In a world where it seems like brand-new cutting-edge pet trackers come out nearly every day, the Fi dog collar remains one of the most revolutionary GPS collars on the market.
Case in point, I first wrote this review over two years ago, back when Fi Series 3 first launched. Today, it’s still one of top 4 collars (along with SpotOn, Halo, and Tractive) that I mention when friends ask for good smart collars, and the the #1 option when those friends are on a super tight budget.
In this comprehensive review, we’ll dive into the features, functionalities, and my real-world experiences with the Fi dog collar. From its seamless integration with the Fi app to its durable construction and additional features, we explore every aspect to help you make an informed decision about the safety of your furry friend.
One last note: Fi sent me the collars to try out for this review. Also, of you purchase it using my link, I earn a commission at no extra cost to you.
That said, I only recommend products that I have or would use with my own dog. I’ve tested and used over 30 different dog GPS trackers for my ongoing series of smart collar reviews and only found a handful of them worth sharing.
Table of Contents
What is the Fi Series 3 Model Dog Tracking Collar?
About two years ago, Fi released a new Series 3 model, which is cheaper than the previous one. Why would they update their collar AND make it cheaper than their other models??? One word: competition. See, Tractive Collar also updated their model around the same time as Fi and offered it at a lower price point. However, let’s stick to Fi Collar in this review.
The Fi Smart Dog Collar allows you to track your dog remotely anywhere and anytime. It also uses its own app to locate and track your dog and also serves as an activity tracker for your dog’s daily activities. This dog collar is made by Fi (obviously) and comes in 4 colors for its band, including:
I went with blue for my new Fi Series 3 collar, as you can see.
This collar is perfect if you want to train and track your dog off-leash (although it’s great for ALL dogs, even if you never allow them to roam free).
Once you buy the Fi dog collar, you need to register your account on their app. This app lets you track the whereabouts of your dog using the Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking and the LTE-M network. The collar serves as a locator for your dog when you check it on the app tracking from the Fi base.
- GPS tracking (LTE-M Network)
- Battery life of up to 3 months
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
- Lost Dog Mode
- Comes in 4 sizes
- Works All Over US
- GPS tracking (LTE-M Network)
- Battery life of up to 3 months
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
- Lost Dog Mode
- Comes in 4 sizes
- Works All Over US
Fi Dog Collar Technical Features Review
For the Fi collar to work properly, you need to have both the app and the collar itself. You’ll also need a subscription (more on that in a moment). Let’s take a look at the technical features of the Fi collar.
Since most of us buy Fi because we want a way to track our dogs if they get lost, let’s start with those features.
Fi smart collar combines GPS tracking and LTE-M networks for tracking your dog. It uses up to three satellites when locating your dog’s coordinates. With this technology, tracking the dog’s location can be accurate up to 7ft in radius in an open sky.
The LTE-M network, which is used for low-power and long-distance communications, communicates with the GPS when tracking your dog. Fi was the first to use this new tech for tracking, and it can reach up to 30% more areas than the usual networks can reach.
With these two technology combined, you can worry less about the whereabouts and exact location of your dog.
While Fi doesn’t work as an invisible fence system the way SpotOn or Halo do, it can notify you when your dog escapes the boundaries that you set up in the app.
When Fi launched Series 3, they added a nifty sleep-tracking feature to their collar! Now, the Fi Smart Dog Collar notifies you if there are any changes in your pup’s sleeping pattern.
Your dog’s sleeping habits are a good indicator of his general health. If they change, it might indicate a potential health problem.
Maybe you think Fido is sleeping through the night, but it turns out he’s actually up quite a bit. You can use that information to narrow down any potential issues to discuss with your vet.
For example, if you realize that he’s getting up every hour to get a drink, you can discuss what could be causing his excessive thirst. On the other hand, if you notice that he just can’t seem to get comfortable, you might need to look into a good orthopedic dog bed for him.
For example, maybe your dog regularly wakes up during the night to drink extra water. Fur parents aren’t normally aware of this behavior, but with Fi collar’s Sleeping Tracker, you can now see whether there is something to be concerned about.
The Fi GPS dog collar has a wide variety of sizes ranging from small to extra large. For the small size, it has a collar length of 11.5 to 13.5 inches and is perfect for small-breed dogs such as Boston terriers, Frenchies, and pugs.
If your dog is about the size of a bulldog, corgi, or beagle, then choose the medium size collar, which has a length of 13 to 16.5 inches.
If your pooch falls into the “bigger than medium but still not quite a large breed” category (in other words, has a 15-22.5″ neck) go with the large-sized collar. You can see it on my handsome pup below.
Fi smart dog collar also offers a fit for large breed dogs including standard poodles, Siberian huskies, and golden retrievers. The extra-large collar has a length of 22 to 34.5 inches and is perfect for big dogs such as bloodhounds, great Danes, and mastiffs.
A word of advice, though, don’t rely on breed size alone to determine the right size collar. Measure your dog’s neck and choose the right fit based on that.
Color and Design
If you prefer fun colors, then the Fi dog collar is just right for you! This smart tracking collar that allows your dog to be off-leash is available in colors including gray, yellow, blue, and pink. As I mentioned earlier, for series 3 I got a blue one.
The band itself has also a cool design that has doodles of lines and they also have a Fi Maker program in which buyers can choose different designs and materials for the accessories of the collar. Some of these custom-made designs include a band made of leather, a chic design made of beads, and a bright and bold band made of polyester webbing.
The Fi dog tracker is completely waterproof, even to the water of the ocean! The Fi collar has a waterproof rating of IP68 and it can be submerged in water at 1.5m deep. It can handle being submerged for up to 30 minutes without malfunctions. This is perfect for you and your dogs if you love going on adventures around lakes and rivers or just during the rainy season.
The Fi smart dog collar battery is rechargeable and can last up to months depending on your dog’s activities. If your dog gets lost and the collar is in lost dog mode, it can last up to 2 days. If your dog is active and the collar just uses the GPS for tracking, the battery life can last up to 3 weeks with a 2-5 minute refresh.
The battery life of the Fi dog collar can last up to 2 months with a 2-5 minute refresh time if your dog just walks outside your home since the collar uses both Wi-Fi and GPS for tracking your dog’s location. And if your dog is a more of a homebody that doesn’t go out wandering much, the battery can last up to 3 months before needing to be recharged.
The Fi GPS collar uses an application where you can see the real-time location of your dog from the Fi base. This base is the basepoint of the tracking and is usually set in your house.
It is helpful, especially for lost dog scenarios since you can be notified when your dog has escaped and can pinpoint its location.
The activity tracker on the app tracks and shows a report of your dog’s daily activities including the number of steps it has made. What’s cooler is that you can set and customize your dog’s daily goal to make it healthy.
With the activity tracker, you can also compete with other Fi users and see your dog’s rank among others. Connecting with other Fi users near you is also possible with the app.
You can also add many dogs and owners to your Fi account in the app. This will help you to monitor your dog’s location remotely in real-time and you can have access to the history of any owner that you added to your account.
This is very helpful if you leave your dog with a dog sitter as you can set boundaries on where the sitter is allowed to walk your dog and can see your dog’s exact location. Worried that you might lose your dog during the night? Worry no more! Using the app, you can choose your favorite color and set it as the color of the LED light on its collar.
Subscription (Important Updates for 2023)
2023 Update: As of now, you cannot buy the Fi dog tracker without a subscription. In fact, you actually pay for the subscription and the collar comes with it. This subscription is for your GPS plan since the tracking collar uses GPS/LTE technology to track the dogs. Subscribing means you can also check the daily, weekly, and monthly history of activities of your dog.
You can also track your dog remotely, anytime, and anywhere with monitoring alerts. The subscription options they offer are for a year, two years, and three years. These can be paid end of the subscription period or weekly. You can save money if you choose the 2-year plan. If you have the budget, you can go for these two to have a long GPS plan for your collar.
The subscription price for Fi Series 3 collar (updated in August 2023)
- Prepay for 6 Months: $102
- Prepay for 1 Year: $192
- Prepay for 2 Years: $336
Some notes regarding subscriptions, as these are the biggest drawbacks to the collar. First, your Series 3 collar comes with a 30-day free trial subscription.
After that, you have to commit to at least 6 months. Per Fi, “When you sign up for Fi, you can try it for 30 days. If for any reason you decide that Fi is not for you, you can return your Fi within the return window. Otherwise, the month-to-month and 3-month memberships have a minimum commitment of 6 months.”
Fi no longer even lists the month-to-month and 3-month subscriptions on their website, so they may not be available to new customers at all anymore.
In addition, Fi charges a one-time activation fee of $20. So, you’ll want to add $20 to the cost regardless of which plan you choose. If you cancel your plan and decide to purchase it again later, however, they’ll charge you a $20 reactivation fee.
Now for a bit of good news, your subscription gives you access to any new upgrades. So if they come out with a Fi Series 4 and you have a current subscription, you’ll be “eligible to upgrade to the latest generation of hardware.” Now, whether that “eligibility” means “you’ll get it for the same cost as the Series 3,” I can’t really say.
Fi Smart Dog Collar Series 2 VS Series 3: What Changed?
The new model of their smart dog collar, the Fi Series 3, has the same main features as series 2. But what’s new about series 3? Here are some of the changes and updates you should look forward to:
Fi Smart Dog Collar Series 3 is 50% smaller compared to Series 2. It is half the size of the Fi series 2 so it is also lighter. This is an advantage for small-breed dogs who find Series 2 a bit heavy.
Additional Sizes and Collar Choices
This new series also offers more collar sizes: extra small and extra large. The extra small size has neck measurements of 9.75″ to 11″ and 3/4″ wide. While the extra large size collar is a one-inch wide collar and measures 19.75″ to 30.5″ for your pup’s neck.
Given this, there are now more options to choose from. You can better select a collar that fits perfectly to your dog. Aside from that, series 3 also offers eight different collar choices.
50% More Pull Force
The body frame of the Fi Series 3 is made entirely of stainless steel. It can now withstand 400 lbs of static force compared to the 300 lbs of pull force of the Fi Series 2. Fi Series 3 dog collar is now more durable and can help you keep your dog on a leash with its better pull force.
2x LTE Network Distance Coverage
The LTE-M signal from all Fi Collar has a 30% greater range than that of any other cellular network. With Series 3, Fi increases signal sensitivity by another 100% to ensure that your dogs can be located even in the most remote locations.
40% More GPS Satellites
Four positioning satellite constellations are used in Fi Series 3. This gives the Fi Series 3 collar an advantage in dog tracking as there are 78 satellites that can immediately locate your dog within a 6-foot radius.
We know that all Fi smart dog collars are waterproof including the Fi Series 3. This new collar is not only waterproof but also rated both IP68 and IP66K.
Your dog can swim, play, and dive in any sort of water, including salt water, fresh water, and chlorine, thanks to the Series 3 and 2 Collars’ ability to withstand immersion in water up to 1.5 meters deep for up to 30 minutes.
Because it has passed IP66K testing, the Series 3 Collar can be sprayed with water for up to three minutes at 150 PSI in a 1/4″ stream without getting damaged.
The Fi Series 3 subscription has a minimum subscription period of 6 months and costs $19 per month if you pay on a month-to-month basis. However, you can save quite a bit by paying for a longer subscription upfront. Just keep in mind that they’ll also hit you with a one-time activation fee of $20 when you first subscribe.
This may be more expensive than the Fi Series 2 options, which started at $1.59 per week (depending on your selected plan). Up until recently, I would have recommended the Fi Series 2 as a cheaper alternative. However, it’s no longer available.
Fi Dog Tracker General Features Review
Now that we know the technical capabilities of the Fi dog collar, let’s tackle its general features:
- The collar features smart power management as it will connect to any WiFi access points inside and outside your house to minimize battery usage.
- It is dog-proof and adventure-proof as it is made of an armored aluminum faceplate and internal metal armor. These materials make the collar resistant to dog bites and other things that can break the usual dog collars.
- Fi smart collar has a longer battery life that can last between 2 days up to 3 months depending on usage and activities being done.
- Fi dog tracker has increased antenna sensitivity up to 4x the usual which is very useful for locating dogs in remote areas and areas that have less signal coverage.
- Fi shows a more accurate and reliable escape detection when the dog escaped your Geo fence with the combined technology of GPS and the LTE-M network and the algorithms used by the collar.
- It has better signal coverage for locating and tracking with the use of GPS and LTE-M networks.
Pros and Cons Of Fi Collar Series 3
Like any other product, the Fi dog collar has also its pros and cons. Check the table below to know more about these
- Long battery life
- Waterproof and adventure-proof
- Can add multiple owners on the account and set desired geo boundaries
- Cheap subscription
- You need the plan to take full advantage of the features
- While it’s cheaper than the Series 2, it’s still pricey (but worth it)
- May not work as well in very remote rural locations (it all depends on satellite and LTE-M network coverage in your area)
What Sets The Fi Dog Collar Apart From Its Competitors?
There are already many GPS dog collars available out there in the market for all the dog owners and trainers to choose from but it can get conflicting at times because there are now way too many iterations of them. However, in my opinion, the Fi Dog Collar just has that edge that sets it apart from the others.
The company behind Fi makes sure that your voices are heard and they always take it to the next level when dealing with the customer’s feedback. With their newest release of the Fi Dog Collar Series 2, they made sure that the wifi integration has far better accuracy than its previous model, the Series 1. This means that it has now better escape detection accuracy, reliable signal, and longer battery life which can last up to three months.
The Fi Dog Collar is also the first to utilize the LTE-M network which reaches farther than LTE, 3G, 4G, and 5G networks. The GPS tracking ability is also much faster than its competitors as it uses constellations of satellites that buffs up its accuracy and tracking speed, especially in an open area and sky.
Fi Smart Dog Collar Vs. Other Smart Collars
The Reason Why I Consider Fi Collar As One of the Best GPS Collar For Your Dogs
The top three dog GPS collars we picked are Tractive, Whistle, and Fi smart dog collars. There are products that are comparable with each other such as the Tractive and Whistle; however, we have tested them ourselves, and one of them stood out for us: the Fi dog collar. This is because even though all of them have very similar features but one has improved more on their dog collar’s overall model or product but the Fi dog collar made their version even better.
Fi Vs Tractive vs Whistle
The Tractive GPS dog collar is better than the Whistle GPS dog collar in one way or another and vice versa. Tractive gives you live location updates of your pup with a 2- to 3-second update rate while Whistle does this every 60 seconds. They both record your pup’s location history however Tractive also shows you the altitude and speed of the collar and therefore can give you data about your dog’s speed and your height above sea level. They both allow you to set up and customize safe zones or virtual (GPS) fences where you can choose where you want to let your dogs stay and be safe or stay away from.
Both the Tractive and Whistle dog collars require you to have cellular coverage so it works where your cell phone works and you guessed it, it will not track your dog without any network coverage. The Tractive dog collar receives signals from satellites in space to calculate your dog’s location and is then transmitted via a cellular service for better tracking while the Whistle 3 uses GPS, wifi, and cellular service to track your pups.
The Fi dog collar just has it all and has some features better. It sends you your pup’s live location updates with GPS and has a 1-, 5-, or 15-minute update rate depending on the state of the Fi dog collar. This dog collar still requires you to have a cellular data network to track your pup however it has a better method of locating your dog by using the LTE-M network and GPS and by using constellations of satellites to better track your pup’s coordinates. It even has a lost dog mode feature where it increases its attempts to locate your pup once every minute with the LTE-M and GPS.
How Fi Collar Series 2 Is Better Than Series 1 (Previous Model)?
The Fi Collar Series 2 possesses all the features and benefits you can get from the Series 1 but with added features and improvements and gives you more freedom to roam.
The module of Fi Series 1 requires you to have the Fi Bases for the device to be able to track indoors and the Fi Series 2 improved on its limits and made it wifi compatible for you to be able to track your dog wherever there is a WiFi connection. The GPS antenna of Fi Series 2 also has 4 times better coverage than the previous one. The Series 2 also improved its battery performance for travel and if you live in a larger home.
FAQS about Fi
Let’s finish off with a few FAQs, shall we? I know we discussed most of these above, but we covered A LOT of ground in this post. I know I forget things until I’m ready to buy something, then I don’t feel like digging around through a long post to find the answers. So, consider this part FAQ and part summary.
How much is the Fi dog collar?
As of 8/23, the Fi collar costs $102 for a 6-month plan, $192 for one year, or $336 for two years. You cannot buy the collar without also buying a plan.
Where can I buy the Fi collar?
While you can buy Fi through third-party sellers like Amazon, it’s best to get it through the official Try Fi website.
How does Fi dog collar work?
Fi uses both GPS sattelites and AT&T LTE-M connectivity to track your dog’s location in real time.
How much does Fi dog collar cost per month?
Fi’s month-to-month plan (when available) costs $19 per month. However, there is a 6-month commitment.
Who owns Fi dog collar?
Fi is owned by…wait for it…Fi! Seriously, though, they’re a privately held company (Barking Labs Corp).
How do I cancel my Fi dog collar subscription?
While you can’t cancel mid-subscription and get a refund, you can cancel before your next billing cycle. To do that, log into your account, click over to your billing section, then “Cancel Subscription.”
How do I contact Fi customer service?
I see a lot of people saying that it’s hard to get in touch with Fi, so here’s the direct link to their contact options. You can also call them directly from your smartphone app.
With all the features it has, I believe that buying the Fi dog collar is worth its price especially if you are into leash-free life for your dogs. What I like the most about this product is its long-lasting battery life. This will save you time from charging it now and then and also saves your electricity consumption from charging! I also like the cool designs of the collar itself. What I dislike about it is that it can be overwhelming for a first-time user to understand everything about the collar and the app – how it works, what it can do, and how to set up things.
I hope this article has helped you to know more about the Fi collar. If you ever decide to buy one, take the time to discuss it with your dog’s vet so that you can set goals in using it. If used properly, I believe that this will help your dog have a leash-free, healthy, and happy life. It can also give you peace of mind since you can easily locate your dog using its tracking system.
Fi Dog Collar Final Score
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. 2023-09-27