The 6 Best Car GPS Trackers of 2019

Keep track of where your kids are or your vehicle if it gets stolen

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Spy Tech STI GL300 Mini Portable Vehicle GPS Tracker

Spy Tec STI GL300 Mini Portable Real Time Personal and Vehicle GPS Tracker
Courtesy of Amazon
4.5

One of the most popular vehicle GPS trackers on the market, the Spy Tech STI GL300 is a standout solution that offers near exact 100 percent vehicle location, thanks to real-time GPS tracking. The addition of a three-axis acceleration meter makes for an even higher pinpoint detection of a car's location (and updates can be provided as often as every five seconds).

Setting up geographic fencing or boundaries is easy if you want to get real-time notifications of a car leaving a specific zone. Measuring 1.5 x 0.9 x 2.7 inches in size, the STI easily tucks away anywhere inside a vehicle and, with motion activation battery life, can last two weeks or longer before requiring a recharge.

Tracking reports are available on both desktop and mobile devices, and you can even receive text or e-mail alerts when a car leaves a geo-fencing zone. Data is stored for more than 365 days on every device with subscriptions starting around $25 per month.

Best Splurge: AMERICALOC GL300W

The GL300W from AMERICALOC isn’t a cheap tracker. At over $100, you’ll definitely find a lower price out there. What you won’t find, however, is one with quite the attention to detail as is available here. First, the tracking capability is incredibly detailed, including software that seems right out of a spy movie. The pricing structure for data notification seems pretty reasonable, too. Whether you want updates on the location of your vehicle (or whatever you’re tracking) every 60 seconds, 30 seconds, or even 10 seconds, it’s all $228 per year. You can pay monthly and cancel at any time, but to get the best deal, you should purchase yearly.

What you get with this unit is real-time tracking via software or email, but you also get up to a year’s worth of data storage to recall routes and locations months prior — a premium feature not available on many lower-priced models. The tracker itself is pretty small, too, at just over the width of a standard quarter, and the build quality looks sleek and modern.

Best for Parents: MOTOsafety GPS Vehicle Tracker

Plugging directly into your car's ODB outlet without any wiring, the MOTOsafety GPS vehicle tracker is another hugely popular option that receives rave user reviews. Offering a slew of services for a monthly subscription, the MOTOsafety piggybacks on wireless 3G networks for peace of mind. The downloadable Android and iOS smartphone apps allow users to track device location, set geofences around a school or home for teens, as well as receive a daily driver's report card for seeing how your teen handled the vehicle that day.

Users will also find the route replay worthwhile, which allows parents to review teen driving routes for excessive speeding and harsh braking. With ODB support available, the MOTOsafety can easily be moved from vehicle to vehicle for a family to track different vehicles during the course of a week.

Most Durable: BrickHouse Security Spark Nano

At first glance, the BrickHouse Security Spark Nano offers basically everything else that other micro-sized trackers offer. By default, it supports minute-by-minute updates for vehicle location, though you can increase the frequency of those notifications with the Rapid Track option that can be called up on-demand. It works on its own exclusive GPS protocol via cellular networks, so it isn’t as prone to interference as less exclusive connections. The subscription plan you have to purchase with this tracker is a month-to-month contract so you can cancel it at any time without penalty. There’s even an SOS panic button right on the device, so if you’re using it to track your own vehicle for safety purposes, you have an option in case of emergency. But, the reason we’re giving this the nod for durability is because it comes standard with a rugged, magnetic, water-resistant case — something you’ll have to purchase separately for many of the other options out there. That’s really handy because you’ll have everything you need right out of the box to affix this easily underneath your vehicle safely. And, because it’s magnetic, you can easily switch it to new vehicles, ad hoc.

Best Mileage: Mileage Ace Car GPS Tracker

While most GPS trackers are used for security or theft protection, a product like the Mileage Ace car GPS tracker is an accounting and logistics department dream. Measuring 4.5 x 5 x 1.5 inches in size, the Ace tracker is ideal for creating custom mileage logs that are considered 99 percent accurate to your odometer. When installed, the Ace tracker takes over once the car engine is turned on and easily uploads its data through a Wi-Fi connection directly to its custom online software that automatically builds mileage logs for every user.

Each trip includes start/end date times, as well as start/end addresses, exact miles driven and the GPS-tracked path to ensure there's no wasted time on any trips. Free for 30 days, the Ace then incurs a monthly fee protects and secures your logs in the cloud for future use.

Best Hidden: Optimus 2.0 GPS Tracker

Measuring only 1 x 1.5 x 3 inches in size, the Optimus 2.0 vehicle GPS tracker is a truly portable option that can easily switch between cars on a moment's notice. Its diminutive size allows to easily hide underneath a seat, in a glove box or any other storage area inside a vehicle.

The paid monthly service plan allows users to cancel anytime but comes with a host of handy features via the downloadable iPhone and Android app. It can provide e-mail and text message alerts for movement, geofencing, speeding and low battery. There's also an SOS button for emergency services. The internal battery can last anywhere from one to two weeks before recharging depending on usage. GPS data is also readily available on Google Maps for simplified navigation.

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 24 hours testing one of our readers' favorite car GPS trackers. To get the most well-rounded results, they installed it in their own vehicles, drove for hundreds of miles, and observed its performance. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this car GPS tracker, from its power source to its special features (like daily driving reports). We've outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Car GPS Tracker

Price - GPS trackers can run anywhere from $25 to over $100, so it’s important to think about what you want to spend. But there’s more than just the upfront cost to take into consideration — many operators charge a monthly fee to store your vehicle’s GPS data in the cloud. If you’re looking for long-term data but don’t want to pay monthly, it might be worth paying more upfront to avoid these kinds of charges.

Special features - If the only thing you want from your device is tracking, your decision is probably pretty straightforward — but many of the options on our list can do a lot more. From daily driving reports and Alexa integration to diagnosing engine trouble, these models have many different features that may be relevant to your needs.

Power - The question of battery versus plugged in is relevant for most electronics, and car GPS trackers are no exception. Many of these devices have long-term batteries, while others connect to your car. It’s important to consider whether you want to worry about recharging or replacing batteries, or whether you’d like the device to always be on whenever your car is running.

Test Results: Spy Tech STI GL300 Mini Portable Vehicle GPS Tracker (Best Overall)

4.5

What We Like

  • Very accurate

  • Excellent battery life

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like

  • Heavy for its size

  • No option to stick it to car dashboard

  • Could shut down in use

Spy Tech STI GL300 Mini Portable Vehicle GPS Tracker
Spy Tech STI GL300
Spy Tech STI GL300 Vehicle GPS Tracker
Spy Tech STI GPS Tracker
Spy Tech STI Mini Portable Vehicle GPS Tracker

This car GPS tracker impressed our testers with its excellent battery life, ease of use, and accuracy. One tester explained: “This tracker shows the speed of the vehicle and the map integration shows its exact location, which is great.” Our testers didn’t love the weight — it's heavy — and wished it came with a dashboard mount. One tester also had an experience with it shutting down in the middle of his trip. “I had put the tracker on my motorcycle for a 1225-mile ride so that my wife could track me and see that I'm safe,” he said. “But we noticed that the tracker stopped working after 256 miles and wouldn’t restart. We had to call the customer support a couple of times to get it started again.”