Cheap sat nav deals enable you to get a lot of bang for very little buck. Cheap sat-nav deals are a particularly good idea if you have an older car: even DVD-based sat-navs that cost thousands just a few years ago aren’t as accurate as a budget sat-nav device bought today, and many sat navs also deliver hands-free phone calls.
Whatever your preference, makes sure you consider the big picture when you’re choosing the best cheap sat nav: is it worth sacrificing a feature such as live traffic information to save a modest amount? You might regret it the next time you’re stuck in a jam.
Garmin DriveSmart 50LMT-D
Lifetime maps and live traffic with lots of customisation
Display: 5-inch | Battery: up to 1 hour | Internal storage: not stated | SD slot: microSD
The big attraction here is lifetime mapping and live traffic information, but it’s an impressive device too. There’s a five-inch, dual-orientation touchscreen with pinch to zoom display, customizable driver alerts to warn you about hazards such as sharp curves or school zones, smartphone notifications, hands-free control and Bluetooth integration for hands-free calling. Voice control can be a little flaky but the phone integration is very good. Like all Garmin sat-nav devices, the directions take a plain-English approach, suggesting you turn after specific landmarks rather than just telling you how far it is before the next direction change.
Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT-D
Essentially a DriveSmart with added dashcam
Display: 5-inch | Battery: 30 mins | Internal storage: not stated | SD slot: microSD
The DriveAssist takes the DriveSmart 50 as a template and adds a bunch of stuff to it. There’s a dash camera, which records your trips and provides useful evidence if you hit or are hit by another vehicle, and there’s accident avoidance technology too. It doesn’t actually do anything to your car, but it attempts to warn you if you’re drifting towards the other lane or if you’re maybe getting a little close to tailgating the car in front. Whether that’s a good thing depends on how you like your driver assistance: for some it’s a little too noisy.
TomTom Go 620
It costs a lot, but it does a lot too
Display: 6-inch | Battery: up to 1 hour | Internal storage: 16GB | SD slot: microSD
This is pricier than most, but it does more than most. You get lifetime maps for the whole world and lifetime updates on speed camera locations, lifetime traffic data via your smartphone and Wi-Fi software and map updating, hands-free calling, smartphone notifications and a free horse. We’re lying about the horse, but you do get a nifty magnetic mount and a six-inch capacitive touchscreen. It’s a very impressive device with 3D buildings in cities, coverage of most of the planet (although if you’re going to Ukraine, you’re only covered 65% of the time) and a huge range of supported languages. The free traffic camera service means it a very attractive long-term investment.
TomTom Via 62
An excellent all-rounder that’s a better buy than the Start
Display: 6-inch | Battery: up to 1 hour | Internal storage: 8GB | SD slot: microSD
The TomTom Via 62 is an excellent all-rounder. It connects to your phone for hands-free calling but also to contact TomTom’s traffic servers, which is a big plus - but it does mean that your phone can’t connect to your car’s own system, so if you prefer to stream music to your car stereo or use its hands-free calling then this might not be the nav for you. The 6-inch display is resistive rather than capacitive (you don't have to apply as much pressure on capacitive screens) but it works well enough and provides crisp, clear maps. It’s not the kind of device to make the heart sing but it gets you where you want to go with the minimum of fuss. Not currently available in the US.
TomTom Go 52 (Start 52 in the UK)
Cheap and cheerful but lacks live traffic
Display: 5-inch | Battery: 1 hour | Internal storage: 8GB | SD Slot: microSD
The Start is a little pricey in its US incarnation but in the UK it’s a strong contender in the sub-£100 sector. There’s no live traffic data, which may be a restriction too far for some, but it’s straightforward enough with a clear display, good directions and fast startup time. The resistive screen isn’t as nice as more expensive devices’ capacitive ones, but it works fine and you get lifetime map updates that’ll keep it current for years to come. It’s not spectacular but it’s solid enough - although it’s wise to track the price of the Via 62, which does have life traffic information and which is often discounted so it costs the same as the 52.
More cheap sat nav deals:
Not quite found what you're looking for in the list above? Not to worry, here's a list of retailers known to stock some decent cheap sat nav deals.