6 Factors to Consider when Buying a Used GPS

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6 Factors to Consider when Buying a Used GPS

A global positioning system (GPS) is a device used for navigation that pinpoints the user's location using real-time information sent and received via satellite. A basic unit just provides the exact coordinates, while most devices display these coordinates on a map. GPS units are used on land and at sea, by drivers, campers, hikers, and sailors. In addition to showing the user's location, the majority of units can be set to provide directions to a particular location.

Buying a used GPS is an excellent way to save money on this handy gadget. However, know which factors to consider before buying to get the best deal. A used GPS is available from second hand dealers, private sellers, and online marketplaces, such as eBay.

1. Type of Used GPS

All GPS units are not the same, so some are more suitable for particular activities than others. Choose a used GPS that is designed for the user's requirements. The table below lists the three main types of GPS available and provides a short description of each of them.

Type of GPS



For hikers, campers, and bikers

Handheld and lightweight for mobility

Fits in a pocket, or dash mountable

Available in a watch-type design

Look for rugged, weather resistant models

Should be easy to operate while wearing gloves


For drivers

Easy to mount

Tends to have larger screen

Usually includes road maps or the ability to download updated maps

Uses voice directions to navigate while driving without looking at the unit

Look for a touch screen for easy operation while driving


For use on boats

Usually waterproof

Look for units that float to avoid loss

May include onshore and offshore maps, chart-plotting capabilities, tidal information, and fish tracking

Consider the GPS's main use and choose a design and features accordingly. Look for screens that are easy to read in bright light, especially when buying marine or outdoor GPS devices. Some units can be used for more than one type of activity. For example, a small waterproof model may be suitable for outdoor use, depending on the features. Similarly, bikers and drivers may find similar units useful. A GPS used in a car should be easy to operate while driving. A touch screen and voice directions are invaluable. These features are not as important for marine or outdoor use. In fact, a touch screen is generally not as visible in bright light and is not always the best choice for outdoor use.

2. Condition of a Used GPS

When buying any used item, the condition plays a major role in the purchasing decision. The GPS screen should be intact and free from scratches or cracks. If the screen is in poor condition, the device is difficult to use. If it has a touch screen, ensure that it is easy to operate. Check for cracks and dents in the body that may indicate it has been dropped or undergone other damage. Although the device may be working, if it was dropped, it may break down at a later stage. All connectors, speakers, and other features should be in working order. Alternatively, research the cost of fixing faults and negotiate a suitable decrease in the price. If the GPS has a waterproof housing or can float, check whether these features are intact and working properly.

3. Pre-Loaded GPS Maps and Updates

Buying additional software can increase the price of a used GPS. Check which maps come pre-loaded and when they were last updated. Check the manufacturer's website for information about maps and updates and factor these costs into the final price of the unit. Users that want to use their GPS in other countries should check the availability and costs of maps before buying.

In addition, those that want to use their GPS units for more than one purpose, for example sailing activities and driving, should determine whether the units on offer are suitable for more than one purpose and if street maps can be loaded and used.

4. Accuracy of the Used GPS

The majority of GPS devices are accurate up to 15 metres. This is suitable for most applications. Users that want accuracy of 1 to 3 metres should look for differential GPS (DGPS). Confirm a used GPS's accuracy with the seller before buying. If the device is faulty, accuracy may be affected, rendering the GPS useless. Ask about update times. If it lags and takes too long to update the current location while driving or sailing, choose a different device. Real-time location information is one of the main benefits of a GPS and a used unit that does not have this should be avoided. Read customer and expert reviews from a trusted source about specific brands and models to ensure that the device chosen operates well enough to meet the user's requirements.

5. Battery Life for a Used GPS

Batteries tend to lose their charge faster as they age, no matter how well the device is taken care of. Battery life is especially important where the GPS is used outdoors or away from a power source. A GPS used in a car can always be plugged in while in use, but power sources are few and far between while hiking. Check the original item specification for details about the expected battery life of the device on standby and while in use. Ask the seller how the GPS compares to its original performance before buying.

Research the availability and cost of replacement batteries. If batteries are available at a reasonable price, factor this into the cost of the used GPS. If batteries are not easy to come by or very expensive, consider buying a different model. Remember that battery life may be affected according to whether the GPS was used rarely or often. Some batteries can be damaged if they are discharged completely.

6. Accessories for a Used GPS

GPS units come with a range of accessories, including mountings, software, chargers, and USB cables. Ensure that the used device comes with the accessories required to make it work effectively. Replacement accessories are generally available, but can make the unit more expensive. Ask about the condition of mountings and whether they operate properly. If software is not included, check the manufacturer's website for downloads and support. Consider buying an additional cigarette lighter adapter to keep the GPS charged while on the road.

How To Buy a Used GPS on eBay

To find a used GPS on eBay, type a phrase, for example "used Garmin GPS", into the search field that can be found on every page to see the items available. Choose the most suitable category and item features to narrow down your selection. Before buying on eBay, check the item details and get to know the seller. Always read the full item description before buying. If you have any questions about an item, click on the "Ask a question" link to contact the seller. Remember to add the cost of postage and handling to the used GPS's final selling price. Check the seller's feedback information to see what other buyers think of his or her products and customer service.


Buying a used GPS is a great way to save money on a handy navigation gadget. There are different types of GPS devices designed for different purposes. Choose a rugged design for outdoor use, touch screen and voice navigation for automotive use, and waterproof units for marine use. Check the condition of the used device carefully, taking note of any obvious signs of damage to the screen and body. Buying additional software and maps can add to the cost of the device. Check what comes pre-loaded and when it was last updated. Consider the battery life, taking into account loss of charge over time. Finally, check the accessories included and the cost and availability of replacements. eBay sellers offer a range of used GPS products.

Used GPS|GPS Map|Battery|Charger|USB Cable

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