Pets going missing is a common occurrence and that’s something you need to prepare for. Subscription-based services can be very expensive so we have researched and reviewed the best no monthly fee pet trackers. After conducting extensive research, we have determined that the Garmin Astro 430 Dog Tracker is the top pick. In this article we have reviewed our five picks and included a buyer’s guide.
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Top Pick: Garmin Astro 430 Dog Tracker
Without any doubt, the Garmin Astro 430 Dog Tracker is the best pet tracker on the market. It has a 2.6-inch display for receiving notifications and with a 2.5 seconds update rate, it’s easier to track your dogs even when they are on the run. You can track up to 20 dogs within a distance of up to 9 miles while the Hunts Metric dog performance data is all the information you need to train them better.
The Garmin Astro 430 doesn’t require a monthly fee. The preloaded TOPO US 100k map provides you with fine topographic details of the entire United States and you get a free 1-year BirdEye satellite imagery subscription. No worries if you’re hiking or going to remote areas – it works independently of cell service.
- Works without cell phone service
- Free 1-year BirdEye Satellite Imagery subscription
- Rechargeable collar
- Collects data for observation
- Battery life up to 20 hours
- Expandable to track up to 20 dogs
- Comes with only one collar
- Cannot be used outside the U.S
- The receiver is not rechargeable
- Suitable for dogs only
While users have complained about the high price, they all agree that the Astro 430 is well worth the cost. They reviewed that it works well despite physical barriers common in places like a remote forest or a natural park. One user reported that you cannot update the software of the receiver and tags with a Mac as it’s only compatible with a Windows computer.
Runner up: Loc8tor Pet Tracker
The Loc8tor Pet Tracker is our runner-up because of its versatility and additional useful features. It is lightweight, weighing about 5 grams, and is a great pet tracker for small dogs and cats. It is durable and can withstand splashing although it’s not waterproof enough for swimming. When your pet is out of sight, the tracker gives you both audio and visual directions on how to get to it. There’s no way you can get lost yourself.
It can be used to find your pet indoors or outdoors and has a maximum range of 400 feet. All you have to do is attach the tag to your pet’s collar. The tag makes a beep sound which you can use to train your pet to come home on cue.
- Suitable for both cats and dogs
- Radio frequency based tracker
- Audio and visual directions
- Non-rechargeable battery
- Tracking range reduces based on physical obstructions
Some verified reviews record that the Loc8tor Pet Tracker is a good tracker for cats. Users however complained about the weak batteries that come with the product. They advise that you replace the batteries once you get your product. Some users have also recommended considering other options if your pet tends to stray very far from home because of the limited tracking range.
Best Battery Life: Marcopolo Advanced Pet Tracker
With the Marcopolo Advanced Pet Tracker, you don’t need to worry about your travels as it works without cell phone services or internet connection and has a rechargeable tag battery that lasts up to 6 weeks. Your pet will remain safe and secure. It is portable and lightweight although not suitable for pets below 5lb. You can monitor up to three pets with this tracker.
An amazing feature to note is that it alerts you of a wandering pet 80 seconds after it happens. This is based on the safety zone range you select. The tracker checks on your pet every 40 seconds and has a tracking range of 2 miles.
- Suitable for dogs and cats
- Works in various locations
- Rechargeable tag battery that lasts up to six weeks
- Expandable to track 3 pets
- Not suitable for pets less than 5lb
Users have commended the accuracy of the Marcopolo Advanced Pet Tracker in tracking their pets and also how it is small enough for cats but rugged enough using it a bit difficult at first.
Best Features: PetFon Pet GPS Tracker
This Bluetooth pet tracker connects with your phone to enable you to use the mobile app. With the mobile app, you can monitor your pet’s location in real-time and also collect data on some of their activities. The mobile app also lets you set up a safe range that triggers an alarm when it is exited. That’s not all. You can also set up dangerous zones and get notified when your pet enters.
With the 11-color LED light on the collar, finding your pet at night has been made easier. The PetFon has a tracking range of up to 0.65 miles in an urban area with a range of 3.5 miles in an open environment. The device can last up to 16 hours and comes with a charging box.
- Does not need mobile network signals
- Has a mobile app for monitoring
- LED lights on the collar make the pet visible at night
- Comes with a charging box that can recharge the tracker up to 3 times
- It cannot be used to swim
- It is not effective in heavily crowded areas
Users have reviewed that the safety zone feature works perfectly as notifications are received immediately. One user advised that the PetFon should be charged every night. Some users who encountered difficulty with their unit have praised the quick response of the customer service.
Best for Rugged Environment: Garmin Alpha 100 Tracking Bundle
The Garmin Alpha 100 Tracking Bundle is a GPS tracker with a battery life of 20-40 hours which makes it suitable for rugged areas. It comes preloaded with TOPO U.S 100k map. You can create a geofence, so if your dog crosses the perimeter, you get alerted. You can also get records of your dog’s data that aids effective training.
This unit combines the Garmin tracking feature with the Tri-Tronics electronic dog training technology. It has 18 training levels of stimulation, both momentary and continuous. You can view other hunters using the Garmin Alpha devices on the field which creates a community experience.
- It can track up to 20 dogs
- Has preloaded TOPO U.S 100k map
- Records dog distance and speed
- Allows creation of geofence
- Incompatible with a Mac for upgrades
- For dogs only
Users are happy with the fact that the battery of the Garmin Alpha 100 lasts all day. They have found the geofencing helpful and easy with the preloaded map available. They have reviewed that the interface could be better and it would be easier if the screen was bigger. Another user complained about the instruction manual not being detailed enough.
How We Picked the Best Product
We reviewed a number of no monthly fee pet trackers before deciding on the best ones. There were some factors we considered to do this and we explain them here.
Ease of Use
We understand that not everyone is tech-savvy so we made sure that the trackers we picked are easy to use. They also come along with instruction manuals which serve as a guide.
A missing pet with a dead tag is a horror story in the making. Battery life is important so we made sure that the trackers we chose have tags that can last for a considerable number of hours.
The exact location of your pet when it is out of sight is top priority when using a tracker. These trackers have been proven to be precise and accurate in locating pets.
We picked trackers with different signal options ranging from GPS to radio frequency and even Wi-Fi. Depending on your location and particular needs, there is one best suited for you.
The trackers on our list are both durable and can be trusted to help you find your missing pet. None on our list uses a dog tracker chip which does not help you immediately in finding your missing pet.
The safety of your pets is always a top priority and once they go missing, it robs you of your peace until they are found. We have brought to you a list containing the best and most reliable products in the market. With the information provided, you’ll be able choose the best tracker with no subscription best suited for you. As a reminder, here are the best no monthly fee pet trackers:
- Top Pick: Garmin Astro 430 Dog Tracker
- Runner up: Loc8tor Pet Tracker
- Best Battery Life: Marcopolo Advanced Pet Tracker
- Best Features: PetFon Pet GPS Tracker
- Best for Rugged Environment: Garmin Alpha 100 Tracking Bundle