Best Portable GPS Units In 2019 – Ultimate Guide & Reviews

Best Portable GPS Guide With Detail Reviews.

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Purchasing the best portable GPS can benefit your outdoor life in many ways. But to be able to do this, you have to understand the features and factors that make the unit the best handheld GPS. Whether you are buying one for hiking, camping activities or for any other travel purpose, having one will simplify your life of outdoor activities.

The reason being, having these efficient devices when going out always make you feel comfortable, knowing that you can never get lost. And you always have reliable directions to assist you arrive at your destination easily and safe. Remember, with the current GPS technology, the portable devices offer much more than just mapping and location.

For instance, some portable units allow you to choose the most fuel-efficient route or have special options for cyclists that helps them avoid highways and overly trafficked roads. You even get to pick any nearby restaurant depending on your best type of food or drink.

Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Portable GPS Device

It is beyond doubt that having your portable GPS makes you an aware traveler. But having the best handheld GPS device makes you even better. Unfortunately, there are a lot of types, designs and brands of GPS products to choose from. Which makes the process tiresome and demotivating. Anyway, once you know the factors to consider and the features to look for in a GPS device, you will be good to go.

So, below are some important questions you need to answer before buying any portable GPS.

What Type of Activity will you use it for?

This is the first question you need to answer before putting your money on any portable GPS. Do you commute and have to drive or cycle? Or are you another kind of athlete? Is it hunting in the wild that you are into? Or maybe you are a hiker and a camping lover?

The point is, the type of travel or outdoor activity you are into will determine the device that best fits. For instance, do you encounter a lot of traffic on your way to work? If so, you will want to choose a navigation system that can help you avoid traffic congestion, accidents, and road construction.

You will definitely want a GPS that will foresee problems in your route, and can reroute itself so you avoid it.

Although traffic reporting is not always 100% accurate on any given GPS unit, some devices work faster and are more reliable than others. With a device that has that capability, you will feel comforted knowing you will rarely to be late for work or any other given event.

Where and how often will you use it?

The frequency and conditions under which you are using your GPS determine the product you need to choose. For instance, the best marine handheld GPS device has to be a waterproof design. On the other hand, top handheld GPS for hunting needs to be sturdy and anti-impact. If a little shade of camouflage is added for it to blend well in the wild, then it is exactly what you want for your hunting trips.

Also, if you are buying a new car, you should definitely check out what kinds of GPS systems can be installed directly into your car. But, these systems will always cost much more than a portable GPS will, and if they break, they will be very expensive to replace and reinstall. And, if you enjoy more other outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking, you most definitely will want to buy something you can hold comfortably, or have around your wrist just like a watch.

Also, portable devices will always include more special features than devices that are directly installed into your car.

What extra features do you want in a GPS?

What extra specifications do you want from your portable GPS? Do you want the voice command operation? Or are you looking for a device that has weather alerts? Do you need it for checking gas prices? The answer is, finding out the additional service you want from your GPS will help you narrow down your list of GPS in the market.

If you are looking for more than just a GPS, it’s important to take a look at some of the more complex models to see what kind of special features they include. Don’t just go for a basic product. You can get devices that offer Bluetooth hands-free phone capabilities, MP3 players, and even FM transmitters.

What type of unit will suit your specific needs and budget?

There are different types of devices that will maximize your travel experience. Portable navigation systems offer many of the features that are available in the type of GPS that can come with the make of your car, but, it is portable.

Aftermarket in-dash systems are GPS systems that can be installed into your car as part of your stereo. Aside from showing you traffic along your route, they can also play DVDs. Telematics systems combine GPS and cellular technology together and offer a variety of special features.

Most systems have emergency crash notifications and assistance, a stolen vehicle locator, and roadside assistance. These different kinds of systems each have their own special features that can help you decide what you are looking for.

Take a Peek at Things to Consider in highlights:
  • Battery and power life: Internal rechargeable or traditional AAA batteries?
  • Display: Consider graphic quality, data readability and the screen size
  • Operation: You definitely want ease of use, whether touchscreen or buttons
  • Budget: There is nothing wrong with looking for affordable handheld GPS
  • Type of GPS receiver: There is GLONASS satellite receiver versus WAAS GPS system
  • Maps: How do you want your mapping, preloaded are one that allows addition?
  • Extras features: FM, Bluetooth, 3 axis Compass, camera and so on

Recommended Best Portable GPS Unit Reviews

After answering the most important questions on the best portable GPS unit, we used top performance gauging, and other test results to pick only top rated GPS devices. The products below qualified to be on our list because of their popularity with lots of customer feedback indicating satisfactory service.

1. Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator

Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator

Editor Rating:

Overall, this is the best Garmin handheld GPS device. This product is built for sports, recreation, and hiking. It’s durable and waterproof, and built to last through rough weather. Dirt, humidity, and water are no match for its protective screen. This device has a 25-hour long battery life, bright display settings, and is very lightweight. It features a worldwide basemap, and has GPS satellites to maintain faster positioning and accurate data delivery.

On top of that, the Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide supports geocaching files for transferring geocaches. Geocaching is a real-world – an outdoor treasure hunting game in which participants navigate to certain GPS coordinates and then try to find the geocache.


Featured on this device, is a setting called OpenCaching which operates by starting your geocache during your adventure. By using this setting, you get to initiate paperless GPS operation which helps in making the environment better, day by day.


Plus, no more paper print outs means faster geocaching for you. eTrex 10 stores information like location, terrain, hints, difficulty, and descriptions, which means you no longer have to manually type in the information. It’s a great feature that most GPS devices do not have.

Feature At a Glance
  • Rugged handheld navigator great for hiking or hunting
  • WAAS-enabled GPS receiver makes it a dependable device
  • Support for paperless geocaching is an extra for you from Garmin
  • Power with two AA batteries – offering long hours of service

2. Garmin GPSMAP 64 Worldwide with High-Sensitivity GPS

Garmin GPSMAP 64 Worldwide with High-Sensitivity GPS

Editor Rating:

This GPS device is also built for sports, recreation, and hiking – just like most of its top performing peers. It is built with a great display screen, only 2.6 inches wide, and the entire device is very lightweight, making it easy to hold or clip onto your belt. If you are looking for portability and comfortable storage, then GPS is a perfect choice for you. Garmin made compactness their main focus while creating this device.

The Garmin GPSMAP 64 Worldwide features an electronic compass, a sunlight-readable color screen, and wireless connectivity. You can stay connected to your cell phone without having to carry it around with you. The Smart Notification setting will allow you to receive email and text notifications from the iPhone 4S or later model.


This GPS comes with a one-year subscription to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery for a visually realistic map to look at on the screen. You can download dozens of maps to the device, so whether you are hitting the trails or out on the river, you will know exactly which direction you are headed.


This high-sensitivity device is also compatible with Garmin Custom Maps, which is a mapping format that transforms paper maps into electronic maps, for free. If that doesn’t make it the best handheld GPS unit then what does?

Feature At a Glance
  • This device features a Unlight-Readable 2.6" color display
  • It has an expanded Internal Memory of up to 4GB
  • Its DUAL BATTERY SYSTEM makes it very reliable with lasting power
  • 2 traditional AA batteries are also the reason this device offers long

3. Magellan eXplorist 500 Water Resistant Hiking GPS

Magellan eXplorist 500 Water Resistant Hiking GPS

Editor Rating:

This device is built for both recreation and driving. It is very small and could fit in your pocket, but it also has built-in detailed maps of America and Canada. This GPS is multilingual, and can speak to you in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Finnish, Swedish, Portuguese, Dutch, or, Norwegian.

The Magellan eXplorist 500 also comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery pack that keeps it working for up to 17 hours. You don’t even need to take out the battery to charge the GPS—you can just plug it into the receiver and it will recharge itself. This user friendliness makes it the best handheld GPS for hiking.


Hikers can use this device to calculate area and perimeter, and kayakers and fisherman can use it to decide what the best times are for hunting and fishing. There is even a sun and moon calculator, which will show you when the sun or moon will be highest or lowest in the sky.


Drivers can use this device for simplistic navigation, as well as viewing detailed maps. No matter when you use it, you can be sure that it will get you to your desired destination.

Feature At a Glance
  • Waterproof design – this handheld GPS comes with USB data port
  • The device includes 8 MB of North American maps
  • Best imagery and graphic display as device keeps track of route
  • It comes with 16-color, high-contrast and backlit LCD display

4. GARMIN eTrex 20X GPS

GARMIN eTrex 20X GPS

Editor Rating:

This device is the upgraded version of the eTrex 20, with a higher quality screen resolution and more internal memory for more maps. It has a 2.2 inch color screen, and a worldwide basemap. This 20X GPS unit can be used on ATV’s, bicycles, boats, cars, and even hot air balloons.

Fortunately, the GARMIN eTrex 20X is the first ever GPS unit made for consumers that can track GPS and GLONASS satellites at the same time. GLONASS satellites is a system developed by the Russian Federation, and when it is used at the same time as GPS satellites, tracking time is 20 times faster that it would be if a device used GPS satellites only.


Its fast and unique response makes it your best friend when planning remote camping or mountain climbing. It is one of the most reliable GPS devices that can still be useful even in low reception areas. That is why several experts have been recommending this product for a variety of activities and travels.


Also, the device has the ability to lock onto 24 more satellites than if it only used GPS signals. This makes it a super powerful GPS unit. Anglers love it because of this navigation power.

Feature At a Glance
  • It boasts of an upgraded display – It produces very clear images
  • Built capable of loading a variety of maps, making it great for dynamic travel
  • This device has a Preloaded Basemap
  • It has WAAS-enabled GPS receiving system

5. Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS

Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS

Editor Rating:

This is an extremely small device that can be clipped onto your belt or worn on your wrist comfortably. That is why it’s perfect for outdoor activities that require the use of both hands. What makes it one of the best handheld GPS is its portability. This device will not have you worrying about where to put it or which activities to use it for. It is a dynamic design.

The incorporated electronic compass makes this device perfect for hiking, skiing, and even camping. You can share data very easily by connecting the device to your computer or by sending data wirelessly.


This Garmin Foretrex 401 unit can keep track of your exact location and the path you are on. This makes it possible to even see your path and how you are travelling – shown in a dotted line on the screen. Nevertheless, go ahead to turn on the TracBack feature and you get to retrace your steps to where you started your hike, walk or trail run.


This device has a 17-hour battery life, so you’ll never have to worry about having enough power to keep travelling. To keep track of your adventure, you can connect the Foretrex to your PC or Mac. You can even share what route you took wirelessly with another Foretrex 401.

Feature At a Glance
  • High-sensitivity GPS receiver makes it a top product in the market
  • Displays tracks and way-points, showing updated immediate locations
  • Supports dual position readout in a special feature
  • It features trip computer, it is more than just a GPS device

6. Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS

Editor Rating:

It is clear that the Garmin brand has dominated our list. But what do you expect from manufacturers who knows exactly what their customers need. This handheld GPS device has be designed with a 3 inch multi-touch screen that offers both great display and top of class operation. All you have to do is touch and go, and this is how this device makes your work easy and worry free.

The Garmin Oregon 650t is designed with a dual battery system that makes it perfect for long hours of consistent use. You have the traditional AAA batteries option or use the internal battery that can be recharged. With this product, you can enjoy uninterrupted GPS services even when away in the wild.


Nevertheless, This GPS unit uses United States topological maps to give navigation – 100K maps. It is designed with 3 sensors and uses both high-sensitivity GPS and the GLONASS satellite to track and display distances and positions.


For hikers, campers, treasure hunters and sportsmen and women, this handheld GPS is a holy grail. It is in itself a treasure, created by Garmin to offer accurate and sufficient performance.

Feature At a Glance
  • Using the GPS ensures great quality photos, which is its extra feature
  • The DUAL BATTERY design gives it long hours service
  • You can share wirelessly and plan your next adventure with this device
  • Works well in heavy covers, caves and canyons of great depths

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Q: Which is the best portable GPS overall, as recommended by your experts or as per the popular customer reviews?

A: There are a lot of features and performances that make your GPS great. The unit that has more or all of these features makes the best product for your money. The real question we should be asking ourselves is; what exactly do you want from your handheld GPS? Anyway, after comparing and testing several devices, the Garmin GPSMAP 64 Worldwide proves to be the best portable GPS piece. It has been built for perfect performance and great service across variety of outdoor activities and sports.

Q: Which of the among GPS devices that have been reviewed above makes the best golf handheld GPS? Please explain how you came about your choice.

A: IZZO Golf Swami 5000 Golf GPS is one of the top rated golf GPS Rangefinder in the market today. Unfortunately, it has not been reviewed above because our focus was on more dynamic GPS devices – with multipurpose functionality.

Final Verdict

No matter what kind of outdoor activity or travel you are planning on, using the best potable GPS will always be a great decision to make prior. It’s comforting to know in the back of your mind that your chances of getting lost have been zeroed, before you even step out. And then you can travel worry-less without the need to carry bulky maps and complicated compasses around. Also depending on what kind of model you get, you will be getting much more than just a GPS.

The good news is, our experts decided to ice the cake for you. They assembled only the best handheld GPS in the current market. Therefore, whether you are shopping on budget or willing to spend some good money on the best portable GPS unit, you have an option right on our review list above.

The main point is, great features and perfect performance are what make your mapping device the best handheld GPS. Our review and guide has made able to single-hand pick top products from the current market – starting from our featured products in the reviews above. These portable GPS devices have been tested and approved with high ratings.

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