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Is SpotOn GPS Fence Better Than the Halo Collar? 2024

Are the Halo Collar and the SpotOn GPS fence really all that different? In my SpotOn vs Halo GPS dog fence review, I’m sharing detailed unboxing particulars, results from my boundary tests of these collars, set-up guides, and much more information to help you decide which collar works for you and your unique needs.

The flashy tech terms and the fancy names these brands have come up with for their “AI” are all just a distraction from what really matters—are these GPS dog fences reliable training tools that will help keep your dog safe?

Whether you choose the SpotOn or Halo Collar, my links below will get you to the best deal I can find at any point in time.

CLICK HERE: get my EXCLUSIVE coupon for SpotOn (applied at checkout) →

CLICK HERE: check for deals on the Halo Collar →

When I was younger, my mini Dachshund – she was 12 pounds of fury – she’d see packs of geese, each one 5 times her size, and she’d BOLT after them, barking like a deranged carnivore.

And then other days, she’d slyly slink off, looking back over her shoulder to make sure no one’s watching. We turn around, and she’s gone, we’re freaking out. A collar like these could have been helpful.

But, if I were to attach a collar around my dog’s neck that could potentially hurt them, and hopefully protect them from getting hit by a car, then I’d want to be pretty damn certain that I could count on that collar.

Unboxing 

Alright, let’s take a close-up look at each of these collars.

What’s Inside The SpotOn Box? 

  • Collar
  • Tool to tighten prongs and test the static correction.
  • You get this charging base which plugs right into the wall and where the collar sits right in it and it stands right on your counter. 

What’s Inside The Halo Box? 

  • Collar
  • Crimping tool. If you have a lot of extra collar strap, you can cut off the extra and re-crimp the cut end.
  • A magnetic piece that plugs into a USB-C cord to charge the collar.
  • The Halo beacon.

My notes on the collar designs…

The SpotOn dog collar is pretty sturdy, perhaps a little bulky, but well designed. Halo is a little more compact than the SpotOn, perhaps a little more sleek. Both collars can be easily adjusted according to your dog’s size.

Setting Up The Apps

So, as you might expect, both Halo and SpotOn collars work with smartphone apps and they’re pretty easy to set up. It takes about 5 or 10 minutes with each one.

First you set up a profile for your dog, then link the collar to the app over bluetooth, and connect your subscription if you’re using one.

Take note, you have to do some GPS initialization, so you take it outside and make sure you’re getting a nice strong signal. Then you’re pretty much good to go.

Halo throws an awful lot of training materials at you, I find it to be a bit much. SpotOn’s training resources are a bit more straightforward and digestible, but I’m sure that’s a matter of personal preference.

Setting Up The Fences 

To set up fences, Halo and SpotOn collars offer two methods to dog owners. The first is to simply draw the fence on a map, the second is to walk the fence boundary holding the collar in your hand. 

The big difference here is that SpotOn drops fence posts automatically as you walk, whereas with Halo you have to physically tap the button each time you want to drop off fence posts. I like the automatic fence dropping that SpotOn GPS collar offers a lot better, it’s much more user friendly, but Halo’s system is not the end of the world.

Now, SpotOn recommends at least a half an acre to use their fence, whereas Halo claims the fences can be as small as 250 ft.² I’ve tested that and the Halo is simply not reliable enough for fences that small in my experience. Honestly, I doubt either of them could do a 250 square foot fence, but SpotOn has definitely performed better for me in these small-fence situations. It still gives me reliable alert, warning, and corrective feedback. However, note that you can definitely notice that GPS drift when you’re using such a small fence.

I like SpotOn’s more conservative stance on fence size here. Basically they say that once you account for GPS drift, and leaving appropriate space between hazards like roads, and maintaining minimum fence boundaries, you’re going to want a half an acre for your dog to roam free and truly feel free.

One more thought on making fences is that I do think SpotOn’s GPS-based keep-out zones at home zones can be useful. You can customize your SpotOn dog fence and zones to any shape and size you need with the proviso that they need to be at least 30′ x 30′.

Halo really only offers their beacons for this sort of a solution. Because they’re Bluetooth, they’re limited to circular zones and they can only be so large. More importantly, as I mentioned before, in my experience with them, they really haven’t worked great or really at all for that matter.

Additional Features

Let’s do a little rapid-fire before we dive into boundary tests and fence performance.

SpotOn recently launched their off-grid mode, which allows you to set up fences even in places where you don’t have wifi or cell signal. So if you take your dog hiking somewhere really out there, like Alaska or the mountains out West, you can still bring your SpotOn with you and set up fences.

On the opposite side of the coin, Halo allows you to jump from cell carrier to cell carrier when you’re traveling internationally. I haven’t had the opportunity to test these out yet, if you have then let me know how they work in the comments.

Battery Life 

After doing tests comparing Halo collar vs SpotOn in terms of battery life, I’ve arrived at a conclusion that both are pretty similar. Neither of them are really gonna last more than a day. They’re the type of tools that need charging every day you want to use it.

If longer battery life is important to you there are other options out there but they’re not really the same sort of product class as either SpotOn or Halo.

Subscriptions

Halo does require a subscription to even use it, which I just got an email that they’re bumping it up to $10 a month for the lowest plan.

SpotOn offers a cellular plan as well, it’s optional, the fence will work without it. But I think a lot of people are gonna want that cellular subscription for things like escape alerts, low battery notifications, live tracking, all those types of things.

SpotOn’s plans max out at about $10/month as of writing, and you can knock that down with a 1 or 2 year plan.

Boundary tests

Alright, so let’s talk boundary feedback and field testing.

My main takeaway is that SpotOn GPS dog fence is very consistent with issuing distinguished boundary alerts, warnings, and corrections in a logical sequence so that your dog can really understand what the collar is telling them.

Now I was having some issues with it last summer where it skipped a beat. I talked with customer support and they swapped my collar out, the new collar has been working reliably just like I’m used to. I’ve even tested it during a Boston area blizzard, and it just holds the lines perfectly.

Halo has always been a bit glitchy with boundary feedback. The Halo Collar 3 has come a long way with the inclusion of an active GPS antenna. Prior to that it was using a passive GPS antenna, so earlier models were working with much lower signal strength. I’m guessing that’s why I was seeing all those artifacts like not getting any boundary feedback at all, getting corrected with no warnings, and even getting corrected inside fence zones.

With the active GPS antenna it works a lot better, but there’s still room for improvement. Sometimes it will work just fine, other times it will progress through the feedback steps when I’m not moving at all. And still sometimes it will skip warning and boundary feedback and jump straight to that correction.

The logic of the Halo collar is just not as dependable as you get with SpotOn, and at the end of the day that’s really the ultimate reason why I feel SpotOn is a better choice here. Interestingly, recent testing data from Spirent shows a quite similar picture of these two collars.

Price

SpotOn has come down quite a bit in price even since this time last year. SpotOn’s around $1000 now and Halo’s around $700 bucks as I’m writing. Obviously they’re both expensive but I do think what you’re paying for here is a difference in quality.

The focus of SpotOn is quite clearly high-quality components, excellent accuracy that’s really my impression of the product. Whereas Halo, it seems like they’ve always sort of been playing catch-up. It’s kind of like they built this product and now they’re trying to figure out how to make it work the way that they always wanted it to—and they’ve gotten a lot better. The Halo Collar 3 is so much closer to SpotOn than when I was testing the 2+, but there’s still room for improvement.

Just based on the, sort of, foundations of these collars, I just have a much more settled feeling putting my trust in a collar like SpotOn than Halo. But hey, if you like the look of the Halo, it is a bit cheaper. The app offers a little bit more of an ecosystem, activity tracking, those types of things. I can definitely see why you might want to go for it instead.

However, if a sort of high-quality product without so many bells and whistles is really what drives your decision—it’s what drives mine—I think SpotOn’s gonna be the product that you’re looking for.

Moreover, it’s definitely gonna be working better for those bigger yards, forested areas, and places where the reliability is going to directly impact your dog’s safety.

Don’t forget, you can grab a discount on either collar by clicking the links below.

CLICK HERE: get my EXCLUSIVE coupon for SpotOn (applied at checkout) →
CLICK HERE: check for deals on the Halo Collar →

Until next time dog lovers, keep those tails waggin’.

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