Collars

Best GPS Dog Collar: Garmin Astro Vs Alpha Vs Trackimo Vs Tractive Vs Halo Vs SpotOn & More

50

Last Updated: June 19, 2024 | 11 min read | 17 Comments

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Here’s how it works.

Want to take your dog hiking with you off-leash? Or do you have a Houdini hound at your home? A Global Positioning System (GPS) dog collar or tracking device could be just what you need. These tech-savvy devices allow you to keep track of your dog’s location and where she’s heading via tracking technology located in a device on their collar. See which GPS dog collars and other solutions we recommend.

At A Glance: Best Dog GPS Trackers & Collars

ValueSmall DogsVirtual FencingNo Monthly FeeTraining
Tractive
Trackimo SpotOn collar and appPetfon2Garmin Alpha 100
TractiveTrackimoSpotOnPetfon2Garmin Alpha
Visit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteView on ChewyView on Amazon
Read ReviewRead Review

Benefits Of GPS Collars

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) found in a study that 14% of lost dogs are never located. Some of the best ways to find a lost dog are to scour your neighborhood and make sure your dog has an accurate ID tag on her collar.

On the other hand, imagine if you could know the instant your dog roams away and track where she’s heading. Having a device that has lost-dog mode gives you peace of mind that you’ll be able to locate your pup quickly. Also, if you take your dog hiking off-leash, she’s free to explore far away from you without you having to worry about where she is.

GPS Microchip vs Standard Microchip: What’s The Difference?

When you hear the word microchip associated with pets, you typically think of microchips embedded subcutaneously. However, there are some significant differences between an internal microchip and a GPS microchip for dogs and how they allow you to keep track of your dog.

GPS Microchip

A GPS chip for dogs is external, usually worn on your dog’s collar. The GPS chip sends a continuous signal to the global satellite system, which allows you to see your dog’s exact location in real-time. Some GPS pet trackers can also feature message alerts and information about your dog’s activity levels and health.

Standard Microchip

A standard microchip for dogs is implanted under your dog’s skin and contains information like the chip ID, breed, owner details, and more. You can’t track your dog’s whereabouts at any given time with a standard microchip. It’s only helpful if someone finds your dog and takes them to a shelter or a vet’s office with a particular scanner to read the chip.

Best GPS Dog Collars And Trackers

There are many variations of GPS dog collars and GPS pet trackers, so we’ve broken down our reviews into categories we think will help you choose the type you need. We chose our top picks based on many factors, including performance reliability, tracking range, battery life, cost, customer support, user reviews, and more.

Best Value: Tractive GPS Tracker For Dogs Review

Tractive GPS Tracker For Dogs and app

Visit Website

The Tractive GPS Tracker for Dogs combines excellent location accuracy, a reliable signal, and other great features at a nearly unbeatable price. Its live-tracking mode geolocates every 2 to 3 seconds (more often than many other devices) and lets you see where your dog has traveled and where she’s heading.

You can also set up a safe zone via the app and receive a text alert if your dog leaves the area. This waterproof device attaches securely to most collar types and has an LED light to help you locate your furry friend at night. It also monitors your pup’s active and rest times and calories burned. Another bonus, Tractive gives you activity and location history so you can see where your dog walker is taking your pup, for example.

Like most GPS dog trackers, Tractive’s technology relies on LTE connectivity (AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile), so it won’t work in remote areas without a cellular signal. The LTE functionality requires a monthly service fee, but Tractive works in over 150 countries.

Our Personal Experience

Tractive app screenshots.

“Our dogs love to hike with us, and Tractive is great at telling us where and how many minutes our dogs were active once we connected to a cell signal or WiFi. It even shows their whereabouts visually on a detailed map. If our dog got lost in a populated area that was well served by cell service, this product would be a tremendous help! However, the GPS wouldn’t connect to the app when we didn’t have a cell signal during our mountain hikes, so the tool would prove unhelpful if they got lost during our off-the-grid adventures. And, while it tracks the minutes of activity, the data is less detailed than with traditional activity trackers.”

Michelle Schenker, rescue dog parent

ProsCons
Excellent valueRelies on cell service, so it may not work in remote areas
Easy to set up and activateRequires a monthly service fee
Lightweight device for dogs 9 pounds or moreSome consumers complaints about short battery life
Unlimited range (as long as you have LTE connection)
Receive text alerts if your dog leaves her safe zone
View your pup’s activity and location history
Mobile apps get fantastic reviews
Batteries last 4-7 days, and it fully recharges in 2 hours
30-day money-back guarantee
1-year limited warranty
Users report excellent customer support

Price

Monthly Subscription

required monthly subscription gets you access to your dog’s location and activity.

  • Month to Month Basic: $13/month
  • 1-Year: $8-9/month ($96-$108 billed annually)
  • 2-Years: $6-7/month ($144-$168 billed every 2 years)
  • B-Years (Premium Plan Only): $5/month ($300 billed every 5 years)

In-Depth Review Of Tractive

Check out our full review of Tractive for more details on this system’s features and how it works.

Best For Small Dogs: Trackimo Review

Trackimo

Visit Website

Trackimo is similar to the Tractive GPS Pet Tracker in that it relies on cell service and requires a monthly service fee. But Trackimo is more compact than Tractive, making it an excellent option for smaller dogs.

You’ll end up paying more upfront for Trackimo, but it offers a free year of service, and then you’ll end up paying $5 per month. Since Trackimo relies on cell service, it’s not ideal for remote areas. But if you live in an area with reliable cell service, Trackimo is another excellent option for pets who tend to roam. It also allows you to keep tabs on where your dog is with a dog walker.

ProsCons
Easy setup and activationIt relies on cell service, so it may not work in remote areas
Lightweight and extremely compact deviceYou must pay a $5 monthly service fee (but the first year is free)
Battery life up to 96 hoursSeveral customer complaints that the location tracking isn’t accurate
Receive text or email alerts if your dog leaves her safe zone
Compatible with iOS and Android smartphones
1-year limited warranty

Price

Monthly Subscription

required monthly subscription gets you access to the GPS tracker and alerts.

  • $60/year (after the 1st year included with device)

Best GPS Virtual Fencing: SpotOn GPS Fence Review

SpotOn tracker and phone

Visit Website

SpotOn GPS Fence is another fantastic option if you want a wireless fencing system, GPS tracking, and more. It works much the same way that Halo Collar does, with some notable differences. First, it’s much more expensive. But SpotOn allows you to create unlimited overlapping fences (Halo does not). It also has more customizable correction levels than Halo.

The SpotOn system uses data from 25-30 satellites from GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and Beidou to keep your pup within your set boundaries. Training materials are included, and you also get one-on-one training sessions with one of SpotOn’s certified dog trainers.

While a subscription isn’t mandatory, the system is limited without a plan. While the fences work without a subscription, you can use any cellular coverage service (with the latest Omni version which offers universal coverage) to receive alerts that your dog has left your yard and to be able to track in real-time his whereabouts on your smartphone. You can get a 90-day free trial if you sign up for the one or two-year plan.

Our Personal Experience With SpotOn GPS Fence

We had the opportunity to try SpotOn’s collar with our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in exchange for an honest review. The collar itself was easy to set up, attach the contact points, and adjust the size. After activating the collar and creating an account, you can walk with your dog on a leash to create your virtual fence in real time. I was impressed at how detailed the fence line was and how accurate the invisible fence lines were.

When getting close to the “edge,” it makes a loud beep. As you get closer to the boundary, there is a two-tone alert. And if you cross the boundary, the collar vibrates. There’s no subscription required for the fence feedback, but if you want GSP tracking that is an additional monthly fee. If you’re looking for a way to contain your dog without a need for wires, this training collar is worth the investment.

Sadie Cornelius, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog parent
ProsCons
Can create unlimited, overlapping wireless fences over no maximum sizeExpensive
Easy to set upRequires a minimum of 1/2 acre
Real-time alerts and accurate GPS trackingLikely won’t fit very small or very large dogs (10″-26″ neck sizes) but has extenders for bigger necks
IP-67 waterproof ratingMust pay a monthly fee for tracking feature to work
Battery life is 14-25 hours depending on the mode you’re using
Mobile apps get good reviews
1-year limited warranty
90-day money-back guarantee
10% discount on multi-collar purchases

Price

SpotOn offers a 90-day money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty.

Monthly Subscription

An optional subscription gives you access to GPS tracking (without a plan, you can only use the device and app as a fence and get alerts if/when they are out of their safe zone). A 1 year or 2-year plan comes with a 90-day free trial.

  • Month to Month: $9.95/month
  • 1-Year: $7.95/month (save 20%)
  • 2-Years: $5.95/month (save 40%)

Coupon

Use coupon code CANINE to get $50 off your SpotOn purchase via this link.

In-Depth Review Of SpotOn GPS Fence

Check out our full review of SpotOn GPS Fence for more details on this system’s features and how it works.

GPS Virtual Fencing Honorable Mention: Halo Collar 3 Review

Halo 3 Collars

Visit Website

The Halo Collar 3 is an all-in-one smart wireless dog fencing system, GPS activity tracker, and remote training collar. Halo uses GPS/GNSS, LTE, Bluetooth, and WiFi technologies to set boundaries, track your dog’s location, and send you escape alerts via the app.

You start by setting up to 20 virtual fences by walking the boundary or via the map in the Halo app. You can customize Halo to keep your dog in-bounds via vibrations, sound, or static pulse, and it comes with dog expert Cesar Millan’s 21-day training program to teach your dog how to adapt to the system. When your pup leaves your set boundaries, the system goes into lost-dog mode and alerts you immediately on your mobile device.

Since the original collar hit the market in 2020, Halo has made several excellent upgrades to specifically address customer feedback. These include enhanced GPS coverage and better location accuracy, battery life, and other features.

Our Personal Experience With Halo Collar 3

Halo Collar 3 box and contents

“The app walked me through a series of training videos which are super entertaining and informative. The quality is very cinematic, and the text helps reinforce the audio instructions. After learning about types of feedback (prevention and encouragement), I worked on beacon training. This gets your dog accustomed to feedback in a safe, indoor setting. You’ll manually give your dog feedback (sound or stimulation) and a reward to guide them away from the “no-go zone.” You’ll repeat these steps several times for 30 minutes and do at least 3-4 sessions before building up to outdoor boundaries. Eventually, when you turn the beacons on, the beacon will automatically give feedback when your pup gets within a certain range of the no-go zone. Georgie responded well to the feedback and am pleased with the GPS location tracking improvement from the Halo 2+ which we tested previously.”

– Sadie Cornelius, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog parent
ProsCons
Ability to easily set up 20 customizable virtual wireless fencesExpensive
Uses GPS/GNSS, Bluetooth, WiFi, and LTE technologiesRequires monthly subscription
IP-67 water-resistant ratingNot for very small dogs (minimum neck size is 11″ and minimum weight is 20 lbs)
Battery life averages 24 hours
Covers up to 10 square miles
Apps get generally good reviews
1-year limited warranty
30-day return policy
Customer service and tech support via live Zoom sessions, phone, and email

Price

Monthly Subscription

required monthly subscription gets you access to the GPS tracker, training tools, and activity monitoring. Each plan gives you different features and advanced tracking, feedback, and support.

  • Bronze: $5.99/month
  • Silver (recommended): $9.99/month (+ custom support, custom ranges, advanced tracing, instant feedback)
  • Gold: $29.99/month (+ premium training lessons each month, live sessions with trainers)

Coupon Code

Use this link to get $25 off your Halo Collar purchase and unlock a special discount.

In-Depth Review Of Halo 3 Collar

Our full review of Halo 3 Collar gives you more detailed information about how this virtual system works.

Best For No Monthly Fee: Petfon2 Pet GPS Tracker Review

Petfon2

View on Chewy

Petfon’s collar device is the only no-monthly fee pet GPS tracker you can use with your smartphone. Petfon combines GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and long-distance wireless technologies (LPWAN) for accurate real-time tracking. Since this technology doesn’t rely on cell service, there’s no monthly fee. Just keep in mind the upfront cost is higher than some other GPS dog collars. But the upside is it works in very remote areas where there’s no cell service.

You can set up safe boundaries and get alerts when your pup goes outside of her zone. Petfon also features anti-lost radar searching, a pet activity monitor, and a built-in LED light. You can also record voice commands to share with your pup remotely.

The downside is that the tracking range is limited compared to other devices (up to 0.65 miles in dense, urban areas and about 3.5 miles in an open environment). It also has a shorter battery life, ranging from 6-18 hours. Still, many users say it works extremely well for their needs.

ProsCons
No monthly feesLimited range compared to other devices we review here
Excellent for hiking or camping in remote locations without cell serviceShort battery life
Real-time alerts and accurate GPS trackingA bit of a learning curve to set up
Small, lightweight device fits on most collars
Comes with portable charging case
30-day money-back guarantee
1-year limited warranty

Price

Best GPS Dog Training Collar: Garmin Alpha 100 TT System Review

Garmin Alpha 100

View on Amazon

Although ideal for multiple sporting dogs, the Garmin Alpha 100 makes an excellent GPS tracker and training collar for avid hikers, campers, and those living on large, remote farms.

One of Garmin dog trackers’ most prominent selling points? It’s a self-contained GPS unit (that doesn’t rely on cellular service) and has GLONASS reception that performs better in challenging environments.

The waterproof GPS collar transmitter has a sturdy, adjustable steel antenna, which transmits your dog’s position as often as every two and a half seconds to your handheld receiver. The signal is strong enough to track your dog’s status, even in heavy tree cover or deep canyons.

The receiver has a three-inch color display, which lets you see your dog’s current location and a trail of her previous path on the map. The Garmin Alpha 100 is feature-rich with an electronic compass, enhanced map drawing capabilities, BirdsEye Satellite Imagery compatibility, and much more.

ProsCons
No need for cell service and no monthly service feesExpensive
Range up to 9 milesNot suitable for small dogs (too large for Beagles)
Rechargeable battery (optional, not included)Challenging learning curve to set up and use
Receiver unit expandable up to 20 dogs (extra collars not included)
Collar is waterproof
Vibration alert if your dog leaves your designated safe zone
Uses rechargeable lithium-ion batteries
1-year limited warranty

Price

How Does Garmin Alpha Work?

Check out Garmin’s video below to see all the great features you get with its Alpha 100 TT system.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common user questions about GPS dog collars and trackers. Don’t see yours here? Ask us in our comments.

How Does A GPS Dog Collar Work?

Most GPS dog collars use cellular services to share data about your pup’s location with nearby GPS satellites. The satellites then send the collar’s location data to your mobile device. Some trackers can also connect to WiFi and Bluetooth to track your dog.

Are Bluetooth Trackers Effective For Pets?

Some products that only use Bluetooth technology are great for those of us who tend to lose our keys, but pet experts don’t recommend Bluetooth trackers to keep tabs on your pets. Why? Bluetooth technology has a very limited range and isn’t ideal for tracking animals on the move.

Are GPS Dog Collars Safe?

Some owners wonder if GPS dog collars cause cancer or other health problems. GPS dog trackers are perfectly safe for our four-legged friends. They use local cellular networks to send data, which involves electromagnetic fields (EMFs). It’s the same technology that’s built into your mobile phone.

Are GPS Dog Collars Worth It?

If you have a canine escape artist or an off-leash runner when you’re at the park or elsewhere, a GPS dog tracker is a must. These devices are completely worth it to give you the peace of mind that you won’t lose your pup and can locate her quickly should she bolt.

Need An Activity Monitor Or Training Collar?

If you’ve found our GPS dog tracker reviews helpful and are interested in learning more about other types of dog collars, be sure to check out our dog activity monitor reviews, smart collar reviews, and dog training collar reviews.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

Subscribe
Notify of
17 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top
Send this to a friend