Lost Pet Tech: Comparing Cat and Dog Tracking Collars

Radio Collars

These collars rely solely on radio frequency technology (active RFID), and are a good choice for finding pets that are fairly close by.

Marco Polo tracking collar
Credit: Marco Polo

Marco Polo

The Marco Polo uses a penetrating radio frequency band that passes through walls and barriers. One boundary zone can be set up to sound an alarm if the pet leaves. It will also trigger an optional auto dialer to dial one or more phone numbers and deliver a prerecorded voice message. It has audible signals so you can drive and follow its directions. One receiver (larger than a cell phone but still pocket-sized) can track three dogs at once. It is possible to add additional dogs with special software, but without the ability to track all of them simultaneously.

Cost:$219.95 (additional tags are $92.95).
Subscription fee: $0
Range: Two miles in ideal circumstances.
Transmitter: 1.75 ounces. Water resistant; can be submerged in 6 inches of water for up to 10 minutes at a time.
Battery life:One week to three months.
Pluses:Radar can penetrate into (and through) buildings and underground. Long battery life. Good water resistance. Not dependent on cell phone network or reception. Automatic direction finding. Up to three dogs can be monitored at a time.
Minuses:Can be expensive for multiple dogs.

Loc8tor tracking collar
Credit: Loc8tor

Loc8tor

The Loc8tor has the smallest transmitter tag (almost the size of a credit card), but also the smallest range (100 up to 400 feet in open direct line of sight) of all the pet trackers we researched, so it's mostly useful for locating your pet around the house and yard (especially a pet that likes to hide) or by driving around in your car. Its drawback is that it doesn't provide any map — just directional lights that tell you if you're getting hotter or colder. When you press the locator button, the transmitter beeps; this can also be used as a signal for the pet to come if he's been taught that the beep means a treat.

Cost: $99.99
Subscription fee: $0
Range: 400 feet
Transmitter:0.175 ounces. Two included; unit can support more. Not water resistant. Splash-proof case available.
Subscription fee: $0
Battery life: Two to five months.
Pluses:Very small transmitter. Does not depend on cell phone coverage. Covers up to four dogs. Visually impaired people can use it with audio cues.
Minuses:Very limited range. No boundary alerts. No map.

Loc8tor Plus tracking collar
Credit: Loc8tor

Loc8tor Plus

The Loc8tor Plus has the features of the Loc8tor, but with a range up to 600 feet. It also has one boundary alert and a larger (cell phone–sized) receiver with better directional guidance to your pet.

Cost: $169.99
Subscription fee: $0
Range: 600 feet
Transmitter:0.175 ounces. Not water-resistant. Splash-proof case available.
Battery life: Two to five months.
Pluses: Small transmitter. No monthly fees. Does not depend on cell phone coverage. Covers up to 24 dogs. Boundary alert.
Minuses:Very limited range. No map.

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