best handheld gps

Best Garmin Handheld GPS Under 200 Dollars 2023

Garmin eTrex 30x Handheld GPS

Fortunately for owners of the eTrex 30x, the device also can also utilize the Russian GLONASS satellite system.Expert Reviewer: Boyd Bronson

Quick Summary:
The Garmin eTrex 30x is a great device for those who like to spend a lot of time traveling in the outdoors.

It’s perfect for treks, geocaching, and any camping trip where you might venture accidentally into the unknown. It is durable enough to survive a pretty big fall and also will get you through inclement weather.

If you find that you’re looking for a great device that works like a tried and true travel companion, check out the Garmin eTrex 30x.

Best Garmin Handheld GPS

If you’re anything like me, you love to go out and explore the wider world around you. These days, it’s super easy to find your way around if you’re assisted by a GPS system. Many people use the built-in GPS systems that come with their phones, and while these are great for city exploration, they can leave something to be desired in the open country. This is so because these units require either cell service or a Wi-Fi signal, which aren’t abundant in every area.

For those who still want to use satellites to find their way accurately, there’s another great option: the handheld dedicated GPS system. These systems don’t need a cellular reception or a Wi-Fi signal to help you find your way. This makes them perfect for exploration or the recent craze of Geocaching, which enlists people to find items that are hidden by others using GPS coordinates.

Now that you know a bit about these devices, which is the best Garmin handheld GPS on the market today? Well, before we get into a specific model, it’s important to note that for the most part, the best products of this type come from one manufacturer: Garmin. Garmin revolutionized the GPS industry in the early 2000s and still makes quality products for just about everyone who needs to find their way. Currently, the best Garmin handheld GPS Unit is the Garmin eTrex 30x.

In a Nutshell

The Garmin eTrex 30x really shines because of its great features, trail-worthy reliability, and ability to take all of the damage that is offered on a trail. As a matter of fact, this device is perfectly attuned for easy carry and usage in any environment.

The Garmin eTrex 30x has a device measurement of 2.1 inches in width, four inches in height, and about 1.3 inches in overall thickness. This makes the device smaller than the majority of Smartphones on the market today, which ensures that it is small enough to fit in the palm of almost any-sized hand or in a pocket. Despite this diminutive size, Garmin still managed to ensure that this device had a level of ease-of-use that makes this GPS work well for hikers that have larger sized hands.

Overall Design and Portability

The buttons that are on the front of the unit are well-placed. It also uses a control thumbstick to navigate the menus that are exceptionally agile. Despite this, the body of the device is almost entirely without extra obstructions so that you can use it with ease, even fresh out of your pocket or bag. It’s also very easy to carry, which is perfect for long treks where extra weight is a hindrance. The device weighs only five ounces in totality.

Aesthetically, Garmin designed this device to be gray and black in color. The physical design of the eTrex 30x is fairly comfortable. Garmin used comfortable-feeling materials like rubberized plastic around the edges that are easy to grip, even when wet. Along the inner edge, the plastic is a lot smoother but is still easy to grip.


When it comes to maps, they can really bog down any device’s hard drive. Couple this with the fact that many of these GPS units don’t have a lot of space, to begin with, and many travelers end up saving the particular maps that they’ll need for their trip. Fortunately, the eTrex 30x ships with 3.7 gigabytes of onboard internal storage so that you won’t have to struggle with space. In addition to this, the device also easily accommodates an additional SD card, which can store 64 gigabytes of space.

Power and Overall Durability

For a dedicated GPS to be worth it, it needs to be able to last for a long time on the road. Unlike a Smartphone, it won’t necessarily be recharged in a trusty outlet, so it’ll have to be able to run on a set of batteries that you can quickly replace if you run low on power. While the eTrex 30x doesn’t recharge, it will last about 24 hours on a single set of batteries, which is a great amount of time, especially considering that you can swap them out if you are planning on traveling for several days at a time.

As someone who enjoys the great outdoors, I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve been on a trek and the weather has been perfect. Since in every life a little rain must fall, it’s good that the eTrex 30x is very water-resistant. As a matter of fact, the device can easily be submerged for up to a full half an hour in as deep as one meter of water. This is a great amount of waterproofing for when the weather is being difficult. When the sun is beaming, the screen on this GPS is designed so that its high-resolution features are still readable, even in harsh sunlight. Additionally, the screen is very clear and has the ability to display an impressive 65,000 colors.


In order to provide value, Garmin ensured that this device was feature-rich. The first feature that is unique to this product is its actual system of guidance. In most cases, standard GPS devices in the United States and other countries utilize the U.S. military satellite system so that you can stay on the path. This is a very accurate satellite system, but what happens if you lose reception?

Fortunately for owners of the eTrex 30x, the device also can also utilize the Russian GLONASS satellite system. As a result, the 30x can triangulate using two satellite systems so that when it comes time to calibrate, you’ll have excellent navigational abilities. Effectively, as a result of this ability, the device can better manage obstacles like obstructions, forest canopies, or even dense cloud cover.


As with anything, the Garmin eTrex 30x isn’t perfect. Its biggest issue can be the fact that it doesn’t have USB charging with rechargeable battery packs for longer trips. In the long run, these typically save travelers a lot of money, especially when you make a lot of trips in a year. Also, despite its weather-resistant construction, it is possible for this product to take on too much water. If you plan on whitewater rafting or kayaking during your trips, then they can quickly overwhelm this product’s weatherproofing.

Outside of the direct GPS experience, getting the maps downloaded onto the unit takes a lot of time, especially for 24k maps, but well worth the wait for that type of coverage. That is why I consider this unit to be the best Garmin handheld GPS for the money under 200 dollars.

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