Reviews

6 Best No Monthly Fee Dog Trackers In 2024

Dog under water with Smart compass by Lynq
Written by Mark Braeden

These days, many of the most popular GPS dog trackers require a paid subscription to use them, and this is what stops many people to buy them. Don’t worry, though; there are a bunch of GPS dog collars with no monthly fee available in 2024. Do these subscription-free dog trackers provide the same features as paid ones? Are they really cheaper in the long run? What should you look for in the best option? Keep reading to find out the answers to all of these questions and more.

First, if you’re in a rush and don’t have time to read the entire article, check out my quick picks for the best dog trackers without a subscription. Just a head’s up, I used affiliate links for my recommend trackers. If you buy one through those links, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Name
Editor's Pick
Fi Collar
Garmin Alpha 200i
Marco Polo Pet Tracking System
Range
Unlimited (if upgraded to a paid subscription), if you use non-paid the range is within wi-fi coverage
Up to 9 miles
Up to 2 miles
Do you need internet connection?
Important dog GPS features
It comes with subscription & no subscription options
No subscription fee, easily set up and monitor up to 20 dogs
No subscription needed
Our Expert Review
Editor's Pick
Name
Fi Collar
Preview
fi dog tracker without subscription thumbnail
Range
Unlimited (if upgraded to a paid subscription), if you use non-paid the range is within wi-fi coverage
Do you need internet connection?
Important dog GPS features
It comes with subscription & no subscription options
Our Expert Review
Current Price
Name
Garmin Alpha 200i
Preview
Garmin Alpha 200i Dog Tracking Handheld, Utilizes...
Range
Up to 9 miles
Do you need internet connection?
Important dog GPS features
No subscription fee, easily set up and monitor up to 20 dogs
Our Expert Review
Current Price
Name
Marco Polo Pet Tracking System
Preview
Eureka Technology MARCOPOLO Advanced Pet Monitoring,...
Range
Up to 2 miles
Do you need internet connection?
Important dog GPS features
No subscription needed
Our Expert Review
Current Price

Best No Monthly Fee GPS Dog Collars in 2024

Let me warn you upfront, the initial price of these subscription-free dog collars is more expensive in many cases than subscription-based options. But you save so much money long-term because you don’t have to pay a monthly fee. However, is it really worth it? What is the main difference between subscription-based dog trackers and the ones with no monthly fee? All of this will be covered below.

If you’re curious about what I use, I personally switched from no monthly fee dog tracker (I used TK Star and it was horrible). I’m currently using SpotOn because they added some great new features recently (I was using Fi before). That said, while you can use their collars without a subscription as an invisible fence, you do need a cell plan to use them for GPS tracking. So, they don’t really count as a no-fee tracker.   However, the subscription-free option is very limited except for Garmin collars.

5 no fee dog GPS trackers.

 

1. Garmin Alpha 200i

Preview
Garmin Alpha 100 GPS Track and Train Handheld, Black
Rating
-
Reviews
-
Main Feature
Multidog fitness and GPS tracker with emergency alert feature
No Fee Dog GPS Tracker
More information
Preview
Garmin Alpha 100 GPS Track and Train Handheld, Black
Rating
-
Reviews
-
Main Feature
Multidog fitness and GPS tracker with emergency alert feature
No Fee Dog GPS Tracker
More information

The Garmin Alpha 200i from the Garmin Store is a multi-dog tracking system that has no monthly subscription fee and also works with no cell service. This can track up to 20 dogs or other hunters when used with additional Alpha 100 handheld devices. This dog tracker can track from 4 to 9 miles using its preloaded maps.

Garmin Alpha 200i is amazing dog tracking system and activity monitor

It consists of preloaded TOPO US 100k maps which have a scale of 1:100,00 USGS maps. These maps made it possible for the whole tracking system to work without any monthly subscription. Customers loved that this dog tracker has no subscription fee, works in areas without any wifi or cellular signal, and can track even on thick bushes. I picked Alpha 200i as the best Garmin dog collar. I also personally use it when going for outdoor activities with my dogs. Honestly, I would recommend it only for those who go on hunting or hiking adventures with a dog. If you are looking for a simple dog location tracker, it’s just too much for you.

2. Marco Polo Advanced Pet Monitoring, Tracking, and Locating System

Preview
Eureka Technology MARCOPOLO Advanced Pet Monitoring,...
Type of Dog Tracker
GPS
Dog Tracker Main Features
  • No GPS or cell network required
  • No monthly service contracts
  • Single-button push to begin searching for pets
  • Tracking Tags are suitable for extensive swimming
  • The rechargeable battery on the pet’s collar can last up to 6 weeks, under constant monitoring
Battery Life
Up to 6 weeks, under constant monitoring
Preview
Eureka Technology MARCOPOLO Advanced Pet Monitoring,...
Type of Dog Tracker
GPS
Dog Tracker Main Features
  • No GPS or cell network required
  • No monthly service contracts
  • Single-button push to begin searching for pets
  • Tracking Tags are suitable for extensive swimming
  • The rechargeable battery on the pet’s collar can last up to 6 weeks, under constant monitoring
Battery Life
Up to 6 weeks, under constant monitoring

The Marco Polo Advanced Pet Tracking System can be used to track your pet even if you are not connected to the internet which makes this device ideal for traveling. You don’t have to pay a subscription since they use radio signals.

It is waterproof and extremely robust thus, suitable for energetic and daring cats and dogs. This device fits pets ranging in size from large dogs to small dogs and cats with collar lengths of seven inches or more.

Marco polo dog tracing system setup

The Marco Polo Advanced Pet Tracking System uses radio waves to determine your pet’s position because it does not require an internet connection. The tag on the collar should ideally respond to the portable locator once every 5 seconds while you are within range, allowing the locator to pinpoint your dog’s exact location.

If your fur baby loves water, this gadget is a good option for keeping them safe while they indulge in their favorite activities. It can withstand lengthy exposure to water because it is designed for extensive swimming.

While this tracking device is a good buy, I still personally prefer to use the Fi Dog Collar. Aside from the fact that I prefer using a smart collar that uses GPS over the conventional ones that used radio signals, I also find Fi Dog Collar to be more functional and user-friendly. Also, while some of Fi Dog Collar’s functions need a subscription to utilize, I still think it is worth the money.

Nonetheless, Marco Polo Advanced Pet Tracking System is still a good option for fur parents who wants to use a tracking device that they can use in areas without network coverage.

3. PetFon Pet GPS Tracker

Preview
PETFON Pet GPS Tracker, No Monthly Fee, Real-Time...
Rating
Reviews
1,566 Reviews
Main Feature
Pinpointing dog's location in real time.
No Fee Dog GPS Tracker
More information
Preview
PETFON Pet GPS Tracker, No Monthly Fee, Real-Time...
Rating
Reviews
1,566 Reviews
Main Feature
Pinpointing dog's location in real time.
No Fee Dog GPS Tracker
More information

The next dog GPS collar on the list is the PetFon Pet GPS Tracker from the PETFON Store. This dog tracker has no monthly subscription as well. It uses a combination of GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and long-distance wireless technologies that accurately track the location of your dog. It also can track real-time and has a tracking range up to 0.65 miles in a closed space and up to 3.5 miles in an open field.

What makes this dog tracker effective is the use of LoPowan technology. This is a wireless transmission technology that is free to travel on airwaves without the aid of a SIM card and cellular network signals, which makes this tracker have no monthly subscription fee. Buyers have stated that the no monthly subscription fee was a big relief even if it is a little pricey than similar devices that have subscription fees and that it is worth it.

I personally tried the collar and I did not like the short range. Well, that’s why you do not pay monthly fees. I have four “runner” dogs, this is why I use Fi Collar because it has a pretty much unlimited tracking range and you can track your pup anywhere in the U.S. – with LTE service. Check the current price here.

4. Garmin Astro 430 Tracker

Preview
Garmin Astro 900 Dog Tracking Bundle, GPS Sporting Dog...
Rating
-
Reviews
-
Main Feature
Collar has glonass system; wide range
GPS Tracker
More information
Preview
Garmin Astro 900 Dog Tracking Bundle, GPS Sporting Dog...
Rating
-
Reviews
-
Main Feature
Collar has glonass system; wide range
GPS Tracker
More information

The Garmin Astro 430 dog tracking collar that works with no cell service is another tracker by the Garmin company that has GPS/GLONASS reception system. This enables better tracking than GPS in a challenging environment. This dog tracker is subscription-free and also comes with a preloaded TOPO US 100k mapping for the topographic maps.

Garmin Astro 430 GPS dog tracking system bundle

In addition to that, it also has a free 1-year subscription to Birds Eye Sattelite Imagery which is perfect for tracking your dog outdoors. It can track up to 4 miles with the mini collar device and up to 9 miles using the normal collar. This tracker can also do unit-to-unit transfer of data with compatible Garmin devices. This is made possible with the expanded ecosystem and wireless connectivity options. The customers are satisfied with how precise and accurate the tracker is despite having no subscription fee.

They also added that it is worth the price especially when you use it in places where there are no cellular services. Similar to Garmin Alpha 200i, I would recommend it only for those who go on hunting or hiking adventures with a dog.

5. Smart Compass by Lynq

Using a smart compass by Lynq to locate a dog in the forest

Smart Compass by Lynq was recently released and it is a perfect device for locating your dogs anywhere (and not only dogs but pretty much everything) with no phone, cell service, wifi, or monthly fees required. This no monthly fee dog GPS tracker will let you track your dog’s location within 3 miles range. The price is extremely high though considering that the smart compass provides location information only. For example, the Garmin no monthly fee collars cost over $700 but they also offer a handheld with Sunlight-readable 3.6″ touchscreen and you can also set it for up to 20 dogs.

It’s also weatherproof & waterproof with an IP67 rating (your dog can go as deep as 3 feet).

Dog under water with Smart compass by Lynq

Photo from official @lynqme Instagram

Smart Compass by Lynq also tracks real-time, gives real-time alerts, and doesn’t use cellular coverage or signal. It has an integrated carabiner for fast attachment with your dog’s collar or harness. It was designed for use mostly for outdoor adventures with your dog like hunting and hiking. You can also use it as a daily tracker but keep in mind that the battery life is about three days.

I love the way it works when hiking or hunting with your dog. Their alert system activates by vibrating and ringing if your dog leaves a designated safe zone that you can manually set.

The thing I love most about Smart Compass is that it works even when cell phones fail.

Smart Compass by Lynq is definitely a good option if you are specifically looking for a true no-monthly-fee dog tracker. However, I find it overpriced. Make sure to order from the official website only to avoid fake products!

Honorable Mention: Apple AirTags

Apple Airtag

Apple AirTags aren’t technically dog GPS tracking devices. In fact, Apple is pretty clear that they’re not meant for this purpose and that the company will not be responsible for lost pets. That said, I know quite a few dog owners who use them as trackers without an issue. In fact, over on my post about the best AirTag Dog Collars, one reader commented that AirTags are the ONLY thing they use because they’re cheaper and work just as well as pricy collars.

Honestly, I’m not so sure I agree with that. I feel like too many things can go wrong. They can fall off your dog’s collar (even with the best collar, stuff happens), stop working, and any other number of “worse case scenario” problems could occur. I guess that’s true with any collar, though. Still, the fact that Apple so vehemently warns against using their tags to track dogs does make me a bit nervous.

All of that said, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention them here, though, because they really ARE one of the best no-monthly-fee tracking devices. If you want to give them a try, you can grab a 4-pack on Amazon.

A Note About Fi (& Why It’s No Longer On This List)

 

Yellow Fi Collar in the box

Photo Fi Collar

If you’ve read this post prior to this update, you may have noticed something: the Fi dog GPS Collar used to be #1. Now it’s not even on the list above. Why? Is Fi a bad collar all of a sudden? Did I stop recommending it entirely? No, and no. Not at all to either question.

However, Fi went from being one of the best no-subscription dog GPS trackers to being ONLY a subscription-based collar. You CANNOT buy the Series 3 collar without also getting a subscription. In fact, the way they have it set up,  you’re actually paying for the subscription upfront, and the collar comes with it.

Unfortunately, they’re only selling the Series 3 on their website now. So you can’t even grab an older series and avoid the subscription set-up. I searched high and low for a Series 2 collar still available to buy online and came up empty. I suppose you could find one on eBay, but I’m not so sure Fi will support it. In other words, it may not work.

All of that said, the Fi Series 3 Collar is still a great option, especially if you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars. They have several subscription tiers, including one for $19 per month, one for $102 for 6 months, and so on. So even with the subscription-only price structure, it may actually end up being cheaper than one of the no-monthly-fee collars above.

Subscription-based Dog Trackers vs. No Monthly Fee Dog Trackers: Which One is Better?

Obviously, you might think you can save a lot of money when buying a GPS dog tracker without any monthly subscription fee. You also expect an unlimited tracking range and more features. However, the tracking range will be extremely limited, other customers fear that having no subscription means that the safety of their best buddy is at stake. But also remember that having a subscription doesn’t guarantee that your tracker will not malfunction or that your dog’s safety is ensured.

There are a few cons about dog trackers without a subscription, that I would like to mention before you decide to purchase one:

  • None of the subscription-free dog GPS trackers provide unlimited tracking range
  • The ones with long-range, e.g. Garmin ones that can track up to 9 miles, are extremely expensive ($699+)
  • The product support is very poor, except for Garmin dog trackers
  • Eventually, some of the products will add a paid subscription e.g. Geozilla, Tractive, or Whistle

This is why I use Fi Collar for all my dogs. You can check more about the collar in my detailed review.

Still can’t decide? Worry no more, we will also discuss in this article the advantages of both trackers. This will help you compare the trackers and will make you see what you will be missing out on if you buy the other one.

Most dog trackers come often with a subscription fee (e.g. Fi, Whistle, Tractive, Link AKC, and more), which means an additional thing to consider if you are on a tight budget. But worry no more, there are now available GPS trackers for dogs with no monthly subscription fee! And yes, we will evaluate the best trackers that are available in the market today.

Advantage of Dog Trackers with Subscription Fee

The main advantage of buying a GPS dog tracker that has a subscription fee is the distance that it can work and track. Since most of these trackers often used a third-party technology like the cellular signal, it means it can track precisely anywhere as long as there is a cellular signal present. This will be perfect for tracking your dog in an open environment even if you are miles apart away from it.

Advantages of Dog Trackers with No Subscription Fee

GPS dog trackers that do not have any subscription fee often use their own technology between the receiver and the transmitter, unlike the ones with the subscription fee which mostly use cellular signal. These dog trackers can also use Bluetooth and WiFi. This means that the tracker can track your dog even in places with no available cellular signal. You can use them in any part of the world and are not limited to a certain place’s cellular coverage. This will also mean that your dog can enjoy the wilderness and you can still track them. It gives a more enjoyable time for your dog and it also gives peace of mind to dog owners.

Since it doesn’t use cellular services, it means these trackers have also longer battery life. Having a long battery life means a longer time for you and your dog to use the tracker. Other dog trackers with no subscription fee have longer battery life that can last up to 20 hours.

And the most obvious advantage that dog trackers with no subscription fee have is the amount of money that you can save from it. This means you can buy extra treats and toys for your dog with the money you’ve saved! These GPS trackers are more budget-friendly and are perfect for dog owners that are on a limited budget. They may pass as pricey compared to GPS trackers with a monthly subscription fee at the initial buying, but they will be worth it as you won’t need to pay for something monthly. In the long run, it will turn out that subscription-based trackers are even more costly than dog trackers with no subscription fee because of the monthly cost of the subscription.

Conclusion

Now that you have seen the available GPS trackers in the market that has no subscription fee for your dog, I hope you have found the perfect one for your budget and for your specific needs. With the advantages presented, I hope this helped you to decide if you will buy a GPS tracker with no monthly subscription fee for your dog. Always remember that your dog’s safety, needs, and comfort should always come first. I personally use Fi collar, and even though they have paid subscriptions, I love all the features of Fi collar. If you are extremely against paid subscriptions then consider Lynq Smart Compass.

Author

  • Mark Braeden

    Mark is a Boston University graduate and former electrical engineer. In 2017, he decided to combine his tech knowledge with his love for dogs. He spent a year familiarizing himself with the latest GPS tracking collars, invisible fences, and other hot pet gadgets before he wrote his first product review. After selling Technobark, Mark remained a writer and consultant but spends more time on his other passion now: raising and training his growing family of dogs.

If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.  2024-02-20

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3 Comments

  • Thanks for the info on these trackers. I find it strange that a small gps unit isn’t available for dogs that clips onto the collar securely with no subscription needed. I use a small bike computer (bryton rider 320) that tracks all my bike riding anywhere and downloads to an app at the end. Tells me speed distance etc, no SIM card or subscription needed. Very simple and very accurate. I would use this except I can’t find a secure way to attach to the collar. I just want something small that will tell me how far my dog has walked on our outings. There is definitely a gap in the market for this as lots of people I talk to all want just this. Hopefully something will be produced soon.
    Thanks again for your research.

  • …so the number one pick is a collar that can track your dog in your house or yard or within 30 feet of you?

  • Do you know of any GPS trackers, other than the Garmin ones, that will enable you to download maps of an area that you plan to visit. This is valuable when hiking in areas with no cell service. I purchased the PetFON tracker, and it claims to have this feature, but in fact, it is currently unavailable. So, when I am in remote areas, the GPS picks up my dog relative to my phone, but the map is blank – just two dots (me and dog) show up. Likewise, this “share” option, which is supposed to allow you to share with other phones, is not available (at least on my iPhone).

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