Garmin vs Tomtom Motorcycle GPS

garmin vs tomtom motorcycle gps

When it comes to motorcycle GPS, two brands stand out, Garmin and Tomtom. The two companies have been the main players in manufacturing dedicated motorcycle GPS. Garmin has the Zumo XT and the 396 LMT-S, while TomTom has the Rider 550.

But what is the difference between Garmin vs Tomtom motorcycle GPS? This article discussed the difference between these two brands and the features of their motorcycle GPS from varying key points. Please see below.

Point of Difference Garmin GPS Tomtom GPS
Software Difficult to Use Easy to Use
Screen Quality Traditional Screen Capacitive Screen
Navigation Better Good
Mounting Attachment is Shallower Provides a More Secure Fit
Battery Life Lasts One and a Half Hour Before Screen Drops to 40% Brightness It Works for Over Six Hours


Desktop Software

Every motorcycle GPS comes with a desktop route planner that allows the user to plan the route ahead of time and eventually receive instructions at every turn along the way. Every GPS device uses desktop software to transfer data from the computer to your devices to make the planner.

As for Garmin Zumo XT and the other GPS from the Garmin brand, they use the Basecamp software. This software needs to be revised and works like the software was invented years ago.

The software needs to be updated and easier to use. Although the company has Garmin Express, a desktop-based update program, this software only allows you to install add-on features. The Basecamp software feels too old and needs to be updated.

On the other hand, the Tomtom Rider 550 has the most impressive software that is being used in their GPS device. All you have to do is sign up for an account on their website. All your planned routes can easily be accessed and connected to your GPS device.

Updating software in Tomtom is also not an issue as it can be done directly to the device using an internet connection. For planning the route, you can use MyRouteApp, which has a downloadable feature which allows the device to download it easily using your MyDrive account.

Screen Quality

garmin motorcycle gps
Garmin motorcycle gps

You can also compare these two motorcycle devices with the quality of the screen. The Garmin GPS uses a more traditional screen with an extra layer at the top. On the other hand, it uses a capacitive screen comparable to the mobile phone’s screen. TomTom has a clearer and more contrasting display.

On the other hand, Garmin’s screen layout has been the same since its first model was introduced. The layout of the TomTom is fresher and new while providing so much information, including traffic information, roadworks, and fuel stations.


There is also a difference in how these motorcycle GPS devices display and deliver navigational instructions. In particular, the latest Garmin Zumo XT comes with a larger screen that provides various information and allows the user to read it easily. It gives clear voice instruction that offers specific information needed during the ride. The larger screen is also beneficial as it comes with configurable elements of information.

On the other hand, the navigation of the TomTom Rider 550 is decent and will guide you wherever you go. What is unique about its navigation system comes in the range of voices the user can select.


tomtom motorcycle gps
Tomtom motorcycle gps

At first glance, the TomTom Rider 550 and the Zumo XT mounting bracket look very much the same. Both come with four screws and a handlebar mount. They can also be powered with a battery or directly to a switch.

With all the similarities, the functionalities of these mounting brackets make the difference. The mounting bracket of the TomTom Rider 550 allows you to rotate the device 90 degrees for a portrait or landscape display.

Furthermore, the TomTom Rider 550 comes with a more secure fit, in my opinion. I say it because the bracket allows the GPS unit to slide into the mount for about an inch before it locks into its place.

As far as the Garmin Zumo XT is concerned, the bracket attachment is shallower compared to the Tom Tom Rider 550. However, that is only for comparison. I still feel that the mounting systems are secured and reliable.
Battery Life

The battery life will never be an issue if both of these devices are connected to the power bracket. However, if you are using a completely different bike, then you need to consider the battery’s life span.

The TomTom’s battery can last for over six hours. The time should be enough for a full day of riding. On the other hand, the Garmin can last less than two hours before the screen reduces to 40% of brightness. Both of the batteries of these devices can be charged with USB.


When comparing Garmin vs TomTom motorcycle GPS, it depends on the motorcycle owner’s preference. Both offer advantages and disadvantages that need to be familiarized to maximize their usage.

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