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A GPS pet tracker can save your cat’s or dog’s life if it ever escapes home. After spending significantly more than 25 hours researching and testing four trackers, including having Gps dog collar Wirecutter staffers bring them all on a journey around Manhattan and a 35-mile bike ride, we’ve found the Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker & Activity Monitor to be the best tracker for many pet owners. Not only may be the Whistle 3 as quick and accurate at tracking as any model we tested, but it also has the longest-lasting battery by far.
Who that is for
A GPS pet tracker, like most emergency gear, is something you hope there is a constant have to use. The device uses an embedded GPS transponder along with cellular data signals to communicate your pet’s location at certain time. The idea is that if your pet escapes, you’ll receive a notice via an application, have the ability to track its location in real-time, and be safely reunited.
How exactly we picked and tested
An excellent pet tracker ought to be easy to setup and must stay on your pet, so we started by evaluating the hardware itself. We looked at each tracker’s size and how securely it attaches to a collar. We also examined any power controls present on the collars and tested battery life in both “safe zone” and in the true world. In the safe zone, the collar’s GPS radio is deactivated, significantly saving battery life. The safe zone is decided by maintaining a connection to a particular Wi-Fi network or base station, or by staying inside a defined area.
To track accuracy, we sent the trackers on a 35-mile bike ride in upstate New York, periodically checking the trackers’status and reported location. We also visited five locations in Manhattan to try both how accurate each tracker’s reported locations were and how quickly each tracker’s companion smartphone app updated. To read more about our test procedures, please see our full guide.
If you’re worried about your pet getting away and you will want tool to help you more easily think it is, the best option may be the Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker & Activity Monitor. This tracker can be as accurate as any model we tested, quickly transmitting its GPS signal back to our phone. It lasts longer on a charge than some of the other contenders we tried, its hardware design is the best undoubtedly, and its smartphone software is equally well-thought-out.
Throughout our tests, we could get the Whistle 3’s location in a matter of seconds, and that reported location was always close enough to the specific location that we’d manage to find our pet easily. We that way the Whistle 3’s smartphone app shows you not just where the tracker is but additionally where you are in terms of it, which will be handy if you’re searching for your pet in a unfamiliar area. The app also includes a button to refresh the place manually, something other trackers’apps lack.
Where the Whistle 3 most sets itself besides other models is in battery life. When left undisturbed inside a home Wi-Fi safe zone, it didn’t just last more than any tracker—it even surpassed the amount of time we allotted for the test. Thirteen days in to the test, and six days after the next-longest battery gave out, the Whistle 3’s battery was still at 69 percent.
The Whistle 3 won’t come off if you hold down a spring-loaded button and twist a quarter turn, an action your opposable-thumb-lacking companion is unlikely to purposefully or accidentally take. The Whistle 3 is also rated IP67, meaning it’s dust-tight and can survive being immersed in up to a meter of water.
Like most competing trackers, the Whistle 3 takes a 3G service plan. You are able to choose to pay for $10 per month without any commitment, or save by spending money on per year ($100) or even two ($170) in advance.