10 Best GPS Trackers | January 2017

10 Best GPS Trackers
Best Mid-Range
★★★★
Best High-End
★★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
We spent 34 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Isn't technology grand? Not only do we no longer need paper maps to find our way around, but thanks to the same satellites, these GPS trackers will let you monitor your teen's driving, safeguard your younger child, and recover lost or stolen property. We've ranked the best by price, convenience and high tech features. Skip to the best gps tracker on Amazon.
10
The Spy Spot Investigations GL300 is a small, battery-powered GPS tracker that doesn't require complicated connection to a vehicle's power source. It offers up to two weeks of battery life, a water-resistant housing, and domestic and international coverage plans.
  • built-in rechargeable battery
  • motion sensor-based tracking
  • 45 dollar activation fee
Brand SpySpotGPS Tracker
Model pending
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
9
The MotoSafety MPVAS1 easily installs by plugging into your vehicle's OBD plug, so you can keep track of where your teen is taking your car. It also allows you to monitor their speed and driving behavior, ensuring they are being safe while on the road.
  • can program approved driving hours
  • sends a daily driver's report card
  • high monthly service fee
Brand MotoSafety
Model MPVAS1
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
8
If you are worried about some companies phasing out 2G services and looking to future-proof your GPS tracker without spending a lot, the Linxup LPVAS1 is a suitable choice. It allows you to review driving routes, set up geo-fences, and get real-time location updates.
  • comes with a lifetime warranty
  • speeding and off-hour use alerts
  • only works in the usa
Brand Linxup
Model LPVAS1
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
7
The Trackimo TRK-100 is a versatile unit that can be used for anything from luggage and drone tracking to car and person tracking. It works anywhere 2G GSM cellular reception exists worldwide and comes with one year of free service.
  • free android and iphone apps
  • emergency sos button
  • highly accurate location data
Brand Trackimo
Model Trackimo
Weight 4.2 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
6
The TrackmateGPS FBA allows real-time tracking of vehicles in up to 47 different countries using the supplied SIM card and your computer, tablet or phone. It's great for tracking down stolen property and, since it can be hardwired, will never run out out of juice.
  • internal backup battery
  • data reports are excel compatible
  • remote troubleshooting and rebooting
Brand TrackmateGPS
Model FBATRACKMATE
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
4
The Trax Play allows you to instantly know the location of kids, pets, and other loved ones when you need it. It is available in pink or blue and comes with two silicone clips for attaching to clothes and one for attaching it to a pet collar.
  • built-in sim card
  • plans as low as 4 dollars a month
  • can set speed limit alerts
Brand Trax Play
Model T140007
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0
3
Kill two birds with one stone with the Thinkware X500. It is a full featured dash cam that records 1080p full HD videos and a GPS tracker in one handy device. Now you can not only keep tabs on your teen driver, but provide them with proof in case of an accident.
  • uses motion and impact detection
  • tracks driving speed
  • provides lane departure warnings
Brand Thinkware
Model TW-X500
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0
2
The Spy Tec STI GL300 is barely larger than two AA batteries and provides 100% accurate tracking data. For those looking to keep tabs on their child, it is perfect. You can set up a geo-fence area and be alerted by text or e-mail if the wearer leaves the approved zone.
  • doesn't require a contract
  • only powered on when in motion
  • customizable tracking reports
Brand Spy Tec
Model STI_GL300
Weight 8.5 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
1
The Yepzon One can be worn around the neck like a pendant or shoved into a pocket. It refreshes the GPS signal every 10 seconds, so you always know exactly where the wearer is, and you can track an unlimited number of devices from a single Yepzon phone or computer app.
  • can be used as a luggage tracker
  • battery can last months
  • durable waterproof housing
Brand Yepzon
Model One
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

GPS Trackers Versus Smart Phones

You may wonder why people buy GPS trackers when you can go to your phone's app store and download dozens of free tracking apps. But a GPS tracker can be more functional and cost effective, especially for businesses and families with lots of little (and big) people to keep up with.

GPS trackers are a no-brainer for businesses that move around a lot of freight or expensive, specialized equipment that can be lost or stolen. It just makes more sense to track the machine and not the driver, who may vary on a day to day basis. In fact, tracking employees on their cell phones might open up employers to privacy lawsuits.

Families may be tempted to simply buy their tot a cell phone, knowing that nearly 70% of pre-teens will end up with a phone anyway. Keep in mind that despite their outrageous costs, the average lifespan of a smart phone is just under two years.

If you simply want to be sure your third-grader made it to elementary school and home again, you can save hundreds in upfront costs (not to mention cheaper monthly fees), by purchasing a small wearable unit or one that fits neatly in your child's backpack.

Installing a GPS tracker in the car your teen normally drives can also be a sound investment. Keeping tabs on a new driver is a lot easier if you are not relying on that teen to remember to activate the GPS app each time they get behind the wheel. There are even units that connect to the car battery so you never have to worry about charging them.

A Brief History Of GPS

The origins of the Global Positioning System date all the way back to the Sputnik era. At the height of the Cold War, Russia scored a major victory by launching the first artificial Earth satellite. Scientists at MIT turned that loss into an eventual win when they began studying the signals transmitted by the small satellite.

As scientists tracked the changes in the frequency of the radio signals caused by the Doppler Effect, it gave them the idea to track receivers on the ground based on their distance from multiple satellites.

The Navy built the first real system with six satellites. It was designed to monitor submarines, but was later expanded to ten satellites and kept tabs on vehicles and equipment in all branches of the military. By 1983, President Reagan allowed commercial aircraft to use the system to improve air safety.

The full twenty-four satellite system in use today was launched in 1993. The Department of Defense purposefully decreased the accuracy of the GPS in order to prevent enemy combatants from using it, until the year 2000. At this time GPS became ten times more accurate and civilian usage exploded into every industry, from the transportation of goods to fishing boats to cell phones.

How To Choose A GPS Tracker

Regardless of how you plan to use your GPS tracker, two of the most important things to keep in mind are cost and battery life.

For a versatile tracker that can be moved from car to car or even slipped into a backpack, smaller may seem better, but a tiny unit usually means a shorter battery life. Look for brands that offer an extended battery kit that can give you up to six months between charges.

If you are considering a GPS tracker for exclusive use in your automobile, you might want to call your car insurance agency first. Most major carriers have rolled out incentive programs that can allow you to save hundreds off your insurance bill when you install their GPS tracker. This usage-based insurance is considered an invasion of privacy by some, but many responsible drivers who already want a GPS tracker in their car don't mind giving up a little privacy to save a few bucks.

When making your final selection, remember that monthly costs can vary widely from getting the first year free to $25 a month and up. A cheaper monthly fee could also be tied to a lengthy contract, so don't forget to read the fine print.

Be sure to compare apples to apples when looking at monthly fees. The information you can get from a GPS tracker depends on what type and brand you choose. For example, a kid-friendly device might offer a panic button, one-way calling, or even send parents an alert if the device leaves a predetermined area.



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Last updated on January 30, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.


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