How to Choose the Right GPS Tracker for You -

Understanding the importance of GPS tracking can revolutionize how you safeguard your loved ones and valuables. GPS, or Global Positioning System, leverages a network of satellites to provide precise location data for various applications. From ensuring your child’s safe return from school to monitoring a fleet of vehicles, GPS trackers offer real-time solutions for peace of mind. With options ranging from portable and hardwired trackers to Plug and Play devices, finding the right tracker for your needs is simpler than ever. Explore the world of GPS tracking and discover how it can enhance security and convenience.

Banner selection of GPS trackers

Key Takeaways

  • GPS Explained: GPS is a satellite-based system that helps pinpoint locations with high accuracy.
  • Versatile Uses: Track children, vehicles, valuable assets, and more in real-time.
  • Types of Trackers: Choose from portable, hardwired, or Plug and Play GPS trackers based on your needs.
  • Real-Time vs. Data Loggers: Real-time trackers offer instant updates for a fee, while data loggers provide historical data without ongoing costs.

What is GPS?

Developed by the U.S. government, the Global Positioning System, GPS for short, consists of 31 active satellites in orbit above the Earth. GPS trackers receive signals from these satellites and use them to pinpoint and track the device, generally within a few yards under optimal conditions. Trackers use multiple satellites to triangulate their position, so the more satellites the device can "see," the more accurate it will be in pinpointing its location.

What Can You Do with a GPS Tracker?

Use GPS to instantly locate anything that matters to you. Get the answers and peace of mind you need in real time.


  • Know when your 5th-grader leaves his school and when he gets home, automatically and in real time. "Geofence" alerts instantly notify you via text or email when a person, vehicle or object enters or leaves any area you select.
  • Get the locations of a single car—or an entire fleet of vehicles. Find out in seconds where a car or truck is right now, where it's been and where it's headed.
  • Worried that your teen is driving too fast? Get an instant message when her car exceeds a speed limit you've selected in advance. And if she's in trouble, she can press the built-in panic button and help will be on the way in seconds.
  • Track any object that has personal or professional value to you, from works of art to jewellery to business inventory of all kinds. Any "asset" you need to monitor can be instantly tracked with GPS. Get text or email alerts when an object moves and follow its path wherever it goes via BrickHouse's powerful GPS monitoring platform.
  • Use custom-made GPS tracking solutions to monitor valuable assets in order to cut retail loss. By tracking assets such as jewellery, pharmaceuticals, and large cargo, you're able to apprehend suspects and bring them to justice efficiently and effectively.
  • Get real-time and historical location information anywhere you have internet access, including any computer, tablet or mobile device.


The type of tracker you choose depends on what you need to do. If you need to track more than one car, or if you want to monitor something else, like a person or an object you'll need a portable tracker. 

See our list of Best GPS trackers.

How to Choose the Tracker That's Right for You

Portable, battery powered trackers like our Spark Nano 7 Micro GPS tracking device can be easily moved between multiple locations. They're so compact you can use them almost anywhere. Drop one in your preschooler's backpack on Monday, carry it with you on a Tuesday hike, and place it in your teen's car on Wednesday! Optional magnetic mount cases are also available; they allow you to attach a portable tracker under a vehicle when you don't want the driver to know it's there.

Battery life varies between trackers, and calculating how much time you'll get between charges is something of an inexact science. Most units will work for at least a week without a recharge during what is considered average use (about two hours of driving or walking per day). Some portable, battery-powered trackers have a built-in motion sensor, so they use only minimal power when they're not moving. For example, the Spark Nano can last up to two weeks without recharging if it's in use for about an hour a day.

For extended battery-powered tracking, consider a device like the Eon GPS Tracker. The Eon functions similarly to the Nano, with easy portability between tracking subjects—except the Eon is uniquely suited for long-term asset and vehicle tracking. With built-in magnetic mounts and an astounding 100-day battery, the Eon was designed to track large assets such as construction equipment and machinery in addition to everyday vehicle monitoring.

If you know you only need to monitor one car, a hardwired vehicle tracking system is your best choice. A hardwired GPS tracker, like our Livewire Dash Vehicle Tracker gets its power from your car's electrical system, so there are no batteries to charge. They require a quick, relatively simple installation and they're completely invisible inside your car; the driver will only know it's there if you choose to tell him.

If you're comfortable with simple automotive electrical work, you should be able to install a hardwired GPS tracker yourself. If not, your local car stereo shop or mechanic can usually do the job in less than a half-hour.

Like hardwired systems, Plug and Play GPS trackers get their power from your vehicle's electrical system, so they don't require batteries either. But there's no need for professional installation. For example, BrickHouse's new TrackPort plugs directly into the diagnostic port located on or below your vehicle's dashboard, and it's compatible with almost any car manufactured after 1996.

Because they're connected to your car's onboard computer, Plug and Play GPS tracking devices also let you access some interesting optional features as they become available in the software. For example, you can get engine diagnostics like vehicle speed, distance driving, maintenance reports, etc., and even immobilize your car remotely if it's stolen. Real-time GPS trackers like the Spark Nano, the Livewire, and the TrackPort report immediately from almost anywhere. To access real-time information on your computer or mobile device, a small monthly fee is required. But don't worry, you can pay as you go. There are no annual contracts or long-term commitments to sign. Some people are interested in tracking a specific event that lasts only a short time—a spouse's business trip, for example. That's why BrickHouse Security offers the convenience of paying monthly without an annual commitment on every GPS tracker we sell.

If you don't need real-time reporting, you can get all the tracking power of real-time GPS without the monthly fee. With a GPS data logger, you'll know exactly where the device has been. You just won't be able to track the action as it happens. GPS loggers deliver the same location, speed, and stop-time information as real-time trackers, but the data is provided as historical information. You can retrieve the logger and plug it into your computer to download the information you need.

Posted by Todd Morris on Apr 22nd 2024

Todd Morris

Todd Morris

Todd Morris is the Founder and CEO of BrickHouse Security, a leader in GPS tracking and security solutions since 2005. Featured on the Inc 5000 list, Todd has steered the company from its inception, applying expertise developed at Apple, Adobe, and MapQuest to deliver innovative, reliable solutions for both businesses and consumers. Recognized as an authority in the GPS tracking industry, Todd regularly contributes insights to major news programs. His practical approach includes using his sons as beta testers for products, from stroller tours to monitoring teenage driving, ensuring BrickHouse’s offerings are user-friendly and effective. This hands-on testing reflects Todd’s commitment to real-world application and safety.