Cell phones have made it easier than ever to stay in contact with our loved ones, but when it comes to children and elderly relatives, a smartphone isn’t always the best option for checking in. Expensive plans, challenging technology, costly units, and too much freedom to browse the internet can often leave parents and older children wondering how to safely keep a watchful eye on their loved ones. Thankfully, there are easy to use, discreet, and affordable tracking devices that can help you rest easy knowing that finding the location of your child or relative is as simple as opening an app.
The three tracking devices we’ve included on our list all have monthly payment plans that provide real-time location tracking, with updates sent directly to your phone or computer. With delays between five and 60 seconds depending on your selected program, the devices enable users to quickly check in on their loved ones. That means being able to confirm that your child arrived safely home from school, and your elderly relative hasn’t gotten confused and wandered away from home.
The tracking devices are also useful when placed in cars, which is excellent news for parents of young drivers. With location history, parents can confirm that their kids didn’t make any unannounced side trips, which is especially useful to note during school hours or if mom and dad are out for the night.
The devices are lightweight and small and can easily fit in a child’s backpack or on the belt loop or in the pocket of an elderly relative. Similar in size and weight to a key fob, we like that the tracking devices are discreet enough that they can be hidden if necessary, for example, from a loved one with memory issues who may not react well to knowing they’re being watched for their own safety.
Check out the three personal tracker devices we’ve highlighted below and rest assured knowing you can keep a watchful eye on your loved ones.
1. SpyTec Mini Portable Real Time Personal and Vehicle GPS Tracker
Track and map your car, child, elderly relative and more with the SpyTec Mini Portable Real Time Personal and Vehicle GPS Tracker, a portable tracker that works with Google Maps in real time on your phone or computer.
Pros: The SpyTec is a small 2-ounce tracker that can be placed in a child’s backpack, an elderly relative’s belt or pocket, or a car. Three monthly tracking plans are available, with the Basic, Plus, and Premium offering three price points and custom plans based on your tracking needs. SpyTec has several price tiers of subscription plans. They will send a text or email when the tracker leaves the geo-fence area. The SpyTec comes with an unconditional lifetime warranty and has no contract or activation or cancellation fees.
Cons: Monthly tracking plans make the SpyTec a pricey option. The tracker runs on one AA battery and must be replaced at least every two weeks. The tracker is not waterproof, although a waterproof case can be purchased separately.
2. Prime Tracking Personal GPS Tracker
Using the ultimate GPS tracking app, the Prime Tracking Personal GPS Tracker is a 4G LTE tracking device that sends real-time data to your phone, computer, or tablet to inform you of where the device is at all times.
Pros: The Prime Tracking device has very similar functions to SpyTec, and there are several price plans available. Users receive location updates every 10 seconds, with alerts when the tracker leaves the GeoFence, as well as SOS notifications and historical data lists.
Cons: Like the SpyTec, the battery on the Prime Tracking device must be changed every two weeks. Some customers found that the tracker wasn’t able to follow moving vehicles and lagged in real time updates.
3. Relay Kids Screenless Smartphone
As straightforward in use as a walkie talkie with the added sophistication of nationwide 4G LTE and WiFi, the Relay Kids Screenless Smartphone enables parents to not only track but communicate with their children.
Pros: Designed specifically for parents who want to stay in touch with their children and be able to track them for safety reasons, the Relay tracks your child’s movements through its free app. With a rugged and playful design that is fun for kids, your little one can contact you directing by pushing the talk button on the tracker, which sends messages to your phone. The Relay features channels that work like apps on a phone and enable you to add extra features, like music. The Relay has an affordable plan, and the unit comes with a lithium battery, charging port and charger.
Cons: The app must be open and running on your phone to receive a message from your child.