Consumer Reports tested three GPS tracking devices to see if they could help find a runaway pet: the RoamEO for $200; the $170 Garmin GTU 10; and the Tagg Pet Tracker for $100.
With the Garmin and Tagg you create virtual boundaries online, or what are called "geofences." Then you can use your smartphone to keep tabs on your pet's location. The RoamEO uses a radio handset.
"To test these I had another engineer carry them around outside and I tried to locate him," said Bernie Deitrick, Consumer Reports.
The good news: No engineer was lost. But testers did find pros and cons with each device.
The RoamEO's handset made it very easy to track. The cons?
"It had limited range. Terrain and buildings could affect that. And it only had 24 hours of battery life," said Deitrick.
Tracking with the Tagg was quick and easy, but its minimum virtual boundary is about four acres, much bigger than your average yard.
"Your dog could be next door digging up the flower bed and you'd never know it," said Deitrick.
With the Garmin you can create up to 10 different geofences of any size. Location updates are quick if you use its deluxe tracking plan for an additional $5 per month.
"It's easier to track, but battery life is shorter," said Deitrick.
But it just might be worth it, especially when it comes to quickly finding a missing four-legged friend.
Both the Garmin and Tagg link to a cellphone network to relay information. The Garmin uses AT&T and charges $50 annually after the first year. The Tagg charges $7.95 per month after the first month to use the Verizon network. Consumer Reports says be sure to factor in those costs if you are considering getting one of these.