Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (2024)

Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (1)

While we may be quickly approaching “big brother” levels of digital surveillance, those of us without the surname Soprano actually may stand to benefit from this tech. GPS tracking devices, once the stuff of spy novels, are so ubiquitous these days that it’s not uncommon to see them used for tracking things as trivial as the TV remote.

While there are many GPS trackers out there that are meant to track all sorts of things from pets to kids, we’re intrigued by the world of potential they offer for tracking your cars, boats, campers, and even new drivers. They’ve also become an essential piece of kit for businesses needing to track a fleet of vehicles.

It is crucial to note that in most states, installing a GPS tracker without the vehicle owner’s consent or knowledge is illegal. Legal or not, tracking someone or their belongings without their knowledge is probably entering the realm of moral objection.

With input from the testing gurus at our Gear Team, we’ve put together a list of the best trackers on the market with a particular eye on those that work best for your vehicles.

Our Top Picks

Things to Consider When Buying a GPS Tracker

Legality: The laws covering GPS trackers vary from state to state. According to Brickhouse Security, a leader in private and industrial security systems, it’s generally legal to use a GPS tracking device if:

  • You or your organization own the vehicle or asset to be tracked
  • You own the asset that might be taken without your permission
  • Your children (under 18) are the focus of the tracking
  • You are tracking a car or asset for legal repossession in the event of a default on a loan

It’s generally illegal to use a GPS tracking device if:

  • You are not the owner of the car and do not have the legal right to track it
  • You are attempting to track a boyfriend or girlfriend in their own car

For a comprehensive guide to GPS tracking laws by state, click here.

    Subscription cost: Besides the cost of the device itself, subscription fees are often required to unlock essential features and comprehensive services that GPS trackers can provide. In its test, the Gear Team testers found that while many trackers can provide basic functionality without a subscription, long-term and commercial/fleet users should explore annual subscription options for potentially significant savings.

    Battery Life: Consider the battery life of the tracker. Longer battery life is ideal for applications where charging may be infrequent or challenging. The testers found that the more often the device reports, the shorter the lifespan tended to be. Devices powered by OBD-II port and hardwired alternatives eliminate this problem by utilizing the vehicle’s battery as the power source.

    Installation: Consider ease of installation. Some trackers require professional installation, while others can be easily attached using magnets or adhesive.

    Additional Features: Some GPS trackers offer extra features like two-way communication, historical data storage, driving behavior analysis, and remote shutdown capabilities. Evaluate if these features align with your needs.

    Tracking Purpose: Determine the purpose of tracking—whether it’s for personal safety, vehicle monitoring, asset protection, or pet tracking. Different GPS trackers are designed for specific applications.

    Best Overall

    Vyncs

    Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (11)

    Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (12)

    Best Overall

    Vyncs

    Now 11% Off

    Pros
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (13)Can work as an OBD scanner
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (14)Works in over 200 countries
    Cons
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (15)None that stand out

    On paper, the Vyncs seems to do it all. It’s OBD-powered, so no need for battery replacement or recharging. It also monitors vehicle data, can perform OBD diagnostics, and works in over 200 countries.

    It does require an activation fee and an annual service fee, but with all it offers, it’s worth it. It’s great for individuals or businesses looking to track fleets. It will be interesting to see how the Vyncs performs in Gear Team testing when an update comes along.

    Gear Team Tested

    Bouncie

    Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (16)

    Gear Team Tested

    Bouncie

    Pros
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (17)Easy to use
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (18)Offers real-time driving data
    Cons
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (19)Only reports while ignition is on
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (20)Requires monthly subscription

    The Bouncie was a hit with the Gear Team testers and it’s easy to see why. It offers a simple user experience, with an easy plug-and-play setup, a user-friendly app, and a range of alert options like impact detection, curfew, and erratic driving.

    Being an OBD-powered unit, it can also track some of your vehicle’s vitals like fuel levels and engine and battery health. OBD power also provides the benefit of never needing to charge or replace batteries—but it comes with the drawback of only being active while the ignition is switched on. Another drawback to OBD power is that if you’re hoping to track a new driver, it can easily be unplugged and disabled, leaving you in the dark.

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    Longest Life

    LoneStar Tracking Oyster3

    Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (21)

    Longest Life

    LoneStar Tracking Oyster3

    Pros
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (22)Insane battery life
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (23)Uses 5G
    Cons
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (24)A bit pricey
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (25)No way to confirm battery-life claims

    The Oyster3 has one big draw: massive battery life. With a claimed lifespan of up to 10 years using three AA batteries (not included), this tracker could be the ultimate set-it-and-forget-it device.

    LoneStar does note that the 10-year claim is with the device sitting idle but also says that, even with daily reporting, the batteries should last up to five years. While we can’t feasibly conduct a 10-year-long test on something like this, if a user were able to achieve even half of that this would still be one of the longest-lasting trackers on the market.

    Most Durable

    BrickHouse

    Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (26)

    Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (27)

    Most Durable

    BrickHouse

    Now 38% Off

    Pros
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (28)Reputable security brand
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (29)140-day battery life is respectable
    Cons
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (30)Pricey subscriptions

    What the BrickHouse gives up in features it makes up for in robustness. Its main selling point is its magnetic waterproof case and 140-day battery life on a single charge.

    It operates on a 4G network and offers geofence updates and speed monitoring. Unfortunately, those features are locked behind a tiered subscription wall that does get a bit pricey at the top end. If you do opt for the premium subscription, you’ll get location updates every five seconds.

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    Gear Team Tested

    LandAirSea 54

    Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (31)

    Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (32)

    Gear Team Tested

    LandAirSea 54

    Now 40% Off

    Pros
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (33)Strong built-in magnet makes it easy to place
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (34)Straightforward app
    Cons
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (35)Lackluster battery life with frequent reporting

    The LandAirSea 54 is an affordable option without all the bells and whistles of some of its pricier competitors. While it only offers three standard alerts—speed, battery, and geofencing—its easy-to-use app and dependable email alerts stood out to the Gear Team testers.

    It uses a rechargeable battery that can last up to a claimed six months in low-power mode but falls off pretty drastically to two weeks with three-minute updates, and a paltry one week with three-second updates.

    The Gear Team also noted that its customizable subscription price structure was a bit convoluted.

    Most Versatile

    Apple AirTag

    Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (36)

    Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (37)

    Most Versatile

    Apple AirTag

    Now 17% Off

    Pros
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (38)No subscription cost
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (39)Apple brand support
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (40)Ultra compact
    Cons
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (41)Mostly limited to iOS devices

    Apple’s AirTag isn’t meant to be a full-on automotive-grade GPS tracker, but it can do the job of keeping tabs on your vehicle (or whatever else you affix it to). Through Apple’s “Find My Network” you can track your tag as long as it’s in proximity to someone using an iPhone or iPad running iOS 14.5 or later.

    It has a year-long battery life thanks to a replaceable CR2032 coin cell battery, and there is no subscription required, which, combined with its retail price, makes it one of the most affordable options on our list if your primary concern is keeping track of your vehicle’s location.

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    Gear Team Tested

    Spytec GL300

    Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (42)

    Gear Team Tested

    Spytec GL300

    Pros
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (43)Easy-to-use app
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (44)Plenty of alert options
    Cons
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (45)Weak battery life
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (46)Testers struggled to set up notifications

    The Gear Team found the GL300 to be a solid device, offering lots of alerts, a weatherproof design, and fast reliable alerts. It’s hard to disagree especially given its relatively low price point.

    That said, its subscription cost (while not the highest of the group) is more than the device itself per month. Moreover, its rechargeable battery only lasts 25 days in standby mode and falls off sharply to seven to 10 days when tracking only two hours per movement per day. For this reason, the GL300 is probably not ideal for those looking for a set-and-forget solution.

    Best Budget Pick

    Trak-4

    Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (47)

    Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (48)

    Best Budget Pick

    Trak-4

    Now 53% Off

    Pros
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (49)Long battery life
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (50)Low subscription cost
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (51)Durable construction
    Cons
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (52)Lacks features

    The Trak-4 offers basic GPS-based tracking and will even use Wi-Fi and cellular geolocation when the GPS signal is blocked. Its durable waterproof case has pre-drilled tabs that make it possible to mount to just about anything you can drill holes into, and there’s an option (at an extra cost) for magnetic strips.

    The reason this tracker made the list has to do with two things: Its subscription cost of $6.99 a month (prepaid annual) or $12.99 a month (paid monthly) is one of the lowest we’ve seen, and it boasts an impressive battery life of up to 18 months even while reporting daily.

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    Gear Team Tested

    Tracki

    Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (53)

    Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (54)

    Gear Team Tested

    Tracki

    Now 53% Off

    Pros
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (55)Includes several attachments
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (56)Lifetime warranty
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (57)Strong battery life
    Cons
    • Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (58)Tiered subscription can limit some functions

    The Gear Team found the Tracki to be among the most versatile trackers they tested. Its combination of size, features, and battery life make it useful for a variety of applications, especially for families.

    It provides consistent email and text alerts, works in up to 190 countries, and Tracki offers free device replacement for the life of the device as well as live phone support. It does, like many other trackers, require a monthly subscription. But at this price, it’s hard to argue with its value.

    How the Gear Team Tested GPS Trackers

    Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (59)

    Each tracker was evaluated on a comprehensive test route in a 2022 Ford Bronco Badlands, covering various potential triggers including underground structures (surprisingly, the signal was maintained even five stories down).

    The Gear Team then extensively explored both app and desktop versions, analyzing alerts, reports, and notifications. To assess user experience, an experienced app user compared notes with a novice user, evaluating the interface and ease of use. Close attention was paid to how reliably alerts were triggered for speed and geofencing, the data and features each tracker provided, and ease of use.

    To assess alert reliability, the Gear Team established geofences around its Ann Arbor office and set trackers to notify of various triggers, like speed exceeding 65 mph, hard braking, rapid acceleration, harsh cornering, and fuel levels. The Bronco was equipped with trackers for a comprehensive test, including city and underground driving.

    During this test, alerts were triggered deliberately, and signal drops were monitored. App and desktop versions were analyzed for features, alert types, reports, and notification methods (SMS, email, app).

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    FAQS

    Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (60)

    Do GPS trackers require a subscription?

    Many GPS trackers require a subscription to a service provider for data transmission and access to the tracking platform. Subscriptions often offer real-time tracking, historical data, geofencing, and other advanced features.

    Are GPS trackers legal to use?

    Using GPS trackers is generally legal if you own the object or have permission to track it. However, laws vary by jurisdiction, and it’s important to respect privacy and adhere to local regulations.

    What are geofencing features in GPS trackers?

    Geofencing allows you to set virtual boundaries or zones on a map. When the GPS tracker enters or exits these predefined areas, you receive notifications, making it useful for security, asset protection, and monitoring.

    What is the best way to track my car?

    OBD-II port trackers offer abundant data and vehicle-powered operation. Hardwired trackers are discreet with no recharging needed. Battery-powered ones can be hidden but have limited power life.

    Why Trust Us?

    The original Gear Team GPS Tracker test this article is based on was written by associate editor Collin Morgan, who leads the Hearst Autos Gear Team based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    Road & Track

    and its sibling publications at Hearst Autos represent three of the most influential automotive publications in the world. We rely on decades of experience in the automotive and gear spaces to help readers make informed purchasing choices. Read more about the testing process here.

    With the legacies of Autoweek, Car and Driver, and Road & Track behind them, the Hearst Autos Gear Team is more concerned with the trust our readers have in us than the bottom line. We’ve evaluated dozens of products, like OBD-II Scanners, Car Buffers, Chronograph Watches, Wiper Blades, and Floor Mats. We won’t tell you to buy something if we wouldn’t buy it ourselves or recommend it to our friends, and we’ll never claim to have used or tested something if we haven’t. Our picks and recommendations of products and gear are based on testing and knowledge, not hype.

    Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (61)

    Justin Helton

    Assistant Commerce Editor

    The Assistant Commerce Editor for Hearst Autos, Justin Helton is an enthusiast with a passion for heavily depreciated autos and a penchant for philosophical debate. As a lifelong Manhattanite, he has mastered the ins and outs of classic car ownership in one of the least car-friendly cities in the world.

    Best Car GPS Trackers You Can Buy in 2024 (2024)

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