Using a sat-nav to get from A-to-B is now the rule rather than the exception, and they make great presents for the directionless!
We've researched some of the cheapest and best-value sat-navs on the market to help point you in the right direction. There's also a section on handy apps for smartphones, which could mean you don't need to buy a sat-nav at all.
Important! Ensure you know how to shop safely before trying these deals
Full DOs and DONT's
Tips for shopping safely
Whether it's a retailer or restauranteur, airline or air-conditioner seller, computer shop or car rental company, there are always two main risks. Either it's a dodgy company, or it's a legit company that has financial problems and goes bust.
The aim of these tips is to help you minimise the risks.
What happens if a company goes bust?
Quite simply, its customers are immediately transformed into creditors. This hits hardest if you've ordered goods or tickets from them, and not had delivery, as then you become one of a line of people trying to get your money back out of the company's assets, and you usually get back much less than you paid in.
Even if you've had delivery, if the company you bought from goes under and there's a problem with the goods, it can mean you've no comeback.
While MoneySavingExpert.com endeavours to check deals are valid, we don't check companies' finances. Even huge names like MFI and Woolies have folded, so it's very important you use the right strategies to stay protected where possible.
Garmin Nuvi 30, £49
As a big player in the sat-nav market, Garmin models usually come with a hefty price tag, but Halfords* is currently selling the Nuvi 30 for £49, with free click & collect.
It's preloaded with UK and Ireland maps, and the lane assistance feature, combined with spoken street names, means you can listen for when you have to turn, without taking your eyes off the road.
- 3.5" touchscreen
- UK & Ireland maps
- Spoken street names
- Junction view
- Speed limit indicator
- Lane guidance
TomTom Start 20, £69
Currently cheapest at Tesco*, the TomTom Start 20 includes UK and Ireland mapping for £69. Delivery's £3, or free if you click and collect.
It has all you'd expect from a TomTom, including lane guidance, spoken street names and fixed speed camera notifications. TomTom's IQ Routes feature also uses speed data from other users to calculate your travel time.
If you don't mind a refurbished TomTom it's also worth browsing the TomTom outlet store, which can offer some decent discounts off standard prices.
- 4.3" touchscreen
- UK & ROI maps
- Speed camera alerts
- Lane guidance
- Travel time calculator
- Parking assistance
- Free lifetime maps
If you've got a smartphone (with a decent screen), it's possible to use this as a sat-nav, so you can avoid buying a separate product.
Apps can vary in price, from free to about £50, but if you're going to pay this much for an app it's probably wiser to buy a separate sat-nav. The downside to using apps over maps is that the large files could take up a lot of your phone's memory, and if your screen's not big enough you may not be able to see where you're going anyway. It also uses a lot of battery as it sends a constant GBS signal back and forth and some require internet connection.
If you're going down this route, below are some of the top free apps for iPhones and Android phones
Navmii GPS UK & ROI
Available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry
What is Navmii? Navmii (previously called Navfree) is a completely free route planner app with no ongoing charges. It's based on crowd sourced map data from the Open Street Map service.
How does it work? Search by exact address or postcode, do a simple "Point Of Interest" (POI) search, or connect to Google/Bing to find information about the local area (you'll need a data connection). Then plan your route.
Google Maps for mobile
Available for iPhone and Android
What is Google Maps? Most smartphones come with Google Maps pre-installed, but the service itself works best with devices that support Google's operating system, Android.
How does it work? The app offers free turn-by-turn directions (with voice prompts if you choose to turn them on) whether you're travelling by car, by bike or walking.
The mapping itself is like normal Google Maps, but less detailed. However, it moves fast and follows where you're going, so you can see if you're going the wrong way.
Waze GPS & social traffic app
Available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry
What is Waze? Waze is a free GPS and social traffic app, available on iPhones, Androids and Blackberrys.
How does it work? Powered completely by its users, you can build and use live maps, real-time traffic updates and turn-by-turn navigation to improve your daily commute.
To choose the sat-nav that's right for you, make sure you understand the technical terms.
|3D views||3D maps show you an angled view of your route. 2D maps show you an overhead view, like a traditional paper map. Some people find that 3D views are easier to follow, but it's worth trying out a few sat-navs in store to find out what works best for you.|
|Free lifetime maps||Your sat-nav's manufacturer will offer free updates for the lifetime of the device. It's worth checking however, what it considers a lifetime to be. TomTom says this is 'the period of time that TomTom continues to support your device with software updates, services, content or accessories', so the length of time could vary for different brands.|
|Lane guidance||If you're driving on a busy motorway, lane guidance will help you get into the right lane for your route.|
|Parking assistance||Your sat nav will show you the nearest car parks to your destination.|
|Points of interest||Your sat nav will display locations that may be of interest to you eg, petrol stations, railway stations, hospitals and restaurants.|
|Speed camera alerts||
Your sat-nav will alert you when fixed speed cameras are coming up. Some models are able to detect mobile cameras too.
|Speed limit indicator||Your sat-nav will display the speed limit on the screen, and alert you if your speed goes over the limit. Be wary of this feature though - speed limits can change and it's important to watch out for road signs rather than just rely on your sat-nav.|
|Spoken street names||Rather than just telling you to 'turn left in 100 yards', the sat-nav will give you the exact street name. This means you don't need to look at the screen to know which road to turn onto.|
If you're not happy about your product or the service you receive, you should first contact the retailer in person, by phone, or in writing. However, if you're still not satisfied, then...
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