A GPS is a handy travel device that can significantly lessen the amount of stress truck drivers deal with on a daily basis. Years ago, the number one travel tool for truck drivers was the trucker's atlas. But these days, more and more drivers are incorporating a GPS into their trip planning.
The two most popular truck driver GPS are the Rand McNally TND 720 and the Garmin dezl 760LMT. Today, I'm going to compare the two as well as discuss the most important things to look for when deciding on a GPS for your truck. Keep reading for specs and details of each, and be sure to leave your truck driver GPS recommendations in the comments below!
Features to Look For in a Truck Driver GPS
Truck restrictions: Probably the most important feature to look for when buying a trucker's GPS is its ability to plan travel routes based on certain truck restrictions. A GPS will be worthless if it constantly plans routes using roads that only passenger vehicles can access. A good trucker's GPS will create a customized route for you based on your truck's height, weight, and length specifications, and whether it's carrying a HAZMAT load or not. It will only take you on roads that permit trucks and will avoid any low-clearance or restricted areas. Both the Rand McNally and the Garmin feature truck restriction options.
POIs (Points of Interest): Another thing to look for in a trucker GPS is whether it features POIs or not. Points of interest are things like locations of truck stops, weigh stations, food, and lodging. These help truck drivers figure out when and where they should stop for the day. The Garmin and the Rand McNally feature both POIs and exit services.
Road conditions: Knowing what's up the road ahead can make or break a trucker's journey. Look for a GPS that notifies you of changing road conditions like speed limit changes, sharp curves, bridge heights, weight limits, and restrictions. Both the Rand McNally and the Garmin offer road condition notifications.
Lane Guidance: This one isn't really a requirement, but I find it to be a helpful feature included in my personal GPS. Lane guidance can really de-stress your drive. GPS that offer lane guidance will suggest the best lane for you to be in based on upcoming exits. Say there's a complex interchange coming up in a few miles. A GPS with lane guidance will suggest the best lane for you to drive in so you don't have a mini panic attack when you get up to the exit only to find that you're in the wrong lane. Lane assistance sure saves you a lot of backtracking time.
As you can see, both models offer (in my opinion) the four most important features of a truck driver GPS. Check out the table below detailing various other features/ammenities of each GPS.
|Rand McNally Intelliroute TND 720||Garmin dezl 760LMT|
|Road Condition Notifications?||Yes||Yes|
|Truck Speed Limits?||Yes||Yes|
|Lifetime Map Updates?||Subscription Required||Yes - Free|
|Weather Updates?||Free with WiFi Connection||Subscription Required|
|Construction Notifications?||Yes - Free||Yes - Additional Cost|
|Highway Exit Services?||Yes||Yes|
|"Bread Crumb" Trails||Yes||No|
Differences Between Rand McNally & Garmin
As you can see above, the Rand McNally and the Garmin offer many of the same features, save for a few small differences...
- There's a moderate price difference between the two. The Rand McNally rings up at $338 on Amazon, while the Garmin is priced at $399.
- With the Garmin dezl, you get lifetime map updates without an additional fee. Conversely, the Rand McNally requires a subscription if you'd like access to map updates.
- The Rand McNally has a "bread crumb" trail feature, which means it remembers the routes you've already traveled on.
- Rand McNally provides construction notifications free of charge, while the Garmin charges a fee.
We asked our Driver Solutions Facebook fans which truck driver GPS they preferred, and the results were surprisingly evenly split between the Garmin and the Rand McNally. Many of our fans even preferred strictly using trucker's atlases!
Whichever model you decide on, be it the Rand McNally 720, the Garmin Dezl, or something else, remember: do not blindly follow the GPS! Technology may be advanced, but it's not always 100% accurate. It's highly recommended that you double check the route your GPS is taking you on with an up-to-date trucker's atlas. Think of a GPS as more of a companion tool than a crutch.