Garmin inReach vs SPOT

It’s time to compare the Garmin inReach vs SPOT. Specifically, the Garmin inReach Mini vs the SPOT X and Gen 3.

Physical Comparison

Garmin inReach vs SPOT

What more is there to say? The Garmin inReach is smaller than either the SPOT X or the SPOT Gen 3. It’s also significantly lighter than the SPOT X and only slightly lighter than the SPOT Gen 3.

The Garmin Mini is a little thicker, especially with the backpack tether as shown in the photo but it is so small that is not noticeable.

Feature Comparison

I’m going to break the features down by what’s important to me after having all of these on the trail, so I won’t be listing off all the features from the manufactures websites.

Garmin inReach MiniGarmin inReach Mini

  • Compact & Lightweight
  • 2-Way Satellite Messenger
  • Navigation & Topo Maps when Synced with Smartphone
  • Weather Forecasting when Synced with Smartphone
  • Worldwide, Pole to Pole Satellite Coverage
  • Larger Screen when Synced with Smartphone

 

SPOT XSPOT X

  • Large & bulky
  • 2-Way Satellite Messaging
  • Limited Navigation
  • No Weather Forecasting
  • Holes in Global Satellite Coverage
  • Unique U.S. Cell Phone Number
  • Built-in Keypad
  • Cannot Sync with Smartphone

SPOT Gen 3SPOT Gen 3

  • Compact & Lightweight
  • (1-Way) Satellite Messaging
  • No Navigation
  • No Weather Forecasting
  • Holes in Global Satellite Coverage
  • Cannot Sync with Smartphone

Satellite Coverage Comparison

This one will be short & sweet.

  • Garmin inReach Mini = Global, Pole to Pole Satellite Coverage
  • SPOT X = Holes in Global Satellite Coverage
  • SPOT Gen 3 = Holes in Global Satellite Coverage

SPOT Coverage Map

SPOT Coverage Map

 

Navigation Comparison

Garmin inReach Mini

The inReach Mini has incredible naviagtion features, when synced with your smartphone. Without the smartphone, there is limited navigation use. When the Mini is synced, it is just as powerful as the Garmin inReach Explorer.

Earthmate app Map for the Garmin inReach Mini

SPOT X

The SPOT X does have navigation but since it does not have use of topo maps, there is limited navigation function.

SPOT Gen 3

The SPOT X may be the simplest satellite messenger to use, but that being said, there is absolutely no navigation function.

Ease of Use

Hands down the SPOT Gen 3 is the easiest satellite messenger to use, primarily due to it’s limited functions or features. I would say the SPOT X is next in ease of use, and again, this is due to not having topo maps you can download and use on your device.

The Garmin inReach Mini is the least easy to use, HOWEVER, that’s only in comparison. I had no problem at all in setting up and using the Garmin inReach Mini, the Earthmate app and the awesome mapping features that comes with it.

Final Thoughts

I want to start this out by saying I love the having the SPOT X and the SPOT Gen 3 and would recommend them to anyone, however, after using the Garmin inReach Mini only once on the trail, and seeing how great it works with the Earthmate app, with the topo maps, having weather forecasting and 2-way messaging… It’s an easy choice for me.

I prefer the Garmin inReach Mini.

Garmin inReach Mini

You can see a short YouTube video of the comparisons below.

Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator, Orange
Spot X 2-Way Satellite Messenger
Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger - Orange
Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator, Orange
Spot X 2-Way Satellite Messenger
Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger - Orange
Global Satellite Coverage
2-Way Messaging
Navigation
Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator, Orange
Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator, Orange
Global Satellite Coverage
2-Way Messaging
Navigation
Spot X 2-Way Satellite Messenger
Spot X 2-Way Satellite Messenger
Global Satellite Coverage
2-Way Messaging
Navigation
Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger - Orange
Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger - Orange
Global Satellite Coverage
2-Way Messaging
Navigation

Please leave a Comment Below if you have any experience or opinions about these three satellite messengers, or send me an Email.

 

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6 thoughts on “Garmin inReach vs SPOT”

  1. Many thanks to you for sharing such a beautiful article with us and through your article we learned about a device in great need. I personally use this Garmin inReach Mini. This device is one of my favorite devices and I take it when I go for a walk in the jungle. Here is the sophisticated GPRS system whereby if I ever get lost in the jungle, I can find the right direction. And there are many other types of software that I can download that I will use. I hope that after reading your article, many will buy this device and share their experience with you.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for sharing your personal experiences with the Garmin inReach Mini. I have only used it once but I am sold on it over the SPOT devices, even though I really like them and would be fine with them on the trail.

      Rick

      Reply
  2. Well the Garmin inreach is a clear winner. Though the spot X does seem like a good choice despite lacking a reliable global satellite coverage. What I don’t understand though is why you have the spot gen 3 when you have the inreach mini. I like the weather forecasting feature of the inreach mini so when comparing all 3, I’ll go with the inreach mini anytime.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Hi Rhain,

      I am buying all of the top satellite messengers and personal locator beacons so I can be more thorough in my research and reviews.

      I started with the SPOT Gen 3, then bought the SPOT X, and last week bought the Garmin inReach Mini. I will be purchasing the Garmin inReach Explorer in February, followed by the rest of the main competitors in 2020.

      It’s amazing how much you learn about these devices when you really own them and use them on the trail.

      Rick

      Reply
  3. I have a gen 3 spot. I am currently having problems with the spot mapping program. The pop-up blocker blocks the map. Their tech department sent me a url to get around the pop-up blocker. This url didn’t work the first time I used it but is working now…. on my computer. I have two people that track me; one has been successful using the url, the other has not.

    Reply
    • Hi Dennis. I’m glad you were able to get that working. I have found the SPOT support team to be very helpful.

      I have been using my Garmin inReach Mini for most of my hikes these days and my son is using the Garmin inReach Explorer+ and I have found these Garmin Satellite Messengers to be more powerful and my first choice when heading to the outdoors.

      I would love to hear more from you about how well your SPOT Gen 3 is performing.

      Reply

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