It’s 2019! Here’s our list of our picks for the best consumer and business GPS tracking devices.
Choosing the right GPS tracker is like choosing a phone, everybody has different needs. The following trackers are what we consider “best in class” from our testing and personal use.
1.) Best all around tracker: Logistimatics Micro-420
The best all around tracker is the Micro-420. There are a few unique features that put it in a class of its own. It’s one of only a handful of 4G GPS trackers, plus it runs on the Verizon network. This means that you’ll be able to use the tracker in some more rural areas where other trackers may not work.
We got about 9 days of battery life out of the tracker and were pleased with the performance. The tracking app is easy to use and worked well on both our Android tablet and iPhone. We did notice that the tracker would report the location of the cell tower it was closest to when it couldn’t get a GPS fix and this was confusing at first. It worked great for our primary use (tracking a car) but we also tried putting it inside a backpack for about two days and had the same results. If you’re planning on using it on the outside of a car, you may need to purchase a waterproof or magnetic case. Fortunately it is small enough to fit into one we had on hand.
The company Logistimatics has a monthly service is $14.95 and there is no contract required. We recommend this one for general purpose just because the 4G made things so reliable for us.
PROS: It’s a 4G tracker, good battery life, nice general purpose tracker for cars, people, stuff.
CONS: If you’re using it outside, you need to buy a waterproof case ($20).
2.) Best GPS tracker for kids, elderly: Yepzon Freedom
There is a solid sense of security in knowing where your loved ones are. This tracker is tiny and its sleek design makes it easy to wear around the neck, or on a keychain. We got real time locations with frequent reports up to every 60 seconds. The reliability of this tracker made us feel secure that it would work in the event of an emergency. When set to less frequent location reports, the battery can last up to a week between charges. It has an app that’s nicely done and feels intuitive. For a kid’s backpack or a family member’s keychain, the Yepzon freedom is a good pick. If you’re tracking a kid, you may want to read our reviews of GPS Tracking watches.
PROS: Small, easy to use. Concealable, has a nice tracking app. CONS:Fairly short battery life.
3.) Best GPS tracker for pets: Whistle 3
We tested several pet trackers and landed easily on the Whistle 3 as our pick. It’s an accurate tracker that was specifically designed to be a pet tracker. It is completely waterproof, fairly light and really easy to use. We got a solid 6 days of battery life between charges and our 22 lbs lab puppy didn’t seem to notice the weight or size. Unlike Bluetooth-only trackers which have a range of 50 feet, Whistle 3 runs on GPS and doesn’t have a range limit. This means you can track your pets from across the country if needed. The app is easy and you can get push or text notifications when your pet leaves their safe place before they get too far away. Overall, the best rated GPS tracker for cats and dogs in our humble opinion.
PROS: 3G device, waterproof, nice app. CONS: Service fees are high.
4.) Good General Purpose Tracker: Spy Tec STI_GL300 Mini Portable Real Time GPS Tracker
Although it’s a 2G tracker, it is a tried and true tracker and has been around a long time. It’s accurate and reliable. Being a 2G tracker we found that it didn’t always work in rural areas, but it worked great in the cities that we tested it in. It uses the T-Mobile 2G network.
Coverage issues aside, we found it to be a pretty solid tracker and got a little over a week out of the battery. It is slightly cheaper than the Logistimatics Micro-420, so if you aren’t worried about coverage, we think it would be a great choice for a general purpose tracker.
PROS: Accurate location updates, long battery life CONS: High monthly service fee, older 2G technology
5.) Best OBD Car tracker: Accutracking VTPlug TK373
Before we present this pick we wanted to tell you that there are a ton of options for OBD trackers. OBD trackers are great for tracking cars because 1) they get their power from the car and 2) they’re really easy to use. You just plug them in and start tracking. We found the Accutracking VTPlug to be a good choice although it does have a few drawbacks.
The accuracy is usually spot on and it is a 3G tracker. It did a nice job leaving a reliable track of everywhere we travelled. The downside is that the tracking website is clunky and sort of difficult to figure out and, unfortunately, there is no native mobile app for your phone. If a high end user experience isn’t a must for you then the Accutracking VTPlug could be a good fit.
PROS: Easy installation, real-time reporting, reasonable monthly fees CONS: No mobile app, tracking website a little clunky
6.) Best for keys: Mate by Tile
Ok, first things first: Tile is not a real GPS tracker! Instead of running on GPS, it uses Bluetooth which has a maximum range of about 150 feet. We’ve included it in the list because so many people get confused on this product, but also because it has some really great attributes.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about the tracker’s greatest virtue: finding items that are very close to you. The Tile uses the bluetooth radio in your phone to help you locate an item in your immediate proximity. The Tile will make a sound and alert you to the location. There are other short-range bluetooth trackers but Tile was the best we tested. The app is intuitive and easy to use and the Tile is a well designed gadget. Although it’s not a GPS tracker, it definitely deserves a mention.
PROS: Small, inexpensive, no monthly fees CONS: 150-foot range, not a real GPS tracker