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Top five best free sat nav apps for 2018

By Hannah Walsh

Get from A to B without spending a penny – these top-performing free sat nav apps will keep you on the right road.

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We put free sat nav apps through the same tough tests as paid-for apps or standalone sat nav devices. We’ve even tested the latest apps from sat nav giants Garmin and TomTom. 

In the past, apps struggled to keep up – small phone screens made maps difficult to read, and smartphones simply weren’t fast enough to make the instructions useful. There are still some apps that aren’t up to scratch, with such poor audio and visual guidance that they’re useless – even though they’re free.

But free sat nav apps have improved in the past few years, and the best will now get you from A to B with brilliantly clear vocal and visual guidance, as well as advanced features that used to be reserved for pricey devices. Whatever you’re looking for from a free sat nav app, you’ll find the best option for you below.

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Best free sat nav apps 2018

Typical price £0.00
Which? score 77%
Reviewed Feb 2018
Overall navigation quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Overall quality of audio instructions:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Overall ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Traffic monitoring:
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.

Typical price £0.00
Which? score 68%
Reviewed May 2018
Overall navigation quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Overall quality of audio instructions:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Overall ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Traffic monitoring:
Member exclusive

This app offers worldwide mapping for free, but can it replace your full sat nav?

Typical price £0.00
Which? score 67%
Reviewed Jul 2018
Overall navigation quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Overall quality of audio instructions:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Overall ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Traffic monitoring:
Member exclusive

With its clear mapping and accurate traffic, this app is great for commuters and occasoional users alike

Typical price £0.00
Which? score 66%
Reviewed Aug 2018
Overall navigation quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Overall quality of audio instructions:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Overall ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Traffic monitoring:
Member exclusive

Helpful vocal instructions and clear visual guidance combined with free maps and traffic data make this a good choice.

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

And here are three free sat nav apps to avoid

We’ve found some sat nav apps just aren’t worth downloading, despite being free. Cluttered mapping, confusing audio and visual guidance, and difficult-to-use menus make some free sat nav apps a nightmare to use. These Don’t Buys are sure to lead you up the garden path.

Don’t Buy sat nav apps

Typical price £0.00
Which? score 62%
Reviewed Feb 2018
Overall navigation quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Overall quality of audio instructions:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Overall ease of use:
4 out of 54 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.

Typical price £0.00
Which? score 59%
Reviewed Feb 2018
Overall navigation quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Overall quality of audio instructions:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Overall ease of use:
4 out of 54 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.

Typical price £0.00
Which? score 28%
Reviewed Aug 2018
Overall navigation quality:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Overall quality of audio instructions:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Overall ease of use:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Traffic monitoring:
Member exclusive

It may be free to download, but this sat nav app will drive you round the bend before getting you to your destination.

Is it worth paying for a dedicated sat nav?

We’ve found some great free sat nav apps that are easy to download and try, but in our experience even the very best won’t provide you with quite the same experience as a dedicated sat nav. The quality of the guidance may depend on the smartphone you have too.

Traditional sat navs are built with navigation in mind and this means they usually have good speakers so audio guidance can be easily heard, and matte screens to avoid car windscreen reflections and ensure visual cues are readable. Paying for a dedicated device often means you’ll get a few more features thrown in too, including live traffic updates and speed camera warnings. Some newer models have built-in dashboard cameras too.

Many paid-for sat nav apps include decent features, but with others you may have to pay a subscription fee to unlock them. If you’re unsure whether a sat nav app or dedicated sat nav is for you, use our interactive tool on our how to buy the best sat nav page.

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