All the Details on Buying Your New GPS

How to get the most bang for your buck when buying a GPS navigator

I’ll never forget the day I finally decided to get a car GPS. I figured it would be an easy purchase: take a quick look at the ones on display and snatch up my favorite color. Boy, was I mistaken. It turns out that GPS systems range from $100 to over $2,000, and they all have their own selling points. That begs the question: which system is best for you? What do you really need?

If you’re considering a GPS navigation system for your car, here’s what you need to keep in mind while you’re shopping — and even before!

1. How much will you use it?

A GPS navigator is a really cool toy, and it can be incredibly useful. But do you drive a lot? Do you drive so much you know all the routes cold? How often will you use this thing — every day, or just when you’re on holidays? The answer makes a big difference about how much you want to spend and how many perks you need.

2. What’s traffic like where you drive?

A key selling point on many car GPS systems is the traffic routing feature, which usually costs a bit extra but can be a godsend if you frequently find yourself stuck in traffic jams. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a feature that finds traffic problems and routes you around them. Fantastic in big cities, not such an issue elsewhere.

3. Check routing engine software.

How fast your GPS works — not to mention its accuracy and ability to find the best route — depends largely on its routing engine software. Unless you only use the GPS once a year and don’t really need the most meticulous information, it’s always worth springing for a higher price if the routing engine software is better.

4. Decide how many bells and whistles you need.

Every GPS navigator has its own perks, but generally the more ‘extras’ you get, the more the system costs. Extras include bigger screen size, more specific instructions, the ability to hook your phone and MP3 player into the system… the list goes on. Depending on what you can afford, these aren’t absolute essentials, so they can go if you need to drop the price a bit.

Keep these tips in mind, and choosing GPS systems should be a piece of cake!