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Waze vs Google Maps 2024: Which of these popular navigation apps is the best?

Keen to get from A to B as quickly and as simply as possible? Choose between the two top contenders and find out which of these navigation apps is in pole position to take 1st place on the podium!

When you're planning a trip it's natural to look for the best route to take, with the lightest traffic possible and fewest hazards on route. Our app stores are crammed full of navigation options these days but, while there are many traffic or navigation apps available, the most important showdown is between Waze and Google Maps. When deciding on the best travel app, these are potentially the two most popular driving apps for iOS and Android worldwide. These apps present up-to-the-minute information, real-time turn-by-turn directions and so much more. They both offer the user unique benefits depending on your needs and preferences but which one takes the chequered flag?

The Waze vs Google Maps race isn't the easiest one to judge - you could say they both approach navigation in different Waze. There are many similarities between the two, not least that they share the same parent company in Google, are simple to use and consistently offer accurate directions. It's the exciting differences that set them apart that make the race for the title of best app altogether more interesting. As well as providing important travel advice let Holiday Extras help steer you into the right lane and seek out your ideal travel app. Whether you navigate the comparison maze with Waze or stride to seek out the similarities and differences with a Google map, we'll help you choose which of these two Google-owned apps is right for you.

Hang on! Before we light up the starting grid and let the race begin, first let us start with the basics...

What is Waze?

Waze app screenshots on iOS

(Image credit: Apple App Store)

Waze is a navigation and route planner app designed to get you from A to B as quickly as possible. Whether you drive a car, taxi or motorbike this GPS navigation app shows you real-time road conditions and helps you find the best routes before you even set off. If you download the Waze app, you'll get alerts about traffic, police, hazards and speed cameras as well as find the nearest petrol stations, places to eat and hotels too.

Perfect for getting you to the airport for your flight on time or simply choosing the best route in the morning for your commute to work, Waze has an accelerating way of getting you across the finishing line!

Key advantages of using the Waze app:

The Waze app's hassle-free approach to traffic aims to find you the roads of least resistance before you set off to help maximise your free time. Several of the key advantages and reasons to download the Waze app include:

  • See real-time road conditions - You'll see real-time conditions based on live traffic data and receive traffic, police, accidents and hazard alerts, as well as updates on your ETA.

  • Waze app's clever algorithm - The app is designed to show you the most relevant results for your search and learn pre-emptive routes before you start your drive.

  • Waze supports music and podcast integration - The Waze app supports numerous 3rd party apps including Spotify, Amazon and YouTube Music.

  • You can customise your journey - Set your route to avoid motorways, unpaved roads and even evade those difficult junctions if you like.

Waze App Customer Reviews


For full reviews check out the Apple App Store.

Die-hard Wazer!!!

"Waze updates have been good and the reporting process is improved and there are less steps to get to the actual reporting - yay!"

Better than the old CB days

"Waze is a user based traffic information app. It does rely upon users to report traffic conditions, construction, accidents and police."

Don't leave home without it

"This app has saved me so many times. I absolutely love it."

Articles about the Waze app

What is Google Maps?

Waze app screenshots on iOS

(Image credit: Apple App Store)

A popular (and possibly the most widely recognised) navigation app, Google Maps can provide you with directions to and from anywhere in the world. You can navigate the world faster and easier with real-time GPS navigation, traffic and public transport info, as well as the latest information on businesses, including supermarkets, pharmacies and other important places.

Google Maps is one of the best route planner apps that has the ability to tailor your needs to different transportation methods. Additionally, you can download maps ahead of time for areas you're travelling to if you're concerned about internet connection.

Key advantages of using Google Maps:

Google Maps has many advantages, not least being its efficiency and traditional way of displaying the route for your journey. Some key benefits to using Google Maps include:

  • Ideal if you're travelling on public transport - Google Maps has support for public transportation, walking and cycling, and is packed full of public transit information.

  • Integrates with other supporting tools - Google Maps combines with Google Assistant, Google Street View and Google Search.

  • Helps you stay in the correct lane - Google Maps' lane designation feature lets drivers know which lane they should be in before their turn approaches.

  • Remember where you parked the car - You can actually save your parking location to the app so that you'll never forget where you parked your vehicle.

Google Maps App Customer Reviews


For full reviews check out the Google Play Store.

''This was always my default go-to app for navigation.''

''I like the new traffic, lights feature, speed limits.''

''The app works decently well. It works in places where I have no data service, which is nice.''

Waze vs Google Maps: Let's put the pedal to the metal!

Key Similarities between Waze & Google Maps

Waze and Google Maps are both reliable navigation apps that will easily get you to your destination but which one is better? Let's point out some key similarities to help you decide which is right for you.

  • Both the Waze app and Google Maps are completely free to download.

  • Both Google Maps and Waze are available on Android and iOS and are also both compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. So, regardless of your device or vehicle, you'll be able to use either app.

  • Both apps display map data similarly, though Waze has a more simplified display with many customisation options and 3D graphics. Google Maps has a more traditional navigation interface. Both apps display a speedometer to help you avoid unnecessary speeding tickets as well as showing your location, traffic data, speed limits, and road hazards. As you zoom into the map on either app there's more data presented, including street names and location names.

  • Both Waze and Google Maps display information about businesses nearby including places to eat and drink however Google Maps provides more information about them, including menus and opening hours.

  • Both apps are customisable, though it appears Waze offers a higher and better level of personalisation. Waze allows you to choose from a wide selection of voices for your directions, even offering a variety of celebrity voices. Google Maps, however, only allows you to change between accents and languages. Waze even lets you record your own voice to use if you'd prefer that. Waze also allows you to select the type of vehicle you drive and the type of fuel you use.

Key Differences between Waze & Google Maps

Now we've shared some key similarities between these two apps, let us look at some important differences.

  • If you're travelling by public transport, walking, or using a bicycle, Google Maps is your only option out of the two. Waze directions are exclusively focused on driving and are only helpful if you drive a car, taxi or motorcycle. Google Maps also combines transport types seamlessly, if you need to catch the bus as well as walk to a destination, Google Maps is the best app for that.

  • Google Maps is focused on finding the most fuel-efficient route to save you money, whereas Waze is more concerned with your ETA and providing routes that avoid time-consuming traffic.

  • Both apps show important information including roadworks, accidents, and speed cameras and take into account traffic on the roads. However, when it comes to displaying the hazards and other road conditions Waze's display is simplified. Waze shows these hazards in very clear, easy-to-see icons which are great for route-planning.

  • Google Maps can be used both online and offline (as you can download maps ahead of time) whereas Waze requires a data connection to ensure real-time traffic-related information and provide an up-to-date map.

  • Waze is a community-based traffic and navigation app which is powered by drivers working together to improve each other's driving experience and users can contribute to this social navigation tool over time. Google Maps, however, takes a mostly data-based approach to local community information and directions. Waze collects data from a variety of different users and leverages that data to tailor your trip experience. Waze even displays other nearby Waze-users as little emoticons on your map.

Waze vs Google Maps: From pole position to chequered flag!

Which app is the easiest to use?

When it comes to comparing Waze vs Google Maps it's clear that both apps have their preferred advantages. When deciding on the best navigation app it's important to consider which is the easiest to use and which suits your personality the most. To put it simply, both apps are pretty easy to use! In terms of functionality Waze excels at finding you alternate routes around accidents and traffic jams as well as alerting you in advance of road-related incidents. Google Maps also alerts you about traffic hazards but Google Maps' alerts are more general than Waze's, because Google Maps doesn't have the same degree of social integration and community-led information.

However, which app is easiest to use in terms of display is down to personal taste! In terms of usability Google Maps does have a larger and more informative map view which often shows routes and details about surrounding services. Waze's pared-down approach shows only what you need to know for the drive, with its characterful 3D graphics and avatars to grab your attention. Google Maps display is far more conventional so it's a case of deciding which one suits your personality best.

Which app will get you from A to B the quickest?

When you compare Waze and Google Maps to decide which app will get you to your destination quicker then Waze has to be your winner! If your main concern is your ETA then the Waze app is perfect for you. Both apps can often formulate completely different routes. Waze is designed to get you to your destination as fast as possible by evaluating local driver contributed information. If you don't mind frequent turns, Waze truly can help you save time on the road. Google Maps, on the other hand, provides logical suggested and alternative routes and you'll also get lane assistance, so you never miss an exit or turn.

Rather than finding the quickest single path to your destination and leaving you to it, Waze is always analysing conditions once you're on the road to try and aims to get you there the fastest way possible. Unlike Google Maps, Waze's priority is minimising your time on the road. Waze doesn't ask permission to alter your route mid-trip, and instead automatically offers up directions that navigate you around obstacles in real-time which makes the app an invaluable tool to get you to your destination quickly. Regardless of which of these two navigation apps you choose from, they are both going to get you from A to B - it just depends on how you would prefer to get there.

Which app is best for driving?

If you're comparing Waze and Google Maps it's evident that Waze is the more driver-focussed app and an excellent tool for commuters. Whether you're travelling to the airport for your next holiday or driving to the destination of your next short break in the UK, Waze notifies you of issues ahead and helps you bypass them by easily. Adding an element of fun to your journey with customisable voices and emoticons. The Waze app also provides up-to-date fuel price data, provided by users, so you can save money when you need to fill-up, along with helping you find nearby petrol stations.

Google Maps may be able to see and anticipate road conditions, but it isn't as proactive about sending you down a different route when hazards are in your way. Personalised specifically for drivers, Waze users can even choose to avoid unpaved roads to save their tires. If, however, you want more location information, take public transport, and don't mind spending extra time in traffic, then Google Maps is your go-to. Once you made it to your destination Google Maps supports its street view feature, so you always know you're arriving at the right location.

Which app is the most accurate?

Both Waze and Google Maps are reliable navigation apps. Both evaluate traffic conditions to determine the best route to your destination. Google Maps relies heavily on data-based information whereas Waze depends upon user participation and data. Both apps may take into account traffic and unexpected hazards along your journey however, Waze is the app that takes these changes onboard along your journey and consistently updates your route to focus on the shortest drivetime and earliest ETA possible. Due to being a community-based app, Waze users can easily submit information about road hazards, local street closures, and car accidents that your Google Maps app may not immediately notice, so you'll get an extra layer of real-time accuracy.

Which app is better for speed cameras and speed alerts?

Both Waze and Google Maps provide information about speed cameras on route and notify you in advance so you can adjust your speed. Waze alerts you before entering a speed camera zone and, as you approach an area that has a speed camera, an alert appears on the left side of your screen. This alert disappears once you exit the enforced zone. Sound alerts can be disabled in Google Maps, but notifications on the screen will always continue to appear.

If you are driving over the speed limit, you'll get both an alert on the map and a voice alert that a speed camera is up ahead. When you reach the maximum speed limit, the Waze app speedometer also turns red. Being a community-led app, Waze provides up-to-date speed camera information collected from drivers on the road in real-time.

Google vs Waze: Winning podium position and highlights!

From starting lights to the chequered flag, we've put Waze and Google Maps through their paces to decide which will take first place on the podium. Now which one triumphs is largely dependent on you, your driving preferences, style and personality. For driving, Waze is a go-to GPS app that's great at providing alternate routes to save you time (and money). Its user-based data is extremely valuable and presented in a visually appealing way. With so many great features it's clear why downloading the Waze app brings you one step closer to a more hassle-free driving life.

Alternatively, Google Maps is very reliable and ideal if you prefer the more conventional approach to route-planning and traffic avoidance. If you're travelling overseas and are unsure about your data connection when you're there then Google Maps is a great go-to because of the ability to download and use the offline maps feature. The popularity of both of these apps is ever-increasing, with Waze being the traffic craze that's getting you to places faster and in a more personal way through user-provided information.

Post-Race Top Tip

To ensure the most hassle-free travel experience possible why not download both apps? That's right! You may think either Waze or Google Maps is the best navigation app for you but have you considered using both?

Waze is possibly the best driving app to get you to your destination but Google Maps is the best to use when you're looking to explore the area, or need more general knowledge once you're there. Use both these apps in harmony with each other for the ultimate travel experience that's less hassle, more holiday!

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