Best Hidden GPS Trackers: Track Your Vehicle Anywhere
Keep an eye on your vehicle's location with a good hidden GPS tracker.
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
BY Miguel de Guzman / LAST UPDATED ON July 23, 2021
Vehicle GPS trackers have become very popular these days because of the advancement of GPS technology. Knowing your vehicle's whereabouts and having the ability to track it in realtime can give you peace of mind for a lot of reasons. GPS trackers won't just prevent the permanent theft of your vehicle, but they are also a good solution if you need to monitor the driving habits of an employee, your teenage child, or an elderly family member.
To help you decide which one to get, we'll be taking a look at the best vehicle GPS trackers available for purchase and giving you a rundown of their features.
This portable real-time tracker comes ready to use and allows you to track your vehicle from any computer, phone, or tablet.
- Battery can last for days on a single charge
- Has coverage in the U.S., Canada, and Europe
- Offers accurate alerts on movement, speeding, and parking
- Doesn’t come with mounting hardware or a magnet
- Expensive product with expensive monthly subscriptions
It is one of the most affordable GPS trackers in the market but does the job well.
- Tracker is small and easy to set up
- Can send real-time information via text, email, or app
- Tracker doesn’t include a SIM card
- Can give relatively inaccurate information when the vehicle is in a rural area
Offering a smaller-than-average body, this vehicle GPS tracker offers more features than other options.
- Small, compact body has a degree of weatherproofing built into the case itself
- App offers several helpful features like arrival and departure notifications and proximity alerts
- Battery life is shorter than most competitors at just four or five days
- Recharging becomes a hassle since it takes long (around 12 hours)
- Pin is required to hit the on and off button that's recessed into the body
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Why Buy a Hidden GPS Tracker
- Keep track of your vehicle's location. Especially if your car is expensive and stands the risk of getting stolen, one advantage to having a GPS tracker installed in your vehicle is that you'll be able to track its whereabouts at all times. As long as the tracker is in an area with persistent data connection, it can send you constant updates via email or through an app using the same technology found in smartphones.
- Monitor driving habits. GPS trackers can provide you with invaluable information about how your vehicle is being used. In addition to location, GPS trackers can log information like direction, vehicle speed, fuel consumption, and more. This can be helpful if you have a teenage child or an elderly family member who uses your vehicle, or if you have a business that requires you to monitor a fleet of vehicles.
- Peace of mind. Of course, the biggest benefit to having a GPS tracker installed is peace of mind. Nobody can reasonably be expected to keep tabs on their vehicle at all times, and even if one had a camera on it 24/7, they'd still be left none the wiser once it's stolen.
Types of Hidden GPS Trackers
A passive GPS tracker basically works like a data logging device. It will log vehicle data that can be downloaded later on. Passive GPS trackers don't need a persistent data connection because they don't send out information about your vehicle in real time. Some passive GPS trackers can send information wirelessly, but you'll either have to download the data from the tracker or wait a longer interval between each update. One advantage of a passive setup is that you can expect the battery to last longer. The downside, of course, is that you won't be getting minute-to-minute updates.
Active GPS trackers require constant data connection to be able to send you information about your vehicle via a cellular network. This necessarily means that active GPS trackers end up using more power than passive ones. If the tracker draws power from an internal battery, then you'll be replacing it or charging it often. However, the ability to get information about your vehicle in real-time can be a big advantage in certain situations.
Top Brands of Hidden GPS Trackers
As a dedicated surveillance gear supplier, SpyTec has some history developing products that are meant to be discreet and out of sight. While some of its gear can be used for more nefarious purposes, the main appeal of the company's product lineup, especially its GPS trackers, is for everyday use. That is why general use trackers like the SpyTec GL300 are perfect for vehicular use: they are small and fit nearly anywhere.
LandAirSea is one of a few companies that is focused on producing GPS tracking products for vehicular use. Founded in 1994, the company specializes in making accurate trackers meant for personal and commercial use, especially in situations that require a good fleet management system. Check out the LandAirSea 54 Magnetic GPS Tracker for a good sample of the company's offerings.
Hidden GPS Tracker Pricing
- Under $50: You'll find basic GPS trackers in this price range. While you shouldn’t expect basic GPS trackers to offer much in the way of features, most will give you more than what you’ll need for personal use.
- $50-$100: Many general and vehicle-specific GPS trackers in this range are designed for personal and commercial use. Although they'll be able to log in a lot of useful driving information for fleet managers and the like, most vehicle-specific options need a direct connection to the vehicle’s OBD-II port, which means they can't be hidden from view.
- $100 and up: You'll find the most feature-rich GPS trackers in this price range that are mostly designed for commercial purposes. They'll have the ability to log in more driving and diagnostic information, and have other unique features such as proximity alerts, geofencing, and driver scoring to aid in fleet management.
One big advantage of a hidden GPS tracker is that it can be installed almost anywhere in the vehicle. Some can even be installed on the outside or under a vehicle, away from view. This means you'll need a suitable case for the tracker to protect its internal circuitry from the elements. Some cases will be conveniently included in the package and have a magnetic mount for easy installation while some are sold separately.
In addition to providing you with information on the whereabouts of your vehicle, some GPS trackers will have a geofencing feature that can tell you when a vehicle goes outside a predetermined route. Geofencing can be a particularly helpful feature for fleet management because it allows users to encircle an area on a map and get notified as soon as the vehicle leaves the area.
Proximity alerts are another useful feature that you might want in your GPS tracker depending on your needs. With this feature, you can get notifications every time your vehicle reaches predefined points on a map, which will obviate the need to constantly monitor a vehicle's location in real-time.
- Control. Advanced trackers have many settings you can use to monitor the performance and settings of the device. The type of control the device offers matters when you want quick access to these settings. The most convenient control is online or mobile app-based settings. This way, you can access the settings anytime you want from anywhere, usually for a small monthly subscription. More basic devices, however, may require a direct connection to a computer to change these settings or download data.
- Battery Life. All electronic devices are only as good as the life of their batteries. When a GPS tracker runs out of juice, the tracking stops. While battery life depends on a number of settings like location reporting intervals, some devices have longer lifespans than others. Considering the type and capacity of the battery is a good starting point to see how much life you should expect out of any option you consider.
Best Hidden GPS Trackers Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- If you opt to put your tracker inside your vehicle, anywhere close to the window where the tracker can have an unobstructed view of the sky will give you the best reception.
- If you want your GPS tracker installed somewhere outside the vehicle to keep it hidden from view, consider mounting it behind a rear light where it's least visible. You can also mount it on the undercarriage, but make sure that it is well encased so it won't damage from exposure to the elements.
- Especially if you decide to mount the tracker outside your vehicle, always check the mount mechanism before installing the tracker to make sure it won't fall off or damage should the vehicle go over a bump or a patch of rough road.
Q. How does a GPS tracker work?
Just like any other GPS device, a hidden tracker communicates with satellites overhead to determine its position. Using some calculations, it determines and sends its location (or stores it) for the user.
Q. Do GPS trackers always work?
The reliability of a tracker depends on the GPS reception. Most of the time, a GPS device has no trouble communicating with GPS satellites in orbit. Certain types of terrain, bad weather, and other small factors can worsen reception in certain cases. You may be also be limited when you can access the information if it doesn't have a data connection.
Q. What's the best way to hide the GPS tracker?
Installing it somewhere that is difficult to access on the vehicle is the best bet. This usually rules out the interior of the vehicle. Instead, try mounting it somewhere outside behind a part or panel. Under the car, behind a light, in the engine bay, and other areas work fairly well.