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5 Best Fleet Tracking Devices for Small Businesses

 

Rumor has it that businesses—no matter the size—are on the hunt for GPS fleet tracking solutions that will cut costs, reduce risk and liability, and prevent theft and loss of their company vehicles.

The numbers seem to confirm this trend. According to ReportLinker, the GPS tracking device market was worth $1.78 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $4.98 billion by 2028. It’s easy to see why: the ability to see every company vehicle—simultaneously—is a boon to business owners and fleet managers alike.

But if you work in a small business, you might be doubting your readiness to adopt a fleet tracking system. Don’t you need more than 100 vehicles? And a budget the size of Mars?

Not anymore.

After reading this blog post, you’ll walk away knowing five of the best tracking devices small businesses can use for GPS fleet monitoring. Plus, I’m heading it up with the essential must-knows about GPS tracking systems in general—so you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed investment.

 

What You Need in a Vehicle and Fleet GPS Tracking System

Your fleet tracking system is the driving component of your overall fleet management—the process your managers use to oversee the acquisition, use, and disposal of all fleets and assets. With a solid system in place, you can cut costs, increase efficiency, lower risk, and even ensure your fleets stay in compliance with certain laws and regulations.

If you’re not using tracking devices for fleet vehicles, the fleet management process becomes unnecessarily painstaking. But when searching for the perfect GPS device, you’ll come across a wide variety of options. And the truth is, they aren’t all the same.

Some devices are better for tracking personal belongings and individual assets, while others are ideal for company vehicles—but not entire fleets. If you’re serious about making the right investment, you can’t dive in blindly and head-first—there are a few bases the perfect fleet GPS tracking solution must cover. Specifically: Versatility, real-time location data, pristine accuracy, easy use and installation, and customizable alerts.

With these features—and more—in mind, I’ve selected five of the best GPS tracking solutions for fleet management.

 

1. Spytec GPS GL300 Real Time Tracker

The GL300 GPS tracker is great for company vehicle tracking—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Because this tracker is wireless and battery powered, it can easily track pretty much anything—from equipment and machinery to trailers and other valuables.

At just one inch thick, this versatile tracking device is sleek and compact. Add in its otherworldly durability in extreme weather and temperatures, and you’ve got a GPS force to be reckoned with. It also comes with an impressive battery life of up to 2.5 weeks, which you can extend even more by adding an M4 case or an M6 case.

Perhaps most importantly, the GL300 is super easy to install and use. To start tracking, all you need to do is activate the tracker, choose a software subscription plan, and download the accompanying mobile and/or desktop app. There, you’ll have an entire GPS fleet monitoring system with dependable accuracy, customized boundaries, and real-time alerts.

If you have more than one vehicle, you’ll obviously need more than one tracking device. That’s why the GL300 is available in convenient multipacks with three, five, or even ten trackers—meaning you can save up to 49% on hardware.

Pros

  • Tracker bundles available at discounted rates

  • Durable in harsh weather and temperatures

  • Easy to set up and install

  • Battery life of up to 2.5 weeks, which can be increased with an M4 or M6 case

  • SOS button that crew members can push to alert you in case of emergencies

Cons

While the battery life is impressive, the GL300 does need to be charged periodically. And if you or one of your colleagues dismiss the automatic low-battery alerts, you could end up with a dead tracking device.

 

2. Spytec GPS OBD Tracker for Vehicles and Fleets

Speaking of batteries: If you’re looking for a vehicle GPS tracking device that runs on continuous power, look no further than the OBD tracker. How does it run without a battery, you ask? It’s in the name: the OBD GPS tracker plugs directly into—and is powered by—your vehicle’s OBD port.

Not only does this score points in the longevity category, but it also means installing and using the tracker is easy. Plus, it connects to the same easy-to-use software as the GL300.

The cherry on top? Even when the vehicle is off, the OBD GPS tracker continues to deliver alerts thanks to its backup battery. And because installation is so quick and simple, you can easily swap it between vehicles.

Pros

  • Compact design with no wires or loose ends

  • No need for recharging, as power comes directly from the OBD port

  • Easy to use and install

  • Receives alerts even when the vehicle is off

  • Can be swapped between vehicles

Cons

Because this tracker must draw power from an OBD port, you can’t use it to monitor anything other than vehicles. But if you’re specifically looking for a fleet management solution, that drawback might not even be relevant to you.

 

3. Spytec GPS Hardwired Tracker

If you’re looking for a true “set it and forget it” solution for fleet management, you can’t do much better than a GPS tracker that wires directly into your vehicles. The hardwired GPS tracker uses the vehicle it tracks as its power source—no battery required. It’s the perfect solution for long-term deployment.

Of all the trackers we’ve looked at thus far, the hardwired tracker is the sleekest and slimmest by far. Unlike the OBD tracker, the hardwired tracker isn’t readily visible—but that also means it’s tougher to swap between vehicles. In fact, we recommend having it professionally installed.

Similar to the OBD tracker, the hardwired tracker comes with a backup battery that continues to send you notifications when the vehicle is turned off.

Pros

  • Sleek and slim design

  • Not readily visible

  • Backup battery allows you to receive alerts even when the vehicle is off

  • Draws power from the vehicle (no need for charging)

  • Easy to use with the accompanying tracking app

Cons

While this tracker is great for long-term use, it is not easy to install on your own. However, once you set it up, using it is easy. Just download the accompanying app and track the same way you would with any other device.

As mentioned above, because of its complex installation, it also isn’t easy to swap between vehicles. If you like having the option to move trackers around—and many managers of large fleets do—then this tracker may not be your best bet. If you’re only tracking one or two company vehicles, though, it might be the way to go.

Also, as is the case with the OBD tracker, you can’t track anything other than vehicles with this device.

 

4. Samsara OBD GPS Tracker

Similar to the Spytec GPS OBD tracker, Samsara’s OBD tracking device connects directly to the vehicle’s OBD port. The GPS system is an FMCSA-registered ELD, and it not only tracks location by the second, but also pulls engine data to provide you with overall service hours.

Samsara makes fleet operations visible in real time by offering to-the-second tracking. And this isn’t just useful for fleet managers—your business’s customers can also receive real-time updates on their incoming deliveries.

Like many other fleet GPS systems, Samsara provides insightful data reports that boost operational efficiency, vehicle compliance, and more. The system also gives you a virtual passenger seat in any fleet vehicle through analytics. You can get real-time weather and traffic updates, optimize routes, view performance data, and more.

Pros

  • Precise and frequent location updates

  • Additional location information, like weather and traffic data

  • Insights into fuel efficiency and driver productivity

  • Ability to share live-tracking with customers

  • Fleet performance reports on timeliness, accidents, and more

Cons

According to reviews on Capterra, the customer service at Samsara is under par, and the system is buggy—especially when it undergoes new updates. So, although the system promises live and to-the-second tracking, it may be difficult to get the full value of that benefit due to system glitches.

If you’re a startup or a small business, Samsara simply might not work for you—literally. The software has a three-vehicle minimum, so if you only have one or two, you can’t use it.

Furthermore, Samsara doesn’t offer a free trial and instead wants you to sign a three-year contract, making it a much riskier solution compared to others on this list.

 

5. Connecteam

Connecteam allows for seamless tracking, monitoring, and management of all your fleet vehicles in one place. With just one click, you can see an entire month’s worth of driver schedules, shifts, and availability on one page.

Not only does this feature make dispatching drivers quick and easy, but it also allows you to assign routes and shifts—which you can customize to include special information. Plus, you’ll get notifications in real-time as your vehicles take off.

These communication tools also come in handy for company announcements, private conversations with employees, and logistics updates. However, some managers—especially those in small businesses—might find all these options over the top and unnecessary.

Connecteam prides itself on being 100% digital, promising that you can ditch pen and paper for good. As such, the app also boasts online safety and organizational features like incident reporting, shift checklists, a tickets report, and maintenance reports, among others.

As for the tracking system itself, Connecteam uses a GPS time clock with geofencing, which allows you to track not only driver locations, but also work hours. This simplifies your payroll process while also allowing you to obtain data-rich reports.

Pros

  • Easy to use

  • Ability to schedule drivers

  • Ability to monitor driver work hours, double-time, days with multiple shifts, and absences

  • Payroll process simplification

  • High-quality customer support

  • Accessible on both mobile and desktop

  • Multiple tools for communication

Cons

The most glaring con in terms of fleet tracking is that Connecteam is more of a fleet management system than a GPS tracking solution. However, the platform does include a GPS tracking component.

If you already have solid fleet management in place, Connecteam probably isn’t worth the price. There’s no way to pay for only the real-time GPS fleet tracking—you get the entire package. For small businesses, that could mean paying for a lot of features you won’t use.

Plus, it doesn’t run using separate GPS hardware. Instead, drivers are responsible for activating the GPS on their mobile phones. It isn’t until they hit “start shift” that the app starts tracking their location. There is also a “start break” button,  which means it’s on the driver to stop their tracking when they’re off the clock.

Bottom line: If you aren’t a fan of the time tracking aspect of this system—or the fact that drivers share so much responsibility in it—Connecteam probably isn’t for you.

 

 


 

GPS tracking is no longer accessible only to the decades-old business with 100-plus employees. Small businesses can just as easily harness its powers to increase operational efficiency, boost performance, improve profitability, and much more.

Whether you need a couple of devices to keep track of company vehicles or a full-fledged fleet management solution, one of these top five picks should do the trick.