It’s that time of year again. Whether you’re counting sleeps until the 25th, or you’ve already lost your patience with the retail advertising onslaught, there’s one thing a lot of us will be doing in the run-up to Christmas day – travelling to see friends and family.
We test dozens of sat nav apps, as well as dedicated sat nav units that fit onto your windscreen or dashboard. Our independent testing means we aren’t swayed by big brands on name alone, such as TomTom and Garmin. We test every sat nav impartially, so you can trust our reviews to help you find the perfect model to guide you to where you want to be.
Best Buy sat navs – check out the sat nav apps and devices that have excelled in our tests.
Here’s our pick of the models we’ve tested, at a range of budgets, that are sure to get you there safely when the weather and traffic are against you. Click on the links to the full reviews to read more about each sat nav, and find out how they scored in our tests.
Free: TomTom GPS Navigation Traffic (Android)
This free navigation app for Android smartphones brings TomTom’s clear audio guidance and easy-to-read maps to your mobile device. It’s easy to use and has clear audio and visual guidance.
You get 50 miles’ worth of navigation included free each month, and upgrading to a one-year subscription costs £14. Worldwide map and live traffic services are included in that price, although be aware this will form part of your phone’s monthly data allowance.
Read our full TomTom GPS Navigation Traffic (Android) review for our in-depth verdict.
Under £100: TomTom Start 20
You don’t need to break the bank to get hold of a decent sat nav unit, as the budget TomTom Start 20 proves. Despite not having the live data and Bluetooth connectivity of the brand’s newer and more expensive models, the Start 20 is a solid model thanks to its excellent guidance and simple menu structure.
It gives you hassle-free navigation on a budget – it’ll even receive basic traffic information through a TMC receiver (sold separately).
To find out whether this model is good enough to be a Best Buy visit our full TomTom Start 20 review.
Under £150: TomTom Via 53
TomTom offers a strong line-up of standalone navigation devices across price points. The five-inch Via 53 improves on the functionality of basic Start models with the addition of wi-fi connectivity, so you need never attach your device to a PC again to update the maps or software.
It can also handle hands-free calling via your phone’s Bluetooth connection. Both the audio and visual guidance, as well as the speed of route recalculation, are top drawer – as we’ve come to expect with TomTom.
To find out how this sat nav scores, visit our TomTom Via 53 review.
Under £200: Garmin DriveLuxe 50LMT-D
At the more premium end of the market, the Garmin Driveluxe 50LMT-D is a standout model. It’s very easy to use, with a responsive touchscreen and nippy processor. You can even use it hands free, as its voice recognition is accurate and quick.
The device’s build quality is high and it’s easy to install and remove, too. The only minor niggle we had is the screen is quite glossy and can cause reflections in certain conditions.
Visit our full Garmin DriveLuxe 50LMT-D review to find out more.
£200+: TomTom Go 5200
Along with the slightly larger 6200, the TomTom Go 5200 is the brand’s flagship device for car users. It comes with a Sim card built in, offering automatic connections to real-time live traffic updates and a speed camera location database.
Smartphone users will also enjoy an extra degree of functionality, as not only will the Go 5200 handle calls and display text messages, but it’s also compatible with Google Now and the Apple iPhone assistant Siri.
These features haven’t come at the expense of its core navigation quality, which is up to the usual excellent TomTom quality, but it is pricey.
Find out whether this sat nav is worth investing in with our full TomTom Go 5200 review.