Our smartphones are becoming an essential navigational tool to get from point A to B. Relying on your cellphone for navigation while driving has some downsides. What happens when your smart device runs out of battery?
And the temptation of a digital device on your dashboard can sometimes be too much. If you don’t want to get caught out texting while driving then perhaps your phone should be locked away in the glove box.
Having a head unit with in-built GPS navigation gives you on-the-go directions, right in your dashboard. With super-accurate GPS positioning and real-time traffic data, these car stereos can be relied on to get you home.
So if you’re looking to get from point A to point B without a detour to point iOS, then check out these GPS navigation car stereos!
The Best GPS Navigation Car Stereos in 2023
Let’s get lost in the world of GPS navigation car stereos.
1. Garmin DriveSmart 66 — Best Overall
This Garmin DriveSmart 66 stands out because of its high-resolution, beautiful 6-inch display, voice control, and a host of other extras. The versatile system can guide the way for weekend adventures, thanks to detailed maps of the U.S. and Europe.
The 6.0-inch eye-friendly display offers access to many preloaded maps and millions of points of interest. DriveSmart 66 also lets you add favorite destinations and businesses on the map screen without the hustle of dealing with confusing and time-wasting menus.
Garmin DriveSmart 66’s pinch-to-zoom feature lets you scale and move maps easily for the best views. Plus, a single tap of the screen lets you view services that are ahead on your route, including gas stations, restaurants, and even national parks.
Garmin DriveSmart 66’s map function presents you with 3D representations of terrain aspects, landmarks, and buildings, so you can figure out your location easily. Active Lane Guidance in the Garmin DriveSmart 66 offers colored arrows marking the right lane to use for the next turn, and a split-screen function lets you get an overall look at the route and what’s further down the road without losing your next direction.
The DriveSmart 66 provides a lifetime of traffic updates from Garmin Traffic service, so you can navigate your route without delays caused by accidents or others. This service integrates data from various active devices on the road and factors in everything from sporting events to construction works. However, you will not pay a single coin for the service—it’s free over the life of DriveSmart.
Download the Garmin Drive app to your phone and connect to the DriveSmart 66. Active pairing lets you use the phone’s data plan for information on recent locations, current destinations, and others.
The Garmin DriveSmart 66 also comes with Alexa, so you can get information on weather reports, check on the news, or even confirm your schedule via voice control. Voice-activated guidance lets you navigate the unit’s menus without touching the screen.
Built-in Bluetooth carries on conversations through Garmin DriveSmart 66’s built-in microphones. You can also stream your favorite podcasts and music from your phone without relying on Alexa and other apps.
2. Garmin RV 890 — Best for RVs
Even the smallest Recreational Vehicles (RVs) are bigger than the average sedan, and Garmin RV 890 accounts for your vehicle’s size. The navigation system is simple to mount vertically or horizontally.
The Garmin RV 890 accounts for the large vehicle size as it calculates the optimal route. How many times have you thought about your rig’s height as you approach a low bridge? At least you understand the RV’s dimensions are critical when routing – and now so does your GPS.
This Garmin RV 890 has a profile section where you input the length, height, and width of an RV. The profile allows the GPS to customize the route. It maps all the relevant restrictions, such as low bridges or overhangs over highways and roads, giving you peace of mind that you won’t end up on a road with a weight restriction or low clearance.
GPS on the Garmin RV 890 doesn’t require an active internet connection – the GPS navigation stereo works as long as there’s a connection to a satellite, so you don’t need to worry about it gobbling up valuable data gigabytes.
Garmin RV 890’s large 8-inch display size is much easier to read than your phone’s screen. Audio notifications and yellow bars alert you when road conditions change. These changes include a speed limit change, a school zone, or a sharp curve.
Garmin RV 890’s built-in Wi-Fi capability makes updating North American maps easy, while voice assistant offers clear and easy-to-follow turn-by-turn directions. Bluetooth connectivity allows syncing with compatible smartphones for hands-free calling. Download the Garmin Drive app and see notifications from your phone over the RV 890’s large screen.
Garmin RV 890’s trip planning service, BaseCamp, allows you to mark points on the map, survey the terrain in 3-D or 2-D, and share your trip with others. Garmin RV 890 comes with Preloaded Foursquare data, so finding new popular stops is easier.
3. ATOTO S8 Standard — Best Wireless Music Capabilities
The ATOTO S8 Standard stereo is a double-DIN Android head unit. This stereo comes with plenty of options, including the 7-inch IPS (In-Plane Switching) display, wired Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, USB tethering, Bluetooth, and much more.
- Comes with a GPS receiver and external antenna
- Downloadable offline maps
- Full high-definition touchscreen
- Built-in high-sensitive FM and AM radio tuner
- Available in multiple languages
- Phone mirroring using EasyConnect app
- Processor is a little slower than many competitors
- Plastic bracing may require shaving
ATOTO S8 Standard’s a built-in GPS receiver module with Google Maps and an external GPS antenna makes finding your way around unfamiliar areas easy and ensures you’ll never be left without a connection.
What’s more, you can download maps for offline navigation for specific areas and ATOTO S8 Standard is compatible with a range of other mapping apps: use the Google Play Store to download other maps and navigation applications, such as HereWeGo and Waze.
The ATOTO S8 Standard’s boot-up process is fast, and Bluetooth connects in seconds and plays at the volume you left it at. You get a responsive touch screen that works well without a hitch. Find your way to the equalizer and improve your in-car sound experience.
This ATOTO S8 Standard stereo offers multiple ways to connect to the Internet. Connect the ATOTO S8 Standard to your smartphone’s hotspot, use Bluetooth and enable Bluetooth tethering, a USB network and app, or the built-in 4G cellular modem.
ATOTO S8 Standard connects to a USB on-dash DVR camera for live and recorded playback. Connect the unit to a USB TPMS tire pressure monitor system from ATOTO S8 Standard for on-screen warnings when a tire is under-inflated. The S8 also offers easy connectivity to a rare view camera for safe parking.
At first glance, everything in the ATOTO S8 Standard packaging comes with clear labels and is protected well. The box also contains extra screen protectors that replace those you mess up during installation. Multiple mounting brackets make installing the ATOTO S8 Standard in your vehicle pain-free.
4. Garmin Drive 52 — Best Budget
Easy to set up and use, the Garmin Drive 52 is one of the best budget GPS navigation car stereos on the market. The GPS car stereo boasts features that make it better than many other navigation devices.
This Garmin Drive 52 comes with street maps for the U.S., Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Many maps offer you peace of mind when motoring in different countries.
The Garmin Drive 52 navigation car stereo offers all the basics you’d expect. You get alerts for speed limits, sharp bends, and live traffic data to avoid accidents and construction work. However, for live traffic data, you’ll require a connected smartphone.
Garmin Drive 52’s offers turn-by-turn directions, including street names, notable landmarks, and store names. The feature lets drivers know they’re on the right track. Garmin Drive 52 also shows multiple interest points where you can stop for fuel and food, and explore along the route making it great for road trips.
Garmin Drive 52 doesn’t come overloaded with features, but that makes it so easy to use. You get preloaded Foursquare data for finding quality restaurants, hotels, and stores and a built-in National Parks directory function allows fast navigation to campsites, picnic spots, and entrances.
Garmin Drive 52′ 5-inch resistive touch screen offers a 480 by 272 pixel resolution for sharper images and on-screen menus make navigating the roads with the Garmin Drive 52 effortless.
5. UNITOPSCI 7-Inch GPS Car Stereo — Best Single DIN Navigation
Get a great GPS navigation function, steering wheel control support, and Bluetooth connectivity without investing in a double DIN car stereo. The UNITOPSCI 7-Inch Car Stereo is a flip-out car stereo suitable for older or new low-spec vehicles without taking up much dash space.
This UNITOPSCI 7-Inch GPS Car Stereo features a manual pull-out 7-inch touchscreen that takes the place of the traditional CD player. The HD digital LCD boasts a dynamic menu interface, so finding the features and controlling sound settings is easy.
The best feature of UNITOPSCI 7-Inch GPS Car Stereo is support for GPS navigation. You get an 8 gigabyte (GB) map with the U.S. and Canada North American maps pre-installed. Offline maps make finding new locations effortless while driving, and you can update the map when you need to.
The UNITOPSCI 7-Inch GPS Car Stereo package comes with a backup camera for safer reversing. A rearview mirror automatically appears on the 7-inch screen as you engage the reverse gear. The camera offers you a 170-degree wide-angle view, so you know what’s behind you.
UNITOPSCI 7-Inch GPS Car Stereo’s steering wheel control support means you can program the buttons on your vehicle’s steering wheel via the settings menu. Such control ensures safer and easier driving and controlling audio settings.
The no-frills UNITOPSCI 7-Inch GPS Car Stereo offers an auxiliary port so you can add mobile phones, music players, and other audio devices to it. USB and SD card ports help add to the connectivity options you get. Built-in Bluetooth and microphone make hands-free calls a breeze, and it supports Bluetooth music play.
You can also mirror your smartphone’s screen to the UNITOPSCI 7-Inch GPS Car Stereo via MirrorLink. The service works with Android and iOS devices via a USB cable.
6. BOSION Navigation Win CE — Best Alternate OS
As name indicates, BOSION Navigation Win CE runs on Windows CE. Recently, Windows CE and Android OS were heavyweights in different categories. These two titans in the in-car entertainment systems industry are some of the most credible leaders in the market.
Windows CE units, such as this BOSION Navigation Win CE, do not support as many gadgets as Android does. But Windows CE from Microsoft is an inexpensive choice that offers users reliable speed and execution. Windows CE stereos are the preferred selection if you’re looking for a stereo offering an easier and more stable functionality.
BOSION Navigation Win CE’s GPS navigation function lets you find your way through new and complex locations. BOSION Navigation Win CE comes with an 8 GB memory card preloaded with a map. If you’re used to Google’s mapping software, Microsoft’s maps come as a pleasant surprise as they’re easy to read and packed with local information.
The BOSION Navigation Win CE comes with an 800 megahertz (MHz) central processing unit (CPU) for fast processing. The unit supports SD cards and USB drives up to 32 GB, enhancing your choice of music in the car. A large 6.2-inch high-definition digital screen makes it easy to view the map from any direction.
BOSION Navigation Win CE supports multiple languages, including English, Spanish, Italian, and 20 others. This support ensures operating the stereo will not be an issue. Built-in Bluetooth offers wireless streaming for music, while the built-in microphone comes in handy during hands-free calls.
7. ZHNN Android 9.1 — Best Biggest Screen
ZHNN is a small brand compared with some options on this list, but they’re developing a strong name for offering quality budget products, and one of them is this ZHNN Android 9.1 Car Stereo.
The ZHNN Android 9.1 Car Stereo is one of the cheapest options here, making it the perfect choice if you’re working on a tight budget. Even at its price tag, you’re getting an impressively large 9.7-inch vertical touchscreen with a high resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels.
The ZHNN Android 9.1 Car Stereo’s built-in GPS receiver is compatible with a range of navigation apps including Google Maps, Waze, and Navfree. You have the option of downloading maps before you go for offline use or hot-spotting from your phone for real-time traffic information and maps that load as you go. And the dual-zone functioning lets you separate navigation from music so you can enjoy seamless navigation while your passengers get to choose their own tunes.
This ZHNN Android 9.1 Car Stereo comes with a harness for connecting to your car’s amplifier. Video and audio outputs let you hook up second monitors if considering the backseat passengers. Further inputs allow you to hook up a PlayStation or another device to the stereo.
The ZHNN Android 9.1 Car Stereo runs on Android 9.1, and you get 2 GB RAM and 16 GB of storage. This ZHNN Android 9.1 Car Stereo supports hands-free Bluetooth calling, downloading phonebook call records, and audio streaming. You also get a built-in microphone for excellent audio quality while making Bluetooth calls.
Before You Buy: Best GPS Navigation Car Stereos Buying Guide
There are many GPS Navigation head units online, but you should pay attention when buying an authentic and well-built system.
After all, you don’t want to invest in a unit that doesn’t perform as you expect. Plus, there are several things to consider when purchasing a product for navigation that suits you best.
For this reason, here’s a guide to finding the best GPS stereo for your vehicle trouble-free.
The Power Ratings
Power rating is a critical feature to consider. The car stereo’s power output dictates the power of your speakers and the power of sound—without an external amplifier.
Car stereos come with two typical power output ratings:
- Root Mean Square (RMS) Power Output: Also known as continuous power. RMS power is the amount of power a car stereo produces at a constant rate. The most important output rating.
- Max Power Output: The maximum amount of power the stereo emits for short periods without an amplifier.
The level of control you have over the sound’s shape is also important. You can control the sound shape using a built-in equalizer (EQ) function, which lets you raise or lower the level-specific frequencies for the best in-car output sound.
More bands in the equalizer let you customize more of the frequencies and shape of your sound and music.
Vehicles are different, and the same applies to their head units. You want to make sure the navigation car stereo is compatible with your vehicle. Some manufacturers specify their products for a specific vehicle model and year.
However, other manufacturers provide universal models that fit most vehicles. The best GPS-capable car stereos are compatible with Android or Apple phones. The devices on our list will connect to all smartphones.
Compatibility of the system with the phone is critical as the head unit will not be of use if it’s incompatible.
Single or Double DIN
Most GPS navigation car stereos have large screens within the double DIN configuration, others have fold-out motorized or manual screens that occupy the space of a single DIN stereo.
Different vehicles have differently sized head unit slots on the dashboards. If your vehicle has a double-DIN slot, you won’t have a problem finding the right product.
However, choose a fold-out GPS navigation car stereo if your vehicle has a single DIN slot.
Display Size And Resolution
The size of the screen is another critical consideration when you want to make the most of what you’re bringing to the vehicle.
Most car stereos with built-in GPS have screens that range from six to nine inches, and resolution, measured in pixels, will determine the quality and sharpness of your maps on-screen. When it comes to GPS navigation, however, you don’t need 4K resolution to blow your socks off so you can save money by opting for a lower-res unit.
Different manufacturers offer unique combinations of dials, buttons, and knobs on their systems. The best units are touch-friendly and provide feedback, so you concentrate on the road ahead.
A touchscreen display helps simplify basic processes, which helps increase efficiency.
Most GPS navigation head units provide AM/FM radio functionality, so you listen to your favorite stations on the move. USB capabilities allow connecting flash drives to the system.
Bluetooth is also an industry standard for connecting your phone and streaming audio. A MirrorLink function lets you display your phone on the GPS systems screen so you can use the phone without actually holding it.
Another critical feature is accurate predictability, so you don’t waste your time on the road. The navigation car stereo should also come with maps of areas you’ll primarily use the vehicle.
A GPS navigation car stereo is important for drivers, just as water is for fish. Navigation systems are essential driving tools, whether you’re traveling across town or the country. The systems help drivers identify the safest, fast routes.And the best units also let you save routes and locations, so you find the way even in areas without a cell phone signal.
All the top in-car GPS navigation stereos on this list cover all the basics, including quality sound, many useful features, ease of use, and versatility.
It’s time you get out there and explore the world!