Finding the right GPS pet tracker can give pet owners peace of mind knowing their furry friend’s location and activity levels. With so many options on the market, it can be tricky to decide which device best fits your needs.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about Whistle GPS pet trackers – one of the most popular and highly-rated brands for location tracking and pet activity monitoring.
Overview of Whistle Pet Trackers
Founded in 2012, Whistle is a San Francisco-based company dedicated to developing innovative smart technology for pets. Their product lineup includes both GPS-enabled trackers focused on location monitoring and activity monitors without GPS to track daily exercise and rest.
Whistle offers two main GPS tracker models:
- Whistle GO Explore – The latest flagship model offering the most advanced features. Includes both GPS tracking and activity monitoring.
- Whistle Switch – A 2-in-1 tracker with removable GPS and activity monitoring modules.
In addition, they also have Whistle Health, an activity monitor without GPS, and accessories like the Whistle Patch, a GPS tracker for small pets.
How Whistle GPS Trackers Work
Whistle GPS trackers use a combination of GPS, cellular data, WiFi, and Bluetooth to pinpoint your pet’s location and send updates to your smartphone.
Here’s an overview of how the technology works together:
- GPS provides active tracking to follow your pet’s movement in real-time when they leave a designated safe zone.
- Cellular data on the built-in SIM card transfers location pings from the tracker to Whistle’s app. No pairing required.
- WiFi establishes safe zones around your home network so you’re notified if your pet wanders off.
- Bluetooth connects the tracker to your phone during setup. Not used for active tracking.
Once connected to the Whistle app, you can track your pet on demand or get alerts when they leave a safe zone. Location updates are provided every 60 seconds while tracking.
Key Features of Whistle GPS Pet Trackers
Accurate Real-Time Tracking
Whistle GPS trackers leverage GPS satellite tracking for accurate real-time location monitoring. When your pet leaves a designated safe zone, you can view their location within minutes on a map in the app.
Tracking updates are provided every 60 seconds so you can follow your pet’s path in real-time. Whistle cites average GPS accuracy between 10-15 feet.
Customizable Safe Zones
With Whistle devices, you can create custom safe zones of any shape and size where your pet regularly spends time, like your home, yard, a dog park, etc.
When your pet exits the safe zone, you’ll receive mobile notifications within minutes. This gives you a chance to respond before they get too far.You can have unlimited safe zones, so you’re covered both at home and on trips.
Activity & Rest Monitoring
Whistle GPS trackers use built-in accelerometers to automatically track your pet’s daily activity and rest.
The Whistle app displays stats on time spent active vs resting, intensity and duration of activity, distance traveled, calories burned, and more.
You can also set custom activity goals tailored to your pet’s needs. Historic reporting helps identify activity trends.
Lightweight, Durable Design
Weighing less than one ounce, Whistle trackers are designed to be lightweight and comfortable for pets to wear.
The devices have an IP67 waterproof rating and are built to withstand rough play and the elements. Rated for pets eight pounds and up.
The Whistle app supports tracking for multiple pets with a separate tracker for each. This is handy for multi-pet homes.
You can switch between pet profiles to view their respective tracking data and safe zones. Purchase additional devices at a discounted rate.
Going out of town? You can add family and friends as caretakers in the Whistle app to share access to your pets’ tracking info and location history.
Caretakers get full access without needing to purchase their own subscription. You can remove access at any time.
Health Monitoring (Whistle Health)
While Whistle GPS trackers focus on location and activity, the Whistle Health is a tracker dedicated specifically to monitoring your pet’s daily habits and overall wellness.
It tracks sleep, licking, scratching, eating, and drinking patterns and combines this data into an overall wellness score. Helpful for senior pets or those with health conditions.
What Do Whistle GPS Trackers Monitor?
Whistle pet trackers record a wealth of data about your furry friend’s daily activities and location. Here are some of the key things they can monitor:
- Real-time GPS location
- Location history and trip tracking
- Custom safe zones
- Home zone tracking via WiFi
- Active time vs rest
- Distance traveled
- Calories burned
- Time spent playing or exercising
- Activity trends over time
- Sleep quality and patterns
- Scratching and licking habits
- Changes in eating and drinking behaviors
- Overall wellness scores
- Leaving safe zone
- Long periods of inactivity
- Low battery
Whistle GPS Tracker Specifications
From battery life to water resistance, here are some key tech specs for Whistle’s pet trackers:
- Battery Life: 5-10 days typically. Up to 20 days possible with ideal conditions.
- Recharge Time: 2 hours for a full charge.
- Water Resistance: IP67 waterproof rating (up to 1m depth for 30 minutes).
- GPS Tracking Frequency: Location updates every 60 seconds during active tracking.
- GPS Accuracy: 10-15 feet average. Dependent on environmental conditions.
- Safe Zone Tracking Frequency: Pets are checked every 2-3 minutes for safe zone exits.
- Wireless Connectivity: Built-in cellular data via AT&T network. WiFi and Bluetooth supported.
- Compatibility: iOS and Android apps.
How Much Does Whistle Cost?
Whistle GPS pet trackers involve two costs – an upfront device purchase and an ongoing service plan subscription.
Whistle Device Purchases:
- Month-to-month: $9.95/month
- 1 year prepay: $8.00/month
- 2 year prepay: $7.00/month
Tip: Longer subscriptions come with increasing discounts. Prepaying annually or for two years is the most affordable long-term.For multi-pet households, additional devices are $15 off after the first purchase.
Whistle GPS Tracker Pros & Cons
- Accurate real-time GPS tracking
- Custom safe zones
- Activity and rest monitoring
- Lightweight, waterproof design
- Multi-pet support
- Share access with caretakers
- Good nationwide coverage via AT&T
- Only available in the US currently
- Monthly plans require 12-month commitment
- Safe zone exit alerts can be slightly delayed
- No adventure/hike recording like some competitors
What Customers Are Saying About Whistle Pet Trackers
With over 6,000 reviews on Amazon, Whistle GPS pet trackers average 4.2 out of 5 stars collectively. Here are some common feedback themes:
- Setup and use of the mobile app is straightforward
- GPS tracking accuracy is reliable in most conditions
- Alerts for leaving safe zones work well, usually within a few minutes
- Battery life reaches 5-7 days typically
- The device itself is well-made and durable
- Tracking fills a peace of mind need for reckless or escape-prone pets
- Customer service is very responsive when issues come up
On the downside, some users report sporadic connectivity problems in areas with poor cellular coverage. Activity data accuracy can also vary depending on pet size and behaviors.
How Whistle Compares to Other Pet Trackers
Whistle GPS pet trackers are among the most popular options, but how do they stack up against competitors? Here’s a look at how Whistle compares to other top brands:
- Whistle offers more customizable safe zones compared to Tractive’s circular geofences.
- Tractive has slightly better battery life at 7-10 days typically.
- Whistle provides more detailed activity metrics and health monitoring capabilities.
- Both utilize mobile apps that are intuitive and easy to use.
- Fi claims their GPS signals are unblockable, unlike Whistle’s cellular-based tracking.
- Whistle gives more transparency into activity patterns and health behaviors.
- Fi offers medical record storage and vaccination reminders that Whistle lacks.
- Fi collars are bulkier and heavier than Whistle’s minimalist, lightweight build.
- Fitbark focuses solely on activity and health insights without GPS location tracking.
- Whistle GPS models provide outdoor tracking that Fitbark does not have.
- However, Fitbark gives more robust dog health and fitness data.
- Fitbark is significantly cheaper since it does not require a cellular data plan.
While competitors like Tractive, Fi, and Fitbark have unique advantages, Whistle provides the best balance of advanced but easy-to-use GPS tracking paired with activity monitoring.
Based on expert testing and reviews, Whistle GO Explore stands out as the best Whistle GPS tracker available today.
It combines the most advanced tracking features with activity monitoring to provide a comprehensive overview of your pet’s habits and whereabouts.
We recommend the Whistle GO Explore for pet owners who prioritize:
- Seeing real-time location when a pet escapes
- Creating customized safe zones
- Getting a bigger picture through activity metrics
- Budgeting for a long-term subscription
The extended battery life, slim design, and robust feature set make it the top Whistle pick for peace of mind.
Frequently Asked Questions About Whistle Pet Trackers
Considering a Whistle GPS pet tracker? Here are answers to some common questions:
What size pets can use Whistle trackers?
Whistle recommends their trackers for pets 8 pounds and larger. The trackers can fit collars up to 1 inch wide. Smaller pets may need an additional collar wrap to keep the device stable.
Are Whistle devices waterproof?
Yes, Whistle claims the trackers are waterproof with an IP67 rating. They can withstand submersion up to 3 feet deep for 30 minutes.
Do the devices have on-board storage?
No, the trackers themselves don’t have local storage. They rely on a cellular data connection to transmit tracking data to the cloud. Location history is only available through the app.
What happens if my pet goes somewhere without cell service?
In areas without cellular coverage from AT&T, the tracker will not be able to transmit location updates. It will store pings locally until back in coverage.
Can I use Whistle outside the US?
Currently, Whistle only offers service in the United States since it uses the AT&T cellular network. International service is not available.
How long does the battery last?
Average battery life is 5-7 days with typical use. It varies based on activity, WiFi availability, and cellular signal strength. Frequent location pings will drain it faster.
My pet broke their Whistle tracker – will it be covered by warranty?
Whistle provides a 1-year limited warranty against defects. Accidental damage is not covered, but you can purchase a replacement device at 50% off.
Can I track my cat outdoors?
Whistle doesn’t recommend using their trackers for unattended outdoor cats who roam freely. It works best for dogs or indoor cats in case of an accidental escape.
Do I need a Whistle subscription for it to work?
Yes, a service plan subscription is required. The device won’t provide GPS tracking or share data without an active subscription linked to it.
What happens if I miss the safe zone breach alert?
If you miss the initial safe zone alert, the Whistle app will show your pet’s current location as soon as you open it while they are still out of the designated zone.
Whistle offers some of the most sophisticated and user-friendly GPS pet trackers available today. Their trackers aim to balance advanced functionality with an easy-to-use app experience.
While minor connectivity quirks can crop up, expert and buyer reviews agree their GPS technology and activity tracking outperform much of the competition.
For many pet owners, that peace of mind is worth the investment into a Whistle device and subscription. We hope this guide gave you a comprehensive overview of Whistle pet trackers to evaluate which model best fits your needs.