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 Halo collar vs SpotOn review puts these two excellent GPS dog fences 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 dog 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. On my first review, I would recommend SpotOn dog collar without a doubt if you’re looking for a GPS dog fence with reliable boundary lines. However, both SpotOn and Halo have received quite a few updates since I first tried them—so, I did another field test and the results have surprised me.
I went in-depth when I tested Halo 2+ and SpotOn collars, both with the latest updates. Guess what? Both have gotten better, which makes sense—that’s what updates are for. Although, there were a couple of disappointments from both, which was kinda unexpected.
As usual, my review isn’t complete without a personal test, and yes, getting shocked. However, please remember that I don’t support static corrections—they sting! I get it. There may be good reasons for using it, so no judgment here. I’m just here to compare these systems so you can choose what’s best for you and your pup.
After 100 days, Halo is still cheaper than SpotOn GPS dog fence. SpotOn collar continues to be high-end and well-engineered.
So… Who’s gonna win? Who’s gonna zap me? Keep reading to find out!
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.
Unboxing and Setting Up
You can get the SpotOn working straight from the box. It allows you to set up a fence faster than you can microwave popcorn—just 2 minutes!
SpotOn also works without a cellular subscription, although I’d recommend getting one. I’ll go over that more later. More importantly, you will need to train your dog to help them understand this invisible fence concept.
Halo, too, is almost ready to go straight out of the box. It’s just that you may not be quite ready to go along with it.
From setting up the app and picking a subscription—yes, Halo still requires one—to navigating dog and human training modules, it can be a bit of an information buffet. For me, it was a 15-minute marathon to get everything up and running.
But hey, let’s not get intimidated. I’ll break it down for you step by step further below.
Both SpotOn and Halo need you to download their apps for setup, customization, tracking, and alerts.
Both brands also use static corrections, a fancy term for electric shocks, to nudge your dog back to safety. SpotOn takes a gentler approach by keeping this feature turned off from the get-go. Their training focuses on using it as a last resort—A BIG thumbs up for that!
The Collar Design
First off, let’s talk about how your dog is gonna wear this high-tech bling.
For Halo, think sideways necktie. You want the Halo logo on the fabric cover facing downwards like a superhero emblem. Why? Two reasons. First, it lets the GPS receiver rest on the back of your dog’s neck so it can have a chitchat with the sky for better reception. Second, it places the collar’s speaker below your dog’s left ear so they can hear the collar’s sweet whispers. This isn’t obvious, though, because the GPS location isn’t marked, and the leash loop is in an unconventional spot.
Now, SpotOn’s design is more no-nonsense. It’s straightforward but perhaps a bit bulkier. It clearly marks the GPS antenna and boasts being the only geofence dog collar with a dedicated GPS antenna having clear sky-view privileges. The static correction prongs are also easier to install than Halo’s.
Both of these ingenious collars allow you to establish your territory in two ways. You can either choose the digital doodling route, like sketching on Google Maps, or you can opt for a more hands-on approach and physically walk around your property with the collar.
But here’s the real meat of the matter—when it came to dealing with complicated areas like a rock garden smack in the middle of your property or that heart-racing edge of the highway, SpotOn fence was a clear winner. Now, 100 days later, let’s see if that’s still true.
I dusted off my step counter, geared up with both Halo and SpotOn, and hit the outdoors again. The results? SpotOn virtual fence still came out ahead with the post-dropping task. It’s like planting virtual flags while I walked, and boy, you can plant a forest with up to 1,500 of these, dwarfing Halo’s mere 20. Plus, with Halo, you have to drop each post manually to create virtual fences.
So, if you want virtual fences that are intricate and with surgical precision, SpotOn is still your best friend here.
Furthermore, SpotOn also flexed some impressive GPS muscle during my testing, while Halo… let’s say, had a bit of stage fright.
My initial experiment with Halo was less than perfect, probably due to my oversight in not collecting enough satellite data and forgetting to rattle the collar for GPS activation. You see, the collar relies on an accelerometer, so it needs to be rocked during testing for best performance.
To right these wrongs, this time around, I turned into an honorary canine, wearing the collar and going for a frolic in my desired fencing field. Note to all: You don’t have to go through this embarrassment; let your pup do the running.
After all the calibration fun, I’m happy to say that Halo’s GPS performed much closer to SpotOn’s. The small number of fence posts is still a drawback, which limits your ability to customize the fence’s shape and size.
SpotOn, though, is all nerdy with their ‘TrueLocation Technology’. It’s a blend of more satellite connections and AI to process your dog’s real-time motion data. There’s no collar-shaking ritual required.
Your boundaries stay consistent and are communicated more reliably to your dog. Agitating the collar while field-walking could, theoretically, supercharge it even more.
Special Zones and Modes
Similar to Halo dog collar, SpotOn dog fence, too, has introduced the idea of “keep-out zones” and “home zones.” “Keep-out zones” are no-go areas like your prized rose garden, and “home zones” are, well, your home. Stay tuned for more on this.
Halo calls them “Beacons.” My issue with it was that they’re Bluetooth-based, meaning they only dish out circular boundaries—and that hasn’t changed. The upside, however, is that they can cover smaller areas and work quite close to the boundary.
Although, get too close, and that could mean you’re deactivating fence boundaries in places where the beacon and fence overlap. So keep that in mind when you’re using them. You can control each Beacon’s range and notification preferences and even mute them in the Halo app.
These home zones are important in ensuring your pup doesn’t get unnecessary shocks indoors and ruin weeks of careful training.
That’s why I really like SpotOn’s approach to this better than Halo’s Beacons. SpotOn’s keep-out zones and safe zones are GPS-based, making them more customizable. They allow you to create a personalized jigsaw puzzle of fences.
Also, it has a ‘Forest Mode’ to tackle your wilderness adventures with the pup, where dense foliage could trick the collar into thinking your dog’s indoors. After a recent update, SpotOn keeps this mode always on, ready to take on any green canopy.
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. If your pup decides to go on an unsanctioned adventure beyond the fence, Halo is supposed to guide them back home safely with its Return Whistle.
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.
Training Your Dog
Before we unleash these babies in the field, let’s talk training—the heart and soul of these invisible fences.
It’s not just a drill for your dog but a bonding session for both of you.
This is Halo’s stage to shine. It has Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer himself, providing a 21-day training program, along with optional premium lessons.
SpotOn also has a great, free training program and even offers a free 30-minute consultation with a pro trainer on Zoom. Plus, a downloadable guide.
Still, I gotta hand this round to Halo. Its app is just packed with helpful goodies. In addition to training modules, you also get some activity monitoring and remote training capabilities.
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. As I mentioned earlier, my first experience with the Halo Collar was a contrast—its location tracking is a bit jumpy and slow to update, plus boundary feedback system isn’t consistent. However, after calibrating its accelerometer, Halo became a much better tool as you’ll find here in my updated field test results.
So I put both the fences, along with Halo’s Bluetooth Beacons and SpotOn’s GPS Safe & Keep Out Zones, to the ultimate test.
In an ideal scenario, once I enter the safe zone, I should not be receiving any alerts. The collar should be as quiet as a mouse, and the app should show me happily hanging out in the safe zone. During the field test that I did, both the collars behaved as they should.
Now, let’s wander into the keep-out zone. If everything works as it should, I’ll receive alerts and warnings as I approach the boundary for the keep-out zone. If I cross the threshold, both Halo and SpotOn will welcome me with a shock—and again, everything did work as it should which was impressive!
However, we ran into a few issues with the Halo collar not issuing static correction for the emergency feedback even with the collar next to the Beacon. It was only giving beeps for the boundary feedback and the vibration for the warning feedback.
Now, what’s a GPS fence testing without the boundary tests!
First up, Halo. There should be two distinct levels of warning prior to issuing a static correction. It worked as it should the first time, but when I went for a second try, it shocked me without proper warning. So, the second test was kinda disappointing.
What about SpotOn? I’m used to it being perfect, so it was a bit of a surprise to see it correcting before giving the second warning. Since I tested Halo twice, I also gave SpotOn another go and it turned out to work as it should the second try.
So, surprisingly, it looks like both SpotOn and Halo kinda won AND lost the boundary test—which was really surprising. Hopefully, it’s a rare glitch.
Let’s talk numbers and see what kind of damage these products could do to your wallet.
The Halo collar comes with a price tag of $699 at the time of writing. You’ll also need a cellular plan which is a necessity, not an option. The basic plan covers almost all features and comes at $5.99 a month as I’m writing.
They offer upgraded plans that provide an extended warranty, weekly and monthly activity reports, early access to new features, and some discounts on their products. Depending on the features you want, this could cost you $9.99/month or $29.99/month.
On the other hand, SpotOn will set you back $1295 for the collar at the time of writing. Yes, that’s a pretty hefty price tag, nearly double that of Halo. However, after 100 days of testing, I can confidently say that the value it delivers justifies the cost.
SpotOn works as a GPS fence without a cellular plan. However, I recommend getting one so you can receive escape notifications and low-battery alerts on your phone and also track your dog’s location in real time.
They offer only one plan, which includes everything at $9.95/month as I’m writing. If you decide to bill annually, it drops to $7.95/month, and if you’re in it for the long haul with a 2-year plan, it’s just $5.95/month.
Last time, after everything I’ve put these collars through and what they’ve put ME through, I could confidently recommend SpotOn. I’m thrilled to say that both brands seem to put in the effort to improve their products. This time, there isn’t a clear winner.
The way I see it, SpotOn is perfect for someone with a farm or a big piece of land—the power users, if you will. The collar smoothly switches from containment to GPS tracking mode once your pup decides to explore beyond the boundary.
This is not to say that SpotOn isn’t for those with smaller land. It definitely has a more practical design, easier and faster setup, a dog-friendly approach, way more fence posts than Halo, GPS-based home and keep-out zones, and the fact that it can work without a cellular plan. Also, their team is incredibly professional.
And I’d recommend Halo fence to folks with a big yard but not quite a farm or anything. It seems to work well enough this time. In past tests, I’ve been able to wander past the boundary without any alerts, and I’ve been shocked in the safe zone on multiple occasions.
So, what’s it going to be? Halo or SpotOn? Remember to check my links to both, and a nice discount on the SpotOn. If I ever have one for Halo, I’ll put that down there too.
For a more comprehensive review of each, don’t forget to check out my 100-day reviews of both Halo and SpotOn. Still not satisfied? Read my Fi vs Halo and Fi vs SpotOn reviews to get to know how other smart collars compare.
Until our next adventure, dog lovers! Keep those tails wagging!