The GPS was developed in the early 1970s, and gained a solid foothold in the mid-1990s. Relatively speaking, it is a very new technology. In the last two decades however, it has evolved rapidly, with the ever-increasing number of satellites circling the Earth, and the ever-shrinking size of the receivers necessary to use it. Originally envisioned to be used only for navigation, the benefits we reap from this technology today are countless. You can still utilize this technology to get yourself to your desired destination, but you can also track your child, your car, your family pet, pretty much anything you can imagine. We’re now to a point where a GPS is not only helpful, but it can actually save lives.
Why Should You Consider Buying a GPS Tracker?
There are countless reasons that you should consider purchasing a GPS tracking device. The uses for GPS technology are so varied, they can benefit anyone. Here are some of the reasons to get one for yourself:
- Keep track of your children. The world is a scary place these days, and if your child is missing, a GPS will find them for you.
- Keep track of your pet. As much as we would all love to believe we have the best-behaved animals around, they have a mind of their own, and if someone accidentally leaves the gate open, you have no idea where they’ll end up. Without a GPS, you could easily drive around for hours looking, with no guarantee that you’ll find them.
- Keep track of your valuables. Whether your car, camera, or musical instrument, you need to protect your investments.
- The price of the technology has dropped, and with the constant improvements, the cost-to-benefit ratio continues to move in your favor.
- The number of features and functionality of the average GPS these days are mind-boggling. Tracking is far from the only thing a GPS is good for. There really is something for everyone.
- GPS devices are simple. You can quickly configure them, put them wherever you like, and use them whenever the need arises.
Ultimately, what a GPS tracker gives you is peace of mind. We are all incredibly busy, and have so many things to worry about these days. The worries of losing someone or something, or having your valuable possessions stolen from you don’t need to exist. Sure, you’d rather not spend the money, but what you really need to think about is what you have to lose by not purchasing one. Think of it as an investment in protecting what you love.
How Much Does a GPS Tracking Device Cost?
GPS trackers are, by and large, surprisingly inexpensive. Most middle-of-the-road devices can be bought for between $80 and $100. On the lower end, you’ll pay between $25 and $50. And for the premium trackers, with all of the different options and features, you’re looking at between $150 and $200. Keep in mind a couple of things though. First off, you will almost always have to pay some sort of additional monthly fee for a service plan, which can range anywhere from $5 to $50. And second, you get what you pay for. The higher tier devices come with a higher price tag because of their additional features and functionality, which are well worth it depending on what you are planning to use your device for.
What Are The Most Common Features To Look For?
Depending on the device you choose, there are a ton of different features offered. The question is, which features do you need? Below is a list of what you should look for when choosing a GPS, including some of the more common features offered and what they can do for you:
- Battery life: you don’t want your device’s battery dying when you are counting on it to work. If you need to charge or change the battery every day, you may want to look at other options.
- Accuracy: narrowing down the location of your device to an area the size of 12 football fields isn’t helping anyone. If you’re buying it to track someone or something, it should be able to locate it to within a few meters at most.
- Geofencing: this allows you to create a virtual “fence”, and be notified when the device enters or exits the area within that fence. Great for tracking pets or ensuring your children stay out of a particular area.
- Panic button: this emergency option will send notifications to preset phone numbers when pressed. A great one to have if you are using it for your child.
- Speed alerts: allows you to set a maximum speed and be notified if the device is going above that speed. Perfect for fleet vehicle tracking, or your speed-demon child who just got their license.
- Help and Support: this is important to look at before purchasing. You want to know that if you have an issue, it will be resolved. Check the company’s website or the feedback on Amazon. Is a warranty offered? Is there a 1-800 number available for support? How about email support? Another helpful option is manufacturer’s forums.
- Ease of use: the main things to consider are how easy the device is to program/configure, and how easy the actual tracking of the device is. Many trackers have a companion app or program that can be quite helpful to this end.
Most Popular GPS Tracker For Car: MasTrack OBD Real Time GPS Vehicle Tracker
This device was designed specifically for tracking cars. Simply plug the device into your OBD port beneath your dashboard, and you’re up and running. With real-time tracking and alerts like speeding, ignition on and off, and aggressive driving, all of which can be sent to you by text or email, this device is sure to fit anyone’s needs.
Pros: easy to install, tons of features, great auto-specific alerts like rapid acceleration and harsh braking, real-time tracking.
Cons: expensive monthly plans, no mobile app for tracking, can’t track older cars without OBD ports.
Top Rated GPS Tracker For Kids: Falcon GPS Tracker
The Falcon tracker sets itself apart with a SMS-based tracking mechanism, which allows for very simple operation. Use your phone to send commands to, program, and track the unit via text. This is especially perfect for kids because of the SOS button and geofence features. With numerous other features as well, the Falcon is a workhorse.
Pros: simple to use, small and easily concealed, SMS-based tracking (low monthly fee), geofences, SOS button.
Cons: on the expensive side for the initial cost of the unit, subject to coverage; won’t work everywhere.
Best Pet Tracker: Tagg the Pet Tracker
Created with the family pet in mind, Tagg fits on most collars and takes almost no time to set up. Once you’ve set your geofence, you can start receiving text and email alerts. If your pet gets out, go online or use the mobile app to find their location on a map. Tagg also has a nifty activity tracker, so you can see breakdowns of how much your pet is walking, running and resting on easy-to-read graphs.
Pros: mounts easily to your pet’s collar, easy tracking via free mobile app, activity tracking, water resistant, long battery life.
Cons: subject to coverage; won’t work everywhere, recommended only to be used on dogs over 10 pounds.
Top Rated Fleet Tracking System: Falcon GPS Tracker
What’s nice is that this little beauty is so versatile. Whether on your child or in the car, it can be tailored to your needs, and performs beautifully. There are a number of features in the Falcon that make it a prime candidate for fleet tracking, especially its set it and forget it live tracking mode. Its main downfall as a fleet tracker though is in one of its typically biggest strengths: the simplicity of monitoring the unit by way of text makes it cumbersome to track multiple vehicles at once. Still, if you have a relatively small fleet, the Falcon will be perfect for you.
Pros: Motion detection, overspeed alarm, live tracking mode, SMS-based tracking (low monthly fee).
Cons: subject to coverage; won’t work everywhere, missing some of the more advanced car-specific features, no way of monitoring multiple units/vehicles in one place.