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Who doesn’t love free things? We all do, right?
But, it is also true that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Things that are offered for free often come with some hidden charges.
Simply put, free is never really free.
The same applies to choosing the best free route planner with unlimited stops in 2021.
There are quite a few free route planner apps available online, but they are mostly paid apps that offer trial versions to test out.
There are also some route planners that are really free but cannot plot a route with unlimited stops.
Some even come with features that might not be suitable for all kinds of field service and delivery businesses.
So, instead of calling these apps free route planners with unlimited stops, which is misleading, it is best to address them as free multi-stop route planners.
Hence, without further ado, let’s get on with our list of the 10 best free route planners along with all their pros and cons, and advice on which is the best for all field service and delivery businesses.
#1 Google Maps
The most popular and probably the best free route planner on this list is Google Maps. People across the globe love using the Google Maps route planner.
While it is great for personal use, it is not the best route planner for commercial purposes, especially for medium- and large-scale field service and delivery businesses.
Why? Below is a list of the pros and cons so you can decide for yourself.
- Google Maps provide turn-by-turn directions.
- It offers voice directions and can receive voice instructions, making hands-free driving a piece of cake.
- The estimated time of arrival given by Google Maps is oftentimes extremely accurate because of the real-time traffic data collected from users from all over the world.
- It runs on Google Cloud, which is very secure and scalable.
- It is extremely user-friendly.
- Google Maps offers a street view which is very handy in pinpointing a location.
- Google Maps can be used offline too. It is useful for places where the internet coverage is bad or non-existent.
- The free version only allows you to plot 10 stops.
- The paid version can be very expensive because the amount you need to pay depends on your usage volume.
- It doesn’t offer route optimization. Meaning, it will only show you the fastest route among the multiple stops. But if you haven’t entered the stops in the optimal order, the Google Maps route planner for deliveries will not do it for you.
- It is a stand-alone app; so, for other important features like GPS tracking of your drivers, you have to invest in other apps.
ALSO READ: Secrets of Google Route Optimization
Route4Me is one of the most popular route optimization software with over 32,000 happy customers.
In fact, it has been downloaded over two million times with 300 million addresses visited per year and billions of miles saved.
Route4Me offers a free route planner app to help you plan the fastest route to work.
And, if you like it (we guarantee you’ll love it!), then you can choose any of our custom pricing packages as per your requirements.
Here is Route4Me’s page on pricing packages.
Planning a multi-stop route on Route4Me is pretty easy. All you need to do is upload the list of addresses, set some parameters, and hit optimize. That’s it!
You’ll have a well-optimized route with turn-by-turn directions, which is free from bad weather, traffic congestion, one-ways, left turns, and more, within a minute.
Learn how to plan a route with unlimited stops in just 30 seconds with Route4Me.
Now let’s look at the pros and cons of Route4Me.
- Route4Me comes with a built-in GPS tracking feature that helps you monitor vehicles and drivers in real-time. So, if anything goes wrong, you can immediately take corrective actions. For example, you can track aggressive driving, drivers slacking off, and vehicle breakdowns.
- It comes with in-app voice-guided navigation so your drivers never have to look down at a map on a phone (especially in low-light or high-traffic conditions). They also don’t need to use one app for route planning and a different app for navigation.
- Route4Me comes with an in-app address scanner that helps you scan the address on each package within minutes, suggests geocoded address options to choose from, and lets you instantly add scanned addresses to new or planned routes.
- It comes with an eSignature feature that helps customers sign for deliveries directly on your drivers’ smartphones. You’ll never lose a confirmation again.
- Route4Me’s route planner app comes with a weather map layer feature that shows you real-time weather conditions, so you can avoid delays, arrive on time, and keep your customers happy.
- You cannot create a route of more than 10 stops in the free version.
- It comes with a lot of powerful features but most of them are available under paid version only.
Google Maps bought Waze in 2013, but this app still offers some features that make it better than Google Maps.
It is also a hugely popular free route planner app that is used by millions from all around the world.
- Waze collects updates about traffic conditions from other Waze users (called Wazers) and thus the data is very accurate.
- As a Wazer, you can easily update the app about road closures, accidents, road hazards, and so on. This makes driving more convenient for Wazers.
- It has voice directions and can receive voice instructions.
- The directions are very clear with the voice directions reading out the road names or exit numbers to ensure minimal mistakes.
- It only allows the plotting of two stops at a time. However, you can connect it with any other multi-stop route planner app to add more stops.
- Like Google Maps, Waze doesn’t offer route optimization.
- It is a stand-alone app too, with no other features crucial for field service and delivery businesses included.
The MapQuest route planner has been around for more than two decades and still remains popular.
In fact, it was the first commercial route planning tool that revolutionized the concept of a map.
- It offers a street view like Google Maps.
- You can plot stops like grocery stores, coffee shops, and so on, making it great for personal use.
- It shows the total estimated fuel cost for a trip. This feature makes it very useful for field service and delivery businesses.
- You can plot up to 20 stops per trip with the free version.
- It doesn’t offer route optimization.
- MapQuest is not very user-friendly and the pop-up ads on the web version sometimes block the map which is not just annoying but can also be dangerous while driving.
#5 Apple Maps
Apple Maps has come a long way since its inception. It has improved its navigation and the design of the map is second to none.
- Apple Maps offers a 3D street view, which is not just aesthetically appealing but is also helpful in finding a location.
- You can sync the Map on different Apple devices and platforms.
- The customer service of Apple is unparalleled.
- It provides voice navigation.
- The biggest issue with Apple Maps is that it runs only on Apple devices, such as iOS, macOS, and iPad.
- It only allows you to plot two stops per trip.
- It too doesn’t offer route optimization and does not come with any other useful features.
This is one of the best free delivery route planner apps on this list for small field service and delivery businesses.
If you’re wondering why the reasons are provided below.
- It allows you to plot up to 20 stops with the free version.
- Unlike Google Maps and Waze, RouteXL offers route optimization.
- One of the unique features of this app is that it allows you to import your plotted route on a spreadsheet.
- Users find the app confusing and difficult to use.
- It is a website-based tool only.
This tool was created for recreational purposes, but if you or your drivers are using two-wheelers for your field service or delivery business, you can use this app.
- It offers some of the best alternative routes for two-wheelers against the high traffic-congested roads.
- The standard membership doesn’t require you to make any payments. It’s free!
- You can keep track of your mileage.
- It offers to plot short distances only because it is mainly aimed at recreational users.
- It doesn’t offer any feature that can be used by field service or delivery businesses, whether small, medium, or big.
This app is not a free route planner, but it’s still included in this list because it is one of the most popular and affordable route planner apps.
- It allows you to plot up to 350 stops at a time.
- It offers route optimization by distance as well as by time.
- You can save routes for future use.
- You can also assign territories to manage your field service or delivery business better.
- It is affordable, but not free like Google Maps or the others on this list.
- Some users complain that the tool is difficult to navigate.
Specifically designed for trucks, as the name suggests, it is an invaluable app if your field service or delivery business fleet includes trucks.
- It offers truck-specific information, such as the height/weight allowance for a particular road and information about route elevation. Such information can be really helpful when your trucks travel long distances.
- It is a free app. In fact, it is the best free driving route planner app for trucks.
- It’s easy to use and easy to register as well.
- It offers route optimization.
- TruckRouter is a Truck-specific app. Hence, it might not be as helpful with other vehicles in your fleet.
#10 Speedy Route
This is another great app that can be used around the world. Below we list the pros of using this app as well as the cons.
- It offers route optimization.
- The design is very simple, which can prove to be easier to use for most.
- The free route planner version only allows you to plot up to 10 stops. The paid version, however, lets you plot an unlimited number of stops.
- It’s not as aesthetically pleasing as some other multi-stop route planner apps on this list.
Paid Vs Free Route Planner
Now that you have gone through the list of the 10 best free route planner apps that allow plotting multiple stops, we discuss whether you should go for a free app or a paid one.
You’ll notice that the free versions of the tools listed above all offer a limited number of features. While a start-up or small field service or delivery business might find these apps useful for cost-cutting purposes, they’re not great for their medium- or large-scale counterparts.
The reasons for this is provided below:
- The free apps do not come with integrated features that are vital for field service and delivery businesses.
If you choose to use the free route planning software, you’ll have to invest in tools that offer the other features.
It can be very tricky to manage so many different tools that may or may not be compatible with each other.
- Most of the free apps don’t offer route optimization. Manually planning an optimal route might work for small businesses that only make 10 stops a day, but is almost impossible when the stops amount to 150 to 200, which is normal for medium and large businesses.
- The free route planners allow you to plot up to 10 or 20 stops at a time with the free version. Even with the paid version, some of the apps don’t allow unlimited route plotting.
Compare this to a paid route planner app for delivery drivers, which:
- Comes integrated with features that are important for field service and delivery businesses.
Some of these features include GPS tracking, which allows you to keep a tab on your drivers on road, and analytics, which shows you data like fuel usage and distance traveled. Such data will help you make better decisions for your business.
- Allows you to plot an unlimited number of stops and optimizes the routes for you.
- Offers great customer support service which is just a call away to assist you with any problems you might have. You’re, after all, a paying customer.
Final Words for Choosing the Best Free Route Planner with Unlimited Stops
We have laid out the pros and cons of 10 free route planner apps and how they fare against a paid delivery driver app. The ultimate decision is yours, but our advice is to invest in a quality route planner app. Even if you have to pay for it, it’ll be more profitable in the long run.
So do you have any questions about free route planner apps? Please feel free to leave your comments below.