There are many uses for a GPS tracker. This makes it easier for owners to find valuable items again after a theft – including a stolen bike, suitcase, backpack or even the car. Owners can also track lost pets thanks to a GPS tracker. It is also conceivable to use it to locate children or older family members if they suffer from diseases such as dementia.
Be careful with the technology behind the tracking devices. Buyers should make sure that they really own and use a GPS module. There are inexpensive trackers from non-name providers that only have a GSM module for a SIM card. This means that the device can roughly determine where it is based on the cellular data – but you do not get an exact position as with a tracker with GPS. We therefore strongly recommend that you ensure that the tracker really uses GPS.
Obtaining location data via GPS is one thing, but how does the device communicate the location with the owner? The tracker transmits the position via GSM cellular networks via SMS or an app. Buyers should check which cellular networks the GPS tracker supports and what kind of SIM card this device needs. For example, slots for micro SIM cards are possible, or integrated smart SIM or eSIM are possible. In areas with poor cellular network coverage, the use of a GPS tracker can lead to problems with location.
The buyer also has to pay follow-up costs for using the cellular network. The providers of the GPS trackers often charge a monthly service fee in the form of a subscription for the use of the services and app, which then also covers the mobile phone charges. These are usually between 2 and 10 euros. Sometimes the purchase price also includes the use of the tracker for one year. If the provider of the tracking device itself does not offer a service, an additional SIM card is required. Some mobile tariffs already offer a free second SIM card – this could then do its work in the GPS tracker. If you need another SIM card, you will find an overview of cheap offers in our article: Monthly cancellable tariffs up to 5 euros. Anyone who uses the tracker on people or pets should take a look at the electromagnetic radiation. Values around 2 watts are harmless.
Another important factor is the question of the power source of the tracker. Mobile tracking devices in particular need a battery. Buyers should make sure that the battery life is long enough for the application scenario. GPS trackers for cars can partly be connected to the vehicle’s power supply. There is also a difference in how often the individual tracking devices measure the position and pass on data. Many devices have a motion sensor and are only activated when the object with the tracker changes location.
Mobile tracking devices should also be adequately protected against water in order to do their work in all weathers. The size and form factor of the tracker must also be taken into account. If you use it to track the location of your pet, you should make sure that the device is not too big and heavy. A holder for the collar is common here. A GPS tracker for the bike or a backpack should also be as inconspicuous as possible. With a tracker for the car, however, these factors do not play a role.
Monitoring one’s own property with a GPS tracker is legally permissible. It becomes more difficult when other people are involved. Monitoring the location of another person with a GPS tracker is illegal in Germany without the consent of the person concerned. However, parents are allowed to track the location of their own children without the consent of the offspring, as long as they are not of legal age. However, if the GPS trackers offer a function for listening to the surroundings, this is prohibited. This can happen in watches that parents can call without the children noticing.
Every day bicycle owners in Germany report up to 1000 thefts to the police. The number of unreported cases is likely to be much higher. Theft is financially very painful for the owner, especially with high-priced e-bikes. With a GPS tracker there is a certain chance of finding the bike again and helping the police to investigate it.
GPS trackers that are as inconspicuous as possible are important here. So the thief should not immediately recognize that the bike is being tracked. Rackernd’s GPS tracker for 58 euros is hidden in the bottle holder for the bike, for example. A motion sensor activates GPS location tracking. The device transmits the data to an app via the cellular network. According to the manufacturer, the battery should last up to six months.
Another possibility are GPS trackers that are integrated in the bike light. The Vodafone Curve Bike Light & GPS Tracker costs around 100 euros. The monthly service fee via Vodafone is 2 euros per month. A motion sensor detects when the bike is moving unauthorized and warns the owner via an app. The rear light also has a brake light function and an automatic emergency notification to friends in the event of an accident. The rear light is waterproof according to IP67. The battery should last up to 5 days in standby mode – with activated light it lasts about 7 hours. The rear light from Kuce is cheaper – but it offers no other safety functions besides tracking via GPS. The battery should last about a week, depending on how often you use the light.
Owners of a Brose e-bike can access the Powunity GPS Tracker for just under 200 euros. Data transfer is free for the first year. The device has a rechargeable battery with 1000 mAh and is installed in the motor housing. When the bike is stationary, the battery should last a good 3 weeks, while moving is possible for 14 hours.
In principle, there is nothing wrong with attaching a GPS tracker to the bike, as you would otherwise use it on a pet or a backpack. Then, however, the risk is quite high that the bicycle thief will dismantle the thing. We show other GPS trackers for bicycles in this guide.
With a GPS tracker for the car, size and weight are not important. There are a number of battery-powered trackers that can be stowed in the glove compartment or trunk. In principle, drivers can place any type of tracker in the car. Solutions that can be supplied with power from the car’s cigarette lighter are also practical.
The PAJ Power Finder GPS Tracker for 135 euros has a battery with a running time of a good 40 days. In standby mode, the device should last up to 90 days. The PAJ Professional Finder GPS Tracker is specially designed for motorcycles or scooters for 70 euros. This draws its electricity directly from the two-wheeler’s battery. For the further service, 5 euros per month are due.
The GPS tracker from Copenhagen Cobblestone should even last up to 4 years – with one location retrieval a day. The TKMars GPS Tracker is magnetic and can stick to the body under the car, for example. But be careful, anyone who wants to monitor their partner or a colleague is committing a criminal offense.
Pet owners should know this: the cat escapes and does not come close to home for days or the dog has run away again. A GPS tracker for pets promises to help. These attach pet holders to a collar on the four-legged friend. This works fine with a medium-sized dog. In the case of a small barker or a cat, you should make sure that the tracker does not disturb the animal too much. In addition, there is a certain risk of the animal becoming tangled with the collar.
The trackers from Tractive cost around 40 euros and have monthly fees of 10 euros per month. If you choose an annual subscription and pay in advance, you only pay the equivalent of 5 euros per month. To register, pet owners must provide their personal data. An additional SIM is not necessary, this is already integrated in the device. The tracker’s battery should last up to 6 days. The Findster Gretas for dogs costs around 47 euros and entails a monthly fee of 5 euros. The Vodafone Curve Slate costs 3 euros per month.
The Model CN GPS Tracker is not a real GPS tracker at all. The localization takes place here only via the cellular network. This means that only a rough localization according to districts or localities is possible. We show more details and experiences with GPS trackers for pets in our guide to locating pets: GPS trackers for dogs, cats & Co. from 10 euros.
Many parents feel more secure when they know where their offspring are. The location of the children by the parents is legally permissible up to the age of 18. For adults, the person must first consent to being followed by a tracker. Possible scenarios would be, for example, a cycling or hiking tour in which other family members are informed of the location in the event of an accident. It is also conceivable to use GPS trackers for older people who suffer from diseases such as dementia or for mentally confused people.
A wristwatch or smartwatch with a built-in GPS tracker is ideal for children. Appropriate watches from Xplora or PTHTECHUS are available for as little as 60 euros. The Smartwatch Neo from Vodafone for 180 euros is specially designed for children. For example, there is no browser available, but a chat with the child is possible at any time, as is the transfer of the child’s location data. The Vodafone Smart SIM subscription is 6 euros per month. With children, however, it is also conceivable to use a tracker on a necklace or backpack or a keychain.
A GPS tracker attached to a backpack, bag, or suitcase can be helpful if the luggage is lost or stolen while traveling on vacation. But you can also protect yourself on a longer hiking or climbing tour by telling friends or relatives with the device where you are currently.
The Alcatel V-Bag Move Tracker has been specially developed for bags for 30 euros. The integrated battery should last up to 4 days. The monthly fees are comparatively cheap at 2 euros a month. There is even a special holder for animal collars – if someone wants to use the tracker on their dog as well.
The PAJ GPS Allround Finder GPS Tracker costs around 30 euros and, according to the manufacturer, lasts for at least 20 days with the battery. A SIM card is already integrated. The service for this costs 5 euros a month. The Invoxia GPS tracker costs 100 euros – but does not require a SIM card. The usage fee is included in the purchase price for the first three years. The battery should last at least a month.
GPS trackers are useful tools for keeping an eye on possessions such as bicycles or the car and items such as bags. It can also be used on pets. The data transmission of the GPS position always takes place via the cellular network. This entails follow-up costs, which, depending on the provider, can be between 2 and 10 euros per month. You can also locate people, including your own children or grandparents.