RV GPS Comparison and Review: What are the Best Options?

A RV GPS you say? GPS navigation technology makes traveling and locating destinations easier for car or truck owners, but RV’ers have been apprehensive about using GPS systems due to an array of RV specific factors. RVs tend to be lengthier, more elevated and heavier than the car sitting in the garage. GPS units designed for Cars don’t take any of these factors into account and can leave you in stressful situation to say the least. Having a traditional GPS guide you to take a surface street where your RV is hitting every tree branch on the way or when you get directed into an overpass that is lower than the height of your RV puts even the coolest characters on red alert.

RV-GPS-Comparison-Featured

In today’s marketplace many GPS companies are taking notice and designing RV GPS units that are specifically designed with the RV’er in mind. The features and effectiveness vary, yet one thing is for sure, the folks who make RV GPS units are going in the right direction. Unfortunately the RV GPS products as a whole struggle as a result of issues with accuracy, functionality, connection speed, and other ailments. These issues will work themselves out over time. Most of us however are not interested in waiting 10 years for the perfect device, we just want the best available TODAY as we set out on that next road trip.

The rest of this article will explore the most well regarded manufacturer’s and the highly rated RV GPS units they offer.

Features Generally Available on a Purpose Built RV GPS:

  • 5” or Larger Display (Can be as large as 7”)
  • Option to enter the profile information for your particular RV (weight, height, length, etc.)
  • Custom Points of Interest specific to RV’ers: RV Parks, Campgrounds, Hazards, Highway Exit Amenities, Trip Planners.
  • Custom Routing based on type of vehicle
  • RV Specific tools and checklists

Magellan RV GPS Benefits

  • Integrated Good Sam Trailer Life Directory
  • 6 Million Points of Interest
  • RV Specific Design and Software
Retail Price
$ 349.99
$ 319.99
$ 299.99
Screen Size
7.0"
7.0"
5.0"
Battery Life
30 minutes
30 minutes
2 Hours
Lifetime Map Updates
Yes
Yes
Yes
Lane Assist
Yes
Yes
No
Lifetime Traffic Alerts
Yes
No
Yes
Multi-Destination Routing
Yes
Yes
Yes
Spoken Street Names
Yes
Yes
Yes
RV/Truck route
Yes
Yes
Yes
Voice-activated navigation
No
No
No
Junction view
No
No
No
Detour
Yes
Yes
Yes
Connect Back Up Camera
Yes
Yes
No
Fuel Log
No
No
No
Points of Interest
6 Millon
6 Millon
6 Millon

Garmin RV GPS Benefits

  • Long Battery Life
  • Customizable Main Menu
  • SmartPhone Link Capable (Select Models)
  • Designed for Truckers (Generally Not RV’ers)
Retail Price
$ 249.99
$ 399.99
$ 399.99
Screen Size
4.3"
7"
7"
Battery life
Up to 4 hours
Up 1.5 hours
Up to 1.5 hours
Lifetime map updates
Yes
Yes
Yes
Lane assist
Yes
Yes
Yes
Lifetime Traffic Alerts
Yes (receiver incl.)
Yes (receiver incl.)
Yes (receiver incl.)
Multi-Destination Routing
Yes
Yes
Yes
Spoken Street Names
Yes
Yes
Yes
RV/Truck route
Yes
Yes
Yes
Voice-activated navigation
No
Yes
Yes
Junction view
No
Yes
Yes
Detour
Yes
Yes
Yes
Connect Back Up Camera
No
Yes
Yes
Fuel Log
No
No
Yes
Points of Interest
6 Million
6 Million (34,000 RV Specific)
6 Million

Rand McNally RV GPS Benefits

  • Most RV Specific Functionality
  • RV Checklists
  • Weather
  • Woodall’s RV Park Info
  • Rand McNally’s Proprietary Information and POI’s
Retail Price
$ 349.99
$ 199.99
$ 299.99
Screen Size
7"
5"
7"
Battery life
Up to 1 Hour
Up to 2 Hours
Up to 1 Hour
Lifetime map updates
Yes
No
Yes
Lane assist
Yes
Yes
Yes
Lifetime Traffic Alerts
Predictive Traffic
Yes
(receiver sold separately)
Yes
(receiver sold separately)
Multi-Destination Routing
Yes
Yes
Yes
Spoken Street Names
Yes
Yes
Yes
RV/Truck route
Yes
Yes
Yes
Voice-activated navigation
No
No
No
Junction view
Yes
Yes
Yes
Detour
Yes
Yes
Yes
Connect Back Up Camera
Yes
No
No
Fuel Log
Yes
No
No
Points of Interest
14 Million
14 Million
14 Million

Definition of RV GPS Terms

Battery life - This refers to the amount of time your RV GPS would last while not connected to a power source.

Lifetime map updates - Refers to the ability to update the map data (New roads, road changes, speed limits, etc) on your RV GPS for the as long as you own it. Updates are necessary every few years typically.

Lane assist - Refers to the RV GPS offering instruction on which lane is appropriate when merging and turning.

Lifetime Traffic Alerts - Refers to the RV GPS function that uses traffic data to help influence your trip plan.

Multi-Destination Routing - Refers to the function of your RV GPS to add multiple destinations or way points along your trip.

Spoken Street Names - The RV GPS has a function to speak aloud through speaker on the device the road names to which to turn.

RV/Truck route - Refers to the RV GPS function that takes input on the weight, height and length of your RV and caters the trip plan accordingly.

Voice-activated navigation - Refers to the RV GPS function that allows the user to input navigation instructions verbally.


Junction view - Refers to the function on your RV GPS that shows the lanes, streets, and layout of intersections for simple navigation.

Detour - Refers to the function that enables the user to choose an alternate route through the use of the detour option.

Connect Back Up Camera - Refers to the RV GPS having hardware that allows for a back up camera to be networked with the RV GPS device screen.

Fuel Log - Refers to a feature on the RV GPS that keeps track of the fuel cost, mileage, and other statistics along those lines.

Points of Interest - Also known as POI’s, these are the different locations that are pre-loaded in the RV GPS for one touch navigation.

Which is the Best RV GPS?

Each RV GPS device manufacturers has its own set of unique benefits and price points. The following section will give the best RV GPS pic based on three different buyer profiles. Keep in mind that there will always be heated opinions on subjects such as these. A group of seasoned RV’ers have made these determinations after using every one of these devices. The following information is still our collective opinion but its our hope that our time with these devices will help you make a more educated decision. The profiles are:

  1. Those who want the Top of the Line features and most current technology.
  2. Those who want a compromise between price and function.
  3. Those who live by the “Cost is all that matters, so tell me what is cheapest” motto.

 

1. Those Who Want the Top of the Line Features and Most Current Technology:

 
RV GPS Comparison 1




OR
RV GPS Comparison 3

The Rand McNally TripMaker RVND 7720 RV GPS builds on the RVND 7710 and adds features like a back up camera hookup, weather data, and a more rugged design among other features. One of the the first things you notice is there is virtually no glare when viewing the screen. The screen is brighter than its predecessor. The newest and most talked about feature on the RVND 7720 is the WIFI connection that lets you gather weather data which overlays on the navigation map.

Of the other RV GPS units we looked at there were others that have many of the features as the RVND 7720 but the only RV GPS device that can stand toe to toe with it is the NEW RV 760LMT from Garmin. It builds on the success of the Dēzl 760LMT and incorporates all the RV features that make the 7720 a great device. It does have more “tech features” than the RVND 7720 such as the Basecamp software but we felt that many of the extra features would be more appealing to the tech savvy. The RV 760LMT is slightly more expensive on average and isn’t as widely reviewed and tested as the Rand McNally 7720. But, we think that the avid RV’er that isn’t purely basing their decision on cost, wants the best features, and most current technology would be very happy with either the  Rand McNally TripMaker RVND 7720 or the Garmin RV 760LMT. Those that like “gadgets” will likely enjoy the Garmin RV 760LMT, while RV’ers that desire simplicity will most likely find the Rand McNally a more suited tool for their use. Both are top of the line devices that are purpose built to make every RV’er travel with additional convenience and direction. Either will serve you well under most circumstances.

You can also have a look at the NEW Good Sam Club GPS which is the Tripmaker RVND 7720 with a little something extra from the people at Good Sam.

RVND™ 7720 Overview

Watch this video on YouTube.

 

2. Those Who Want a Compromise Between Price and Function:

 
RV GPS Comparison 1




OR
RV GPS Comparison 3

It is a heated death match between these two. They both have compelling features specific for RV’ers, they are reasonably priced, and offer one of a kind POI information (Good Sam or Rand McNally’s). They both offer a slew of RV related features as well as next exit information and POI alerts. The Magellan RoadMate RV9145 has a leg up with the reaction time on the interface. It seems to be faster. But, at the end of the day this really comes down to preference. The RVND 7710 sells better but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is in fact better. It just happens to be more familiar to many because of the popularity of Rand McNally. If your buying today I think you would be happy with either. Perhaps this death match is best decided by a roll of the dice?

Video for Rand McNally TripMaker RVND 7710                  Video for Magellan RoadMate RV9145

 

3. Those Who Live by the “Cost is All That Matters, so Which is Cheapest?” Motto:

Garmin Nuvi 465LMT

RV GPS Comparison 6

Great news about the Garmin Nuvi 465LMT is that it is in fact the cheapest RV GPS option aside from a smart-phone app such as CoPilot or the Rand McNally Version. See our RV Smartphone App Guide. But it also is a great all around GPS that has features that can compete with any mentioned here so far. The Garmin Nuvi 465LMT was the company’s first GPS designed for long-haul navigation and RV/trucks. The 465LMT incorporates the directory of the National Truck and Trailer Services (NTTS) , which is a guide to truck maintenance facilities across the US. It also connects to the satellite faster than any of the units listed here. Garmin has a reputation as a high quality GPS designer and it shows. It lacks many of the newer innovations such as weather data, Fuel Log, Back up camera inputs, etc. But for the price you literally cannot beat it.

Trucking with nüvi 465t

Watch this video on YouTube.

We hope that you have just a bit more information for your search to find the best RV GPS device for your needs. If you have any questions or comments please submit them below!

Links for Price Comparison:

Amazon.com     Camping World

Manufactuer’s Website:   Garmin   Rand McNally   Magellan

Comments

  1. Paul says

    STAY AWAY from the Rand equipment!
    It is the most convoluted gear on the market and reqires wifi enroute for updates.
    Trash!

  2. JImbob says

    Nice list. Any information on how well they acquire satellites, what with the limited sky view of the average RV?

    Thanks

  3. ed says

    I want laptop software for GPS. It needs to be RV specific. It needs to have lane assist and RV Park and public park locators. I have a Garmin GLO receiver which is great. I mistakenly bought CoPilot for $100 that was virtually a waste of money. With it I cannot search for parks or anything else without the name of the town or the coordinates. I entered the name of a state park and found nothing until I entered a town close to it.
    I am now trying to be very careful how I spend my money for GPS. Most of them will not even let you do a seven day trial.

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