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

February 11, 2024

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If you’re a pet parent looking for a high-tech way to keep tabs on your pup, smart dog collars may be just what you need.

Smart collars use GPS and cellular networks to track your dog’s location in real-time and monitor their daily activity and health. Many collars connect to a mobile app that sends alerts when your pup leaves a designated safe zone.

Two of the most popular smart dog collars on the market are the FitBark 2 and Fi Series 2. But how do you decide between them?

In this in-depth comparison review, we’ll compare FitBark and Fi’s key features side-by-side. We’ll break down how their GPS tracking, geo-fencing, fitness monitoring, mobile apps, battery life, pricing, and more stack up.

By the end, you’ll know exactly which smart collar is the better fit for your furry friend.

Key Takeaways

  • Fi has more advanced real-time GPS tracking while FitBark focuses more on overall health monitoring.
  • Both use cellular networks for GPS, but Fi claims to have 30% better coverage.
  • FitBark is cheaper but requires a monthly subscription for location tracking.
  • Fi has better battery life, but many users say it drains quickly without WiFi/Bluetooth.
  • FitBark accommodates smaller dogs while Fi fits medium-large breeds.
  • Fi gets more complaints about GPS accuracy and customer service.
  • Both make solid fitness trackers to monitor daily activity goals.

How Smart Dog Collars Work

Before diving into the details, let’s look at how smart collars like FitBark and Fi work.

These high-tech collars use a combination of GPS, cellular networks, WiFi, and Bluetooth to track your dog’s location and activity levels.

Here are the key components:

  • GPS satellite network: Provides location tracking by pinging satellites that circle the earth. No cell service required.
  • Cellular networks: Enhance location tracking accuracy by using cell towers. Networks include LTE, LTE-M, 3G, 4G, and 5G.
  • WiFi & Bluetooth: Conserve battery life by connecting to these when in range. Sync data to app.
  • Built-in sensors: Track motion, temp, heart rate, calories burned, steps, scratching, and rest.
  • Rechargeable battery: Lasts anywhere from days to months depending on features used.
  • Mobile app: Receive location alerts, view maps, activity stats, set boundaries, and more.

Now let’s see how FitBark and Fi compare when it comes to these key components.

FitBark vs Fi: Side-by-Side Comparison

Here’s an overview of how FitBark and Fi stack up across the most important factors when choosing a smart dog collar:

GPS TrackingUses GPS + cellular networksUses GPS + LTE-M cellular network
Geo-fencingCustomizable safe zonesCustomizable safe zones
Fitness MonitoringExcellent activity & health trackingSolid activity tracking
Battery LifeUp to 6 monthsUp to 3 months (varies)
Water ResistanceWaterproofWaterproof
App RatingsPositive reviewsMixed reviews
Price$69.95 + subscription$149 + subscription
Best ForSmall and large dogsMedium and large dogs

Below we’ll explore each of these key factors in more depth.

GPS Location Tracking

When it comes to keeping track of your pup, GPS smart collars need reliable location tracking. Both FitBark and Fi offer real-time GPS tracking, but they differ in their technical capabilities.

FitBark uses a combination of GPS satellites, WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular networks like ATUVOS vs AirTag to track your dog’s location. The cellular networks help enhance accuracy when GPS satellites alone can’t provide precise enough coordinates.

For cellular service, FitBark uses LTE-M networks, which provide coverage similar to 3G and 4G networks.

Fitbark Location Updates & Mapping

Fi also uses GPS satellites but claims to have better coverage than FitBark by using the LTE-M cellular network.

Fi says LTE-M networks can reach around 30% farther than standard LTE, 3G, 4G, and 5G networks. This expanded range is ideal when your dog is off exploring the edges of your property.

Fi Gps Location Tracking

When it comes to absolute GPS accuracy, both brands claim to track your dog’s location within several feet. But in practice, some pet parents report issues with both collars incorrectly showing their dog as outside the set boundaries.

Based on customer reviews, Fi seems to have more complaints about inaccurate location tracking than FitBark. But both have room for improvement.

Geo-Fencing and Location Alerts

Along with tracking your pup’s location, smart collars allow you to set up a geo-fence, which are virtual boundaries that trigger alerts when your dog wanders outside of the safe zone.

Both FitBark and Fi make it easy to establish customized geo-fences using their mobile apps.

You can designate a backyard, walking trails, a dog park, or other areas as your dog’s safe zone. If your pup escapes the geo-fence, you’ll get a location alert on your phone telling you.

Some key differences:

  • Fi lets you set multiple geo-fences so you can have different boundaries for home, the park, etc.
  • FitBark only allows one geo-fence at the moment.
  • Fi claims its alerts come through in under one minute when your dog exits the zone, while some FitBark users report a lag of several minutes before getting alerts, as this AirTag location not updating issue explores. Quicker alerts give you more time to respond.
  • Some FitBark users report a lag of several minutes before getting alerts. Quicker alerts give you more time to respond.

Both platforms use sound or vibration alerts to warn your pooch when they near the edge of the safe zone. This helps deter them from escaping.

Fitness and Health Tracking

In addition to location services, smart collars pull double duty by tracking your dog’s daily fitness and health data.

FitBark positions itself primarily as an activity monitor and health tracker. Fi also offers solid activity tracking features but focuses more on GPS capabilities.

Here’s a rundown of the fitness and health monitoring features provided by both brands:

FitBark uses a 3-axis accelerometer to closely track:

  • Steps taken
  • Distance traveled
  • Calories burned
  • Overall daily activity levels and intensity
  • Quality of sleep
  • Any changes in behavior patterns
Fitbark Health Tracking
Fitbark Fitness And Health Tracking

You can also set activity goals tailored to your dog’s breed, age, weight, and activity level. Obese and senior dogs have different activity needs.

Fi tracks more limited fitness metrics but still provides helpful activity monitoring:

  • Steps taken
  • Distance traveled
  • Daily, weekly, monthly step count trends
  • Active time vs rest time
  • Ability to compare activity with other dogs
Fi Fitness And Health Tracking

Both platforms allow you to monitor your pup’s activity through the mobile app and get alerts when something seems off, like lower-than-usual activity levels.

Veterinarians and scientists partner with both FitBark and Fi to advance pet research with the aggregated activity data.

Battery Life

No one wants their pup’s smart collar to run out of juice at an inopportune time. Battery life is a key consideration.

FitBark states its battery lasts around 6 months on average, which is excellent. But that’s only for the activity tracking — the location tracking battery lasts closer to 3-5 days.

Fi claims its collar battery lasts for up to 3 months. However, many users complain the battery drains in just days or weeks unless frequently recharged.

This quick Fi battery drain seems to stem from it relying heavily on WiFi and Bluetooth signals to conserve power. When away from those connections, the battery life decreases rapidly.

In contrast, FitBark uses cell networks more efficiently to preserve battery when out of WiFi/Bluetooth range.

For power management, both brands offer a home base charger to easily recharge when not in use. FitBark’s charger plugs into the wall while Fi uses a portable charger like the best luggage trackers.

Water Resistance

Since dogs love water, a smart collar needs adequate waterproofing to withstand the elements.

The good news is both FitBark and Fi claim to be waterproof with similar IPX7 and IP68 ratings.

This means they can withstand submersion in 1 meter (about 3 feet) of water for 30 minutes. You can bring your water-loving lab swimming without worries.

Both collars are also designed to handle dirt, mud, rain, and snow. They should hold up well for dogs who play rough.

Mobile Apps

To view your dog’s location, fitness stats, and collar settings, smart collars must pair with a user-friendly app.

The FitBark and Fi apps are available for both iOS and Android. They allow you to:

  • Track your dog’s real-time location on a map
  • Create and monitor custom geo-fences
  • View daily activity trends and totals
  • Set reminders to keep your pup active
  • Receive alerts when your dog leaves home
  • Customize collar settings
  • Recharge the battery
  • Connect with other users

Based on reviews, the FitBark app tends to be more user-friendly and stable compared to some bugs with the Fi app.

But both platforms offer the essential tracking and activity monitoring features you need in a smart dog collar app.

Size and Weight

When choosing the right smart collar, you need one that fits your dog comfortably without weighing them down.

FitBark offers more flexibility for owners of small and large dogs:

  • The actual FitBark device is a tiny 0.35 oz bone-shaped tracker that clips onto nearly any collar.
  • It’s designed for dogs 5 lbs or larger.
  • You can use your own existing collar in most cases.
Fitbark Size & Weight Limits

The Fi collar has the tracker built directly into the collar:

  • The tracker makes the collar a bit bulkier and heavier.
  • Fi comes in 4 sizes to fit neck sizes 11.5″ to 34.5″.
  • Best suited for medium to large dogs 10 lbs or larger.
Fi Size And Weight

FitBark accommodates smaller dogs that other collars/devices won’t fit, like AirTag vs Fi collar shows. Fi appeals more to medium-large breeds.

Price and Subscription Plans

Upfront cost and monthly fees are important factors when comparing smart collars.

The FitBark 2 Activty Monitor costs $69.95 for the device alone.

You’ll also need a subscription for location tracking that starts at $5.95/month for the annual plan.

Fitbark Cost
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The Fi Series 2 costs $149 for the collar itself. You’ll also need to pay:

  • $99/year
  • $186 for 2 years
  • $248 for 3 years
Fi Price And Subscription Plans
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So FitBark is cheaper up front, but Fi offers savings for multi-year subscription plans.

One advantage of Fi is that the activity monitoring features work without a plan — the subscription is only needed for GPS. With FitBark, you need a subscription for all features.

Both brands offer 30-day money back guarantees if you find smart collars aren’t for you.

Which Is Better: FitBark or Fi?

So when it comes down to choosing between FitBark 2 and Fi Series 2 smart collars, which comes out on top?

Here are the key factors to weigh:

Go With FitBark If:

  • If your #1 priority is health monitoring and fitness tracking, as this PitPat vs FitBark comparison explores, FitBark is a great option.
  • You have a smaller dog under 10 lbs.
  • You want cheaper upfront cost (but require monthly fees).
  • You value battery efficiency and want to avoid frequent charging.

Go With Fi If:

  • Real-time location tracking from Tractive GPS pet tracker is most important to you, Fi is a better pick as Findster vs Tractive reviews show.
  • You have a medium or large dog over 10 lbs.
  • You don’t mind paying more upfront in exchange for potential subscription savings.
  • Your dog frequently tests the limits of your backyard boundaries.

Both brands continue working to improve their smart collar technology and apps. In some cases, the differences come down to personal preferences around pricing, battery efficiency, size accommodations, and emphasis on GPS vs overall health tracking.

Hopefully this detailed side-by-side comparison gives you the insights you need to decide whether FitBark or Fi is a better fit your pooch!

FAQs About FitBark and Fi

How accurate is the GPS tracking?

Both brands claim tracking accuracy within several feet. However, some pet owners report issues with inaccurate location tracking. FitBark seems to have slightly better overall GPS reliability based on reviews.

Do they work without cell service?

The collars still use GPS satellites to pinpoint location, but cellular networks enhance accuracy. Areas without cell coverage may result in less precise tracking.

Can the collars be used for training?

The collars don’t include specific training capabilities, but the vibration alerts when your dog approaches the boundary of your geo-fence can help deter them from crossing it.

What dogs are they good for?

FitBark works best for dogs 5 lbs or larger. Fi is better suited for medium to large dogs over 10 lbs.

How long does the battery last?

FitBark activity tracking lasts ~6 months. Location tracking is 3-5 days. Fi claims its battery lasts 3 months, but many users report much shorter battery life.

Can I use the collars outside of the US?

FitBark and Fi collars only work in the United States at the moment. International plans may be offered in the future.

Do I have to pay monthly fees?

You can use basic activity tracking features without a plan, but you need a subscription for GPS location services.

Give Your Pup Some Peace of Mind

Dog parents want to provide the best care and safety for their furry family members. Modern smart collars give you helpful insights into your pup’s daily life while providing peace of mind when they’re off on their own.

Both FitBark and Fi offer innovative ways to digitally enhance your dog walking adventures together. Now that you know how these top options compare, you can decide if a smart collar is right for your pup.