Handheld GPS tracker

A handheld GPS tracker is a navigating tool usually on a vehicle, asset, animal, or person that utilizes the Global Positioning System (GPS) to ascertain its movement and determine its geographic position.

A GPS navigation system is used to navigate since it gives you information related to your location and driving direction. Whereas, a GPS tracker system is capable of keeping track of the vehicle’s physical location and monitoring its speed and direction. This information is either saved in the tracker for later usage or aired in real-time.

How does a GPS Device work?

In the GPS network, about 30 satellites orbit the earth at a height of around 20,000km. At any point on earth, the GPS device will have a “sight” of a minimum of four satellites if you’re out in the open.
Every satellite understands exactly where it is above the earth and transmits its location and a timestamp. Once your device collects location data from at least three satellites, it can triangulate its own position.

The speed and accuracy may vary depending on the quality of the processor and receiver.

Benefits of Having a Handheld GPS Tracker

The benefits of having a handheld GPS device are:

The freedom to travel anywhere

When the device is on, it can track where you have been, and you can always follow that trackback to your starting spot. You can further save those tracks so you can follow them in the future.

Whether you’re keeping an eye on the family, elderly people with dementia or Alzheimer’s, tracking your dog, securing precious items against theft, or monitoring your car on car sharing platforms like Turo, the GPS Tracker gives you the reliable, real-time tracking performance you need.

Save the Coordinates

This lets you save the coordinates of a location so that you can locate them again in the future. This is very helpful if you need to identify where you parked your vehicle or tell the agencies where the damage to your site happened.

Provide the exact location to Emergency Services

When you get hurt or stuck far from any drives, you will require to inform your exact location to emergency services. If you can give your exact location, they can transmit the coordinates to Search and Rescue, so they can use their GPS unit to locate you.

Help you Find Locations

Federal agencies, the stewardship program, and hiking websites usually render coordinates of the locations they want you to visit. You can enter these coordinates into your device, and it can guide you to that spot. This is excellent for locating a site or site features in a large site.

Reduce the Fuel Expenses

One of the most useful benefits of GPS tracking systems is the ability to observe a vehicle’s fuel consumption. The monitoring software will cut down on the expenditure on fuel by eliminating vehicle idling, any unauthorized usage, and driver speeding, and it will give fleet managers the facility to optimize driving routes.

Lower Operational Expenses

Utilizing GPS tracking software lets fleet managers understand who is taking inefficient paths or using a vehicle for unofficial purposes. It will solve on-the-road issues, and it also gives a precise readout of the times that drivers claim to have worked.

Recovery From Theft

A GPS tracking system is the best tool for any fleet firm in the event of vehicle theft. It will notify you with alerts and mapping data to assist you in identifying whether the vehicle has been stolen and inform the authorities of its location to facilitate a fast recovery.

Handheld GPS Device Buying Guide


A handheld GPS device should have a sturdy design and be made of matters that offer good shock- and abrasion resistance. Moreover, choose a GPS device that is water-resistant that can safely use in rainy weather. 

Beveled edges around the screen, rubberized housing, and carefully sealed battery compartments will all help it endure a bit of abuse.


For a good map overview, a handheld GPS tracker should equip with a minimum of a 2-inch display with good resolution. Having to squint and zoom frequently loses your perspective, causing it hard to know your location on the map.

Holding a big screen doesn’t necessarily imply it’ll be easy to read. The resolution is also important. The higher the resolution, the finer the detail. You should try for at least a 240×320 or 240×400 pixels range if you want to get the full benefit from your topo maps.

The brightness of the screen and its readability in direct sunlight are important factors. Go for the screens that are sunlight-readable and anti-glare, with backlighting for use at night.

Touchscreen or Buttons

Touchscreen devices are easy to navigate or type with and work in both landscape and portrait orientations. Many advanced GPS devices are equipped with touchscreens, which are not perfect for hiking in cold climates or at high altitudes since they are difficult to use with gloves on.

Buttons add mass, and when you need to type, they are cumbersome and sluggish to navigate an on-screen keyboard. If you are wearing gloves most of the time buttons are best. Also, you get a tangible response with buttons so you know you’ve pressed the button even if you’re wearing gloves.


Most data saved to handheld GPS devices come in the form of waypoints or coordinates for a particular location you need to save for future use. For maximum trips, only a few waypoints are necessary. Most GPS devices come with some basic maps.

If you need to save waypoints from multiple trips all at once or need to add more maps, then look for options with plenty of storage space, or that support an external SD card.


Almost all handheld GPS devices come with a basic map, which is typically a blank screen that will include some important local features. Many modern devices include additional preloaded maps with more features or the option to upload more later on.

On most devices, maps can be added to enhance the default base-level map to create a more detailed layout of the terrain around you.


Most handheld GPS devices use AA batteries with some opting for AAA. These are cheap, easy to replace, and readily accessible. However, if you are going out on a long journey where access to a store is limited, you will have to carry more fresh batteries to keep your device working.

Some manufacturers are now making devices with rechargeable battery packs as an alternative. Manufacturers will claim a battery life of between 15 and 25 hours.

The battery life of a handheld GPS tracker should be at least 10 hours so that you don’t have to change batteries frequently. A solar charger or power bank is very useful for recharging a GPS device on longer backpacking voyages.

Best Handheld GPS trackers

Searching for the best handheld GPS tracker that affords your pocket? Here you can find the top 10 best handheld GPS trackers available online and you can pick the best.

Overall Best Handheld GPS

Garmin GPSMAP 66i

  • Large 3-inch Sunlight-readable color display for easy viewing
  • Preloaded Garmin TOPO mapping with direct-to-device Birdseye satellite imagery downloads (no annual subscription), covers multiple Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) support and navigation sensors
  • The navigation is fully immersed with this device. Besides the GPS mapping of your location, the system comes with waypoint creations, tracking, routes, and points of interest (shopping, gas stations, numerous stores, etc.) on the road.
  • A rechargeable battery system.


  • Lightweight
  • Bright enough to reduce any glare on a sunny day.
  • Connecting to the app, you don’t need any internet or cellular connection.
  • SOS button that will alert rescues authorities to your exact location.


  • No voice notifications to make sure you’re going in the right direction.
  • Average battery life

Best Touchscreen with 8MP camera

Garmin Oregon 750T

  • The Garmin Oregon 750t is simple because its handling size and touchscreen are reminiscent of your smartphone.
  • Preloaded Topo 100K maps for the US and pre-established user profiles for activities like bike touring, hiking, and geocaching make this assembly easy to power up and go.
  • An 8MP camera that automatically geotags photos and its connectivity to Garmin Connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth enhances sharing capability. 


  • Straight-forward touchscreen interface
  • Preloaded topo maps
  • Camera for easy geotagging and sharing


  • Touchscreen performance when wet
  • Pricey

Take Along Mini GPS Tracker For Outdoor Hiking Camping

GPS Take-Along Tracker 4G

GTX Handheld GPS Tracker
  • Mini GPS tracker under 3 in. long & weighs less than 2.7 oz!
  • All-inclusive, ready-to-use miniature GPS Tracker
  • Up to 14-day battery life!
  • Geozone Boundary Guard Alerts Included
  • SOS Location Alert Button Enabled
  • Comes with a Velcro loop pouch, keychain & lanyard.
  • Ensure the safety of your loved one, vehicle, or shipment with our compact GPS trackers


  • Functions nationwide with 4G – unlimited range
  • IPX6: can resist high pressure, heavy sprays of water
  • Free monitoring app – Apple & Android
  • See the location map online  
  • Unlimited geo zones perimeters. Unlimited alert SMS/email recipients. 
  • U.S.-based customer support.


  • None

GPS Tracker for Pets Dog Security Tracker Wifi Locator Collar


AIBEILE S1 Pets GPS Tracker
  • GPS+LBS+Wifi+G-Sensor positioning: 4 intelligent positioning modes, more accuracy for monitoring your pet.
  • The geo-fence alarm set the activity area for the pet on the app, when the pet is out of this area, it will alarm.
  • IP65, waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, even in heavy rain also works perfectly, let your pet enjoy more good times.
  • With SOS alarm, Geo-fence alarm, over-speed alarm, motion alarm, vibration alarm, power off alarm.


  • Authentic
  • SOS
  • Geo-fence
  • Over-speed
  • Motion/vibration
  • Power off alarm
  • Suitable for 35cm-53cm neck circumference 


  • Pricey

Handheld GPS Beidou Receiver (US)

BHCnav F62 2.2″

Handheld GPS
  • Operating temperature: -20-70’C
  • Refresh rate: 1Hz
  • Waypoint: 3000
  • Route lines: 200
  • Track: 400
  • Location system: WGS84
  • Transmission protocol: NMEA0183
  • Additional power: 2*AA battery (not included)
  • Built-in national road detailed map supports satellite offline map & self-made map


  • 3-5m precise positioning
  • IPX7 waterproof
  • 4GB storage
  • Supports up to 32GB microSD
  • Barometric altimeter
  • Thermometer
  • e-compass


  • None

Best Choice for a Budget GPS Navigator

Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide

  • A great device to consider for users who are ready to sacrifice a few higher-end features in place of simplicity and affordability.
  • As it is considered a baseline unit, it lacks the GPS capabilities of more expensive options from Garmin. It still manages to perform with impressive speed and accuracy.
  • The rugged exterior case and display are rated to IPX7 and won’t fail when exposed to rain, splashes, and snow.
  • WAAS enabled GPS receiver with HotFix and GLONASS support for fast positioning and a reliable signal


  • Lightweight and compact
  • Simple, easy-to-use interface
  • Easy to mark and save waypoints
  • Can be operated with gloved hands
  • Rated to IPX7 water resistance


  • Lack of detailed mapping capability

Rugged GPS Handheld with Built-in inReach Satellite Technology

Garmin Montana 700i

  • Features rugged military-grade construction and a 5” touchscreen display that offers easy viewability and includes versatile mounting solutions
  • It can interface with other smart devices using both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. This makes it easy to share your location, download satellite imagery, connect to the Garmin app, and more.
  • Other built-in features include an accurate altimeter, a barometer to monitor weather, and a three-axis electronic compass.
  • This device is absolutely among the most advanced handheld GPS devices on the market.


  • Rugged construction with Gorilla Glass screen
  • Integrated satellite messaging and SOS capability
  • Huge, high-resolution display
  • 16GB internal memory


  • Heavy and bulky.
  • Cannot be used with gloves on.

Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator

Garmin InReach Mini

  • The Garmin inReach Mini is an all-in-one handheld GPS device and a two-way satellite messenger. The inReach Mini is profoundly capable of helping you get to where you’re going and staying in touch with the world when you’re out of cellphone range.
  • Access downloadable maps, U.S. NOAA charts, color aerial imagery, and more by using the free Garmin Earthmate app and compatible devices.
  • This device includes basic navigational features with an onboard GPS receiver. A location screen informs you of your latitude, longitude, and altitude.
  • Template and custom messages can be sent from the inReach Mini to contacts via a phone number or email address. Messages can also be sent to other inReach devices.


  • Compact and lightweight
  • Easy-to-read display
  • 2-way messaging
  • Custom messaging
  • IPX7 water resistance rating
  • Tough, durable, impact resistant


  • Limited navigation and mapping features

Handheld GPS with Altimeter and Compass, Preloaded With TopoActive Maps

Garmin GPSMAP 64SX

  • Water-resistant and sturdy design with button control and a 2. 6” sunlight-readable color display.
  • This GPS device is preloaded with Top Active mapping for accurate route planning for hiking and cycling(U. S. and Australia only).
  • Know your location with a high-sensitivity receiver with a quad-helix antenna and multi-GNSS support (GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo) and 3-axis compass with a barometric altimeter. 
  • Wireless connectivity via BLUETOOTH technology and ANT+ technology is available on GPSMAP 64sx and GPSMAP 64csx models


  • Accuracy
  • High sensitivity receiver
  • Topo active maps
  • Waterproof IPX7 rated


  • The lack of a touchscreen makes moving the maps slow and arduous.

Easy to track Vehicles, Pets, or Loved Ones from your Smartphone in real-time.

Cube GPS Tracker

cube gps
  • Attach your Cube GPS to the thing you wish to locate and see its location information securely on the Cube Tracker mobile app.
  • Whether you’re keeping an eye on the family, elderly with dementia or Alzheimers, tracking your dog, securing precious items against theft, or monitoring your car on car sharing platforms like Turo, the Cube GPS Tracker gives you the reliable, real-time tracking performance you need.
  • A data connection using the cellular network is needed for use. Cube GPS comes with a North American sim card and works out of the box within moments.
  • Ring your tracker from the Cube Tracker app if you can’t see it when you’re in close proximity.


  • Location history
  • Device account sharing
  • Efficient & precise location info
  • Virtual geo-fence zones
  • IP67 waterproof rating


  • Coverage in the USA only.