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Top 5 best sat nav apps for 2017

By Hannah Walsh

We put all sat nav apps through the same tough tests as sat navs. Here, we round up the very best sat nav apps from our 2017 testing.

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If you’ve previously used a sat nav unit in your car, you may well scoff at the thought of a humble sat nav app being able to take its place. Once upon a time, you would have been right – when we first began testing sat nav apps, they were slow, not very clear,and simply couldn’t hold a candle to a dedicated device. And for some, this is still the case.

But other sat nav apps have come on leaps and bounds in the past few years, and the very best will get you from A to B just as smoothly as a dedicated device. They will also have excellent visual and audio guidance to save you from having to make any last-minute dashes across lanes; clear maps; plenty of advanced features; and user-friendly interfaces. They’re convenient, too, and will have you on the road at the touch of a button.

Here, we’ve picked out the best sat nav apps from our tests. We’ve included apps for Android and iOS, as well as paid-for and free options, so you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. 

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by taking a £1 trial to Which?.

Top five sat nav apps 2017

TomTom GPS Navigation Traffic (Android)
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Best Buy
Overall navigation quality:
4 out of 5
Overall quality of audio instructions:
4 out of 5
Overall ease of use:
4 out of 5
Traffic monitoring:
Member exclusive
European maps:
Member exclusive

This app offers 50 miles of free navigation a month, perfect for the occasional driver. The spoken instructions are clear, and you can buy a subscription for unlimited navigation if you need to.

NNG Software iGO Navigation (Android)
Typical price £30.00
Which? score 72%
Reviewed Aug 2016
Best Buy
Overall navigation quality:
4 out of 5
Overall quality of audio instructions:
4 out of 5
Overall ease of use:
4 out of 5
Traffic monitoring:
Member exclusive
European maps:
Member exclusive

This is one of our top-performing sat nav apps. The map is clear and easy to read, and it does a great job of getting you smoothly through towns.

CoPilot Europe Offline Sat-Nav (Android)
Typical price £28.00
Which? score 70%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Best Buy
Overall navigation quality:
4 out of 5
Overall quality of audio instructions:
3 out of 5
Overall ease of use:
4 out of 5
Traffic monitoring:
Member exclusive
European maps:
Member exclusive

A year of traffic data for free and clear visual and audio instructions make this sat nav app worth a look. It's available for Android and iOS users.

Garmin NAVIGON Europe (iOS)
Typical price £70.00
Which? score 68%
Reviewed Dec 2016
Overall navigation quality:
4 out of 5
Overall quality of audio instructions:
4 out of 5
Overall ease of use:
4 out of 5
Traffic monitoring:
Member exclusive
European maps:
Member exclusive

This sat nav app does a great job of recreating the experience of a standalone sat nav - clear mapping and directions will get you from A to B smoothly.

Waze GPS Navigation, Maps & Traffic (iOS)
Which? score 67%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Overall navigation quality:
4 out of 5
Overall quality of audio instructions:
4 out of 5
Overall ease of use:
4 out of 5
Traffic monitoring:
Member exclusive
European maps:
Member exclusive

Waze is a community-driven sat nav app that's completely free for navigation and traffic services. We've been impressed by Waze in the past, so can this updated version take the place of your trusted sat nav? Read our full review of this sat nav app to find out.

Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of March 2017.

Not found the sat nav app for you? Browse all of our sat nav app reviews.

And here’s three to avoid

The worst sat nav apps from our testing are bad enough to be Don’t Buys – frankly, we think they should just get lost. Cluttered mapping, and confusing audio and visual guidance and menus make the worst sat nav apps a nightmare to use, and you’ll find yourself headed off-course before you know it.

Don’t Buy sat nav apps

Michelin ViaMichelin: GPS, Traffic, Speedcam, Route Planner (iOS)
Which? score 43%
Reviewed Oct 2016
Don't buy
Overall navigation quality:
3 out of 5
Overall quality of audio instructions:
3 out of 5
Overall ease of use:
4 out of 5
Traffic monitoring:
Member exclusive

This sat nav app for iOS may be free, but the vocal and visual guidance is flawed, and it will be more of a hindrance than a help while driving.

Navmii GPS World (Navfree) (Android)
Which? score 41%
Reviewed Feb 2016
Don't buy
Overall navigation quality:
3 out of 5
Overall quality of audio instructions:
3 out of 5
Overall ease of use:
1 out of 5
Traffic monitoring:
Member exclusive

Inaccurate and unclear visual guidance means you could end up driving in circles. Route recalculation is one of the slowest we've seen, too.

Michelin ViaMichelin: Route GPS Traffic (Android)
Which? score 39%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Don't buy
Overall navigation quality:
2 out of 5
Overall quality of audio instructions:
3 out of 5
Overall ease of use:
4 out of 5
Traffic monitoring:
Member exclusive

This app disappointed in our tests - there’s plenty to dislike about it, including confusing audio instructions, unclear visual guidance, and a lack of features and functions. There are niggles with everyday use, too.

Should I use a free sat nav app?

We all like the sound of ‘free’ and, no matter what your smartphone platform, there are a variety of free apps available. In our testing, we’ve found that they can be hit and miss though. They may cost nothing, but some have such poor guidance and a lack of features that even that still isn’t good value. Others are sponsored, so will have annoying banners and pop-ups.

We put free sat nav apps through the same tough tests as paid-for apps and standalone sat nav devices, so you can be sure that any free sat nav app we recommend will get you to your destination with no problems. The very best provide a similarly smooth experience to standalone sat nav devices. You can find our pick of the top options in our best free sat nav apps 2017 guide.

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