Whether you’re concerned about your teen speeding, your employee sloughing, or your great-grandma straying, purchasing a car tracking device will certainly pay off in peace-of-mind, safety and even savings.
The number of devices on the market can be overwhelming, but understanding your own needs and knowing a few key features can ensure that you choose the right product.
Guide to the Top Rated Car Trackers
The following chart will help you quickly find the best tracker for your needs, but here’s what you need to know first:
Price Key: $ = under $100, $$ = $100 to $150, $$$ = $150 to $200, $$$$ = over $200
These prices are general and can vary with sales and availability. Note that if you locate a $$$ rated tracker for only $69 dollars, you’re getting a bargain.
Power Source: Some Trackers are hard-wired to your vehicle or plug into your OBD II (on board diagnostics) port, which is in all vehicles manufactured since 1996. These trackers get their power from your vehicle. Other Devices rely upon batteries whose life generally average 10 days under regular usage of 2 hours per day. Many other options will affect battery life such as how often you receive notifications, whether monitoring is constant or motion detected, etc.
Installation: Hard Wired trackers require the most effort, while those that plug into OBD II ports or simply attach anywhere in the vehicle with their own battery source are the easiest.
Active Devices: Allows you to monitor your vehicle’s activity in “real-time”—as it’s actually happening—via a computer or smart phone.
Passive Devices: These systems are called “loggers” and act primarily as recording devices whose information such as speed, driving time, etc. can be downloaded later onto a computer, but do not allow monitoring in the moment.
Monthly Fees: Most real-time systems require a monthly subscription fee for an average of $15 to $50 depending upon your level of service and commitment length.
Rating: Included is the user satisfaction rating from Amazon.com customers, with five being the best possible score. This information is invaluable in that it gives the best indication of how the tracker really performs in different scenarios.
Here’s a brief summary.
|Product||Price||Power Source||Installation||Active / Passive||Monthly Fees?||Amazon Rating|
|Falcon NO FEE GPS||$$$||Batteries||In or Under Car||Active||No||5|
|Linxup GPS||$$||Car||OBD II Port||Active||Yes||4.5|
|MasTrack OBD||$$$||Car||OBD II Port||Active||Yes||4.5|
|GoTrack EZ-Zero||$$$||Car||OBD II Port||Active||Yes||4.4|
|$$$$||Batteries||In or Under Car||Active||Yes||4|
|$$$||Batteries||In or Under Car||Passive||No||3.7|
Highlights of Top 3 Car Trackers
Falcon No Fee GPS Tracker
Pros—cost, easy installation, easy to hide, long lasting battery, features
While the initial cost is around $160, there isn’t the usual monthly service monitoring fee associated with most other real-time tracking systems. Rather than using the computer, this active automobile tracking device communicates and is programmed with SMS messages. You simply load a text messaging plan onto the included SIM. This type of plan starts as low as $5 per month for 200 messages.
It’s very small—3 x 0.6 x 1.8 inches—so it can be installed easily, and if desired, discreetly in any vehicle. The company reports that the battery will last for 3 to 5 days under normal usage, but according to an Amazon reviewer, it lasts much longer!
This system tracks and alerts for all the basic features that that one would want in a monitoring tool, such as high speed, location, direction, battery-life remaining, and crossing of geo-fences—virtual boundaries set by the user. Furthermore, assuming the driver is aware of the device, it can be used to send an S.O.S in the event of an emergency. By pushing a button, up to 3 pre-programmed numbers will automatically receive necessary information to help. Overall, this is a high functioning, basic and convenient tracker sufficient for family and individual use.
Cons—battery powered, no detailed informational reports
It doesn’t work if it’s not charged, so the battery must be monitored. This doesn’t provide the same convenience of systems that are powered by the vehicle.
Because alerts are limited to text messages, the Falcon doesn’t offer the same historical data and reports that might be useful for companies managing multiple vehicles.
Linxup GPS Vehicle Tracker
Pros—money-back guarantee, easy installation, car powered, detailed reporting
This device is a bargain and with a reasonable monthly fee. Plus, the company offers a free 30 day money-back guarantee.
You can’t beat the convenience of installation as it either plugs under your car’s dashboard or installs directly into the OBD II port. Furthermore, there are no batteries to re-charge because it draws power directly from your automobile’s electrical system.
By providing sophisticated tracking information through a web-based portal, this system allows greater real-time and historical analysis of location and trends. This is particularly helpful to companies managing vehicle fleets in knowing, for instance, how far a service vehicle is from a scheduled appointment location, or overall mileage for the purpose of fuel re-imbursement. Most companies find that the device more than pays for itself by preventing accidents, unauthorized use, and wasted time. But even for teen and senior tracking, this gives nearly all the desired features at a low cost.
At just 2 x 1.8 x 1 inches, it’s small but must be installed where the small led light could be detected.
Mas Track OBD Real Time GPS Vehicle Tracker
Pros—exclusive dual-network support, easy installation, car powered, detailed reporting, one month free service.
With Mas Track, you can rest assured on all fronts. It is the only car tracker to operate on the top two wireless networks, giving you the greatest possible coverage. Plus, it’s up and running quickly by just plugging into the vehicle’s OBD II port where it receives power directly from the car, eliminating the need for charging.
You receive alerts for almost anything that could aid safety, security and efficiency. In addition to the usual speed and geo-fence crossing, you’ll also know if there is aggressive breaking or acceleration, tampering, idling, or if the ignition goes off or on. Mas Track provides one of the most customizable tracking devices on the market. You can choose to be alerted at certain intervals as well as get all information “on demand”. Overall, the Mas Track is a very sophisticated, yet easy to use tool. It’s great for every tracking purpose, from large company fleets to personal vehicle monitoring.
By purchasing one month of the service plan as low as $14.99, you’ll receive one other month free.
Cons—higher initial cost, less discreet.
At approximately $200, it’s priced slightly above other top rated products, but that’s slightly offset by the free month of service.
With the installation in the OBD II port, the led is detectable.
Making Your Purchase
Don’t be daunted by the details involved in car trackers. First, understand your own tracking purposes, then match them with the appropriate features and benefits outlined here, and finally choose a top rated product. You’ll be quickly on the road to protecting your most valuable assets. Not sure which product fits your needs yet? Take a look at our top 5 gps trackers recommendation for car.