What’s the cheapest car GPS tracker?
In today’s world of technology, tracking your assets, including vehicles, has become easier and more affordable thanks to GPS car trackers. However, with a variety of options available on the market, it can be difficult to determine how much a GPS tracker costs for your car or fleet of vehicles. In this article, we’ll explore different GPS tracker options, focusing on their cost, effectiveness, technology, and other factors that may influence your choice.
The cheapest fleet GPS tracker: the Bluetooth tag?
What is a Bluetooth tag?
A Bluetooth tag is a small device that can be attached to objects to locate them using Bluetooth technology. These tags are often used to find lost objects such as keys or wallets, but are sometimes considered as an option for vehicle tracking.
Is a Bluetooth tag a GPS tracker for cars?
The answer is no. Although Bluetooth tags are affordable and easy to use, they are not true GPS trackers. They rely on Bluetooth technology to locate objects over a short distance, usually less than 100 meters. As a result, they’re not ideal for long-distance tracking of your car or fleet of vehicles.
The limits of Bluetooth tags
Bluetooth tags have a limited range, and their effectiveness depends on their proximity to the connected device. If your car is stolen or lost, a Bluetooth tag won’t be able to give you its precise location, especially if it’s a long way from the connected device. What’s more, Bluetooth technology consumes a lot of energy, which can reduce the tag’s battery life.
Although Bluetooth tags are an affordable option, they are not the best solution for vehicle tracking. Their limited range and dependence on the connected device can cause problems in certain situations. So it’s important to consider these factors before choosing a Bluetooth tag as a GPS tracker for your car or fleet of vehicles.
The cost of Bluetooth tags
The cost of Bluetooth tags can vary according to brand and features offered. Typically, the price of a Bluetooth Tag (BLE) is less than €50.
In addition to the initial cost of the Bluetooth tag and accessories, there may be hidden costs. For example, Bluetooth technology consumes a lot of energy, which can shorten the tag’s battery life. As a result, you may need to replace the tag’s battery from time to time, which can increase the overall cost.
The mid-range price: LPWAN Sigfox / LoRa fleet GPS tracker
Introduction to Sigfox / LoRa LPWAN GPS trackers
A Sigfox / LoRa LPWAN GPS tracker is a type of GPS tracker that uses low-power, long-range networks (LPWAN) to locate vehicles. These car GPS trackers are generally more expensive than Bluetooth tags, but offer longer range and greater accuracy. They generally cost between €100 and €150. Check if the subscription is included in the first year, if not, its price, etc.
Quality and reliability of LPWAN Sigfox / LoRa GPS trackers
The quality of a Sigfox / LoRa LPWAN GPS tracker depends on a number of factors. One of the most important is network coverage in your area. If network coverage is poor, the GPS tracker may not be able to provide accurate location information. So it’s important to check the network map before choosing this option.
The benefits of LPWAN Sigfox / LoRa GPS trackers
Sigfox / LoRa LPWAN GPS trackers offer several advantages. Firstly, they have a longer range than Bluetooth tags, making them more suitable for tracking vehicles over long distances. Secondly, they are generally more accurate than Bluetooth tags. Thirdly, they consume less power than other types of GPS tracker, which can extend the battery life of a fleet GPS tracker.
Disadvantages of Sigfox / LoRa LPWAN GPS trackers
The main drawback of LPWAN GPS trackers is their network coverage. Even though these networks tend to cover the whole of Europe, there are always white zones with no antennae nearby.
What’s more, tracking won’t be purely “real-time”, since LPWAN trackers send information at a relatively low frequency (around 10 minutes at best).
Sigfox / LoRa LPWAN GPS trackers can be a good option for vehicle tracking, especially for those who need a longer range and better accuracy than Bluetooth tags can offer. However, it’s important to consider network coverage in your area, operating costs, and the specifics of each model before making your choice.
The right compromise: GPS trackers for cars on the GSM network
Introduction to GSM GPS trackers
A GSM car GPS tracker is a device that uses the GSM network (2G/3G/4G) to locate vehicles. These GPS trackers are generally more expensive than Bluetooth tags and Sigfox / LoRa LPWAN GPS trackers, but they offer greater accuracy and a longer range.
Reliability of GSM GPS trackers
GPS trackers on the GSM network are generally considered more reliable than other types of GPS tracker. This is due to the wide coverage of the GSM network, which enables precise vehicle location in almost every part of the world. However, the reliability of these trackers may vary depending on the quality of the GSM signal in your area. If the GSM GPS tracker contains a multi-operator SIM card, this is an added bonus, as it will be able to pick up all available networks and provide the best possible coverage.
The cost of GSM network GPS trackers
Although GSM GPS trackers offer many advantages, they are generally more expensive than other options. In addition to the initial cost of the tracker, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of the SIM card required to operate the tracker. GSM GPS trackers range from €130 to €200.
Features of GSM network GPS trackers
GPS trackers on the GSM network offer a variety of features that can be useful for tracking vehicles. For example, some models offer real-time alerts in the event of vehicle movement, the ability to define geographical zones and be alerted when the vehicle enters or leaves these zones, and the possibility of viewing the vehicle’s travel history, etc.
Advantages and disadvantages of GSM GPS trackers
GPS trackers on the GSM network have a number of advantages. They offer greater accuracy and longer range than other types of GPS tracker, and are generally more reliable.
GSM fleet GPS trackers can be a good compromise for those looking for a more reliable and accurate vehicle tracking solution. However, it’s important to take into account the initial cost, the cost of the SIM card, the cost of the subscription, and the specific features of each model before making your choice.
What can affect the price of car GPS trackers?
The initial purchase of a GPS tracker
The initial cost of a car GPS tracker can vary according to a number of factors. For example, the type of tracker (Bluetooth, LPWAN Sigfox / LoRa, or GSM) can influence the price. In addition, the brand and features offered by the tracker can also affect the initial cost.
To find out more about the steps involved in buying a GPS tracker for your car or vehicle, please refer to our complete guide.
If purchasing GPS trackers for your fleet of vehicles may seem too expensive at first, it may be worth considering whether it’s better to buy or rent a car GPS tracker.
Subscription to the tracking service
All GPS trackers require a subscription to the network, regardless of which one you choose. However, some brands include the first few years’ subscription with the purchase of the GPS tracker. You can quickly find yourself paying for a subscription without knowing about it.
The cost of this subscription may vary according to the supplier and the features included.
SIM card and activation
For GPS trackers that use the GSM network, a SIM card is required to operate the vehicle GPS tracker. The cost of the SIM card and its activation may vary according to the supplier.
The cost of data processing
Exploiting the data collected by a GPS tracker can also come at a cost. For example, some suppliers may charge a fee for access to historical data or for the use of certain reporting features. Generally speaking, the subscription includes the cost of data processing.
Optional extras or other services
Finally, certain optional extras or other services can also affect the total cost of a car GPS tracker. For example, some suppliers may offer additional services such as professional installation of the GPS tracker, access to a mobile application, or advanced features such as geofencing.