Ultimate Pet Tracker Buying Guide (2016 Reviews & Top 5)
Updated: 26 June, 2016
Welcome to my pet tracker buying guide.
Small pet trackers, big pet trackers, gps collars for cats, dog tracking systems, gps dog tags, pet trackers that monitor activity, trackers used for tracking drones and luggage on cruise ships :).
All of these wonderful new-age high-tech gadgets are now available in the best-rated pet trackers on the market today.
But there are MANY more advanced features and options available for pet owners that it can be downright confusing making the right choice.
So WHICH pet tracking device is right for YOU and YOUR pet?
That's what this "Ultimate Pet Tracker Buying Guide" is all about...
...To help you figure our what's important, compare cheaper pet tracking options and more high-tech animal tracking devices, see current sales prices for the best price, find out which ones are worth the money AND what pet owners have to say about the ones they've bought...
This Ultimate Pet Tracker Buying Guide is designed to help you compare the most popular brands and the current best choices on the market in 2016 to make sure that you buy the RIGHT and most AFFORDABLE pet tracker for both the needs of you AND your pet.
Pet Tracker Uses
First off, let's start with where you most expect to use your pet tracker AND a little more about your pet.
Best For Hunting
In the picture - Tractive Hunters Edition
A pet tracker is a fantastic thing to have on your dog when hunting.
If your dog can run fast, which hunting dogs can, you need a pet tracker that you can trust. This is a favourite pet tracker for hunting dogs.
Best For Sporting Dogs
If you have a dog that loves to run fast and investigate, occasionally takes off through the woods you need a reliable pet tracking device. This is a top rated pet tracker for sporting dogs.
Best For Cats & Kittens (& Small Dogs)
We all know the saying about cats having 9 lives. They're very curious creatures and out of dogs and cats, cats (and kittens) are the ones more likely to find themselves in scrapes, or unable to get out of sneaky little nooks and crannies. There are a number of tracking collars specifically for cats that are very popular among cat owners. This is the latest version from the Loc8tor brand called the TabCat.
Best For Dogs
Well, if you have a dog you know that there are all kind of dogs. You might have a bit of an older, lazy dog like me 🙂 or you might have a dog that is VERY active, loves running around, loves playing, and loves having fun every time he's outside. This is a highly recommended dog tracking collar at an affordable price.
Best For Active Pets
If your dog or cat is very active you need to have a pet tracker that is built to last, and -- perhaps more importantly -- built to stay secure around their neck at all times so that you are always able to find them (what use is a pet tracking collar if it's not attached to their neck)!
So secure, strong and sturdy is really important (as well as reliability).
If you're looking for an affordable choice you really can't go wrong here.
BUT, listen up...if you're willing to spend just a little bit more, this pet tracking collar is REALLY fantastic.
Not only is it an incredible pet tracker but it's also a fitness monitor and has this really cool "adventure mode" where you can record what your pet gets up to when they go off on an "adventure".
Ever wondered where your dog goes? This will tell you.
Best For Swimming
It's wonderful to have a pet that enjoys the water as much as you do. It's not called doggy paddle for nothing :).
If you have a dog (or surprisingly) a cat who likes going into the water then you need a waterproof pet tracker, no two ways about it.
Best For Pets With Health Issues & Disabilities
That's right, in my extensive research into pet tech gadgets I've discovered that one of the most common reasons pet owners buy a tracking device is because they need to know at all times where their pets are because they have health issues.
I've read about a woman whose cat has vision issues and she relies on her tracking device to tell her where her beautiful furry creature is (because her beautiful cat can't see well and you can imagine the awful scrapes she could get herself into).
I also read about a woman whose cat has diabetes and needs regular insulin shots throughout the day so not knowing where her cat is is a REAL life or death situation.
Below are some popular pet trackers for pets that have health problems and other disabilities
Best For Finding Drones
Yes, pet tracking devices are now being used to track drones. Drones are NOT cheap and when your drone goes flying off (into thin air) you WILL want to know where it's landed at all costs. In my research I discovered this popular tracking device used for tracking drones.
Best For Finding Luggage
You gotta love those men and women who go on cruises, they sure love going in style! And one of the things that they do to make their life SO much easier at the end of their cruise is having tracking devices on their luggage so they can quickly and easily find them in the rush. This is the one they usually use.
Best For Finding Kids
Have you got one of those kids that loves running away in shopping malls or just want to keep track of where they REALLY go after school? Try inserting/attaching this on their backpack.
Best For Rural Areas/Dense Forest
Some pet tracking devices work with GPS satellite technology. Often what can happen is if you live in rural areas, areas with dense forest, or are surrounded by large trees sometimes the gps technology won't work. How can you figure out if a gps dog or cat collar will work where you are living? Well, think about your own cellular coverage where you are now. Do you regularly go to use the phone and can't call out (ie you have no signal)? That could be a warning to you that a gps tracking collar for dogs or cats isn't the right fit for you.
So what are your options then?
Trackers that operate by radio frequency could be for you.
This one has an incredible range and frequency.
Alternatively, this Garmin Astro 320 T5 has "high sensitivity" gps with GLONASS. It can track up to 10 dogs at a time and even though it does rely on gps technology, pet owners in very remote locations or wooded areas are extremely impressed with the coverage they're able to get with it.
Best For Using Globally
There aren't many pet trackers that work in multiple countries across the globe but there are a select few that do that offer great peace of mind in many countries. This one works in more than 80 countries which is great. However, this one works in 175 countries around the globe which is very impressive.
Popular Pet Tracker Brands
Who would have thought that there would ever be a wearable technology industry for pets but there is...
...and it's expanding constantly at a phenomenal rate.
Some of the best pet tracker brands to compare include: Tractive, Tagg, Marco Polo, Loc8tor, Garmin, Whistle, and Pod 2 GPS.
It goes without saying that it's not a complete list of pet tracker manufacturers, however, it's a great place to start your research and comparisons before you buy and I only review the highest-rated trackers on my resource blog here so that your time isn't wasted looking into inferior models.
Pet Tracker Buying Tips:
I've put together a list of helpful tips for you to think about before you buy your pet tracking device today.
Yes, price is the first thing you should think about because only YOU know what your budget is for a tracker today.
Yes, of course you want the lowest price possible and a fantastic deal (and I'll tell you all about those in my blog) but sometimes the cheapest option may not be the BEST option for you and your pet.
There are a handful of high-end pet trackers on the market...and then there are some very reliable and affordable options that cost under $100.
Make sure you get the exact pet tracker that you and your pet need (with as many bells and whistles as you think are important to you) as well as the WARRANTY that you need) all for the best price.
Size is REALLY important and when I'm talking about size today I'm talking about the size of the tracking tag. If you are wanting to track a teeny kitten who can be very sneaky then a tracking tag the size of a tic-tac container is not right for you.
In every review I list the dimensions of every tag PLUS I also include helpful screenshots AND images of dogs and cats actually wearing the tracking device so that you can quickly and easily see for yourself how it will position itself on your dog or cat's neck.
Pet Tracker Options
You can get pet tracking devices with fitness and health trackers included, with Adventure Mode, ones that light up when you are searching or make an audible beep, even trackers that are waterproof.
Some pet trackers allow you to create a safe zone area and when your pet leaves the safe zone you can receive an alert via your smartphone or email.
Some trackers allow you to add additional contacts which means multiple people will receive alerts.
Your pet's latest medical information, personal data and vet appointments can also be kept on some smartphone tracking apps which can give very helpful reminders.
There are pet tracking collars that work particularly well indoors, in sneaky nooks and crannies, there are ones that work great in rural areas and remote locations. There are even tracking devices that allow other pet owners to automatically help searching for your pet.
As you can see from the list of options, there are a LOT of choices to be made and things to think about. You really aren't limited by options - you are more limited by how much you want to spend on one.
Pet tracking devices can be manufactured with a considerable amount of plastic. This not only reduces costs but also reduces any pain or discomfort to your pet. However, NOT all pet collars are created equally. It's quite clear that some have been built to withstand the environment more, playful roughhousing, and also pets that spend a lot of time in the outdoors including swimming.
Ensure that the pet tracker you buy is built to last and not flimsy and cheaply constructed. A dog or cat tracking collar is one of the best investments you will ever make, but it won't be if it breaks in the first week of use in your household.
It should fit comfortably and securely on your pet's collar, but not so tight that it affects your pet's ability to move, to drink, to eat and to play :).
You'll notice a vast difference in battery life when it comes to pet locator tags. Some need to be charged every few days, some need to be charged weekly, while others can last for many months. If you hate charging your gadgets, or regularly forget to, then a tracker with a longer battery life may be your best choice. Here's a pet tracking system that relies on high availability which means no battery charging for as long as possible. For everyday pet monitoring it will operate for up to 3 months :).
The majority of GPS pet trackers on the market require you to a pay a very small fee every month to use their satellite service. Generally speaking, it's a very negligible amount. If you prefer a pet tracker with no monthly fees then the Marco Polo operates via radio frequency and is highly recommended. Alternatively, the Pod 2 GPS includes 1 year FREE monitoring subscription which I've not seen offered anywhere else.
I know that this really has nothing to do with pet tracking performance but customer service is REALLY important to me (I hate poor customer service) and I think it should be important to you too.
When I say customer service it covers multiple things like having a user friendly manual for the product, being quick to answer emails, having a phone number you can call, having a good warranty period behind the product. I believe that your after-purchase experience should be as good as your pre-purchase experience :).
Ease Of Use
This is something else that comes up frequently in pet tracker reviews. One tracker can be super simple to use and operate straight out of the box while others can be more fiddly depending on the number of features you want.
Once again, make sure whichever one you choose is suited to you AND your personality. The way one tracker works one person loves, while another finds it completely frustrating and they wan to throw it against the wall because it's driving them nuts (Yes, I really HAVE read that in my research).
That's why my investigation and research is so in depth and my reviews are SO long :). So that by the time you get to the end of each one you know 100% that that one is the right one for you AND your pet!
Generally speaking, there's not much difference in styles and colours. It's not like you can choose from 5 different colours for each model. Basically, you get what they come in (so at least you know you won't be scratching your head about that today!).
Where To Buy
Personally, they are the ultimate place to buy anything these days.
They have an incredible selection of pet trackers with ALL the best options here.
The Free Shipping option alone means that you know you're getting a great deal right away and I've consistently found the prices to be extremely competitive.
Plus, it sure beats getting into the car, paying petrol, finding a parking space, wasting hours going from one store to the next and being hassled by store personnel.
I've got SO many other things I'd rather be doing...
...I'd rather my UPS guy BRING it to me while I'm having a drink or watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones, what do you think?
Which Pet Tracker Is BEST?
I took a stroll around the internet to some trusted product comparison sites that you may be familiar with to see which pet tracker they say is best.
Here's what I found out:
Consumer Report Says:
Found buried deep in the Consumer Reports website was some info saying that with an unlimited range this pet tracker had quick and easy tracking and the clip stayed secure.
I've taken a thorough look at this model before. You can read my review about it here. It might be worth a deeper look.
It is without doubt the most searched for pet tracker online at the time of writing. I have a lot to say about it and was surprised by a lot I found out in my investigation.
If you're looking for the current bestsellers AND most popular pet trackers, check this page on Amazon (updated daily).
Top 5 Pet Trackers
To sum up ALL I've learned while doing an extensive amount of research online, the following list is the cutting it short of the current Top 5 best-rated pet trackers.
Pet Tracker Buying Guide: Questions That You Should Think About When Choosing Your Pet Tracker
How much of a range do you need?
What is the size of the pet tracker unit?
How active and/or sneaky is your pet?
Do you get a lot of storms where you live?
Does your pet spend a lot of time in the water?
How many pets are you wanting to track?
Do you want to receive alerts?
Is it important that you have maps and directions to help you find your pet?
Do you need your pet tracker to work outside the US?
Are you wanting to create a safe zone?
Would you like to be able to manage your pet's data and medical information better?
Would you like to be able to track your pet's activity?
How will you receive the information?
Is the pet tracker easy to use ie can you start tracking straight out of the box?
Is an air temperature sensor appealing to you?
Do you have charging gadgets so a pet tracker with a long battery life is preferred?
Are you happy to pay more for a pet tracker without having additional costs after purchase?
Once you've carefully considered these questions and the factors mentioned in my pet tracker buying guide, be sure to read my Pet Tracker Reviews and use my Pet Tracker Comparison Chart to find and compare pet trackers that match your needs
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