How do I choose the best GPS tracking solution?
If you want to buy a tracking system, you have a plethora of options available to you. Deciding what kind of tracking system is best for your needs is individualized, as each model has different features. Learn about the different kinds of car tracking systems and the benefits of each model. Knowing what you want and where to find it will save you a lot of stress when you’re finally ready to buy.
Defining Your Needs
Establish the purpose of your tracking system.What you use the tracking system for will help you decide what features you’ll want. Is this system to monitor teens using the family car? Do you want your tracking system for theft protection? Would you like to keep close tabs on the company car? Certain tracking systems will help you more than others, depending on your needs.
- Be ethical with your car tracking usage. Using a car tracker without the driver’s consent can be an invasion of privacy.Let others know your intentions.
- If you’re a delivery company, you can use car trackers so your customers can see the exact location of their item. Some car tracking systems will have software better equipped for this than others.
Research how car tracking devices work.Knowing how tracking devices work will help you consider the pros and cons. Car tracking devices usually use a wireless transmitter, cellular technology, and/or a network of satellites orbiting around the world. By receiving information from these sources, the system can monitor its relative position.
Using certain systems can have downsides. If you use a GPS tracker, your tracker will need a clear view of the sky to work, meaning that it can’t calculate your car when below ground level.Cellular trackers will also have dead spots where they cannot send signals depending on which carrier you use.
Determine your budget.Car trackers will vary in price based on special features and brands. Set a budget for yourself before you shop so you avoid spending more than you can afford. You may feel lured into buying a more expensive tracker than you need if you don’t research beforehand.
- Some GPS trackers will require monthly fees or subscriptions, depending on the company you buy the tracker from. Factor this cost into your overall budget, and consider how much you’d be willing to spend long-term.
Decide when and how often you want to monitor.Tracking devices vary in how and where they track your car. Some will provide real-time updates every minute, while others will provide updates every few hours. Inexpensive trackers only work once you notify the tracking company that your car has been stolen. Depending on your circumstances, one tracker might work better than another.
- Accuracy and speed of your tracking system will greatly change the cost of a tracking system.
- Consider how complex you want the tracking software to be. Expensive models will have more features but might be confusing to use.
Choose a cellular tracking system to save money.Cellular tracking systems are the most economical. The tracker uses cellular data to transmit location information to the device company or on the internet using supporting software. Usually, cellular systems are not real-time: instead, they update every thirty minutes to an hour.
- You are also required to pay a monthly fee to avail service. Know that while Cellular systems are cheaper at first, the cost may add up over time.
Go with a wireless system if you’d rather pay more up front. Wireless tracking systems generally require you to pay a one-time purchase and installation fee. The main disadvantage is that you can only access tracking information once the vehicle is stopped so you can upload the data.
- If you want a tracker in case of emergencies, wireless systems are not useful. Install a cellular or satellite-based system if you want theft protection.
Pick a satellite-based system if you want the best technology.Satellite-based GPS systems are costly and require monthly service fees. The benefit is accuracy: with satellites, you can have real-time updates where cellular companies won’t cover.
- Some trackers use a mix of satellite, wireless, and/or cellular systems. Consider a system that combines the benefits of several systems.
Choose whether you want an active or passive tracking system.Passive tracking systems store location, speed, and other information while on the road. Once the vehicle returns to a predetermined point (like your house), you can remove the device and download the information on your computer. Active tracking systems collect the same information but will transfer the information online in real-time.
- Many vehicles combine active and passive abilities: you might view its location in real-time and have an option to download speed, stops, and specific details after the vehicle has stopped.
Decide how visible you want your tracker to be.Covert tracking devices are often used for shipping companies, employers, or parents so their child or employee cannot remove the tracker. If you choose a more visible tracker, it will often be more affordable.
- If you choose a less visible model, make sure you choose one with an extended battery life so you remove and reinstall it less often.
Look for special features.Certain car trackers come with special features. You may want a model that can double as a car navigation system, especially if you choose a GPS device. Other car trackers double as alarms and will alert the tracking company if it is stolen. The more benefits a tracking system has, the pricier it will be.
Contact different car tracking companies.If you’re buying a tracker with monthly fees or theft alert systems, call or email different tracking companies. Ask them what deals they have and what monthly costs you will have to pay.