Handheld GPS Reviews

Are you looking for a new handheld GPS? A handheld GPS unit can be an extremely useful tool for geocaching, tracking exercise, or navigating your route. While smartphones have GPS capabilities, handheld GPS units are more accurate and have a longer battery life.

We know that deciding which GPS to buy is not an easy decision to make. To help make your decision a little easier, we have reviewed five of the best options on the market. Read through our reviews, and you'll have all the information you need to make a decision.

Top 5: Handheld GPS Review

Recommendation #1

9.8

Recommendation #2

9.7

Recommendation #3

9.5

Recommendation #4

9.3

Recommendation #5

9.1

The Garmin Rino is so much more than just a GPS. This product also functions as a two-way radio and a camera.

This product features a high-sensitivity GPS and GLONASS satellite reception to help make sure you're always able to get the coverage you need. If you're out with other Garmin Rino users, you'll also be able to use the position reporting feature to view their locations.

The two-way radio can help you communicate with other users up to 20 miles away. You can either use the radio feature to talk to send text messages between your units.

This option features a three-inch color screen. The screen is designed to be readable even in bright sunlight conditions. You can set the orientation of the screen to be either landscape or portrait view, depending on your preferences.

This model also operates using a dual-battery system. You can use the rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack that is included with your purchase or AA batteries. The lithium ion battery should power the unit for up to 14 hours, and the AA batteries will power it for up to 18 hours.

Pros

  • You can also use this model as a two-way radio.
  • It is a three-inch color tough screen.
  • If the lithium-ion battery dies, you can use AA batteries as a back up to ensure you're never without your GPS.

Cons

  • This option is much more expensive than the other products on our list.

Another nice option to consider is the Garmin in Reach Explorer+. This model provides 100% global Iridium satellite coverage, which will allow you to use It to communicate using two-way text messaging.

You can easily download the maps you'll need to this device. It can be paired with a mobile device through the free Earthmate app. In addition to maps, the app will also provide you with access to color aerial imagery, NOAA charts, and other resources that can be downloaded to your device.

You can use this product to view onscreen GPS routing on the preloaded topo maps. This option also includes a built-in barometric altimeter and accelerometer and a digital compass.

This is a good option to consider if you are looking to be able to track your location or share with friends or family throughout your hike/excursion. It will also allow you to trigger an SOS to the search and rescue monitoring center if you encounter any issues when you are out.

This is also a very durable option. It has an IPX7 water rating, meaning it is fully waterproof in up to three feet of water. It comes with a rechargeable internal lithium ion battery.

Pros

  • You can easily download maps and charts you'll need through the free app.
  • This model has an IPX7 water rating.
  • You'll have the option to use this product as a satellite communicator.

Cons

  • You will need to pay for a satellite subscription to use the two-way messaging feature.

If you're looking for a GPS for geocaching, you'll definitely want to consider the Garmin Montana 610. It comes preloaded with 250,000 geocaches for locations all over the world from Geocaching.com.

This model is also very precise and accurate, even when you are in a location such as a deeper canyon. It has a high-sensitive, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver and GLONASS support that will ensure you'll always get a good signal and coverage.

You'll love the large, full-color screen. The four-inch screen can be used in both portrait and landscape orientations depending on your needs and preference.

You'll also be able to use this model to track your routes and navigate through different waypoints. A free one-year Birdseye Satellite Imagery subscription is included with your purchase that will allow you to view your surroundings on the GPS.

Pros

  • 250,000 geocaches come preloaded on this option.
  • This model has a large, four-inch color touchscreen.
  • A one-year subscription to Birdseye Satellite imagery is included with your purchase.

Cons

  • This is one of the more expensive options.

If you're looking for a solid product that will help you navigate, consider the Garmin GPSMAP 64st. This option has a 2.6-inch color display that will help you view your route and important landmarks. It includes a built-in 3-axis compass with a barometric altimeter.

You can upload data from your trek to Garmin Connect, and you'll be able to view it on your smartphone. With this option, you can also share important activities as they occur by using Live Track.

This model offers 8GB of memory and has a battery life of 16 hours. It also has an IPX7 water rating, so you will be able to use it without worry in rain or other wet conditions.

You can pair this product with other ANT+ sensors from Garmin, such as a heart rate monitor or temperature sensor.

Pros

  • The color display is designed to be easily readable in bright and sunny conditions.
  • You can upload data to Garmin Connect to view it on your smartphone.
  • The battery will last for up to 16 hours before it needs to be recharged.

Cons

  • This model does not have a touchscreen.

The Garmin eTrex 30x is another option you may want to consider. This product has a 2.2-inch color screen that is designed to be easy to read in various lighting conditions.

A preloaded basemap with shaded relief comes with your purchase. You can easily add more maps thanks to the 3.7GB memory.

This product can also help you determine your altitude through its built-in barometric altimeter. It also comes with a built-in electronic compass.

You can use this GPS to share your tracks, geocaches, routes, and waypoints with other devices. Once connected with a compatible device, you'll just need to press "send" to complete the data transfer.

Pros

  • This option is less expensive than the other products we reviewed.
  • It comes with a built-in electronic compass and barometric altimeter.
  • The color screen will be readable under bright sunlight conditions.

Cons

  • This model only has a 2.2-inch screen.

Buying Guide

A handheld GPS is a pretty essential tool you'll want to have for hiking, geocaching, and other navigational needs. There are a lot of different models and features you'll need to compare before making a purchase. Read through the next few paragraphs where we'll highlight a few of the things you'll want to consider.

One of the first things you'll want to think about before making a purchase is whether you have any preferences related to the screen on the GPS. How large of a screen/overall unit would you like to have? Would you prefer a touchscreen, or are you fine with using buttons to choose different settings and features?

When considering the screen, also decide the overall view you'll like to see. Do you want to see a full color map of your area, or are you ok with just viewing your coordinates? If you choose an option with a color screen, be sure to pick an option that will still be easy to read in bright sunlight.

Another important feature to look for in a handheld GPS is durability. You want to select a rugged option that will withstand being tossed or bumped around when you're out on the trail. Look for models that are waterproof or water-resistant for some added peace of mind if you're using the unit near water or during a rain shower.

Many GPS models comes with additional features, so you'll need to decide if you want to see any of these features in the model you choose. Some of your options may include preloaded maps, topography maps, an electronic compass, a barometer, wireless transmission capabilities, a camera, a satellite communicator, or a two-way radio.

Finally, consider the battery life of each option. Does the unit use rechargeable or disposable batteries? Or, does it provide you with the option to either rechargeable or disposable batteries.

Top Pick

After compiling our reviews above, we concluded that the Garmin Rino is our top pick. This product just has so much to offer and will be truly indispensable on your next hiking or geocaching expedition.

In addition to functioning as a handheld GPS unit, this product can also be used as a two-way radio. You'll be able to talk or send messages to other users who are up to 20 miles away.

The GPS offers high-sensitivity to ensure accurate data. You'll also be able to view the positions of other Garmin Rino users in the area.

You won't need to worry about the battery dying and being left without a GPS if you choose this option. It has a dual-battery system, so you'll be able to use either the included rechargeable lithium ion battery of AA batteries.

Finally, another reason you'll love this option is because of the display screen. It has a three-inch color touchscreen that can be viewed in either a landscape or portrait orientation. The screen is designed to be readable in sunlight, so you won't need to try to shade the screen to see it when then sun is very bright.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Handheld GPS Better Than a Phone?

With the invention of smartphones and being able to access a GPS on our phones, many people wonder if they still should purchase a handheld GPS. Depending on what you're looking to do, the answer is likely yes.

A GPS unit will often be more accurate than a smartphone, especially in more rural areas where there is not as much cell coverage. GPS units also have a longer battery life and won't make you drain your cellphone's battery when you need to use a GPS. If you have to pay for data on your cellphone plan, you won't need to worry about high monthly charges when you use a separate GPS.

What Should I Look for in a Handheld GPS?

There are a few things you'll want to look for in the handheld unit you purchase. One factor to look for is durability. You want to make sure the product you purchase will hold up well when you're out on the trail.

Satellite coverage is another really important feature to consider. You want to make sure that the unit you choose offers good coverage, otherwise it won't be of much use.

A few other features to look for include battery life, features and usability, and any other accessories that may be included with your purchase.

How Much Does a Handheld GPS Cost?

Handheld GPS units can vary in price quite a bit. Different features offered by different units can have a big impact on their cost. You can find some options that cost around $100, while other units will cost more than $500.

Final Verdict

We think you'll be pleased with your decision to purchase the Garmin Rino. Place your order today so you will have your new GPS ready the next time you need it!

REFERENCE & RESOURCES


The Official Top 5 Review team is dedicated to testing and researching the top products available for many different industries. We do the research and testing so that you don't have to! We welcome you to provide your feedback on your experiences with any products that you have experience with.

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