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Which Type of Vehicle Tracking Device Is the Best?

Which Type of Vehicle Tracking Device Is the Best?Which Type of Vehicle Tracking Device Is the Best?
Which vehicle tracking device is best?

Updated: March 20, 2024

Vehicle tracking systems have become a must-have feature in automobiles, allowing you to track vehicles in real time. The advantages of these devices range from determining an employee's location to keeping up with vehicle maintenance. The features you receive depend on the tracking system you choose for your vehicle.

The wide range of vehicle trackers can be overwhelming, but learning about the different types can help narrow your search to just a few. Additionally, learning about every vehicle tracking device is essential for selecting an option that meets your needs.


GPS Trackers

GPS trackers are common in vehicles, from built-in systems to standalone devices.

Features of GPS trackers

  • Location tracking: Determines the movement and location of a vehicle. This may include a small car on a map with information about the area visible
  • Real-time updates: Real-time updates highlight the vehicle's location at that precise moment, changing as the vehicle moves
  • Fuel savings: Uses reports and tips to decrease fuel costs
  • Tolls and cameras: Views different routes to prepare for tolls and traffic cameras
  • Broad compatibility: Most GPS trackers can be paired with Google Maps, OSM, satellite, and other location-based apps
  • Downloadable reports: Downloadable reports such as driving hours, stops, fuel used, and distance traveled

OBD-II Trackers

What are OBD-II trackers?

An OBD-II tracker is a plug-and-play device rather than a built-in system or smartphone application.

Characteristics of OBD-II trackers

  • Ease of installation: The OBD-II tracker is easily inserted into your vehicle’s onboard diagnostics port
  • Diagnostic capabilities: The tracker sends your company information, such as real-time location, DTC codes, and ACC detection, over a cellular wireless network
  • Monitoring vehicle health: The diagnostic reports also allow you to monitor your vehicle's health and usage, such as driver behavior, wear and tear, fuel consumption, and maintenance needs

Satellite Trackers

A satellite tracker sends your company real-time information, such as your vehicle's location, speed, and distance.

Advantages of satellite trackers

  • Real-time tracking: Track your employees' vehicles in real-time to ensure they are on the right path
  • Reliability: Satellite-based communication offers reliability and comfort in remote areas with limited cellular coverage. It is ideal for company deliveries and even family trips to remote areas
  • Vehicle protection: Satellite trackers protect vehicles from threats such as theft, poor driving, and unauthorized usage
  • Emergency alerts: Some satellite GPS trackers send distress signals and emergency alerts to companies and emergency services

Bluetooth Trackers

A Bluetooth tracker is a small device stored in your glove compartment, under your seat, or on your keychain. You can access the information you need by downloading the tracker's app to your smartphone.

Features of Bluetooth trackers

  • Bluetooth low energy: Bluetooth Trackers use BLE or Bluetooth 4.0 to connect the tracker to your mobile device wirelessly
  • Connected application: Bluetooth vehicle trackers include an application that can be downloaded to your smartphone. It’s essential to ensure the app is compatible with your device
  • Unique identifier system: A unique identifier system is only known to you and anyone you share the information with, making it easier to locate a lost or stolen vehicle
  • Short-range tracking: Bluetooth trackers offer a short-range tracking function, so locating your car in a parking lot or garage is easy. This is perfect for crowded spaces, including hospitals, shopping malls, and event venues
  • Multiple device pairing: Nowadays, most Bluetooth trackers can be paired with multiple devices. For instance, you and a co-worker can keep track of a company car through Bluetooth tracking

The Bluetooth tracker relies on the connected devices to locate your vehicle. Unlike GPS trackers, Bluetooth trackers do not provide real-time updates.

Cellular Trackers

What are cellular trackers?

A cellular tracker connects a built-in SIM card to a cellular network, sending the location and other information to the central server. You can access the information through an application or web-based platform.

Benefits of cellular trackers

  • Widespread coverage: Cellular trackers, from global to nearly universal, provide widespread coverage. This way, you can cover a range of areas while on the road
  • Real-time tracking capabilities: Use real-time tracking to locate your or your company's vehicle immediately. Additionally, you can view information on routes, traffic jams, and driver behavior
  • Transmitting data through cellular networks: Cellular trackers transmit data through 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G networks, allowing you to receive information regardless of your phone's network

RFID Trackers

RFID trackers are different from other GPS trackers because they offer point-to-point tracking.

Characteristics of RFID trackers

  • Point-to-point tracking: Tracks the point of entry and exit from a specific area
  • Specific applications: An RFID tracker is used for many applications, including vehicle identification, access control, and parts and component inventory tracking
  • Asset tracking: Uses hardware, such as readers and tags, to track assets, including inventory, stock, and equipment. The goal is to reduce the need for error-prone methods, such as manually taking notes or filling out spreadsheets
  • Reliance: These trackers rely on RFID technology to automatically identify tagged vehicles that pass a reader and upload the information to the IT system

Hybrid Trackers

Hybrid trackers are used to locate vehicles in areas where GPS trackers cannot reach, preventing theft and safety issues. These trackers use active and passive systems to combine real-time and historical tracking.

Features of Hybrid Trackers

  • Active tracking systems: Active tracking provides real-time movements and locations of a vehicle. These updates allow immediate adjustments as needed, such as changing routes
  • Passive tracking systems: Passive tracking is a report that can be downloaded later. This is ideal for drivers with limited data transmission. Furthermore, some tasks may not require immediate tracking
  • Fuel monitoring: Identifies fuel-efficient routes and routes with the most plug-in hybrid car charging stations. Monitors speed to help drivers make adjustments for using less fuel
  • Versatility and reliability: Trackers can be used in various hybrid cars, offering a reliable way to track the location and make necessary changes

Considerations for Choosing the Best Device

How to choose the best tracking device?

There are critical considerations to ensure you choose the best vehicle tracking device.

1. Scalability and future-proofing

Think about the future of your business when choosing a tracking device. Your tracker must grow with your business and meet your organization's evolving needs. For example, if your company offers deliveries or HVAC repairs, you may expand your service areas as your business grows. You need to ensure your tracking device works in busy and remote regions, tracks real-time locations, and delivers information on vehicle health.

2. Integration with other systems

Selecting a vehicle tracker that integrates seamlessly with other systems, such as Google Maps, OSM, ERP systems, or fleet management software, is recommended. This way, you never have to worry about switching programs to find specific information, such as the exact location or fuel consumption. You can access all the data you need on one convenient platform.

3. Power source and battery life

The last thing you want is a vehicle tracker that often fails because of a drained battery. You also want to avoid a tracker that drains the life out of your car battery. Without a strong battery, you may not receive an accurate reading when looking up your vehicle's location and health. Therefore, you must research the power source and battery life before committing to a tracker.

  • Vehicle power: Some trackers must be connected to your vehicle, so you must ensure the tracker will not drain your car's battery. Fortunately, many modern trackers consume little power. The key is to read the reviews to determine if other drivers are losing car battery power
  • Rechargeable batteries: Most trackers include rechargeable batteries with a quick charge, allowing you to get back to tracking your company vehicle
  • Long-lasting batteries: These trackers also include long-lasting batteries, providing several months of life before needing to charge or replace the batteries

4. Regulatory compliance

There is more to choosing a vehicle tracker than researching the features. You also need to ensure the tracking device offers regulatory compliance.

Ensuring your vehicle tracking device meets your state's required privacy regulations and data protection laws is essential. For instance, your state may require you to inform your employee of the tracking device. However, you can only track company cars and not their vehicles. Additionally, the data must be secured to keep sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands.

For many industries, such as deliveries with fleet vehicles, you must be the registered owner of the tracking device.

5. User-friendly interface

A user-friendly interface is a crucial aspect of any vehicle tracking device, as it enables easy navigation and accessibility of features. The app or platform should be easy to navigate, allowing you to efficiently monitor your company vehicle's location, fuel usage, and health without any issues. The lack of excellent user experience sends you back to the drawing board of searching for a tracker.

6. Security features

Inspecting the security features of each vehicle tracking device on your list is crucial.

  • Encryption: Many trackers provide end-to-end encryption, keeping tracking data within the server to prevent hackers from viewing sensitive information
  • Secure data transmission: When the tracker sends data to your mobile device, it is stored in a secure data center to prevent unauthorized access
  • Secure access controls: Vehicle trackers provide secure access controls to keep hackers, ex-employees, and other unwanted guests from entering the dashboard,  which includes strong password protection 

Wrapping Up

When choosing a vehicle tracker, many features include real-time monitoring, widespread coverage, battery power, scalability, integration capabilities, and secured servers. You must also consider your company's needs, budget constraints, and growth. When you research every aspect of each device on your list, you can easily find a vehicle tracking device that works for your company.

If you need help choosing software and hardware for your business, check out our website; we provide various blog posts, reviews, and comparison pages.

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