Best GPS trackers 2022

We find out the best way to keep tabs on your car with these GPS trackers

Installing a GPS tracker might seem like something from a spy movie, but they’re now affordable enough to be used by anyone who wants to keep an eye on their car. They’re not just to help you locate your pride and joy if it’s been stolen, either. 

A tracker can help you to find your car in a large car park or a maze of side streets, keep tabs on your mileage for business expenses, check where your car is being stored by airport valet parking or monitor how it’s being treated by others who might be driving it. Here, we’ve tested some of the best GPS trackers on sale in the UK that are simple to fit, but will let you keep an eye on your car for a fraction of the cost of a professionally installed unit.

Some insurance companies insist on having a tracking device fitted to your car before they will cover you for theft, but these will need installing by a professional and can cost hundreds. In this test we’ve concentrated on devices that can be fitted by a DIY motorist to give a basic level of tracking. 

All models, except the Apple AirTag, use mobile data networks to send data to your smartphone. Some of the other car trackers work without a subscription but require you to insert your own SIM card. and an app to show your car’s location, along with other useful information. Let’s see which tracker was the most useful.

How we tested them

The devices were installed in accordance with the instructions provided and the car was driven to various locations to see how accurately the trackers plotted our journey. We stopped to see if the apps were able to find us in a variety of locations, including in the country, in the city and in an underground car park. We also rated them on accuracy, price and extra features offered.

Verdict

We really like the simplicity and value for money of the Amacam. It might not offer the ultimate in security, because it can easily be disconnected if it gets found. But for other tracking tasks it works brilliantly and is cheap to run, with the flexibility of using your own SIM. 

The TruTrack impressed us with its competitive price tag and performed better than the iTrack unit despite being identical on the outside.

If security is your top priority, then we liked the extra features and portability that the ProacTrac Battery offered.

  1. Amacam AM-T22
  2. TruTrak FMT100 PAYG
  3. ProacTrac Battery

Reviews

Amacam AM-T22

  • Price: £49.99
  • Cost per month: SIM free
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Contact: www.amacam.net

Tracking doesn’t get much simpler than with the AM-T22. Our previous best buy simply slots into your car’s OBD data port, which allows it not only to draw power but also to know when the engine is running. Unlike some other OBD-based devices we’ve tried, it’s tiny, and only protrudes 17mm from the socket. This will be essential in cars where the space around the slot is tight. The app is free to use and you simply choose your own SIM card and slot it into the device. Despite using obsolete 2G mobile data, the AM-T22 never struggled to accurately locate our test car.

Buy now from Amacam

TruTrak FMT100 PAYG

  • Price: around £40 
  • Cost per month: £4.72-£5.99
  • Rating: 4.5 stars
  • Contact: trutrak.co.uk

The TruTrak looked familiar as soon as we opened up the parcel. The hardware is identical to the iTrack FS100 and Rewire DB2. However, all three companies use bespoke software for their apps and have different costs for the tracker and subscriptions. The TruTrak is very competitive on price, costing just under £40 to buy, and has a monthly Pay As You Go option for the subscription. Buying bulk packages brings the monthly cost down. The unit is the size of a small smartphone and can be attached to the car with little effort or skill. It reports back to a phone or desktop app every 60 seconds with location and driving info. The TruTrak seems aimed more at commercial users than private motorists, but still provides accurate and useful info.

Buy now from Amazon

ProacTrac Battery

  • Price: £204 (with one month’s subscription)
  • Cost per month: £8.22-£10.99
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Contact: www.proactrac.co.uk

The ProacTrac has some clever features that make up for its high price. It attaches magnetically, so it can easily be moved from vehicle to vehicle, and also used on trailers and the like because it is self-powered. It also becomes a sophisticated security device, with an incredibly sensitive ‘tamper’ alarm that detects anyone attempting to open a door on the car and sends an alert to your smartphone to warn you. The battery is claimed to last up to three years, but we think it would be closer to a few months in normal use. 

Buy now from Bearmach.com

Vodafone Curve

  • Price: £30
  • Cost per month: £1.50-£6 per month
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Contact: www.vodafone.com

The Curve isn’t a dedicated car tracker and is actually just about small enough to serve as a locator for lost keys. It uses a built-in SIM connected to the Vodafone network and a very slick app to track accurately. The user can choose from different settings that can update every few seconds or every hour, depending how long you want to stretch the battery life. In Power Save mode it will need a charge every week, but using real-time tracking, it will only last a few hours. Despite this, it’s good value, reliable and easy to use.

Buy now from Vodafone

ProacTrac Tracker

  • Price: £259 (with one month’s subscription)
  • Cost per month: £8.22-£10.99
  • Rating: 3.5 stars
  • Contact: www.proactrac.co.uk

The wired version of our Recommended ProacTrac is designed for permanent installation and can be DIY-fitted if you are brave. Besides being discreet and not needing recharging, it has an extra security feature: you can remotely cut off the ignition or fuel supply using the smartphone app to immobilise the car. It works really well, with the same ultra-sensitive vibration alerts and uncanny location accuracy as the wired model. But at this price, we’d be tempted to have a professionally installed device with insurance approval benefits.

Buy now from Bearmach.com

iTrack FS100 GPS Vehicle Tracker

  • Price: £65
  • Cost per month: £3.15-£4.16
  • Rating: 3.5 stars  
  • Contact: www.halfords.com

We really liked the simplicity and accuracy of the iTrack. Just connect the two power cables to the vehicle’s battery terminals and the FS100 will instantly connect to the mobile network and begin uploading tracking data. It’s unerringly accurate, too, and if the power is disconnected, the FS100 also has an internal back-up battery. Our only reservation is the price. The iTrack’s hardware appears to be identical to the TruTrak product we also reviewed which costs around £40. There was also a Rewire DB2 product we tried in the last tracker test that used similar hardware. That unit costs £34.99 to buy, although the monthly subscriptions are slightly higher.

Buy now from Halfords

Apple Air Tag 

  • Price: £29
  • Cost per month: Free
  • Rating: 3.5 stars
  • Contact: www.apple.com

Apple’s tiny tracking device doesn’t use a mobile phone network like its rivals in this test.  instead the Air Tag relies on the huge number of iPhone users to do its locating. The battery lasts for more than 12 months and the unit is tiny, too, making it easy to hide on a car and  difficult for a thief to find, even using a blocker and locator device. It’s very clever, cheap to buy and run, and works well as a locator in crowded areas, but is better as a back-up or key finder than a tracker you rely on for instant and accurate locating of a vehicle.

Buy now from Apple

Streetwize GPS Tracker

  • Price: £55.50
  • Cost per month: SIM Free
  • Rating:  3 stars
  • Contact: www.halfords.com

The Streetwize tracker was good enough to be recommended in our test two years ago, and while it still works well it is looking behind the times now. We were still impressed by the flexibility of being able to choose your own SIM and the battery life is good enough, but the tracking method feels cumbersome and unsophisticated compared with the other devices here. It’s also restricted to the obsolete 2G network. While compact, it is bigger than the Vodafone Curve, which is cheaper to buy and run on any monthly SIM subscription we could find.

Buy now from Halfords

A GPS tracking device will show you where your car is, but for added security check out our list of the best steering wheel locks...

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