Garmin inReach Explorer vs SPOT Gen 4

Let’s compare the Garmin inReach Explorer vs SPOT Gen 4 (Spot Gen 4 replaced the Gen 3).

Garmin inReach Explorer vs SPOT Gen3

You may not think this is a fair comparison as these satellite messengers are so different, but follow me here, and you’ll see that each one has it’s place, even though one of them maybe the best in class.

Garmin GPSMAP 67i

SPOT Gen 4

Quick Overview

The Garmin inReach Explorer+ (replaced by the Garmin GPSMAP 67i) is a 2-way satellite messenger, with topo maps and worldwide, pole to pole coverage.

The SPOT Gen3 is a 1-way satellite messenger with tracking and has some holes in its worldwide coverage.

You may be thinking, “why do I need to know anymore? The Garmin inReach Explorer+ is obviously the way to go.” Not so fast. The SPOT Gen3 cost about $150 vs the Explorer+ coming in around $450.


My advice to sportsmen is to buy what you can afford, and at least carry some kind of satellite messenger with an S.O.S. function. The SPOT Gen3 was my first satellite messenger purchase, primarily because I had just moved to Colorado, was low on money, but wanted to have one of these as part of my hiking gear.

So, as you can see, The SPOT Gen3 may be the best satellite messenger for many people. Let’s take a closer look at these two models.

Closer Look

Garmin inReach Explorer+Garmin inReach Explorer+

  • 2-way Messenger
  • Worldwide Coverage
  • Topo Maps
  • Tracking
  • Bluetooth
  • Expensive

You can find more detailed information HERE on the Garmin inReach Explorer+.


  • 1-way Messenger
  • Holes in Worldwide Coverage
  • No Topo Maps
  • Tracking
  • No Bluetooth
  • Inexpensive

You can find more detailed information HERE on the SPOT Gen 4.

There are many more functions to compare, but I think you get the point. The Garmin inReach Explorer+ is hands down the better satellite messenger.

Bottom Line

If you have the money, you can’t go wrong with the Garmin inReach Explorer+ and it will be well worth your investment.

If you are short on funds, then the SPOT Gen3 is the perfect satellite messenger for you. You and your family will be thankful that at least you have something in case of a life threatening emergency.

You can see the YouTube video of the satellite messenger comparison below.

You can research more on each satellite messenger on the Amazon links below.

Garmin GPSMAP 66i, GPS Handheld and Satellite Communicator, Featuring TopoActive mapping and inReach Technology, Multi
  • Large 3 inch Sunlight-readable color display for easy viewing
  • Trigger an interactive SOS to the geos 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center, two-way messaging via the 100% Global Iridium satellite network (satellite subscription required)
  • Preloaded Garmin TOPO mapping with direct-to-device Birdseye satellite imagery downloads (no annual subscription), includes multiple global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) support and navigation sensors
  • Cellular connectivity lets you access active weather forecasts and geocaching live
  • Compatible with the Garmin explore website and app to help you manage waypoints, routes, activities and collections, use tracks and review trip data from the field
  • Internal, rechargeable lithium battery provides up to 35 hours of battery life in 10-minute tracking mode and 1-minute tracking mode (display off), 200 hours in Expedition mode with 30-minute tracking

This product was presentation was made with AAWP plugin.

Spot Gen 4 Satellite GPS Messenger | Handheld Portable GPS Messenger for Hiking, Camping, Outdoor Activities | Globalstar Satellite Network Coverage | Subscription Applicable
  • MEANT FOR ADVENTURE: Spot Gen4 provides critical, life-saving line of communication when you travel beyond cell towers; Let family know you're ok or push the SOS button to send your GPS to emergency responders if you need help
  • NO CELL PHONE OR SERVICE-NO PROBLEM: With the Tracking feature Gen4 can transmit location updates when you are moving and when you stop; Keep one in your child's backpack for the walk home
  • GLOBALSTAR SATELLITE & SPOT products use GPS to determine location and transmit GPS coordinates to others; SPOT users can notify friends, family or emergency rescue their exact GPS coordinates
  • WHAT'S IN THE BOX: Spot Gen4 device, Strap and Carabiner, USB Cable, Batteries and quick start guide; Subscription required; Two service plans available
  • PURCHASE, ACTIVATE, EXPLORE: Grab a Spot Gen4; Activate by selecting your service plan; Get out there and explore the world with peace of mind

This product was presentation was made with AAWP plugin.

I would love to hear your thoughts on these two satellite messengers. Please Leave a Comment below and Subscribe and Turn on Notifications so you’ll see my new reviews as soon as I post them.

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2 thoughts on “Garmin inReach Explorer vs SPOT Gen 4”

  1. Thank you so much for comparing these two devices. I have been trying to find a reliable site all over the internet for several days now and i have not been able to find something reliable that didn’t lean to one side more than the other, I can certainly see that your site doesn’t do that with the products it talks about. Thank you so much for this

    • My focus here is to always give my personal opinion, based on actual field testing of each of these satellite messengers. I may not be making friends with all of the companies that produce these products, however, I want to be honest with you. The nice thing is that, even though there are a few messengers that are the best in the market, everyone one of these will be the perfect satellite messenger for someone, and that’s another focus of mine. A particular messenger may not be number one, but it may be perfect for you, and letting you know these differences can help everyone make the best decision for themselves.



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