Which GPS trackers are best?
With extreme weather conditions becoming increasingly common and global travel more popular than ever before, purchasing a GPS tracker to keep track of a friend or loved one is an appealing idea. Available in a wide range of sizes and capabilities, GPS trackers are incredibly useful for determining the location of wandering children, helping you recover stolen property or letting your family know your cross-European bicycle tour is proceeding on schedule.
By equipping your loved ones with a quality GPS device like the top choice LandAirSea 54 GPS Tracker, you can give yourself peace of mind while keeping track of everything that’s most important to you.
What to know before you buy a GPS tracker
GPS technology is older than you might think
Using technologies dating back to the original “Space Race” between the United States and Russia, global positioning satellites, or GPS, have been around in one form or another since the early 1970s. In order to provide accurate global positioning, GPS technology relies on an unobstructed line of sight to at least four GPS satellites. It is capable of providing accurate data on the GPS tracker’s time information, as well as its geographic location.
It’s worth noting that the use of GPS technology still remains under the control of the United States government, which can grant and deny access. Nowadays, several nations and international groups have launched satellites to boost the accuracy and augment the strength of GPS in various global locations, including India, Japan, China and the European Union.
Make sure not to use your GPS tracker for illegal activities
While this might go without saying for some people, there is a definitive line between ensuring the safety of your loved ones, assets and property and using GPS technology for more nefarious purposes. Given that modern GPS receivers utilizing L5 tracking technology are capable of determining a location accurate to within roughly twelve inches or 30 centimeters, there are understandable concerns about the use of GPS for stalking, harassment and potentially worse activities.
For example, legal uses of a GPS tracker may include installing it on personal property at risk of theft, vehicles owned by your organization, tracking an asset that is subject to seizure for default on auto loans or tracking the activities of your minor child. Illegal uses of GPS technology include installing a tracker on a vehicle that you do not have the legal right to track or tracking your significant other in their personal vehicle without their permission.
A GPS tracker can do more than just locate items and people
GPS technology has gone through significant improvements over the past few decades in terms of accuracy, making a quality GPS tracker capable of so much more than you might think. For instance, it can track your teen’s whereabouts and driving habits, as well as provide detailed technical information about the state of the vehicle. Whether you need to find a new vehicle after a manufacturer recall, keep track of when it needs to be serviced or identify your vehicle’s DTCs or diagnostic trouble codes, there’s a GPS tracker that can help.
What to look for in a quality GPS tracker
Stays charged and in place under most conditions
After purchasing a reliable GPS tracker, the last thing you want is to lose it. For instance, you don’t want your tracker flying off your car after a slight bump or hard turn. Many GPS trackers come with features like batteries that last an entire week before needing to be recharged. Many actually plug directly and discreetly in your vehicle so the use of batteries is not even required. Some are completely waterproof and have magnetic attachments to help ensure they stay in place through rough terrain and weather.
Easy to install and monitor from a variety of devices
Ideally, installing and using a GPS tracker should take a minimum effort, and you should be able to review tracking data alerts as they occur. Fortunately, there are models of GPS trackers that have been specifically designed for easy installation and will remain firmly in place afterwards.
Additionally, some GPS trackers not only offer local location services via cellular networks but also internationally. Finally, many GPS trackers can use Wi-Fi for location data when GPS is not available due to interference.
Provides options like geofencing, real-time alerts and much more
GPS trackers offer concerned parents a number of safety and security features to ensure that their children stay as safe as possible on the road. For example, you can set detailed geofenced locations and receive live alerts if your teen driver goes over the invisible boundaries you have created. Also, you can install companion apps on their cellphones and valuable electronics to help keep track of their whereabouts, prevent loss or theft and receive alerts on your own smartphone.
How much you can expect to spend on a GPS tracker
Depending on your desired features, subscription services and budgetary considerations, a quality GPS tracker can cost anywhere from $26-$80.
Best GPS tracker FAQ
Where can I install a GPS tracking device on my car?
A. Depending on the diagnostic capabilities of your tracker, common locations for placing your GPS tracker include under the front or rear bumper, directly into your car’s OBD diagnostic port or, for those with magnetic attachment, anywhere with sufficient magnetic strength to securely attach it.
Can I make use of a GPS tracker to keep track of my luggage?
A. Assuming that your GPS tracker is FAA compliant, there should be no issues with adding a GPS tracker to your checked luggage.
What’s the best GPS tracker to buy?
Top GPS tracker
What you need to know: This is a robust and versatile GPS tracker for use in a variety of applications.
What you’ll love: This unit offers the ability to map and track in real-time on web-based software or the SilverCloud App with Google Maps, is made from ultra-durable weatherproof materials capable of withstanding the toughest weather conditions, includes a built-in high strength magnet, is easy to install and is compatible with MAC, PC, iPhone, and Android devices.
What you should consider: Users have reported issues with the activation fee and ongoing required subscriptions not being fully explained.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top GPS tracker for the money
What you need to know: This affordable and accurate GPS tracker is ideal for teens learning to drive.
What you’ll love: This unit offers an embedded SIM card, global activity tracking, a rechargeable battery with two to three days of life, live map tracking compatible with Google Street View and alerts for emergencies, low battery, moving and speeding. It can also match IDs to a Wi-Fi database for accurate location info when GPS is not available.
What you should consider: Users have reported issues with the included instructions being vague to the point of causing frustration.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Packed with options, this GPS tracker is perfect for a cross-country road trip with the family.
What you’ll love: This unit is powered by your vehicle’s diagnostic port so that no power is needed. In addition to GPS tracking, it provides data on vehicle DTC codes, vehicle speed, manufacturer recall, vehicle maintenance, fuel economy, fuel level (if available), true idling, engine rpm, and the ability to locate your loved one’s phone in an instant.
What you should consider: Users have reported issues with problematic customer service, as well as non-refundable service fees.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Daniel Martin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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