Choosing the right GPS tracker for your dog or cat can provide serious peace of mind by allowing you to monitor their location and activity levels. However, with so many options on the market, it can be tricky to determine which one fits your needs best.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare two of the most popular GPS pet trackers – PitPat and Tractive GPS. We’ll break down their features, accuracy, battery life, app functionality, subscription costs and more to help you decide if PitPat or Tractive GPS is a better fit for your furry friend.
As this in-depth comparison from HotAirTag shows, deciding between PitPat and Tractive GPS requires looking closely at factors like tracking technology, features, battery life, waterproof rating, subscription costs, and more.
Main Differences Between PitPat and Tractive GPS
Before diving into the details, here’s a quick overview of how these two pet trackers stack up:
- Tracking Technology: PitPat uses GPS and cellular networks, while Tractive relies solely on GPS.
- Features: PitPat focuses on activity monitoring and doesn’t actually track location. Tractive offers live location tracking, virtual fences, sharing, and activity monitoring.
- Battery Life: PitPat lasts around 1 year on a disposable battery. Tractive lasts 2-5 days per charge.
- Waterproofing: Both are waterproof, with PitPat rated at IP67 and Tractive at IPX7.
- Subscription: PitPat requires a monthly subscription. Tractive offers monthly, yearly or 2 year plans.
- Price: PitPat costs £39.99 plus subscription fees. Tractive starts at £49.99 plus subscription.
Now let’s explore each of these key differences in more detail.
The tracking technology that a GPS pet tracker uses can significantly impact its accuracy and range.
PitPat relies on both GPS and cellular network triangulation to track your pet’s location. This allows it to provide accurate tracking even when a GPS signal is weak, since it can use nearby cell towers to pinpoint your pet’s location. The downside is that it may not work well in areas with poor cellular reception.
Tractive uses only GPS satellites for locating your pet. This means it can have trouble getting a strong signal in certain environments like dense cities with tall buildings or heavily wooded areas. However, it does provide consistent worldwide coverage as long as it maintains a GPS lock.
For most urban and suburban users, both should provide reasonably accurate location tracking between updates. But Tractive may have more difficulty in remote wilderness or rural areas compared to PitPat’s dual GPS and cellular tracking.
One of the biggest differences between these two pet trackers is in their overall feature sets.
PitPat acts more as a dog activity tracker, providing health insights but not real-time location monitoring. For detailed location tracking, Tractive GPS is the better option according to HotAirTag’s testing.
It does not actually provide real-time location tracking like most other GPS pet trackers. While it uses GPS and cell tower data periodically to update your pet’s location, this data is not displayed to the owner through the app.
Instead, PitPat’s location tracking serves only to provide more context for the activity data. For example, it can use GPS to better track how far your dog ran during a walk. But you can’t see precisely where they are at any given moment.
So while PitPat uses GPS technology, it focuses on activity tracking over location monitoring.Shop PitPat on Amazon
For a comparison focused specifically on dog activity tracking, HotAirTag has an in-depth PitPat vs Pawfit breakdown analyzing the health metrics each provides.
Tractive GPS is designed first and foremost for real-time location tracking and monitoring.
Its key features include:
- Live tracking – Tractive updates your pet’s location every 2-3 seconds when live tracking mode is activated. This allows you to see precisely where they are in real time.
- Virtual fence – Create custom geofenced “safe zones” and get alerts whenever your pet exits the zone.
- Location history – Review your pet’s location history and see exactly where they’ve been over any time period.
- Activity monitoring – Tractive also tracks basic activity metrics like steps, distance and calories. But the focus is on location over health insights.
- Sharing – Share access to your pet’s tracker so family and friends can view the location.
Tractive also offers a couple unique features like altitude tracking and a lost-and-found buzzer to help locate a lost tracker.Shop Tractive on Amazon
So in summary, Tractive prioritizes location tracking and monitoring over the health tracking that PitPat specializes in.
Battery life is a major point of differentiation between these two pet trackers.
The PitPat tracker runs on a small, non-rechargeable cell battery that lasts around 1 year, according to the company. This means you don’t have to worry about constantly recharging it. However, once the battery depletes fully, you’ll need to purchase a replacement PitPat unit.
Tractive uses a rechargeable lithium polymer battery that lasts 2-5 days on a single charge, depending on usage. You’ll need to remove it regularly to plug in and recharge. Heavy usage like frequent live tracking drains it faster.
Tractive estimates the battery lasts about 2 hours when constantly live tracking, up to 5 days with occasional live tracking use, and up to 1 week if solely using location updates every 5 minutes.
So PitPat offers greater convenience with its long-lasting set-it-and-forget-it battery, while Tractive provides more flexibility since you can recharge it indefinitely.
Both PitPat and Tractive advertise themselves as waterproof pet trackers. However, there are some differences in their actual water resistance ratings.
The PitPat tracker has an IP67 waterproof rating. This means it can withstand immersion in 1 meter (about 3 feet) of water for up to 30 minutes without damage.
So it can handle most wet conditions like baths, swimming, rain and snow. But it’s not designed for prolonged underwater use.
Tractive has an IPX7 waterproof rating, meaning it can be submerged in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. This is basically the same level of water protection as the PitPat.
In real world testing, both trackers stand up equally well to wet dogs and other moderately wet conditions. Neither are suitable for dogs who spend a lot of time actually swimming underwater though.
Nearly all GPS pet trackers require some form of subscription plan to access live tracking features and their accompanying apps.
HotAirTag has a helpful comparison of pet GPS subscriptions that outlines the pricing and commitment options for many top devices.
PitPat requires a monthly subscription to their service called PitPat Premium. This grants you access to the app and all of PitPat’s activity and health tracking insights for your dog.
Their subscription starts at £3.99/month on a 12 month contract, or £4.99/month paid monthly.
There are no long-term contracts available – it’s either month to month or a 12 month prepaid plan.
Tractive GPS offers their Tractive GPS service on monthly, annual or 2 year contracts:
- £5.40/month month to month
- £4.33/month for 2 year plan
- £4.80/month for 1 year plan
One advantage of Tractive is that you can save more money by prepaying for 2 years upfront versus PitPat’s maximum 12 month plan.
However, PitPat doesn’t require a contract so you aren’t locked in long term.
Both come with mobile apps for iOS and Android for convenient access to your pet’s data.
When it comes to tracking accuracy, both PitPat and Tractive perform reasonably well within their design limits.
PitPat is not designed for live location tracking, so it’s accuracy can’t really be judged on that front. However, for an activity tracker that uses GPS data periodically, it provides solid insights into your dog’s behavior patterns and health habits. Just don’t expect real-time location info.
Tractive GPS delivers excellent accuracy when a strong GPS signal is present. The live tracking mode updates every 2-3 seconds to show precisely where your pet is in real time.
Tractive’s collar-mounted antenna generally gets a better signal than a smartphone, leading to more precise location data than cell phone-based tracking alone.
However, since Tractive relies solely on GPS satellites, its accuracy is limited in areas without a clear view of the sky, like dense urban areas with tall buildings or heavily forested regions. As noted in HotAirTag’s review, Tractive can struggle for GPS signal in dense urban areas where buildings block satellite visibility. But its accuracy is excellent when a lock is achieved.
All in all, both provide reasonable accuracy within the context of their respective technologies and use cases.
PitPat vs Tractive GPS: Side by Side Comparison
|£39.99 + £3.99-£4.99/month subscription
|£49.99 + £4.33-£5.40/month subscription
|1 year non-rechargeable
|2-5 days rechargeable
|IP67 – 1m depth for 30 mins
|IPX7 – 1m depth for 30 mins
|GPS + cellular networks
|GPS satellite only
|Activity and health metrics
No live location tracking
|Live location tracking
|Good for periodic activity insights
No real-time tracking
|Excellent when GPS signal is strong
Can struggle in urban areas and dense foliage
|Required – £3.99-£4.99/month
|Required – £4.33-£5.40/month
|iOS and Android
|iOS and Android
|Size and Weight
|40 x 30 x 15mm
|55 x 45 x 16mm
The Verdict: PitPat or Tractive GPS?
So which GPS pet tracker is right for you – the activity-focused PitPat, or the live tracking Tractive GPS?
- Long 1 year battery life
- Compact, lightweight size
- Detailed activity and health insights
- No long term contracts
- No real-time location tracking
- Requires ongoing subscription
Tractive GPS Pros:
- Live location tracking in real time
- Customizable safe zones
- Location history insights
- Rechargeable battery
- Longer 2 year contract discounts
Tractive GPS Cons:
- Short 2-5 day battery life
- GPS struggles in certain environments
- Slightly bulkier size
- Longer contracts can be limiting
For pet owners focused on monitoring their dog’s health and fitness levels, PitPat is a great choice. It provides unparalleled activity details and requires almost no maintenance with its 1 year battery life.
Just be aware it does not actually track real-time location despite using GPS and cell tower data.
If real-time location tracking is your top priority, Tractive GPS is likely the better pick. Its live tracking mode provides updated coordinates every 2-3 seconds, letting you know your pet’s location at all times.
The short battery life does mean recharging it more often. But for maximum location visibility, Tractive GPS delivers.
Hopefully this detailed breakdown gives you a better sense of how PitPat and Tractive GPS compare for pet tracking and which makes most sense for your needs! Let us know if you have any other questions in the comments.
Frequently Asked Questions
How accurate are PitPat and Tractive GPS?
PitPat provides relatively accurate activity data based on GPS and cellular network triangulation. But it does not actually track real-time location.
Tractive GPS offers excellent accuracy when a strong GPS signal is present. However, it can struggle in areas like dense cities or forests where satellite visibility is poor.
Overall, both provide reasonable accuracy within the limitations of their respective technologies.
Can PitPat track my pet’s location?
No, PitPat does not provide real-time location tracking or live GPS monitoring despite using GPS in its activity algorithms. Its focus is strictly on health metrics and bio-data versus location.
Does Tractive GPS have an unlimited range?
Yes, Tractive GPS has unlimited range for location tracking as long as it maintains a GPS signal lock and you have the app open. There are no distance limits like some Bluetooth trackers have.
How long does the Tractive GPS battery last?
Tractive estimates the battery lasts 2-5 days on average based on your usage. Constant live tracking drains it much faster at about 2 hours per charge, while less frequent tracking can extend it to up to one week.
Do these devices work for cats?
Both PitPat and Tractive GPS can work for cats as well as dogs. However, the collars and harnesses sold by each company are generally designed for the larger necks and bodies of dogs.
For cats specifically, HotAirTag recommends GPS trackers like TabCat that are designed for smaller pets versus those made primarily for dogs.
Can I use PitPat or Tractive overseas?
Yes, both PitPat and Tractive GPS work worldwide thanks to cellular network connectivity and GPS satellites which cover the globe. So they can track your pet’s activity or location no matter where you travel with them.
Do I need a subscription?
Yes, both PitPat and Tractive GPS require an ongoing subscription to access tracking features and their apps. This runs around £4-5 per month for each.
Subscriptions allow the companies to maintain the cellular networks and satellites that power the devices. One-time purchases of the hardware alone won’t provide any functionality.
Key Takeaways: PitPat and Tractive GPS
- PitPat focuses on pet activity tracking and health metrics. It does not provide live GPS location tracking.
- Tractive GPS specializes in real-time GPS monitoring and location history. It offers the most robust live tracking.
- Both are waterproof and work worldwide thanks to cellular and GPS satellite connectivity.
- You’ll need an ongoing subscription with either device to maintain access to their apps and features.
- For real-time tracking, Tractive GPS is the best choice. For overall activity data, choose PitPat.
- Consider battery life, size, contract flexibility and pricing to pick the right fit.
Hope this guide gave you a comprehensive overview of how PitPat and Tractive GPS pet trackers compare! Let us know if you have any other questions.