able to venture before you run out of battery power? Or do you plan to have the system plugged in most of the time anyway?
Lifetime Map Updates
You’ll want your RV GPS system to always have the most up to date information on routes, heights, weights, and the environment. A lot of RV GPS systems come with lifetime map updates — but some of them don’t. Make sure to check for this when you’re weighing your options between different RV GPS systems. With some models, if a lifetime map updates feature is not included with the device, it can be purchased for an additional cost — generally as a monthly subscription.
For a lot of the top of the line RV GPS systems, you’ll still need an additional method to mount the device to your dashboard. There are a lot of suction cup mounting devices out there. Make sure that the one you purchase is rated to handle the significant weight of an RV GPS system — some of these systems are the size of a tablet and weight just as much if not more. Side note: goose arm models don’t tend to hold up well against the increased weight of these RV GPS systems. It’s helpful if the mounting system has clips, bands, or other mechanisms that will more securely hold your device in place. You’ll also want to consider things like sun visors and cleaning kits.
Top RV GPS Brands
There are a number of companies producing top of the line RV GPS systems. These include Garmin, Rand McNally, Tom Tom, CoPilot, and Magellan. Make sure you weight the pros, cons, and prices of a range of different systems before you commit to the one you’ll take on adventure after adventure.
Best RV GPS on the Market Review
With all these features, functions, and things to consider in mind, where can you find the top RV GPS systems out there?
You’ll notice that several of the top-rated RV GPS systems come from Garmin — that’s because Garmin really knows how to do it right. The Garmin RV 770 LMT-S RV GPS bundle includes the GPS, a cleaning cloth, a dash mount, a hard shell storage case, an advanced navigation for camping enthusiasts data package, and more. With this device you’ll get road warnings and routing for both driving and towing an RV. The device can be linked to a Smartphone for live traffic information, the basic weather lowdown, and other hands-free features including Bluetooth calling and smart notifications.
Of course it also has all the special bells and whistles you’ll need with an RV GPS system including weight and height measurement routing — easy route shaping, elevation profile information, and millions of RV-friendly places to visit. With a 6.95” edge-to-edge high resolution display, you won’t have any trouble viewing this screen. It also comes with the option to link a wireless back-up camera. And, at $279, once you factor in all the additional accessories that come with this bundle, you’re looking at a pretty reasonable price.
2 Rand McNally TND530 Truck GPS
Rand McNally GPS systems are designed for truck drivers that spend days on end on the road — and it comes with all the conveniences you could possibly want. Its list of WiFi connected services include weather updates, gas prices, lifetime traffic, and local search options. When it comes to routing, this system offers route comparison, warnings, fuel logs, and Rand McNally’s special junction view to help you navigate through complicated interchanges. And the whole device is compatible with Rand McNally’s electronic logging system.
Users have said the Rand McNally’s software updates from the interface work smoothly and more effectively than similar models — and it seems to process information faster too. However, users have also said that the plethora of information on-screen also means it’s sometimes more difficult to actually read some of the display details. That being said, information is power — and there’s no shortage of information with the Rand McNally TND Truck GPS. You’ll get a notification if there are changes in speed limits, sharp turns, truck stops, changes in time zones, or changes in elevation. And, according to Amazon, the Rand McNally TND Truck GPS offers 35 percent more routes and data than the next leading truck GPS.
3 Garmin RV 760LMT Portable GPS
If you’re concerned about being able to drive your behemoth in reverse, the Garmin 760LMT Portable GPS with Wireless Backup Camera might be the right GPS choice for you. The 7” high resolution display certainly makes it easy to see where you’re going — whether that’s forwards or backwards. This Garmin, like a lot of Garmin’s RV GPS systems, comes with a lifetime of map updates so you always know exactly where the RV-friendly campsites and stops are.
This RV GPS system comes with all the features you expect from an RV GPS system including height and weight settings, RV routes, and RV-friendly stop programming — but it also includes Garmin Real Directions capabilities. Rather than hard-to-read street names, with this RV GPS system you can choose to be directed via landmarks, buildings, and other more user-friendly directional cues. As for the back-up camera, you’ll be able to see vehicles, obstructions, or other challenges as far as 45 feet away from the end of your vehicle. Keep in mind that this GPS is a little on the pricey side and users have said that installation was a little more complicated than some of the other models considering you’ll also need to install the backup camera.
4 Garmin RV 770 LMT-S GPS
This is a great option if the all-inclusive Garmin RV 770 LMT-S GPS Bundle listed above is a little more than you’re bargaining for. This option trims away all the excess, accessories, and bells and whistles to offer Garmin’s RV GPS system on its own. Without all the additional accessories, you still get a reliable device with lifetime updates — road warnings and routing for both driving and towing an RV, the device can be linked to a Smartphone for live traffic information, the basic weather lowdown, and other hands-free features including Bluetooth calling and smart notifications.
Just like with the bundled Garmin, you have the option to connect a wireless backup camera. This RV GPS system will also suggest fun RV-friendly stops along your route and give you the option to share your adventure location with friends with the LiveTrack feature. And you get all of this on the large 6.95” display screen. Users have commented that it would be convenient to have weather and traffic information integrated into the system rather than linked through a smartphone. Users have also commented that the provided USB cable is a little on the short side.
The Garmin 780 GPS comes with an edge-to-edge 6.95” display that links to your smartphone so that it always has the most up to date traffic and weather information. Load the system with the size and weight of your GPS system for customized routes that take into account the system’s directory of RV-friendly roads, campgrounds, attraction sites and more. Want to add a trailer to your RV? You can add the weight and size of that as well.
The smartphone capability also allows for Bluetooth and hands-free calling and notifications.
You can even use voice controls to increase safety and effectiveness on the road. The driver
assistance feature will warn the driver of sharp turns, steep grades, weight limits, or propane
warnings. It is certainly one of the more expensive units and, arguably, isn’t far more effective
than some of the cheaper models, so if you’re working with a tight budget this might not be the system for you. Users have also reported that the unit will randomly reboot occasionally
6 Rand McNally Intelliroute 8-inch TND Tablet
While the Rand McNally Intelliroute 8-inch TND Tablet is a little on the pricey side compared to a lot of the other options, it also comes with a larger-than-life 8” display screen and a built-in dash cam for added safety and security. As far as devices that come with these types of features, you won’t find one that performs better than the Rand McNally — except maybe Garmin’s version of the product. The Rand McNally offers a wide range of features including several that seem tailored to budgeting — if you’re travelling on a budget, this system will help you keep gas costs monitored and managed.
The Rand McNally Intelliroute is one of the RV GPS systems that also double as a portable tablet which is great for if you plan to venture away from your RV a ways. That being said, while the 8” display is great for visibility on your dashboard, it’s not as effective for light travelling. Users have said it’s not as user-friendly as some of the other systems, and it might take some getting used to when you first install it. Make sure to take time to adjust to the navigation and settings of the RV GPS system so you don’t find yourself doing so on the road.
7 Garmin dēzlCam 785 LMT-S GPS with Built-In Dash Cam
The Garmin 785 is a great option if you’re looking for a built-in dash cam with a Garmin rather than a Rand McNally. As with the Rand McNally, the built-in dash cam will drive the price of this specific RV GPS system up a little bit — but if it’s important to you to have this feature, you can rely on Garmin to provide you with it reliably. The Garmin 785 also of course comes with all of the other features you might need from an RV GPS system — smart route options that will keep your RV away from low-hanging tunnels or bridges with weight limits, smartphone and bluetooth enabled features, and lifetime and live map updates.
The screen on the Garmin 785 is slightly smaller than the comparable Rand McNally product with a built-in dash cam, but the Garmin 785 is also available without the dashcam feature for a slightly reduced price of $378.80. If a built-in dash cam isn’t something you think you’ll need on your RV adventure, consider leaving the feature behind to save a little money.
8 Magellan RoadMate RV9145-LM RV GPS
Magellan is another brand you should give a chance if you’re not that interested in Garmins or Rand McNallys. The Magellan RoadMate is significantly cheaper than some of the other RV GPS system options at $189.95, but it still comes with a lot of the same features you’ll get from a Garmin or a Rand McNally — customizable route options that take into account your devices weight and height, updated information on gas prices for travelling on a budget, local suggested stops. It also comes with safety navigation features including like landmark guidance, traffic camera alerts, junction view, highway lane assist, speed limit warnings, grades, elevations, and more — all on a 7” screen.
The Magellan also comes with an integrated adjustable mount which users have reported holds up well to the devices weight. Users have reported, however, that the battery life on the Magellan RoadMate won’t get you quite as far as some of the other brands and RV GPS products. This might be something to keep in mind if you were hoping to venture far and wide (away from your RV and a power outlet) with your RV GPS system.
9 Garmin dēzl 770LMTHD GPS
One more Garmin for good measure — the Garmin dēzl 770LMTHD is another great product from this brand to consider. This Garmin comes with all the great features of its brethren including advisories and cautions, local sunrise and sunset, state and country border crossing notifications, and easy customizable route shaping. This Garmin also comes with the option to add a built-in dashcam. Unlike all of Garmin’s other dash cam enabled devices, this device will automatically save video footage if an impact or harsh breaking is detected. This is particularly helpful if you’re travelling through areas with high incident rates.
This Garmin also comes with Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities as well as with several voice-activated features. Again, the price tag on this Garmin is a little steep compared to some of the other RV GPS systems you can get — but with Garmin you can be confident in the quality of your product and know that it will serve you well on the road for years to come with lifetime map updates.
10 OHREX RV GPS with Free Lifetime Maps
Looking for the best budget option and a step away from all the big name brands? The OHREX RV GPS is only $59.99 and — while it certainly doesn’t offer all the same features as the Garmin or Rand McNally options — Amazon reviewers believe that it will get the job done at a fraction of the price of the other devices.
Just like the other devices, the OHREX has the customizable route planning you need. It will also display current speed, lane guidance, estimated time of arrival and more. Of course, it allows for customizing routes based on width, height, and weight restrictions — but it’s also versatile in that it can be set to route for cars, trucks, motorhomes, or buses so you don’t have to have multiple GPS systems for different vehicles. Of course, with an OHREX, you’re not getting the name brand support or assistance that you would get through customer service with Garmrin or Rand McNally. The device also does not offer options such as wireless back-up cameras or a built-in dash cam. That being said, if you’re looking for an RV GPS that won’t break the bank, the OHREX is worth giving a try.
What general issues could I expect to face when using an RV GPS?
Just like with any technological device, you should expect to face some issues with RV GPSs. Users have reported that devices occasionally do not turn on, fails to acquire a signal, display a blank display, and shuts off during use. All of these issues have relatively simple troubleshooting fixes. Dead batteries, loose or bad micro SD cards, bad displays, loose or vibrating batteries are often to blame. More serious problems may be covered by a warranty.
What type of warranty do I get with an RV GPS?
Your RV GPS warranty will vary depending on what brand and device you choose to go with. Rand McNally, for example, will repair and replace your RV GPS with a new or newly reconditioned device free of charge for the first year if your device shows any defects. Garmin’s warranty policy is similar — for the first year, your Garmin RV GPS will be free of defects or Garmin will replace the device free of charge.
Will my RV GPS reliably acquire a signal in areas with thick tree coverage?
Similarly to all GPS regardless of specialized purposes, your RV GPS might find it a little more difficult to acquire a satellite signal if you’re traveling through tunnels, deep in valleys, or under thick tree coverage. Generally, if you give the device some time it will eventually acquire a signal. If that doesn’t work, a portable GPS comes in handy — you can walk away from tree coverage to find a better signal.
How is the battery life on RV GPSs?
The battery life for these devices is actually known to be on the short side. Keep this in mind if you plan to travel far from a power source — some options offer a longer battery life than others.
Do GPS systems come with lifetime updates?
A lot of RV GPS models do come with lifetime map updates — sometimes without even increasing the cost of the device all that much. Make sure to check for this in the product description if you consider it an important feature for your RV GPS. If you do happen to be more interested in a GPS system that doesn’t come equipped with lifetime map updates, it is sometimes possible to buy a subscription to lifetime map updates (Garmin offers this feature).
Do I really need an RV GPS?
There are alternatives to paying for one of these pricey RV GPSs. Google Maps and Waze will still get you a long way — but keep in mind the important features these apps don’t have and consider how important those features are for your specific purposes. There are also paid apps that can take place of an RV GPS like FleetSharp (which works for both towable and drivable RVs) and CoPilot which will cost you $39.99. These apps offer some of the same features as the Garmin, TomTom, Magellan products but still won’t offer all the same features.
There’s a lot to keep in mind when choosing an RV GPS system to take on all your adventures with you — different features, brands, price points, functions, and types of systems means you have no shortage of options. Whether budgeting, safety, or connectivity is your highest priority will decide what type of RV GPS system you’ll want to consider. Keep in mind what really matters to you, what types of adventures you want to go on, and what features need to be a priority in your life. Regardless of where the road takes you, one of the RV GPS systems on this list is sure to get the job done.