A good GPS fence collar can have a huge impact on your dog’s life and health. For one, it gives your dog more freedom to roam the great outdoors. But it also gives you peace of mind, since you can keep your dog safe by tracking their location. Ultimately, the biggest issue for most pet owners isn’t whether to use a GPS collar, but rather which GPS collar to trust.
If you’ve done your research, you probably know that SpotOn GPS fence and the Halo Collar are consistent top performers. My review puts these two excellent products to the test and compares their performance. I’ve even put on the collars and worn them, just so I could better evaluate their performance from a dog’s perspective. Does that shock you? Well, probably not as much it shocked me.
My comparison covers three key factors that pet owners should consider when buying a GPS dog fence collar. First, the ease of setting up and using the GPS fences. Next, I’ll cover how the two collars performed in field tests. Finally, I’ll give an overview of the other benefits these collars can provide pet owners.
My hope is that by the time we’re done, you’ll feel confident about which GPS collar is the better choice for your pup.
But I’m going to tell you now that if you’re looking for a GPS dog fence with reliable boundary lines, you want SpotOn.
The Halo Collar certainly has its place. But if you’re going to use it as a GPS dog fence, you’ll want to know about one major caveat I discuss later.
Whether you choose the SpotOn or Halo Collar, my links above will get you to the best deal I can find at any point in time.
Setup & Creating Fences
Both SpotOn and Halo require a smartphone app to work.
While SpotOn doesn’t require a data plan, I’d recommend getting one. You can then receive escape notifications and low battery alerts. It also enables real-time location tracking. And when I say real-time tracking, I mean real-time. Whether your dog has escaped or is safe in their fence, you can see their location.
The Halo Collar requires a mobile phone subscription. You can opt for upgraded plans if you want more features, but the baseline plan will get you up and running.
SpotOn makes setting up the fence as easy as holding the collar in your hand and walking the path of your desired boundary. If you prefer, you can also use the app to draw the boundary line by hand. However, I found that to be a bit of a hassle.
The Halo Collar doesn’t allow you to draw your boundary by walking. Instead, your only option is to manually draw the fence in the smartphone app. This is fine, but it’s not ideal. And if you want a precise boundary, it’s going to be a lot more work to get it perfect.
After setup, both collars let you can drag and drop fence posts to change their shape or size.
Both fences use three stages of feedback to alert your dog if they’re too close to the boundary. For the SpotOn, that’s alert, warning, and correction. By contrast, Halo uses warning, boundary, and emergency.
SpotOn’s ALERT SYSTEM
First, let’s talk about SpotOn’s feedback and alert system.
SpotOn’s collar issues an alert when it’s within 10 feet of the boundary. It emits a noise that sounds like alternating high and low beeps.
When the collar is within 5 feet of the boundary, it switches to the warning tone. The warning tone is a solid beep, and a little louder than the alert tone.
The collar issues a correction if it crosses the boundary. By default, it communicates a correction to your dog via vibrations. You can opt for static correction if you prefer.
SpotOn’s default static correction is actually pretty tolerable. It only starts to hurt if you crank up the intensity. If you want to see me get shocked, I’ll leave a link to my SpotOn review right here.
Halo Collar’s Alert System
Similarly, the Halo Collar issues a warning feedback within 7-10 feet of the boundary. The default warning sound is a fast beep.
The Halo Collar issues boundary feedback if the collar keeps moving towards the boundary. The boundary feedback uses vibration by default.
The collar switches to emergency feedback if the collar crosses the boundary. By default, Halo Collar’s emergency feedback uses static. And it’s a pretty painful shock, even at the default setting. I’ll leave a link to my Halo Collar review right here if you’d like to see me get shocked.
In theory, the two collars appear pretty similar. Although it’s interesting that SpotOn defaults to vibration corrections while the Halo Collars defaults to fairly strong static. Food for thought.
So how did these collars perform in the field?
I’ve tested both of these collars on many occasions. The accuracy and precision of SpotOn’s boundary logic astounded me. It doesn’t matter if it’s a beautiful sunny day or gloomy in Boston—the SpotOn works every time.
It also issues collar alerts, warnings, and corrections that are consistent. There’s no ambiguity.
My experience with the Halo Collar was that its location tracking is a bit jumpy and slow to update. Even when I’m inside the fence, there are often drastic discrepancies between my actual location and where the app thinks I’m standing.
What’s even more troubling is that its boundary feedback system isn’t consistent. In many instances, I walked well beyond the boundary line before the collar issued any feedback.
The worst part? The Halo Collar could start shocking your dog without giving them any warning whatsoever. That’s exactly what happened to me when I tested it in my Halo Collar review video.
Maybe there are scenarios where the Halo Collar performs better than this, but I haven’t seen it—even on clear, sunny days just 7 miles from Downtown Boston. And when I test it side-by-side with the SpotOn it’s no contest.
So while the SpotOn’s GPS tracking far outperforms Halo, I don’t think you can’t necessarily use the Halo as a boundary training tool. But my caveat is this: I wouldn’t recommend using the Halo with the static correction. I don’t think it’s fair to your dog.
Beyond GPS fencing, what else can these collars offer pet parents?
SpotOn provides ample training materials. Their training will help you, and your dog, get the fence up and running in no time. SpotOn also has a great support team who’s there to help you succeed.
If you could use some extra assistance, they even offer a remote training session with an expert trainer.
Beyond that, the SpotOn is more or less a fence. It’s what they’re good at and there’s no need to sugar-coat it.
Halo offers plenty of training resources, too, including a program from the dog whisperer himself, Cesar Milan. If you purchase their top-tier subscription plan, you can access premium lessons with expert trainers.
The Halo Collar allows manual feedback, so I guess it could be used in a training collar capacity, as well.
The Halo also comes with an indoor beacon so you can set keep-out zones inside your home. They have a few different beacons, which you can buy separately if you’d like.
And of course, the Halo is quite a bit cheaper than the SpotOn—at least for the initial cost.
If you’re looking for a GPS dog fence that reliably holds the boundary lines every single time, then the SpotOn GPS dog fence is the right choice for you.