GPS tracking collars are fantastic for anyone who has a dog or cat they want to keep tabs on. People who have felt the agony of searching for a missing pet especially know how valuable a pet GPS tracking device can be.
“I have two cats that like to roam the neighborhood. They usually come home every evening. But a few times they didn’t come home for a couple of days, which was quite disconcerting. So I put a GPS tracking collar on both of them. Now I can monitor their whereabouts which gives me peace of mind,” said Leslie Adams.
Last week Consumer Reports tested three GPS tracking devices to see if they could help find a runaway pet:
- RoamEO for $200
- Garmin GTU 10 for $170
- Tagg Pet Tracker for $100
With the Garmin and Tagg you create virtual boundaries online, or what’s called “geofences.” Then you can use your smart phone to keep tabs on your pet’s location. The RoamEO uses a radio handset.
“To test these I had another engineer carry them around outside, and I tried to locate him,” says Bernie Deitrick with Consumer Reports.
The good news – no engineer was lost. But testers did find pros and cons with each.
The RoamEO’s handset made it very easy to track. The cons-
“It had limited range – terrain and buildings could affect that – and it only had 24 hours of battery life,” says Deitrick.
Tracking with the Tagg was quick and easy, but its minimum virtual boundary is about four acres -much bigger than your average yard.
“Your dog could be next door digging up the flower bed, and you’d never know it,” he says.
With the Garmin you can create up to 10 different geofences – any size. Location updates are quick if you use its deluxe tracking plan for an additional five dollars a month.
“It’s easier to track, but battery life is shorter,” says Deitrick.
But it just might be worth it, especially when it comes to quickly finding a missing four-legged friend.
Both the Garmin and Tagg link to a cell-phone network to relay information.
The Garmin uses AT&T’s and charges $50 annually after the first year. The Tagg charges $7.95 per month after the first month to use Verizon’s network, so Consumer Reports says be sure to factor in those costs if you are considering getting one of these.