If you are planning an outdoor trip, it is important to have a navigator on hand. While technological advancements enabled mobile phones to have navigational features, without any data or tower strength, its GPS is inaccurate. That’s why it is vital that you own a handheld GPS unit when going outdoor. 


A handheld GPS is a great all-in-one tool for outdoor enthusiasts or someone who just likes to travel to faraway places. It is a map, compass, and navigating record keeper. If you like going on outdoor adventures, it is imperative that you invest in high-quality GPS. It comes in handy not only on long hiking trips, but also during biking, camping, and other activities. 


Today’s market is flooded with different types of GPS model and finding the right one that suits your need is challenging, especially if you are a newbie. Consider these points to help you find the best handheld GPS for you. 

How does GPS Work?

Global Positioning System (GPS) is a system of about 30 navigation satellites that circle the earth. These satellites emit signals of their location and time which is received by a GPS unit. Once the receiver calculates its distance from four or GPS satellites, the unit will display its result on a small LCD screen. Its accuracy depends on satellites the GPS unit is locked onto, the more satellites the more its location is accurate. 

How to Find the Right Handheld GPS

When purchasing a handheld GPS, you should consider different factors such as size, battery and memory capacity. Understanding the different features of a handheld GPS help you find the best one that suits your needs. Here are some factors to consider: 

Buttons or Touch Screen

When purchasing a handheld GPS, the first thing you will encounter is choosing between a touch screen GPS versus those that operate using buttons. These types have their pros and cons and it’s totally up to you which one do you think is best for your needs. 


A handheld GPS unit with buttons usually has a longer battery life compared to the touchscreen ones. This type of GPS can be used easily in every kind of weather conditions because it’s operated with simple buttons. It is also easy to use, especially if you’re a newbie in using a handheld GPS unit. 


Although, buttoned handheld GPS systems work at a lesser speed. Compared to the touch screen type where you can find your way with a single touch, this one requires you to type everything. If you like it old school, you can check out this buttoned Garmin handheld GPS unit


If you like your devices more advanced, then the touch screen handheld GPS unit is the one for you. Compared to its buttoned counterpart, this type of GPS unit performs faster and can provide you with your desired information in just a few seconds. You can check out Garmin Etrex 32x if you feel like touchscreen handheld GPS unit is for you. 


However, one disadvantage of having a touch screen GPS device is its battery life. It has a lesser battery timing as compared to the buttons one. It is also not ideal to bring this type of device on colder conditions because if you’re going to wear gloves on a consistent basis, you might find it hard to operate the device and would always be facing some sort of problems. 


If you want a user-friendly device with long battery life, the buttoned handheld GPS unit is for you. But if you’re looking for efficiency, go for the touch screen type. 

Electronic Compass

When purchasing a handheld GPS unit, you need to look for something that has an electronic compass. This gives the unit the ability to show exact directions without the need to move back and forth. What sets this apart from the differential counterpart is that for the latter, you need to make some sort of movement for the unit to determine your position and direction. 


Although the GPS unit knows your exact location, it does not, however, knows where you are currently facing at the time. If you want a high-quality handheld GPS unit, you should always look for a device that has a preloaded electronic compass. Barometric Altimeter

While the majority of handheld devices produce accurate results on-ground level, only some works on elevated grounds. If you’re going on elevated terrain or you live in such area, it is important to purchase a GPS unit that comes preloaded with a barometric altimeter.


Being outdoor means you’ll be exposed in different weather conditions, some mild, some extremes. This is why it is crucial that your handheld GPS unit comes with long-lasting durability. Look for a device that is made of waterproof materials, and make sure that it comes with a decent warranty. Check out Garmin Etrex 10, a waterproof Garmin handheld GPS unit.  

Long Battery Life

Long battery life should always be one of the things you should look for in a GPS unit. The average battery life of a high-quality handheld GPS unit varies from 18-22 hours depending on usage. For some, this may be enough but if you need one that has a longer battery life, try checking out products that with external batteries. With this, you will not need to charge the unit on a consistent basis. 


Whether you chose to use a touch screen GPS or a buttoned one, it should always come with a large-sized display screen. You can check out Garmin ETREX 22x, which has an excellent display resolution. Also, the unit should have a decent amount of backlight brightness, especially if you’re going to use it under the bright sun. 


While these factors will help you decide what handheld GPS unit you’ll purchase, the deciding factor will always be your preference and the way you will be using the device. 


If you are an outdoor enthusiast, always remember that you should never compromise the quality of the purchase. Yes, it will be probably cost you more money, but if you will be exploring new places, having a quality handheld GPS unit will always help. But if you’re just a recreational user who would want to have this device for fun, it’s okay to settle down for some medium-quality unit. 

When looking for handheld GPS devices, be sure to buy only from trusted brands. Here at Mr Boats, we assure you that all our products come from trusted manufacturers. Check out all our products today!