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Identifying the Best GPS Tracking Devices for Your Fleet: A Comprehensive Guide

Last updated on May 31, 2024 in Fleet Management by Geotab Team |  5 minute read


Guide to the best GPS trackers for fleets, including device comparisons, to enhance tracking, safety, and cost savings.

Navigating Your Fleet’s Future with GPS

Beyond the critical function of providing the real-time location of a fleet’s vehicles, GPS plays an essential role for fleet managers to track the movements of the fleet and work to optimize performance functions like routing, fuel consumption and overall operational efficiency. Security concerns around the unauthorized use of vehicles are alleviated with GPS keeping track of vehicle usage and the ability to oversee driver behavior, fleet leaders can also work to enhance driver safety. 

 

To facilitate these benefits, a fleet manager has a choice when selecting a GPS device that fits their fleet’s needs. This article will outline the best GPS tracking devices available and the selection criteria for making an informed purchase decision when comparing GPS trackers.

The Basics of GPS Tracking

GPS tracking technology lets us pinpoint the exact location of vehicles, people, and assets in real time. It enables accurate and reliable tracking of any of your fleet’s assets equipped with a GPS device. GPS tracking relies on a network of satellites orbiting the Earth. These satellites continuously emit signals that contain valuable information about their location and time. When a GPS receiver, such as a smartphone or a GPS tracker, captures signals from multiple satellites, it employs trilateration to calculate its precise position. 

 

With GPS tracking systems, fleet managers can monitor their vehicles' locations in real time, allowing for better coordination and oversight into operational efficiency. This real-time tracking capability also enables quick responses to unexpected events, such as route deviations or vehicle breakdowns. GPS tracking allows several fleet management benefits, including optimized route planning that can lead to fuel savings, reduced travel time and minimized vehicle wear and tear. It has become an essential technology for fleet leaders looking to reduce costs while promoting safety and reliability in their fleet operations.

Features to Consider in the Best GPS Tracking Device

When comparing GPS trackers, certain features may be more important to your fleet’s needs. For fleets operating in rugged conditions or across vast geographical areas, the device's durability and the signal coverage's strength are paramount, ensuring consistent and reliable tracking no matter the environment.

The primary features of the best vehicle GPS trackers include:

  • Accurate location tracking with strong signal coverage and frequent update cadence
  • Reliability in sending alerts
  • Extended battery life of the tracking device
  • Easy to install

Other important considerations to look at include:

  • Durability of the device
  • Availability of two-way communication
  • Historical data storage
  • Driving behavior analysis
  • Remote shutdown capabilities
  • Quality of the online interface or dashboard for tracking vehicles.

Your fleet may also require long-range GPS trackers if you travel over extensive geographical areas or operate in sectors like logistics, long-haul transportation or international shipping. Fleets of this nature might need robust GPS tracker solutions that maintain connectivity in remote or poor infrastructure regions. Long-range GPS trackers offer enhanced signal strength and better connectivity in areas with limitations for standard trackers, making them ideal for fleets traveling greater distances.

Top GPS Tracking Devices on the Market: A Comparison

Here is a breakdown of the highest-rated GPS tracking devices and their advantages.

  1. The Optimus 3.0 is distinguished for its industrial-grade capabilities and extensive reporting options. It is ideal for fleet vehicle management and highlights the emphasis on robustness and reliability in a top-tier GPS tracker. It boasts alerts for harsh acceleration and braking, aiding driver safety strategies.
  2. The Matrack OBD Fleet Tracker is great for smaller fleets. It is a weather-proof option offering real-time alerting and geofencing support. Plus, it allows you to track vehicle conditions to offer insights into diagnostics for maintenance purposes.
  3. The LandAirSea 54 tracker is compatible with Google Maps and offers fleet managers a completely waterproof device for braving diverse storms in extreme weather conditions. Rugged casing gives this tracker an unmatched durability factor for a real-time fleet tracking option.
  4. The Geotab GO9 and GO9+ are equipped with more RAM, a 32-bit processor, and a gyroscope, making them a robust option for fleet managers. The GO9 accurately recreates vehicle trips and analyzes incidents while pushing in-vehicle alerts for live driver coaching.

 

The Advantages of a Long-Range GPS Tracker

The range of a GPS tracker, particularly in terms of geographical reach and accuracy in different environments, significantly impacts its usefulness and reliability. Long-range GPS trackers are designed for diverse weather conditions and must be robust and capable of functioning across various geographies. After all, fleet leaders will need to be able to rely on the device for navigation and accuracy in all terrains and climate conditions. 

 

Long-range trackers have advanced functionality designed to accommodate mid to large-sized fleets. High-quality long-range GPS trackers prioritize location precision, which is vital for fleets operating over large distances or in remote areas where standard trackers might not provide reliable data.

 

Keep in mind that a long-range tracker will cost more than a standard GPS device. Subscription costs tend to be higher, and the initial implementation costs are a more significant upfront investment.

Making the Decision: GPS Tracker Comparison Tips

Again, choosing the right GPS tracker for your fleet will depend on your objectives and the most important factors. Factors to assess include:

  1. Real-time tracking capabilities- Assess the refresh rate of the tracker’s location updates. More frequent updates offer a more precise picture of your fleet’s movements.
  2. Geofencing features- Set up virtual boundaries for your vehicles. This feature can alert you when a vehicle enters or exits a designated area, which is beneficial for managing delivery routes or ensuring vehicles stay within operational boundaries.
  3. Alerts and notifications- Common alerts include speed warnings, geofence breaches, and maintenance reminders. Choose a system that provides the alerts most relevant to your fleet management needs
  4. Durability and size of the tracker- If your vehicles operate in harsh environments, consider rugged and weather-resistant trackers. Size may also be a factor if you need a discreet installation
  5. Connectivity options and reliability- Check the connectivity options (such as cellular, satellite, or dual-mode) and ensure they match your operational area's coverage
  6. Software and integration capabilities- Look for user-friendly, feature-rich software that integrates well with any existing systems you use, such as fleet management or telematics systems
  7. Data analytics and reporting- Examine the depth of the analytics offered by the tracking solution, including fuel consumption, driver behavior, vehicle utilization, and maintenance schedules
  8. Cost and ROI-Compare the upfront costs, subscription fees, and any other associated costs of different GPS trackers
  9. Customer support and training for implementation- Choose a provider with good reviews for its support and training services
  10. Compliance- Ensure the GPS tracker meets regulatory compliance requirements relevant to your fleet’s industry or location. This is particularly important for commercial fleets that are subject to specific operational or reporting standards)

Securing Enhanced Fleet Management with the Best GPS Tracking Devices

Choosing a suitable GPS device for fleet management is pivotal for maximizing operational efficiency, ensuring safety, reducing costs, and enhancing customer satisfaction. A carefully selected GPS tracking system can transform fleet management by providing real-time data and insights that inform strategic decisions.

 

It’s essential to consider a wide array of factors and features to ensure that the device meets your specific needs. Think about your fleet’s purpose and geographic areas covered and how that will impact signal strength. When it comes to the device itself, consider reliability, durability, costs, reporting capabilities, and the expected time it takes to install and get properly running across your fleet.

 

Given the diversity of GPS devices available, assessing specific fleet needs, operational goals, and budgetary constraints is crucial when selecting a GPS tracking solution. The right choice can lead to significant competitive advantages, operational efficiencies, and cost savings, making it a foundational element of successful fleet management.

FAQs

 

What is the average price range for the best GPS tracking devices?

Depending on the level of functionality in the GPS tracking device, they range from $20 to $100. 

 

How accurate are GPS vehicle locators?

Most modern GPS trackers offer high precision, enabling users to locate their vehicles with considerable accuracy.

 

Are there monthly fees associated with GPS trackers? 

Yes, there are monthly subscription fees associated with GPS tracking devices. Subscription costs vary again depending on functionality but typically fall in the $15-$50 range per month.

 

Can I track my fleet internationally with a long-range GPS tracker?

Yes, tracking a fleet internationally is possible with long-range GPS trackers designed for global use. These trackers use a combination of GPS (Global Positioning System) technology and cellular or satellite networks to provide comprehensive coverage across different countries and regions.

 

For specific international fleet tracking solutions, it's recommended to consult directly with GPS tracker providers and inquire about their global tracking capabilities and plans to find an option that best suits your international fleet management needs.


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Disclaimer

Geotab's blog posts are intended to provide information and encourage discussion on topics of interest to the telematics community at large. Geotab is not providing technical, professional or legal advice through these blog posts. While every effort has been made to ensure the information in this blog post is timely and accurate, errors and omissions may occur, and the information presented here may become out-of-date with the passage of time.

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