The 9 Best GPS Trackers for Hiking, Cars and More in 2020

Best GPS Trackers for people, pets and possessions

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The Rundown
"Its diminutive size and durability make it ideal for just about anything you need to keep tabs on."
Best for Hiking:
Spot Gen3 at Amazon
"The Spot works on a satellite phone line that allows it to broadcast location data in places that most cellular GPS trackers cannot reach."
"Uses cellular technology to pinpoint your pet’s location at any moment and tracks their movements from the last 24 hours."
"Connects directly to Google Maps for extreme accuracy on location, speed, and traffic conditions."
"Providing location updates as often as every five seconds, the STI_GL300 is perfect for tracking fast-moving vehicles like motorcycles."
"This rugged SPOT tracker uses satellite technology to track beyond the reach of traditional cellular coverage."
Best for Elderly:
Yepzon Freedom at Amazon
"The Yepzon Freedom GPS tracker is a very tiny pendant-shaped wearable with superior tracking accuracy and a built-in SOS alert."
"The TSA compliant GeGo Universal tracker is the ideal accessory for anyone frequently traveling abroad."
"A handy wearable tracker that also serves as a rudimentary cell phone if your child needs to get in touch with you"

Our collection of the best GPS trackers is the easiest way to keep tabs on the stuff you love and your kids too. Some of these trackers can pinpoint lost objects half a world away, or provide you with notifications if the tracker leaves a specified zone. GPS trackers can also serve as added insurance when placed with valuable packages in transit, providing you with peace of mind for your most sensitive shipments.

You'll want to consider the size of your tracker as well as the overall battery life. Depending on what you're trying to keep track of, you may want something that can potentially go several weeks without the need to recharge like the MotoSafety OBD GPS tracker at Amazon. Another consideration is your options when it comes to data plans. Some require existing data plans with another carrier, whereas others like the GeGo Universal Luggage Tracker at Amazon have more flexible options.

If you want a clearer picture of how GPS functions and can help keep track of your stuff, our guide can help fill you in before looking at our best GPS trackers.

Best Overall: Jiobit Location Tracker

The Jiobit is one of the smallest, longest-lasting GPS trackers available. Capable of lasting up to a week between charges, this and its diminutive size and durability make it ideal for just about anything you need to keep tabs on. This wafer sized tag features a variety of accessories depending on what you need to keep track of, in order to provide an additional layer of security.

Jiobit operates on its own data network, meaning while you will require a subscription plan to get the most out of this tracker, it also means that you won't have to lock yourself into a contract with an additional service provider.

The Jiobit app includes a litany of ways to keep track of just about anything. Providing you with real-time location data, push notifications based on the location of the tracker, as well as tethering notifications if the tracker wanders too far from your phone.

While we insist that the Jiobit is a near-perfect child monitoring device, the Jiobit is equally suited to keeping track of pets, luggage, or just about anything else that might run off without your knowledge. While it is certainly one of the more expensive trackers on our list, few other trackers can offer peace of mind this comprehensive.

Best for Hiking: Spot Gen3

The Spot Gen3 is a hiker’s dream GPS tracker and it has a rugged outer shell that’s more than capable of withstanding harsh environments. The rubber edge wraps around the plastic exterior guarding against shocks and impacts and even seals the body for waterproofing. While the build quality is notable, it’s the support of a satellite phone system that truly makes the Spot stand out. Unlike most GPS trackers that rely on a cellular signal, the Spot works on a satellite phone line that allows it to broadcast location data in places that most cellular GPS trackers cannot reach.

Preserving battery life while on-the-go in the wild isn’t just a good idea, it’s downright essential. The Spot hits on this with tracking motion that sends updates while you’re on the move and stops sending updates when you’re not. Setting up the Spot is a snap and GPS updates are able to go out every 5, 10, 30 or 60 minutes. If you’re in extreme conditions, you can even set adjust the update frequency down to as low as every 2.5 minutes to stay in touch with the outside world. Battery life varies by use frequency, but can go anywhere from seven days on four AAA batteries or as long as 156 days if used on 60-minute intervals with a 100 percent clear view of the sky. For the adventurer who likes to take to the trails, the Spot Gen3 is a must-own.

Best for Pets: Whistle Go Explore 100-04203-00

If your furry friends tend to roam — perhaps a bit farther than they should — then you need a plan B to keep them safe. The Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker gets high praise from multiple pet owners and reviewers. The device uses cellular technology to pinpoint your pet’s location at any moment and tracks their movements from the last 24 hours. You can also set automatic alerts on your phone, so you'll be notified if your pet leaves their designated “safe zone.” That can give you some much-needed lead time to catch up before they run too far away.

The Whistle 3 is a lightweight tracker that fits comfortably on your dog’s collar (recommended weight: at least 8 pounds). It boasts a seven-day battery life and is both waterproof and highly durable. The device itself isn’t cheap, but the subscription plan is only $6.95 per month, and the companion app is compatible with the latest iPhone and Android software. The only downside is that it’s only compatible with AT&T’s cellular network.

Best for Cars: MOTOsafety OBD GPS Tracker

Whether you’re the parent of a teen driver or simply want additional security for your vehicle, the MOTOsafety GPS is an excellent choice. The car GPS device connects directly to Google Maps for extreme accuracy on location, speed, and traffic conditions. Monitor your car’s comings and goings in real time using the free mobile app, which updates your car’s location every sixty seconds. In addition, the customizable geo-fencing feature allows you to set perimeters around key locations and will send text or email alerts whenever your vehicle enters or exits that specific area.

What sets MOTOsafety apart from the competition are its unique features tailored specifically for parents of teen drivers. Daily Report Cards keep your teen in check, monitoring driving habits like speed, braking, and acceleration. The software also tracks the amount of gas in the tank, so your car will never be running on empty. For this level of reassurance for your teen and your car, the MOTOsafety tracker offers a convenient, flexible payment plan, with no activation or cancellations fees, no contracts, and just a $19.99 monthly charge.

Best for Motorcycles: Spytec STI_GL300 Mini Portable Real Time GPS Tracker

Providing location updates as often as every five seconds, the STI_GL300 is perfect for tracking fast-moving vehicles like motorcycles. It weights just eight ounces and measures three inches in length, so it’s easily attached to the bottom of your bike, though it’d be wise to purchase a waterproof case to protect it. As with other devices on this list, it lets you designate a geofence and set alerts when your motorcycle strays beyond its limits.

While battery life will depend on the interval settings, a motion-detecting accelerometer helps extend its life to about two weeks. When the device is on-the-go, the battery automatically powers on; when it’s stationary, it powers down to save juice and prevent it from dying at a crucial time. It’s yours for $25 per month, with no activation or cancellation fees.

Best for Boats: SPOT Trace Anti-Theft Tracking Device

Though bulkier and more expensive than other trackers on this list, this rugged SPOT tracker uses satellite technology to track beyond the reach of traditional cellular coverage. You can set it to receive updates every 2.5, 5, 10, 30 or 60 minutes and follow it along on Google Maps. You can also set it to receive alerts via text message or email if the device has a low battery or has been powered off. (The four included AAA batteries will last you a good six months.)

SPOT is waterproof rated at IPX7, which means it’s protected against splashes, rain, showering and incidental exposure of water of up to one meter for 30 minutes. Even so, you’re probably best off buying a waterproof case for it. The required service plan starts at $10 per month, but despite the cost, it’s a must-have for your expensive toys.

Best for Elderly: Yepzon Freedom

Keeping track of your elderly loved ones is super important, and the Yepzon Freedom GPS tracker is a very tiny pendant-shaped wearable with superior tracking accuracy and a built-in SOS alert. It uses GPS, 3G cellular networks (via a built-in SIM card), and Wi-Fi to pinpoint your loved one's location, meaning it tracks more accurately both indoors and out. The works-anywhere approach is matched by a lengthy battery life that can be monitored via a downloadable app so it never runs out unexpectedly. The app also allows multiple caregivers to follow any Yepzon One GPS unit.

Yepzon trackers don't require an advance subscription or contract — you just pay for the service as you use it and cancel whenever you wish. (This service also includes the cost of the 3G data your tracker uses so you don't have to pay for it out-of-pocket.) The versatility of the Yepzon makes it ideal for older adults who can wear it around the neck and have instant access to the SOS function, allowing them to send an alert to loved ones' phones whenever they need help. The waterproof casing makes it equally ideal in case it’s worn in a pool or shower (falls in the shower are all too common with elderly). Simple and easy to use, the Yepzon is perfect for those who want to look after their parents and grandparents without feeling overbearing.

Best for Luggage: GeGo Universal Luggage Tracker

The TSA compliant GeGo Universal tracker is the ideal accessory for anyone frequently traveling abroad. This tag is roughly the size of a credit card and can be easily looped around your existing luggage tag. The GeGo tracker offers tracking services in more than 180 countries and is capable of utilizing your phone's Bluetooth connection to notify you when you're within 100 ft. of your tracker.

While each GeGo tag offers a complimentary 30-day global tracking plan with purchase, each subsequent month will cost around $15. This may seem excessive, but depending on the contents of your luggage, this may be a small price to pay for that added level of security. Also, you can stop or restart your plan at any time, so you never have to pay for any time you aren't traveling.

The GeGo tag also features a variety of battery usage modes accessible from its app, allowing you to conserve battery on longer flights. Considering how many nightmarish scenarios stem from people losing their luggage, the GeGo tag is easily a frequent flyer's best friend.

Best for Kids: Verizon Gizmowatch 2

The GizmoWatch 2 is a handy wearable tracker that also serves as a rudimentary cell phone if your child needs to get in touch with you for whatever reason. This wearable runs on Verizon's 4G LTE network, meaning you'll need to set up a dedicated data plan if they aren't already your carrier of choice.

Tracking is done via the GizmoHub app which can set GPS boundaries and send you push notifications if the tracker leaves a preset area. The Gizmowatch also features 2-way calling for up to 10 pre-established contacts and texting for up to 20. Besides providing you with tracking and communication, the Gizmowatch 2 also features step counting and a waterproof design that allows it to double as a fitness tracker.

Because the GizmoWatch 2 offers more features than a dedicated GPS tracker, it does require charging about every 4 days, but few GPS trackers offer the same level of tracking as well as communication. A well-rounded feature set and durable construction make the Gizmowatch 2 a versatile GPS tracker that's perfect for kids that allows you to keep them at arms reach no matter where they are.

Final Verdict

Good for kids, and great for just about everything else, the Jiobit tracker with its carrier-free plan may cost a bit more than some of the other picks on this list, but if you need constant, customizable notifications on where something is, this tracker is pretty much second to none unless you need to keep tabs on something larger, like a car, boat or RV. In which case the SPOT Trace Anti-Theft Tracking Device would probably be better suited to your needs.

What to Look for in a GPS Tracker

Use - How you’ll use a standalone GPS tracker is pretty much the most important consideration for which device you’ll choose. There are trackers that are optimized for keeping up with kids or elderly loved ones and models designed for tracking luggage or pets. You should definitely think about how you want to use a GPS tracker before you plunge into buying one.

Type of GPS Tracking - If you’re planning on using a GPS tracker to keep track of a car or motorcycle, then purchasing one that operates on a cellular network will probably work just fine. But if you’re a hiker who enjoys getting off the beaten path, or you want to track a boat, then you may want to look into a unit that operates via satellite.

Connection speed - Another issue with GPS trackers is how you actually track them. Most can link up with a smartphone, but how often do they provide location updates? If you’re trying to track a person or want to make sure your car isn’t stolen, you may want to pay extra for a unit that updates more frequently to make sure the location is as accurate as possible.