Last updated: August 9, 2021

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A mini GPS tracker can be used in many areas and protect objects such as cars and bicycles from theft. But they can also be used to easily track people or pets. There are suitable models of GPS trackers for every area. One look at the smartphone and you know immediately whether the car is still in the car park or where the children are.

With our big Mini GPS Tracker Test 2021 we want to help you find the best Mini GPS Tracker for you. We have compared models for locating people, pets and objects and listed the respective advantages and disadvantages. This should make your purchase decision as easy as possible.




The Best Mini GPS Tracker: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a Mini GPS Tracker

What is a Mini GPS Tracker and how does it work?

The best-known use of geo-tracking is, for example, route planning via Google Maps. However, geo-tracking can also be used via mobile phone networks or when using the internet, via the IP address. There are GPS trackers for this purpose.

GPS trackers locate by means of satellites or mobile radio.

Mini GPS trackers are particularly popular due to their small size. They are equipped with a GSP and a GSM module. The GSP module finds out the location of the tracker by means of satellites and can thus locate people, animals or objects precisely.

This works worldwide, whereby the tracker needs contact with at least 4 satellites to indicate the location as accurately as possible. The positioning works quite well outdoors, but it is different indoors or in the underground. The situation is worse here.

The GSM module then transmits this data to a smartphone. Since the location query is done via an app, a SIM card is needed. The costs for the queries are between 2 and 6 euros per month.

What are the alternatives to the Mini GPS Tracker?

There are 2 alternatives to the Mini GPS Tracker. We have created a short overview so that you can take a look at the alternatives.

Type Description
Tracking app

A possible alternative for tracking people would be a tracking app on the smartphone. These use the GPS function of the mobile phone. This makes it possible to track the location of the other smartphone with your own smartphone. The prerequisite is, of course, that this app is also installed on the smartphone of the person to be located.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth can also be used to find keys, purses, etc. The device connects to the smartphone via Bluetooth. To do this, the device connects to the smartphone via Bluetooth and uses its GPS function to determine the location. The location is then displayed on the smartphone. This method has the advantage of being more power efficient as it only requires 1 small battery.

How much does a mini GPS tracker cost?

Mini GPS trackers are available for as little as 20 euros, whereby deductions have to be made in terms of accuracy, tracking and battery life. Luxury models with very high accuracy can cost up to 200 euros. Good GPS trackers with highly reliable tracking cost between 100 and 150 euros.

In addition to the GSP tracker, a SIM card must be purchased. With some models, you pay a price for each SMS sent, with other models you pay a fixed monthly fee. The transmission of the location to the smartphone costs between 2 and 6 euros per month for both methods.

Type price range
cheap mini GPS trackers from 20 euros
good mini GPS trackers 100 - 150 euros
luxury mini GPS trackers from 200 euros

There are 2 ways to locate trackers. Both require a SIM card to locate the tracker.

Online tracking: Here, the location of the tracker is tracked via an app or website call. A fee is charged for this, which is about 4 euros per month. However, you can call up the location as often as you want without having to worry about additional costs. This makes real-time tracking possible.

mini GPS Tracker-1

With online tracking, you can locate your items via an app or on the website.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Enrique Alarcon)

SMS location: If you want to locate your tracker, you call your tracker to request a location. You will then receive the location by SMS. The advantage of this method is that you can, for example, define an area that the tracker is not allowed to leave. If this happens, you will receive a warning SMS. Since the location queries are charged per call and cost about 10 cents, you should not do this very often.

Type Advantages and disadvantages
Online tracking Advantages: Real-time tracking, no extra costs

Disadvantages: fixed monthly fee, no warning function when leaving a certain area

SMS tracking Advantage: warning SMS when leaving a certain area, no fixed fee

Disadvantages: no real-time tracking possible, queries are charged individually

Decision: What types of mini GPS trackers are there and which one is right for you?

Mini GPS trackers differ in their field of application. There are 4 different areas of use:

  • Mini GPS Tracker for cars
  • Mini GPS Tracker for people
  • Mini GPS Tracker for pets
  • Mini GPS Tracker for objects

In the following section, we would like to make your search for a Mini GPS Tracker easier:

What distinguishes a mini GPS tracker for cars and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

To prevent car or motorbike theft, you can attach a GPS tracker to your car or motorbike and use it to locate the car/motorcycle using satellites or mobile phone signals.

The alarm function is helpful here because the tracker sends a message to the owner when the vehicle leaves a certain radius and an alarm sounds in the car. An additional alarm system can also be connected to many models. A vibration alarm provides information on whether someone is trying to open the car.

However, many thieves know about the trackers and work with jammers that interfere with the mobile phone network and thus with the alarm signal.

Car thieves know exactly where trackers are often located and can therefore remove them quickly. It is therefore advisable to install the transmitter as well hidden as possible and to build a dummy so that the thieves think they have found the real GPS transmitter.

Mini GPS transmitters can be installed anywhere in the car, e.g. on the underside of the seats. GPS transmitters with magnets can also be mounted under the car. The accuracy of the location determination varies - depending on the model - between 1 and 50 m.

Advantages
  • Alarm signal when leaving a certain area
  • quick attachment using magnets
Disadvantages
  • Disable thieves' jammers Alarm signal of the GPS Tracker
  • fluctuations of up to 50 m when determining location

What are the characteristics of a mini GPS tracker for people and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Mini GPS trackers are well suited for monitoring sick persons or children. This way, you can monitor where the person is and they can quickly call for help via an SOS button. When pressed, this triggers an alarm that immediately informs the relatives and transmits the location.

mini GPS Tracker-2

With a GPS tracker, parents always know where their children are.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Guilaume Gryn)

With a GPS tracker, people with dementia, for example, can move freely because relatives always know where they are. Parents can monitor their children and get help if something is wrong.

But GPS trackers may not be used without the consent of the person being monitored. This is punishable by law. Therefore, you must thoroughly inform the person about the GPS device and get his or her consent.

Advantages
  • easy to attach to clothing, rucksack, etc.
  • SOS button informs relatives in case of emergency
Disadvantages
  • Misuse of GPS trackers through unauthorised monitoring

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a mini GPS tracker for pets?

Cats in particular tend to stay out all night and not return until a few days later. As a pet owner, you naturally worry if something might have happened to the cat. Dogs also tend to run away if you are not careful. With a small GPS tracker for pets, you can always check where your dog or cat is.

It is attached to the pet's collar and constantly transmits the location to the owner. This can be viewed on the smartphone at any time.

GPS trackers for pets should be as small and waterproof as possible so that they can be carried comfortably and survive digging and swimming without any problems.

Advantages
  • easy to attach to necklace
  • compact and lightweight
Disadvantages
  • risk of getting caught

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a mini GPS tracker for objects?

Since bicycles are often stolen, a mini GPS tracker helps to find them and report them to the police. High-quality bicycles or e-bikes in particular are often subject to theft.

With a GPS tracker for objects, you can quickly find all objects, such as keys, with a GPS key fob. To do this, simply call the number of the SIM card in the device and you will receive the coordinates and a link to a map so you can see the location of your bike.

A GPS tracker without a SIM card is not recommended, as you will only have limited functionality at your disposal.

You only get the GPS position and cannot view a route or navigate to the bike with the tracker when you are on the road.

Advantages
  • quick retrieval of items
  • protection against bike theft
Disadvantages
  • limited functionality with GPS trackers without SIM card

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and rate mini GPS trackers

Battery life

Battery life is an important purchase criterion for GPS trackers. If it does not last long, you will soon no longer be able to find your items. The battery life varies greatly depending on the model and is between 7 and 30 days.

The larger the GPS tracker, the longer the battery life.

The bigger the battery, and thus the battery life, the bigger the GPS tracker. So it's up to you what you prefer: a long battery life or a very small GPS device.

Most batteries have a capacity of 5,000 mAh. Depending on how often you check your location, the battery will last between a week and a month. Trackers for cars may be larger than a tracker on a dog collar, which is why they have more battery capacity.

Waterproof/material

Many mini GPS trackers are waterproof. This is especially important for pet trackers, because they often suddenly jump into a lake. Bicycle trackers should also be waterproof, or at least protected from splashing water. Bags, people, etc. do not need this more expensive extra gadget.

Trackers with a closed housing are particularly waterproof. However, the SIM card is permanently installed and can only be used with a predefined mobile phone contract. So you cannot choose a tariff or a provider yourself.

mini GPS Tracker-3

Cats are afraid of water, but the Mini GPS Tracker should still be waterproof in case your pet is caught in heavy rain.
(Image source: 123rf.com / Pelikh)

Accuracy

The accuracy of mini GPS trackers depends on the technology used, which is why more expensive models perform better in terms of accuracy. Basically, however, satellite reception also plays a major role in the accuracy of tracking.

In the open air, the location is very precise, whereas in underground trains, for example, the precision of the location decreases. This can be remedied by mobile radio positioning, which can also determine the location in the underground or in buildings.

Weight/Size

Mini GPS trackers should be lightweight so that they can be carried comfortably. Trackers for personal tracking usually have a metal clip with which the tracker can be attached to clothing. This clip should be well made and close tightly.

Trackers for locating pets should also be light and small, because with a large, heavy tracker on the collar, dogs and cats can get stuck somewhere and this can quickly become dangerous if they are not supervised.

Trackers that are attached to objects to protect against theft should be as inconspicuous as possible so that the thief does not discover them.

For car trackers, on the other hand, size and weight do not play a major role. Here, battery life is a more important criterion.

Facts worth knowing about mini GPS trackers

How do I set up a GPS Tracker?

  1. Insert SIM card into tracker
  2. Log in to the online portal
  3. Connect your mobile phone to the tracker by sending an SMS with: CENTER,000000,yourphonenumber" to the GPS Tracker
  4. SMS tracking: SMS with "123" to the SIM card in the GPS Tracker
  5. App tracking: Download the tracking app from the app store and log in with IMEI (back of the device) and password
  6. Online tracking: Log in to the tracking website with IMEI and password

Can I build a GPS Tracker myself?

In principle, you can build a GPS tracker yourself and the tracker would even be cheaper than a bought one. However, this requires skill and patience. If this is not your thing, we recommend buying a GPS tracker. In the following video you can see how to build a GSP tracker yourself:

GPS Tracker not working. What can I do?

If your Mini GPS Tracker is not working, there can be many reasons for this. First of all, you should check if the SIM card in your mobile phone is not working. If this is the case, you should check if there is enough credit on your SIM card. You should also check if the battery of the GPS device is charged.

You should also check whether the GPS function is switched on. If the tracker does not work, this may also be due to poor satellite reception. You can find out whether this is the case by downloading the app: GPS Status & Toolbox. This shows you the signal strength of the satellites.

If none of this helps, it is also possible that the GPS antenna is broken and can no longer establish contact with the satellite.

Image source: lorenzot81/ 123rf.com

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