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: Spytec STI GL300MA GPS Tracker

By bringing the previous-generation GL300 into the present day, the Spytec's GL300MA usurps it as the best GPS tracker on the market, and there are two key improvements to highlight: First, there’s an increase in battery life. While the older version offered a respectable two full weeks of battery life, the GL300MA stepped that up to around two and a half weeks. Those extra few days can make a huge difference if you’re trying to keep track of younger family members on a regular basis. The other major improvement is better, more reliable 4G LTE coverage, ensuring that the tracking you’re paying for works more broadly.

You will, of course, get the rest of the features you’ll need, including an intuitive tracking app, geofencing to trigger alerts when your car leaves a specified area, and customizable summaries of data and locations. The service costs $24.95 per month, which is a little pricey compared to some of the more budget options. However, because Spytec offers 24/7 customer service, this is worth it in our book. And, at only three inches tall and less than a half-inch thick, it’s discreet enough to slip easily into a glove box.

Although we recommend purchasing the extra waterproof magnet case and battery extension cases, out of the box, the GL300MA is still a robust all-around tracking device.

Best Waterproof: LandAirSea 54

Most GPS car trackers are small rectangular gadgets that can easily slip into a glove box. For the vast majority, you can tack on a magnetic waterproof case as an accessory, so the tracker itself can be placed under the car. But you have to purchase that separately.

The LandAirSea 54 gives you that functionality right out of the box, making it the ideal choice for those who favor weatherproofing over everything else. An accompanying SilverCloud app links up to Google Maps to show you the whereabouts of the tracker. It includes both shareable link options and geo-fencing options to trigger alerts when the tracker leaves a specified zone. The service costs $24.95 per month, which is a little higher than we’d like considering the cellular service built into the device only handles domestic coverage. 

The device, a 2-inch disc with a strong magnet attached and a 100% waterproof housing, is small enough that you can place it on the outside of a vehicle. That said, at only about 1 to 2 weeks, the battery life leaves something to be desired. Again, the key here is that the device is waterproof in and of itself and doesn't require the purchase of a whole separate waterproof case. This is huge if you want your tracker to withstand the elements.

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.

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.