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Garmin eTrex 20x vs 22x vs 32x (2021): Handheld GPS Comparison

A handheld GPS is one of the best tools to have if you enjoy hiking, trekking and many other outdoor activities. Garmin’s eTrex 20x, eTrex 22x and eTrex 32x are all excellent handheld GPS devices that have a sturdy and rugged build. They have all the basic functions and information that you will need in a navigation device. So how do they differ and which one should you buy? We compare the three GPS devices to help you decide which one is right for you.

Garmin eTrex 20x vs 22x vs 32x Comparison Chart

ModelGarmin eTrex 20x Garmin eTrex 22x Garmin eTrex 32x
 Garmin eTrex 20x, Handheld GPS Navigator, Enhanced Memory and Resolution, 2.2-inch Color Display,...Garmin eTrex 22x, Rugged Handheld GPS NavigatorGarmin eTrex 32x, Rugged Handheld GPS Navigator
PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Dimensions2.1 x 4 x 1.3 inches2.1 x 4 x 1.3 inches2.1 x 4 x 1.3 inches
Weight5 oz (142g)5 oz (142g)5 oz (142g)
Display2.2 inches
240 x 320 pixels
Transflective, 65K color TFT
2.2 inches
240 x 320 pixels
Transflective, 65K color TFT
2.2 inches
240 x 320 pixels
Transflective, 65K color TFT
ResistanceIPX7IPX7IPX7
Memory and Storage3.7GB
microSD card up to 32GB
8GB
microSD card up to 32GB
8GB
microSD card up to 32GB
Waypoints and Routes2000
200
2000
200
2000
200
SensorsGPS
GLONASS
GPS Compass
GPS
GLONASS
GPS Compass
GPS
GLONASS
GPS Compass
Barometric altimeter
Electronic compass
MapsBasemap
Ability to add maps
Pre-loaded TopoActive maps
Basemap
Ability to add maps
Pre-loaded Topo Active maps
Basemap
Ability to add maps
BasecampYesYesYes
Wireless ConnectivityNoNoANT+
BatteryUp to 25 hoursUp to 25 hoursUp to 25 hours

Design and Display

Aside from their colors, the Garmin eTrex 20x, 22x and 32x have the same rugged build.

garmin etrex 20x vs 22x vs 32x design and display
The Garmin eTrex 20x (left), 22x (center) and 32x (right) have the same physical dimensions.

Looks-wise, the three GPS devices are similar. They have the same physical dimensions of 2.1 x 4 x 1.3 inches and they also weigh the same at 5 ounces or 142 grams. They are compact and portable, characteristics that you want in a handheld GPS device.

All three of them also have a rugged build that makes them suitable for any outdoor adventure. You can drop these from a considerable height and they will still function without issues. The screens are sturdy as well and they will not crack even if you do drop them by accident. With IPX7 ratings, all three of them are waterproof as well, so you can use them near water sources without having to worry about them getting damaged.

Since these devices are small, their screens are also on the smaller side at just 2.2 inches. However, even though they are small, they are easily readable. The transflective screens are easy to see under direct sunlight and you can adjust the brightness incrementally or using presets. The screens of the eTrex 20x, 22x and 32x have a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels and they are capable of displaying 65K colors.

The only difference with these three units is their color. The Garmin eTrex 20x comes in orange, the Garmin eTrex 22x comes in black/navy, while the Garmin eTrex 32x comes in brown. Aside from that, they all have the same build quality and overall design.

Features

The Garmin eTrex 20x and 22x are entry-level units with basic features, while the eTrex 32x is a more advanced GPS device that comes with additional features such as barometric altimeter and more.

garmin etrex 20x vs 22x vs 32x features
Left side view of the Garmin eTrex 20x (left), 22x (center) and 32x (right).

The Garmin eTrex 20x is a 2020 model, while the Garmin eTrex 22x and 32x are 2021 models. The eTrex 22x and 32x are upgraded versions of the eTrex 20x and 30x, respectively. When it comes to features, the eTrex 20x and 22x are similar, but the latter has more internal memory (3.7GB vs 8GB) and it has pre-loaded Garmin TopoActive maps. Other than those, the two are essentially the same model.

The Garmin eTrex 32x is a much more advanced model than both the eTrex 20x and 22x. It has 8GB internal memory, comes with pre-loaded Garmin TopoActive maps and its distinguishing features are its barometric altimeter, 3-axis electronic compass and wireless connectivity (ANT+).

Its barometric altimeter and 3-axis electronic compass sensors allow the eTrex 32x to have a faster processing speed and they contribute to the device’s overall accuracy. These sensors are usually found in more expensive GPS units and having these features at this price point makes the eTrex 32x a good value for the money. Its ANT+ connectivity is a nice added feature as well, allowing you to exchange data (routes, tracks etc.) with other Garmin devices that it is compatible with.

Ease of Use

The Garmin eTrex 20x, 22x and 32x have the same layout, but the eTrex 22x and 32x come with pre-loaded Garmin TopoActive maps.

garmin etrex 20x vs 22x vs 32x ease of use
At the back, all three handheld GPS devices have a thumb screw, that also doubles as a mounting attachment, to easily access their battery.

One of the reasons for the popularity of the Garmin eTrex line of handheld GPS units is that they are simple and easy to use. On the face of the devices is a joystick that can be used for scrolling and navigating, and at the sides are five buttons for the power/light, menu, back and up/down functions. Having buttons instead of a touch interface is a plus for those that need to wear gloves during their outdoor adventures.

When it comes to the menu layout, the eTrex line has the same layout as other Garmin devices. If you’ve used other Garmin devices before, you’ll be greeted by this familiar layout. If you are unfamiliar with Garmin devices, you’ll easily get used to it as the menu is intuitive and easy to navigate.

Out of the box, the Garmin eTrex 22x and 32x are readily useable since they come pre-loaded with Garmin TopoActive maps. These Garmin TopoActive maps contain useful information such as points of interests, trails, roads and more. The Garmin eTrex 20x, on the other hand, does not come pre-loaded with Garmin TopoActive maps. It only has a basic map that’s not really informative and you will need to manually add TopoActive maps to it first before taking it out on a hike.

Battery Life

The Garmin eTrex 20x, 22x and 32x all have a battery life of up to 25 hours.

garmin etrex 20x vs 22x vs 32x battery
Right side view of the Garmin eTrex 20x (left), 22x (center) and 32x (right).

These Garmin GPS devices are powered by two AA batteries and they have a battery life of up to 25 hours, which is considered very good. You can easily change the battery anytime by turning the thumbscrew at the back that will lift the battery cover. The thumbscrew also doubles as a mounting point to your strap, carabiner etc.

Verdict

The Garmin eTrex 22x is a good handheld GPS device, but we recommend that you go with the more advanced eTrex 32x.

If you’re looking to get a basic handheld GPS, the Garmin eTrex 22x is a good option. We recommend that you get the eTrex 22x over the eTrex 20x since the former is an upgraded version of the latter that comes with more internal memory and pre-loaded TopoActive maps at almost the same price.

If you want a more advanced handheld GPS device that offers better value for the money, we suggest that you get the Garmin eTrex 32x instead. It has all the features of the eTrex 22x and it comes with a barometric altimeter and a 3-axis electronic compass sensor. The two features mentioned are certainly worth paying for since they improve the device’s accuracy and speed.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ What is the difference between the Garmin eTrex 20x and 22x?

The main difference between the two models is that the Garmin 22x has more internal memory and it comes pre-loaded with Garmin TopoActive maps.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Garmin eTrex 20x waterproof?

Yes, it has an IPX7 rating, meaning that it is waterproof.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does Garmin eTrex 22x have a compass?

Yes, it has a differential compass, which means that you need to move if you want to know the direction.

๐Ÿ“Œ What is the difference between the Garmin eTrex 22x and 32x?

The Garmin eTrex 32x has all the features of the eTrex 22x, but it also has a barometric altimeter, a 3-axis electronic compass and wireless ANT+ connectivity.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.