5 Best Handheld GPS (Reviews Updated 2022)

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Best Handheld Gps ReviewsWhether you hike, camp, hunt, or boat, or do any other off-the-grid activity, a handheld GPS is a must. Just like a car GPS can help you find your location and other useful information while you’re on the road and a marine GPS can assist you with your sea travels, a handheld GPS will keep you on your route when you’re trekking on your feet. Of course, these devices can also be used to keep tabs on your location when you’re doing just about anything else.

Just like a motorcycle GPS or any other type of Global Positioning System, a handheld GPS lets you keep tabs on your exact coordinates and provides step-by-step directions to your destination. These devices can also offer a range of additional features; for example, they can function as a weather radio, an emergency radio, and a personal locator beacon. If you’re shopping for a handheld GPS, you’re going to find that there are a lot of options to choose from, which can make it hard to determine which one to choose. To help you find a reliable unit, we’ve put together a list of the top five handheld GPS devices on the market:

Best Handheld GPS


1. Garmin inReach Explorer+

Garmin Inreach Explorer+The first option on our list of the best handheld GPS devices is the Garmin inReach Explorer+. One of the most trusted names in the GPS device industry, all of the products that Garmin offers are outfitted with the most advanced technologies, are ruggedly built, and offer a range of features to ensure ease of use, and that’s certainly true of their inReach Explorer+.

This device not only serves as a handheld GPS, but it can also be used to send two-way text messages, so it could replace the need for a two-way radio or a walkie talkie when you’re out in remote locations. Since it utilizes the 100% global Iridium satellite network, you can be sure that you will have reliable connectivity to communication no matter how isolated you may be; and, it sends and receives messages over extensive distances.

It also features an SOS alert, which sends out messages to search and rescue services, so this device can function as an emergency radio, too. You can use it as a weather radio, too, thanks, to the optional inReach weather service, which will send the latest weather forecasts to the device.

With the Garmin Earthmate app, you can also access highly useful information, including the most updated maps and NOAA charts. This device is waterproof, impact-resistant, lightweight, and compact, so it’s easy to travel with and can withstand the most rugged conditions.

What We Like About It

  • Features advanced GPS technology
  • Can send and receive text messages
  • Optional weather updates
  • Features an interactive SOS alert
  • Durably designed
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Unlimited cloud storage and trip planning

Reasons to Complain

  • A few customers noted that it consumed battery power quickly
  • Some said that the device was defective

Final Verdict: With the Garmin inReach Mini, you can keep track of your location, get detailed directions for your destination, send and receive text messages, and even receive updates on severe weather and access emergency help if needed. This device will keep you safe and secure when you’re out exploring.

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2. Garmin GPSMAP 64st

Garmin Gpsmap 64stIf you’re planning on adventuring in cold locations, than the Garmin GPSMAP 64st is definitely an option that you should consider. This handheld GPS features a push button interface that is easy to access even while you’re wearing thick gloves. The 2.6 inch color screen can be easily read in all types of lighting, and the quad helix external antenna offers reliable reception in densely covered areas and isolated locations.

The high-sensitivity GPS and GLONASS receiver will let you keep tabs on your current location and find a specific destination with ease. Preloaded with 100,000 TOPO US maps, as well as a 1 year subscription to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery, even the most remote roads will show up on this device.

With a built-in hunting and fishing calendar, you can find the prime spots and use your hunting two-way radio to communicate the best locations with your buddies. Other notable features include a 3-axis compass, complete with barometric altimeter, and wireless connectivity with either Bluetooth technology or ANT+.

It also features a dual battery system, so you can have peace of mind knowing that you’ll be powered up when you need to be; it can be powered with two AA batteries or a rechargeable NiMH battery, which holds its charge for up to 16 hours.

What We Like About It

  • Push-button interface is easy to use
  • A 2.6 inch color display is visible in all types of lighting
  • Features a water rating of IPX7
  • 8GB of internal memory
  • Dual battery system
  • Can receive Smart Notifications
  • Preloaded with 100,000 TOPO US maps
  • Comes with a 1-year subscription to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery
  • Quad helix antenna offers reliable connectivity
  • Built-in hunting and fishing calendar

Reasons to Complain

  • Some users said that they had a hard time reading the small screen
  • Others said that while they liked the functionality, they wish it was more streamlined

Final Verdict: Overall, we were impressed with the Garmin GPSMAP 64st. It offers a range of features that will allow you to access the most accurate information, it’s easy to use, and it extremely durable.

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3. Standard Horizon HX870

Standard Horizon Hx870The Standard Horizon HX870 is more than just a handheld GPS device; it’s also a portable marine VHF radio, as well as an emergency radio, making it the perfect option for mariners. Featuring 66 WAAS GPS channels, and offering the ability to send and receive distress signals, you’ll feel more safe and secure when you’re traveling with this device.

This unit is compatible with all US, Canadian, and international marine radio channels, so you can stay connected and receive important information no matter what waters you may be sailing on. It has an IPX8 waterproof rating, so it can be submersed in up to 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes without being damaged.

You can easily send and receive audio signals, and there’s a noise-canceling function to ensure clear transmission and reception. You can store up to 10 favorite channels on this device for simple, one-touch communication.

It also scans weather band channels and receives NOAA weather alerts, so when severe weather or other emergencies occur, you’ll instantly be aware. It has an emergency strobe light, too, which is activated when the device hits the water, so search and rescue services will be able to easily find you.

What We Like About It

  • Offers 66 WAAS GPS channels
  • Features 70 built-in channel class D DSC
  • IPX* waterproof rating
  • NOAA water channels and alerts
  • Emergency strobe light
  • Can store 10 favorite channels
  • Durably built
  • Affordably priced

Reasons to Complain

  • Some users said that the screen was difficult to read, especially in the dark

Final Verdict: The Standard Horizon HX870 is a handheld GPS, marine VHF radio, weather radio, and emergency radio all in one. This all-in-one unit is waterproof, durable, and provides you with all of the assistance you need when you’re out on the water or exploring other isolated areas.

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4. Garmin eTrex10 GPS

Garmin Etrex10 GpsIf a compact and lightweight GPS that won’t break the bank is what you’re looking for, the Garmin eTrex10 GPS is definitely an option that you should look into. It may be tiny, but the functionality it offers certainly makes it mighty! Plus, it’s super rugged and easy to use.

Preloaded with worldwide basemap, this WAAS-enabled GPS receiver also features HotFix and GLONASS support for the fastest positioning possible. Coordinates are displayed on a 2.2 inch monochrome display, which is basic at best, but is easily visible in all types of light and provides accurate images of your trail.

It has a waterproof rating of IPX7, so it can stand up to rain and splashed without being damaged. This device also supports paperless geocaching as well as Garmin spine-mounting accessories. It’s awesome on battery power, too; two AA batteries can hold their charge for up to 20 hours.

What We Like About It

  • Very affordably priced
  • Small size; can fit in the palm of your hand
  • Preloaded with worldwide basemap
  • WAAS-enabled GPS receiver
  • Features HotFix and GLONASS support for incredibly fast positioning
  • IPX7 waterproof rating
  • Supports paperless geocaching and Garmine spine-mounting accessories
  • Easy to read and use

Reasons to Complain

  • While the monochrome display is visible in all types of light, it would be better if it were colored and more detailed

Final Verdict: For an affordable, rugged, compact, and reliable handheld GPS, the Garmin eTrex10 GPS won’t disappoint. It’s easy to use, offers fast positioning information, and is extremely reliable in all types of environments.

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5. Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS

Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GpsThe last option on our list of the best handheld GPS devices is the Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS. To more accurately describe it, this unit is actually a wrist GPS device, as it’s designed to be worn like watch; place it on your wrist and the secure closure will keep it in place in all types of conditions. With this design, you don’t have to worry about constantly stowing and pulling out the GPS, or holding it in your hand; instead, it’s right where you need it whenever you need it.

Featuring a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, complete with HotFix, this GPS device gets reception in the most densely covered wooded areas, the deepest canyons, and on the highest mountain peaks. It keeps tabs on routes and waypoints with ease, and the TrackBack feature allows you to retrace steps via the highly visible LCD display.

This GPS device supports dual position readouts so that you can see your current location in various formats. Other notable features include a trip computer, times of sunrise and sunset, hunting and fishing information, and a barometric altimeter, as well as an electronic compass.

It can keep track of your heart rate, too, with the add-on heart rate monitor. Extremely rugged, this device can withstand excessive temperatures and dust; in fact, soldiers in the Middle East rely on this unit to keep track of their location.

What We Like About It

  • Watch-like design that’s worn on the wrist
  • Exceptionally tough; can stand up to extreme temperature changes and excessive dust with ease
  • Tracks changes in elevation
  • TrackBack Feature retraces previous path
  • Easy to read LCD screen
  • Supports dual position readouts
  • Includes a trip computer, illustrates times of sunrise and sunset, built-in hunting and fishing calendar, electronic compass, and more

Reasons to Complain

  • Some users said that the manual is a little difficult to understand

Final Verdict: The Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS is a wrist-worn GPS device that offers an extensive array of features, is very durable, and is easy to use. It offers reliable connectivity and provides a wealth of information via the small, yet easy to read LCD screen.

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The Best Handheld Radio: A Buyer’s Guide

A handheld GPS device provides the most updated and accurate information about your location, as well as other key pieces of information, all within the palm of your hand. These devices are more reliable than the Global Positioning Systems featured on Smartphones. Plus, these units can serve as more than just a way to keep track of your location; they can also be used as weather radios, emergency radios, and even communication devices. In other words, depending on the features that the unit offers, a handheld GPS can serve as your lifeline when you’re out exploring or working in deserted areas; and at the very least, the can help you keep track of your location and find your destination.

Factors to Consider

In order to ensure that you are purchasing the best possible handheld GPS unit, there are a number of factors that you are going to want to take into consideration. By considering the following factors, you can find the best device for your specific needs:

  • The size of the unit makes all the difference in the world. Since it’s supposed to be handheld, the smaller and lighter the device is, the easier it will be to use.
  • Make sure that the display is easy to read; it should be visible in all types of lighting and provide detailed images of maps and other information that the device transmits
  • Since you’ll likely be using your handheld GPS in locations where it will be exposed to things like water, dust, and extreme temperatures, it’s important to select a device that is ruggedly built and can withstand such extremes.
  • Battery life. Since you’ll likely not be in an area where you can easily recharge your device when you’re using it, make sure that it can hold its battery life for a long time.
  • Additional features. Handheld GPS units can offer a variety of other features, including weather updates, emergency services functionalities, and more. Consider how you will be using the device to determine what type of additional features – if any – will benefit you.

Summing It Up

Whether you’re backpacking, hiking, kayaking, mountain climbing, or working in remote areas, a handheld GPS device can be an extremely useful tool. It’s important to ensure that you are selecting a reliable device that offers all of the functionality that you need, can withstand the environmental conditions it will be exposed to, and will be easy to use.


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