Essential Guide to Motorhome Sat Navs
We recently changed our motorhome and wanted to upgrade the ancient disc-driven motorhome nav for a more up to date motorhome GPS model. But what type to choose?
We did a lot of research on sat nav info and wanted to share our findings and reviews of caravan and motorhome sat navs with you. Read on to find motorhome sat navs compared, and the top sixteen motorhome satellite navigation system best buys for 2021 in this essential buying guide.
Do You Actually Need a Motorhome or Caravan Sat Nav?
If, like us, you spend most of your driving time in a motorhome (or towing a caravan) then you may want to consider consider looking at specialist sat navs for motorhomes. This is because sat navs and software designed for cars won’t allow you to configure the device to avoid height and weight restrictions, which help you navigate safely.
It’s true that driving with due care and and paying attention to road signs should help you avoid all the common hazards BUT you may not know about the low bridge or weight restriction until you’re a mile or so away when a suitable diversion might be too late.
Turning a large vehicle or towing caravan is not always easy and can be stressful for the driver. Add in the cost of wasted fuel, not to mention wasted time and you have a good case for a motorhome sat nav.
If you’re reading this because you’re new to motorhoming, there are loads more tips and advice in our guide for motorhome beginners.
What Are the Different Types of Motorhome Sat Navs?
Pros & Cons of Integrated GPS Systems
An integrated GPS system fits in your dash and may also be connected to your reversing camera, radio and a bluetooth telephone system. These fitted sat nav systems are an expensive optional extra, sold as a satellite navigation and media pack. Expect to pay around £1.5k or thereabouts for a factory fitted Fiat Ducato motorhome sat nav.
When we did our research, we found this type of system very difficult to buy off the shelf; generally you would have to go to a specialist supplier and installer for one of these.
If you have bought an older motorhome with an integrated system that you want to upgrade, try looking at a multi-media system, which you’ll find further on in this post. They work in a different way but give you the same look and feel as a traditional in-dash system.
Pros & Cons of Dash Mounted Sat Navs
Like a traditional car sat nav but can be configured for your motorhomes size and weight. This is a usually a sat nav with bluetooth and live traffic updates and can be linked to a reversing camera (read more about this later in the post).
Some will also have integrated dash cams (find out more about dash cams) and speed camera alerts. They are generally the easiest to use sat nav system but not the most attractive to look at and depending on which make you buy.
Top Ten Best Dash Mounted GPS Systems
Our Choice & Best Dash Mounted All Rounder – Garmin Camper Sat Nav 770LMT-D
This is a well-regarded motorhome GPS sat nav from a respected manufacture. It will provide quality and bang-on mapping, and in our opinion, is the best Garmin motorhome sat nav for Europe.
It was our best motorhome sat nav 2020, and not much has changed. We still think this overall the best motorhome sat nav for 2021.
- Specialised sat navigation designed specifically for caravans and motorhomes with large, easy-to-read 6.95-inch edge-to-edge touchscreen display and Wi-Fi for easy map and software updates.
- Custom routing and trip planning.
- Directory of campsites from ACSI, NKC and MHF.
- Route warnings.
- Europe lifetime map updates.
- Lifetime speed and safety camera updates.
- Digital traffic via DAB.
- Free live traffic information services.
- Hands-free calling.
- Voice-activated navigation.
- Built-in wi-Fi for easy updates.
- Becomes a seamless motorhome sat nav with reversing camera when you fir the compatible Garmin BC 30 Wireless Back Up Camera.
We recommend the Garmin Camper 770 LMT-D sat nav if you’re looking for a dash mounted GPS system. Why? Here are eight reasons;
- Rated as five star by 70% of buyers in over 830 ratings on Amazon.
- Plug and play, no fitting required.
- Sleek looks and full screen display for easy viewing.
- Includes motorhome and camper speed limits and alerts across EU and UK.
- Can be connected to Garmin smartwatches for driver alerts and vehicle location – never lose your motorhome again!
- Pinpoint a location on your phone and send to your Garmin for mapping and navigation.
- Compatible with the Garmin Wireless Reversing Camera meaning no need for two screens on the dash.
- Well priced for a superior brand and product.
If you are looking for a dash mounted sat nav with good functionality and great build quality the Garmin Camper 770lmt is the perfect choice.
Garmin Camper 890MT-D Advanced Camper Sat Nav
The next model up from the Garmin 770, the Camper 890MT-D has a larger 8 inch edge-to-edge touch screen which can be used in both portrait and landscape option. The other features are pretty similar but if you find the 770’s 6.95 inch screen a little small. then this is a good alternative without the higher price point of the 10 inch Garmin 1090 (below)
- Full Europe maps of all 46 countries.
- Access to traffic and hazard areas, fuel prices and live weather included when you download the Garmin Drive app.
- Plan your dream trip and browse the world with free download of additional maps.
- Includes TripAdvisor reviews and a complete portfolio of motorhome stopovers from ACSI and Campercontact.
- Creates custom routes based on the size and weight of your motorhome and provides road alerts such as bridge heights and slopes gradients.
- Bluetooth-enabled for hands-free calls and notifications.
- Voice navigation instructions directly from your motorhome stereo.
- Compatible with the Garmin BC 35 Rear View Camera.
Best for Large Screen – Garmin Camper 1090 Caravan & Motorhome Sat Nav
This Garmin motorhome sat nav is huge in comparison to all the other motorhome sat navs on the market. With a whopping 10 inch high-resolution touch display, which can be used in landscape and portrait mode, this resembles a tablet rather than a traditional sat nav. Expect all the other popular Garmin features in their new for 2021 model plus built-in wifi for easy map updates, perfect for those without a laptop.
- Map updates include preloaded street maps for Europe.
- Custom routing considers the size and weight of your motorhome then finds a suggested route.
- Provides road warnings to help keep you aware of steep grades, sharp curves, weight limits and more.
- Preloaded directories of motorhome and campervan stops parks services from ACSI, iOverlander and Campercontact, which can be filtered by preferred amenities such as showers, electricity and more.
- Bluetooth hands-free calling .
- Compatible with the Garmin BC 35 Rear View Camera.
Snooper Ventura S6900 Motorhome Sat Nav
A popular choice for motorhomers, this Snooper motorhome sat nav always gets great reviews. It has one of the biggest campsite and stop over directories of all the best sellers.
- Providing advanced satellite navigation dedicated to safe, efficient routing for drivers of caravans & motorhomes.
- Active magnetic mount.
- 7″ touchscreen.
- Free lifetime full Europe map updates.
- Over 31,000 campsites POI’s.
- Maps for Life – free lifetime digital traffic data.
- Junction view and lane guidance.
Best for Integrated Dash Cam – Snooper Ventura SC5900 DVR G2 Motorhome Navigation System
Another (cheaper) offer from Snooper, but with the added benefit of a built-in dash cam. The screen is quite small on this one and in an A class motorhome you might find it difficult to position well enough to get the dash cam working and be able to touch the screen.
- 5″ Widescreen LCD with built-in HD dash Cam (DVR).
- Designed specifically for caravans and motorhomes, Ventura calculates safe routes based on your vehicles width, length, height and weight.
- Includes unique search facility of over 31, 000 campsites and motorhome stopovers in 31 countries, the largest Database of any Caravan or motorhome specific sat navigation.
- Lifetime EU caravan & motorhome mapping.
- Lifetime TMC (traffic).
Aguri Motorhome Sat Nav RV720
A well built Aguri sat nav using specialist software and providing great value for money. Aguri is a newish brand that is rapidly establishing itself at the top of the list for owners of large vehicles.
- Motorhome and Caravan specialist navigation software.
- 5” Full colour responsive touch screen LCD.
- Free full Europe lifetime maps updates & speed trap updates.
- Built-in 1080P HD DVR dash cam with 130 degree wide angle lens.
- One touch ‘Office’ and ‘Home’ routing.
- Multi-stop travel route generator.
- Junction view & lane view routing software.
- Text to speech direction alerts including spoken street name or number.
- Extensive POI including over 30,000 campsites and motorhome stopovers.
- Built-in wifi so you can update maps, software and the speed trap database without the need to connect to a PC or Mac.
- Free full Europe lifetime map updates.
Best Budget Option – Aonerex Sat Nav for Cars & Trucks
If you’re looking for cheap sat navs, this model is the budget choice. It provides limited options and a less responsive touch screen but does get great reviews, with 58% of Amazon customers rating the sat nav as five star.
- Shows important stops like gas, food and rest stops without having to risk going away from the map and losing a turn.
- 7″ inch touch screen.
- Alerts you to upcoming hazards such as curves, school zones, speed zones and traffic lights.
- Provides offline navigation with a built-in GPS chip which works without network, so you don’t have to rely on your phones connectivity or data.
- Pre-installed maps of 52 countries in Europe plus UK.
- Free lifetime maps updates.
Avtex Tourer Two Caravan and Motorhome Sat Nav
This comes from a well-respected name in motorhome 12v tv’s and uses Garmin mapping. This is a good combination of manufacturers knowledge of motorhomes and European maps but is at the pricey end of the market. The Avtex Tourer One is still available at around £15 less, making the Tourer Two a firm choice.
- Custom camper routing for the size and weight of your camper or caravans.
- Voice operable with Bluetooth technology.
- Road warnings for bridge heights, weight limits, sharp curves, steep grades and more.
- Shows elevation and possible steep grades along your route.
- Directory of more than 9000 ACSI camp sites.
- POI’s for The Caravan and Motorhome Club.
TomTom Go Camper Sat Nav
This TomTom motorhome sat nav is from a respected manufacturer but limits you to pre-defined campervan and motorhome routes. You may prefer the TomTom Go professional 6250 below.
- Customised routes for your motorhome or camper.
- Life time updates via wifi, no computer or laptopn needed.
- Find detailed camper and caravan points of interest such as stopovers and dum stations.
- 6″ screen with 800 x 480 display resolution.
- TomTom road trips to help you discover the world’s best routes, personalise them easily so you can relax and be guided on the drive.
- Tom Tom MyDrive helps you plan routes, check live traffic data and save favourites from your smartphone, tablet or PC.
TomTom Go Professional 6250 GPS Truck Sat Nav
Lacks the specific motorhome features of the model above but provides superior mapping and the ability to configure for size and weight, which is reflected in the price. pre-loaded POI’s are more tailored to trucks and coaches.
- Customised large vehicle routing.
- Lifetime large vehicle maps, traffic and speed cams.
- Compatible with Siri and Google Now.
- Bluetooth hands-free calling with voice commands and smartphone messages.
- MyDrive route planning.
- Widescreen 6″ touchscreen.
- Built-in wifi for the latest map and software updates.
Pros & Cons of In Dash Multimedia Systems
Relative newcomers to the market, these are fully integrated into your dash and provide touchscreen mapping, music and telephone via Apple Carplay and Android Auto apps on your smartphone. Some are compatible with reversing cameras also.
You will need smartphone data for one of these systems; they will typically use 0.67MB of data every 10 miles and 0.73MB of mobile data for every 20 minutes of driving.
Top Six Multimedia Systems
Our Choice & Best Multimedia All Rounder – Pioneer SPH-DA130DAB
This multimedia system is a level down from the previous Pioneer model shown because it retains the side touch buttons instead of providing the full width of the screen for mapping. Otherwise it provides all the functionality and features of the more expensive model and looks well in the dash.
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible.
- 6.2″ Glass Capacitive touchscreen.
- DAB+/FM/AM radio tuner with custom button illumination.
- Rear USB, aux In, 3 pre-outs and steering wheel control.
- Bluetooth hands-free.
- Audio streaming.
We recommend the Pioneer SPH-DA130DAB if you’re looking for a multimedia system. Why? Here are eight reasons;
- Faultless operation over 10k miles in both Europe and Morocco. 77% of buyers rate this multimedia system as five star.
- Works with Google Maps, Apple Maps and Maps.me.
- Reversing camera can be connected so multiple screens on the dash are not required.
- Works on 12v when parked up to use motorhome apps and stream music through the motorhome speakers via Spotify and other music apps.
- Enabled for bluetooth so you can make and receive calls on the move.
- Well priced for the brand and product.
- Can be set up for DAB radio in the UK.
- Easy to buy from Amazon and have fitted at Halfords, who will also connect your reversing camera if compatible (see notes below).
If you are looking for a retro-fit sat nav system at the right money, with good functionality and don’t want lots of separate screens on your dash, the Pioneer SPH-DA130DAB is the perfect choice.
This sleek looking media player provides top quality and functionality as you would expect from Pioneer. This is at the top end of their multimedia systems and gives you a full width display when using mapping, which cheaper models tend not to.
- Double DIN AVH-Z5100DAB.
- Full width 7″ touchscreen display.
- Apple or Android compatible with a single cable to your smartphone.
- DAB/DAB+ digital radio audio/video in UK.
- Plays content from cd and dvd.
- Bluetooth, allowing you to stream music or call hands-free.
- Upgrade your music with high-grade audio functions including a 13-band graphic EQ, Auto EQ and time alignment to allow you to customise the sound settings to your own preferences.
- Compatible with most reversing cameras.
Best for Music Lovers – Kenwood DDX-4019DAB
A good entry level model but probably more about the radio than sat nav.
- 6 inch high-resolution touchscreen monitor.
- Bluetooth for hands-free calling.
- Audio streaming with advanced control and search functions (AVRCP 1.5).
- Two phones can be paired at the same time.
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible.
- Digital radio receiver with automatic, uninterrupted switch
- RDS high performance tuner for FM, MW and LW.
- Connection for compatible rear view cameras.
- Kenwood remote app for extensive control and monitoring.
- CD and DVD drive plus rear USB port.
Best Budget Option for Apple Users – Sony XAV-AX1000
This system is only compatible with Apple CarPlay so if you’re an Android fan, this isn’t for you. A middle of the range system, this feels a little clunky and has a smaller screen but is priced to reflect that.
- Apple CarPlay compatible.
- 6.2″ colour touch screen display.
- USB port on the front.
- Voice control with Apple CarPlay; hands off the smartphone – with the XAV-AX1000 everything goes by voice, as used by Google and Siri.
- New modern and stylish design with illuminated buttons.
- Impressive audio quality with 4 x 55 W, EXTRA BASS and 10 band equaliser – sound and fun guaranteed.
Best For Siri & OK Google – Sony XAV-AX3005 Premium Media Receiver
The next generation multimedia system from Sony is compatible with both Apple Car Play and Android Auto.
- 6.95 inch quick activation touch screen display.
- Voice control with Siri via Apple CarPlay and OK Google.
- Impressive audio quality with 4 x 55 watts, extra bass and 10 band equalizer
- Listen to DAB Radio in UK
- Navigation with Apple and Android apps, just choose your favourite and connect
- Easy to install with compact rear housing (chassis in 1 DIN format) making it slim and narrow with more room for cabling.
- Reversing camera connection for compatible models.
Best Budget Option for Android Users – Atoto A6
Packed with features but only supports Android Auto so isn’t the right model for iPhone users. This gets great reviews and comes in at a good price point so one to consider.
- Built-in GPS receiver module with external GPS antenna.
- Google Maps app is installed as the default GPS map and other map and navigation apps from Google Play Store can also be installed.
- Bluetooth enabled for hands-free calling.
- Full HD 7″ touchscreen.
- Built-in FM and AM radio tuner with RDS.
- Phone mirroring/casting supports working with latest Android 8.0 devices.
- USB and wifi available for connecting to Android smartphone.
Pros & Cons of Phone or Tablet with Mapping Apps
Create your own motorhome sat nav using your mobile phone or a small tablet which can be mounted to the dashboard, or used by your passenger to navigate, with a navigation app.
There are lots of motorhome and caravan sat nav apps available and which you pick is a matter of trial and error, how you like your screen to display, which options you require and so on. Head across to The Best Motorhome Sat Nav Apps to find out more.
Some Things You Need to Know About Reversing Cameras & Motorhome Sat Navs
Many retrospectively fitted motorhome sat navs and multimedia systems boast that they are compatible with a motorhome reversing camera. This is a great feature, especially for those that motorhome wild camping and parking in and around cities, which means you may be able to link to what is already there or have a new gadget for your motorhome.
There are a few things to be aware of before you spend your hard earned cash on a system expecting to link it to a reversing camera;
- If you have an existing reversing camera fitted in the last ten years or so, then the connections (which happen at the dash end) are likely to be compatible.
- If your reversing camera was factory fitted or fitted on a EU manufactured vehicle then you may find that a universal jack connection has not been used and you will not be able to link the two.
- If you are planning on buying an off-the-shelf reversing camera and linking it up yourself, the cable supplied is usually 6-7m long. If you are in a vehicle much longer than 5m, you won’t have enough cable to reach from the rear to the dash by the time you account for cable routing.
We suggest having a specialist look at your set-up if you want to link your motorhome sat nav to a reversing camera to ensure that you buy a system which is compatible with your needs or have a look at our post about motorhome reversing cameras here for alternative solutions.