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 we own goes missing. And after the release of Apple AirTag, it just seems appropriate to invest in alternatives. But how and where do we look for the best GPS tracker options?
In this article, we will go over 10 of the best GPS trackers for just about everything you own. We will outline a short but honest review plus the pros and cons of each item. In the end, we hope this article will help you decide which GPS tracker suits your needs.
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, as well as viewing other important indicators. GPS trackers are used in almost everything — from small to big business, 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.
The Best GPS Tracker to Use This 2021
Here are the top 10 picks for the best GPS trackers in 2021.
Apple Watch SE
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 owner/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 GPS device
- 2. Combines functionality with fashion
- 3. Emergency SOS calling
- 4. Accurate tracking through Family Setup
- 1. For the $269 + monthly fee for carrier service, it’s pricey and unideal for kids
- 2. battery life only lasts for 18 hours
Jiobit GPS Tracker
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. It uses Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, or cellular data for tracking a child or a pet. It requires to be connected to a dedicated app on your smartphone where you can monitor someone’s location and coordinates. 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 can last for one week long
- 1. Pricey at $100 plus the $10 monthly fee
- 2. Contract-based service/product
- 3. Prone to being misplaced without proper keychain hooks
- 4. No SOS button
Spytec GPS Tracker
Don’t let the 2G aspect of the Spytec GPS Tracker deceive you. It has been in the business for a time now and has proven itself as one of the best GPS trackers out there. This device is proven accurate and reliable when it comes to its tracking capabilities. While it does have its limitations factoring in the 2G connectivity, it remains the top choice for general-purpose tracking. It has exceptional GPS technology that would keep you up-to-date with someone’s location and coordinates in real time.
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. Old 2G technology
- 2. Pricey service fee per month
Vyncs GPS Tracker (Best for Vehicles)
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.
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
Apple AirTag (Best Kid Tracker)
The new 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 be able to tag it on a bag or piece of clothing
Whistle GO Explore (Best Value for Pets)
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. And similar to other 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
AMERICALOC (Best Hidden GPS Tracker)
The AMERICALOC GL300 GPS Tracker is a device that has a long and good battery life. It also boasts the use of 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. However, in case you find difficulties in trying to connect and access the device, AMERICALOC has a good support department as well. 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
Garmin eTrex 10 (Best for Hiking)
While rugged smartwatch options have GPS capabilities, they can only do so much as track your route in general. The Garmin eTrex 10 is your best GPS tracker for hiking. 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. A pair of AA batteries can power this device for an impressive 25 hours.
On top of that, this GPS device is compatible with Garmin Connect and Garmin Basecamp. It is also capable of tracking your waypoints and saving tracks for easy access. That is because Garmin has equipped the eTrex with a worldwide base map, which might take longer to load than usual. However, uploading your route to Basecamp will save you the waiting time if you do it ahead of time.
- 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
Garmin Varia RTL510 (Best for Cycling)
Biking with confidence and security has never been better with the Varia RTL510. At least that’s what Garmin advertises this GPS tracker as. This device functions as both rear light and radar. The radar picks up any vehicle that’s behind you while biking and displays that on your Garmin device. And that makes this device one of the best GPS trackers because it is accurate in terms of tracking your route as well as showing any vehicle that may come from your back.
Furthermore, we also like how adaptive the light flash is, especially at night. It’s bright enough to signal your coordinates or to signal any driver on the road with you especially at locations with poor road lights.
- 1. Accurate GPS tracking
- 2. Sturdy design and easy to latch on bike
- 3. Bright and strong rear light
- 1. Possibility of decreased focus due to reliance on the device
Tile Mate (Runner Up)
And rounding up our list is this little demon perfect for just about everything: Tile Mate GPS Tracker. Saying that this device is perfect is not just for the theatrics. Imagine having an efficient and ergonomic GPS tracker attached to your phone, keys, AirPods, car, bag bike, and not know that it’s even there. Aesthetically, Tile Mate blends with just about everything. With the dedicated app for Android and iOS, you can track the location of anyone or anything in real-time. You can even get notifications from other Tile Mate users if your Tile Mate veers away from your location letting you know of your Tile Mate location.
- 1. One-year battery life
- 2. Efficient and ergonomic design
- 3. Has a dedicated app
- 4. Flexible use
- 1. Requires other Tile Mate users’ cooperation to know where your Tile Mate is
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 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?
There are just two things to consider when buying a GPS tracker: whether you should get an active or a passive GPS tracker.
Active 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
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.
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.