If you’re in the market for a new sat nav in 2018 then look no further than a Garmin Sat Nav as they produce the best sat nav’s on the market whilst offering value for money with their products which of course are focused towards your car, truck, campervan or even motorcycle.
Garmin as a brand is a multi-national company that has offices all over the world, however it is based and comes with it’s Head Office in Kansas, USA. The company was formed in 1983 and over the last 33 years has managed to sell over 126million sat nav units over a full range of sectors from car to boats and even planes.
Garmin is well know for it’s fantastic customer service and value for money products. We have recommended Garmin products as our best car sat nav in the UK and Best truck Sat Nav for the last couple of years. Of all the satnav's that we have tested over the last few years, the Garmin's are always way ahead of there nearest competitor.
What we really enjoy about Garmin products is their simplicity to use. I cannot remember the last time that I read a Garmin instruction manual given the menu interface is so easy to navigate around that you simply don’t need any help to find your way around your Garmin sat nav.
We also love that Garmin as standard provide all their sat nav units with free Lifetime map updates meaning that you should never have to drive around using an out of date set of maps, and free lifetime traffic updates meaning that you should be able to avoid all but the worst traffic that the UK roads has to throw at you.
Garmin makes a range of different sat nav units, however in this section, we’re going to focus on our favourites for the Car, Truck, Motorhome and Motorbike.
Best Garmin Sat Nav 2018
As far as I am concerned choosing the best Garmin gps unit is the same unit as we have reviewed for our best sat nav unit being the Garmin DriveSmart range of devices, The range consists of a 51LMT that comes with a 5-inch screen, a 61LMT that comes with a 6.95-Inch edge-to-edge screen. Our favourite is the 61LMT as we feel with the level of detail that these maps contain, its impossible to see unless you have the slight larger screen.
That all said, the Garmin Range consists of a few more different models. If you're only concerned with the price of your satnav then look at the Garmin Drive. It simply offers directions and access to Trip Adviser, however with prices starting at less that £100, it's great value for money. On the same token, if you're not concerned about the price, and simply want a sat nav that can do everything, then check out the Garmin DriveLuxe. It's nearly triple the price of the Drive, but it does come with every extra driving feature to help you get to your destination. Below are reviews of the best garmin sat nav's from across the Garmin range.
The Garmin Sat Nav Range
Garmin DriveSmart 61LMT-D
The Garmin DriveSmart 61LMT-D is part of Garmin's all new and improved 2017 sat nav DriveSmart range that consists of two units, the 51LMT with a 5-inch screen and the 61-LMT with a 6.95-Inch edge-to-edge screen. Both models have been improved from previous versions.
Garmin's new 51/61 replace the out going 50/60/70 DriveSmart range with the key difference between the two ranges being the loss of the 6-inch screen. Personally we don't like the 5-inch screen as we feel with the level of detail on the maps today, it's virtually impossible to see them clearly. So often you find yourself driving along wishing the was a slightly larger screen to see the rest of the map. On the same token, we also did not really like the 7-Inch screens as they were too big.
What's great about the the all new 2017 61LMT, it comes with a 6.95-Inch screen, but it's an edge-to-edge screen meaning that you don't get the massive overhang on each side of the device. It's a large screen, but at the same time it also fits into the glove-box of your car. Whilst there are few other improvements over the previous models, what has really improved is the overall driving experience and we love the introduction of the all new Trip Adviser feature meaning that you view place of interest along your route, whilst at the same time reading others reviews to help you make the right decision. If you want read the full review of the Garmin DriveSmart check it out here.
Garmin DriveAssist 51LMT-D
Dash camera are all the range this year with the key advantages that they can bring to your driving, whilst helping to reduce your insurance bills, knowing that your insurance company can work out exactly whose fault it was if you have an accident because everything is record to be played back at a later stage.
We have reviewed dash cam's in the past and the Garmin featured in our best dash cam unit in the market. Garmin have taken this a step further with the introduction of the DriveAssist 50LMT-D and more recently the improved DriveAssist 51LMT-D. that is half a fantastic 5-inch sat nav that comes with all the latest Garmin features, whilst also being half a Dash Camera with the ability to record both what is in front or you and behind you at the same time.
The 50LMT-D comes with Garmin’s all new 5-Inch screen that displays both the easy to use menu system and Garmin’s latest maps that feature both a dual orientation screen that helps with active lane guidance which uses brightly coloured arrows to guide you through difficult junctions, and Garmin’s Real Direction which uses easy to understand driving directions that help you to easily understand you’re directions. Added features include smartphone notifications such as calls, text directly onto your screen, traffic alerts to help you avoid congestion and Bluetooth to help you connect your smartphone for hands free calling.
As mentioned above the 50LMT-D also comes with an in-built dash cam that can record using both front and back camera using a 720 resolution onto a MicroSD car that is installed into the sat nav unit. The recording works on a looping basis meaning that a 4GB car is enough for around 6 hours of recording before it starts to erase the earliest recordings for new images, however it also comes with a acceleration feature meaning that if you have an accident your recording are all safely stored with in the unit,
Overall we do like the DriveAssist and think it’s a great idea in principle, however the biggest problem with the DriveAssist is that unless you're a Taxi driver using your sat nav everyday, you're probably a lot like us and don't use your sat nav for every trip. If you're not using it and you have an accident, well what's the point.
Garmin DriveLuxe 51LMT-D
The Garmin DriveLuxe 51LMT-D is the premium version of the Garmin Drive range of sat nav's and comes with a major price tag, but a massive selection of features to help you get to your destination on time. Personally we don't like the DriveLuxe as we don't feel that it offers value for money.
Having a massive selection of features might sound great in principle, however realistically, you're not going to use them and therefore you would be better offer going with a cheaper satnav that comes with features you will use.
From past designs, the DriveLuxe 51LMT screen has been slightly improved and now is even more clear whilst working even better in low light situations. With the improved screen, not only comes improved step-by-step directions, but also improved map detail to help you get to your destination. The DriveLuxe comes with full integrated maps that include both traffic alerts, speed camera alerts and lifetime map updates meaning that as long as your update your sat nav regularly you should never find yourself driving on roads that your sat nav says do not exists.
With the DriveLuxe we have also seen major improvements in the traffic alerts, whilst the driver alerts that help to point out sharp bends, speed cameras and even school zones all help to ensure that you have a safer drive. We also love the connectivity in being able to connect our smartphone to the sat nav unit and use the hands free calling three through the in-built speaker, voice activated navigation and being able to update the unit over WiFi. Overall, it's a great unit, but you will pay the price for it.
Garmin Drive 61LMT-S
The Garmin Drive range of sat nav's is the basic range that has been designed to provide directions at the cheapest possible price point. The 51/61 series is the all new and improved Drive range that has taken the previous 50/60 series and made it even better, whilst still having that value-for-money price tag.
The Garmin range series comes in two models, the 51LMT-S with a 5-inch screen and the 61LMT-S with a 6-inch screen. Other than screen sizes there is very little difference between the two models, however the 61LMT-S is our favourite given it has the bigger screen.
Given the Drive is priced to offer value for money, and if you can accept only having UK maps, you can get a great satnav for under £100. It doesn't come with a range of features or driver alerts, but what it does have, it does well at. As with all the recent Garmin's, you're getting the top of the range maps and turn-by-turn directions. Even though this is the cheaper model, you're still getting the same fantastic maps that offer lots of information to help you get to your destination. Free lifetime map and traffic updates are included with this model.
What is particularly pleasing to see, the basic Garmin Drive still gets access to Garmin's all new and improved places of interest database using Trip Adviser which allows you to view places of interest and read reviews about them all from your sat nav.
Overall, it's basic, but it's a perfect, value for money sat nav.
Garmin Nuvi 2797 LMT
The Garmin 2979LMT is a fantastic sat nav that comes with a range of features to help you get to your destination on time. The 2797LMT is an early 2015 model that we thought was our the best sat nav of 2015 mainly due to it’s large screen size and exceptional performance.
Now that Garmin have brought out a newer version of this sat nav, the 2797LMT is even more great value for money and whilst it’s a year old, the changes between this and the models are above are only very small meaning that if we were on a limited budget, I think we would seriously stick to the 2979LMT.
The sat nav comes with a 7-Inch, dual navigation screen and a range of features from lifetime map and traffic updates to Bluetooth and Garmin’s Up Ahead feature that combines a massive points of interest database to show you point of interest in front of you that you could stop and look at if you want to. The menu system is easy to use, whilst the directions are fantastic partly due to the 7-inch screen which means there is plenty of room to view both your directions and the lane guidance which helps to make sure that you’re in the right lane to keep you going in the right direction.
Overall, the 2797LMT is a fantastic sat nav that offers fantastic performance and value for money. There have been over two thousand reviews across Amazon.co.uk with the vast majority being very good. That all said we have seen some complaints, we hate the mount which does not stick onto the screen, however this is an easy fix with the introduction of a dash mount, it has no walk mode however quite frankly it’s too big a unit to be carried around and whilst it does come with voice control, unless the radio is switched off and it’s very quiet, it does not work.