2020's Best Handheld GPS Reviews
OUR TOP CHOICE: Garmin Oregon 750t
The perfect clearing. The one with a great line of sight from a natural blind, downwind.
The massive majesty of the open sea, and infinite destinations beyond.
The 53 immaculately maintained (and ever-changing) professional golf courses.
From the deepest bush of the wilds of earth to the well-trekked roads of Europe; getting there and back again has never been easier, nor more affordable to a greater slice of the public.
Thanks mostly to the high-speed technological genius pumped into the ever-expanding world of Global Positioning Systems. Or GPS.
Whatever flavor adventure or survival trip you’re compelled to partake—this time—there is a purpose-built tool just for you.
Input your goals and start planning your next grand quest today.
But what model is right for me?
As you might guess, that is often based on your destination and goals.
Let’s load you with enough of the right information that you can hop on the good foot and get a better start.
Editor’s Choice: Garmin Oregon 750t
The Garmin Oregon 750t. Glonass and GPS linked unit with a best in class screen. Rugged, water-resistant, and capable in almost every way one needs out of a handheld GPS.
Top 5 Best Handheld GPS Units Reviews
The Garmin Oregon 750t puts your journey in focus with preloaded topo U.S. 100K maps, Birdseye satellite imagery subscription, purpose-built 8-megapixel autofocus camera, and bright 3-inch touchscreen display.
A recently re-engineered antenna for GLONASS and GPS satellite reception guarantees optimum tracking in even the most unexpected conditions. Further, there’s support for active weather forecasts with animated overlays directly over the map. Other features include the 3-axis compass, barometric altimeter, expanded wireless connectivity (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ant+), and automatic geocache downloads Garmin is known for.
You can wirelessly update all software, get notifications, upload your adventures to the Garmin Connect online community, and even share your live track location data/geocache discoveries, device to device, with other compatible GPS units.
IPX7 water resistance renders this model useful in everything short of immersion. Handy, because nobody can predict every random squall. Besides, calm seas never made skillful sailors… or whatever that is, but for hiking.
USB compatible charging fits it into your routine, and its SD chip port makes this ultimately, the most versatile and best handheld GPS for hiking.
Tip: Always carry an external battery pack with you on longer outings in case of charging emergencies.
Say hello to an adventure-anglers best friend. The hardy, reliable, and submersible Uniden MHS335BT 6W Class D Floating Handheld VHF Marine Radio and GPS.
The MHS335BT pushes the boundaries of Handheld Marine VHF radio functionality, with 6 Watts of Power, Class D Industry Standard DSC, and integrated GPS.
The unit is buoyant, so you never have to worry about losing it overboard while fighting a stubborn catch. It meets the toughest—IPX8–waterproofing standards, drains its speaker after a dunking and even includes an integrated flashlight. Most importantly, it gives its holder access to NOAA Weather Channels, Weather Alerts, and S.A.M.E. local location alerts.
The MHS335BT is an ideal companion even on the most perilous seas. It’s completely submersible design is equipped to handle the weather & waves, while remaining your fail-proof lifeline to the information & communication that keeps you safe at sea.
Its large bright screen is clearly viewable even in heavy spray or rain, and the noise-canceling two-way transmitter with 6 watts of transmission power, means you can get your message out when it really matters.
All of this adds up to the best handheld marine GPS/best handheld Gps Radio Combo on the market today.
Fast Facts: Use a smartphone app to set up your radio for text capabilities.
Now, I know this list says handheld, but who wants one more thing to fill their mitts with one more thing when they’ve already got clubs, tees, balls, and an athlete’s choice in hydration at hand? (my preference is a Long Island or a cape cod)
So the best handheld golf GPS isn’t exactly handheld.
The Garmin Approach S20, GPS Golf Watch does everything a golfer needs, match or stroke, all in stylish timepiece comfort. A Sleek wristband engineered with comfort in mind puts its sunlight legible 128×128 pixel screen conveniently at your disposal without digging through a bag or pockets or even taking off a glove.
Beyond standard GPS units, the S20 aims always to cut strokes. Garmin’s AUTOSHOT Round analyzer measures drive distances with auto-recording for Monday morning quarterbacking your game on your Garmin Connect account.
Not only does it display steps, calories burned, distance moved, time of day, and hours of sleep—standard smartwatch operating procedure—but it also tracks fairways hit, greens in reg, and putts per round.
Making improving your game simply a matter of playing it. And damn if one wasn’t going to do that anyhow.
Take Your Game to the Next Level: Pair it with TruSwing and the sensor will provide feedback to improve your swing consistency.
Like our GPS gold standard for golf—the Garmin S20–this next model leaves one’s hands-free for the task at hand. From bouldering up hard scree to walking sticks, there are countless reasons The Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS is perfect if you’re on the trail or in the bush.
Either way, you’re apt to have an armload of gear in tow. Freeing a limb up to use a GPS can make for a great sight gag, but not the most efficient hup.
If you are more interested in making time and tracking your progress than working on your one-man show, the FORETREX 701 is the unit for you. Simply slap this bad-boy on your wrist and you’ve got all the data an outdoorsman needs, at a glance.
With it, you can track routes and waypoints. It features a trip computer, sunrise & sunset times, and hunting & fishing information, all for the everyday burden of wearing a wristwatch.
Its high-sensitivity receiver delivers fast signal acquisition and locks for reception in narrow valleys and under dense tree covers—situations no experienced hunter is unfamiliar with. It is computer compatible and it allows you to load waypoints and routes directly from your PC via USB.
All of that adds up to the best handheld GPS for hiking.
Fast Facts: When using the compass feature, removing it from your wrist helps to keep the GPS level and provide you with the most accurate heading.
Pro Tip: You can purchase a separate heart rate monitor to keep track of your heart rate through your GPS. Health first!
Backpacking across Europe.
Be you a young adventurer inoculating yourself against the stagnation of a culturally closed mind, or a young at heart older salt checking part of the world off the proverbial bucket list—or anything in between—the goTele GPS Tracker can help get you where you’re going, and back again safely.
Requiring no monthly fee, no SIM card, nor a Network to function, the goTele lets one go off-grid without fear of loss. You can even communicate directly from goTele to goTele without cell service or Wi-Fi. Perfect for partner hikes (Or for rural kids going exploring).
Featuring real-time tracking, SOS beacon, Geo-fencing, off-line map access, and messaging; this unit won’t leave you hanging anywhere along the winding el Camino Day Santiago or in the depths of the Black Forest.
Engineered for the task, each unit is waterproof, shockproof, and sealed to keep dust and detritus out of the case, no matter how rough the trail gets.
These do require being paired with an iOS or Android compatible smartphone, but in this day and age, it’s rarer and rarer still that said portable computers aren’t a part of everyone’s EDC.
Fast Facts: Remember to download the maps you need before heading out on the trail.
Reach Out in Person with the Right GPS
No distance is insurmountable, and no terrain impassable with optimal resources at your disposal. That indomitable tenacity is a big part of what has made human beings so globally prolific.
Today those resources include multiple (48 satellites between just GPS and Glonass. When one considers what actually went into putting complex linked satellites in geosynchronous orbit, the mind reels) satellite tracking systems and their increasingly efficient handheld accessories.
Accessories like the Garmin Oregon 750t. An apex unit in its field because it wields all 48 of both GLONASS and Global Positioning’s satellites. That network of crisscrossing wanderers across the firmament, grants humanity the liberty to safely be wanderers beneath it.
But no matter your destination—or the proverbially more important journey—with one of these units, and proper preparation, no goal is beyond our ever-increasing grasp.
Get one today for yourself, and be ready with any number of gifts or stocking stuffers for the other explorers and adventures in your life.
Well, at least the ones you’re happy to see didn’t get lost.