GPS/GNSS Buying Guide

There are a lot of options when it comes to GPS and GNSS hardware so it can be hard to just pick one and start logging locations. The size, update rate, power requirements, these are all features that you'll want to look into before you choose which hardware is right for your project.

Size

This is something you need to consider if your project is supposed to be pocket-sized. GPS and GNSS modules are getting ever-smaller (Your tiny, tiny cell phone has one in it!) but remember that in general, the antenna has to shrink to fit the module which will affect things like lock time and accuracy.

Update Rate

The update rate of a GPS or GNSS module is basically how often it recalculates and reports its position. The standard for most devices is 1Hz (Only once per second). The fact is, unless you're on an airplane or something, you're probably not going fast enough to have changed position significantly in the past second. However, UAVs and other flying or fast vehicles may require faster update rates to stay on track. 5 and even 10Hz update rates are becoming more and more available for cheap. Keep in mind, though, that a fast update rate means that there's more NMEA sentences flying out of the module, some microprocessors will be quickly overwhelmed trying to parse that much data. On the plus side, if you have a module that runs at 5 or 10Hz, it can usually be configured to run at an easier pace.

Power Requirements

If someone asked you to crunch a bunch of numbers that you had to get from satellites in orbit around the Earth and use that information to figure out where you were, you'd flat out refuse. It's a lot of work, and yet that's exactly what these tiny GPS/GNSS units are doing (multiple times per second!) so they can use a lot of power. On average, around 30mA at 3.3V. Keep in mind, also, that GPS antennas usually enlist the help of an amplifier that draws extra power. If a unit appears to have super-groovy-low power consumption, make sure there's an antenna attached.

Number of Channels

Even though there are only so many GPS/GNSS satellites in view at any given time, the number of channels that your module runs will affect your time to first fix. Since the module doesn't know which satellites are in view, the more frequencies that you can check at once, the faster you'll find a fix. After you get a lock, some modules will shut down the extra blocks of channels to save power. If you don't mind waiting a little longer for a lock, 12 or 14 channels will work just fine for tracking.

Antennas

Many modules come with this chunk of something on top of it. What is that? That is a precisely made chunk of ceramic. Each antenna is finely trimmed to pickup the GPS L1 frequency of 1.57542 GHz. Sound expensive? Well, they make a lot of them. There are some other GPS antenna technologies (chip, helical), but they are not as common, a bit more expensive, and require significantly more amplification and filtering.

Oh hey - as I mentioned, the satellites are in the sky like... 12,552 miles above you, so be sure and point the ceramic towards the sky, ok? GPS and GNSS antennas are getting better, and you can certainly get a signal indoors, but it's hit-or-miss. I hear there are reception problems in the urban canyons of places like New York City. If you can get near a window - it will help a lot.

Accuracy

How accurate is GPS and GNSS? Well it varies a bit, but you can usually find out where you are, anywhere in the world, within 30 seconds, down to +/- 10m. Amazing! I say +/- because it can vary between modules, time of day, clarity of reception, etc. Most modules can get it down to +/-3m, but if you need sub meter or centimeter accuracy, it gets really expensive. I've heard stories of such fabled receivers, but I have never gotten to touch one. Someone please prove us wrong.

What is GNSS?

So you’re wondering what the difference is between GPS and GNSS? Good news, you’re not alone and you’ve come to the right place! The topic of GPS vs GNSS can be confusing for many people. The main reason for this is that in the US, we tend to use a specific GNSS called GPS. You can learn more in our article explaining each of the world's geospatial satellite constellations!

Enclosed GPS/GNSS Devices

SparkFun RTK Facet

SparkFun RTK Facet

GPS-19029
15 Retired
Start Time

Cold: 25 sec, Hot: 2 sec

Update Rate

25Hz Max

Antenna

Internal L1/L2 w/ ≥5dBi gain

Dimensions

136mm x 146mm x 80mm

Protocol

NMEA and UBX

Power Requirements

Internal 6Ah LiPo Battery (Included)

Bonus Features

Enclosed Facet Design, ESP32 WROOM Bluetooth® Tranceiver, Embedded OLED, 802.11 BGN WiFi, Single Push Button Control, Qwiic Connectors, USB-C, microSD, and more.

SparkFun RTK Surveyor

SparkFun RTK Surveyor

SparkFun RTK Surveyor

GPS-18443
$427.95
Start Time

Cold: 25 sec, Hot: 2 sec

Update Rate

25Hz Max

Antenna

SMA

Dimensions

118mm x 79mm x 30mm

Protocol

NMEA and UBX

Power Requirements

Internal 1000mAh LiPo Battery (Included)

Bonus Features

Kit Available, Enclosed Design, ESP32 WROOM Bluetooth® Tranceiver, 802.11 BGN WiFi, Rocker Switch Control, Qwiic Connectors, USB-C, microSD, and more.

SparkFun RTK Express

SparkFun RTK Express

SparkFun RTK Express

GPS-18442
$534.95
1
Start Time

Cold: 25 sec, Hot: 2 sec

Update Rate

25Hz Max

Antenna

SMA

Dimensions

132mm x 101mm x 32mm

Protocol

NMEA and UBX

Power Requirements

Internal 1300mAh LiPo Battery (Included)

Bonus Features

Kit Available, Enclosed Design, ESP32 WROOM Bluetooth® Tranceiver, 802.11 BGN WiFi, Push Button Control, Embedded OLED, Qwiic Connectors, USB-C, microSD, and more.

SparkFun RTK Express Plus

SparkFun RTK Express Plus

SparkFun RTK Express Plus

GPS-18590
$588.50
Start Time

Cold: 25 sec, Hot: 2 sec

Update Rate

25Hz Max

Antenna

SMA

Dimensions

132mm x 101mm x 32mm

Protocol

NMEA and UBX

Power Requirements

Internal 1300mAh LiPo Battery (Included)

Bonus Features

Kit Available, Enclosed Design, ESP32 WROOM Bluetooth® Tranceiver, 802.11 BGN WiFi, Push Button Control, Built In IMU, Dead Reckoning, Embedded OLED, Qwiic Connectors, USB-C, microSD, and more.

GPS/GNSS Breakout Boards

SparkFun GPS Breakout - NEO-M9N, SMA (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS Breakout - NEO-M9N, SMA (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS Breakout - NEO-M9N, SMA (Qwiic)

GPS-17285
$74.95
5
Start Time

Cold: 24 sec, Hot: 2 sec

Update Rate

25Hz Max (4 concurrent GNSS)

Antenna

SMA

Dimensions

40.64mm x 36.83mm

Protocol

NMEA, UBX, and RTCM over UART or I2C

Power Requirements

3.3VCC and I/O, ~31mA

Bonus Features

Qwiic Connectors, USB-C

SparkFun GPS Breakout - NEO-M9N, Chip Antenna (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS Breakout - NEO-M9N, Chip Antenna (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS Breakout - NEO-M9N, Chip Antenna (Qwiic)

GPS-15733
$74.95
2
Start Time

Cold: 24 sec, Hot: 2 sec

Update Rate

25Hz Max (4 concurrent GNSS)

Antenna

Chip

Dimensions

40.64mm x 33.02mm

Protocol

NMEA, UBX, and RTCM over UART or I2C

Power Requirements

3.3VCC and I/O, ~31mA

Bonus Features

Qwiic Connectors, USB-C

SparkFun GPS Breakout - NEO-M9N, U.FL (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS Breakout - NEO-M9N, U.FL (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS Breakout - NEO-M9N, U.FL (Qwiic)

GPS-15712
$69.95
3
Start Time

Cold: 24 sec, Hot: 2 sec

Update Rate

25Hz Max (4 concurrent GNSS)

Antenna

U.FL connector for use of antenna of your choice

Dimensions

40.64mm x 33.02mm

Protocol

NMEA, UBX, and RTCM over UART or I2C

Power Requirements

3.3VCC and I/O, ~31mA

Bonus Features

Qwiic Connectors, USB-C

SparkFun GPS Dead Reckoning Breakout - NEO-M8U (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS Dead Reckoning Breakout - NEO-M8U (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS Dead Reckoning Breakout - NEO-M8U (Qwiic)

GPS-16329
$74.95
2
Start Time

Cold: 26 sec, Hot: 1.5 sec

Update Rate

30Hz

Antenna

U.FL connector for use of antenna of your choice

Dimensions

42mm x 35mm

Protocol

NMEA, UBX, and RTCM over UART or I2C

Power Requirements

3.3V, 29mA

Bonus Features

Dead Reckoning, Built in Accelerometer & Gyroscope, Qwiic Connectors

SparkFun GPS Breakout - U.FL, ZOE-M8Q (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS Breakout - ZOE-M8Q (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS Breakout - ZOE-M8Q (Qwiic)

GPS-15193
$49.95
6
Start Time

Cold: 26 sec, Hot: 1 sec

Update Rate

18Hz

Antenna

External

Dimensions

25.25mm x 25.25mm

Protocol

NMEA, UBX, and 18Hz RTCM

Power Requirements

3.3V, 29mA

Bonus Features

Software Configurable, UART, I2C, High Sensitivity

SparkFun GPS Breakout - Chip Antenna, SAM-M8Q (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS Breakout - Chip Antenna, SAM-M8Q (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS Breakout - Chip Antenna, SAM-M8Q (Qwiic)

GPS-15210
$42.95
4
Start Time

Cold: 26 sec, Hot: 1 sec

Update Rate

18Hz

Antenna

External

Dimensions

41.35mm x 41.35mm

Protocol

NMEA, UBX, and 18Hz RTCM

Power Requirements

3.3V, 29mA

Bonus Features

Software Configurable, UART, I2C, High Sensitivity

SparkFun GNSS-RTK Dead Reckoning Breakout - ZED-F9K (Qwiic)

SparkFun GNSS-RTK Dead Reckoning Breakout - ZED-F9K (Qwiic)

SparkFun GNSS-RTK Dead Reckoning Breakout - ZED-F9K (Qwiic)

GPS-18719
$299.95
Start Time

Cold: 26 sec, Hot: 2 sec

Update Rate

Up to 30Hz

Antenna

SMA connector for use of antenna of your choice

Dimensions

61.0mm x 43.2mm

Protocol

NMEA, UBX, and RTCM over UART or I2C interfaces

Power Requirements

5V or 3.3V but all logic is 3.3V @ ~85mA to ~130mA (varies with constellations and tracking state)

Bonus Features

Dead Reckoning, Receives both L1C/A and L2C Bands, ~0.2 meter accuracy, Built-In Accelerometer and Gyroscope, RTC, USB-C, Qwiic Connector

SparkFun GPS-RTK Dead Reckoning Breakout - ZED-F9R (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS-RTK Dead Reckoning Breakout - ZED-F9R (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS-RTK Dead Reckoning Breakout - ZED-F9R (Qwiic)

GPS-16344
$289.95
Start Time

Cold: 24 sec, Hot: 2 sec

Update Rate

Up to 30Hz

Antenna

U.FL connector for use of antenna of your choice

Dimensions

52mm x 44mm

Protocol

NMEA, UBX, and RTCM over UART or I2C interfaces

Power Requirements

5V or 3.3V but all logic is 3.3V @ ~85mA to ~130mA (varies with constellations and tracking state)

Bonus Features

Dead Reckoning, Receives both L1C/A and L2C Bands, Built-In Accelerometer and Gyroscope

SparkFun GNSS Timing Breakout - ZED-F9T (Qwiic)

SparkFun GNSS Timing Breakout - ZED-F9T (Qwiic)

SparkFun GNSS Timing Breakout - ZED-F9T (Qwiic)

GPS-18774
$299.95
Start Time

Cold: 24 sec, Hot: 2 sec

Update Rate

Up to 20Hz

Antenna

3x SMA connectors for the antenna and timing pulse signals

Dimensions

52mm x 44mm

Protocol

NMEA, UBX, RRLP, and RTCM

Power Requirements

5V or 3.3V but all logic is 3.3V @ ~68mA - ~130mA (varies with constellations and tracking state)

Bonus Features

Five nanosecond timing accuracy, supports L1/L2/E5b bands, USB-C, Qwiic connectors

SparkFun GPS-RTK Dead Reckoning pHAT for Raspberry Pi

SparkFun GPS-RTK Dead Reckoning pHAT for Raspberry Pi

SparkFun GPS-RTK Dead Reckoning pHAT for Raspberry Pi

GPS-16475
$289.95
2
Start Time

Cold: 24 sec, Hot: 2 sec

Update Rate

Up to 30Hz

Antenna

U.FL connector for use of antenna of your choice

Dimensions

80mm x 70mm

Protocol

NMEA, UBX, and RTCM over UART

Power Requirements

5V or 3.3V but all logic is 3.3V @ ~85mA to ~130mA (varies with constellations and tracking state)

Bonus Features

Dead Reckoning, Receives both L1C/A and L2C Bands, Built-In Accelerometer and Gyroscope, Raspberry Pi pHAT

SparkFun MicroMod GNSS Carrier Board (ZED-F9P)

SparkFun MicroMod GNSS Carrier Board (ZED-F9P)

SparkFun MicroMod GNSS Carrier Board (ZED-F9P)

GPS-17722
$324.95
Start Time

Cold: 27 sec, Hot: 2 sec

Update Rate

Up to 25Hz

Antenna

SMA connector for use of antenna of your choice

Dimensions

66.04mm x 56.89mm

Protocol

NMEA, UBX, and RTCM

Power Requirements

5V or 3.3V but all logic is 3.3V @ ~85mA to ~130mA (varies with constellations and tracking state)

Bonus Features

Receives both L1C/A and L2C Bands, MicroMod M.2 connector, RTC w/ 1mAh battery back up, USB-C, Qwiic connector

SparkFun GPS Logger Shield

SparkFun GPS Logger Shield

SparkFun GPS Logger Shield

GPS-13750
$52.50
3
Start Time

Cold: 35 sec, Hot: 1 sec

Update Rate

Up to 10Hz

Antenna

Internal

Dimensions

Standard R3 Format

Protocol

NMEA

Power Requirements

5V or 3.3V but all logic is 3.3V, 12mm Coin Cell Battery

Bonus Features

Arduino R3 Form Factor, Prototyping Area, microSD Slot

SparkFun GPS-RTK-SMA Breakout - ZED-F9P (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS-RTK-SMA Breakout - ZED-F9P (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS-RTK-SMA Breakout - ZED-F9P (Qwiic)

GPS-16481
$274.95
10
Start Time

Cold: 25 sec, Hot: 2 sec

Update Rate

25Hz

Antenna

SMA

Dimensions

43.5mm x 43.2mm

Protocol

NMEA, UBX

Power Requirements

5V or 3.3V, 35mA

Bonus Features

Receives both L1C/A and L2C Bands, SMA connector for advanced antenna options

SparkFun GPS-RTK2 Board - ZED-F9P (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS-RTK2 Board - ZED-F9P (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS-RTK2 Board - ZED-F9P (Qwiic)

GPS-15136
$274.95
21
Start Time

Cold: 25 sec, Hot: 2 sec

Update Rate

25Hz

Antenna

External

Dimensions

43.5mm x 43.2mm

Protocol

NMEA, UBX

Power Requirements

3.3V, 35mA

Bonus Features

Receives both L1C/A and L2C Bands

SparkFun GPS-RTK Board - NEO-M8P-2 (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS-RTK Board - NEO-M8P-2 (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS-RTK Board - NEO-M8P-2 (Qwiic)

GPS-15005
$224.95
6
Start Time

Cold: 29 sec, Hot: 1 sec

Update Rate

10Hz

Antenna

External

Dimensions

40.6mm x 33mm

Protocol

NMEA, UBX, RTCM

Power Requirements

3.3V, 35mA

Bonus Features

Accuracy close to 1inch

SparkFun GPS Breakout - XA1110 (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS Breakout - XA1110 (Qwiic)

SparkFun GPS Breakout - XA1110 (Qwiic)

GPS-14414
$53.50
5
Start Time

Cold: 15 sec, Warm: 5 sec, Hot: 1 sec

Update Rate

10Hz

Antenna

Built-In & External

Dimensions

30.48mm x 25.4mm

Protocol

NMEA, MediaTek Binary

Power Requirements

3.3V, 25mA

SparkFun Artemis Global Tracker

SparkFun Artemis Global Tracker

SparkFun Artemis Global Tracker

WRL-18712
$399.95
1
Start Time

Cold: 26 sec, Hot: 1 sec

Update Rate

18Hz

Antenna

SMA

Dimensions

90mm x 85mm x 30mm

Protocol

NMEA, UBX, and 18Hz RTCM

Power Requirements

3.3V, 36mA (via USB-C, LiPo, or Solar Panel)

Bonus Features

Integrated BLE radio and antenna, Iridium 9603N Satellite Transceiver, MS8607 PHT Sensor, Qwiic Connector, LiPo Charger

GPS Receiver - LS20031 5Hz (66 Channel)

GPS Receiver - LS20031 5Hz (66 Channel)

GPS Receiver - LS20031 5Hz (66 Channel)

GPS-08975
$74.95
2
Start Time

Cold: 15 sec, Hot 1 sec

Update Rate

5Hz

Antenna

Built-In

Dimensions

30x30x5mm

Protocol

NMEA

Power Requirements

3.3V, 41mA

GPS Receiver - GP-20U7 (56 Channel)

GPS Receiver - GP-20U7 (56 Channel)

GPS Receiver - GP-20U7 (56 Channel)

GPS-13740
$19.50
38
Start Time

Cold: 29 sec, Warm: 28 sec, Hot: 8 sec

Update Rate

1Hz

Antenna

Built-In

Dimensions

18.4mm x 18.4mm x 4mm

Protocol

NMEA, UBX

Power Requirements

3.3V, 40mA

GPS Mouse - GP-808G (72 Channel)

GPS Mouse - GP-808G (72 Channel)

GPS-14198
Retired
Start Time

Cold: 36 sec, Warm: 25 sec, Hot: 1 sec

Update Rate

10Hz

Antenna

Built-In

Dimensions

52 x 52 x 20.5 mm

Protocol

NMEA, UBX

Power Requirements

3.3-5V, 40mA

GPS Receiver - EM-506 (48 Channel)

GPS Receiver - EM-506 (48 Channel)

GPS Receiver - EM-506 (48 Channel)

GPS-12751
$42.95
13
Start Time

Cold: 35 sec, Hot: 1 sec

Update Rate

1Hz

Antenna

Built-In

Dimensions

30x30x10.7mm

Protocol

NMEA, SiRF

Power Requirements

4.5-6V, 45-55mA

Bonus Features

Extremely High Sensitivity: -163dBm

GPS Receiver - GP-735 (56 Channel)

GPS Receiver - GP-735 (56 Channel)

GPS Receiver - GP-735 (56 Channel)

GPS-13670
$49.50
16
Start Time

Cold: 29 sec, Warm: 28 sec, Hot: 8 sec

Update Rate

10Hz

Antenna

Built-In

Dimensions

35 x 8 x 6.5 mm

Protocol

NMEA

Power Requirements

3.3-5V, 37mA

SparkFun GPS Module - Copernicus II DIP (12 Channel)

SparkFun GPS Module - Copernicus II DIP (12 Channel)

SparkFun GPS Module - Copernicus II DIP (12 Channel)

GPS-11858
$81.50
3
Start Time

Cold: 38 sec, Hot 3 sec

Update Rate

1Hz

Antenna

External

Dimensions

31.8x27.4x14mm

Protocol

NMEA

Power Requirements

3.3V, 44mA

Bonus Features

Standalone Module Available

GPS/GNSS Antennas

GNSS Multi-Band L1/L2 Helical Antenna (SMA) BT-560

GNSS  Multi-Band L1/L2 Helical Antenna (SMA) BT-560

GNSS Multi-Band L1/L2 Helical Antenna (SMA) BT-560

GPS-17383
$90.95
1
Weight

15.9g

Size

27.3mm x 58.6mm

Terminal Connector

SMA

Constellations

GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou

Power Requirements

3-18V, ≤50mA

Bonus Features

Picks up both L1 and L2 bands

GNSS Multi-Band L1/L2 Surveying Antenna (TNC) - TOP106

GNSS Multi-Band L1/L2 Surveying Antenna (TNC) - TOP106

GNSS Multi-Band L1/L2 Surveying Antenna (TNC) - TOP106

GPS-17751
$133.95
10
Weight

335g

Size

148mm x 55mm

Terminal Connector

Female TNC

Constellations

GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou

Power Requirements

3.3-12V, ≤45mA

Bonus Features

Picks up both L1 and L2 bands, Waterproof IP67, Standard 5/8"-11TPI

GPS/GNSS Magnetic Mount Antenna - 3m (SMA)

GPS/GNSS Magnetic Mount Antenna - 3m (SMA)

GPS/GNSS Magnetic Mount Antenna - 3m (SMA)

GPS-14986
$13.95
3
Weight

75g including 3m cable

Size

50x38x17mm

Terminal Connector

SMA

Constellations

GPS/GLONASS

Power Requirements

3-5V, 10mA

GNSS Multi-Band Magnetic Mount Antenna - 5m (SMA)

GNSS Multi-Band Magnetic Mount Antenna - 5m (SMA)

GNSS Multi-Band Magnetic Mount Antenna - 5m (SMA)

GPS-15192
$72.95
1
Weight

175g (including cable)

Size

60.0mm x 82.0mm x 22.5mm

Terminal Connector

SMA

Constellations

GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou

Power Requirements

Bonus Features

Picks up both L1 and L2 bands

MagmaX2 Active Multiband GNSS Magnetic Mount Antenna - AA.200

MagmaX2 Active Multiband GNSS Magnetic Mount Antenna - AA.200

MagmaX2 Active Multiband GNSS Magnetic Mount Antenna - AA.200

GPS-17108
$83.50
Weight

160g (including cable)

Size

63.2mm x 67.2mm x 26.5mm

Terminal Connector

SMA

Constellations

GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou

Power Requirements

1.8-5.5V @ ~18mA

Bonus Features

Picks up L1/L2/L5, G1/G2/G5, E1/E5a/E5b, and B1/B2 bands, Waterproof IP67, 1.5m cable

Molex Flexible GNSS Antenna - U.FL (Adhesive)

Molex Flexible GNSS Antenna - U.FL (Adhesive)

Molex Flexible GNSS Antenna - U.FL (Adhesive)

GPS-15246
$4.50
1
Weight

0.466g

Size

Antenna: 40.40mm x 15.40mm, Adhesive Pad: 56.40mm x 20mm

Terminal Connector

U.FL

Constellations

GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou

Power Requirements

-

Bonus Features

0.1mm thick, 50m cable

SparkFun GNSS Chip Antenna Evaluation Board

SparkFun GNSS Chip Antenna Evaluation Board

SparkFun GNSS Chip Antenna Evaluation Board

GPS-15247
$28.50
1
Weight

7.4g

Size

60.96 x 25.4mm

Terminal Connector

Constellations

GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou

Power Requirements

GPS Antenna Ground Plate

GPS Antenna Ground Plate

GPS Antenna Ground Plate

GPS-17519
$6.95
Weight

191g

Size

101.6mm x 6.35mm thickness

Terminal Connector

Constellations

Power Requirements

Interface Cable SMA to U.FL

Interface Cable SMA to U.FL

Interface Cable SMA to U.FL

WRL-09145
$5.50
3
Weight

4g

Size

101.6mm

Terminal Connector

SMA

Constellations

Power Requirements

U.FL to U.FL Mini Coax Cable - 200mm

U.FL to U.FL Mini Coax Cable - 200mm

U.FL to U.FL Mini Coax Cable - 200mm

WRL-15114
$1.95
Weight

3.04g

Size

200 mm length x 1.25mm diameter

Terminal Connector

U.FL on both ends

Constellations

Power Requirements

RockBLOCK External Patch Antenna

RockBLOCK External Patch Antenna

RockBLOCK External Patch Antenna

WRL-14580
$69.95
Weight

43.36g

Size

40.5mm x 38mm x 12.3mm

Terminal Connector

SMA

Constellations

Power Requirements