Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin GPSMap 60CS Review


UPDATE: This model has been discontinued. For more current recommendations, please refer to our handheld GPS buyers guide or our Garmin handheld GPS comparison chart.

Regular readers of GPS Tracklog may recognize the Garmin GPSMap 60CS as one of my personal GPS receivers.  It’s my favorite workhorse in the stable at this point, and is highly visible in posts here and on the cover of my book, GPS Mapping: Make Your Own Maps.  The 60CS has it all — a bright color screen, turn-by-turn routing capabilities, on screen maps (separate purchase required), an electronic compass, and a barometric altimeter to accurately track elevation gain.

I’m planning to review quite a few of the current crop of GPS receivers over the next month or two, and it only seemed fitting to start with the 60CS. I highly reccomend it on the basis of two years of personal use. The menus are intuitive, and Garmin has an excellent reputation for customer service. The 60CS does double duty as a great ruggedized unit for the backcountry or a dashboard companion for highway navigation.

57 reviewers gave an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars at Amazon, which said the 60CS “is packed with navigational features, but Garmin knows that a great device has to go beyond a simple color display to be the cream of the crop. With that, Garmin has upped the ante on this lightweight, rugged, waterproof unit, offering a 256-color, highly reflective display that provides easy viewing in almost any lighting condition, including bright sunlight. This transreflective TFT, 2.6-inch diagonal screen provides excellent viewing while maximizing your battery life (up to twenty hours with typical use).”

You can see a list of features on Garmin’s GPSMap 60CS page.

Other reviews:

Recommended accessories:

  • For automobile navigation I recommend the Garmin City Select software, which provides turn-by-turn directions and automatic routing.
  • A more cost-effective choice might be the Automotive Navigation Kit, which packages the software with several mounts and a cigarette lighter power adapter.
  • If you’re more into backcountry use, I recommend MapSource US Topo.

Last, but not least, some additional resources:

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.


  1. Adding ‘Tracks’ to the page menu, I found I’d lost
    it from the main menu.
    This bothered me for a week until I found out
    (Talking to Garmin via the phone) that adding it
    to the page menu key functionality removes it from
    the main menu?
    Nice when you know that; Pity it’s not documented.
    Only niggle I’ve found
    (Other than the fact that Eu residents can buy
    the US City Select maps, US residents the EU one more
    easily than vice versa!)

  2. I noticed that you have avoided the Mio lineup of GPS. Is there a particular reason? I have been a Garmin fan for the past 6 years, but now feel compelled to look at the Mio series, considering their great price and features. Particularly the C520. Any reviews expected soon?

  3. shom, Thanks for asking. The only reason I haven’t reviewed Mio is that they won’t respond to requests for review units. Guess, I’m just going to have to break down and buy one. I’m still working on getting a Mio, one way or another. I expect it will be one to two months before I get a review posted though. Thanks again.

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