Garmin Drivesmart 51 vs 55

Navigation technology is advancing everyday. We used to look on the paper map in order to decide which route to take when going somewhere. Nowadays, people can sit down and enjoy the usability of navigation devices. From simple apps, to reliable hardwares that can show you more than navigation itself.

When talking about a brand for navigation system, Garmin is always on the mind. Being a company that responsible for so many great navigation products, it may deliver you a great companion for your trip. For example, there’s the devices designed specifically to meet the characteristics of an RV like the Garmin RV 780 for example. They built it to bring the full functioning navigation system in such a big car, with a lot of customization.

But, for the usual consumer cars or non-specific type of cars, the customers can always depend on a special line of devices made by Garmin called Garmin Drivesmart. The Garmin Drivesmart devices are great navigation products for your car, whether it is a small or a big car. Unlike Garmin RV, Drivesmart is compatible to use with any kind of cars.

With a small screen on your dashboard, you can get so much helpful information such as the traffic conditions that are shown live, driver alert, possible restaurants, parks, or any other places to rest and many more. All with ease and really simple to use. It’s a really nice device to have, especially if you’re gonna depend on GPS a lot.

However, Garmin provides some of the best devices, including Garmin Drivesmart 51 and also 55. Both of them have a big difference in price, making so many people ask whether the newer product is worth the buy or not. In order to get the best of them, let’s see the comparison between them below.

Garmin Drivesmart 51

The Drivesmart 51 is known to be an affordable navigation device. Having a price for about no more than two hundred dollars, it can be a really nice companion to have. The design is really simple, and in this small screen you can see some information displayed. Even though it only has a 5.5 inch screen with 480 X 272 resolution, it’s not that hard to see the routes or the warnings. Read also: Garmin RV 780 vs Garmin 770.

With this kind of price, let’s not hope for the best screen, since it’s not the best feature you can get from this product. Even though it’s clear enough to see what’s going on the screen, sometimes you may notice pixelated images that can be more than annoying, which can bother some people.

 Garmin Drivesmart 51 Garmin Drivesmart 55
Product Dimensions 0.7 x 6.8 x 3.9 inches
5.4 x 0.7 x 3 inches
Item Weight 6.4 ounces
5.3 ounces
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About the compatibility, Garmin Drivesmart 51 provides smartphone integrity, meaning that you can connect this device to your smartphone in order to get additional features. The features like hands free calling, additional pricing information, or even live tracking can be significant. Just install the Smartphone Link application and you’re good to go.

The information provided is not only limited to nearest public locations, but also for warnings and notifications. The safety warnings occur when you’re about to pass school areas, red light zones, or even when you’ve reached your maximum fatigue level. The system will give you a warning to rest plus the additional res areas recommendations when you’ve been driving for hours. You may also get some notices about sharp turns, animal crossing zones, and also rail road warnings.

However, another functionality that this device has is the Garmin Smartwatch connectivity. Yes, you can also pair this device with it. Maybe if you’re asking, “is there something to look for on Garmin Smartwatch?” The answer is simply yes. With paired Garmin Smartwatch, you can see the direction of your vehicle via compass. This can be useful, especially when you’re parking in such a crowded lot. You can just follow the compass to your car with ease.

Garmin Drivesmart 51 also has functionality as a screen for backup cameras. It’s working flawlessly with a BC 30 wireless camera. Now you can see the back of your vehicle in order to park nice and clean, especially since it also has line suggestions as well.

Imagine getting all of these in such a little 200 dollars device. Garming Drivesmart 51, even though affordable, is still able to deliver the top and useful features for the drivers.

Garmin Drivesmart 55

The 55 version of Garmin Drivesmart arrives with some upgrades. Good ones. One thing to notice is the screen. Now it’s bigger with the 5.5 inch plus HD resolution. Yes, this small screen is also packed with 1280 X 720 resolution, making the images or words shown more clearly than before. If you think that 5.5 is too small, maybe you can pick the 6.95 inch one with a more expensive price.

Garmin Drivesmart 55 has several choices you can pick, and the price differs based on the features installed within. For example, This device with Alexa-built in can be more expensive than the basic one.

This screen also supports dual navigation, so you can see both 2D or 3D versions of the maps. The small icons now can be seen way more clearly than 51, since it has an HD resolution. Other than the screen, we think that there’s no other further upgrades. You can get all the basic features from the previous device, like alerts, notifications, places guides, TripAdvisor-ready, and many more.. The updated maps are also available, making the navigation more accurate and more dependable.

You can still get the smartphone or Garmin Smartwatch connectivity, making this product really worth the 150 dollars price.

The general price of Garmin Drivesmart 55 is 300 dollars, a slightly big leap from 200 dollars the 51 has. But, based on the official Garmin website, you can get one product with a discounted price worth 150 dollars. So yes, you can get a better device, with a better price.

Garmin Drivesmart 51 vs 55

- Easy-to-use GPS navigator with connected Features and bright 5.0-Inch Capacitive touch display
- Detailed maps of North America with free lifetime updates.Use our bracket mount to secure nüvi to a suction cup mount
- Bluetooth calling, smart notifications and voice-activated navigation. Battery life - up to 1 hour
- Built-in Wi-Fi for easy map and software updates;Display size 4.4 inchW x 2.5 inch H (11.1 x 6.3 cm)
- Easy-to-use 5. 5” GPS navigator
- Simple menus and bright, easy-to-see maps, Display resolution: 1280 x 720 pixels
- Garmin Traffic suggests alternate routes
- Voice-activated and ability to pair with a compatible smartphone for hands-free calling


Without further thinking or consideration, we think that it’s best to pick Garmin Drivesmart 55. It got a way better screen, with better resolution, plus the additional discounted price makes it worth it, especially now. Garming Drivesmart 55 holds all the basic useful features from previous products, but somehow with the upgrade it has, it still got a more affordable price, even than Drivesmart 51.  Plus, you can also get the Alexa-support one, even though with a higher price.