Working as a delivery or courier driver has its perks. But it also has its drawbacks — and route planning is one of them.
If you’re like many drivers, you don’t get pre-planned routes. You just get a list of stops for your shift, then it’s up to you to pack your van and plan your route. Most drivers use Google Maps, Waze, or even (if they’re iPhone users) Apple Maps. But these navigation apps aren’t designed for multi-stop routes, and they can be really painful and time-consuming to use if you’re trying to figure out the best stop order.
Fortunately, there are better options! Specialized route planning apps can get the job done fast and easily. They use smart algorithms to create the most efficient routes, much quicker than any human. The end result helps you save time and fuel — keeping more money in your pocket, and helping you get home earlier.
At Routific route optimization is what our business is all about, so we know what makes a good route planner! Here’s our pick of the best route planning apps for Android, based on quality, speed, and reliability. All of these are easy to find in the Google Play Store. And if you ever decide to change platforms, they’re also available for iOS in Apple’s App Store.
The best route planner app for Android: our top 6 picks
Which app gives the shortest route?
If your goal is a more efficient route, then it helps to know that different apps give very different results. Using the same test list of 20 stops for each Android app, this is what we found:
Any route planner is better than using Google Maps and trying to DIY an efficient route.
Route4Me produced by far the shortest route.
Circuit and RoadWarrior gave similar results; MapQuest and HERE WeGo were also pretty similar.
There’s something we want to note, though: the shortest route is not always the quickest or best route. Traffic, bridges, one-way streets, U-turns — there’s a long list of things that can mess things up. Most of these apps give an estimate of time as well as distance, but time estimates are just that — estimates.
Most of these apps are either free, or offer a free trial. It’s a good idea to try them out for yourself and test each app’s functionality. Then you can see which one works best for your city, and your schedule.
1. Google Maps
Cost: Free Play Store rating: 4.0 Additional features: None
We’ve already noted that Google Maps isn’t great for planning multi-stop routes. But it’s a very popular app — the GPS navigation is great, and a lot of professional drivers have it because it’s free, easy to find, and easy to use. We’re including it here so that it’s easy to compare with the other route planners we’re recommending.
Its turn-by-turn directions are accurate and timely, most of the time.
The app is super speedy. It finds addresses at lightning-fast speed, and you can add stops to your route with the tap of a button.
There’s no need to sign up for an account (you’re already signed into Google as an Android user). Just open the app to get started.
But here’s the big problem for professional drivers: Google Maps is not a route optimizer.
Sure, you can add multiple stops and then click-and-drag to change their order. And the Options menu has some great features, including:
Avoid tolls, highways, and ferries
Prefer fuel-efficient routes
Set your engine type to gas, diesel, electric, or hybrid
See toll pass prices
Share your directions and location
We also like that’s easy to find a place to stop for gas or a lunch break along the way. Just tap the three dots next to the starting address to “Search along route” for points of interest.
But for anybody who’s on the road all day, having to drag and drop to try and get an efficient stop order just isn’t good enough. By all means use Google Maps for driving directions between stops and real-time traffic updates — but for actual route planning, use something else.
Google Maps test results
Route length and time: 40 km, 59 minutes Navigation options: In-app
Cost: Free option; $9.99/month or $79.99/year Play Store rating: 4.4 Additional features: Check-in, barcode scanning, proof of delivery (photo and signature options)
Route4Me is a route-planning tool designed with delivery drivers and small businesses in mind. Along with route planning, the app allows you to check in at your stops, upload proof of delivery, mark deliveries as failed or successful, and more.
For businesses that offer delivery services, this tool helps drivers get more done faster.
Sign-up is easy. You can use Gmail or enter your email address.
On the Dashboard tab, you can view all of your routes and other useful stats.
Planning a route is straightforward. Just tap “+ Add New Route” to get started. You can name your route, set a route schedule, and choose your optimization (shortest time or shortest time with traffic).
Once you’ve chosen your settings, enter your starting address and add your stops. There is a bunch of features here that are especially useful for delivery drivers and other professional drivers. You can:
Set visit durations for individual stops.
Specify what type of stop you’re making every time: deliveries, pickups, visits, meetups, etc.
Add unit or apartment numbers in the “Add Address 2” field.
Add phone numbers and an alias.
You can also import your stops from an Excel file, which can really speed things up.
Once you’ve added your stops, use the “Hold To Plan Route” button to generate your route. Once your route is optimized, you have the option to edit it before you start navigating.
Once you’re on the road, Route4Me includes a number of useful route management features:
You can view the planned arrival time at each stop, as well as the planned departure time and/or time windows and delivery time.
You can set up automated customer notifications to share estimated arrival times.
After each stop, you can mark your visit as “Done” or “Failed” — the app will automatically send notifications.
You can get proof of delivery in the form of a signature or photo, or scan a barcode.
There’s an option to add notes on each stop.
Some of these feature were buggy during our tests. The Add Note tab would appear for half a second and then disappear. And when I tapped the button to scan a barcode, nothing happened. These features may have been wonky because I used a free version for testing, but it did detract from the experience.
Overall, Route4Me is an intuitive and user-friendly route-planning app that will save drivers time and fuel by finding the best routes. It was one of our top mobile app picks for delivery route planning.
If Route4Me works for you, it’s be worth signing up for a subscription. The free Route4Me account has a limit of 10 stops per route, and routes expire after seven days.
Route4Me test results
Route length and time: 26.6 km, 50 minutes Navigation options: Google Maps, Waze, and other navigation apps
Cost: Free option; $20/month for Premium Play Store rating: 4.7 Additional Features: Add breaks; “package finder” feature to help drivers quickly locate packages in their trucks
Circuit’s Route Planner app says its route optimization technology can help drivers save an hour a day. This multi-stop route planner gives you lots of options and preferences to simplify your planning process.
Signing up for an account is easy. Use your Gmail account or enter your email. There’s even an option to continue with Apple, if you have an App Store account as well.
Once you sign up, you’ll be greeted by a quick tutorial that shows you how to use Circuit’s features. You can skip this step if you want, but it’s worth the time if you’ve never used this app.
Circuit’s interface is sleek and user-friendly. Optimizing routes takes seconds, which means you spend less time waiting for your app to work its magic and more time getting things done.
Specialised route planning options when using Circuit include:
Choose where your route starts and ends (including start and end times). These settings can be saved as default for future routes.
Set break times.
Set stop duration.
Record package location in the truck while loading.
Use voice search to find stops.
Copy stops from previous routes.
Once you’ve added all of your stops, the app optimizes your route in just a few seconds with the tap of a button.
Overall, I found the app to be speedy and stable.
In the preferences tab, you can adjust a wide range of settings, including distance units (km, miles), vehicle type, map type, navigation app, average time at each stop, etc. Adjusting these settings can help optimize your route even further and give you more accurate ETAs.
Circuit does have a free plan that you can use to take this app for a test drive. But the Premium subscription will get you:
Circuit test results
Route length and time: 32.3 km, 1 hr11m Navigation options: Google Maps, Waze, Yandex Navigator, Other (Cricut has internal navigation with the Premium subscription)
Cost: $14.99/month or $99.99/year Play Store rating: 3.9 Additional features: Stop check-in
RoadWarrior gives you the option to optimize your route based on either time or distance, so you can choose between the fastest route and the shortest route. It also helps you avoid traffic.
I found the sign-up a bit clunky, and the interface felt outdated. To sign up for an account, you’ll need to do things the old-fashioned way: enter your email or username, and then set a password. But the app is still speedy and generally user-friendly.
Adding stops is simple: Just type the address or coordinates into the address bar. Then, tap the map pin icon to add each address to your route. We kept getting a “map area invalid” error message which was annoying, but the search still worked.
The free plan allows you to add up to seven stops to a route.
But once you’ve added all of your stops, optimization can be a little tricky. You’ll have to tap the ⬅ arrow next to the address bar, and then tap Order Stops at the bottom of the screen, then Optimize. It’s not the most intuitive design, but once you’ve gotten the hang of it, optimizing routes will be second nature.
RoadWarrior says optimization can take up to three minutes, but optimizing ours took just a few seconds. If you have a route with dozens of stops, this process will likely take 2-3 minutes.
Once optimized, you can see your route. Tap a stop to bring up a menu of options, including:
Set drop stop
Add a schedule for opening and closing times
To start navigating, tap the first location on your route and choose Navigate to open up your route in your preferred navigation app.
Overall, RoadWarrior is a reliable route planner and optimizer. The interface could use an update, but planning routes is simple enough for drivers.
RoadWarrior test results
Route length and time: 32.1 km, 58m Navigation options: Google Maps, Waze, HERE WeGo, Sygic, Navigon, Yandex, Other
Cost: Free Play Store rating: 4.2 Additional features: None
MapQuest has been around since 1996 and was the go-to web mapping service for years, back when printing out directions was the norm. Today, MapQuest is still one of the top mapping apps. It’s free to use and doesn’t even require you to sign up for an account.
Just fire up the app and start searching for directions. While it’s geared towards everyday users planning road trips, you can also use this tool as a delivery route planner.
Adding stops is simple enough. Tap the “+ Add stop” button, and start typing in an address. The process is the same as Google Maps. But you can also adjust your route to avoid highways, ferries, seasonal closures, and unpaved roads.
MapQuest gives you direction options for multiple modes of transportation, including walking and biking.
Once you’ve added all of your stops, just tap the “Drive” button (or whichever mode of transportation you prefer) to see your route and start navigating.
While MapQuest is quick, stable, and reliable for navigation, there’s no option to optimize your route. It’s up to you to decide which of the three chosen routes is most efficient. Depending on the number of stops on your route, that can be a tedious process.
MapQuest test results
Route length and time: 35.4 km, 58m Navigation options: In-app
6. HERE WeGo
Cost: Free Play Store rating: 3.4 Additional app features: Download maps for offline use
HERE WeGo is a free route planner app that’s similar to Google Maps and MapQuest. It wasn’t designed with professional drivers in mind, but it can handle basic route planning. It also offers offline maps, which is a major bonus if you’re in an area where the signal is bad, or want to save data.
The app is snappy, and the interface is very user-friendly. It connects with Android Auto, and you don’t need to create an account to get started. However, creating an account has some perks, like a more personalized navigation experience and the option to create shortcuts and collections.
If you do want to create an account, you can sign up on their website or continue with Facebook.
Creating a route is easy. Just start typing in an address in the “Where to” bar. Tap “Directions,” and from here, you can tap the hamburger menu next to your destination to start adding stops. You can change the order of stops by tapping and dragging.
When you’re done adding all of your stops, tap “Done” to see your route. Here, you’ll also have the option to set your route preferencess, including maximum speeds and routing options.
If you want some assistance getting to and from your vehicle to the destination, you can turn on door-to-door directions. You can choose your route preference — fastest or shortest — and set a maximum speed.
HERE WeGo will show you a few different route options, with the first being the quickest. Tapping the arrow will start the navigation process.
The app looks and feels like Google Maps, which makes it easy to download and start using it right away. But, like with other navigation apps, it doesn’t have any optimization options. It’s up to you to determine which route will be the quickest for your deliveries.
HERE WeGo test results
Route length and time: 33.8 km, 59 minutes Navigation options: In-app
Are route planner apps worth the cost?
Most route planner apps designed for delivery drivers will come at a cost. As a driver, your goal is to be as efficient as possible, but is it worth paying a monthly or annual fee for one of these apps?
In most cases, yes.
You may be spending $14 a month for your subscription, but you’ll improve your efficiency by 20%-25%. What’s 20% of your monthly fuel bill? If it’s more than your subscription cost, it’s worth paying for the app! You’ll save time and fuel, which means more money in your pocket and more time to enjoy it.
Using Routific for route planning and optimization
Routific doesn’t have a standalone driver app (yet) — it works with our desktop route planner and delivery management software. If you’re working with a field service or delivery dispatcher who wants to improve their route management and delivery operations, they can sign up for our 100% free trial.
Rene Emery is a B2B/Finance/SaaS writer who focuses on clear, concise, and optimized content. Leveraging 12+ years of experience, she relies on her work with hundreds of companies worldwide to create content that speaks to readers and makes difficult topics easy to understand.
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