Flying a drone is pure excitement. However, losing it due to poor remote connection or severe weather is a total nightmare. Keep track of your quadcopter at all times by choosing the best drone tracker in the market.
Drone hobbyists have many things to worry about. Getting their UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) destroyed due to crashes and collisions is one thing. Furthermore, losing track of the flying vehicle is also probable.
Lousy weather, loss of signal, or interference from other controllers can make you lose your UAV in an instant. Without a tracking device, you may need to scour the landscape to find your missing quadcopter manually.
To save yourself from the trouble, getting a drone tracker can help you locate your lost UAV. So, losing track of it for whatever reasons shouldn’t give you much of a headache. With a drone tracker, you can easily find and retrieve your lost aircraft without any hassle.
What is a drone tracker and why do we need to get one? This small piece of technology is usually mounted on any UAV. It is made to be lightweight to avoid putting additional weight on the quadcopter.
We recommend fastening the drone tracker at the vehicle’s center of gravity to prevent undesirable changes in its maneuverability.
You can monitor the drone tracker via the web or through an app installed on your smartphone or iPhone.
Some UAV models have built-in tracking devices that allow you to monitor the exact location of your aircraft. There are also new models that feature a ‘home return function.’ This useful function enables the user to call back the vehicle with just a press of a button.
If your quadcopter doesn’t have any of these features, buying a drone tracker is the wisest decision.
That is if you want to keep your quadcopter within reach and ensure quick recovery of it in the event of a flyaway.
Drone trackers make use of different tracking systems that provide different connection technology.
The use of GPS (global positioning system) is probably the most common tracking technology being used today. This framework makes use of 24 satellites that are in orbit at approximately 10,500 miles above the Earth.
These GPS satellites are evenly distributed to cover the entire the planet Earth efficiently. The system itself is owned and operated by the US Department of Defense. However, it is offered for general use from any point in the world.
From the ground, any GPS receiver can access 3 or 4 of these satellites. Equipped with computers and radio technology, the satellites relay the bearings back to the ground.
Details such as geographic position, latitude, and longitude can be shown on a display screen that is linked to the receiver.
Additionally, GPS receivers may also calculate the speed, direction, and ETA to specified destinations if you’re moving.
The majority of drone trackers in the market are utilizing GPS tracking system, and there’s a good reason why. This is because GPS tracking allows you to track virtually anything anywhere on the planet.
Drone recovery has never been so easy with a GPS tracking. With the aid of reliable satellites orbiting above the horizon, there’s nothing that it can’t locate.
However, keep in mind that stable structures can obstruct a GPS signal. So, we don’t recommend using it from inside the building or other covered places.
Moreover, you’ll need a cellular plan for the drone tracker to send its position to your phone.
Aside from GPS, drone trackers may also use RF (radio technology) to transmit radio waves that are received by the detection devices.
It doesn’t use satellite-aided global systems, but instead, it uses antennas and transmitters to create RF spectrum.
Since radio waves can be transmitted from millions to billions of cycles per second, you can ensure of a real-time transmission without delay.
In other words, an RF tracking can do well as much as a GPS tracker for the drone, even without a GSM cellular plan.
However, RF technology can only provide a maximum range of 2 miles.
Modern devices such as phones, laptops, and tablets don’t come with GPS capabilities. Instead, these devices are using Bluetooth technology to transmit data over short distances.
Bluetooth drone trackers allow you to monitor the location of your vehicle using your phone even without GSM cellular reception.
These modern types of drone trackers are the most versatile type since all devices are already equipped with Bluetooth. However, Bluetooth can only transmit data at approximately 100 meters.
Here’s a comprehensive review of the best drone trackers available in the market. We’ve presented each own vital features, advantages, and disadvantages to help you compare and pick the right one for you.
This reliable 3G tracking device only weighs 30 grams so you can attach it on your quadcopter without dragging it down.
It features real-time tracking that employs GPS and GSM in providing a fast and accurate location. With its worldwide coverage, you can easily track anything using your phone via the Internet or through an app.
Plus, this drone tracker is capable of keeping tracking history for up to 5 years so you can check the history log.
Trackimo GPS Tracker Guardian 3G is designed to be user-friendly and highly informative. The product comes with a SIM card loaded with 1-year comprehensive cellular service.
Among other brands of GSM tracker, Trackimo Guardian has the cheapest monthly service of only $5 a month. Moreover, you can take advantage of its free 1-year service, so you don’t have to spend anything for the first 12 months.
It also features an SOS button that allows you to broadcast the location through email, app notification, or text message.
With its Smart Alerts feature, you’ll receive user alerts for a location change, sudden movement, and customized speed thresholds. Signals can be sent via email, app notifications, or text that are limited to 10 messages per month.
The product comes with a built-in rechargeable battery with a battery life of up to 72 hours. The package also includes 1 USB charging cable, a lanyard, and one attachment pouch.
-GPS and GSM provide real-time tracking with precise and instant current location
-Worldwide coverage allows you to track the device via the Internet or through an app from any point on the world with GSM cellular reception
-Smart Alerts feature sends information for location change, sudden movement, and customized speed thresholds via email, app notification or text
-SOS button enables you to broadcast the current location via email, app notification or text
-Low monthly service cost of only $5 a month with no roaming fees
-Comes with free 1-year service
-Weight: 30 grams
-Sim Card: Included
-Battery: Rechargeable 520 mAh Li-ion
-Battery Life: 48 – 72 hours
-Standby Time: up to 144 hours
-Outdoor Accuracy: 30 – 150 feet
-GPS Antenna: ids-passive antenna
-Storage Facility: USA Peer 1
-Accelerometer: Motion Detector
Overall, the Trackimo Guardian is fully equipped with revolutionary GPS and GSM tracking that allows you to locate your UAV worldwide in real-time.
With its sophisticated mapping system, you can automatically receive alerts whenever your quadcopter crossed out of the pre-selected fenced area.
Compact and lightweight, it can perfectly fit on your small UAVs and other belongings without putting unnecessary weight.
Trackimo Guardian offers easy and instant access to the device’s location from your PC and phone.
The Marco Polo Recovery System is an RF tracking device that can easily and quickly track, locate and recover UAVs.
Unlike most GPS drone trackers, you won’t be using your PC or smartphones to monitor your device’s location. The tag transceiver comes with a hand-held locator that will immediately search for the tag transceiver when setting into track mode.
Once it acquires the current location of the tag transceiver, it gives you real-time distance and direction to your vehicle.
One of the good things about this RF drone tracker is that you can acquire a signal without the aid of GPS reception and cellular service. Hence, you’re not required to pay monthly fees or spend anything on mobile plans.
Its long-range tracking can reach up to 2 miles of line-of-sight.
Additional weight can affect the flight performance of a quadcopter. With Marco Polo Recovery System, there’s nothing to worry about.
The small tag transceiver only weighs 12 grams so that it won’t drag down your aircraft. Moreover, it won’t transmit any RF energy unless you activate it through the hand-held locator. This is to avoid interfering with the UAV’s onboard radio systems during flight.
Both the tag transceiver and the hand-held locator are equipped with rechargeable Li-ion battery to give you up to 10 days to recover your lost quadcopter.
Moreover, what’s more is that one hand-held locator can locate and manage up to 3 tag transceivers. So, this allows you to add one or more additional tag transceivers if needed.
-RF drone tracker provides real-time distance and direction feedback
-100% self-contained tracking device with no GPS or GSM reception required
-Tag transceiver only transmits RF signal when track mode is activated from the handheld locator
-Super lightweight and compact tag transceiver that is easy to setup
-Leisurely, a single button push to start searching for lost aircraft
-Long battery life gives you up to 10 days (in idle mode) to locate your device
-Tag Transceiver Weight: 12 grams
-Hand-held Locator Weight: 221 grams
-Band: 902.5Mhz – 906.5Mhz FHSS 50 channels
-System Range: 2 miles
-Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion battery included in the locator and transceiver
-Alarm Capacity: Internal audible alarm
-System Capacity: Locator can support up to 3 tag transceivers
If you want to save yourself from the hassle of paying monthly fees and cellular plans, then Marco Polo is the best choice.
When it comes to functionality, it doesn’t fall far from other GPS drone trackers in the market. Its reliable signal and long battery life are something to look forward to.
Moreover, with just a push of a button, this device automatically begins searching for your lost UAV.
Here’s another fantastic GPS tracking device by Trackimo. This multi-purpose 3G tracker uses state-of-the-art GPS and GSM technology to coordinate with orbiting satellites for accurate tracking.
As long as there’s cellular reception, you can locate your aircraft anywhere in the world with no roaming data charges.
Compared to Trackimo Guardian, this tracking device is a bit heavier as it weighs 42 grams. Moreover, unlike Guardian’s round-shaped structure, this model has a rectangular design.
When it comes to functionality and features, you also get the same as the Guardian model.
It allows you to define ‘fences’ or boundaries on a map area. Each time the device crosses the pre-defined geofence, you’ll automatically receive alerts.
To activate the locator, you’ll need to access an application using your PC, phone or tablet. Download the Trackimo app on your PC or smartphone to be able to use your device as a hand-held locator.
The Smart Alerts feature provides an instant alert to your preferred devices to notify you on change of location, sudden movement, and speed limits.
Also, it features an SOS button that can come in handy when worn by an individual.
Trackimo’s customized locator frequency optimizes power consumption which extends active battery life for up to 96 hours.
The product comes with a SIM card (free 1-year mobile service), a micro USB charging cable, waterproof silicon case, lanyard, and magnetic attachment.
-Live GPS tracking map is utilized to track anywhere in the world as long as cellular reception exists
-Users can set virtual fences around any map area to create a safe-zone perimeter
-Smart Alerts feature sends alerts to your email or phone via the Trackimo app or text when the tracking device detects location changes, speed limits and sudden impact
-Just download and install the Trackimo app on your PC or smartphone to access the GPS tracker for drone
-SOS button allows an individual to press this ‘panic’ button in case of distress. The tracking device will then automatically send alert to the locator to notify of an emergency
-Comes with useful accessories such as micro USB charging cable, waterproof silicon case, sturdy lanyard, and a reliable magnetic stripe for attachment
-Weight: 42 grams
-Band: Quad GSM 850-900/ dcs 1800/ pc 1900
-Update Rate: once per minute
-Battery: 600mAh Li-ion included
-Active Battery Life: 48- 96 hours
-Standby Time: 144 hours
-Sim Card: included with free one year GSM worldwide services
If you’re looking for a powerful tracking technology without the need for pricey hardware costs and contract fees, then we recommend Trackimo Multi-Purpose.
You can take advantage of its free worldwide GSM cellular service for one year as its free 1-year service. When the free service duration is over, you only need to spend $5 a month after that.
Using powerful GPS technology, this reliable tracking device can read position with up to 50 feet accuracy. With Trackimo Multi-purpose, you can have your much-needed peace of mind because it will automatically send alerts whenever there’s trouble.
As the name suggests, FindtheDrone is specifically designed to enable you to communicate with your UAV directly.
It incorporates real-time GPS technology, T-Mobile 2G Network, and Google Maps to help you locate the exact position of your UAV.
Drone recovery has never been so relaxed and hassle-free with FindtheDrone. Attach the tracker’s Velcro side onto a flat and stable spot of the quadcopter.
FindtheDrone connects to an iPhone or smartphone through a free app that can be downloaded from the Apple Store and Play Store.
The app uses Google Maps to display the location of the aircraft. Moreover, the app can also show the current speed of your UAV as well as its travel history.
Directly on the Google Map, you can define a geofence to set the safe-zone perimeter. You will instantly receive a text message when the aircraft crosses out of the safe-zone.
FindtheDrone has a micro Sim card that only works in the T-Mobile 2G network area. This allows you to communicate with your UAV directly.
The S button is where your primary phone number is programmed. Your quadcopter will send you its location and current status directly to this number.
Aside from the S button, it also has two additional buttons for other programmable numbers.
You can call your lost aircraft or send it a text message. In return, it will reply with a text message relaying its location, signal strength, battery life, and other details.
To use the 2G mobile service, you’ll need to pay only $5 a month. Designed with drones in mind, this lightweight tracking device only weighs 27 grams and has GPS accuracy within 30 feet.
-A total drone communicator that allows you to call your aircraft in case of flyaways. The integrated power of GPS, 2G T-Mobile Network and Google Maps enables the tracking device to send you text messages telling its location, speed, battery life, etc
-Micro Sim card with a full-featured phone number included comes fully activated for your area code
-Free to download the app for tracking using Google Maps. You can set geofence, find location and travel history through your phone
-FindtheDrone automatically sends you a text message when it crosses out the geofence
-Weight: 27 grams
-Network Operation: GPS standard, 2G GSM Network, TCP/IP
-System Range: 30 feet
-GPS Locating Time: 30 seconds after switching on
-Battery: Lithium metal battery included
-Working Temperature: 0 – 120 degrees F
-Sim Card: 2G T-Mobile Micro Sim
If you want to ensure a quick and easy drone recovery, then you may want to consider this product. That is if you live in the US with T-Mobile 2G reception.
Most of the tracking devices in this list are multi-purpose locators that can be used on other things aside from RC-controlled aircraft.
The SOS button, for example, can only be used by a tagged individual in case he/she is lost and in distress. Drones, however, cannot press this ‘panic’ button.
FindtheDrone was designed to let you know how your quadcopter is doing when you try to call it.
Here’s another multi-purpose GPS locator that you can attach on virtually anything, may it be UAV, car, person, or belongings.
Weighing 63 grams, it is not the lightest and smallest drone tracker in the market, but it’s one of the best.
With extended nationwide and international coverage, you can use it in almost any point in the world with cellular reception.
Just download the app on your PC, tablet, Android or iPhone so you can start tracking your UAV directly on your preferred device.
Through the app, you can view real-time tracking and one year of tracking history. Also, the app allows you to define the geofence using Google Maps.
You will instantly receive alerts when your quadcopter goes beyond the pre-defined geofence. Aside from that, you’ll also get notified on real-time about speed changes, low battery, malfunctioning device, network disconnection, and more.
The Americaloc GL300W automatically updates its location every 1 minute so you’ll have instant access to its movement. If you want to receive updates every 30 seconds or 10 seconds, you may need to upgrade your tracking plans without any additional charges.
Upon purchasing, you’ll receive the package that includes a Sim card that can be readily used internationally. It also comes with other accessories such as a battery charger and user manual.
Compared to other GPS drone trackers, Americaloc GL300W has the most extended battery life. It has a rechargeable battery with a passive experience of up to 14 days.
This device saves battery power when moving due to its built-in movement detector capable of changing reporting frequency.
You can buy this fantastic GPS tracker for a drone with no activation fees and no contract. To activate your account, choose your preferred tracking plan and only pay for what you need.
You’ll need to pay $25 a month, but you can save more if you upgrade your tracking plan. You can cancel your account anytime without cancellation fees or other hidden charges.
If you want to re-activate your drone tracker after cancellation, the manufacturer will provide a new Sim card. They will not charge you for card replacement, but you will have to shoulder the shipment fee.
-Multi-purpose GPS tracker for drones, cars, people, and virtually anything that you need to be tracked
-Offers different tracking plans to choose from so you can opt to pay only what you need
-Most extended battery life that can last up to 14 days in idle mode
-Real-time tracking through an app that you can instantly access via PC, tablet, smartphone or iPhone
-Worldwide coverage can be used anywhere with GSM reception
-Comes with a 1-year limited warranty and free two extra months on your first tracking plan purchase
-Instant alerts on current location, sudden movement, speed changes, battery life, and device status
-Real-time notification when the device crosses out of the geofence
-Weight: 63 grams
-Power Adapter: AC-DC
-Battery: Lithium-ion battery included
-Battery Life: 14 days in idle mode
The Americaloc GL300W XW Series Portable GPS Tracker provides optimal functioning to give your money an excellent worth.
If you’re looking for a reliable drone tracker that won’t fail you, then you need to consider this product.
Besides, having peace of mind knowing that your precious UAV is within reach at all times is always a wise investment.
Weight is an essential factor that can influence a quadcopter’s flight performance. If you want to protect your precious quadcopter without having to weigh it down, choose a super lightweight drone tracker.
Amazingly, the Loc8Tor Lite Mini Homing Tag only weighs 5 grams, making it the lightest and smallest tag transceiver available.
Loc8Tor’s patented RF-based technology provides precise and real-time tracking by using both audio and visual cues to guide your search.
Just use the sticky tab to attach the tiny tag to your quadcopter. In the case of flyaways, activate the homing device by pressing the hand-held locator’s button.
Follow the audio and visual cues that will lead you to your lost UAV.
The credit card-sized hand-held locator can track up to 4 registered homing tags. If you need to replace a damaged tag, delete it from the locators and replace it with the new one.
Furthermore, the locator has 1-inch accuracy that enables quick discovery by emitting audible beeps and LED flashes.
Loc8Tor Lite can work up to 400 feet in clear line-of-sight and boasts a heavy-duty battery that can last up to 7 months in idle mode.
However, wait, there’s more.
Purchasing this reliable tracking device only requires one-off payment with no hidden charges, rental costs or monthly fees.
You can protect your UAVs for years without having to spend or worry about anything.
Plus, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the quality of the product.
Package contains one hand-held locator, two mini homing tags, double-sided sticky tabs, and lanyards.
-Dual directional RF technology to find your lost aircraft in even the most unlikely places
-Smallest and lightest tag that can be easily attached to virtually anything
-Compact credit card-sized hand-held locator emits audio and displays visual cues leading you straight to the tag
-The long range of up to 400 feet that can work through doors and walls
-The homing tag is powered by a heavy-duty Lithium cell 3v battery that can last up to 7 months in ‘passive’ mode
-1-inch accuracy enables quick discovery by giving off audible beeps when you’re 1-inch within the tagged item
-Weight: 5 grams
-Battery: Lithium cell 3v
-Weight: 20 grams
-Battery: 2 x AAA batteries
-System Range: 400 feet in clear line-of-sight
-Band: 2.45GHz frequency
Don’t be fooled by its size and weight. The Loc8Tor Lite may be the smallest and lightest drone tracker in the market, but it lives up to its promise.
As far as accuracy is concerned, no other drone trackers come close with Loc8Tor Lite. It works well through solid obstructions with a range reaching up to 400 feet in a clear line-of-sight.
You can use this RF drone tracker anywhere even without GSM reception. More importantly, you can keep track of your UAVs for years without having to worry about monthly charges.
This cutting-edge GPS locator allows you to track the whereabouts of your quadcopter and makes drone recovery hassle-free.
Just mount the 57-gram tracking device to your UAV close to aircraft’s center of gravity to maintain equilibrium.
You can follow your aircraft’s location and monitor its movement via the Spy Tec GPS tracking website that you can access any device.
The Spy Tec STI GL300 updates its current location once every 60 seconds, making it easier to monitor its position.
Utilizing GPs satellites to locate its position, it transmits accurate information via T-Mobile’s cellular network. Moreover, then sends the information to your PC, tablet, smartphone or iPhone.
Therefore, you can only use this tracking device in the US particularly in areas covered by T-Mobile.
To activate the device, you’ll need to purchase a monthly plan depending on your choice. The Basic tracking plan costs $25 per month that can update location every 60 seconds.
You can upgrade to the Plus tracking plan and pay $35 per month if you want to receive updates every 30 seconds.
The Premium tracking plan worth $45 per month allows you to receive updates every 5 seconds.
All tracking plans will provide you with a map (via Google Maps) showing locations and speeds over time. On the map, you can set the geofence to define the safe-zone perimeter.
If the device crosses out of the safe-zone, you will receive alerts via email or text in real-time.
Tracking accuracy is 15 feet which allows you to determine the exact location within 15 feet of the quadcopter.
One of its most remarkable features is a built-in accelerometer that automatically turns off the accelerometer when the device is not moving. This way, the device can save much power by consuming low battery energy.
If an update is set to 60 seconds interval, the battery life can last up to 14 days. So you have that much time for a successful drone recovery.
-Weight: 57 grams
-Band: Quadband GPRS/GSM
-App Support: Web only
-Accuracy: 15 feet
-Battery: Li-polymer 1300mAh
-Standby Time: 400 hours (without reporting)
-Portable and lightweight GPS locator that can be attached on virtually anything
-Real-time GPS tracking that can be monitored via Google Maps
-Powered by T-Mobile cellular network
-3 Tracking Plans available (Basic, Plus, and Premium)
-Provides location updates depending on the tracking plan purchased
-A built-in motion detector that turns off accelerometer when the device is not moving to save power
-Battery life can last up to 14 days in passive mode
-Sends alerts via email or text in real time when the device goes beyond the safe-zone parameter
Compared to other GPS trackers, Spy Tec doesn’t have its app for the tracking and real-time monitoring. However, don’t let this shortcoming put you off.
All in all, the accuracy and battery life of Spy Tec STI GL300 are quite impressive. Considering its affordable price, buying this product is a great deal.
You may find the monthly service cost a bit too pricey, but you still have the option to stick to the Basic tracking plan. Furthermore, you can cancel your subscription anytime without cancellation fees incurred.
It’s essential to understand the most critical factors to look for in choosing the best drone tracker.
This buying guide will show you the fundamental features to scrutinize in a drone tracker to be able to pick the best.
There are three different kinds of drone trackers according to the method used – GPS, RF, and Bluetooth.
Take note that GPS drone trackers utilize GSM service using cellular data networks to relay information from the GPS satellites. Also, consider the network’s supported spectral efficiency – 2G, 3G, or 4G.
You cannot use these kinds of tracking devices if you’re living in a remote area with no cellular reception. So, what should be the alternative in this situation?
Tracking system using RF technology seems to be the better choice when there’s no cellular reception in your area.
Bluetooth tracking technology is slowly rising to the challenge, but further testing and improvement are yet to be undertaken.
While Bluetooth locators have been proven effective in locating phones, bags, key chains, and wallets, the same can’t be said with flying vehicles.
Unlike GPS and RF, Range Finder, Bluetooth range is only limited within a short distance and may not work well with high-flying quadcopters.
We always want to know the whereabouts of our precious belongings. A drone finder should be able to send you instant updates on your device’s current position as well as other relevant information.
Choose a drone tracker that is capable of relaying details such as location changes, sudden movement, and battery life among others.
More importantly, it should be able to give you alerts when your device passes beyond the safe-zone parameters.
The success of your drone recovery will rely on how long the battery can keep the device ‘alive.’ As long as the device is turned on, you will be able to locate its position through a hand-held locator.
Most models have a built-in motion detector that can prolong battery life in case it gets lost. When not moving, the sensor automatically turns off some features such as an accelerometer, reporting and other operations that consume power
This is to save whatever life is left in the battery until it can be recovered. Of course, you won’t be able to find the device anymore once the battery dies out. So, choose wisely and look for a drone finder with useful power-saving features.
Some brands are more expensive than the others. However, does this mean that these brands are better than the cheaper ones?
It is essential to take time to examine the features of a particular product before clicking the ‘Buy’ button.
While it’s not wise to compromise quality by opting for the cheapest brand, make sure that you’re getting the best value for your money.
Cheaper brands usually don’t offer a product warranty. Moreover, if manufacturers don’t provide a guarantee, this says a lot about them.
Remember that you’re investing in something that can protect a much more expensive item – a drone.
If you’re tight on the budget, it’s wise to opt for mid-range products with decent features and product warranty.
Other legit brands also offer free services for a limited time so you may want to take advantage of these promos.
RF and Bluetooth tracking devices involve one-off payment that allows you to use the device anytime without monthly fees. However, GPS/GSM is a different story.
To be able to activate GPS tracker for the drone, you’ll need to pay monthly subscription fees depending on the type of plan you choose.
Some companies often charge users with activation fees while some others don’t. So we recommend that you carefully read the offer before finalizing a decision.
Why do we need to get a drone tracker for our UAVs? It’s highly probable that you’ll end up losing your expensive quadcopters if precautions were not taken. Of course, you don’t want this nightmare to happen.
Unless your quadcopter has a built-in tracking device or is equipped with ‘home return key’ function, then there’s nothing to worry about. However, if it’s not, then you definitely should buy a drone finder.
In the case of flyaways, these tracking devices can make drone recovery a lot easier. With the aid of a hand-held locator, you can monitor the device’s current location. Plus, you’ll get alerts when there’s a sudden movement or a sudden change in position.
With these tracking tools, you’ll never have to scour the landscape blindfolded with no idea which area to search. These amazing drone trackers will guide your way towards your lost UAV in time without unnecessary hassles.
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