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Technology.

1 September 2021

TomTom vs Garmin sat navs

Should you buy a TomTom or Garmin sat nav in 2021? Our expert tests help you uncover the perfect sat nav for you, whatever your budget.
FW
Felix Wilson
Garmin-V-TomTom

If you're shopping for a sat nav for your car, caravan or motorhome, you'll see there's no shortage of TomTom or Garmin models. Both brands are well established, but not all the sat navs we've tested are good enough to be Which? Best Buys.

To earn the title of Which? Best Buy, the latest sat navs need to impress in our test lab with top marks for navigation quality and ease of use. After all, you want a sat nav that gets you from A to B without any hassle.

Find out which sat navs impressed in the Which? test lab - see our best sat navs.

TomTom and Garmin sat navs compared

What's best - TomTom or Garmin? We run both cheap and premium sat navs from each brand through our rigorous lab tests, to help you choose wisely.

The chart below shows how average test scores for TomTom and Garmin sat navs have changed over time.

Best TomTom and Garmin sat navs for 2021

We've tested sat navs of all shapes and sizes in our lab. While the highest-rated models impressed us with clear and concise instructions, our selection of dreaded Don't Buy sat navs are let down by cramped, overly busy maps and slow route recalculation.

Below, we've rounded up the latest TomTom sat navs and Garmin sat navs to pass through our test lab. 

At the top of the table is a Best Buy that makes for a fantastic companion on the road, although the price may put you off if you want to keep costs low. If so, you'll be pleased to hear we've also uncovered a Best Buy sat nav for £100. 

  • 79%
    £300.00

    This premium sat nav aced our tests thanks to its premium feel, ease of use and range of features. It gets live traffic data via a built-in sim card and features European mapping.

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  • 78%
    £164.50

    This five-inch model is one of the highest scoring we've tested. This is down to its high quality construction, excellent route guidance and additional features such as speed camera information and traffic monitoring.

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  • 72%
    £240.00

    This Best Buy is one of the highest-scoring models we've tested. Although it's fairly pricey, it's particularly easy to use, very responsive and ideal for hands-free navigation. If you're willing to spend big, this is the one to go for.

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Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of September 2021.

Top sat nav apps for iPhone and Android

The meteoric rise of sat nav apps has spurred on both TomTom and Garmin to create their own. Unlike rivals such as Google Maps, their offerings are paid-for downloads, rather than free. But both are fairly good at recreating the sat nav experience.

If you're happy to stick with a map app that comes pre-installed on iPhone or Android, see our guide to Apple Maps vs Google Maps for key features.

The best sat nav app for iPhone

  • 75%
    £0.00

    This Best Buy sat nav app is free to download, and you get 50 miles of free navigation each month. Menus are easy to make sense of and audio guidance is good. You can also download it to an Android smartphone or tablet.

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The best sat nav app for Android

  • 78%
    £0.00

    If you're using an Android smartphone, we recommend this app. It's free to download, and you get 50 miles' worth of navigation free each month. Instructions are detailed, maps are clutter-free and vocal guidance is great, particularly on motorways.

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Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of September 2021.

Which? sat nav testing: how do we find the best?

Unlike other websites, Which? tests sat navs and sat nav apps independently, paying for every product reviewed.

Our testing proves that spending over the odds on a sat nav doesn't always guarantee you a Best Buy. In fact, we've uncovered plenty of affordable models that soared through our tests, with clear maps and detailed vocal instructions. For each sat nav that passes through our test lab, we pay close attention to:

  • Sound - how clear are the audio instructions?
  • Video - how easy is it make sense sense of the on-screen icons and maps?
  • Speed - can the sat nav handle unexpected changes in direction with ease?
  • Ease of use - how simple is the process of fitting the sat nav in your car or motorhome?

For more details, head over to our how we test sat navs

Alternatively, see our full range of dedicated sat nav and sat nav app reviews.