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GPS locators are devices designed to transmit the position of a vehicle, object, person or animal. Until not many years ago, these devices were huge, expensive and unreliable.
Fortunately, things have changed, and today we can find high quality devices at very interesting prices.
There are many types of GPS locators: for pets, for the elderly and children, for cars or Tile key chains, among others.
Most of them base their operation on GPS geolocation, hence their name, although there are models that use other technologies.
They are the great ally of many companies, since they allow to have located its fleet of vehicles at any moment.
- 1 The most important
- 2 The best GPS locators: our favorites
- 3 Shopping guide: What you should know about GPS locators
- 3.1 What is a GPS locator?
- 3.2 How many types of GPS locators are there?
- 3.3 Where are GPS car locators installed?
- 3.4 What functions do GPS people locators have?
- 3.5 How many types of GPS people locators are there?
- 3.6 What are the advantages and disadvantages of using GPS locators for children?
- 3.7 Are there GPS locators that work without a SIM card?
- 4 Purchase criteria
- 5 Summary
The most important
- The GPS locators, or geolocators, have been a revolution in the tracking and tracing of vehicles, people and animals. The reduction in the price of this technology has led to the market being flooded with a multitude of models, with very similar functions and features. Almost all of them use GPS as a geolocation mode.
- GPS locators are often combined with applications for cell phones or the manufacturer’s own payment platforms. Others, however, are free to use, you only need a data SIM card. There are many types of locators: bracelet, necklace, pendant, car and bicycle locators, among others.
- The use of pagers in company vehicles is regulated by law. Caution should also be exercised with their use on children and the elderly. The wide range of models and features means that you should consider some important questions before choosing a pager. The most relevant factors are its accuracy and autonomy.
The best GPS locators: our favorites
Locating a lost suitcase or finding our dog thanks to its GPS collar are just two examples of the many uses of GPS locators.
Nowadays, the advance of this technology has made possible smaller and more reliable devices, as well as cheaper ones. Below is our selection of the best GPS locators on the market.
The best GPS locator for cars
Vyncs offers one of the most effective GPS locators on the market. That’s why it tops our list of recommendations.
This small device plugs into the car’s OBD port, which is unobtrusive yet easily accessible.
You should choose this one if you want to keep your car monitored.
This offer includes 1 year tracking plan, so you don’t have to worry about monthly fees for 12 months.
It uses a 3G network and has coverage throughout the United States, both continental and non-continental. Updates your location every 3 minutes.
Where to buy
The best GPS locator for pets
Pets are part of our family, so we must take care of them and prevent them from getting lost.
To that end, look for this GPS locator, which is reliable because it gives you accurate, long-distance real-time tracking (3.5 miles in open space).
This way, you’ll know where your pet is even when you lose sight of it.
This tracker offers very practical functions: it has lights that you can activate to find your pet in the dark and it is able to define a safe perimeter and warn you only when it leaves the perimeter.
It is waterproof and the battery lasts up to 16 hours, more than enough!
Where to buy
Tile's best mobile locator
Tile’s pagers have been a revolution in the industry. Not for nothing they are very popular with the public, as their tracking is very accurate and reliable.
It is a device that does not work with GPS, for which it has considerable space limitations. It is recommended for house or car keys, people and bikes, among others.
It is waterproof and has a replaceable battery.
Where to buy
The best GPS locator for handbags
This small Primetracking device is a GPS locator that you can use in different circumstances, but it is especially functional to put them in your bag.
This way, you can keep an eye on your laptop backpack, your personal bag or your travel suitcase.
This locator uses 4G network and has an SOS button, which is considered especially important for keeping elderly people or people with Alzheimer’s disease safe.
It has coverage throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada.
Where to buy
Shopping guide: What you should know about GPS locators
Technological improvements and the lower cost of data plans by operators have popularized the use of GPS locators.
Until a few years ago, these devices were only within the reach of transport or car rental companies. Today, it is easy to find cheap locators of high quality and reliability.
What is a GPS locator?
GPS locators, mobile locators or GPS trackers are devices that use this technology to report the precise location of a certain object.
Normally, they are used to locate vehicles of all types, although it is increasingly common to use them to locate people, especially children and the elderly.
Generally, GPS locators use the telephone network to communicate with the receiver, usually a smartphone.
Through an app, we can consult the location history, as well as where the person or vehicle is in real time.
They also allow us to create a perimeter, so that the device alerts us if the vehicle or person enters or leaves it.
How many types of GPS locators are there?
Today, there is a wide variety of GPS trackers on the market. The decrease in the cost of this technology has led to the availability of locating devices to locate almost anything.
These are some of the most common models:
- People locators. They are small devices, which fit in the palm of the hand. They are used to geolocate athletes, elderly people and children. They usually have an alert button to send the current position to family members and emergency services.
- Locator watches with GPS. They are designed for children and elderly people with Alzheimer’s disease. They are similar to calorie counters and sports watches -they have fun or stylish designs-, so that the person wearing them does not feel uncomfortable.
- Pet Locators. GPS for dogs and cats allow to know their current situation, consult the places where they have been or create virtual fences. They are usually hung on the collar, and are available in different sizes depending on the weight of the animal.
- Automobile locators. They are used to know the situation of a car, van or truck, individual or company. Most do not require installation, they are simply inserted into the vehicle’s OBD port or attached to the inside of the body by a magnet.
- Motorcycle Locators. Similar and with similar features to those of cars, although in this case most require installation to the vehicle’s electrical system.
- GPS locators for bicycles. Normally, these trackers pretend to be simple lights or pilots in order to go unnoticed by friends of others. Most bicycle computers have GPS, but they are not designed to locate the bicycle in case of theft.
- Spy locators. These are small devices that are attached to the underside of the car or are camouflaged within other objects, such as watches or photo frames. They are used when you do not want the person to know that you are being geolocated. Their improper use can lead to legal problems.
Where are GPS car locators installed?
The place of installation of a geolocator in a vehicle depends on the type of device in question.
The free installation models can be placed almost anywhere in the car: in the glove compartment, under the hood or in the trunk, among others.
We only need a place where we can pass the power cable.
Some GPS locators connect to the car’s OBD port, the access point used by garages to diagnose certain faults.
The location of the OBD port depends on each car, although they are usually located under the steering wheel or near the cigarette lighter covered with a protective cap.
What functions do GPS people locators have?
The GPS people locators are small, compact devices with integrated battery.
Their main function is to provide the location of the subject in real time. However, most offer other features, such as those summarized below.
- Panic button. Sends an SMS or makes a call to the emergency services or to any phone previously stored in the device.
- Two-way communication. Some pagers allow voice calls. This makes it easier to find the person in an emergency.
- Location based services (LBS). Some devices for geolocation of people, in addition to GPS, use other technologies such as bluetooth, wifi or the mobile network. This improves the accuracy of the location.
- Safety zones. Some locators allow us to create security perimeters that warn us if the person wearing it has trespassed. This functionality is very useful when it comes to monitoring children or elderly people with cognitive problems.
How many types of GPS people locators are there?
Currently, there is a wide variety of GPS trackers for people. The most popular are the smart key chains, although there are other types.
- GPS Pendants. They are designed, above all, to know the location of elderly people. Normally, they also incorporate a panic button for emergency situations.
- Geolocation bracelets. They are designed for children and elderly people with some mental disorder. Some of them look like normal wristwatches, like the smartwatches with GPS for children.
- Mini GPS. Small, discreet devices that fit anywhere. They are also used to locate objects, such as suitcases or bags.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using GPS locators for children?
Children are restless by nature, so it is easy for them to become disoriented in places they do not know. Mobile locators with GPS are the perfect solution to this problem.
However, having the child located at all times can lead to certain problems.
If the child is aware of this, he or she may feel overwhelmed, not to mention the invasion of his or her privacy.
And if that feeling is exacerbated, the result may be the opposite of what is desired, causing the child to turn off the device as soon as he or she leaves the house.
Some children, instead of rebelling against the use of these types of devices, develop a certain insecurity.
Being watched by their parents at all times is detrimental to their self-confidence to function in society.
Countries such as Germany have banned the use of smartwatches on children, as their legislators consider them an invasion of privacy
Are there GPS locators that work without a SIM card?
Almost all GPS locators cannot work without a mobile data SIM card. However, there are devices that do not need one, such as those that use bluetooth technology.
These trackers have a very limited range – barely ten meters – and are usually used to find pets, keys or other objects, always in closed areas.
However, there are other types of latest generation geolocators that use LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) technology.
This system is capable of sending long distance data packets of small size -a few coordinates- at a very low power.
Other locators use different systems, such as SIGFOX or LORAWAN
The advance of technology and the reduction in the cost of mobile data plans have made it possible for us to find effective GPS locators at very interesting prices.
However, the market is very wide, so we must take into account certain criteria before choosing a particular model.
The prices of the GPS locators are very varied. Firstly, they depend on the type of tracker – for pets, for people, for vehicles – as well as the tracking technology they use.
Design and price also go together, especially if they are GPS watches. In short, the greater the reliability and functions, the more expensive the device will be.
Fixed or without installation
In the case of GPS locators for vehicles, it is necessary to consider whether we want it without installation or fixed.
The latter require that we have some knowledge of automotive electronics. If not, we will have to resort to a professional for its installation, which will increase the final cost significantly.
The advantage of the fixed locators is that they are powered by the car’s energy, even if they have an internal battery.
They also offer such interesting functions as cutting off the electricity of the vehicle if it has been stolen.
On the other hand, fixed geolocators can be installed anywhere in the car, as long as there is a hole to run a cable.
Most geolocators use GPS, although, as we have seen above, there are some that use other technologies.
For this, we will need to hire a mobile data plan. The price of the plan will depend on the mobile operator and the number of gigabytes per month that we contract.
This will entail an additional expense that will have to be considered.
Other pagers, on the other hand, will need us to subscribe to one of the plans offered by the manufacturer.
They are more expensive than locators that use independent platforms, but usually offer more functionality, greater accuracy, as well as technical support and assistance.
The choice between free or paid will depend on the value of the object or vehicle you want to protect.
The main function of a geolocator is to precisely locate the person and object that carries it.
Typically, these devices have a small margin of error of a few feet. However, this is not a data that manufacturers usually provide, since the accuracy will not depend on the device in many cases.
There are many circumstances that can affect geolocation: whether we are under cover or outside, or the proximity of trees or large blocks of buildings, among other factors.
The intensity of the signal can also be affected if we carry the locator in a backpack. Even the weather conditions can affect the geolocation
Autonomy is another important factor to consider when choosing a mobile pager.
GPS trackers for cars and motorcycles are usually connected to the vehicle’s power supply. At the same time, they have an internal battery in case of a power failure.
In this way, they keep transmitting until they run out of power, which is very useful in case of theft.
In the case of people and pet locators, the duration of their battery is vital.
The autonomy of these pagers is usually several days, depending on the model chosen.
This is a very important feature, since the safety of our children, elders and pets is at stake. There is no point in having a pager that exhausts its energy in a few hours.
Size and design
In the case of vehicle locators, size is of utmost importance. The smaller they are, the easier they are to hide anywhere in our car or motorcycle.
As for personal and pet geolocators, they should also be light and comfortable to carry. Locator watches – for children and adults – should be stylish and non-stigmatizing.
GPS locators for cars and motorcycles must be robust and resistant to dust and water. Some are placed on the inside of the body, so they are exposed to the weather.
Pet locators, on the other hand, must also be waterproof and, very importantly, must be securely attached to the collar to prevent them from getting lost.
From being used almost exclusively by businesses, the use of mobile locators with GPS has become widespread in recent years.
They are no longer used only to track fleet vehicles, but also to know the status of luggage, pets, children or elderly people with some cognitive problem.
The wide variety of locators on the market requires that certain criteria be followed in order to choose the most appropriate one.
Important factors are accuracy, autonomy, or whether they require a payment plan.
In any case, they are devices that can help protect the physical integrity of people and animals, so we must be careful in the choice.
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