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Do your dogs stop obeying you when they’re off-leash outdoors? Want to take them hiking or when exploring a remote wilderness but frightened they’ll run too far astray? Or do you want a remote collar to help curb negative behaviors such as excessive barking, jumping, food aggression, etc.?
Avid hikers, explorers, and hunters alike swear by remote dog training collars. These wireless collars allow you to train your dogs to obey you when they’re off-leash, giving your pup room to roam — and you peace of mind that your dogs are safely exploring their world.
How do remote collars work? And what are some of the best collar choices for your active family’s canine companion? The best dog training collar is SportDOG 425X, followed by PetSpy M686 for the best mid-range priced collar. If you’re looking for an entry-level option, the best budget-friendly dog collar is the PatPet356A. And you might consider an alternative to collars, like the best virtual fencing for dogs with SpotOn GPS Fence. Let’s dig into more about these top picks and why we chose them.
At A Glance: Best Dog Training Collars
|SportDOG 425X||PetSpy M686||PatPet P320||SpotOn GPS Fence|
|View on Amazon||Visit Website|
|Read Review||Read Review|
- How Do Remote Dog Training Collars Work?
- Best Dog Training Collars
- What About Dogtra, Educator, Halo & More Popular Collars?
- Are Shock Collars Harmful To Your Dog?
- How Do You Transition From Leash Training To An E-Collar?
- Get Multiple Pet Insurance Quotes Instantly
- Are Remote Dog Training Collars Effective?
All remote dog training collars sometimes referred to as e-collars, remote shock collars, or simply remote collars, include the same components: a handheld transmitter, a collar receiver, and collar probes.
You set your transmitter to the type (tone, vibration, or static stimulation) and intensity of stimuli, and the transmitter then sends a radio signal to your dog’s receiver.
The receiver delivers the stimuli you’ve chosen via a set of two stainless steel collar probes that rest on your dog’s neck. The probes must fit against your dog’s skin rather than her fur, so a snug-fitting collar receiver is of utmost importance.
We’ve also included the top dog boundary training collar systems in our reviews here that work in a different way than traditional remote training collars. These systems involve a smart collar, GPS technology, cellular service, and a smartphone app rather than a transmitter.
Below are our picks for the best e-collars. We based our rankings on the range, collar fit, performance, pricing, and other factors.
SportDOG is a well-respected manufacturer of high-quality dog training collars, and the FieldTrainer 425X is a high-performer with a ton of excellent features. Although it’s a bit on the pricey side, it’s extremely durable compared to many budget picks.
It has three easy-to-set training modes: tone, vibration, and 21 levels of both momentary and continuous static stimulation. The collar is made with DryTek technology, making it waterproof and submersible up to 25 feet.
|Good 500-yard range||Neck size is only up to 22 inches|
|21 adjustable static stimulation levels, as well as tone and vibration settings||Not recommended for dogs under 8 pounds|
|Rechargeable batteries last 50-70 hours between charges|
|Remote can accommodate up to 3 dogs (must purchase extra collars)|
The PetSpy M686 Premium Training Collar is an excellent value and has a much longer range at 1,100 yards than the SportDog. It offers four training modes: vibration, sound, and continuous and intermittent shock. It also has eight adjustable levels of vibration and shock so that you can fine-tune the correction level.
The adjustable collar fits most dogs (10-140 pounds), and the collar receiver is waterproof. The remote has a handy strap and belt clip for easy portability. We also like that this collar’s contact points are made of conductive rubber to prevent skin irritation.
|Excellent 1,100-yard range||Not recommended for dogs under 10 pounds|
|4 training modes: vibration, sound, and continuous and intermittent shock||Only has 8 stimulation levels|
|Rechargeable batteries last up to 72 hours||Only expandable up to 2 dogs|
|Light on collar for nighttime training|
Best Budget-Friendly: PatPet 320 Dog Training Collar Review
The PatPet 320 is the best dog training collar we’ve seen at this price point. It’s durable, reliable, and has good features for a relatively low cost. Although the range is modest at roughly 330 yards, it’s long enough for you to control the collar if you’re in the house and your pup is in the yard. It has three training modes: beep, vibration (1-8 levels), and static shock (1-16 levels).
The adjustable waterproof collar fits neck sizes from 7.8 inches to 27 inches (around 15 to 100 pounds). It also has conductive silicone prongs and metal spring sheets to protect your dog’s skin when using the static mode.
|16 adjustable static stimulation levels, as well as beep and vibration settings||Signal range capped at 330 yards|
|Conductive silicone prong jackets to protect your dog’s skin||Not suitable for dogs under 15 pounds or very large dogs|
|Rechargeable batteries||Only expandable up to 2 dogs|
|Waterproof||Some complaints about the battery life|
|Comes in 5 colors|
Best For Virtual Fencing: SpotOn GPS Fence
SpotOn GPS Fence is an easy-to-use, high-tech system that keeps your pup in your yard or within specific boundaries when you’re camping, visiting family, etc. It’s all contained in one collar and a smartphone app without the need for wiring or a transmitter. The best part? After training your dog to understand the system, the collar does all the work for you. And you can even track your pup’s location if he escapes your yard.
How does it work? This system uses data from 25-30 satellites from GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and Beidou to keep your pup within the boundaries you create virtually. You start by setting up virtual fences (up to 1,500) by walking your property or via a map in the app. Then you customize SpotOn’s collar to keep your dog in-bounds via automatic sound, vibrations, or static correction. It includes excellent training materials, and you also get one-on-one training sessions with one of SpotOn’s certified dog trainers.
The fences work without a monthly subscription, but you must have SpotOn’s AT&T or Verizon cellular coverage service to get alerts that your pup has left the boundary and to be able to track in real-time your dog’s whereabouts on your smartphone.
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 and 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
|Can create multiple, overlapping wireless fences over 1,000s of acres||Expensive|
|Easy to set up||Requires a minimum of 1/2 acre|
|30 static stimulation levels, as well as tone and vibration settings (use of static shock is optional)||Likely won’t fit very small or very large dogs (10″-26″ neck sizes)|
|Real-time alerts and accurate GPS tracking||Must pay a monthly fee for tracking feature to work|
|IP-67 waterproof rating|
|Battery life is 14-22 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|
SpotOn offers a 90-day money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty.
The optional subscription gives you access to SpotOn’s GPS tracking feature. A one- or two-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%)
Use coupon code CANINE to get $100 off your SpotOn purchase via this link.
Although the following training collars didn’t make our top picks, each stands out for certain needs you may have.
The Bousnic training collar is a fantastic value for the features — and you get two receivers, making it a top-budget pick if you have two dogs. Its most noteworthy features include a strong signal, 3 training modes with multiple levels for each, included short and long prongs, and a waterproof, reflective collar for water and nighttime use.
And if you have a little doggy, this collar can accommodate pups as small as five pounds. Users say this system is reliable, incredibly easy to use while training two dogs, has a terrific battery life, and has very durable collars.
|Excellent 1,100-yard range||Not good for dogs over 120 pounds|
|Multiple levels of tone (1-8), vibration (1-16), and static (1-99) settings||Transmitter only accommodates 2 dogs|
|Fits dogs 5 pounds and up|
|Security lock prevents accidental shocks|
|Prongs have conductive silicone covers|
Dogtra’s collar is plastic and easily adjustable to fit many dog sizes, although the neck size won’t accommodate huge dogs. Dogtra’s collar has a good signal range and adjustable levels of low-to-medium stimulation output. It’s also easy to adjust the levels with one hand by using the front-facing Rheostat Dial.
The good? Dogtra gives you two-hour rapid-charge rechargeable batteries, and the collar is waterproof. The downside? Dogtra’s remote only accommodates two dogs and doesn’t have a tone setting.
|Good 400-yard range||Doesn’t adequately fit dogs under 10 pounds|
|Stimulation levels from 0-100||Not ideal for huge dogs (fits up to 24″ neck)|
|Vibration setting||No tone setting|
|2-hour rapid-charge batteries||Only expandable up to 2 dogs|
The Educator E-Collar Dog Trainer is an excellent alternative to our top picks if you need a longer range than 1,100 yards. The Boss Educator has reliable signal strength up to one mile, making it a solid choice if you are shock collar training a hunting dog or live on a large farm. The receiver delivers a tapping sensation (similar to vibration, but more intense), a tone, and static stimulation.
The Educator comes loaded with many of the fantastic features you’ll find in our top picks. You can even activate a tracking light on your dog’s collar receiver to locate your dog after dark. And it includes two sets of contact points (5/8″ short hair and 3/4″ long hair). The Educator also comes in 3/4 and 1/2-mile ranges.
The Micro Educator is excellent for dogs who weigh as little as five pounds. The range is up to 1/3 mile, is 20% lighter, and has 20% less stimulation than the Educator. The contact points are closer to one another to accommodate breeds with smaller neck sizes.
|Up to 1-mile range with excellent signal reliability||The Boss (1-mile range) isn’t suitable for dogs under 20 pounds|
|Adjustable static stimulation levels 1-100 and boost stimulation 1-60||More expensive than our top picks (but competitive for one-mile-range dog training collars)|
|All but The Boss work for dogs as small as 5 pounds||Only expandable up to 2 dogs|
|Excellent customer reviews|
- The Boss Educator (1 mile): $279.99
- Educator (3/4 mile): $219.99
- Mini Educator (1/2 mile): $199.99
- Micro Educator (1/3 mile): $199.99
Halo Collar 3 Review
The Halo Collar 3 is another all-in-one smart wireless dog fencing system, GPS activity tracker, and remote training collar that works in the same way as SpotOn GPS Fence. What are the main differences between these two systems? Halo is nearly half the cost of SpotOn, doesn’t require as large of a yard, and comes with dog expert Cesar Millan’s 21-day training program to teach your dog how to adapt to the system.
While SpotOn lets you create up to 1,500 overlapping virtual fences, Halo Collar maxes out at 20 fences that can’t overlap. And Halo has 15 customizable correction levels compared to SpotOn’s 30.
In terms of performance, SpotOn also has arguably more accurate GPS tracking and reliable fencing boundaries than Halo, based on customer reviews we continue to see. However, at nearly half the price, Halo could be a better option for you than SpotOn.
Our Personal Experience With Halo Collar 3
“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
|Ability to easily set up 20 customizable virtual wireless fences||Expensive|
|15 static stimulation levels, as well as tone and vibration settings (use of static shock is optional)||Requires monthly subscription|
|Uses GPS/GNSS, Bluetooth, WiFi, and LTE technologies||Not for very small dogs (minimum neck size is 11″ and minimum weight is 20 lbs)|
|IP-67 water-resistant rating|
|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|
A 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)
Use this link to get $25 off your Halo Collar purchase and unlock a special discount.
The Pet Resolve Dog Training Collar is a great option if you need a long-range system. Its range is up to 3/4 of a mile, and the remote can accommodate up to three dogs. It has three training modes: tone (beep), vibration, and 10 levels of static stimulation. It also has a light for night mode and an anti-bark feature. You can even remove the prongs if you don’t want to use the static stimulation. The battery only takes two hours to recharge. This collar is an excellent value for the range it provides.
|Range is 3/4 of a mile (1,312 yards)||Only has 10 stimulation levels|
|2-hour rapid charge batteries||Not suitable for small dogs (good for dogs 15+ pounds)|
|Remote can accommodate up to 3 dogs (must purchase extra collars)|
|Removable shock prongs|
PetSafe is a leading manufacturer of all types of pet equipment, and their Remote Training Collar is a solid choice. It has 3 training modes: tone (beep), vibration, and 15 levels of static stimulation. The battery life is 40 hours, and it only takes 2 hours to recharge. They even offer a Lite version with less intense stimulation for smaller and more timid dogs.
|Available in several ranges: 100, 300, 600, or 900 yards||Collar neck size is limited for giant dogs (up to 23″)|
|2-hour rapid charge batteries||Only expandable up to 2 dogs|
|Fits dogs 8 pounds and up||Some complaints that it doesn’t hold a charge|
Dog training on a tight budget? There are dozens of budget-friendly dog training collars on the market for under $100. You’re not going to get the best dog shock collar at this price range, but many are still effective for basic training purposes. The Petrainer PET998DRB1 model is one of our favorite budget dog training collars for its affordability and features.
Your range is limited compared to many other dog training collars we review here, but you have tone, vibration, and static stimulation modes with plenty of adjustable levels. While the Petrainer is “water-resistant,” it’s not waterproof, so training your dog in water isn’t possible with this collar. Still, Petrainer has plenty of satisfied customers.
|Budget-friendly||Signal range capped at 330 yards|
|Beep, vibrate and static stimulation levels 1-100||Not recommended for dogs under 15 pounds|
|Contact points have soft silicone covers||Collar neck size is limited for giant dogs (up to 25″)|
|Rechargeable batteries||Several consumer complaints about collar no longer recharging after a few months of use|
The idea of shock collar training turns many owners away, but today’s shock collars are designed to deliver low to medium intensity — and you get to choose the level of intensity. Static stimulation can range anywhere from a mild tingling sensation to an unpleasant shock (similar to the shock you feel with static in your bedsheets, for example), but the shock itself isn’t harmful to your pup.
The Humane Society, however, says that shock collars have the potential to irritate or inflame your dog’s neck. They also point out that misuse of shock collars can create fear, anxiety, and aggression in your dog. If you’re wondering whether you should use the shock feature with these collars, check out our in-depth article on shock collars to see the pros and cons.
Pro Tip: We suggest NOT using these collars until your dog understands basic commands like sit and stay. That way, you know that your dog is able to understand what you’re asking her to do and can associate the correction with the negative behavior.
Tips To Avoid Potential Shock Collar Irritation
Experts recommend taking the following precautions when using a shock collar.
- Read your product’s instructions carefully before use to ensure the proper fit.
- Don’t leave the electronic collar on for an extended length of time.
- Reposition the collar on your dog’s neck every 1 to 2 hours.
- Clean the contact points that touch your dog’s neck regularly.
Check out the video below by SportDOG for an overview of remote collar training vs leash training.
Get Multiple Pet Insurance Quotes Instantly
Yes. Remote training collars are effective in teaching your dog to obey you when she’s off-leash in your yard or within longer distances. But if you’re not sure this type of collar is best for you and your pup, see our recommendations and tips for on-leash dog training collars. We also have guides on other commonly used methods, such as whistle and clicker training.Tagged With: Collars, Comparison