Even if you have a smart phone, there are still reasons to invest in a standalone global positioning system (GPS) navigator for your car. Once a destination is entered, the super easy turn-by-turn navigation allows you to see your progress along the route while you are driving, keeping you safely on the right track without taking your eyes off the road (much). Some GPS units are created for specific uses, such as for bicyclists, to help them avoid high-traffic areas such as highways, or for pedestrians – so they can ignore one-way traffic restrictions. Some GPS navigation units even offer the most fuel-efficient route.
Before you buy a GPS unit, think of your typical usage. Will you be utilizing it mainly for walking or biking, or do you want something that will work for automotive transportation as well? Is it something that you’ll use every day? These questions will help you determine which GPS unit is best for your particular use case.
There are a number of different features to consider for a GPS portable unit:
Mount type: Two standard mounting methods include rubber backing or a dash mount that can keep it in place right where you need it.
State laws: Check your state’s restrictions on dash mounts; some states will not allow you to add a GPS in this location as it may be distracting.
Battery: Do you want a battery? Some systems can plug right into your vehicle’s 12-volt outlet, while others offer built in batteries so you can take them on the road, as well as an AC unit for recharging at home.
Size: There are a number of different sizes offered, so check out the size of the unit before you order or purchase it. You’ll want to get one that will be easy to pack away in your bag should you want to travel with it.
Type: You can get aftermarket portable or in-dash GPS units, and even get some factory-installed GPS units. Understand that each has advantages and disadvantages, as well as distinct price points. The most cost-effective will be standalone portable units.
Using your phone: GPS-capable smart phones may offer the best option as you will almost always have your phone with you, and this negates the need for an additional electronic to keep track of.
Regardless of which type of GPS unit you consider, they will all help you get from point A to point B with a minimum of effort.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Buy a Good Quality GPS and was authored by Valerie Johnston.