You may use GPS for navigation, but did you know that you can also use it to increase security for your family? GPS trackers are discreet portable devices which you can use to track a vehicle, another valuable possession, or a pet or child. Just installing a GPS tracker in your automobile may allow you to collect an additional discount on your insurance policy.
If you are thinking of buying a GPS tracking device, you will need to think about which features are important to you while also considering your budget. Check out the table below to compare prices and features on top-selling and highly rated GPS tracking devices.
|SpyTec STI GL300|
|Garmin Alpha 100|
Want to learn more about GPS trackers before you start shopping? Read on to find out everything you need to know in order to make a smart purchase!
Questions to Ask When Shopping for a GPS Tracker
Because there is such a wide variety of uses for a GPS tracker, there are a couple of key questions which you need to ask yourself before you start shopping:
Do you even need a GPS tracker?
If you own a smartphone, it probably already has a GPS receiver integrated. In that case, you may not need to buy a GPS tracker, but they do offer a number of benefits. They offer you much longer battery life, an abundance of extra features, and they are more cost-effective for long-term use. If you only need a tracker for short-term use (like providing a little extra security to a car parked in a public lot while you are on vacation), your smartphone would probably work fine. If you will be using a tracking device regularly however, you should buy one actually designed for the purpose.
What will you be using your GPS tracker for?
You do not need the same features for a pet tracker as you do for a car tracker. Likewise, if you are giving a tracking device to a child for personal security, you need features for that device that you would never need for an automobile tracker (such as a button to call for help).
Features to Look For When Shopping for a GPS Tracker
Lightweight, compact, discreet design
A GPS tracker is by definition a mobile device. As a result, you are going to want hardware which features a streamlined, lightweight, compact design. Discretion is particularly important in some circumstances. A vehicle tracker should be easy to stow away where a car thief wouldn’t think to look for it. A tracker given to a child for personal security should be something small enough that a kidnapper might miss it.
You want the GPS tracker to be as easy to use as possible, both for the person doing the tracking and (if applicable) the person who is being tracked. Check how easy it is according to customer reviews to activate the device, set up tracking and zones, and check the real-time and historical position of the person, pet, or object being tracked.
If the device has voice-to-voice communication and/or a panic button, check how easy it is to use these features in a hurry in case of emergencies.
Affordable service plan
As mentioned previously, GPS tracking devices tend to be a lot more affordable than smartphone tracking apps. That said, not all plans are equal. Some are a good deal cheaper than others. Watch out for activation and cancellation fees. Some companies make you sign a monthly contract. Others let you pay for the service as you need it. Obviously the fewer strings are attached, the better.
Not every company will provide you with GPS tracking across international borders. Some will, but they may charge you extra for that service. International tracking may be very important if you are trying to trace down a stolen vehicle or a kidnapped loved one. So international use is a very important feature.
Custom alerts, history, geo-fencing, and more
There are a number of other useful features which you can shop for in a GPS tracking device. Many allow you to set up custom alerts. You might for example not only be able to track where the device is, but also how quickly it is moving—great if you want to check if your teenager is speeding on the road. You also can purchase a tracker which saves its history to the cloud.
A panic button is a very good feature for a GPS tracker carried by a child, as is voice-to-voice communication. Geo-fencing is useful as well; this lets you know if the person carrying the device has entered a specific geographic zone which you set up. If you shop around, you will find there are many other useful features which different GPS trackers are equipped with.
Warranty and customer support
Check to see how long the warranty on your tracker will be. This is typically a year, but if you sign up for a contract with the company, your warranty may extend as long as your contract. So if that is longer than a year, you could be covered for additional time.
You should also look up customer reviews to see how the company’s customer service agents responded to questions and concerns. Were they helpful and knowledgeable? You might also see whether the user guide they provide is thorough and easy-to-read.
Now that you are more familiar with GPS tracking devices and know some of the features which you can shop for, you should be ready to evaluate your needs and figure out which features are most important to you. Always start by asking yourself what you will be using the GPS tracker for. Think about the features that you need for that specific purpose. When you are ready, scroll back up to the top of this article and have a closer look at the comparison chart. There you can shop for the features you need at a price you can afford.
Spy Tec GL-300: Track Your Loved Ones With Ease
Spy Tec specializes in developing gadgets that help keep track of family members that may be headed somewhere they aren’t supposed to go. Whether you have a child with mental health needs or you suspect infidelity, the GL-300 is designed to help you get the information you need.
- Cheaper than a private investigator. Instead of paying someone to trail your husband or wife, just drop this GPS tracker under the car seat.
- Reports speed and time. The information that you can get from this device is quite detailed.
- Access the info from any browser. Unlike many GPS trackers that require you to download and install an app, all you have to do is log on to the Spy Tec website to see your tracking info.
- Set up alerts. Easily create GPS boundaries that trigger alerts and alarms.
- Google Maps integration. If you’re used to Google Maps, you’ll find it very easy to use the Spy Tec software.
- Small enough to fit in a pocket. Unlike many bulky GPS devices, this one is quite compact.
- Comes with a SIM card. No need to buy an additional phone plan. This unit comes with its own SIM card.
- You need a Spy Tec service plan to use this device.
- This gadget is a little bit more expensive than many other GPS trackers. However, it does have many extra features that justify the price.
Vectu: Worldwide Tracking
If want to track an individual that may flee the country, you’ll need a tracker like Vectu. No matter where your target goes in the world, the Vectu can help you find out where they are located. Unlike many GPS trackers, there is no monthly usage fee for the first year. But if you intend to continue using this device after that, you do have to pay a small monthly fee to keep it online.
- Worldwide locator. The Vectu is one of the few international GPS trackers on the market.
- No usage fee for the first year. You won’t have to worry paying a monthly fee until a year has passed.
- Updates every 60 seconds. With the Vectu, you get a location data point sent to you every minute.
- Customizable alarm triggers. Like most GPS trackers, you can set up triggers that go off in the event that your target crosses a boundary line.
- Long battery life. A single charge can last up to 2 weeks.
- SMS and email notifications. Some GPS trackers don’t have SMS integration, but this one does.
- “Call help” feature. If your target is in trouble, all they need to do is hit a button to send an alert message to everyone that is monitoring the map.
- The Vectu is quite large compared to other GPS trackers.
- Though it is actually made of high quality, crack resistant plastic, the Vectu seems cheaply made because the design looks a bit clunky.
Tractive: Find Out Where Your Pet Is Hiding
Tractive is especially designed to track and locate adventurous pets. If you have a cat that often sneaks off and doesn’t come back for days or even weeks, you may want to consider getting a Tractive. Unlike most GPS trackers, this one is waterproof and tough enough to resist physical damage.
- Pet friendly. Tractive is designed to stay out of your pet’s way when it’s out and about.
- Waterproof. The Tractive will continue to work even if your dog or cat goes splashing through a puddle.
- Rugged design. This tough little GPS tracker won’t easily break because it’s made out of impact resistant plastic.
- Lights up and makes noises. To make it easier to find your pet, you can make the Tractive light up and sound an alarm.
- GeoFence capability. Setting up a geographical boundary for your pet is cinch.
- Light weight. At just 1.2 ounces, the Tractive is even light enough for a cat.
- Low monthly service fee. The Tractive’s monthly service fee is much less expensive than other GPS trackers.
- Unfortunately, the Tractive’s battery doesn’t last very long. You need to remember to charge it up the night before your pet goes outside to play.
- The app needs work. The GeoFence alarm system works quite well, but some of its other features are buggy and hard to figure out.