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Top five best sat nav apps for 2018

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, join Which? to get instant access.

Top five sat nav apps 2018

Typical price £0.00
Which? score 76%
Reviewed Oct 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
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.

Typical price £25.00
Which? score 74%
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
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.

Typical price £29.00
Which? score 73%
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
European maps:
Member exclusive

This iOS app proved itself a Best Buy thanks to excellent visual guidance, a easily legible map and clear audio instructions. But should you choose it over a free alternative?

Typical price £35.00
Which? score 68%
Reviewed Aug 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
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.

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 are 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

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.

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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