Caravan and motorhome sat navs explained
By Daljinder Nagra
What’s the difference between a car sat nav and a motorhome and caravan sat nav, and are they worth the extra money?
If you like to spend your leisure time travelling in a motorhome or with a caravan, you’ll be aware of the need for careful route planning to ensure you don’t get stuck on lanes that are too narrow, or to avoid tricky junctions not designed for larger vehicles.
Most standard sat navs are tailored specifically for use in cars, and don’t take into account the extra girth, length and height of caravans and motorhomes. This can lead to stressful and sometimes embarrassing situations on the road if a driver is relying solely on their device’s instructions.
Thankfully for caravan and motorhome owners, there are now a number of sat navs aimed specifically at their requirements. Our comprehensive lab tests cover these specialist models.
See our in-depth verdicts on all the models we've tested by visiting our caravan and motorhome sat nav reviews.
What is a motorhome and caravan sat nav?
A caravan sat nav looks no different to the regular standalone devices aimed at car drivers. However, in a similar way to those aimed at truck drivers, caravan sat navs allow caravan and motorhome owners to tailor their route to take into account the extra size of their vehicle.
Like regular sat navs, models may also include higher-end features such as real-time traffic updates, and warnings about speed camera and accident blackspot locations.
How much does a caravan and motorhome sat nav cost?
You will pay more for a motorhome and caravan sat nav.
While regular standalone sat navs typically cost anywhere from £50 to £300, depending on model and specification, motorhome models are typically priced towards the higher end of this scale. Often with a slight premium over a comparable model aimed at car drivers.
How do caravan sat navs differ to car sat navs?
Motorhome and caravan sat navs are aimed specifically at drivers with larger vehicles, who often have to plan their routes carefully to avoid obstructions - such as low bridges or narrow country lanes.
While not exhaustive, a list of features we’d expect to see on a motorhome sat nav include:
- Avoidance or warnings for low bridges
- Avoidance or warnings for narrow roads
- Avoidance or warnings of areas with unsuitable weight restrictions
- A point of interest database aimed at caravan and motorhome users, with appropriate campsites, parking, etc.
Despite this extra functionality, there’s no excuse for poor directions or hard-to-understand maps. We subject motorhome and caravan sat navs to the same exhaustive lab tests as all our sat nav devices.
A caravan and motorhome sat nav must be easy to follow and program, and quick to react if you stray from the prescribed route. There's nothing more frustrating than being faced with multiple junctions while waiting for your sat nav to recalculate a route.
See our independent, expert sat nav reviews.
Should you buy a caravan and motorhome sat nav?
Unless you regularly take trips with a large caravan or motorhome, you’ll find their additional features somewhat wasted in a normal-sized car.
You may find a Best Buy standard dedicated sat nav or mobile navigation app will suit your needs better - see our best sat navs.
However, if you’ve ever suffered the frustration of becoming stuck on a country lane that’s suddenly become too narrow, you’ll certainly appreciate the extra information offered by motorhome and caravan sat navs.