Best Free Route Planners With Unlimited Stops in 2022

March 2, 2022

Who doesn't love free software? In this review of the top free route planning software apps with unlimited stops, we’ll look at:

  • Do free route planners actually have unlimited stops?
  • The best free route planners in 2022
  • When is it worth upgrading to a paid route planning app?

Our reviews are based on a set of tests conducted in early 2022. We tested every one of these apps ourselves, using a standard list of addresses so we could compare them fairly. 

Do free route planners actually have unlimited stops?

Straight talk: there is no route planning app that is both free AND offers unlimited stops. Some apps are free up to a certain number of stops, usually around 10-20. Other apps offer a free trial so you can test them for a week or two before buying. You can learn more about those apps here: Best Route Planning Software For Deliveries: 2022 Review.

Having said that, there are some tricks you can use to push the limits of what’s available for free, and we’ll cover those in this post. At the end, we’ll also talk about how to decide when it’s worth upgrading to a paid app. 

Right, let’s get started! Out of the 23 route planners we reviewed, here’s a shortlist of the top 7 best ones we found:

The 7 best free route planners in 2022

1. Google Maps

Cost: Free
Stop limit: 10
Route optimization: No
Plan multiple routes: No
Platform: Web & mobile

Best 2

Google Maps is the ultimate free route planning software. It’s a great solution for a single driver who needs to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. It has traffic information to help you avoid congestion, and it’s usually up to date with things like road closures and diversions. It’s easy to use on any mobile device, and will give you accurate turn-by-turn directions most of the time. 

The biggest limitation of Google Maps is that you can only plan up to 10 stops. There’s a really smart little tool here that can merge multiple routes so you get 20 or more stops – but that brings us to the next problem:

Google Maps is a great solution for finding the shortest path between two stops and giving driving directions. But it’s not so great at route optimization. You can probably do a good job of arranging addresses in a sensible order yourself if you’re just dealing with 10 or so stops. But if you need to plan for more than 20 stops, or for multiple vehicles, you probably need a more powerful solution that can actually optimize your stops in the most efficient order.

Recommendation: Google Maps is a great option for routes of 10 stops or less and one vehicle.

How do I get unlimited stops on Google Maps?

The short answer is: you can’t. But you can plan up to 2,000 stops using Google’s My Maps. If you’re prepared to do a bit of extra preparation and planning work, you can absolutely plan routes for multiple vehicles or large routes. We’ve given some detailed instructions for planning deliveries with Google Maps here.

2. Mapquest

Cost: Free
Stop limit: 26
Route optimization: Basic
Plan multiple routes: No
Platform: Web & mobile

Best 3

When you hit the limitations of Google Maps, you can give Mapquest a try. This tool has been around since 1996 and is more geared for business use.

  • It allows up to 26 stops in one route. 
  • It can do basic route optimization if you check the “let us re-order stops” option.
  • You can choose to optimize your route for the shortest distance or shortest time.
  • You can upload a list of addresses using copy/paste or a spreadsheet.
  • Routes can easily be shared via social media, to a mobile number or using a link. 
  • It shows estimated fuel costs for each trip. 
  • It’s easy to print out maps.

Mapquest has two major limitations. First, they support their ability to offer free route planning by showing ads, which can be distracting. 

Second, Mapquest has very limited ability to interpret addresses. If your addresses aren’t formatted in exactly the right way, it will mark them as invalid. There is a dropdown list with suggestions, but in our test some were inaccurate and it was very easy to click on the wrong one. This could end up wasting a lot of time and money if you don’t carefully check every address.

Recommendation: Best free business option for up to 26 stops, so long as you’re confident about your addresses. Would be a good match with another app like Google Maps or Waze for actual driving directions. 

3. RAC Route Planner [UK only]

Cost: Free
Stop limit: 10
Route optimization: No
Plan multiple routes: No
Platform: Web only

Best 4

If you’re based in the UK, the RAC Route Planner app is a good option. It allows you to plan routes with multiple stops, and includes a lot of information about traffic and weather conditions

It’s also possible to use the RAC app to plan routes in Europe, but you will need to look up and enter the exact address of each destination. Unlike Google Maps and others, the RAC app won’t automatically suggest locations as you type. 

Recommendation: A good option if you’re based in the UK or Europe and appreciate the emphasis on safety and driving conditions.

4. Maps.me

Cost: Free
Stop limit: 10
Route optimization: No
Plan multiple routes: No
Platform: Mobile only

Best 5

If you need route planning in remote areas with limited cell phone coverage, Maps.me shines. Its biggest advantage is the ability to download an unlimited number of maps to your phone. You can add up to 5 stops, search for pit stops along the way, and navigate routes—all without using a single byte of data. 

Maps.me is aimed at tourists and roadtrippers rather than business users. For long haul drivers who need extra tools like fuel and distance tracking and truck stop locations, TruckRouter is a better bet. 

Recommendation: Maps.me is good for recreational travel when you know you will be on roads without a good data signal.

5. RouteXL

Cost: Free with paid upgrades
Stop limit: 20
Route optimization: Basic
Plan multiple routes: No
Platform: Web only

Best 6

RouteXL is a good alternative to Google Maps for free route planning. The free version allows up to 20 stops, and optimizes your route as well. You can upload a list of stops using a spreadsheet, and share the optimized routes to a navigation app or phone. 

A major limitation to know about is that In our test, RouteXL wasn’t able to recognize all the addresses we loaded. In one case, it created a stop in the wrong place. This means that if you want to use this app, you will need to check and double check your addresses. 

Also, RouteXL can only route for one vehicle at a time. If you need to create routes for more than one driver you will have to create each one separately, which means you will miss out on some of the benefits of route optimization.

The interface feels a bit old-fashioned and slow, and it’s not all that easy to use.

RouteXL is free to use up to 20 stops. You can get up to 100 or 200 stops per day if you sign up for a paid package.

Recommendation: A good option for small businesses with only one driver, who can afford to spend some time double checking addresses.

6. Speedy Route

Cost: Free with paid upgrades
Stop limit: 10 (more stops available with paid plans)
Route optimization: Professional
Plan multiple routes: Available with paid plans
Platform: Web only

Best 7

Speedy Route is another free route planner and route optimization tool. The free version allows routing up to 10 stops, with paid versions supporting up to 10 drivers and 9,999 stops. 

The web app is attractive and easy to use. You can add stops using copy and paste or by uploading a spreadsheet, and it’s possible to add notes for each stop. Once your route is optimized, you can export it to a spreadsheet file or print it out. There’s no option to send the route to a navigation app, although you might be able to upload the spreadsheet to another app for navigation. 

Recommendation: Speedy Route is a good choice if you want optimized routes for multiple vehicles and are happy to do some extra work to send your routes to a navigation app. 

7. TruckRouter [North America only]

Cost: Free
Stop limit: 5
Route optimization: Professional
Plan multiple routes: No
Platform: Web only
Specialty: Long haul trucking

Best 8

If you need free route planning software that’s tailored to the needs of truck drivers, TruckRouter may be the one for you. This is a web-based route planning tool with a bunch of features for truck-specific routes:

  • TruckRouter optimizes routes for height and weight restrictions. For example, it avoids routes with low bridges. 
  • It includes a list of truck stops and facilities with each route.
  • It has good tools for calculating estimated trip costs, including fuel costs and toll roads.
  • It’s easy to print out an itinerary and detailed directions.

Long-haul trucks usually only make 1-2 stops to deliver or pick up goods, so TruckRouter doesn’t offer a high number of stops. 

TruckRouter is only available in the US, Canada and Mexico.

Recommendation: The best tool for planning long-distance trucking routes if you plan on a computer and then print out the routes. North America only. 

Managing local delivery routes is simple & profitable with Routific

Trusted worldwide. Powering 5 million deliveries a month.

Try Free for 7 Days

No credit card required.

When is it worth upgrading to a paid route planning app?

You should consider getting professional route planning or route optimization software if:

  • You have two or more vehicles on the road
  • You’re making more than 20 stops a day
  • You’re spending too much time planning routes
  • You’d like to cut your fuel costs
  • Route planning is stressful
  • You’d like to avoid having to hire another driver or buy another vehicle

Well designed software can save hours of route planning each week. Ask yourself: “How long can we use a free route planning app before it starts costing us too much?”

We are the makers of Routific, which you can try out with a free 7-day trial.

Benefits of professional route planning software

Route optimization

The more deliveries you make, the more complex your delivery routes become. Our customers quickly find themselves spending hours planning their routes each week. With strong route planning software that comes with a route optimization algorithm, you can cut route planning time down to minutes. Here at Routific, it’s core to our product and we dedicate a lot of resources to continuously improving its efficiency. 

Better delivery experience

Nobody likes to sit around waiting for a delivery all day! Yet many companies  still can’t do better than telling customers their deliveries will arrive “on Tuesday”. With the right route planning software, you can build a better delivery experience. For example, commiting to specific delivery time windows or automatically updating customers on the status of their deliveries

Mobile driver apps

Route planning only gets you halfway there – someone still needs to drive the route and deliver the packages. For that, you’ll need to equip your driver with the right tools that can provide the best delivery service for your customers. 

Good driver apps give easy access to routes, as well as delivery instructions and notes. They should also enable drivers to collect proof of delivery — something you won’t get with free software.

In Conclusion

If you’re just starting up a delivery business, and you have just one driver and a handful of stops, one of these free route planning apps will be enough to get you going. 

When your business starts to grow, you’ll probably need to upgrade to a more sophisticated route planning software tool. Need help deciding which one? You can check out an updated, comprehensive review here: Best route planning software for delivery companies.

 

Managing local delivery routes is simple & profitable with Routific

Trusted worldwide. Powering 5 million deliveries a month.

Try Free for 7 Days

No credit card required.

Pam Sykes

Written by Pam Sykes

Pam Sykes is the Lead Content Strategist at Routific, a delivery management & route optimization solution that helps local businesses and last mile companies scale up deliveries.