Sunday, March 18, 2012


Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx Review

Hands on with the Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx

UPDATE: The 60CSx has been superseded by the Garmin GPSMAP 62s.

UPDATE 2: This model has been discontinued. For more current recommendations, please refer to our handheld GPS buyers guide or our Garmin handheld GPS comparison chart.

UPDATE 3: Here are some reasons to look at a more up to date model.

The Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx updated the now ancient Garmin 60CS with two important improvements. First, the 60CSx includes the SiRFSTARIII chipset, which has been getting rave reviews for its fast acquisition time and awesome coverage under canopy, in urban canyons and even indoors! Second, the 60CSx no longer utilizes the built in memory for MapSource maps, but loads them to a removable microSD card instead (the unit comes with a 64 MB card). This means you have nearly unlimited map storage capability.

UPDATE: In early 2009, it appears that Garmin stopped using the SiRFstar III chipet due to a patent dispute, substituting a MediaTek (MTK) chipset. While both are high-sensitivity chipsets, Garmin is still fine-tuning the MTK firmware. The switch to this chipset has reduced one of the advantages the 60/76 C(S)x series has enjoyed over newer Garmin models.

UPDATE 2: Here’s my 2010 take on SiRFstar III and the newer chipsets.

The Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx is a favorite of geocachers, and is great for hikers and bikers. There are newer, flashier units, but the 60CSx is tried and true, and is perhaps the most accurate handheld GPS on the market; I always use mine as a comparison whenever I am testing new devices for accuracy.

One other point before we go on to other reviews — the 60CSx is identical to the 60Cx, except that this unit, the 60CSx, adds an electronic compass and barometric altimeter. To see how the 60CSx stands up against other Garmin models, check out my Garmin handheld GPS comparison chart.


More Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx reviews

I’ll be posting more reviews as they appear, but in the meantime, here are some other…

Garmin GPSMap 60CSx resoruces

Compare prices on the Garmin GPSMap 60CSx at these merchants:


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. is this a good gps for geocaching? What do you guys think? Does it have pretty good accuracy and good maps?

  2. Sharon,
    Yes, it is good for geocaching, but you might want to consider the Oregon series, which is set up for paperless caching (all the info you need stored right on the unit). Also, most of these units do not come with detailed maps.

  3. Sue deNeveu says:

    I ordered this unit from the lowest price seller off the internet and they tried to sell me the rechargable battery pack for another $60+ saying that I would need this because the battery life of normal batteries would only be 30 minutes. Is this true? All the information says batteries should last 14-18 hours. It never mentions you need to buy an additional rechargable battery pack to get this. I cancelled my order hoping to find out more information before I commit.

  4. You’re right and they’re wrong. They sound pretty disreputable to me.

  5. Linda Ross says:

    My Handheld won’t turn on either.
    Tried the reset button, new batteries etc.
    Garmin wants min. $100+ for repairs. This unit is only a year old!

  6. Linda,
    If it’s less than a year, it should still be under warranty. If it’s just over a year, call back and talk to someone else in support. They have some flexibility.

  7. Nathan Harrison says:

    Your site is great. I live and work overseas and my hobbies are traveling (Africa, Asia & Middle East). I would like a GPS that provides me with directions (walking or diving) turn by turn from addresses, landmarks or locations; reference maps for remote locations while touring or hiking and the ability to look up local businesses like restaurants, gas stations, hotels or hospitals. International capabilities and service area is a must. Do you recommend the Garmin 60Csx or the Oregon series? Maybe a completely different brand? Thanks.

  8. Will you be on foot or in car more? I definitely would go with a Garmin due to extensive international maps for them, many of which are free. Here are two posts on that:

  9. i am looking to purchase a handheld gps for my son a fairly new hiker. I would like to have a unit that if he goes off trail it would lead him back on and if necessary back to his starting point. under 300.

  10. How old is your son? Can he read maps?
    Just about any handheld GPS will do what you want, but I would suggest a newer Garmin model. Some are easier to use than others. Some in your price range can accommodate maps, but they need to be loaded from the computer.

  11. Mark McCarthy says:

    Hi Rich,
    I’m looking to buy my first gps, and need some help. I need a gps unit that will allow me to get a topo map of our area and mark spots on that map so I can return to those areas. Also looking to have the same unit to be able to have road maps for traveling. Which unit amd which software would you recommend? Thanks, Mark

  12. It’s hard to get a unit to do both well. There are always compromises to be made. How will you be using the topo maps (on foot, 4WD, etc.)?

  13. Fred Kinley says:

    I bought a Garmin 60CSX in July 07. The rocker key no longer works. Does the unit need to be sent back to the factory for repair or is there another solution? I am in New Zealand.

  14. I think it will have to go back. Here’s a positive experience someone had…

  15. Hello
    I have a GPS60CSx that suddenly don´t turn on.
    What can I do to restart the GPS? PLease, I need som help about it
    Thanks a lot

  16. Unless the batteries are dead, I know of no way to revive it. Call Garmin.

  17. Eng.Gul Akbar Safai says:

    it is realy good product .please tell to us
    1-how we learn it?
    2-how we will get it ?.

  18. Steve Cologne says:

    Rich, etrex HCx v. 60CSx. Already own the etrex HCx but now see good deals on 60CSx now that 2 years old. I use for serious backcountry hiking. I gather that accuracy is same but Rich you put 60 CSx over etrex even as of today and I assume thats for resolution and screen size? If I use GPS for accuracy but use map for plotting location (so I am not reading off LCD screen, is 60 GPS still worth this trade-in?

  19. Rich Owings says:

    The 60CSx has a better antenna, so accuracy may be a bit better. I prefer the 60CSx for ease of use (buttons on front) and screen size. I’m not sure its worth the upgrade though, plus you’ll get lower battery life. I’m rapidly becoming a huge fan of the Oregon and Dakota series though. Stay tuned for a review in the next two weeks on the latter, which could be a good replacement for the eTrex series.

    • Steve Cologne says:

      Thank you Rich. Can’t wait for your reviews. You nailed it. Looking for a replacement for eTrex series.

  20. I have difficulties to exchange maps between Oregon 400t and my PC. I am a biker, I want to create a bike route ( and download to my Oregon. But I can make only a track from this .gpx file. While biking, I have to touch the screen to find where I am on the map! During the ride, I make some waypoints to mark special places, but I can’t find a software to upload my tracklog from Oregon to my PC. Can someone help? Would the 60CSX be better?

  21. Rich Owings says:

    Connect your Oregon to your PC and go to the Garmin/GPX/Current/curent.gpx and open it in any mapping software that supports .gpx files. Or download MapSource and use it to import tracks…

  22. Hi Rich!

    I’m contemplating on getting at Garmin 60CSx. I like the build and extra features of this unit. I will use it 50% for Biking (on road and trails), sailing and other water sports (to pin point my location) and to geo tag my photos. The remaining 50% will most likely be used for city driving navigation. I know that the 60CSx is a very good device for the great outdoors. My concern is if it will be a good enough device for city navigation. I got the chance to try out the Garmin Nuvi 765 awhile ago for city navigation. I really like how it displays the map and how it assists me on the direction. The turn by turn assistance with voice alerts i find very nice. Now, i understand that the 60CSx do not have any voice prompts (am i correct?), but will it give me thesame kind of display as the Nuvi 765 in terms of rendering the map? And will it give me a turn by turn navigation assistance going to my selected destination? thank you very much!

  23. Rich Owings says:

    It will do “good enough” navigation, but not as nice as a nuvi. You’ll have to buy City Navigator maps for it. Rather than do that, I’d get a low end nuvi (in addition to a handheld).

    If you go with the 60CSx, you’ll get a beep at turns, and a pop-up screen reminder, but no voice prompts. Screen renderings won’t be quite as nice as a nuvi either, but yes, it will give turn by turn directions.

    Hope that helps!

  24. Thank you very much, Rich!

    I’m not sure if this is the right place to ask you this but here goes. What Garmin Nuvi (or any other model) would you recommend that has a relatively powerful GPS receiver; has a nice screen rendering (typical to Nuvis); has a very long battery life; barometric altimeter; turn by turn directions (voice prompts * pushing it). is there such a model?

    Anyways, i’m still leaning towards the 60CSx. It could have been the perfect device if not for the lack of voice prompt and a Nuvi like rendering of the maps.

  25. Rich Owings says:

    There isn’t any such beast. Read this and then let me know if you have other questions.

    I like the Oregon series for dual-use, but its not very good for biking.

  26. Joe Taormino says:

    I’m looking for a handheld GPS to be used exclusively on the water to track fishing hotspots. Would the 60CSX or the Dakota 10 be a better choice? I have Garmin Mapsource Topo US 2008 SW on my computer.

  27. Rich Owings says:

    I’m a big fan of the Dakota series, but it might not be bright enough to see in the kind of glare you might find on the water. Another good choice would be the 76CSx, which floats.

  28. Kat Rickel says:

    we use my 60csx for geocaching and have loved it. I just turned it on after the batteries ran out and when I choose a point to navagate to, the compass does not show the red pointer (in either bearing or compass mode) and the data fields do not show time or distance to destination. I can see the gps adjust to my movement in the map mode and also see the pink line in map mode but compass mode does not show any info in the data fields. Has anyone else seen this? We tried every ‘reset’ we can think of… Thanks for your help.

  29. Rich Owings says:

    Have you tried a firmware update? I assume you tried a “hard reset.” If not, here’s the procedure from’s support pages:

    If the GPS is not responding correctly, for example it is not receiving a satellite signal, it may be necessary to perform a master reset. This can also be used if you want to restore the factory default settings. To reset the device please follow these steps:

    1. Turn off the device
    2. Press PAGE, ENTER and POWER.
    3. You will see a message on the screen that says “Do you really want to erase all user data?”. Select Yes.
    4. The device will now reboot, leave it with a clear view of the sky for 30 minutes to acquire the satellite almanac.

    Please be aware that a master reset will erase all waypoints or favorites and will restore your device to the default factory settings.

  30. Rich,

    It’s mentioned that the 60CSx chipset got switched in 2009. Are there any models out there that have accuracy equal to the 60CSx? I’m looking to buy and I’ll be using it only for hiking. I’m not concerned about needing maps to upload to a unit (I carry my own paper maps). My main criterion is accuracy. Any thoughts? Thanks.


  31. My take is that the newer units are now comparable to the 60CSx in terms of accuracy, now that they have gone through several firmware updates. Unless you are going to be hiking in tight canyons, any of the current generation high-sensitivity chipset Garmins should do fine. From what you stated, a simple unit like the Venture HC may meet your needs.

    • Rich,

      Thanks. The reason I asked was most of my hiking is in steep, deep forested canyons and drainages. I just want a unit that will accurately keep track of my position on my hikes that I can look at and plot on maps back at home. Any recommendations on one to use in tight canyons? Thanks.


      • The only thing that I think would be any better would be if you were willing to use an external antenna. The 60/76C(S)x series accepts those, as does the Garmin Colorado series. Otherwise, any of those models, or the eTrex H series, Dakota or Oregon series might do just as well. I’d buy based on feature set, weight, screen size, battery life, etc. Hope that helps.

  32. Akanji Adesoji says:

    My company bought 4 GPS60CSx units in October 2009, to say the fact it really interesting having met our needs especially its fact tracking and satellite acquiring even in valleys. About a month, my own unit stopped acquiring satellite, in fact it is still trying to acquire the usual satellites it used to acquire for less than 1 minute for since Nov. 24 2009 up till now, it displays ‘ACQUIRING SATELITE’ I have tried all means to set it up but all proved abortive. This is so surprising as a month is only 1/12 of one year warranty, I tried to contact the company that ordered the unit still in vain. The serial number of the unit is 118475832 Cam210, I am really confused because this unit was handled with care and I don’t see anything wrong with it on my own side. Please what can I do to fix this problem problem.The other three are still working perfectly. I will like response via my email,
    I will so much appreciate quick response.
    Nice time.

  33. Things to try, in order of severity:
    1. Leave it under open sky for half an hour and see if it acquires
    2. Upgrade the firmware
    3. Do a hard reset (search Garmin support for “reset” for specifics)
    4. Call (recommended over emailing) Garmin support

  34. Harjeev Singh Chadha says:

    Dear sir
    Its a wonderful site you have here. Nice and detailed description on alot of issues. Cheers to that.

    Sir, I wanted to take you opinion on the selection of what model of GPS to buy. I am confused between the 60CSX & the 76CSX. My use will primary be in the car, rallying & off-roading, biking & trekking. I will not be taking it anywhere near the water like river, marine or lakes etc. However while trekking rainfall might be an issue.
    So keeping in mind the above requirement what model of GPS do you recommend??
    All my colleagues in off-roading and rallying are using the 76CSX and swear by it, so naturally they are advising me the same. Further I am getting the 76CSX $10 cheaper than the 60CSX.
    the only difference between both the models I am able to find is that the 76CSX floats on water and the 60CSX doesn’t. Secondly I like the 60CSX better as the buttons are below the screen and the unit is more handy than the 76CSX which appears a little bulkier.
    please advise what route to take.

  35. The 60CSx is quite waterproof. I prefer the button placement to those of the 76CSx.

    • Jerry Slocum says:

      After much contemplation and research for a gps unit, I decided to buy a Garmin GPSmap60csx. After a couple of weeks use, I can say I have no regrets. Have no fear about the new chipset, it is great.I usually have 10-12 satellites locked on and have no trouble keeping an excellent signal.I love it!

  36. Hi,
    I’m really stuck and I don’t really have any GPS resources to go to. I’m new to GPS units but an experienced hiker. (I know, I’m just slow at adopting new technology…) I’m trying to decide between the GPSMAP 60CSx or the Dakota 20. I’ll mostly be using it for hiking and occasional geocaching. I’m also interested in free, third party topo maps since I just looked at the prices on map sets from Garmin. Wow. Which model has the best support for that kind of thing?
    They’re going for close to the same price right now at REI, with the Dakota $50 more. What do you recommend?

    • I think the Dakota has a little better support for third party maps, because you can rename them and avoid having to reload everything via MapSource each time you want to send new maps to the unit. Not a huge deal, but I’d give the Dakota a bit of an edge here.

      But the Dakota also supports many other things the 60CSx doesn’t, including Garmin custom maps (allows you to load USGS topos, PDF park maps, etc.), BirdsEye aerial imagery, enhanced track navigation features, etc. The 60CSx will likely be discontinued in favor of the upcoming 62 series. Between the 60CSx and the Dakota, I’d definitely go for the Dakota.

  37. khangoroo says:

    Hi Rich –
    So I just recently purchased the 60csx for a smoking deal at REI during their sale for $199. I got it home, along with the garmin topo 24k west and nav NT program. I loaded some maps. Here is my first impression. The nav program sucks compared to a dedicated road nav gps unit, even with turn-by-turn directions, as expected. However, when looking at topo maps, the image is certainly not as nice as on my laptop screen. My question is: for all the great things I read about this unit, along with the awesome price I got it for, will I be much happier with the fancy oregon 400t with it’s beautiful resolution (or at least it appears that way online with your screenshots)? Which unit offers more value, more features per buck?


  38. I would not go for the Oregon 400t. Instead, I’d get the Oregon 450, which has a much better screen. You’ll get some new capabilities, including the ability to add Garmin custom maps, BirdsEye aerial imagery, track navigation and paperless geocaching. There’s a $50 rebate (not good at Amazon) thru 6/20. Some folks are reporting getting the price down to $300 this way.


  40. No need to shout! 😉

    I’d suggest looking at the Oregon 450 (better screen than the 550) or the new GPSMAP 62s (Oregon features in a 60 series package). You can see my description and testing of accuracy issues near the bottom of my Oregon 450 review…

    Feel free to follow up with more questions.

  41. Hi, could you recommend a good hand held GPS unit that can be used for heavy brush/timber/woods?

    Id like to be able to put in different land survey (lat-long) points, and then be able to walk a line through dense brush to the different points. And if possible, map these points on an aerial map or reloaded map. (I currently own property where 4 corners are marked/staked, but the acreage is soo overgrown I cant see them, and would like to create a fence, property line.


    • I’m not sure a consumer grade GPS will meet your needs. You can expect the accuracy to range from 10-30′ with a good unit. I wouldn’t put up a property fence based on that.

  42. I am going to buy this baby. How can I be sure the one gpsmap 60csx I will buy will have a SiRFstar III?

    The only way is: Main Menu > Setup > System > Menu > Software Version. If the GPS software version is 3.00s its SiRFstar II?

    What if the version will be 4.xx?

  43. I doubt that you’ll find one with the SiRFstar chipset unless you buy used or refurbished. If the GPS firmware ends in an s its SiRFstar. If it ends in an m, its MTK.

  44. Ohh boy… WAY TOO MUCH! The Garmin GPSmap 60SCx is available all over the place for just around $200!

  45. Rich
    I just bought the garmin 60CSx and wish to learn as much about this unit as possible. First question being what is magnetic variation mean? on my unit, it says that it is 009 degrees W. wouldn’t that take you off course if you were trying to be accurate. Second question, I have another car gps unit and when putting both of them side by side the the lonitude and latitude do not match up, how close should I expect them to be. the car gps is very accurate on the road.

    thanks Jack

    • Your compass will always point towards the waypoint, regardless of this setting. This would only matter if you were going to project a waypoint or something like that.

      Your car unit is likely the less accurate one. You don’t see it in practice because the position icon is always locked to the road.

  46. You suckers need to get your goods at Costco, if it breaks, just get a new one.

  47. Bernardo Delfin says:

    If I install a GA 30 external antena to the GPSMAP 60csx will it make a big difference y acurancy???

  48. Hey Richard,
    It was great to read your forum…
    I got this Garmin 60CXs from Amazon but realizing the map that Garmin’s website charges cost a bomb!
    I am heading to the whole Latin America, e.g. Argentina, Peru, Brazil etc…
    I was wonder is there any website that I can download free map from Latin America, Cuba and Mexico?
    I will be going away in a week time and I need map to help me to navigate the countries that I am going…
    Please advise… Many Thanks!

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