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Best Car Compasses To Buy In 2020 – Top 8 Rated Reviews

Thinking to travel but don’t have a compass? Or do you keep losing your compass every time you take it with you? Compasses are such small devices that we can easily lose track of them. But what if your car had a compass integrated into it, one which you wouldn’t lose?

Well, no need to imagine. We would like to introduce you to the best car compasses. These compasses come in two forms, analog and digital. The analog ones are like regular compasses that fit onto your dashboard. Whereas the digital variants are equipped with an LCD screen and give many other driving data.

So which compasses take the lead? We’re here to help you decide that. So without further ado, here are our top picks.

Best Car Compasses

Best Car Compasses Comparison Table

NameType

Dial/Screen SizeBracket/Mount TypeNight LightRating

Type
Traditional
Dial/Screen Size
2.75”
Bracket/Mount Type
U-mount
Night Light
Yes
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Type
Traditional
Dial/Screen Size
2.75”
Bracket/Mount Type
Surface mount
Night Light
Yes
3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)

Type
Traditional
Dial/Screen Size
2.75”
Bracket/Mount Type
Surface mount
Night Light
Yes
4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Type
Traditional
Dial/Screen Size
3”
Bracket/Mount Type
Bracket mount
Night Light
Yes
4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Type
Digital (HUD)
Dial/Screen Size
2.6”
Bracket/Mount Type
Cigarette Lighter mount
Night Light
None required
4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Type
Digital (HUD)
Dial/Screen Size
4.3”
Bracket/Mount Type
Cigarette Lighter mount
Night Light
None required
4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Type
Traditional
Dial/Screen Size
3.75”
Bracket/Mount Type
Flush mount
Night Light
Yes
4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Type
Digital (HUD)
Dial/Screen Size
3.5”
Bracket/Mount Type
Cigarette Lighter mount
Night Light
None required
3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)

Top 8 Best Car Compasses In 2020 Reviews

1 Ritchie Navigation Compass

Ritchie makes the best magnetic compasses for use in cars and ships. This compass is a fully operational travel-size device that will always keep you on track. One way you can be sure of its accuracy is that this compass was never meant to be used on cars.

Instead, it was designed with luxury boats and yachts in mind. So if it works for them, it will work for you.

Here’s more.

Starting off with the Gimbal System, the Ritchie Compass has been engineered to stay as steady as a rock. It automatically calibrates to the rotation of the car or boat. The internal gyro sphere-like features keep the compass from bottoming out. Moreover, this Ritchie navigation compass is 100% repairable. So if it stops working or needs recalibrating, a simple repair job will fix it.

The best part…

The Ritchie Navigation Compass is also the most suitable for its durability. And we’re not just talking about the parts. The internal magnets used in this model are High Gauss Magnets, which are 100% balanced and calibrated. They lock onto the magnetic north, making readings more accurate, durable, and smoother.

As for the parts, the Ritchie uses a pivot made of reinforced steel. It also makes use of the Triple Cup Sapphire Movement. This, paired with the magnets and the Gimbal system, makes the Ritchie butter smooth.

Lastly,

The only drawback we found was that GPS equipment tends to interfere with the compass. This should go without saying that any magnetic material will attract the compass more than the Earth’s magnetic field. So be wary and don’t mount the Ritchie close to a GPS system.

Ritchie Navigation Compass
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • Stays steady even through rough terrain.
  • 100% repairable with easy assembly.
  • It uses a U-mount, which is compatible with most cars.
  • Steel Pivot and Jewel Movement make the dial run smoother.
  • Made from professional High Gauss magnets.

Cons

  • Too sensitive to other magnets such as a GPS system.

2 Ritchie Compass – 2.75 Inch Dial

Here’s another compass from Ritchie Navigation. This one has a 2.75-inch dial which facilitates better visibility. Keeping an eye on the compass when you’re driving can be hectic. So a larger dial increases visibility for quicker readings. Moreover, not only are the markings bright and vivid, but they are also glow-in-the-dark. So when night falls or the power breaks down, you can still see where you’re going.

What’s more?

Aside from the sleek black design and the high visibility, the compass also has scientifically matched jewel movement. It uses sapphire to further smoothen the movement of the dial. Along with that, this Ritchie instrument uses a steel pivot that has been hardened and reinforced. All of these combined make the dial rotate as smooth as butter.

Other than that, the Ritchie Navigation Compass has built-in compensators. This one also uses the Gimbal System to keep the arrowhead always pointing geographical north. More so, this compass can be safely disassembled and reassembled. This means that you can easily repair or replace any parts.

You don’t need to calibrate this Ritchie compass.

But why?

It uses High Gauss magnets that automatically calibrate to geographical north and south. Just be sure to not place any magnetic material near the compass. External magnetic fields can interfere with the compass’s working, especially GPS systems or generators.

Last but not least…

This Ritchie navigation compass isn’t much different from the previous one. The main difference is in the mounting style. This compass does not come with a mount and requires some assembly before you can use it. But aside from that, it’s the perfect companion for all your travels.

Ritchie Compass - 2.75 Inch Dial
Our rating:3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)

Pros

  • High Gauss magnets keep the compass calibrated at all times.
  • Compensators keep the dial and needle as steady as possible.
  • Sapphire jewel and steel pivot system account for smooth movement.
  • Easy to mount and dismount and replace.
  • Best for use with all types of vehicles and boats.

Cons

  • It may not work near a GPS properly.

3 Ritchie Explorer S-53

If the other two Ritchie products didn’t interest you, then this one will. Ritchie has a wide range of navigation compasses for various purposes. This compass is best for use in cars and boats. It’s one of the best for its quality and visibility.

It has a large screen with high contrast markings to make reading easier and quicker. Plus, the dial is tilted towards you, so you can see the reading right from the driver’s seat. The white markings turn green in the night. So you can use the compass without needing any extra lighting. This makes it the best for late-night travels or when the power goes out on the ship.

Aside from that, this Ritchie compass also includes easy assembly and disassembly. Simply press the push button to remove the module. This makes it easier to open and repair or replace.

Sadly, it does not come with a mounting bracket. So mounting can be slightly harder. However, unlike the other Ritchie products, this compass has a low profile. Yes, it’s big enough to be visible, but you’ll only see it when you want to.

That’s not all…

More so, the regulars are present as well. This navigator uses High Gauss magnets that orient themselves towards the geographical north. The compass also features a flawless construction that is both visually appealing and long-lasting. The Ritchie S-53 uses the Gimbal System to keep the features as steady as possible. This means a rocking ship for turning the car won’t disorient the needle.

Ritchie Explorer S-53
Our rating:4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Pros

  • Best compass for high durability and performance.
  • Easy to repair, replace, and troubleshoot.
  • Keeps a low profile to make space for other equipment on the dash.
  • Stays as steady as a rock when the car turns.
  • High contrast readings with a slight tilt make observations quicker.

Cons

  • No mounting bracket. Must be manually mounted.

4 B-81 Ritchie Compass 3-Inch Dial

Another compass from Ritchie, this one is not only larger but longer-lasting. To summarize, the Ritchie B-81 has a lot more than just the looks. This compass features a larger dial with internal night lighting. This increases its visibility drastically. However, the larger size may take up more space on the dashboard.

But what is the best part?

It comes with a bracket mount of medium size. So you can easily mount it and dismount it on your dash. The bracket is designed to keep the compass positioned at a proper angle. In this way, you don’t have to look from the very top to see where the readings are.

Like the other Ritchie products, this too uses a self-calibrating system that always points north. So even if your car is shaking or turning, the compass will stay completely oriented. The magnets used are highly sensitive, so even the tiniest shift in the north will register.

However, this also means that magnetic devices such as GPS cannot be used in its vicinity. Preferably, keep the GPS at least a few inches away.

Here’s more…

But do you know what really sets the B-81 aside? It’s the 5-year warranty that comes with the navigator. So you can get free returns and repairs even 5 years after using. Of course, the warranty is limited. But it’s highly appreciated in this money-hungry era.

B-81 Ritchie Compass 3-Inch Dial
Our rating:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros

  • The 5-year warranty ensures customer trust.
  • Bigger dial than before. Increased visibility.
  • Includes a night light for safe low-light navigation.
  • Mid-size mount bracket for easy installation.
  • More durable and reliable than other magnets.

Cons

  • Takes up more space on the dashboard.

5 Universal Vehicle HUD Display

If Ritchie isn’t cutting it out for you, then try the Universal Vehicle Compass from Pyle. This compass is unique in the sense that it has a digital display. Essentially, the Vehicle Smart HUD is a dashboard companion. It features an LCD display that shows a number of different observations.

What’s the best part?

The Pyle HUD shows your car’s speedometer, distance, trip time, the voltage being supplied, and much more. This feature is best for keeping a log of your travels, and also for knowing if you’re within the speed limit.

The speedometer on your car may stop working or the markings may fade. This Mini Dashboard provides accurate readings that are easy to read and note down. Think of it as your car’s dashboard compressed to the size of a mountable display.

But the main reason why we chose the HUD is for its GPS and compass system. The GPS works like any other directing service and gives directions based on an updated map. The compass gives accurate readings and directs you towards true north.

Last but not least…

Aside from that, the Pyle Vehicle Smart HUD features a universal mount. Which means it can be used on any car or automobile. Sadly, it’s not for use with boats and ships. And as accurate as it may be, there is always room for an error. The compass needs some time to calibrate, perhaps a few minutes after ignition.

Universal Vehicle HUD Display
Our rating:4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Displays speed, trip time and mileage, and even the voltage.
  • Rings an alarm when you go over the speed limit.
  • Highly adjustable with 8 brightness levels.
  • Low-profile, non-distracting design.
  • Maps on its GPS are accurate and updated.

Cons

  • Compass requires a few minutes to calibrate.

6 ACECAR T800 Car HUD Display

Another digital mini-dashboard, this GPS and compass combo from ACECAR is the best for its wide range of functions. It sits on your dashboard with a low profile and does not distract you from the road. With the ACECAR, you get twice as many features as any other mini-dash.

How is that possible?

The ACECAR HUD displays the speed, voltage, trip mileage and time, and even satellite time. Moreover, you can also record your altitude along with your sailing angle. This makes it the best dashboard for off-road driving. Moreover, you can some driving speed and brake tests on the HUD as well. It also rings an alarm whenever you surpass the speed limit.

But perhaps the most abundant feature is the compass and GPS system. The GPS guides you to your destination, whereas the compass guides you to true north. Both the compass and the GPS are self-orienting, and they need some time to calibrate. After that, they provide accurate directions down to every mile.

That’s not all… Here’s more.

We also loved the TFT LCD display. This display stretches 4.3 inches across your dashboard. However, due to its black color and small size, it won’t distract you while driving. More so, the ACECAR HUD is compatible with almost every vehicle. It features a universal mount that allows it to adapt to any type of car or truck. All you need to do is plug in the display into your cigarette lighter and you’re good to go.

ACECAR T800 Car HUD Display
Our rating:4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Pros

  • Compact and low-profile design.
  • Works on all vehicles. Universal mount included.
  • High definition 4.3 inch LCD display that beats sun glare.
  • Over 12 different features, including GPS and compass.
  • Includes a speed and brake test.

Cons

  • The compass needs experience to visualize since it’s in a digital format.

7 Compass – 3.75Inch Dial

This compass from Ritchie Navigation is unlike any other. Quite particularly, it’s best for the high readability of the text. Not only is the text bright white, but the dial is jet blue. This makes the dial visible from afar and creates a bold contrast. Moreover, the compass is tilted at an optimal viewing angle, so you don’t need to look over it every time.

What’s more?

Ritchie has always impressed us with its excellent calibrating system. Particularly, this compass features High Gauss magnets that orient themselves towards the geographical north. They are highly sensitive to the Earth’s magnetic field.

Moreover, the dial stays as steady as a rock, even if the vehicle turns and shakes. This makes it perfect for both ships and land vehicles. This is mainly thanks to the compensators that keep both the dial and the needle in place.

Aside from that, the Ritchie Navigation Compass also features internal night illumination. In this way, the internal globe of the compass lights up with neon green lights. This increases the visibility of the compass in low light. This also ensures that you’re ways on track, even through the night.

What’s the real story?

The only problem is that this Ritchie compass may not give as accurate readings as others. This is because the compensators used aren’t all that perfect. So slight deviations can occur! However, the deviations are only minor and wouldn’t matter in the long run. We definitely recommend this compass if you want the full Ritchie experience.

Compass - 3.75Inch Dial
Our rating:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros

  • Dial stays steady and balanced even if the vehicle shakes.
  • Perfect for use in the night due to the night lighting.
  • Big enough to be visible from afar.
  • A great choice for those on a low budget.
  • Very easy to mount and dismount in case of repairs.

Cons

  • Deviates slightly in some cases.

8 Pyle Universal Car HUD

Here’s another Head-Up Display (HUD) from Pyle. This universal display has a revamped design, with over 12 features and a flat LCD screen. First off, you’ll notice how gorgeous and professional the screen looks. The display features sober lighting with robust markings! Plus, the screen has an anti-glare feature. But the design isn’t the only thing that’s inviting.

Here’s a catch…

Aside from the regulars, the Pyle Universal HUD features an auto shut off feature. This means that HUD will start up on ignition and shut down when the car is locked. However, the Pyle HUD does not feature surge protectors or high voltage protection.

Like any other HUD, this Pyle product only requires you to plug the cable into the cigarette lighter. The display mounts and connects easily to any and all vehicles. This HUD gives you all the necessary driving data for keeping on track. It features a compass and GPS system, along with speed and mileage recorders.

What’s the best part?

This HUD from Pyle features a multi-color display. That’s right, the LCD features lighting in various colors. This not only changes the ambiance but also aids the use of color-coding. Moreover, it also features an alarm system that can sound up to 30 dB. Additionally, there’s an automatic brightness adjustment feature that automatically balances the image.

Pyle Universal Car HUD
Our rating:3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)

Pros

  • A great compass for getting you back on track.
  • It provides more than just GPS and compass navigation.
  • Multi-color display with a flat LCD screen.
  • The alarm system keeps you from over speeding.
  • It starts up automatically and shuts down when the car is locked.

Cons

  • The compass is too small to read. It requires frequent glances.

Best Car Compasses Buying Guide

Before knowing about which car compasses are the best, you first need to know what makes a compass great. Below are a few factors that you should consider when choosing a car compass. These are also the factors that we looked into when we chose our top 8 compass list.

Type Of Compass (HUD Or Traditional)

There are two types of compasses: traditional and digital. You’re already familiar with the traditional ones, so we’ll only discuss the digital variants. The digital variants come in the form of a Head-Up Display (HUD), also known as a mini dashboard. These digital displays show driving data such as mileage, time, and even the speed. Moreover, they can double as a GPS and a compass.

However, HUDs are harder to read as we’re used to the analog readings. For example, a HUD may give the reading “90 N”, which is harder to understand unless you visualize it.

Mounting Style

Many compasses come with mounting brackets, while others do not. We recommend getting a compass that has one, to avoid any hassle. Traditional compasses, especially the type used in boats, require bolts and wiring. Whereas HUDs only requires you to plug the cable into the cigarette lighter! So a HUD is much easier to mount and use.

Because of this, most HUDs are a universal fit. Some traditional compasses can also be found with a universal bracket. But even those require hefty installation.

Calibration

Traditional compasses take the lead when it comes to calibration. These compasses use magnets to keep the needle always pointing north. Since they don’t use electricity, they calibrate immediately. However, a HUD will take more time, perhaps two to five minutes, to set properly. And the worst part is that you won’t even know when the compass is calibrating. So you’ll have to take readings after a few minutes.

Easy Visibility

This is by far the most major competition among both traditional and digital compasses. Traditional compasses strive to be more visible by increasing the contrast between the dial and the markings. However, HUDs can easily tackle this problem by digitally increasing the brightness and contrast. Plus, they can sometimes also include adjustable brightness.

Traditional compasses also feature a might light that illuminates the inside of the compass. This feature is best for anyone who drives at the night. Furthermore, both types of compasses are titled towards the driver, so you can see them at a glance.

Night Lighting

As mentioned before, a lot of traditional compasses feature night lighting. Night lighting is the best for drivers that drive at night. However, this feature is best for boats and ships. Because in a boat, the power can go out at any time! And you’ll be needing to see in the dark. A luminescent night light is a great feature if you require it. But a HUD simply performs the function by using a backlit LCD display.

Wrap Up

So there you have it. The top 8 car compasses, both traditional and digital. We hope you were able to decide which compass cut it for you. But if you couldn’t, then we have our own recommendation. We suggest the Ritchie Navigation Explorer Compass. It’s simple, cheap, uses little power, and is completely analog. The HUDs were pretty good too but they had some unnecessary features and drained a lot of power.

Having a compass integrated onto your dashboard is certainly a luxury. But to save you the pain, we showed you the best compasses that fall within a moderate budget. Now it’s up to you to decide which compass you found the most worthy.

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