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What’s the best personal vehicle tracking device?


 Have you ever asked yourself this question: what’s the best personal vehicle tracking device on the market today?

There is no doubt, the significance of personal vehicle tracking devices has surged in recent years, particularly in South Africa, where vehicle theft and unauthorised usage are major concerns. Cars are probably the second most expensive item most of us will ever purchase, and installing a vehicle tracking device either yourself using an off-the-shelf solution or through a reputable tracking company is essential.

These devices not only help in recovering stolen vehicles but also provide essential data for personal safety and efficient vehicle management. Given the varied demands of the South African market, this article delves into the criteria you can use to select the best personal vehicle tracking devices currently available.

Importance of vehicle tracking in South Africa

South Africa faces unique challenges that heighten the need for effective vehicle tracking solutions. High crime rates, especially in urban areas, necessitate robust security measures for vehicle owners. Personal vehicle tracking devices offer a proactive security solution by enabling real-time location tracking, which is crucial for quick recovery after theft. Additionally, these devices can offer peace of mind to individuals and families, knowing that their vehicles’ movements can be monitored at any time.

Criteria for evaluating vehicle tracking devices

Choosing between a self-installed vehicle tracker and a vehicle tracking company involves weighing the pros and cons of each approach based on individual needs and preferences.

Before delving into the advantages and disadvantages of each solution start by considering:

1. Subscription costs

In most cases, a GPS tracker will require a monthly subscription. Some companies offer discounts for up-front bulk payments, so select the subscription that best suits you and your budget.

2. Battery life

A GPS tracker will only report if there is power, so battery life is a key consideration. While this will vary widely, the general rule of thumb is that the more often the GPS reports, the shorter the battery life. We suggest activating the low-battery alert on your GPS tracker to avoid being without your tracker service at a time when you really need it.

3. Desired use

You likely have a good idea of how you wish to use your GPS tracker. Let this inform your purchasing decision—consider what you’re tracking and what you’d like to know. Hardwire options are for vehicle use only; battery-powered products provide monitoring solutions for all your belongings.

When selecting an off the shelf GPS tracker for your vehicle you need to also consider the following points:

  • Reliability for triggering speed and geofence alerts
  • Size and discreteness:
  • Features the tracker provides
  • Ease of use
  • Connectivity
  • Legal and insurance compliance

Pros and Cons of self-installed vs vehicle tracking company solutions.  

Here’s a detailed look at both options:

Advantages of using a self-installed vehicle tracker

  1. Cost-effectiveness: Self-installed trackers typically have lower initial costs as you’re not paying for professional installation.
  2. Privacy control: With a self-installed tracker, you have full control over the data collected, ensuring privacy and limiting access to tracking information.
  3. Flexibility and customisation: You can choose exactly what features you need and avoid paying for unnecessary services that a professional company might bundle into their package.
  4. Complete control: You maintain full control over the installation process, setup, and configuration, tailoring the system to meet specific needs.
  5. Privacy assurance: Keeps your vehicle’s location data private, with no third-party access unless you choose to share it.
  6. No long-term commitments: Avoids the need for long-term contracts that come with professional tracking services.

Disadvantages of using a self-installed vehicle tracker

  1. Complex installation: Depending on the device and vehicle type, installation can be complex and may require technical knowledge or professional help, potentially incurring extra costs.
  2. Reliability issues: Self-installed devices may not be as reliable as professional systems, especially if not installed correctly, which can affect the accuracy and functionality of the device.
  3. Limited support: If issues arise, you may not have the same level of support or access to expertise as you would with a tracking company.
  4. Lack of advanced features: May lack more sophisticated features like professional fleet management tools or detailed analytical reports.
  5. Limited technical support: Support is often limited to basic troubleshooting online or via manuals, with no professional assistance.
  6. Warranty issues: Self-installed devices might void warranties or not come with any guarantee of performance.

Advantages of using a vehicle tracking company

  1. Professional installation and maintenance: Tracking companies provide professional installation, ensuring the device is correctly fitted for optimal performance, along with ongoing maintenance.
  2. Advanced features and services: Companies often offer advanced tracking features, such as real-time monitoring, detailed reports, and immediate alerts, which might not be available with self-installed units.
  3. Support and warranty: access to customer support and warranty offers can provide peace of mind, knowing that any problems will be handled professionally.
  4. Higher-quality equipment: Companies often use state-of-the-art equipment that is more reliable and capable of more sophisticated monitoring.
  5. Additional security features: May include advanced security features such as emergency response, theft alerts, and more.
  6. Integration capabilities: Often integrates with broader systems for fleet management or with emergency services for enhanced safety.

Disadvantages of using a vehicle tracking company

  1. Higher costs: Professional services typically come with higher initial setup costs, ongoing fees, and contracts which may be costly over time.
  2. Less privacy: Using a tracking service means your vehicle’s data is accessible to the company, potentially raising concerns about data privacy and control.
  3. Dependence on service provider: You rely on the company for service and maintenance, which means if you move from one provider to another you will need to install a new tracking unit.

Why choose Netstar?

Netstar tracking systems relieve the stress and anxiety associated with keeping track of your vehicles, assets and people. It’s affordable, easy to use and smartly engineered to meet all your tracking needs. You have complete control and peace of mind because nobody can look after your loved ones and business like you do.


The decision to use a self-installed tracker versus a vehicle tracking company depends largely on your specific needs, technical ability, and privacy concerns. If cost and privacy are your primary concerns and you are comfortable handling technical setups, a self-installed tracker might be the right choice. However, if you prefer a hassle-free solution with advanced features and dedicated support, a vehicle tracking company might be more suitable. Evaluating both the pros and cons in relation to your personal or business needs is crucial in making an informed decision.

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