Buying sat nav maps

Sat navs

Buying sat nav maps

by Jack Turner

Updating sat nav maps are crucial for making sure you get to your destination smoothly. We guide you through your map options and how to update.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

  • Get the Which? verdict from our independent experts
  • Weigh up the pros and cons in an instant
  • Go to town on the details with our full review
  • Read our member reviews to see what they think
  • Is it a Don’t Buy? It could be a dud, and a costly one too
  • Best Buy
  • 69 Sat navs available

Looking for the best sat nav or sat nav app for you? Head over to our sat nav Best Buys for the best from our tests.

Updating your maps for free

Most modern sat navs come with free updates out of the box. Look for wording on the packaging such as Free Lifetime Maps. This means that for the lifetime of the device you will always be able to download the latest version without paying anything extra. If your sat nav is a few years old, you may have to pay for these updates - with Best Buy sat navs starting at around £80, it may be worth treating yourself to a new model rather than paying to update the old version.

We recommend updating your sat nav maps every six to twelve months. Updating is straightforward, but it can be time consuming. Try to do an update the day before you need your sat nav, rather than just before a long journey. You'll need to connect to a PC or laptop, too.

Visit your sat nav manufacturer's website and select the option to update your maps. You'll be prompted to download a small software file. Once it's finished downloading, simply open it and follow the instructions, making sure that your sat nav is attached to your computer or laptop with the USB cable supplied.

Buying maps for an older sat nav

If your sat nav is in its golden years, then you may have to pay to update it. Visit the manufacturer's website and select the option to update your maps. Depending on the brand of your sat nav, you may be offered the opportunity to purchase a newer version of the map as a 'one-off', or upgrade to lifetime maps.

If your sat nav is quite dated, it may be better value just to buy a new sat nav that comes with free lifetime maps.

Buying maps for different countries

Some sat navs will come with worldwide maps. If yours doesn't, and you're planning to travel to an area it doesn't cover, don't despair. You can visit your manufacturer's website and pay to download maps for other territories.

If you are using an app, you can simply download more maps by purchasing them directly from within the app, or via the Google Play or App store.

Now find the perfect sat nav option for you by checking out our standalone sat nav and sat nav app reviews.