Best Budget Sat Nav Systems- Top 5

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Much like good audio systems, satnavs have become an essential piece of driving kit. A few years ago, there were only a few models to choose from, but now there is plenty of choice. So which one is best for you?

This list is aimed at your pocket. Like all budget technology there is normally a trade off between features and the price you pay. The ones featured here will get you from A to B with out taking you through forests, rivers, and other peoples living rooms.

Best Budget Sat Nav from Garmin Nuvi
Garmin Nuvi 205 WT UK
Great example of an excellent budget satnav. Has all the features that a good satnav should have, though not all of them are available without subscription. Perhaps the most ingenious feature is that it is tuned into traffic networks to warn of accidents and other road disruptions and suggest an alternative route. Very good navigator for price.

Tom Tom
Tom Tom XL LIVE IQ Routes Europe
If you are a European traveler then this Tom Tom is probably the one to go for. It has all the features of the Garmin, but has an added bonus that it has Google local search built in, so finding a restaurant, petrol station, or hotel in a strange city is that much easier, an awesome tool to have at your disposal.

Many say that Tom Tom’s HD traffic provides the best real time information on traffic news and fuel prices there is, and the XL live comes with HD traffic. A great bit of kit.

Europe Holiday Maker
Garmin Nuvi 255W Europe
Garmin have brought out this one aimed for the touring holiday maker. It is packed with points of interest, and you can display pictures on the screen to see the snap shot you took of a famous landmark and show it on your journey. It comes with a measurement converter, currency converter and a calculator. It is also extremely portable.

ONE IQ Routes UK
Tom Tom ONE IQ Routes UK
This device has based its travel times on data collected from other drivers. So if you are travelling across London on a Monday morning, Tom Tom’s IQ routes technology takes into account rush hour traffic. Pretty marvellous stuff. And yet, it gets better. It also features Lane Guidance, so the satnav tells you which lane to be in rather than a vague ‘keep left’, or ‘keep right’.

Expensive satnav
Garmin Nuvi 1490T Europe
The Garmin Nuvi may seem a little expensive compared to other satnavs designed for the European traveller. Perhaps though, if I tell you it can be used to explore cities on foot using Garmin’s Cityexplorer technology may make you think again before dismissing it. If you are still ready to wave your hand, perhaps the fact that this model can calculate the most fuel efficient route between A to B will make you think again.

The Nuvi also updates itself automatically as you drive into a new time zone, and has the picture facility that its predecessors have as well. A very good satnav and worth the money if you are going to make use of its features.

And perhaps that is the ultimate guide to a satnav. Will you make use of the features, and this will undoubtedly decide your choice. They will all get you to A to B without getting you lost, but each model has its own strengths. It is nice to say, that each model has few weaknesses.


Richard is an experienced freelance writer from the UK.