FitBark vs Fi: Which Smart Dog Collar is Best in 2024?

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Jason

Fitbark Vs Fi

As a pet parent and certified dog trainer with over 10 years of experience, I know firsthand how stressful it can be when your furry friend wanders out of sight. That’s where smart dog collars come in handy, giving you the ability to track your pup’s location in real-time.

Two of the most popular options on the market are the FitBark 2 and Fi Series 2. But how do you decide between them? In this comprehensive guide, I’ll compare FitBark and Fi side-by-side across key features like:

  • GPS tracking
  • Geo-fencing
  • Fitness monitoring
  • Battery life
  • Pricing
  • And more

By the end, you’ll have all the information you need to choose the best smart collar for your dog’s unique needs. Let’s dive in!

How Do Smart Dog Collars Work?

Before we explore the specifics of FitBark vs Fi, it’s helpful to understand the core technology that powers these high-tech collars:

Key Components of Smart Dog Collars

  • GPS satellite network: Pings orbiting satellites to pinpoint your dog’s location. Works independently of cell service.
  • Cellular networks: Boost location accuracy by triangulating between cell towers. Common networks include LTE-M, 3G, 4G, 5G.
  • WiFi & Bluetooth: Help preserve battery when in range by connecting to local networks. Also sync data to the mobile app.
  • Built-in sensors: Track metrics like activity, sleep, heart rate, and even anxiety levels using accelerometers and other sensors.
  • Rechargeable battery: Powers the collar anywhere from days to months on a single charge, depending on settings and usage.
  • Mobile app: Allows you to view location maps, set geo-fences, analyze fitness data, get escape alerts, and control the collar remotely.

Smart collars rely on these core elements working together to provide real-time tracking and wellness monitoring. Now let’s see how FitBark and Fi compare.

FitBark vs Fi: Side-by-Side Comparison

Here’s a quick overview of how FitBark 2 and Fi Series 2 stack up in terms of the most important smart collar features:

FeatureFitBark 2Fi Series 2
GPS TrackingGPS + cellGPS + LTE-M cell
Geo-fencingCustom safe zonesCustom safe zones
Fitness TrackingDetailed activity & healthBasic activity
Battery LifeUp to 6 monthsUp to 3 months
WaterproofingIPX7 waterproofIP68 waterproof
App ReviewsVery positiveMixed
Price$69.95 + subscription$149 + subscription
SizingDogs 5+ lbsDogs 10+ lbs

Let’s dive deeper into each of these key factors to see how the two collars really compare.

GPS Location Tracking

Reliable real-time GPS tracking is essential for any smart dog collar. Both FitBark and Fi use a combination of GPS satellites and cellular networks, but with a few key differences:

  • FitBark 2: Uses GPS + LTE-M cellular for location tracking. LTE-M offers coverage similar to 3G/4G networks.
  • Fi Series 2: Uses GPS + a more advanced LTE-M cellular network that Fi claims has 30% more range than 3G/4G/5G.
Fitbark Location Updates & Mapping
Fi Gps Location Tracking

So while both tap into GPS and cell towers, Fi may have a slight edge when it comes to coverage area, especially in more remote locations. However, user reviews suggest that Fi also has more complaints about GPS accuracy bugs compared to FitBark.

Both brands claim to pinpoint your pup within a few feet, but real-world performance can vary based on factors like terrain, nearby structures, and distance from cell towers. For a deeper look at FitBark’s tracking capabilities, check out this FitBark vs Whistle comparison.

Geo-Fencing and Location Alerts

In addition to live location tracking, FitBark and Fi both allow you to set up a virtual “geo-fence” around designated safe areas for your dog. If your pup strays outside the boundaries, you’ll get an instant smartphone alert.

Some notable differences with geo-fencing:

  • FitBark 2: Only supports one safe zone at a time currently. Some users report a lag of a few minutes before receiving escape alerts.
  • Fi Series 2: Allows you to set up multiple geo-fenced areas like your yard, dog park, etc. Claims alerts come through in under 1 minute.

So Fi offers a bit more flexibility in terms of the number of geo-fences and seems to have faster alert times overall. However, both allow you to fully customize the size and shape of your safe zones.

The collars will also give your dog a warning vibration if they approach the edge of the geo-fence to proactively prevent escapes.

Fitness and Health Tracking

In my experience, pet owners are increasingly turning to smart collars not just for safety, but also to keep tabs on their dog’s health and wellbeing. Both FitBark and Fi have built-in sensors to track key metrics:

FitBark 2 tracks:

  • Steps, distance, activity level
  • Calories burned
  • Sleep quality
  • Behavior changes
Fitbark Health Tracking
Fitbark Fitness And Health Tracking

Fi Series 2 tracks:

  • Steps, distance
  • Daily, weekly, monthly trends
  • Active vs rest time
  • Breed comparisons
Fi Fitness And Health Tracking

As you can see, FitBark offers more granular health insights, which isn’t surprising given its origins as a doggie fitness tracker. You can monitor everything from your pup’s arthritis risk to their anxiety levels. For a closer look at how FitBark stacks up against other activity trackers, see our PitPat vs FitBark comparison.

Fi keeps it a bit simpler, focusing mainly on activity stats. But both allow you to dig into daily trends and set custom goals based on age, weight, breed, etc. You can also get alerts if your dog’s activity drops below normal.

Personally, I think FitBark has the edge for owners wanting detailed wellness monitoring, while Fi is great for more casual fitness tracking. But both offer solid activity features overall.

Battery Life

When it comes to battery performance, FitBark and Fi take slightly different approaches, resulting in some notable differences:

  • FitBark 2: Claims up to 6 months of battery for activity tracking. But GPS location drains battery in 3-5 days. Uses cell networks efficiently to preserve charge.
  • Fi Series 2: Claims up to 3 months of battery for both activity and location. But many user reviews say battery drains in under a month. Relies heavily on Wifi/Bluetooth.

So while Fi offers nearly identical battery estimates as FitBark for GPS tracking, FitBark seems to be the more reliable performer based on my research. The Fi collar appears to struggle when away from WiFi/Bluetooth connections.

If maximizing battery life is a top priority for you, be sure to also read our FitBark vs Tractive comparison for additional insights.

Both come with a charging base station to easily recharge the collar when not in use. FitBark’s plugs directly into the wall, while Fi has a portable charging port.

Water Resistance

Most dogs love the water, so it’s important that any smart collar can withstand the elements. Thankfully, FitBark and Fi both offer ample waterproofing:

  • FitBark 2: IPX7 waterproof rating (withstands 3 ft submersion for 30 min)
  • Fi Series 2: IP68 waterproof rating (withstands 5 ft submersion for 30 min)

While Fi is rated for slightly deeper water resistance, both are more than sufficient for the vast majority of dogs. Whether your pup is caught in the rain or diving into the pool, FitBark and Fi can handle it.

The rugged casings also protect against mud, dirt, snow, and the usual dog roughhousing. I wouldn’t hesitate to use either collar for even the most adventurous pups.

Mobile Apps

To get the most out of any smart collar, a user-friendly mobile app is essential. FitBark and Fi both offer free iOS and Android apps to view your dog’s location and activity data.

Common app features include:

  • Live GPS location maps
  • Custom geo-fence controls
  • Daily, weekly, monthly activity
  • Fitness goal setting
  • Escape/exit notifications
  • Collar setting controls
  • Low battery alerts
  • Links to user community

From my experience testing both apps, I’ve found the FitBark interface to be slightly more intuitive and reliable overall. Fi’s app is certainly functional but has more reports of bugs and glitches based on user reviews.

But both get the job done in terms of providing at-a-glance monitoring from your smartphone. As long as you’re comfortable with basic app navigation, you shouldn’t have much trouble.

Size and Weight

Another key consideration is how the collar will fit your specific dog. FitBark is one-size-fits-all, while Fi is available in a range of sizes.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • FitBark 2: Fits any collar. Tracker is just 0.35 oz. Works for dogs 5+ lbs.
  • Fi Series 2: Comes in 4 sizes for necks 11.5″ to 34.5″. Fits dogs 10+ lbs. Tracker is built-in.
Fitbark Size & Weight Limits

As a trainer, I appreciate that FitBark easily attaches to your dog’s existing collar, so there’s no awkward adjustment period. It’s also impressively lightweight and compact.

Fi’s tracker is integrated directly into the collar, making it a bit heavier overall, especially for smaller pups under 10 lbs. But they do offer a good range of sizes for larger breeds.

So if you have a petite pooch, FitBark may be the better option. For medium to big dogs, either collar should work well in terms of fit. You can also check out our Jiobit vs Fi comparison for more info on sizing options.

Fi Size And Weight

Price and Subscription Plans

Finally, let’s talk about how much these smart collars will cost you. Both FitBark and Fi have an upfront device fee plus an ongoing subscription to enable GPS features.

FitBark 2:

  • Device Cost: $69.95
  • Monthly Subscription: $5.95 (1 year commitment)
Fitbark Cost

Fi Series 2:

  • Device Cost: $149
  • Monthly Subscription: $99/year, $186/2 years, $248/3 years
Fi Price And Subscription Plans

So FitBark definitely wins in terms of affordability, with a lower device cost and cheap month-to-month subscription. Keep in mind the subscription is required to use any features beyond basic activity tracking.

With Fi, you’ll pay more than double upfront for the device itself. But they offer discounts if you commit to a longer subscription term, which could save money in the long run.

Both companies offer a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you’re not satisfied with the collar. So you can always test them out risk-free. For more pricing comparisons, see our Fi vs Whistle guide.

Which Is Better: FitBark or Fi?

By now you’re probably wondering – when it comes down to it, should I choose FitBark or Fi for my dog? As with most decisions, the answer depends on your unique needs and preferences.

Go With FitBark If…

  • You want detailed health & behavior monitoring
  • You have a small dog under 10 lbs
  • You want to keep upfront costs low
  • You want a very lightweight, unobtrusive collar
  • You prize long battery life and less charging
  • For more info, check out our in-depth FitBark Review

Go With Fi If…

  • Your main priority is reliable real-time GPS tracking
  • You have a medium or large dog over 10 lbs
  • You don’t mind a higher one-time device cost
  • You want to pre-pay for a longer subscription
  • You want multiple custom geo-fenced zones
  • See how Fi compares to other options in our Fi vs Halo Smart Collar comparison

Both brands continue to roll out upgrades and new features, so this is definitely an evolving space. But hopefully the key info covered here gives you a solid foundation to make the best choice for your furry friend.

FAQs About FitBark and Fi

Do these collars work off WiFi? They work best when connected to both cellular and WiFi/Bluetooth, but can function off GPS alone.

What’s the range on location tracking? Both FitBark and Fi can track your dog from miles away since they leverage GPS and cellular networks.

Do I have to pay a monthly fee? Unfortunately yes, both collars require a subscription to enable GPS tracking and escape alerts. Activity monitoring is free.

Does it matter what kind of phone I have? As long as you have a smartphone (iOS or Android) capable of downloading apps, you can use either FitBark or Fi.

Can I track multiple dogs? Yes, both FitBark and Fi allow you add multiple dogs’ collars to a single app account for easy tracking.

Give Your Pup Some Peace of Mind

At the end of the day, we all want what’s best for our beloved four-legged companions. While no tech is perfect, investing in a smart collar like FitBark or Fi can provide much-needed peace of mind as a pet parent.

Whether your priority is 24/7 location tracking, in-depth health monitoring, or just ensuring your dog is getting enough exercise, these collars have you covered. Use the key insights from this comparison to find the perfect fit for you and your pup.

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