Best TomTom GPS Systems

Updated May 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

24 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
130 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Shopping guide for best TomTom GPS systems

Last Updated May 2019

Just a few years ago, it was assumed that advances in smartphone GPS technology would render external GPS navigation devices obsolete. The reality isn’t so straightforward. Using a smartphone for vehicle navigation has its benefits, but it comes with almost as many negatives. Consumers are returning in droves to external navigation devices, like those made by TomTom, to get them where they’re going.

One of the primary benefits of using a TomTom GPS system in the car is that it plugs directly into your vehicle’s power source without draining your smartphone’s battery. Most phones have apps that run perpetually in the background, using precious battery life on long trips. Adding a GPS app to that mix can drain a smartphone battery in the blink of an eye. What’s more, if a call comes in while you’re using a smartphone GPS system, you’re forced to choose between your call and the GPS instructions. TomTom makes that choice a thing of the past.

Read our shopping guide to learn about TomTom GPS systems and how to choose the best one for your needs, and check out a few of our favorites.

TomTom, based in the Netherlands, started as a joint venture with electronics giant Erickson in the 1990s.

Key considerations

Most people are looking for basic functionality in a TomTom GPS system. As such, user-friendliness is the number one trait. You’ll want to take into account your personal needs when researching TomTom GPS systems: do you prefer to hear voice commands or look at maps as you drive? TomTom makes a wide range of units for drivers with either preference.

Here’s a look at some of the other major factors to consider as you shop for a TomTom GPS system.

Screen size

Most TomTom units have a display screen that is 4.3 inches, 5.0 inches, or 6.0 inches. In fact, some models are available in your choice of either a 5.0- or 6.0-inch screen. You might prefer the largest screen possible for easy viewing, or you might prefer something smaller that takes up less dashboard space.

Maps

Most TomTom GPS devices come with access to maps for the US, Canada, and Mexico. If you plan to take your TomTom around the globe, make sure you purchase a unit that uses worldwide maps.

  • Map updates: Current TomTom GPS systems come with lifelong map updates. That means you don’t have to pay a subscription fee, and you get the most up-to-date maps in real time. This service is available for any maps that are utilized by your TomTom. Having the most current maps, especially when traveling abroad, is of the utmost importance to any driver.

Smartphone connectivity

If you plan to use your TomTom GPS system in conjunction with your cell phone, to make hands-free calls, for example, you’ll need a unit that can connect via Bluetooth or WiFi to your phone. Most higher-priced TomTom units offer this feature, so make sure yours has the specs you need.

  • Siri and Google Now access: Some TomTom units offer the convenience of accessing Siri and Google Now through your smartphone. Now your GPS system can be turned into an accessory for your smartphone, helping to do some of the heavy lifting while you concentrate on the road.

  • MyDrive app: The MyDrive app, available on some TomTom units, allows you to control some functions on your TomTom system directly from an app on your phone. Compatible with both Android and Apple phones, MyDrive can help you send addresses to your TomTom and review current traffic, among other things.

Voice commands

Most TomTom GPS systems use touchscreen technology, but there are a few models that utilize voice commands. As with any voice command-capable electronic component, the TomTom’s ability to capture your commands accurately can be spotty. Nevertheless, it’s a nice option if you want to have a completely hands-free navigation experience while driving.

Mount

Where will you place your TomTom GPS system? Your vehicle model and your preferred line of sight will dictate this. Before you buy, you’ll want to verify that your unit of choice can be easily positioned in a convenient location in your car. Some TomTom systems are equipped with an active magnetic mount while others use a suction cup.

TomTom Traffic

Where will you place your TomTom GPS system? Your vehicle model and your preferred line of sight will dictate this. Before you buy, you’ll want to verify that your unit of choice can be easily positioned in a convenient location in your car. Some TomTom systems are equipped with an active magnetic mount while others use a suction cup.

DID YOU KNOW?

The first GPS systems in automobiles were introduced in 1996.

DID YOU KNOW?

The original concept for modern-day GPS was developed during World War II as a way to track ships and submarines.

DID YOU KNOW?

GPS shoes are available as a way to track elderly patients with dementia.

TomTom GPS system prices

Inexpensive: Basic TomTom GPS systems fall in the $100 to $130 range. These units carry the bare bones functions, including touchscreen capabilities and North American maps. If you need something with more bells and whistles, you’ll likely need to look at the mid-range price point.

Mid-range: These TomTom units cost between $150 and $200. You get a substantial boost in function for only a small increase in price. If you want to get more of the proverbial bang for your buck out of a TomTom GPS System, the mid-range units are probably the best option for you.

Expensive: TomTom systems that cost over $200 are the cream of the crop in their product field. Most systems in this price range have worldwide maps and a host of smartphone tie-ins that will make even the most tech-savvy users happy. Purchase something in this price range if you want to get all of the benefits of a compact yet high-tech GPS system.

Tips

  • Prepare your TomTom unit before your trip. You’ll want to mount and prep it before you begin your journey so you’re not fidgeting with it while trying to drive.

  • Stay current on your maps. TomTom GPS systems now come with lifetime maps, so make sure that yours is always loaded with the most current version.

  • Optimize phone settings if you have them. As mentioned, some TomTom GPS systems have smartphone functionality. A TomTom GPS unit can make your cell phone more useful, and vice versa.

  • Verify that the charging ports you’ll use to charge your TomTom are working properly. This is especially important if you’re heading out for a long trip. Being lost in an unfamiliar place because your GPS is unable to charge isn’t the way to start a family vacation.

Other products we considered

We had to limit our top picks to five, but another popular product that caught our eye is the TomTom GO 520 GPS Navigation Device. With world maps and smartphone messaging, this five-inch GPS unit is all you need to see the world. We doubt you’ll be disappointed with this unit. Another user-friendly option is the TomTom VIA 1525SE. This mid-range system is one of the easiest to use, and the five-inch screen is the perfect balance between quality and convenience. It has many of the features of a higher priced model at a very reasonable cost.

TomTom got its name because the original choice – Tom – was too common to be trademarked.

FAQ

Q. Can’t my cell phone do the same things as a GPS system?
A
. No. If you use your cell phone for GPS purposes, then the phone and all other apps become useless while driving. A GPS system allows you to have continuous directions and maintain access to all of the functions of your cell phone at the same time.

Q. Is it difficult to connect a GPS device to the vehicle?
A.
No. In most cases, a single wire is all you’ll need to connect your TomTom GPS system to a power source in your vehicle. You don’t have to be a technological genius to connect your TomTom.

Q. Will the GPS drain my car’s battery?
A
. No. The TomTom GPS system uses only a minimal amount of power from the vehicle, so there’s no need to worry about battery drainage.

Q. Do I have to connect my TomTom to my cell phone for it to work?
A
. No. Although many TomTom devices have the option to work in unison with your smartphone, they all function independently of this connection and do not require a cell phone in order to function properly.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Samantha
    Samantha
    Writer

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