Tractive GPS Pet Tracker Review
- »How Tractive GPS Works
- »Tractive GPS Design
- »Tractive GPS Technical Specifications
- »Tractive GPS App
- »Tractive GPS Features
- »Tractive GPS Coverage
- »How Much Does Tractive GPS Cost?
- »Tractive GPS Pros & Cons
- »Bottom Line
- »Tractive GPS Ratings
- »Tractive GPS User Reviews
- »Tractive GPS Discounts
- »Compare Tractive GPS
Tractive GPS pet tracker is the brainchild of Tractive, an Austria-based company that specializes in pet wearables and pet-related apps. It is a part of a larger family of products including Tractive Motion, an activity-only tracker that monitors pets’ daily activity, and Tractive GPS XL, a slightly modified version of Tractive GPS designed for larger animals, such as cows, horses, sheep, and even large dogs. In this Tractive GPS review, we will focus on Tractive GPS tracker for cats and dogs and introduce you to its key features, highlighting its accuracy, reliability, usability, and affordability.
How Tractive GPS Works
Tractive GPS is a GPS pet tracker that comes in the form of a tracker unit that communicates location information to the Tractive GPS app, which you can access on any device. The tracker allows you to define a safe zone within which your pet can freely move and it sends an instant notification when your pet steps outside the defined range. Once you receive the notification, you can start tracking your pet via the Tractive GPS app in the live tracking mode – you receive your pet’s location information in real time, with data refreshed almost immediately. If the live tracking mode is not on, the location update frequency depends on your pet’s level of activity and information is not updated in real time. When tracking your pet, you follow a map provided in the app. You can view both your pet’s current position and his or her previous locations. Due to Tractive GPS’ high accuracy and update speed, you should be able to locate your pet in no time.
The tracker uses cellular GPS and works both in the US and abroad. In the US, it operates on 4 cellular networks, including AT&T Mobility, Viaero Wireless, CinBell, and T-Mobile. The tracker is equipped with its own SIM card and it does not matter which mobile service provider you have for your mobile device.
Tractive GPS Design
Tractive GPS comes in 3 equally attractive versions. All versions of Tractive GPS come in the form of a rounded cuboid measuring 2 inches in height by 1.6 inches in width by 0.6 inches in depth. A single device weighs just 1.23 oz. or 35 grams. The device fits most collars and is attached with collar clips provided in the Tractive GPS package. The 3 versions of Tractive GPS only differ in terms of color and pattern. You can opt for the white version with a blue Tractive logo, the Hunters Edition with a black-on-olive camouflage pattern, and the pink version with a white logo embellished with crystals from Swarovski. The device is small, lightweight, and unobtrusive, so your pet should have no trouble getting used to it. However, it is important to note that the recommended pet size for Tractive GPS is 9.9 pounds and above. If your pet weighs more than 44 pounds, you should opt for Tractive GPS XL, which possesses the same key features as Tractive GPS but is somewhat larger (3.1 x 1.9 x 1.1 inches), heavier (5 oz.), and has a longer battery life (up to 6 weeks).
Tractive GPS Technical Specifications
In this section of our Tractive GPS review, we will explore the most important technical features of the device, including its durability, battery life, and GPS accuracy and range.
Tractive GPS is highly durable and resistant to impact. The manufacturer claims that it is virtually indestructible – upon inspecting its clever design and testing it ourselves, we can say that this seems like a valid claim.
The device is rated IPX7, which means that it is not only resistant to water, but that it can withstand immersion of up to 3 feet (1 meter) for up to 30 minutes.
Tractive GPS comes with a rechargeable battery. The average battery life is 2 to 5 days with normal use but decreases significantly when live tracking is on. Still, you can expect it to last for about 8 hours in the live tracking mode.
Tractive GPS can work over any distance. It has a built-in GPS antenna and uses GPS satellites to calculate its GPS position. Its communication range is only limited by the possibility to establish communication with GPS satellites.
According to the US SPS Performance Standard, the average accuracy of tracking devices like Tractive GPS is 25 feet (7.8 meters), with a confidence level of 95%. However, accuracy may vary depending on how many GPS satellites the device can detect. It needs to establish the distances to no less than 4 satellites; the more satellites it detects, the greater the accuracy.
The device comes equipped with a LED light, making it easier for you to track your pet after dusk. The light can also communicate important information about the network and GPS status of the tracker. If you press the power button for one second, the light blinks 2 times, telling you whether the network and GPS are available (both lights green), whether the network is unavailable but GPS is available (the first light red, the second green), whether the network is available but GPS is not (the first light green, the second red), and whether both the network and GPS are unavailable (both lights red). If one of the lights is red, turn your device off and on and go outside and try to establish a connection with both GPS and the network in order to enjoy a normal tracking experience.
Tractive GPS contains a built-in speaker that can be remotely activated using the Tractive GPS app. Upon activation, the device emits buzzer-like sound, which is supposed to allow you to find the device more easily if it is lost. However, due to legal restrictions, the buzzer function has been disabled for US users.
Unlike many other pet trackers, Tractive GPS provides both a smartphone app and a web app. The smartphone app works on Android and iOS phones and requires Android 4.1 and up and iOS 9.3 or later. The web app works on any device with access to the Internet and you can access it by logging in at my.tractive.com.
Tractive GPS App
Tractive GPS smartphone app and web app are your main tools for tracking your pet. Within the apps, you can view your pet’s constantly updated location information, interactive tracking map, location history, and the device’s battery status. You can further define and modify virtual fences, remotely activate the buzzer if available in your country, view your tracker’s status, and share your pet’s location with your friends. Tractive GPS apps allow you to track an unlimited number of pets, with tracking information for all pets available at a tap.
Tractive GPS Features
Perhaps the greatest downside of Tractive GPS is that it does not allow for activity monitoring. It only allows you to keep track of your pet’s location. Thus, in this section, we will explore its most prominent location tracking features.
Also known as the live tracking mode, real-time tracking with Tractive GPS allows you to discover your pet’s current location, with location information updated every 2 to 3 seconds. With information refreshed so quickly and instant alerts when your pet leaves the safe zone, you can be sure that your pet can never wander off too far.
Tractive GPS tracking map is fully interactive and displays the locations of all your pets wearing the Tractive GPS tracker. It allows you to switch between multiple views, including a regular map, a hybrid map, and satellite image views. You can further make use of the handy compass that guides you in the direction your pet is headed.
Only available to Premium subscribers, the speed feature allows you to see how fast your pet is moving. The speed information is only displayed and updated in the live tracking mode, allowing you to learn about your pet’s behavior while you are tracking.
Just like the speed feature, the altitude feature is only available to Premium subscribers. It allows you to discover the current altitude of the device relative to the sea level.
To make it easier to track your pet, Tractive GPS also allows you to track in the augmented reality view. You can switch to the augmented reality mode by clicking or tapping the globe icon marked 3D and get the real-world overlay of the distance between you and your pet.
Location History feature allows you to see position history of your pet. You can set the start and end dates yourself and precisely define the timeframe using the handy slider. Location history is displayed in the form of a linear path on the map.
Virtual Fence is also known as the safe zone. This is the area where you know your pet can freely roam and you can easily customize it in accordance with the situation. You can place the safe zone anywhere on the globe and custom-define its size, with the minimum radius being 50 meters or 164 feet.
When live tracking, it is important to know how much time you have before the device’s battery dies. With the battery status feature, you can always view the current battery level of the tracker, so you can know if you need to hurry up if the battery is low.
Highly useful when you need some extra help locating your dog, the Tracker Sharing feature allows you to share your pet’s location with your friends. Your friends only need to have a Tractive GPS account. If desired, you can limit the sharing period to just 24 hours.
Tractive GPS Coverage
Tractive GPS works in over 150 countries around the world, including the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, and many others. However, although it has an impressive coverage, it is important to note that in order to be able to track your pet, you need Internet access on your device and the tracker needs to establish a connection with the network and GPS, so the device may not work in the most remote areas.
How Much Does Tractive GPS Cost?
The price of Tractive GPS tracking device depends on the version you choose. The standard white and the crystal-embellished pink trackers cost $79.99 per tracker.
The Hunters Edition and Tractive GPS XL cost $99.99 per device. In the package, you receive a GPS tracker, a charge, collar clips, and a user manual. Tractive GPS and Tractive GPS XL come with a 12-month warranty and qualify for Tractive CARE, which guarantees that your device will be replaced if lost, damaged or stolen during the service period.
As far as the service plans go, you can choose between the Basic and the Premium packages.
The Basic package does not come with worldwide coverage (you can only use it in your home country), does not allow sharing, and does not include Premium features like Altitude and Speed, Premium customer support, unlimited location history, and location history exporting. It costs €4.99 (around $5.76) per month with the monthly subscription, €4.16 (around $4.80) per month with the yearly subscription, and €3.75 (around $4.33) per month with the 2-year subscription.
If you opt for the Premium subscription, you get all the benefits Tractive GPS offers, but you cannot opt for the monthly subscription. You pay €4.99 (around $5.76) per month with the yearly subscription and €4.16 (around $4.80) per month with the 2-year subscription. If you wish, you can also purchase accessories such as a fashionable dog collar, LED collar, reflective collar, signal vest, extra clips, USB chargers, and more. You can even get the Tractive MOTION pet activity tracker for just $36.99. Tractive MOTION is small and lightweight (just 0.25 oz.) and boasts battery life of over 1 week, so you can easily use it alongside Tractive GPS. Tractive MOTION comes with no monthly fees, you only pay for the device. All deliveries over $29.99 come with free shipping.
Tractive GPS Pros & Cons
Knowing the biggest strenghts and weaknesses of Tractive GPS can help you decide if it is the right pet tracker for your furry friend. Here is a quick overview of its pros and cons.
- Works in over 150 world countries
- Unlimited communication range
- Live tracking mode
- Fully customizable safe zones Interactive map in multiple views
- Abundance of useful tracking features
- Waterproof and shockproof
- Attractive design 12-month guarantee
- Free replacement during the service period
- Does not track activity
- Safe zone has a minimum range of 164 feet
- Not suitable for pets that weigh less than 9.9 pounds
Tractive GPS is a fast, reliable, and precise GPS pet tracker with worldwide coverage that offers a wealth of useful tracking features and provides instant notifications when your pet steps outside the safe zone. Its live tracking mode allows you to receive location updates every 2 to 3 seconds, switch between different map views, and even view your pet’s current speed and altitude. It allows you to customize safe zones and share your pet’s location with your friends for easier tracking. Its main flaw is that it does not track your pet’s activity, but the company does offer an independent activity tracker that is small, lightweight, and affordable, so you can easily use both devices at once and enjoy their combined benefits.
Not very happy with this Tracker! I have a 1 year old 135lb Saint Bernard that I took camping for the first time, so I bought this thinking it would be great incase we lost him if he wandered off. It was not great.
1. It’s not water proof like advertised. My dog dipped his head into the water less than a feet deep and it turned off.
2. It lost connection before we even got to the campsite, meanwhile my AirTag I had on my dog could still locate us.
3. It needs to be charged so often, which defeats the purpose of my dog being able to wear it at all times.
4. Although it lost reception and couldn’t locate us, I figured it would be okay still incase my dog got lost and wandered off into a spot with reception. Nope, it turned itself off again and the AirTag would still have been on and with an accurate location.
Don’t waste your time buying this, you’re better off buying an AirTag. At least you don’t have to pay the $90 plus whatever subscription you end up paying for.
No pet tracker is perfect. We have found that Tractive works wonderfully when combined with something else like a Tile or Air Tag. We’ve had our cats get stuck inside a hotel laundry once and an apartment storeroom another time. The tractive told us where our cat was to within 10 meters both times and the Tile noise and greater accuracy got us to exactly where they were. But the tile and Air Tag are useless if you have no idea where you pet is, and that’s where the Tractive works wonders! It’s not super accurate but when combined with a Bluetooth tracker it works wonderfully!
If you stand next to your dog in an open field the tracker will be accurate. If you actually need to track your dog because he/she is further away from you and there are any obstructions (hello, trees!), then don’t bother.
It’s not only my experience – our group of dog owners in our local park purchased Tractives and initially were happily tracking our dogs and enjoying the different features of the app. Then the gadgets started failing us one by one. A number of our dogs ended up in situations when an accurate tracker would have been useful and Tractive was not it. I would warn any dog owner to not rely on it in a dire situation!
I used to be quite satisfied about the tracker and app, but when my cat recently lost his tracker and I got sent a replacement that was a newer model I was very unhappy with that.
First of all, the replacement is almost 50% heavier than the earlier model. Secondly, it has an integrated battery, which means my cat cannot continuously wear the tracker. The previous model allowed me to charge a spare battery and simply replace that every few days, my cat would never be without a tracker. The new charger is also very instable: it doesn’t actually click in with the tracker but is connected to it with magnets. It took me 18 to charge it the last time.
Then, more on the customer service side, when I lost the tracker, and asked a replacement via the insurance, I only got sent a new GPS, without any collar. When I contacted the customer service, they told me that new collars were not included in the insurance. However, not only is it not possible to loose the tracker without loosing the collar (in the model I had they were even integrated), it is also not possible to add a (paid) collar when asking for the replacement tracker. This has to be done in a separate order, thus implying two times shipping costs and two different shipments.
All in all, I am very disappointed with these recent changes, I hope I will find a different tracker more to my liking, or that the next model will be better again.
Ps: as I said before, I was until recently quite happy with the tracker, although both my cats did loose their trackers quite a bit. Usually I managed to find them back using the app, the GPS signal is relatively accurate.
I have had the tracker for over a year. It has helped me before but lately the app shows my dog out of the safe zone and he is laying on my lap. I got this to help me not worry so much while I’m at work. This has not happened. I get at least 3 times a day where it says my dog has left the safe zone and he is in his cage. I think they need to figure out a better way. I don’t think I would recommend it. I have drove home twice in a month to make sure my dog was in the house and he was.
Have had the tracker for a little over a week and am disappointed with the GPS tracking. I don’t know what map or satellite it uses for positioning but the Canadian locations leave a lot to be desired.
When my dog is on my property it tells me that he is on the neighbours property on a neighbouring street. I live on a large rural lot so this should not be happening.
If my dog really was lost I would be miles away from finding it.
Total waste of money.
I LOVE TRACTIVE! Though I’ll admit falling in love with Tractive was inevitable for me, because I’d just come from a disastrous experience with Pawtrack. The difference between those two GPS trackers is like night and day, so after weeks of struggling with a poorly made non-working product and truly horrible customer service at Pawtrack, it was absolutely refreshing to experience the difference at Tractive!
Firstly, the people at Tractive made me feel so welcome! In fact, Tractive’s customer service is some of the best I’ve ever experienced anywhere. You may never need them, though, because their online documentation, too, is some of the best I’ve seen in a long time. (Just so you know, I worked in engineering doing new product design for 30 years, and I’ve also done quite a bit of website design and technical support and customer service, so I’m a bit picky about such things.)
Their online “Support” page has a wealth of information, and be sure to click on “Before you buy” and then “What is the Tractive GPS web app? / How to use the Tractive GPS without a smartphone” to find a link where you can try a demo of the GPS web app for FREE!
The tracker itself is a high-quality product and very easy to use. I thought it might be too bulky for my cat, but it’s very lightweight and doesn’t bother him at all. In fact, when he wants to go outside now, he first jumps up on a chair to let me know he’s ready for me to put on his GPS tracker/collar! The Rogz breakaway collar they sell is a very good design, too, with three adjustable settings for the breakaway feature, based on the weight of the cat, so it won’t come apart too easily nor be too resistant when needed.
As for the battery life, I’m satisfied. Though I don’t have the tracker on my cat when he’s in the house, I frequently turn on the “live” feature while he’s outside, which drains the battery faster. Still, the battery lasts several days for me, even though I don’t do anything special to save battery power, such as setting up Power Saving Zones, because I don’t have a cell phone to do so. (Though you can only set it up in their mobile app for now, I’ve asked and I’m hoping they will add that feature to their web app soon!) Charging the battery is easy and quick, taking only two hours for a full charge.
Lastly, I want to address the GPS accuracy, as I’ve seen several reviews stating the cat’s location they see on the tracking software is not accurate. First of all, let’s remember that cats sleep a lot. That said, go online and do a search for “GPS drift while stationary”, and you’ll see what the problem is and realize this is NOT TRACTIVE’S FAULT. It’s just the nature of GPS tracking that locating is not exact, especially with a device that’s not moving; once it starts to move again, locating becomes MUCH better, especially when you click on the “live” feature so you can watch the movement as it happens.
When my cat is resting outside, tracking looks like he’s in the house and all over the yard; when I click “live” and we go for a walk around the neighborhood, accuracy improves tremendously, showing which side of the street we’re on, where we cross the street, and even where he goes up to houses to check them out. A related software feature I like is the “device accuracy” setting, which puts a circle around your cat’s location that dynamically expands and contracts, indicating the location accuracy range within that circle at that moment.
I recommend Tractive’s GPS Tracker for Cats to anyone who wants to monitor their cat’s whereabouts, but remember that GPS performance will vary depending on where you live. Tractive offers a refund if you’re not satisfied within the first 30 days, and you can always start on the monthly plan like I did and then upgrade later to save money. Have fun!
I loved this tracker for the first six months or so that I had it… unfortunately for no reason (that I can figure out), it stopped working. I’ve had it work in the middle of the woods so long as I had extended internet connection. Now it doesn’t work unless I am at home, which makes it useless, as I used it when on hikes and doing sent work with my dog. I don’t get what happened. They sent me a new one after weeks of trying to communicate with them, but it’s the same deal. I don’t get why it can’t connect anymore. I mean, I leave the property and once it doesn’t have the main internet connection it doesn’t work… It makes me super sad though. I wish I could talk to someone in real time instead of every three days via email… I once loved this product.
Love it.. and updates keep making it better! It DOES track activity now and does gives rankings with other dogs local, global and breed. And now has his power saving mode. When your dog gets home you have the option of connecting to the Wi-Fi and extending your battery life from 2 days to about a week. The drawback with the power saving mode is you can’t see exactly where your dog is when he’s within your Wi-Fi range. But it’s worth the extra 5 days of battery charge. For fun you can disable the power saving mode and you can see by the temperature map where he’s been so most of his time in the house and in the yard. It’s really quite cool.
What I like about this tracker more than others have tried is that it has a live mode that will actually track My dogs activities when we are on long walks off leash. The walks actually track my dog. The map view is awesome because you can look at any two-week span since human using the application and you can pinpoint exactly where your dog was down to the second. If you were using live mode at the time which I do on my hikes, I have the exact path to where my dog has gone. If he runs off to the woods after something I can swatch him come back to me on the application. A few times he has lost me and going back to the car and I can see using the application that he’s waiting at the car for me. When I’m away I can check and see that he is home and has not escaped. It gives me a real piece of mind when I’m hiking and when I’m home.
Now when I first got the application I did have problems thinking the activity. I figured out you just had to let it sit for a while once you open the apps for it to handshake with Bluetooth. The latest update it appears to have resolved this issue.
There is a major competitor out there who does a lot of advertising that cost a lot more has more expensive service and doesn’t do any of these things. This is a fantastic product at a very reasonable price. I really couldn’t recommend it more.
Awful accuracy, too heavy and short battery charging. Will someone please design and manufacture a cat tracker that actually works?!?
Initially very good experience, however can’t currently recommend.
I have had a few inexplicable device failures, but after resetting the trackers they started working again.
Easy release collars provided are a bit too easy release, but better than the cats getting hurt. Be prepared to go looking for them however.
Sound alarm turn off by itself way too quickly, and could do with being louder.
My only real complaint is the negative experience I’ve had trying to get a replacement. One of my cats lost his collar, and the signal was too weak for live tracking, so I couldn’t turn on the sound and couldn’t find it. Tractive gives a free replacement every subscription year, which is brillant. Unfortunately they/their chosen courier typically takes over a week to get an item to me. Item was received faulty, after trying and failing to get it to work, Tractive dispatched another one. This has also been received faulty. Customer support is now not responding. I assume they will, but in the meantime, cat went missing becasue he got locked in somewhere. (thankfully only for a few hours).
The tracker on my other cat is working fine however, it’s just a pity Tractive can’t guarantee a working product. If they couls then I’d happily give a 5 star review.
Once I’d learned how to use the app, I find that attractive is indispensable. Gives me peace of mind that I could track my cats. I would recommend this product to anybody.
This unit(while a little awkward for a cat) has been a good investment. My cat lost the tracker again yesterday, but I was able to navigate to the exact location with the incumbent software – very impressive!
Two issues: It is difficult to find a right sized collar for a cat to accommodate the tracker properly. If the company wants to market to cat owners, they should arrange to get a cat collar that fits snugly with the transmitter. Anything that I could find, was much too thin.
Secondly, I have the same complaint regarding the Power Saving mode. I set this up as well and have limited ability to track my cat in the GPS zone. I could not turn it off again and sent an email to customer service…..after waiting one week for a response, I was informed that it was turned off……it wasn’t and isn’t…I can only assume that this feature is a cost saving measure for tractive as it reduces the hours they purchase for transmittal of signals.
Bought a tractive three years ago, and was generally pretty happy with it. My only real complaint was that it’s sometimes would take quite a long while to engage live mode, and the tracking sampling intervals are so infrequent in standard mode that it is just about useless. Once live mode does start working, I found it to be pretty accurate and very helpful, with an understandable lag of about 10 seconds when the dog starts moving. I expected my rough-and-tumble Hound would either lose or break it, but it’s still working fine.
Recently, the company sent an email letting me know that my tracker would stop working, because the carriers are phasing out 3-g in the USA. However, rather than abandon the customer, they included a link to order an updated model, along with a coupon code to get it for free! That’s a stand-up company, and since their business model is to sell the tracker cheap and then earn it back in monitoring fees, it does the right thing for both the company and the customer.
The new unit arrived in a few days, and so far at least it seems to engage live mode promptly, so I’m also benefiting from any improvements that they’ve made over the past couple of years. Five stars for the product, and especially for standing behind it!
I bought the Tractive GPS tracker. It has been a disappointing experience. I have good coverage where I live yet for ever the device does not connect.It is possibly the most useless bit of technology that I have bought. I would not recommend the device.
I use Tractive GPS for 2 years. Everything was OK, until after annoying messages the mobile app installed Power Saving Zones.
The tracker stopped working, only one message: “you are in power saving zone”, even though the tracker is 1000 yards from the home and WIFI is off. Network and GPS are unable. No light and sound.
And in addition to that, the tracker stopped work in internet mode (in internet browser).
No option to remove Power Saving Zones.
I reinstalled app, reset tracker – no effect.
What idiot made the Power Saving Zones?
The old tracker works OK.
Customer service works bad, no phone, no fast responds to emails.
Please help to remove Power Saving Zones from mobile app.
I have found powersaving mode
Really good as I’m away on shift for up to 4 days, and my dog is retired cattle dog we leave the gate open and have him on pet safe collar. It saves me reminding the family
To charge it every 2 days. It gives me peace of mind if he overrides the pet safe collar that keeps him inside the property.
Purchased the GPS DOG LTE on April 1st 2021. Possibly Tractive is playing a April Fool as the device simply doesn’t work. Despite my phone having excellent 5 bar coverage the Tractive only manages to post a GPS coordinate every few hours, add to that the “live tracking” feature doesn’t work as the device claims the phone signal is too weak and that the battery life is less than 24 hours not the promissed 2 – 4 days and that “customer service” is email only and goes unanswered. The customer experience is needless to say a disaster and best avoided. I wish I had.
Tractive basically is garbage. Many times it simply will not charge. A weird type of charging unit , a red light will appear if it’s charging successfully. It might charge once every 3-4 days. Sometimes you have to bang it against the counter. Had it replaced once but the second one did the same thing. The other issue is that it simply does not track in real time or at all, unless you’re standing right beside your dog. Customer service is terrible. Only done through emails, but the first email doesn’t get replied to for 3-4 days. Save your money and keep your blood pressure from boiling and stay away from this headache
Exactly my experience. Wish I hadn’t bought it.