- 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).
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:
- Pod 2 GPS Pet Tracker
- Tractive GPS 2
- Whistle GPS Pet Tracker
- Kippy Pet Tracker – note that the Kippy currently does not provide coverage in Australia
Check the table below to compare the different trackers:
|Name||TrakaPet||Pod 2 GPS Pet Tracker||Tractive GPS 2||GPS Pet Tracker||Kippy Pet Tracker|
|Collar or tracker||Tracker only||Tracker only||Tracker only||Tracker and base station||Tracker only|
|Purchase price||A$149 (includes 3 months subscription)||A$249 (includes 1 year subscription)||A$179.99||US$79.95||TBA|
|Subscription required||YES||YES (1 year included in purchase price)||YES||YES||TBA|
|Subscription plans||A$14.99/month (A$130 annualy) or A$9.99/month (A$99 annually) plans. Choose a plan approporiate to the lifestyle of your pet||A$49/year after the first year||A$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 years||TBA|
|Total cost over 1 year||Between A$248 (yearly subscription on "Home Body" Plan) or A$279 (yearly subscription on "Active" Plan) - note: 24 minimum 24 months subscription||A$249||Between A$259 (yearly subscription - Basic Plan) and A$280 (yearly subscription - Premium Plan)||US$175.35 (yearly subscription)||TBA|
|Total cost over 2 years||Between A$347 (yearly subscription/"Home Body" Plan) or A$409 (yearly subscription/"Active" Plan) - note more expensive if paid per month||A$298||Between A$319 (yearly subscription - Basic Plan) and A$340 (yearly subscription - Premium Plan)||US$246.75 (yearly subscription)||TBA|
|Mobile connectivity||2G||2G (3G version available by the end of 2016)||2G||2G||TBA|
|Smartphone||IOS & Android||IOS & Android||IOS & Android||IOS & Android||IOS & Android|
|Size||50 mm x 33 mm x 19 mm||50.5mm x 23mm (cylinder)||48mm x 34mm x 17mm||107mm x 30mm x 20mm||60mm x 35mm x 20mm|
|Weight||40 grams||29 grams||28 grams||35 grams||50g|
Find In the Dark
|Find My Pet|
Activity monitor function
|Live GPS tracking|
Text and email alerts
Monitor health trends
|Battery life||Up to 14 days||Up to 5 days (depending on activity mode)||Between 2 and 5 days||Up to 10 days of continuous use||With a position every 4 hours, it lasts for about two weeks|
|Buy at||TrakaPet||Pod 2||Tractive GPS2||Whistle||Kippy|
|Additional notes||TrakaPet requires a paid 24 month subscription service (purchased separately) in order to function||Comes with (charging) base station|
|Will work in Australia||YES||YES||YES||NO||NO|
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
- PawTracker – note that the PawTracker currently does not provide coverage in Australia
Check the table below to compare the different trackers
|Collar or tracker||Tracker only||Integrated collar||Integrated collar||Integrated collar||Tracker only|
|Purchase price||TBA||US$249 (pre-order)||US$159 (pre-order)||US$189 (pre-order)||US$199.95|
|Total cost over 1 year||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA|
|Total cost over 2 years||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA|
|Mobile connectivity||3G||GPRS/3G, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0||GPS, Bluetooth LE, Compass and 3G||TBA||TBA|
|Smartphone||IOS & Android||TBA||YES||TBA||TBA|
|Size||TBA||390mm x 17.8mm x 8.8mm||3 collar sizes||TBA||TBA|
Low Battery alert
|9-Axis accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, 2 x temperature sensors, altimeter (barometric pressure sensor)||GPS Location|
|Battery life||TBA||Expected to be about 1 week||TBA||TBA||TBA|
|Buy at||Petrek 3G||Kyon||WÜF||Nuzzle||Paw Tracker|
|Additional notes||Unsure when available||Currently under development - aim to deliver by the end of November 2016||WÜF expects to begin sending pre-orders to customers early winter 2017.||Currently under development - aim to deliver by November 2016|
|Will work in Australia||YES||YES||YES||NO, international version expected middle of 2017||NO|
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.