The Best Car GPS Trackers 2022
What makes the best car GPS trackers? Well, they should be easy to place, have a long battery life, have multiple features, and be able to track any location within the United States. They should also use a reliable and user-friendly tracking platform with an application you can download on smartphones. Most GPS trackers are portable and discrete, with others having certain advanced features such as a kill-switch relay to shut off the ignition remotely. Extensive features are important as well, such as a built-in motion sensor, history log, and text message notifications. Finally, it’s most important to have a Car GPS tracker that provides excellent signal and reliable tracking data.
Things to consider before you buy a car GPS tracker
GPS trackers have several purposes, such as tracking rental cars, fleets, storage containers, valuables, or even family members like children and spouses. Firstly, It is important to make sure that the GPS tracker you choose complies with state laws. Each state has its own laws, so you’d need to check the legal guidelines for yours before placing the unit. Battery life is important as well – some GPS trackers are wired in, while others are portable and rely on a rechargeable battery. Additionally, the range and network of a GPS determines if it can be used in the United States or other countries.
Portable Car GPS
- Built-in motion sensor. This can provide up-to-minute updates for tracking location.
- A rechargeable battery. This can usually last up to 2-3 weeks and has an extended battery pack to extend the battery life up to 3-4 months.
- Panic button. This can be used to track children in case of an emergency and notify a parent or caregiver. Reliable tracking runs on the 4G LTE network.
- An optional weatherproof magnetic case. This can be used to place it outside of a vehicle on a metal surface.
What Is It Good For?
The portable car GPS is good for tracking in discrete areas that aren't noticeable. It can also be used to track luggage, jewelry, shipping containers, and other valuables. Because you don’t need to wire it up, the portable GPS is also an easy and convenient GPS tracking device. It’s a good idea for those who can’t access the device to charge it consistently. It’s also used to track the elderly suffering from dementia.
Amazon Review Score
The portable car GPS has an Amazon review score of 4.5 out of 5. Some pros in the reviews mention that it never loses signal, holds a good charge, is small and portable to take anywhere. They also report excellent customer service. Some cons include that it can be difficult to use at first and that the location freezes sometimes.
Hardwire Car GPS Tracker
The Hardwire Tracker provides up-to-minute updates and maintains a constant charge. It has a backup battery in case the unit gets unplugged that can last a few hours. It is virtually undetectable since the unit gets professionally installed behind the dashboard, and it features a kill-switch relay which allows the ignition to be turned off remotely from any location. It provides text message or email notifications such as excessive acceleration, hard braking, and speeding alerts. Multiple units can be configured under one account for fleet tracking and can be monitored using a free application on a smartphone.
- Kill-switch relay. This is one of the key features of the hardwire car GPS tracker. It allows the ignition to be disabled from any location with the touch of a button, and the vehicle will not be able to be started until it is enabled again by the user.
- Instant notifications through text or email. These include when the ignition is turned on, perimeter notifications, and excessive speeding alerts. Reliable tracking runs on the 4G LTE network with real-time updates.
- History log. All reported events are stored in up to a six-month history log and the device maintains a breadcrumb trail that provides a start- and end-point map.
What Is It Good For?
The Hardwire Tracker is good for employers who want to monitor the driving activity of their employees by making sure the employees are completing their routes and workshift. It can also be used by rental car companies, such as Turo, who want to ensure that the vehicles are safely returned and not stolen, or by parents who want to track teenagers. Additionally, it’s a good idea for high-crime areas where carjacking is prevalent.
Amazon Review Score:
The hardwire tracker has an Amazon rating of 4 out of 5 stars with 128 reviews in total. Some pros mentioned in the reviews are that it works fast after activation and collects a lot of data, has a simple installation and is undetectable. Another pro is that the kill-switch feature prevents theft. Customers also reported fast customer support through email as well as phone. On the other hand some reviews reported a somewhat difficult installation and that the software takes some getting used to. Other cons mention that the tracker is a bit slow at picking up real-time locations and that the graphics are not as good.
Plug-in Car Tracker
The plug-in tracker gets connected underneath the steering wheel of a vehicle and works on vehicle models manufactured after 1996. It provides minute-by-minute tracking and no tools are required for installation.
- Real-time minute updates. It logs ignition-on and ignition-off reports. It stores up to a six-month history log and provides instant text notifications when the vehicle is on or off. A breadcrumb trail also shows the start and finish points on a map. Notifications can also be configured for geofencing, hard braking, as well as excessive speeds. The tracking portal can be accessed on any device running iOS or Android as well as a computer.
- Easy installation. The tracker can be installed within seconds and no tools are required for the installation. Plug and play GPS tracker ready to go within minutes. Simply plug into the OBD 2 port located near the steering column. Additional Y cable accessories can be purchased to conceal the plug in tracker.
What Is It Good For?
The plug-in tracker is ideal for parents who want to monitor their teenagers. Parents are able to make sure that the child is driving safely since it logs the speed as well as hard braking and excessive acceleration. It is also the ideal GPS tracker for employers who want to make sure employees are following the correct routes and completing their job. It can also be used for truck drivers as well as vehicle rental car companies such as Turo.
Amazon Review Score:
This plug-in car tracker has an Amazon rating of 4.1 out of 5. Pros mentioned in the reviews are that it is an easy-to-use plug and play device and has several types of reports and tracking methods. One con mentioned in a review is a lack of cell coverage, but this was an older review posted back in 2017, so the coverage has improved.
GPS Vehicle Tracker FAQ
Where do you put a GPS tracking device on a car?
GPS trackers can be placed in several locations in the car – on the inside or outside. If outside the vehicle, the recommended placement is underneath the vehicle on the top side of the metal frame with a weatherproof magnetic case. If inside the vehicle, the recommended placement is underneath a seat or seat cushion. It is not recommended to place it in the trunk since it blocks the signal.
How far does a GPS tracker reach?
The signal of the GPS tracker depends on the satellite reception as well as cellular reception. Different GPS trackers use different cell carriers and some will work in areas that other trackers won't work in. It’s important to check with the cell carrier to see the areas that the GPS tracker covers. Another important factor is satellite reception. The GPS tracker will not be able to track in areas with poor or no signal such as an underground parking garage.
Can GPS trackers be detected?
GPS trackers can be detected with the use of bug-sweeping equipment. Bug detectors are able to pick up the signal that a tracker gives off as long as the tracker is transmitting. If the tracker is stationary, then it isn't giving off any signal, so a bug detector won't be able to pick it up. Certain bug detectors can also pick up magnets so it would be able to detect a magnetic GPS tracker under a vehicle.
Is it a criminal offense to put a tracker on someone's car?
It is a criminal offense to place a GPS tracker on someone else's vehicle in certain states, so it depends on the state you’re located in. In most states, placing a GPS tracker on your own vehicle would be legal. However, if you are placing it on the vehicle of a family member, employee, or somebody else then it is very important to check your state laws to make sure that you are in compliance.