Are you worried about losing your drone? Even if you’re confident in your drone flying skills, there are no guarantees that it will come back safely. (And if you’re not confident yet, make sure you take an online or in-person training course).
Nowadays, when we choose to fly our drones, there is often a large risk we could lose them. That’s if we don’t use a drone tracker. The common circumstances which can result in drones going missing are:
- A drone’s battery dying mid-flight and not being able to retrieve it
- Airplanes, helicopters, or other drones interfering with it
- Bad weather conditions such as wind or thunder and lightning
- An accidental crash
- If the drone loses reception mid-flight and you can’t get signal
- If another person steals your drone
Now, we’re talking hypothetical incidents here.
But, if you’re flying your drone, this could well happen to you. You never know; if you were to lose a drone, it could well be nearby in a surrounding area and not as far as you think.
Because of this, you must invest in a drone tracker as soon as you buy a drone. If you do, this could prevent any of these situations from happening.
After all, a drone tracker saves you time and unwarranted stress by making it easy to locate it. Plus, you will be able to recover your much bigger investment (the drone) quickly.
No doubt, drone trackers are essential to have.
But, we know some of you reading this might be already thinking, how much do they cost?
Cost isn’t an issue. The truth is, drone trackers are very affordable.
There is a huge range out there with different features and prices, so at least one of them will likely suit your budget.
But, before you check your finances, you need to know the ins and outs of drone trackers.
How Does a Drone Tracker Work?
A sticker or small electronic device is applied to the drone, which serves as the tracker. It possesses a chip inside that sends a signal to the mobile app that you download onto your phone.
As you run the app, it will receive the signal and let you know where your drone is located in real-time. In most cases, this will be a radio frequency or GPS frequency. Bluetooth is short-range and still in the experimental stages as far as drone tracking is concerned.
The GPS signals of GPS trackers come from satellites. They are the most powerful signals because you don’t need to maintain a line of sight with the drone. However, you may need to subscribe to a satellite service to take advantage of GPS tracking.
If you choose a radio frequency tracker, you won’t need to subscribe to any service. The only problem is that radio-frequency tracking requires a line of sight with the drone.
Here is a nice radio-frequency drone tracker. You won’t be required to sign any contracts or commit to anything. When purchasing a Marco Polo, it may seem expensive at around $235, but we can assure you it will be a great long term investment.
This device can track your drone as far as 2 miles away. Of course, you must maintain a line of sight with the drone. If the drone ends up crashing somewhere, simply press the button on the device, and it will find the location of your drone.
Distance isn’t the only benefit; this tracker is compact and small in size weighing 12 grams, allowing it to have long battery life and allowing you to have up to 10 days, to track down your drone.
Compared to some trackers, this one does not involve having a smartphone or PC to track down your device. You would be using a handheld locator to search for the tag receiver and start tracking it.
In this mode, your handheld locator will have arrows that will point to the drone tracker’s location. This tracker is great to use even in far and remote locations. Part of this is because it has real-time distance and instant direction feedback.
You can find the Marco Polo Launch and Recovery System for sale on Amazon at this link.
Trackimo is a reputable GPS drone tracker that provides coverage anywhere in the world. It’s also small and lightweight, allowing you to take it anywhere with you, even on your travels!
Its tracker is 3G and allows you to track over an unlimited distance (in comparison to other 2G trackers). Plus, it takes less than 3 minutes to install. Unlike other trackers, the Trackimo GPS uses wi-fi, Bluetooth and GSM, to track down your drones indoors and outdoors.
The Trackimo has battery saving features too! This tracker has a motion-activated sensor which goes to sleep when your drone stops moving. Once movement is detected again, the tracker will wake up. It’s for this reason, the battery of a Trackimo can last anything from 2 weeks to a whole month.
Trackimo offers its GPS drone tracker for sale on its website at this link.
It gets better.
The Trackimo has an app for your smartphone where you can create geofences, check up to 5 years’ location history of your drone, adjust its settings and get SMS notifications.
Other great features include text message warnings, an SOS button, and real-time tracking. Since it is GPS, there is a monthly subscription cost of $5, and the Trackimo, as of the time of writing, starts at $198.90.
The FindTheDrone GPS tracker sends a GPS signal directly to your mobile app. What’s particularly unique about FindTheDrone is that it arrives with a fully-featured American cell phone number activated for your area code. Because of this feature, this tracker is only able to detect drones in the US.
When you have lost your drone, FindTheDrone sends you text messages to track the location and allows you to open it up on GoogleMaps. You can even get status updates; all you need to do is text your device mid-flight. The kind of texts you can get back from your drone are information on signal strength, battery life, and many other features.
However, this drone tracker only works with 2G T-Mobile networks, which can be difficult to operate. Many 2G networks are being pulled down, and 3G and 4G ones are being put up in place.
Therefore if you’re looking for a tracker to use over a sustained period, FindTheDrone may not be for you. The tracking service is in real-time, so you’ll always know where your drone is located. The monthly service fee is only $5.
You can find all the details and the product page for FindTheDrone on their website at this link.
This is a very affordable and simple radio frequency tracker. It features 2 sensor tags that you apply to your drone. The handset device can track the tags as far away as 400 feet. Of course, you must have a line of sight with the drone because it is radio frequency-based.
The Loc8Tor Lite has a petite handset, the size of a credit card! But, don’t be fooled; you will get many audio and visual cues to help you detect your drone. The tracker handset will show blinking lights and emit audio tones to guide you back to your drone.
When using this device, you will receive feedback about your device’s location and direction. To use this tracker, you don’t need a mobile app or cellular data.
Everything comes together at one low price; it costs around $80 to buy.
If you’re a person who loves to travel with your drone, then you may want to consider the ScoutUniversal GPS Tracker. This tracker works anywhere globally and collectively uses GPS, GSM, Bluetooth, vibration sensing, and accelerometer technology.
Together these technologies allow you to receive real-time data such as speed, heading, position tracking, and create geofences on your iOS or Android device.
All that is required is that you install its smartphone app.
It also has a built-in vibration sensor, allowing you to be quickly notified if someone steals your drone. However, you will need a monthly cellular plan and GSM cellular reception for this tracker to work.
You can check out all the ScoutUniversal GPS Tracker’s features on Amazon.
As the name suggests, this tracker users GPS to track down your drone. By using this tracker, you receive notifications via a 3G cellular network, in real-time, about your drone’s location.
Flytrex also allows you to sync your drone account with Facebook and Twitter. Once done, you can share your flights with your followers and receive awards and badges from Flytrex.
The Flytrex tracker uses a micro SIM card, which is compatible with 3G networks. Because it covers 3G, you can effectively track your drone across high altitudes and locations.
Flytrex will tell you where the drone has crashed through phone notifications, and you will receive a link through Google Maps to show you where it’s located. If you choose to use this tracker, you’ll also receive reports on the speed, ascent, distance, descent, and duration of flight.
If you’re looking for a long-term investment, the Flytrex is not that expensive, ranging from $200-$230.
Update: The Flytrex Live 3G GPS Drone Tracker is currently not available for sale.
This is a drone tracker that only uses Bluetooth to detect your drone. This means you need to have a mobile phone and it is very slim. Because it’s slim and lightweight, it allows you to easily attach it to your drone.
The TrackRBravo can receive notifications to your phone when the battery is running low, and you can use the app to ring your device. Plus, you don’t need to replace your device; the company allows you to replace its battery for free.
Because it only uses Bluetooth, you can only locate your drone for up to 100 feet. Therefore if you’re planning on flying it far, then this may not be for you.
However, in comparison to other trackers, this does not have many other features.
But if this is all you need, then you can pick one of these up at this link on Amazon.
If you’re buying a drone, then it’s essential you get a drone tracker. There are so many situations like it crashing, getting stolen, losing battery, and being destroyed by weather to prevent you from locating it in any area.
Drone trackers are an investment that allow you to retrieve your expensive drone safely and quickly. There is a range of drone trackers out there; some you buy up front, and some you have to pay monthly for cellular plans.
But, there is a range of drone trackers out there that cater to all budgets and preferences.
After all, drone trackers save you time and money. We suggest you buy one if you haven’t already.