7 Best Garmin Handheld GPS Trackers

handheld GPS tracker on top of kayaking gear

In 2018, some might be wondering if there’s any reason to own a handheld GPS. The rise of smartphones is rampant, and most have a built in GPS system. However, for those who are more involved in outdoor activities such as hiking, hunting, fishing, or even geocaching, a handheld GPS can come in handy for a few different reasons. First, if you’re active in the outdoors year-round, a smartphone may not be able to hold up to some of the more severe conditions to which it may be exposed. Also, handheld GPS devices also may be better for people who are taking long hikes that span days as most recreational GPS devices take interchangeable batteries, so even if you are away from power sources and cell towers, and your phone has been dead for hours, a few extra AA batteries can get you back on your trail with satellite GPS.

Comparison Table

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Product FAQs

a handheld GPS tracker on top of dashboard

What is a handheld GPS system?

What does a handheld GPS system do?

How does a handheld GPS system work?

How We Reviewed

handheld GPS tracker on top of a map

This tool could become a valuable investment in your collection of outdoor equipment, so we believe it is important for you to understand our review process. First, we begin by researching the products and all their specification, gathering all of the information possible. Next, we compare them with each other to see how they stack up, and then we look at reviews and feedback from customers who have already purchased the products in order to gain a well-rounded view of the devices.

Overall Price Range of This Product

The products on this list can be found from between $ and $$.

7 Best Garmin Handheld GPS Trackers

1. Garmin GPSMAP ​64st

product photo of Garmin GPSmap

Key Features

The Garmin GPSMAP 64st has a 2.6-inch display that is readily readable in the sunlight during all of your outdoor adventures. This system uses a dual battery system that can operate with either two traditional AA batteries or with the device’s rechargeable NiMH battery pack.

Warranty

Garmin backs this product with a 1-year limited warranty.

Coupons

Although we were able to find coupons for other Garmin products, none are currently available for their GPS units.

Pros

  • Sunlight-readable color screen
  • Has 8GB of internal memory with a microSD slot to expand the memory further
  • Includes 250,000 preloaded caches from Geocaching.com
  • Includes a year subscription for BirdsEye Satellite Imagery

Cons

  • Lacking an in-depth manual

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2. Garmin eTrex 30x 010-01508-10 Handheld Navigator

product photo of Garmin eTrex 30x 010-01508-10 Handheld Navigator

Key Features

The Garmin eTrex 30x 010-01508-10 Handheld Navigator has an upgraded display that includes a 2.2-inch sunlight-readable display. This handheld GPS has 3.7 GB of internal memory, and also includes a slot that accepts microSD cards to expand its memory even further.

Warranty

Garmin backs this product with a 1-year limited warranty.

Coupons

Although we were able to find coupons for other Garmin products, none are currently available for their GPS units.

Pros

  • Includes Basecamp software to help you to plan your trip
  • Battery life of 25 hours
  • Has a highly sensitive geographical location with HotFix satellite prediction

Cons

  • The internal memory is smaller than other similar models

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3. Garmin Montana 680 Touchscreen GPS/GLONASS Receiver

product photo of Garmin Montana 680 Touchscreen GPS/GLONASS Receiver, Worldwide Basemaps

Key Features

The Garmin Montana 680 Touchscreen GPS/GLONASS Receiver is preloaded with 250,000 caches from Geocaching.com for easy access to those who are getting started with the hobby. The Track Manager gives you the ability to navigate through all of your track logs, routes, and waypoints, and even organize the data on your device. It also includes an eight-megapixel digital camera that can automatically geotag coordinates.

Warranty

Garmin backs this product with a 1-year limited warranty.

Coupons​​​​​

Although we were able to find coupons for other Garmin products, none are currently available for their GPS units.

Pros

  • Includes a one-year subscription to BirdsEye Satellite
  • Has the ability to track GPS

Cons

  • On the higher end of the price spectrum for GPS units

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4. Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator

product photo of Garmin eTrex10 GPS

Key Features

The Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator is a rugged GPS with a preloaded worldwide base map that is displayed on the 2.2-inch screen. This device is great for outdoor excursions, as it is waterproof, which helps to guard it against inclement weather.

Warranty

Garmin backs this product with a 1-year limited warranty.

Coupons

Although we were able to find coupons for other Garmin products, none are currently available for their GPS units.

Pros

  • Powered by two AA batteries for up to 20 hours of life
  • Allows access to both GPS and GLONASS satellites
  • Supports GPX files for easy geocaching
  • Costs significantly less than other models

Cons

  • This model may not have features that some people would prefer

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5. Garmin Nuvi 2539LMT GPS Navigator

product photo of Garmin Nuvi 2539LMT GPS Navigator with Spoken Turn-By-Turn Directions, Lifetime Map Updates, Speed Limit Display, Traffic Updates, and Lane Guidance

Key Features

With a bright display and a clear, concise voice, this detailed GPS system can help you navigate across the city or across the country.  With Real Directions and Foursquare, finding landmarks, shopping malls and restaurants can be done quickly and easily. This device is also equipped with Garmin Traffic to help you avoid those sticky traffic situations.

Warranty

Garmin backs this product with a 1-year limited warranty.

Coupons

Although we were able to find coupons for other Garmin products, none are currently available for their GPS units.

Pros

  • 5-inch, 6-inch, and 7-inch models
  • Lifetime map updates – free
  • No ads

Cons

  • Some users complain about missing traffic cord
  • Screen glare can be an issue

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6. Garmin DriveSmar​​​​t 61 NA LMT-S

product photo of Garmin DriveSmart 61 NA LMT-S with Lifetime Maps/Traffic, Live Parking, Bluetooth,WiFi, Smart Notifications, Voice Activation, Driver Alerts, TripAdvisor, Foursquare

Key Features

This device has a large, easy to read 7-inch display that also works with touch activation. The Garmin DriveSmart 61 NA LMT-S also comes with a lifetime of free map updates to allow you to wander the world at your leisure.

Warranty

Garmin backs this product with a 1-year limited warranty.

Coupons

Although we were able to find coupons for other Garmin products, none were available for their GPS units.

Pros

  • Voice activation
  • Large display screen
  • Compatible with Windows XP or Mac OS X 10.4

Cons

  • Some customers have noted that an in-depth manual would be useful
  • Short battery life

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7. Garmin Drive 50 USA LMT GPS Navigator System

product photo of Garmin Drive 50 USA LM GPS Navigator System with Lifetime Maps, Spoken Turn-By-Turn Directions, Direct Access, Driver Alerts, and Foursquare Data

Key Features

This little GPS device is a powerhouse, easy to use, and is compatible with Windows XP and Mac 10.4. With the large easy to read seven-inch screen, you can navigate safely all across the world, or just around your city.

Warranty

Garmin backs this product with a 1-year limited warranty.

Coupons

Although we were able to find coupons for other Garmin products, none are currently available for their GPS units.

Pros

  • Real Directions highlights landmarks for easy navigation
  • Lifetime traffic updates

Cons

  • Can misdirect driver through backroads

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Key Specifications

gps tracker attached on a mountain bike

1. Garmin GPSMAP 64st

  • Display size: 2.15 x 1.43 inches
  • Unit dimensions: 1.4 x 4.2 x 6.3 inches
  • Weight: 9.3 ounces
  • Batteries: 2 AA batteries
  • Cost: $$

2. Garmin eTrex 30x 010-01508-10 Handheld Navigator

  • Display size: 2.2 inches
  • Unit dimensions: 2.1 x 4 x 1.3 inches
  • Weight: 5 ounces
  • Batteries: 2 AA batteries
  • Cost: $

3. Garmin Montana 680 Touchscreen GPS/GLONASS Receiver

  • Display size: 2 x 3.5 inches
  • Unit dimensions: 1.4 x 2.9 x 5.7 inches
  • Weight: 10.2 ounces
  • Batteries: Lithium Ion battery
  • Cost: $$

4. Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator

  • Display size: 2.2 inches
  • Unit dimensions: 1.3 x 4 x 2.1 inches
  • Weight: 5 ounces
  • Batteries: 2 AA batteries
  • Cost: $

5. Garmin Nuvi 2539LMT GPS Navigator

  • Display size: 5-inch (also available in 6-inch and 7-inch)
  • Unit dimensions: .7 x 5.5 x 3.5 inches
  • Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Batteries: Lithium Polymer battery
  • Cost: $$

6. Garmin DriveSmart 61 NA LMT-S

  • Display size: 7 inches (also available in 5-inch and 6-inch)
  • Unit dimensions: 5 x 6 x 8 inches
  • Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Batteries: Lithium Ion battery
  • Cost: $$

7. Garmin Drive 50 USA LMT GPS Navigator System

  • Display size: 5 inches (also comes in 6-inch)
  • Unit dimensions: 5.5 x .8 x 3.3 inches
  • Weight: 6.1 ounces
  • Batteries: Lithium Ion Batteries
  • Cost: $

The Verdict

a GPS navigator system placed on a car dashboard

Garmin has many handheld GPS devices that are available in 2018, and many different models offer a wide range of features that will suit any adventurer’s needs. All of these devices have screens that are glare resistant, and that will be able to be easily read under any intensity of the sun. Garmin also offers access to both GPS satellites and GLONASS satellites to give you extremely accurate geolocation information on all their GPS devices.

Garmin also offers devices that range in features, from the most basic and cost-efficient versions, like the eTrex 10 or the Drive 50 USA, to more fully featured models like the Montana 680. That means that no matter how in depth the information you need is from your handheld GPS, Garmin has a model that has you covered.

To keep you safe, Garmin made sure that all of these devices can function for over 12 hours, so no matter how late in the day you want to stay on the trail, you can always make it back by sundown. For those with a lengthier hike scheduled, Garmin also has handheld GPS devices that have the capability to operate for nearly a full day. Overall, if you are in the market for a dedicated GPS for your outdoor adventures, Garmin has plenty of models in 2018 that will fit your needs.

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