What are we looking for in the best dog GPS tracker collar? Two things: precision and frequency. That means how exact is the location, and how often does it update on your screen? In this review, I’m breaking down everything you need to know about Halo, SpotOn, and Fi‘s GPS technology. Find out which one truly leads the pack.
If you decide to go with one of these GPS collars, don’t forget to click my links below. You’ll find some sweet offers and coupon codes for a great deal.
Halo vs SpotOn vs Fi: What are the Differences?
SpotOn and Halo are “invisible fences.” They’re built to swap out your tangible fence with a virtual one. Curious how they compare? Check out my Halo vs SpotOn as well as Fi vs SpotOn comparison reviews. Fi, on the other hand, is a fitness tracker with GPS. More like a FitBit for your dog.
When it comes to tracking location, all three can do it. Your purchase decision, however, comes down to your specific needs.
If you’re living that apartment life without a yard, you probably don’t need a virtual fence. Got a yard? Cool. But unless it’s at least half an acre, these GPS fences might not be your best bet. SpotOn even spells it out on their site.
I’ve tested them on smaller areas and it works, but with GPS drift it’s not ideal. The new Halo 3 claims to cover a smaller yard—I’m testing it out so stay tuned.
Now, let’s say you don’t need a fence, but you’re in the market for GPS dog trackers. Fi could be your go-to. It’s easier on the wallet and isn’t designed to be a fence. But, ah, hold your horses! If pinpoint accuracy and frequent location updates are high on your criteria for the best GPS dog tracker, well, then we’re in for an interesting discussion.
Let’s unpack that.
Location accuracy comes down to two main factors:
- Where that antenna is sitting on the your dog’s collar.
- The techy stuff—the number of satellites it connects to, the technology it employs, and how it deals with typical GPS issues.
Now, for GPS to work, it needs a clear view of the sky.
Halo’s design gives no clear indicator as to where the GPS is located. But they do tell you to wear it with the Halo logo down, so let’s guess that the GPS sits right opposite. Now, on the Halo 2+ the leash hook is off-center. Anyone who’s taken a dog for a walk knows that’s a bit impractical. I’m glad to see they’ve fixed that on the Halo 3. In any case, Halo is designed to act as an “invisible fence,” so the leash is sort of optional, but then why include a leash hook at all?
SpotOn sidesteps the leash hook issue by simply not having one. The collar itself is all about being a GPS fence, and it shows. The GPS is clearly marked, and it enjoys a nice, clear view of the sky. Points for form meeting function.
As for Fi, the tech is all packed into this tiny device. The band’s just there to be a band. But, similar to previous Halo models, the leash hook’s placement can make the device sit a bit off-center, potentially affecting how well it chats with satellites up above.
Each brand has a fancy name for their GPS tech , and they all claim it’s the most accurate when it come to making dog GPS trackers work.
Halo dubs theirs “PrecisionGPS.” According to their website, they’re linked up to 127 satellites across 6 networks.
SpotOn, on the other hand, connects to 128 satellites, part of four global systems. They claim this multi-satellite connection gives them a leg up on the competition and gives 3-foot accuracy on your dog’s location.
SpotOn separates its GPS and cell antennas, which typically improves accuracy. Plus, they add a sprinkle of AI to track your dog’s speed and direction and even offer a specialized ‘forest mode’ for improved and precise location tracking in the woods.
Fi operates on three satellite systems with a total of 78 satellites, locating your dog within a 6-foot radius. But they also use data from your phone to save battery life. Fi is cheaper and isn’t responsible for keeping your dog fenced in, so they can cut a few corners without too much fuss.
Look, the fences communicate with your dog through alerts or even static corrections—basically, shocks. So, if the GPS is wonky, you’re just confusing your dog—or even hurting them. That’s why SpotOn, who used to make tech for the US military, is going all-in on precision. I tested how well that works and share the result shortly.
For any of this to work, these GPS dog collars need to talk to your phone. In the case of Fi and Halo, that requires a cell subscription. If you have wanderlust and travel internationally, Halo has an all-carrier global coverage at no extra charge. SpotOn can run without a cell subscription if you just need the fencing function.
With Halo and SpotOn, I sketched out fences first and tested their static corrections by trying to escape. I think that’s the real test of GPS precision for them.
Halo promises two distinct warnings before the collar buzzes with a static correction. During my first test, it worked as advertised. So I tried again, but that was a big mistake. I got zapped without the second warning.
I’ve always seen SpotOn nail it, so I found it weird that on my first test it jumped the gun on the second warning. I gave the collar another chance, and it worked like a charm. During the boundary test, it gave me two warnings and time to retreat.
For Fi, I decided to go for a walk. During the test, the GPS dog collar tracked reasonably well, although there were some delays—it did not update instantly. It does, however, tracks steps accurately which is good for the purpose that it serves.
Halo vs SpotOn vs Fi: Which is The Best GPS Tracker Collar
So, the verdict? In the precision race, SpotOn and Halo have an edge over Fi, thanks to their fancier tech. But remember, it took some calibration to get Halo 2+ on point, while SpotOn was good to go right off the bat.
From my previous experiments, I can tell you SpotOn dog GPS collar has been more reliable. Halo has zapped me countless times, even within the safe zone.
As for update frequency, SpotOn was almost real-time. Halo can keep up when properly calibrated. Fi? They’re at a leisurely 30-second update pace or so for their lost dog mode.
Let’s wrap this up. If we’re talking pure specs and performance, SpotOn steals the show. No contest there. But here’s the kicker—do you need a Playstation just to watch Netflix?
SpotOn’s hefty price tag, around $1300 as I’m writing with an option monthly cell subscription of up to about $10, is completely justified for the high-end product that they’re offering. But it makes it a hard sell for those who just want basic GPS tracking devices. You’re splurging on a full-fledged GPS fence system, so unless have a furry friend with a knack for escapism and a big property, you might be overshooting.
The same goes for Halo, which is priced at around $700 as I’m writing and a monthly subscription fee of about $6 to $30.
And then there’s our underdog, Fi. It may not have the pinpoint precision of its more sophisticated counterparts, but let’s be real—for the everyday tasks of finding your runaway dog or checking their walking route, Fi gets the job done. And it doesn’t break the bank.
So, before you jump the gun and add to cart, consider what you really need. A fence or just a pet tracker?
And hey, don’t forget to check my links for any deals on these gadgets.
Until next time, keep those tails wagging!