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Garmin vs Google Maps for truckers

As technology evolves, navigation tools like Garmin and Google Maps are becoming increasingly essential for truckers. 

In this in-depth comparison, we’ll explore the specific functionalities of Garmin’s specialized GPS truck navigation line and Google Maps, assessing their strengths and weaknesses to determine which offers the most efficient, reliable, and user-friendly experience for commercial truck drivers.

And when you finish, read more in our ‘Best navigation app for truckers’ article series:

What is Garmin GPS?

Garmin’s Dezl line is a series of GPS navigation devices designed specifically for commercial truck drivers. The Dezl GPS units come preloaded with detailed maps that also include truck-related restrictions — like bridge heights, sharp curves, weight limits, and more — for most major roads and highways.

Key features of a Garmin trucker GPS typically include:

  • Customized truck routing: Based on the size and weight of your truck, the Dezl trucking navigation device will find the best route that avoids truck restrictions or low bridges.
  • Road warnings: This feature alerts the driver to sharp curves, speed changes, railroad crossings, and more.
  • Truck services: The device will show points of interest specifically curated for truck drivers, including truck stops, weigh stations, parking, lodging, Wi-Fi hotspots, and more.
  • Hours of service (HOS) recording: Many Garmin commercial GPS models can record HOS and driving status, track remaining driving hours, and maintain a complete record of mileage.
  • Voice-activated navigation: Allows drivers to control the Garmin GPS navigator with their voices, keeping their hands on the wheel.

Remember, the exact features can vary between different models of the Garmin for truckers line.

What is Google Maps?

Google Maps is a web-based service that provides maps, satellite images, street views and real-time traffic conditions. It also offers directions for various modes of transportation, such as driving, walking, biking or public transit.

Developed and operated by Google, the platform is accessible via browsers and mobile devices. Google Maps has become an important tool for navigation, exploration and local searches, both for individuals and businesses.

Google Maps has incredible features which some truckers feel make it the best truck GPS, like real-time traffic updates to determine traffic density and adjust routes accordingly. When a user searches for a location, Google Maps accesses its vast database of street maps and satellite images to locate the area. This info then helps to provide users with accurate geographic information.

Google Maps vs Garmin: What’s the best GPS for truckers?

When choosing the best trucking GPS, it’s crucial to consider the particular needs and demands of commercial vehicle driving. Both Garmin GPS for truckers and Google Maps offer a range of features for commercial drivers seeking GPS navigation for trucks.

Here’s how the two compare as trucking GPS systems: 

Commercial vehicle navigation capabilities

Garmin Dezl GPS for trucks has robust features geared towards commercial truck drivers. The devices come preloaded with detailed maps that include truck-related restrictions such as bridge heights, sharp curves, weight limits, and more for most major roads and highways. Moreover, the Dezl customized truck routing feature offers paths based on the size and weight of the truck, avoiding roads with truck restrictions or low bridges.

On the other hand, the Google Maps route planner provides turn-by-turn directions, real-time traffic updates, estimated times of arrival (ETA), and alternative route suggestions. It doesn’t, however, offer dedicated routing capabilities for owner-operators or trucking companies. While accurate and reliable, Google Maps isn’t as specialized for truckers as the Garmin truck GPS.

Winner: Garmin


The Google Maps trip planner is widely available on almost any device with an internet connection, including smartphones, tablets, and computers. This makes it an accessible choice for most people. You can use it for free, which is a significant advantage over many paid GPS systems.

Garmin GPS for trucks, on the other hand, requires the purchase of a physical device. These devices can be costly, but they provide specialized features beneficial for commercial truck drivers. 

Winner: Google Maps

Traffic, accidents, and weather updates

Both Google Maps and Garmin offer real-time traffic updates. Google Maps uses data from various sources, including users’ phones, to provide real-time traffic conditions. It can adjust the route in response to traffic, accidents, and other road conditions.

Garmin truck GPS devices, when paired with the Garmin Drive app, can provide live traffic, weather, and fuel prices. Their traffic feature is very detailed, offering information about the situation, whether it’s a crash or construction, and the expected delay. As a result, Garmin offers the best traffic GPS capabilities.

Winner: Garmin

User interfaces

Google Maps offers a user-friendly interface that many people are familiar with. It allows for location sharing, shows multiple locations, lets you add your business, and even allows for the mapping of running routes. The simplicity and ease of use make Google Maps GPS for commercial trucks a popular choice for many users. You can also measure distance in Google Maps and see city limits, making it versatile for truck navigating.

Garmin GPS navigation units feature a more specialized interface, designed specifically for professional drivers. The interface offers easy access to truck-specific points of interest, truck routing and road warnings, and hours of service recording. Garmin integrates truck GPS navigation into the vehicle’s display for convenience.

Winner: Garmin

Here’s the best navigation app for truckers

So, which one is better for trucker GPS navigation? Google Maps is a versatile, free, and widely available navigation tool with user-friendly features, making it a practical option for many drivers.

However, for professional truckers, Garmin’s GPS for commercial trucks may offer more detailed and specialized features that make navigation safer and more efficient. In this match-up, Garmin takes the prize for top GPS navigator for trucks.


Does Google Maps provide truck routes?

Google Maps does not have a specific feature to provide trucker route planning. While it’s excellent for general navigation and directions, it does not take into account the unique needs of truckers, such as vehicle size, weight restrictions, bridge heights, and road suitability for large vehicles. As a result, it isn’t ideal for providing GPS navigation for semi trucks.

Is a truck-specific GPS worth it?

Truck-specific GPS devices or applications are essential because commercial trucks have unique navigation needs. These include height and weight restrictions, hazardous materials routes, and the need to find truck-specific services such as truck stops or weigh stations. A truck-specific GPS, like the CoPilot Truck, Motive app and Garmin GPS for truckers, is designed to take these factors into account.

Is Waze good for truckers?

While Waze is a popular navigation app known for its real-time traffic and road incident updates, it doesn’t offer truck-specific features like custom routing based on vehicle size or weight, which are crucial to commercial truck GPS navigation.

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