The 5 Best GPS Trackers for Hiking, Cars and More in 2021

Best GPS Trackers for people, pets and possessions

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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. Another consideration is your options when it comes to data plans. Some require existing data plans with another carrier, whereas others 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.

The Rundown
Its diminutive size and durability make it ideal for just about anything you need to keep tabs on.
A handy wearable tracker that also serves as a rudimentary cell phone if your child needs to get in touch with you
Connects directly to Google Maps for extreme accuracy on location, speed, and traffic conditions.
Providing location updates as often as every five seconds, the 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 Overall: Jiobit Location Tracker

Jiobit Location Tracker
What we like
  • Compact

  • Rugged and durable

  • Can work as a proximity leash and GPS tracker

What we don't like
  • No location history

  • No calling

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.

Battery Life: Up to 20 days | Weight: 18g | Waterproof: Yes | Data Plan: 8.99/mo.

Best for Kids: Verizon Gizmowatch 2

Verzion Gizmowatch 2
What we like
  • Comfortable design

  • Includes fitness tracking

  • Call and text support

What we don't like
  • Added cost for LTE connectivity

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 two-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 four 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.

Battery Life: Up to 4 days | Weight: 1.94oz | Waterproof: Yes | Data Plan: 9.99/mo.

Best for Cars: MOTOsafety OBD GPS Tracker

MOTOsafety OBD GPS Tracker
What we like
  • Customizable with different alerts and boundaries

  • Real-time tracking and reporting

What we don't like
  • Cancellation policy is difficult

  • Interface isn't user friendly

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 is 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 cancellation fees, no contracts, and just a $19.99 monthly charge.

Battery Life: Unlimited while on OBD power | Weight: 2.08oz | Waterproof: No | Data Plan: 19.99/mo.

Best for Motorcycles: Spytec GL300 Mini Portable Real Time GPS Tracker

What we like
  • Incredibly accurate

  • Affordable

  • Excellent battery life

What we don't like
  • High data cost

  • Not waterproof

Providing location updates as often as every five seconds, the GL300 is perfect for tracking fast-moving vehicles like motorcycles. It weighs just eight ounces and measures 3 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.

Battery Life: Up to 25 days | Weight: 9g | Waterproof: No | Data Plan: 24.99/mo.

Best for Boats: SPOT Trace Anti-Theft Tracking Device

SPOT Trace Anti-Theft Tracking Device
What we like
  • Compact

  • Versatile

  • Lengthy battery life

What we don't like
  • Service plan is pricey

  • Accuracy could be better

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.

Battery Life: Up to 90 days | Weight: 3.1oz | Waterproof: Yes | Data Plan: 9.99/mo. ($20 activation fee)

Final Verdict

Good for kids, and great for just about everything else, the Jiobit tracker (view at Amazon) 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 (view at Amazon) would probably be better suited to your needs.

FAQ
  • How do you GPS track a phone?

    If you've lost your phone and need to track it, your best bet is to use the built-in Find My Phone feature that's available on iOS and Android devices. Provided you've set up the feature on your phone beforehand, you can narrow down the location of your lost phone to a specific street or address. You can also remotely ring it, lock it, and wipe it.

  • Is there a GPS tracker with no monthly fee?

    Several of the GPS trackers on this roundup don't come with monthly fees. One of the ones we like is the Yepzon Freedom, it doesn't require a subscription or contract. You only need to pay for the service when you use it, and it includes the cost of 3G data.

  • What is the best GPS tracker for a car?

    GPS trackers for cars are a handy way to keep track of vehicles for fleet management purposes, get roadside assistance, or general emergency purposes. Our roundup of the best car GPS trackers has a variety of options, but our top pick is the Sptetc STI GL300MA. It has a long-lasting battery life, it's compact, and comes with a lifetime warranty. You can set up a geo-fence and place it just about anywhere in a vehicle.

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.

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