How to Choose GPS Tracker?


GPS tracking solutions can be very helpful for both individuals and businesses.

However, choosing the right type of gps tracking device can be a real hassle, especially if you’ve never done it before.

You must have been very confused when you are trying to pick one tracking device for your family,your car or your lovely pet.

ICAR want to help you make sure what kind of tracking device you need and help you understand what the differences are between tracking devices.

What Can GPS Trackers Be Used For?

The first thing you should know is that there’s a difference between what you should be looking for when choosing a GPS tracker for personal use and for business use.

This mostly has to do with the data you might want to monitor and pricing expectations.

While for a personal GPS unit you might only be interested in navigation, geofences, and real-time map display, for instance, as a business owner you probably also want to monitor such things as fuel consumption, hours of inactivity, accident reports, and driver behavior.

Before buying a tracker, you have to confirm the follow things:

1. What network is available in your country?

2G (GSM) / 3G(WCDMA) / 4G (LTE).

because 2G/3G network has been closed in some country,like USA,then 2G/3G tracking devices can’t work in US.

2. The first thing you need to determine when deciding on a tracker is “what am I going to use it for?”

 Here are something that gps tracker can help you with:

-Track Vehicle and track real-time movements of a single vehicle or manage a fleet;

-Offer real-time tracking for people or pets;

-Track the location of valuable asset;

-monitor mileage and fuel consumption;

-Keep historical data on vehicle movements;

-set geofences ;

Personal tracking:

If you are tracking a person then it’s likely you are tracking someone you care about. It could be your child, someone with dementia, an employee, or a volunteer, so it is essential that your tracker reports back reliably when and how you expect it to. Look for a tracker that is small enough that it can be concealed and worn comfortably.

Remember that smaller devices will generally have a smaller battery life.It’s important to look for a device come with an SOS button that will send an alert out to a smartphone.

Pet Tracking:

Size, weatherproofing, geofence capability, and safety of a device are factors you should consider if you want to track a pet. The device should not be very large as it may get caught on something or come off during wear, and make sure the tracking device come with waterproof function . Geofences can be helpful if a pet should only go but so far around a home and you need an alert if they were to leave for any reason. The primary goal should be to find a tracker that causes no harm to your pet but gives you peace of mind and the ability to locate them if something ever happens.

Vehicle Tracking

When it comes to tracking a vehicle it is important to consider if the tracker will be powered (wired) by the vehicle or if the device will run off a battery you have to recharge occasionally. There are trackers with 2-4 week battery life so depending on if you can retrieve the tracker every once in a while, this can help you decide on how the vehicle tracker should be powered. Other factors to consider: How often should the device report? Can the device let you see which roads a vehicle traveled in the past on some sort of interface or your smart device?  Is the device magnetic so that you can easily conceal/attach it to many potential areas on a vehicle? Can the tracker/vehicle roam to another state and still be reliably tracked from another location?

Asset Tracking:

Asset tracking is a widely used, general designation describing just about anything else you wanted to track not mentioned above. It could be a computer, equipment, a guitar, a toolbox– it could be things that sit still and shouldn’t move or something that moves every day.

Asset tracking usually lends itself to longer battery life with less reporting frequency. You may only need 1 location report per day unless your asset moves, for instance. Look for trackers with years of battery life and the ability to customize reporting frequency if your asset goes missing.

Look for geofence capability that will alert you if an asset leaves/enters a designated area. Confirm your potential tracker can still get a signal where it is placed (if inside a trailer or enclosure of any kind). Finally, some devices have tamper alert alarms built in. It is a helpful feature if your tracker can give you alert on your phone the second someone finds your device/removes it.

3. GPS tracking device should be visible or hidden?

One of the most important thing is to decide whether you want others to know you are using a GPS tracker or not.  Mostly people use GPS tracking devices which can be hidden inside vehicles or other transport so children or employees won't know about presence of such device.

Hidden GPS trackers should have extended battery life or must be connected to external power source to ensure stable work without interruptions and less need of maintenance. For quick installation, you can choose GPS trackers equipped with magnet, it allows to install device in the blink of an eye where no one will expect to find it. Specific, hidden GPS trackers will cost more than standard GPS tracking devices.

If device visibility is not mandatory, you can choose a less expensive personal GPS tracking unit which can be stored in any place of your car, door or glove box and charged every few days.  Standard GPS tracking devices are more affordable and can be used for personal or commercial use. Price may start at 20 USD, but keep in mind that cheapest devices won't guaranty stable and precise tracking.

4. How much is this going to cost?

If device visibility is not mandatory, you can choose a less expensive personal GPS tracking unit which can be stored in any place of your car, door or glove box and charged every few days.  Standard GPS tracking devices are more affordable and can be used for personal or commercial use. Price may start at 20 USD, but keep in mind that cheapest devices won't guaranty stable and precise tracking.

As you may expect, each GPS tracking device has different features. Cheapest devices will have less features and vice versa. You should thoroughly study device capabilities before you buy, because later you might realize that some important and useful features are missing.

5. How to Choose Types of GPS Trackers?

In terms of size, trackers vary greatly. Smaller options work best for tracking people and animals, since they need to be carried around.

Such GPS tracking units are rather small, usually not exceeding 60 grams (~2 ounces) in weight. Devices for animals can either be made in the form of pet collars or attached directly to an animal. Being battery powered, such hardware can last anywhere from one to ten days, and some devices have interchangeable batteries. To make sure that animals are free to go anywhere while the device remains in working condition, manufactures have to make the hardware durable enough to survive temperatures all the way between -20°C to 55°C (-4°F and 131°F) and levels of humidity varying from 5% to 95%.

Bigger devices work well for tracking transportation units and large possessions (such as shipments or cargo) since they include more sensors and can hence provide better monitoring.

If you know you only need to monitor one car, a hardwired vehicle tracking system is your best choice.

Hardwired GPS trackers get their power from your car's electrical system, so there are no batteries to charge. They require a quick, relatively simple installation and they're completely invisible inside your car. 

If you're comfortable with basic automotive electrical work, you should be able to install a hardwired GPS tracker yourself. If not, your local car stereo shop or mechanic can usually do the job in less than a half-hour.

Like hardwired systems, Plug and Play GPS trackers get their power from your vehicle's electrical system, so they don't require batteries either. But there's no need for professional installation. For example, BrickHouse's new TrackPort plugs directly into the diagnostic port located on or below your vehicle's dashboard, and it's compatible with almost any car manufactured after 1996.

Because they're connected to your car's onboard computer, Plug and Play GPS tracking devices also let you access some cool optional features as they become available in the software. For example, you can get engine diagnostics

There are as many uses for GPS as there are individuals and businesses interested in it. An important thing to keep in mind is that GPS hardware manufacturers are usually rather flexible when it comes to producing devices. If there’s no solution on the market that fully meets your business’s needs – and especially if you’re looking to buy a large number of devices – it’s generally possible to have a device manufactured specifically for you.

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