GPS tracker comparison 2021

The top 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GPS Tracker – Comparison/Test 2021GPS tracker test 2018

Before you, as a potential buyer of a GPS tracker, get overwhelmed by the large selection of devices, you should know what really matters. Different areas of application require different priorities. A tracker for any type of vehicle should have a long battery life and be easy to install. Devices for daily use in the pet’s pocket or on the collar should be light and handy. The price-performance ratio also plays a major role. To give you a clearer overview between confusing sales pages and the small print in the product descriptions, we have created this comparison page about GPS trackers.

In particular, we take a look at the all-rounders among GPS trackers. Would you like to use a direction finder for a wide range of applications? Then this section will help you make the perfect choice. But what could such an all-rounder be suitable for? In our experience, the – preferably small and handy – trackers are useful both for protecting people and for monitoring your own suitcase when traveling. But that would only be the beginning of a long list of possible applications. For example, a tracker can also be easily stored in the glove compartment of your car. This way you can secure your car if you are concerned that your parking location is not safe. GPS trackers usually have a variety of different alarm functions in 2018. So you can really do everything with a true all-rounder: set up virtual fences, equip vehicles or suitcases with movement alarms or track the routes you have traveled. Take a look at our tests to find out more about the individual functions of the different devices.

Find out everything about the all-rounder among GPS trackers here:

GPS tracker test 2018

We answer the following questions about GPS trackers for everyday use and more:

  • Which devices are the best all-rounders on the market?
  • Everything at a glance – our table
  • What to look out for when buying?
  • What should a GPS tracker all-rounder cost?
  • What should a GPS tracker all-rounder have?
  • Further tests and comparisons in special application areas:

 

 

The best GPS trackers

In addition to the top 3 in the GPS tracker all-rounder category listed above, we have also intensively tested other devices. Click here for all detailed test reports:

Comparison test - tracking device 2018

 

 

The ALLROUND Finder from PAJ

Our test winner in the GPS Tracker all-rounder category with 90 out of 100 points is the ALLROUND Finder. It impresses above all with its powerful battery, precise location and high quality. PAJ also provides excellent service.
The overall package is convincing all along the line and therefore wins 1st place.

To the detailed test report

 

The Salind 09 Tracker

The Salind 09 from Salind came in second place. Here, too, the focus is on quality. An enormous number of functions, small dimensions and a simple design unfortunately cannot completely conceal the weak battery performance. The device scored 84 out of a possible 100 points in our test.

To the detailed test report

 

 

 

The TK5000 from Incutex

In our opinion, the TK5000 is not really a bad buy either. However, the device is slightly more expensive than the test winner and has a weaker battery and poorer service. In our comparison, the all-rounder from Incutex came in third place with 83 points, just behind the device from Salind.

To the detailed test report

 

 

 

 

 

 

The LESHP GPS Tracker SIMTK6260

This GPS tracker all-rounder has landed in the comparison due to its relatively low price (approx. €45). Unfortunately, it is often the case in the GPS device market that low-quality Asian products are sold on cheaply in Germany. In addition to the workmanship, the service and other important criteria also suffer. Overall, the LESHP Tracker scores 73/100 points.

To the detailed test report

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trackimo GPS Tracker

Like the slightly larger Travel 3G, the small version of Trackimo loses a lot of points, especially when it comes to the battery. Overall, however, the device does not score too badly with 71/100 points and earns a 5th place.

To the detailed test report

 

 

 

 

All-rounders among GPS trackers – what should I look out for?

Important when buying a GPS tracker

In the case of GPS tracking in various areas of application, we have compiled an overview of the best GPS trackers here, which provides all the important information at a glance. But what do you need to pay particular attention to?

Important categories:

The special feature of this category is, of course, that such an all-rounder must combine the various strengths of the individual trackers from the different categories. So no category is particularly unimportant. Nevertheless, we have highlighted particularly important attributes.

Online vs. SMS: Be sure to check what type of location the GPS tracker has. Both variants have advantages and disadvantages, but nowadays ONLINE positioning is considered more advanced. It brought many positive innovations and functions to GPS tracking. Especially in the area of alarm functions or route recording, you can almost speak of a revolution in tracking thanks to the many new possibilities. Read more about the functionality and attributes of the various tracking forms below.

Functions: If you want to use your tracker in a wide variety of areas, you also need many different functions. In vehicle tracking, for example, an alarm is important when a speed is exceeded. If you want to locate a person using the tracker, an SOS button should be available for emergencies.

Battery: The battery always plays a role, but especially here, because charging can quickly be forgotten if the device is used a lot and in different places. If, for example, you want to secure the car overnight and take the GPS tracker on a trip with your son or daughter the next day, the battery should not go flat in the afternoon.

 

How do GPS trackers work?

But how does this technology, which has been developed over the years, actually work? Basically, three components of a GPS tracker are particularly important: the GPS module, the microprocessor and the GSM/GPRS module. You can also find a good illustration of the whole process in this video. Put simply, the GPS module is responsible for registering the request for a location and then making contact with the GPS satellites. Of course, it is not possible to track the location of your own device via all 30 satellites in the system. However, the more satellites are within range, the more accurate the positioning becomes. As a rule, however, at least 3 satellites are required to obtain certainty about the location. The data received from the satellites is then processed by the microprocessor and forwarded to the GSM/GPRS module. This only has the task of sending the message – processed and understandable for the user – to the receiving device.

Online or SMS tracking

Are you wondering about the GSM/GPRS module? And rightly so. As a rule, both are not installed at the same time, but only one of the two. While the GSM moduleis responsible for SMS communication, the GPRS module is used for online positioning. These two forms of localization differ considerably and both have advantages and disadvantages. However, online tracking is currently in greater demand and manufacturers such as PAJ are increasingly focusing on it. While all communication between the user and the tracker takes place via SMS in the case of SMS tracking, everything can also take place via an app or an online portal in the case of online tracking.

So if you want to query a location via SMS, you have to send a specific SMS command to the SIM card in the GPS tracker. Sometimes it is also sufficient to call the GPS transmitter. In response, you will usually receive a link to GoogleMaps and the corresponding coordinates. By the way: This SIM card is not always installed in the device beforehand. You often have to buy a compatible card yourself and – equipped with a contract – install it in the device. Depending on the contract, costs are therefore incurred depending on the queries you make. Not only do queries have to be requested via SMS, but the settings for individual functions can only be set up via text message.

The whole thing works somewhat more conveniently via online portals or apps, as is common with online tracking. Here too, a SIM card is required to transmit data online. Costs are therefore not usage-dependent and selective, but fixed and monthly. The location can be queried in real time and can therefore be tracked more easily. The detour via GoogleMaps is also no longer necessary. Route recording is another feature that can be found in every online version, but rarely works well with the SMS version. So if you don’t mind fixed monthly costs and want to use your device regularly, you should probably opt for the online version.

However, there is still an alternative to buying your own SIM card. The so-called M2M SIM cards. They are usually already installed in the device and even connected to it, so they cannot be used in other devices. They arrive at your premises already set up and activated. The contract for the portal and the map usually runs via the manufacturer of the GPS transmitter. This is the case with PAJ or Tractive, for example.

Alarm functions

As already mentioned, alarm functions can be set for a GPS tracker. They fulfill very different functions and are useful in some areas of application and less so in others. In the following, we would like to introduce the most important alarms and explain what they are suitable for and how they work.

Motion alarm or vibration alarm

The main feature of the motion alarm is that it can be switched on and off quickly. It is therefore normally used like an alarm system and is activated after a vehicle has been parked, for example. This is precisely why it is particularly important for vehicle tracking. This ensures optimum theft protection, as this alarm provides the fastest possible notification that something is wrong with your vehicle. In addition, the motion or vibration alarm is also used to protect valuable objects in storage. A variation of this alarm function is Drop-Alarm, which is pre-installed in the POWER Finder from PAJ. This registers when the GPS tracker is removed from the vehicle. This can also prevent the tracker itself from being stolen.

Radius alarm

The radius alarm reacts somewhat less sensitively. It does not always trigger with every movement, but only when the direction finder leaves a previously defined radius. This radius can be set either by SMS or via the online portal (see online or SMS tracking). Regardless of this, the virtual fence is always placed around the current location (at the time of activation). In addition, it is often limited downwards and can only be set to at least 500 meters (actual value may vary). Basically, the setting via an online portal is much more convenient, as it is much easier to see where the fence actually goes. In well-programmed portals, this is exactly where it is marked on a map. If a tracker leaves this area, the user receives a notification and information about the current location of the device. Either this location is then only the first position, which is outside the radius, or you are immediately directed to the real-time location query thanks to online positioning and can see where the GPS transmitter is moving. Obviously, this alarm is also ideal for monitoring vehicles, but it is also indispensable for protecting animals. Whether horse, dog or cat, with the radius alarm you can see exactly whether the four-legged friends have escaped or lost their way. More about animal tracking later.

Speed alarm

The next alarm can also be applied to vehicles, but contrary to intuitive thinking, it can also be applied to people. The speed alarm is initially set by the user sending the tracker a maximum speed that the tracker should not exceed. The alarm is now armed. For example, if a vehicle is traveling too fast, you will immediately receive a notification with the measured speed and location. But why should this alarm also be suitable for people? In fact, because this is precisely the way to check whether someone is really only traveling on foot. In other words, they would be alerted immediately if their child was in a car or something similar. There is also normally a restriction, so that not every speed can be set to any speed.

SOS button

Now to a function that is particularly important for locating people. The SOS button is a way for the protected person to call for help themselves and inform others of an emergency. The triggered alarm transmits the location to previously set contacts. Depending on the version, it only needs to be held down for a few seconds. This button offers many possibilities that are not necessarily limited to dangerous situations. The SOS button could also be used to document locations or other prominent points along a route. It would only be important to communicate clearly to all contact persons whether the button is really only used for dangerous situations or whether it is “misused” for other activities. Either way, the simple button can do a lot and increases the quality of a GPS tracker enormously.

Battery alarm

Of course, this only makes sense if the device is not connected to the power supply via a fixed connection, but runs on battery power: the battery alarm. It should be obvious how important the battery of a GPS tracker is. After all, the transmitter must be able to transmit the location in an emergency situation and must not run out of juice at the most critical moment. It is therefore all the more important to be reminded regularly to charge the device when necessary. Unlike a cell phone or tablet, the trackers do not usually have a battery level indicator. Although the online portals of the various providers often offer the option of obtaining information about the battery status, it is also necessary to check the portal regularly. The battery alarm provides a remedy and informs you when the GPS transmitter falls below a certain charge level.

Alarm when power connection is cut

This is also about ensuring that the tracker is not suddenly left without juice. However, the background here can also be a criminal one. Good alarm systems inform their users when they are deactivated. They do this in particular if they were switched off by manipulation. So anyone who tries to deactivate a previously detected GPS transmitter, for example by cutting the connection to the car battery, will immediately trigger an alarm without realizing it. However, this does not have to be an illegal act. The disconnection of the power supply could also have another reason, such as a marten. Above all, however, it is important that users are not left in the dark, but are informed immediately.

Where do GPS trackers come from? – History

As already mentioned, the first global satellite navigation system is a technology developed for military purposes. This began in 1973, when it was developed by engineers Bradford W. Parkinson, Richard Schwartz and James Spilker on behalf of the US Department of Defense. In fact, the GPS is still operated by the US Army today. The US Air Force is still in control today.

GPS satellites were first tested in orbit 20,000 kilometers above the earth in 1978. These first flying objects were called Block 1 satellites and were tested for years until they were finally replaced by a newer generation in 1989. The Global Positioning System had previously replaced the previous satellite navigation systems and the Vela satellites (originally used to locate nuclear explosions) in 1985.

The debate about the commercial and civilian use of navigation technology ran parallel to this development. Today’s GPS tracking is only possible by enabling the private use of GPS. In 1983, Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was tragically shot down. It had previously veered off course and strayed into Soviet airspace. During the Cold War, this navigation problem was to have fatal consequences. In the mid-1980s, US President Ronald Reagan announced that the GPS would be released for civilian use once it had been completed. The system reached full functionality in 1995. The so-called Selected Availability phase began. This is characterized by the fact that artificial signals falsified and thus worsened the exact positioning. The accuracy was limited to 100 meters. As of May 2, 2000, this phase was completed and civil GPS tracking was fully enabled. This finally paved the way for GPS tracking.

Today, the system comprises 30 satellites. It is continuously improved and further developed. The latest Block III satellites were only sent into orbit around the earth in May 2017 and are now further supplementing the Global Positioning System. Of course, there are now also alternatives to the system operated by the US armed forces. The Galileo satellite navigation system, for example, is an EU project. It will also comprise 30 satellites, 26 of which are currently in space, and will probably be completed in 2020. The Chinese Beidou satellite navigation system is also set to be expanded to 35 satellites in 2020. The only thing missing to complete the list is the Russian GLONASS system, which, however, has to contend with repeated crashes of individual satellites.