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Top five sat navs for 2018

By Daljinder Nagra

We round up the year’s best sat navs, from free sat nav apps to the most advanced big-screen standalone models.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

With a Best Buy sat nav you’ll get from A to B, trouble free, every time. So there’s no need to argue with a loved one over directions or if you find yourself heading the wrong way down a one-way street.

We test and review the latest sat navs, including new models from Garmin and TomTom, plus the latest and most innovative sat nav apps.

Each one is tested rigorously to ensure it’s easy to use, comes up with sensible routes and gives you clear directions you can follow when you’re out on the road. 

Whether you’re looking for a dedicated sat nav with all the latest features or a sat nav app that works brilliantly even when you can’t get a 3G or 4G signal, you’ll find what you’re looking for below. We also reveal three sat nav apps you should avoid.

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 to our sat nav results plus all of our online reviews.

Best sat navs 2018

Lowest price (in stock) £199.99
Which? score 79%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Overall navigation quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Overall quality of audio instructions:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Overall ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Type:
Member exclusive
Traffic monitoring:
Member exclusive

Can this mid-range sat nav from TomTom keep up with the high-end option?

Lowest price (in stock) £289.99
Which? score 79%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Overall navigation quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Overall quality of audio instructions:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Overall ease of use:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Type:
Member exclusive
Traffic monitoring:
Member exclusive

This high-end sat nav is pricey, but it’s chocked full of features. Does the navigation also impress?

Lowest price (in stock) £240.15
Which? score 79%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Overall navigation quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Overall quality of audio instructions:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Overall ease of use:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Type:
Member exclusive
Traffic monitoring:
Member exclusive

Our highest scoring model is very expensive, but is loaded with functionality. But does it offer guidance as clear as other Best Buy navs?

Lowest price (in stock) £207.36
Which? score 78%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Overall navigation quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Overall quality of audio instructions:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Overall ease of use:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Type:
Member exclusive
Traffic monitoring:
Member exclusive

This model boasts a premium price, but does it have the construction quality and feature list to match?

Lowest price (in stock) £179.99
Which? score 77%
Reviewed Jun 2017
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:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Type:
Member exclusive
Traffic monitoring:
Member exclusive

This mid-range model impresses, but some aspects could prove frustrating for some users.

You can take a look at all of our sat nav reviews.

And here are three sat nav apps to avoid

The worst sat navs and sat nav apps from our testing have messy maps, vague vocal guidance and confusing visual cues. They are often tricky to use, too, with illogical layouts and unclear menus. 

Frankly, we think they should just get lost. Here, we take a look at the very worst sat nav apps from our testing, which are all bad enough to be Don’t Buys.

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 buy a sat nav or sat nav app?

We put every sat nav and sat nav app through the same series of tough tests using a GPS simulator. And we’ve found some great sat nav apps in our tests, including apps that are good enough to be Best Buys. 

A sat nav app is installed on your smartphone and they tend to be cheaper than dedicated devices, but may not offer quite the same smooth user experience. Handily, it’s easy to download an app, try and then delete if you don’t like it. Many will include or have the option to add useful features. 

We have tested sat nav apps that offer good quality navigation to rival a dedicated device, but we’ve also found others that have such poor guidance we simply wouldn’t recommend them. If you’re unsure whether you need a standalone sat nav or a sat nav app, try our interactive tool and find out how to buy the best sat nav for you.

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