The Best GPS Tracker for Cars and Vehicles
When making the decision to invest in a vehicle tracker, you want to know that you’re getting the best on the market. Finding a car tracking device that’ll meet all of your requirements can be a difficult process. To make this easier and save you time, our experts have reviewed the top vehicle trackers in Australia.
Global Positioning Specialists can also source free, tailor-made vehicle tracker quotes based on your requirements – just head to the questionnaire at the top of this page and answer a few questions about your vehicles.
How to Pick the Best Tracking Devices for Your Cars and Vehicles
To choose the right vehicle GPS tracker for your requirements, you should first identify what you’re looking for in the device.
If you simply want to track a vehicle’s location, a basic vehicle tracker will be suitable. However, if you operate a fleet of vehicles and fuel is a major cost area, a tracker that can give you valuable insights into fuel management, speeding, idling, and routing will be essential to help you cut back those fuel costs.
If your focus is more on staff security in remote locations, then alarms, man-down, and immobilisation options will be critical to ensure vehicle security. If you’re looking to protect assets in remote field locations, you’ll need something weatherproof and reliable, with a good backup battery.
If you need a comprehensive vehicle tracking system that can provide a variety of benefits to you and your fleet, helping you to cut costs and improve operations across the board, we recommend searching for a full fleet management system instead of a simple tracking device.
Contents of this page:
- What is a car tracker?
- Why invest in a vehicle tracker?
- The different types of GPS vehicle trackers
- How do vehicle tracking devices work?
- The uses of trackers
- The benefits of trackers
- Vehicle tracker costs
- Installation guide
- Reviews of the best vehicle trackes
What is a Car Tracker?
In brief, car GPS trackers come with vehicle tracking software that will enable you to locate your vehicles in real-time.
As well as tracking locations, some car GPS trackers can record various other vehicle and driver activities, all of which help to improve the efficiency of fleet operating businesses. The list of activities that can potentially be recorded by car GPS trackers is extensive, ranging from route optimisation tracking to sending alerts when one of your cars travels out of a specific geofence. Of course, the capabilities you’ll benefit from will depend on which trackers you choose.
Why Invest in a GPS Car Tracking Device?
When you manage and own a car, or a fleet of cars, there’s an extensive list of factors to consider, ranging from fuel and driver monitoring to security. In particular, one of the most important things to consider is the safety of your vehicles and, if applicable, your employees – especially against potential car theft.
There are 125 Vehicle Thefts per Day in Australia
In the 12 months leading up to March 2021, an average of 125 vehicles were stolen each day; making for a total of 45,702 motor vehicle thefts over the course of that time period. For every 1,000 vehicles that were registered in Australia, an average of 2.25 were stolen.
2020 may have seen the lowest number of Australian vehicle thefts of the past five years, but it was by no means an ordinary year. The National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC), which provides this data, said there was no certainty as to whether the numbers would continue to drop, stay the same, or shoot back up.
Vehicle theft can, of course, damage your business’s profits. Car GPS trackers are vital to mitigating this risk, helping you to track and recover stolen cars quickly, so you can avoid the need to buy replacement cars. If your trackers enable geofencing, you’ll get an alert when your vehicle moves away from a designated route without your consent, prompting you to locate the vehicle on your tracking system, and alert the authorities as to its whereabouts. In fact, some sophisticated GPS vehicle tracking devices come with the added ability to immobilise the car engine, meaning you can remotely deactivate your vehicle and prevent thieves from getting away.
The Different Types of Vehicle Trackers
When it comes to vehicle trackers, there’s no “one size fits all” approach. There are a myriad of different GPS vehicle tracking devices available on the Australian market – ranging from simple panic button devices that can transmit a driver’s location in an emergency, to trackers that continuously relay a variety of data to a cloud-based management software, where you can look at it (in other words, a full fleet tracking system).
When you’re assessing the different types of vehicle tracking devices to choose which is right for you, there are a few things to consider and compare:
Plug-and-Go vs. Hardwired
The first difference you’re likely to come across is in the ease of installation. A vehicle tracker will either need to be plugged into the vehicle’s OBD II port, or hardwired to the vehicle’s engine.
Typically, a plug-and-go device (also known as an OBD device) will offer a more basic functionality, but will also be a cheaper and easier option for smaller fleets, or those who need to be able to move a tracker between vehicles.
On the other hand, hardwired devices usually offer greater functionality and better security (they’re more difficult to remove, after all), but they tend to be more expensive. These devices are better for larger fleet-based businesses, where the goal is to maximise efficiency across a number of vehicles, and where both vehicles and drivers are your major assets.
Single Purchase vs. Subscription
Another way to narrow down your options is to decide how you’d like to pay for your GPS vehicle tracking device (or devices). If you’re going to be using simple trackers that only locate your vehicles alongside one or two other features, you’ll usually simply buy them outright, then pay only for the data you need to use them.
However, if you’d like to install a full fleet tracking system with a myriad of benefits, you’ll be looking at two different payment options:
- Buying the vehicle trackers outright, then paying a monthly subscription fee to access the tracking software they come with
- Leasing the vehicle trackers, paying no upfront charges but facing a higher monthly subscription fee to cover the cost of the software and the trackers
It can be helpful to decide what you’d rather do (is it important that you own your own trackers? Or would you rather avoid expensive upfront costs?) as vehicle tracker companies tend to offer one option or the other. Providers that give you the choice do exist – they’re just more rare. You should also think about how likely your fleet size is to grow, and how scalable and flexible your plan needs to be.
Active vs. Passive
Identifying what you need from a tracker in terms of features and functionality is key to finding the best vehicle tracker to buy. Reporting capabilities and customisation potential vary enormously across different devices. The definition of ‘real-time’ also varies: some GPS trackers transmit data every 30 seconds, while others do so every few minutes.
One big difference is between active and passive trackers. Active trackers remotely transmit data to your tracking software or app at regular intervals, while passive trackers can’t do this – instead, you’ll need to physically download the data gathered by a passive tracker at the end of each day, or journey. Generally, most GPS vehicle trackers nowadays are active, and we’d advise opting for active unless you want a seriously cheap and basic option.
How Do Vehicle Tracking Devices Work?
The vast majority of vehicle tracking devices work in a similar way, utilising GPS technology. From within a vehicle or asset, the GPS device transmits and receives location data from a satellite network. This data is then reported back to the owner via a software interface, usually accessible via smartphone, tablet or PC. How frequently the data is sent and received varies depending on the tracker system you choose.
Additionally, some vehicle trackers may utilise mobile technology, where GSM signals are received and relayed via the Australian mobile network. Some advanced vehicle tracking devices will use both GPS satellite and mobile networks to ensure reliable tracking in areas where either signal may be weaker.
The Uses of Vehicle Tracking Devices
Fundamentally, all vehicle GPS trackers enable you to keep an eye on a vehicle, and know what it’s doing and where it’s been in a specific time window. Beyond this functionality, vehicle trackers will vary, with some offering additional benefits such as driver behaviour management (for example, reporting on speeding or unnecessary idling) and FBT reporting, among many other features that are invaluable to the Australian fleet manager.
That’s why vehicle trackers aren’t just for one type of user. Vehicle tracking devices have a wide range of applications, from the service-based fleet that needs to improve its routing efficiency and customer service, to the long-haul truckers who need to get fuel costs under control. A vehicle tracking device can be used in a single car, a fleet of coaches, a network of trucks, on motorbikes, boats, and even people.
The primary premise of using a vehicle GPS tracking system is two-fold: to increase security and to reduce costs. A vehicle tracking device can give you valuable insight into your fleet and make operational changes accordingly. This might involve driver training and management, more efficient routing and job dispatch, or an improved safety level. Most users find a vehicle tracker gives them a wide range of benefits for optimising costs.
The Benefits and Features of GPS Car Trackers
So, exactly what benefits can GPS tracking systems bring to your business? Here’s a list of the features most commonly on offer to fleet managers:
- Real-time tracking and reporting
- Dispatch management
- Driver management
- Fuel management
- Route optimisation
- Vehicle maintenance tracking
- Increased efficiency and productivity
- Fleet safety
- Improved customer service
- Dashboard reporting – highlight areas where costs can be reduced
How Much Do Vehicle Tracking Devices Cost?
|Purchase Type (Per Tracker)||Upfront Tracker Cost||On-Going Tracking Costs|
|Lease Cost||Free (Dependent on supplier)||From $22/Month|
|Outright Cost||$50 - $500||From $5/Month|
GPS vehicle trackers vary enormously both in terms of functionality and therefore cost. When considering cost it is important to identify what functionality you are looking for, as well as ensuring you’re not paying for services you don’t actually need. For some, this may mean opting for a scalable option.
Typically you will either be paying a large upfront cost per device in order to own it and utilise it. These devices retail for anything from $50 to $500 per vehicle depending on functionality. You will also then have regular costs associated with the data usage.
Other vehicle trackers work on a subscription basis. Again, the subscription costs depend on functionality. Typically with a subscription based package you benefit from reduced upfront costs as well as benefiting from ongoing support and no surprise costs down the line. Vehicle trackers that offer greater functionality and come with detailed web-interfaces are typically available on a subscription basis. Most tracker device manufacturers and businesses offer different plans according to need.
Whichever vehicle tracker device you choose, and whatever the cost, you can be sure that you will see an excellent return on your investment. Because GPS vehicle trackers function to eliminate waste and reduce costs, especially in fuel-thirsty fleet-based businesses. Once you have the technology on board you are quickly able to make cost savings in terms of monitoring out-of-hours use, reducing mileage, reducing insurance premiums, and making changes to poor driver behaviour such as excess idling, as well as more efficient routing.
GPS Tracker For Car Installation
The installation process is incredibly easy. The car tracking device is simply installed on or in the required vehicle (cars, vans, trucks or lorries) and within a matter of minutes the vehicle tracking software will be able to relay information about the vehicle in question. The best Australian vehicle tracking companies will fit and set up both the tracker and software for you.
The installation of GPS trackers for cars often falls within two options:
- Installing a plug and go battery powered car tracking device
- Installing a vehicle tracker that needs to be hardwired to the car battery
Plug and Go GPS Car Tracker Installation
Often, battery powered car trackers are used by individuals wanting to track a private vehicle.
Many devices are plug-and-go options which are easy to install yourself into the vehicle’s OBDII port – much like plugging in any other piece of hardware. These are the simplest to install but hardest to conceal, and don’t always have the same functionality as a hardwired system.
Hardwired Car GPS Tracker Installation
Because of the lack of battery power with plug and go vehicle trackers, businesses that run fleets of vehicles install GPS car trackers by connecting the devices to the vehicle’s battery for more reliable tracking. This method of installation is more complex than the first option but is usually installed by Australian fleet tracking suppliers as part of the service.
However, if you wish to install the hardwired vehicle tracker yourself you should consider that hardwired systems can vary in complexity. Some are relatively simple to self-install with no more skills required than completing any other auto-task such as changing a headlight bulb. However, for those who aren’t confident, or who have a more complex system to install, then there are auto-electricians across the country who are able to install the vehicle tracking devices.
Where Should the Car Tracking Device Be Installed?
Fitting a car tracking device in a suitable place is essential, especially in regards to the security of your cars or vehicles. Ideally, the car tracker device should be installed in an area of the car which is hidden to ensure the device is covert to prevent it from being detected by potential thieves. Generally, there are a number of different locations that the car tracker should be installed within, however these will differ based on the type of vehicle. Some examples include:
- Inside the dashboard
- Concealed within internal panels
- The vehicle’s chassis
Australia’s Best Vehicle Tracking Devices
To help you further decide what type of GPS vehicle tracking device you need we have compiled in-depth reviews of ten of the best car trackers on the market.
Our experts have gathered together and reviewed a range of vehicle tracking devices to suit everyone’s needs, whether you are an individual wanting to track one vehicle or you are business wanting to track a large fleet of vehicles.
GPS Tracker for Car Reviews
Read about each of the best vehicle tracking devices in greater depth below. Compare features, customer support and much more to find the best vehicle tracker for your needs.
The following vehicle tracking devices are the best on the Australian market and cover a wide range of functionality:
The Tramigo T23 Fleet tracker is an excellent tracker for larger complex fleets, or those in the service-based industries. Real-time reporting is sent directly via excellent software to your phone or PC, enabling you to see your fleet wherever they are – it includes TLD landmark data for when mapping isn’t available. With this system you get valuable reports such as speeding and idling, as well as two-way communications for managing driver behaviour and working within routes and geo-fencing. There are no monthly or annual fees with the Tramigo T23 Fleet. You fully own the device, you simply pay for the operator fees and data.
The My Cars Gen 3 device is an Intellitrac offering, an Australian business selling Australia’s best-selling trackers. The Intellitrac My Cars Gen 3 is suitable for range of 12/24v vehicles including cars, vans and trucks. Tracking is provided in 60-second real-time, and users benefit from the smartphone interfaces and customised reporting functions. Additionally, the My Cars Gen 3 can be used to monitor driver behaviour, track routes, assess fuel tank levels and to provide man-down security. It is possible to have extras included on this device such as driver fatigue management and diagnostics. This tracker needs to be hardwired and professionally installed.
The TomTom Link 530 is TomTom’s most advanced vehicle tracker which works in conjunction with the user web platform Webfleet. Simple to install, you receive the benefits of a real-time tracker with the core functionality of the Webfleet tracking software. The tracker benefits from being fully customiseable with a diverse range of add-ons stretching from fuel tracking to dispatch management, as well as in-depth reporting across both PC dashboard and mobile applications. This tracker is best suited for fleet operated businesses wanting to maximise efficiency and reduce costs.
Safety and reliability are key with the Australian-engineered Ez-273h tracker from Ezy2c. This is a hybrid GPS tracker which is hardwired, and will use either mobile or satellite technology depending on where the vehicle is. You can opt to combine the Ez-273h with other Ezy2c offerings to enhance functionality although by itself this is an incredibly powerful tool which will realise return on investment swiftly. The system works in conjunction with Google Maps, and you receive both alerts and reporting focused on safety and efficiency, which can be customised to suit your business.
TrackPod is a cheap and simple to install vehicle tracker. This tracker is ideal for individuals wanting to track private vehicles or businesses with small fleets. TrackPod offers basic tracking functionalities that can be customised to any business requirement, however if you are a fleet operated business looking to maximise the cost saving benefits of vehicle tracking devices then a more sophisticated tracker is recommended. With a payment scheme of no upfront cost and just $1 per tracker per day this vehicle tracker is an extremely cost-effective options, especially for businesses considering the money that can be saved through fuel, reduced insurance premiums and so on.
A leader on the Australian market, this GPS tracking device offers excellent and diverse functionality with the backing of a big name. The device can easily be installed, either in to the vehicle’s OBD port, or hardwired, and can be easily scaled making it valuable for differing fleets. Functionality is key with pin-point accuracy and sophisticated technology making use of the Australian Telstra Next G and Iridium Satellite Networks. Central to the Securatrak Geotab G07 is the link to the MyGeotab portal which has a user-friendly interface allowing you to both track and analyse real-time and recorded data for both driver and vehicle performance.
7) Austracker Versatile Tracker
The Versatile Series from Austracker is a valuable vehicle tracker offering a high level of functionality. The device needs professional installation but in return offers security and valuable fleet business insights. You receive reports and alerts combined with live vehicle tracking. Also included are job dispatch functions and route planning capacities. You are able to set geo-fence areas and look in detail at incidents, there is also an inbuilt panic button for driver safety. The reports are valuable covering driver behaviour and compliance, timesheet recording, FBT and proof of service.
8) Track My Ride GPS Security Tracker
Another distinctly Australian offering is the Track My Ride GPS Security Tracker. This is a hardwired device, but although you could choose to use an auto-electrician, fitting is relatively simple. Real-time data is uploaded every 10-30 seconds depending on your chosen plan, and you’ll be given valuable insights to the behaviour of both vehicles and drivers. The system come with auto-alert functionality via text or email, as well as both PC and smartphone access. A back-up battery is integral to the device, and mapping and street view functionalities are high quality. There are seven available reporting functions including ATO logbook and Audit Logs.
The Telemax 3G Plug and Play Tracker is available on three different plans ranging from $24.95 – $35.95 per vehicle per month. These trackers are easy to install, plugging in to the vehicle’s OBD port, but for larger fleets you can opt for a hardwired option. The biggest difference between the plans is the real-time updates. The cheaper plans only gives you insight to 30 minute intervals, whereas the most expensive gives you 15 second reporting. A back-up battery is integral making this device great for in the field. You can monitor driver behaviour as well as analyse fuel and servicing requirements.
This tracker is great in a wide range of applications on the Australian market as it is suitable for pretty much any vehicle from cars, to buses, to trucks, and even sports and recreational vehicles including boats. It is recommended the device is installed by a professional auto-electrician, but once up and running you get valuable live (1-3 minute) web tracking, which is combined with SMS alerts. You even get less frequent updates when the vehicle is not moving. Security is a key feature for Fleetminder and the device enables remote immobilisation and alarm activation. A backup battery is included, and you can opt for additional extras such as fuel level sensor monitoring.