GPS Tracking: The Balance Between Tracking Intervals and Battery Life

How does a GPS tracker work? Simply speaking, a tracker uses its GPS signal to calculate coordinates and transmit its location to a third party.

The GPS tracking devices at Brickhouse Security help users monitor and protect their assets—or people, when legal. Companies, for instance, often invest in our devices to track their vehicles, their expensive equipment, and the movements and whereabouts of their remote employees.

Chances are you want to purchase a quality GPS tracker that will meet your needs with little hassle. This means that when you are exploring your options, you should examine factors ranging from battery life to the tracking intervals of each device. It’s important to find a balance between the two.

What are GPS tracking intervals?

What are GPS tracking intervals?

GPS tracking intervals indicate the time that passes between each occasion the device turns on to capture its location. Intervals range from 10 seconds to 5 minutes, depending on your device and settings. 

It’s worth noting that some devices don’t use intervals at all—and as a result, they tend to have a longer battery life. GPS trackers that use on-demand personal tracking only turn on in response to a specific location request. This is a popular option for keeping track of heavy machinery (specifically machinery that is only rarely moved), checking the whereabouts of a child, or monitoring the location of a high-profile person with extensive security needs.

However, an on-demand tracking device may not be what you’re looking for. If this is the case, when searching for a GPS tracker, it’s crucial that you find a balance between tracking intervals and battery life. We’ll compare the difference between our two most popular battery operated GPS trackers: the Spark Nano and the EON.

Frequent tracking intervals?

How long will my battery last if I choose more frequent tracking intervals?

No matter the device you purchase, EON batteries will last significantly longer than Nano batteries. This is a common result as devices with frequent tracking intervals inherently feature a shorter battery life than devices that send location updates less often.

A device using 5-minute tracking intervals, for example, will have an approximately 21-day battery life in the Nano or an approximately 140-day battery life in the EON. The intervals are fairly spread out, and as such, the batteries will last longer. Conversely, a device using the shortest 10-second tracking intervals will last for far less time: approximately 8 days in the Nano and 40 days in the EON.

GPS battery life?

What is more important: tracking intervals or battery life?

Both tracking intervals and battery life are key features of any portable tracker. GPS tracking devices need long-lasting batteries to function consistently. The device may not serve the user’s needs without frequent enough tracking intervals.  

So, what factor is more important—tracking intervals or battery life?

Ultimately, the choice is up to you, depending on your needs. If you have inconsistent access to the tracker for recharging and need to remain tracking as long as possible, battery may need to be prioritized. In cases where the location of the device is more important than the length of time tracking continues, you may safely choose shorter tracking intervals to ensure you capture the location information you’re looking for.

Please contact us if you have questions about our GPS tracking solutions. At BrickHouse Security, we’ll be happy to help you find a device with the tracking intervals and battery life you need.

Updated March 20, 2024