With the advent of GPS on cellphones and built-in software applications such as Google Maps, handheld GPS systems have become quite unpopular. However, the best handheld GPS systems can become vital for tracking your location when you are in regions with poor internet connection.
Once you are in unfamiliar terrain, handheld GPS systems can help you navigate with very high accuracy and help you find your destination. In most cases, handheld GPS systems have greater accuracy that those on your cell phone and therefore, are ideal gears for navigation on hiking trips.
Best Handheld GPS Systems in 2021
There is huge array of options in the market for handheld GPS systems. To help you choose the device that will be ideal for you, we have created a comprehensive list of the best handheld GPS systems available in the market today.
Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS
3 inches screen size
Touchscreen feature to allow easy focus and screen control, such as zooming in and out.
Compass, barometric altimeter and accelerometer that allows accurate tracking of location, speed, and height.
Various profiles for different activities such as hiking, biking and trekking.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity features.
16 hours of battery life
Te-Rich Handheld GPS
Ability to measure the area of a specific portion of land.
2.4 inches screen size.
32 hours of battery life
Garmin Montana 700
5 inches screen
Touch screen feature available.
Can be operated while using gloves.
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and ANT+ connectivity options.
Batteries come with the product.
18 hours battery life.
Garmin eTrex 10
2.2 inches screen. Stability
Water resistant up to IPX7.
Batteries do not come with the product.
25 hours of battery life.
Garmin inReach Explorer+
2.3 inches screen size.
30 hours of battery life.
Water resistant up to IPX7.
Batteries come with product.
Allows sharing of location with others.
Allows messaging to and from device.
A6 Handheld GPS Navigation
2.4 inches screen size.
Button operated Grip
Allows calculation of area of specific sections of land.
Can be connected through USB.
Garmin GPSMAP 64sx
2.6 inches display screen size.
16 hours of battery life.
Can be connected via Bluetooth and ANT+
Receives data from GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo.
Waterproof and robust build.
1. Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS
This handheld GPS device comes packed with advanced features and in reasonably small dimensions which means it can easily be carried by someone trekking. The device has a touchscreen feature which makes it tremendously easier to focus on a particular location on the map and zoom in or out of a specific area.
The device is also equipped with a 3-axis electronic compass, and accelerometer and a barometric meter which means that this can flesh out the direction, speed and height of your travel. The device has a 240 x 400-pixel display and has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and ANT+ connectivity options. It has a screen size of 3 inches and a battery life of 16 hours.
2.Te-Rich Handheld GPS
This handheld GPS not only allows you to depict the location at which you are present, but it also allows you to measure the area, in meters, of a specific section of land. The device has a screen size of 2.4 inches and can be connected to computers through an USB port.
The screen size is comparatively smaller than other substitutes because of the buttons present on the device since the system is not touch screen.
3. Garmin Montana 700
This handheld GPS system is a high-end one with a very large screen size. This can be ideal for very getting a very detailed idea of the terrain around you. The device can be connected to your computer via Bluetooth and through Wi-Fi which makes it very convenient as you would not need to worry about carrying a USB cable with you all the time.
The GPS also has a trans-reflective display (LCD) which allows it to display the arena with greater sharpness to the user.
4. Garmin eTrex 10
This is Garmin handheld GPS is the only one in our list that is not touchscreen and has to be operated using buttons. The screen size is quite small – 2.2 inches. However, the screen has trans-reflective display which will increase the sharpness of the view that the user gets.
It is quite a small device with a battery life of 25 hours. The device is also water resistant which makes it perfect for those traveling during the rain or going on excursions through water.
5. Garmin inReach Explorer+
This Garmin handheld GPS is a relatively small device that comes with plenty of features. The screen size of 2.3 inches is quite small, because of the device’s small dimensions and because the device is equipped with buttons since it is not touchscreen. In this GPS device, you can only track your own location and use it for navigation, but you can also share your location with other users which can be very handy.
Moreover, the device allows you to both send and receive text messages which can be incredibly helpful. The 30-hour battery life of this device is also quite high. This device can be linked with other devices via Bluetooth.
6. A6 Handheld GPS Navigation
This is a small, sturdy yet cheap handheld GPS device that can be used for multiple purposes. This device not only allows you to find your location and navigate through a particular route, but it also allows you to calculate the length and area of a particular section of land. It also allows you to store the coordinates of specific points in the device.
The small size of this device is certainly a huge plus as you can carry it around in all times of journeys without much inconvenience of carriage. Unfortunately, this device does not have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity so you will have to plug in the USB cable to connect it to other devices. Unlike many of its substitutes, this device comes with a one-year warranty which means you can rest assured if there is any technical malfunction of the device.
7. Garmin GPSMAP 64sx
Despite the product’s high price, it is packed with a plethora of features. This handheld GPS is equipped with a 3-axis compass and an altimeter which allows you to not only measure direction but also points of elevation. The highly sensitive antenna captures signals from GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo satellites which make the location tracking very accurate.
If you are going on a hiking trip through rough and wet terrains then, the robust design and waterproof properties of this device will serve you well. Unfortunately, this GPS is not touchscreen and because of the buttons, the size of the device is much larger than the screen size. The device has options to be connected via Bluetooth with your other devices.
Handheld GPS Systems Info Section
When choosing a handheld GPS system for you, it would be absolutely vital to look at a specific criterion of features in order to decide which device will work best to serve your purpose. The following list of features outlines the criterion based on which you should consider before getting a handheld GPS system for yourself.
Accuracy of Location Tracking
Since the basic purpose of a GPS system is to provide the users to track their location and navigate their way across different geographic sections, it is crucial that the GPS devices are supported by strong satellite systems. Therefore, it is essential to inspect which satellite systems are supporting the GPS system of your choice.
It is important to see which geographic maps are supported by the GPS device. Not all GPS devices have global map types. Some of them are regional, such as the map of just North America. This can be an issue if you want to travel outside the continent.
The battery life of the GPS is quintessential to its effectiveness because with a GPS with low battery life can not only become useless for navigation in long trips, but it can also become lethal for you as relying on such a device might mean you cannot find your way out of an unfamiliar terrain.
The screen size of the device can make a big difference to its usability as users might have difficulty at actually understanding the specific location displayed by the map on very small screens. Therefore, the device should have a good balance between having a large screen but at the same time, a reasonably small device that would be easy to carry around.
Altimeter and Accelerometers
You should check whether your GPS device has the option to track the height or speed of your journey. For instance, if you wanted to collect data on how much you traveled, the elevation of your journey or your speed, such built-in meters are handy to track data.
It is important to also note what the methods are through which you can connect your GPS to other devices. Most GPS systems nowadays offer Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity which can be highly advantageous if you want to link your GPS with your other devices. However, many handheld GPS devices still support only USB connectivity.
While you are out on a trip, it is vital that you are equipped with a handheld GPS that will help you with navigation. Each device we reviewed throughout this article will ensure that you can find your way to your destination.
That being said, our favorite pick from the lot would be the Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS because of its built-in sensors, touchscreen maneuver option and robust design.
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