GPS pet tracker comparison

  • 10 million pets are missing annually worldwide
  • Only less than 5% of cats and less than 20% of dogs are reunited with their owners!
  • At least once in a lifetime, 1 pet out of 3 is lost

Considering this, it makes very good sense to make use of current GPS tracking devices to help you re-unite with your pet if they are lost. This blog post looks at different trackers that are available right now, as well as looking at some trackers that are currently in development and should be available late 2016/early 2017.

 

What are GPS pet trackers?

GPS pet trackers rely on a satellite to figure out where it is, combined with mobile reception to send that information to a phone app or website to show you its current location. This picture explains the process (if you replace the car with your pet tracker).

satellite-gsm-tracking

GPS tracking explained. Photo: ecutool.com

 

Which GPS pet trackers are for sale right now?

There are few different GPS pet trackers on the market right now. Most will work in Australia, but not all provide full world-wide coverage.

For this comparison we are looking at:

  • Trakapet
TrakaPet GPS Pet TrackerTrakaPet GPS Pet Tracker

 

  • Pod 2 GPS Pet Tracker
POD GPS Pet TrackerPOD GPS Pet Tracker

 

  • Tractive GPS 2
Tractive GPS2 GPS Pet TrackerTractive GPS2 GPS Pet Tracker

 

  • Whistle GPS Pet Tracker
Whistle GPS Pet TrackerWhistle GPS Pet Tracker
  • Kippy Pet Tracker – note that the Kippy currently does not provide coverage in Australia
Kippy GPS Pet TrackerKippy GPS Pet Tracker

Check the table below to compare the different trackers:

NameTrakaPetPod 2 GPS Pet TrackerTractive GPS 2GPS Pet TrackerKippy Pet Tracker
CompanyPetFindPodTractiveWhistleKippy
Collar or trackerTracker onlyTracker onlyTracker onlyTracker and base stationTracker only
Purchase priceA$149 (includes 3 months subscription)A$249 (includes 1 year subscription)A$179.99US$79.95TBA
Subscription requiredYESYES (1 year included in purchase price)YESYESTBA
Subscription plansA$14.99/month (A$130 annualy) or A$9.99/month (A$99 annually) plans. Choose a plan approporiate to the lifestyle of your petA$49/year after the first yearA$7.99/month (Basic Plan - A$79.99/year) or A$11.99/month (Premium Plan - A$99.99/year)US$9.95/month or US$95.4/year or US$166.80/2 yearsTBA
Total cost over 1 yearBetween A$248 (yearly subscription on "Home Body" Plan) or A$279 (yearly subscription on "Active" Plan) - note: 24 minimum 24 months subscriptionA$249Between A$259 (yearly subscription - Basic Plan) and A$280 (yearly subscription - Premium Plan)US$175.35 (yearly subscription)TBA
Total cost over 2 yearsBetween A$347 (yearly subscription/"Home Body" Plan) or A$409 (yearly subscription/"Active" Plan) - note more expensive if paid per monthA$298Between A$319 (yearly subscription - Basic Plan) and A$340 (yearly subscription - Premium Plan)US$246.75 (yearly subscription)TBA
Mobile connectivity2G2G (3G version available by the end of 2016)2G2GTBA
SmartphoneIOS & AndroidIOS & AndroidIOS & AndroidIOS & AndroidIOS & Android
Web appYESYESYESYESYES
Size50 mm x 33 mm x 19 mm50.5mm x 23mm (cylinder)48mm x 34mm x 17mm107mm x 30mm x 20mm60mm x 35mm x 20mm
Weight40 grams29 grams28 grams35 grams50g
FeaturesFitness Mode
Find In the Dark
Chase Moode
App Alers
Find My Pet
Activity Monitor
Escape Alerts
Adventure Recording
Live Tracking
Safe Zone
24-hour history
Battery Indicator
Activity monitor function
Live GPS tracking
Text and email alerts
Monitor health trends
Map
Proximity
Geofence
History
Virtual boundary/fenceYESYESYESYESYES
WaterproofYESYESYESYESYES
Battery lifeUp to 14 daysUp to 5 days (depending on activity mode)Between 2 and 5 daysUp to 10 days of continuous useWith a position every 4 hours, it lasts for about two weeks
Buy atTrakaPetPod 2Tractive GPS2WhistleKippy
Additional notesTrakaPet requires a paid 24 month subscription service (purchased separately) in order to functionComes with (charging) base station
Will work in AustraliaYESYESYESNONO

 

What GPS trackers will come onto the market in the (not so distant) future?

A lot of companies are currently developing 3G GPS pet trackers that will come out in the next few months. Check the table below to compare them, note that these products are still in development so specifications and prices could (and most likely will) change.

Products expected to hit the markets in the next few months that are worth following include:

  • Petrek 3G
Petrek 3G GPS Pet TrackerPetrek 3G GPS Pet Tracker

 

  • Kyon
Kyon GPS Pet TrackerKyon GPS Pet Tracker

 

  • WÜF
WUF GPS Pet TrackerWUF GPS Pet Tracker

 

  • Nuzzle
Nuzzle GPS Pet TrackerNuzzle GPS Pet Tracker

 

  • PawTracker – note that the PawTracker currently does not provide coverage in Australia
PawTracker GPS Pet TrackerPawTracker GPS Pet Tracker

Check the table below to compare the different trackers

NamePetrek 3GKYONWÜFNuzzlePawTracker
Collar or trackerTracker onlyIntegrated collarIntegrated collarIntegrated collarTracker only
Purchase priceTBAUS$249 (pre-order)US$159 (pre-order)US$189 (pre-order)US$199.95
Subscription requiredTBAYESYESTBATBA
Subscription plansTBAUS$4.99/monthTBATBATBA
Total cost over 1 yearTBATBATBATBATBA
Total cost over 2 yearsTBATBATBATBATBA
Mobile connectivity3GGPRS/3G, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0GPS, Bluetooth LE, Compass and 3GTBATBA
SmartphoneIOS & AndroidTBAYESTBATBA
Web appYESTBATBATBATBA
SizeTBA390mm x 17.8mm x 8.8mm3 collar sizesTBATBA
WeightTBA60 gramsTBATBATBA
FeaturesLive Location
Geo-Fencing
Low Battery alert
9-Axis accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, 2 x temperature sensors, altimeter (barometric pressure sensor)GPS Location
Virtual Fence
Invisible Leash
Activity Tracking
Two-Way Audio
Gamified Training
Upgradeable
TBATBA
Virtual boundary/fenceYESYESYESTBATBA
WaterproofTBATBATBATBATBA
Battery lifeTBAExpected to be about 1 weekTBATBATBA
Buy atPetrek 3GKyonWÜFNuzzlePaw Tracker
Additional notesUnsure when availableCurrently under development - aim to deliver by the end of November 2016WÜF expects to begin sending pre-orders to customers early winter 2017.Currently under development - aim to deliver by November 2016
Will work in AustraliaYESYESYESNO, international version expected middle of 2017NO

 

Why Bluetooth trackers are not the right solution to track pets

There are plenty of small bluetooth trackers currently on the market or offered on website like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, but I feel these are not the right solution to track pets because of the following reasons:

  • Bluetooth has a maximum range of about 100m when connected to a phone
  • To find the tracker it has to be within range of your phone or the phone of someone who has your exact same bluetooth tracker app on their phone to help you find your escape artist. Unfortunately there is not one tracker app that is so popular that ‘everyone’ has it, so it is likely you will only know when the tracker went outside of the range of your phone

 

Note on 2G mobile coverage

Although some providers are shutting down their 2G network will be shut down between late 2016 and early 2017, there are a few rpoviders that will continue to be offering 2G services. In the long term it is better to buy 3G trackers and most of the newer trackers are currently changing their units to 3G versions.