GPS trackers have become a staple need for just about everything: cars, phones, even pets, you name it. These trackers often come in handy when something you own goes missing. They are also helpful for tracking someone for all the right reasons. In this article, we will go over the best GPS trackers for anything you love and guide you through picking the tracking device that best fits you.
Also read: Best Kid Tracker Apps
The Best GPS Trackers
- Apple Watch SE
- Jiobit GPS Tracker
- Spytec GPS Tracker
- Vyncs GPS Tracker
- Apple AirTag
- Whistle GO Explore
- Garmin eTrex 10
- LandAirSea 54 GPS Tracker
Choosing this GPS tracker device for kids is overkill. However, Apple has released new developments in the Apple Watch SE that now makes it the best choice for kids, young adults, and even adults. The Family Setup feature allows anyone to manage the watch apart from the primary user of the watch. Another feature that makes the Apple Watch SE appealing to parents as a GPS tracker is the international emergency calling and emergency SOS feature.
For parents, just make sure to purchase the LTE version of the watch. With the Family Setup enabled, you’d be able to track someone’s location accurately. The Apple Watch SE might not be the best choice for a GPS tracker for kids, but it is appealing if we factor in other features like activity tracking and fitness.
- 1. Easy to wear
- 2. Combines functionality with fashion
- 3. Emergency SOS calling
- 4. Accurate tracking through Family Setup
- 1. Pricey for the $269 + monthly fee for carrier service
- 2. Battery life only lasting for 18 hours
Also read: Apple Watch GPS vs Cellular: Which One Should You Choose?
The Jiobit GPS tracker is highly regarded by tech experts for being able to track someone’s location despite the lack of a WiFi connection. Instead, it requires a data plan to track real-time locations, which you can select upon device activation. It has a dedicated app where you can monitor someone’s location and coordinates on your smartphone. It will notify you if the person or thing you are tracking veers off the boundaries of a location set.
This GPS tracker is flexible in terms of who can monitor who at any given time; you can set a single person or a team for it. On top of it, you can also set trusted places like a house and school for when you want to be notified that a person is in a safe place.
- 1. Waterproof
- 2. Can track someone for half a mile away
- 3. Uses all possible cellular networks to get a connection
- 4. One charge lasting for one week
- 1. Pricey at $100 plus $10 monthly fee
- 2. Contract-based service/product
- 3. Prone to being misplaced without proper keychain hooks
- 4. No SOS button
Spytec has been in the business for a time now and has proven itself as one of the best GPS trackers out there. The Spytec GPS GL300, specifically, is proven accurate and reliable when it comes to its tracking capabilities. From 2G, it has moved to 4G satellite technology to give users accurate location and coordinates in real-time.
Like any active GPS tracker, the Spytec GPS GL300 requires a data service to keep working. To activate the device, you have to subscribe to apps that cost $19.95/month annually or $24.95 if billed month-to-month.
What we like about this device is the ability to create boundaries for anyone you love and monitor whether they are safe inside that boundary or they steered away. Plus, Spytec does not charge activation and cancellation charges.
- 1. Lightweight
- 2. Accurate GPS tracking
- 3. Good battery life
- 1. Pricey service fee per month
The Vyncs GPS Tracker is just one of the many OBD tracker devices available to anyone. OBD products are well-regarded by many tech experts because of the effectiveness of the technology used in its fleet of GPS trackers.
Similar to other OBD trackers, the Vyncs GPS Tracker is (1) easy to use and (2) sources its power from the vehicle it’s attached to. This product is designed for vehicle tracking, and it does an exceptional job at that. Some of the features this device offers are driver monitoring, vehicle performance reporting, fuel reporting, emergency roadside assistance, and maintenance reminders.
What we like about Vyncs GPS Tracker is that it doesn’t require a monthly subscription to give you real-time location updates. That said, it requires a one-time activation fee on top of the purchase cost. This will give you access to a data plan that runs on AT&T and T-Mobile.
More importantly, it does well in terms of tracking accurate locations and coordinates. An element that is important for a GPS tracker for cars.
- 1. No battery needed
- 2. Has 4G connection
- 3. Accurate real-time GPS tracking
- 1. Reports additional charges upon setting the device up
- 2. App glitches and syncing issues
The Apple AirTag offers convenience in terms of appearance and functionality. This GPS tracker device can be attached to your kid’s bag, clothes, umbrella, bike, or phone. Tracking is super easy with the use of the native Track My app on your iPhone or iPad. It even has a Play a Sound feature which, when turned on, will give the location of an item you are looking for.
The precision-finding technology in the Apple AirTag makes this device appealing to many in a similar way any Apple product is. All these and more while keeping your personal data private. Plus, you can also personalize your tag however way you like it.
But what we like the most about the Apple AirTag is the Bluetooth integration that allows other Apple devices to detect anyone or anything with the AirTag. If someone or an item falls 30 feet away from your iPhone, other iPhones or iPads would be able to pick the location due to this feature.
The Apple AirTag is offered in one pack for $29 or four packs for $99.
- 1. Accurate and reliable GPS tracking feature
- 2. Cheap and sturdy
- 3. Bluetooth integration for better GPS tracking
- 1. Does not connect to an Android device
- 2. Requires snaps and slings to tag it on a bag or piece of clothing
Whistle GO Explore is a device that tracks your pet’s activities, location, and more. It offers a subscription plan ranging from monthly to one year up to two years. The service will allow you to set safe boundaries for your pets using its companion app. Similar to other tracking devices, you will be notified if your pet steers away from the safe boundaries you have set.
The Whistle GO Explore device is also one of the best GPS trackers in terms of battery efficiency. A single charge can last up to 20 days. That means an almost uninterrupted tracking of your pets. The device is latched to a pet’s existing collar or the dedicated Whistle collar, which can be purchased separately.
- 1. Has a good battery life
- 2. Connects to either an Android or iOS device
- 3. Waterproof
- 1. Pricey service charge
- 2. Steep $149.95 price tag
The AMERICALOC GL300 GPS Tracker is a device that has a long and good battery life. It also boasts CAT M1 Technology under its hood, making it an effective and one of the best GPS trackers for vehicles, persons, or any item. On top of that, monitoring has been made easy as you can track any movements using your phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.
The device is easy to use. That said, AMERICALOC has a good support department if you find difficulties trying to connect and access the device. The GPS tracking in this device is accurate and has coverages in the US, Canada, and Europe. Moreover, the device offers real-time tracking with accurate alerts for movement, speeding, and even parking.
- 1. Has a good battery life
- 2. Can be hidden from plain sight
- 3. Has accurate GPS readings
- 1. Does not have a magnet for mounting on a vehicle or item
- 2. Not cheap with the price of $100
While a rugged smartwatch with GPS capabilities is a good option for hiking, it can only do so much as track your route in general. For a well-rounded GPS device for hiking or any outdoor activities for that matter, the Garmin eTrex 10 is the best pick. For one, it’s sturdy and waterproof. It’s also cheap if you’re on a tight budget. However cheap, this device does not disappoint because of its incredible location tracking ability.
This GPS device is compatible with Garmin Connect and Garmin Basecamp that track and save your waypoints for easy access. It has a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, a monitor, and a worldwide base map to see where you are and where you have been.
- 1. Lightweight and efficient size
- 2. Has a good battery life
- 3. Sturdy and waterproof
- 1. Comes with a basic mapping functionality
- 2. Pretty plain for a GPS device
The LandAirSea 54 GPS Tracker is one of the most compact and reliable tracking devices that can locate just about anything. You can simply put it in a car or throw it into your kids’ backpack, and it will do its job. It’s also pretty discreet, so you can use it to secretly track someone for a genuine reason.
Like any real-time tracking device that is LTE, this LandAirSea GPS tracker needs a sim card and internet data to work. It has geofencing with boundary alerts, which you can customize using an app. It also provides movements notifications via text, push notification, and email.
The LandAirSea 54 GPS Tracker’s battery can also last long with a single charge lasting 1 to 2 weeks on normal use and up to 6 months on low power mode. And as the name suggests, it can withstand extreme conditions.
- 1. Long-lasting battery life
- 2. Compact and discreet
- 3. Geo-fencing
- 4. Built-in super strength magnet
- 1. No SOS button
Why Do You Need a GPS Tracker?
With a busy life, it is easy for us to lose track of time and possessions, big or small. GPS trackers are devices developed to provide a solution to this problem. But these trackers aren’t just for finding what we lost. They’re also an efficient device to track movements of vehicles, coordinate points with multiple people, and view other important indicators. GPS trackers are used for almost everything — from small to big businesses, surveillance, security and safety, and even other purposes where we see the need for a tracker.
With GPS trackers, you won’t have to worry about trying to find something you lost or tracking the movement of someone or something you care about. And, of course, finding the location of someone you care about or knowing your vehicle or pet is safe gives you peace of mind.
How Does a GPS Tracker Work?
Without getting too technical about how GPS (global positioning system) trackers work, let’s put it this way: the best GPS trackers provide information of someone or something’s coordinates by using a system called a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) network. GPS does not necessarily need a WiFi or cellular network connection to function, but they make GPS more effective. The GNSS network uses an interconnected satellite signal transmitted to the GPS device, which then transmits location or coordinates data.
However, there are limitations to the use of GPS. For one, the satellite stationed in the earth’s atmosphere should be strategically located at a good place at a certain time. Second, signals from the satellite must be picked up by ground stations. Any failures or absence of these two would result in a failure of data transmission to a receiver or GPS device.
GPS Tracker Buying Guide
The best GPS trackers should both have the specs and value you are looking for. And it is virtually impossible to have these two main considerations in just one device. Practically, some devices would outweigh the others in terms of either the specs or the value you get out of them. So how do you sort this out? At the very least, there are just two things to consider when buying a GPS tracker: whether you should get an active or a passive GPS tracker. However, additional features for a GPS tracker can make a whole lot of difference. Here are the features you would see from the best GPS trackers.
Active GPS vs Passive GPS Trackers
Active GPS trackers give you real-time information as to where the device is and where it has been in the past. Normally, this requires the use of an app to see the crucial map details in a snap. This is perfect for tracking where your kid is or where your vehicle is going at any given time because it gives you real-time information. However, this type of GPS tracker requires a monthly service fee to keep it going.
Passive GPS trackers, on the other hand, are pretty much the same as active GPS trackers with one exception: they do not transmit location or coordinate data live. All the data transmitted to a passive GPS device is stored in the device’s internal memory. You need to plug the device into your computer and view the history data from the GPS device. It’s a bummer to a certain extent because you will not see and get live alerts of someone or something’s whereabouts. But if it’s any consolation, since passive GPS trackers don’t transmit live data, no monthly service fee is required.
Geo-fencing is the best feature you can get from GPS trackers if you are all about safety. What this feature does is allow users to set safe boundaries or safe zones for anyone that possesses the tracker. When they veer off the boundaries, the paired device or devices are notified to let the other person know of their current location. GPS trackers with geo-fencing are incredibly helpful for keeping parents and pet owners at peace.
Of course, a GPS tracker will be of no use if they don’t pack enough power. Some GPS trackers still use cell batteries these days; we are all about reducing carbon footprint here, so we would say that a GPS tracker with rechargeable batteries is better. A GPS tracker that runs on engines, if it’s for a car, is also ideal.
GPS Connection Type
While there are GPS trackers that run on Wi-Fi, they are not the best option for keeping tabs on moving targets. For constant and reliable location updates, 4G GPS trackers are better because they independently connect to cell sites. Having said that, they will seldomly, or not at all, experience data transmission glitches. Real-time location data collection via 4G, however, also means additional carrier subscription.
Depending on where you would use your GPS trackers, you have options to choose from that will suit that need. So, whether you are planning to change your current GPS tracker or planning to get your first, refer to this article for your own personal guide.