Last Updated: Apr 8, 2023
Trailer Tracking using GPS is an affordable method for monitoring any trailer. When you buy a new trailer, it’s highly unlikely that it will have a pre-installed GPS tracker. So, if you want your trailer to be equipped with GPS, then purchasing a trailer tracking system (aftermarket) is your only option.
From big industrial trailers that have multiple axles to small utility trailers for hauling a lawnmower or two for a gardening service, a trailer tracking device is a good idea,
Now, you could just buy a random trailer tracking system, however, if you’re looking for some expert advice on how to choose the best device for your particular needs then you’re in the right place.
No matter what your GPS trailer tracking needs may be or even your budget, we’ve done in-depth research aimed at including the top-rated options that are suitable for diversified needs and fit various budget ranges.
Our five best are suitable for any of the following trailer types:
Tracking for Different Trailers:
Utility trailers are a good option for when you need to haul large items that you can’t quite fit into any other vehicle. Whether you’re going to use one for towing ATVs, gardening/landscaping or farm equipment, or motorcycles, a utility trailer can easily handle the load you need to transport for business, personal, or recreational needs.
But, whatever you’re hauling, having a GPS trailing tracking device on your utility trailer is a good idea to prevent stolen trailers.
Dump trailers benefit from GPS trackers because they can prevent theft, but you can also predict when the dump trailer will arrive and how long it was at the customer’s location.
This gives you accountability and helps keep customers happy.
RV travel trailers are somewhat similar to camping trailers in a number of ways but are actually considered to be more closely related to mobile homes and RV’s. In fact, some people call the terminology “travel trailer” a general term for basically any trailer used for mobile living.
If they have batteries you can connect the tracker directly to the travel trailer battery.
Campers, on the other hand, are a generic term and the term usually refers to mobile living “trailers” that either ride on the backs of trucks or are towed by them. So, whether it’s on your truck or towed behind it, you want to be able to track and recover yours if it’s stolen and that requires a good quality RV trailer tracking device.
An enclosed trailer is a flatbed trailer (similar to a utility trailer) with a roof and walls that are capable of completely containing the contents inside. They’re widely used for all kinds of purposes that range from bike trailers to car haulers, equipment trailers, motorcycle trailers, utility trailers, and much more.
Larger enclosed trailers generally have a gate or a door at the rear plus a door located on one of the sides to provide easier access to the items inside. Not only do you not want to lose your enclosed trailer but also the contents in the event of trailer theft.
That’s when a reliable GPS trailer tracking device is a must.
Fleet Trailers – Reefer and Dry Van
Fleet trailer tracking is essential for your company’s dry van or refrigerated trailers. It’s true that, when they’re out on the road, it can be difficult to track their mileage or anything else for that matter.
However, when you install a trailer tracking GPS device, it will allow you to immediately start monitoring everything from driver activity to the distance, speed, and even the exact mileage that your trailers travel.
Some trackers also provide reefer temperature monitoring in addition to GPS tracking. This will provide the necessary information for finding the best ways to conserve fuel, cut costs and reduce labor, and reduce load spoilage.
**Keep in mind, you want a tracking device that can be hidden, so it is not easily removed or broken.
Predictability for your Customers
The reefers and other containers protect your cargo, but what protects your container? GPS trailer tracking devices are a must for monitoring location and usage as well as for keeping deliveries on schedule. Whether your reefer trailers are out on the road, you need total visibility for tracking them.
Having a GPS tracker on your trailer helps provide arrival times for your customers.
When did it leave?
How long was it there?
Did it ever show up?
If you’re buying and installing GPS tracking devices on your company’s fleet vehicles and tractor/trailers, you’ll realize a wide range of benefits, including the opportunity for:
- Growing your business.
- Improving driver retention.
- Keeping your trailers on the road longer.
- Managing your capital.
- Maximizing your trailer utilization.
- Protecting your valuable cargo.
- Seeing a reduction in your CSA score.
Best Locations on each Trailer to install a GPS Tracker
So, your next question would probably be about where you should install a trailer tracking device. The best mounting locations depend, of course, on the type of trailer.
The best mounting location for the majority of trailers will be inside the trailer’s frame rail and close to the battery or power source. Why? Well, because it’s out of sight but still has fairly easy access to the power it needs and a view of the sky.
If your GPS tracking device is not magnetic, then you could use a strong brand name Velcro adhesive that sticks to the trailer’s inside walls. One side will stick to the device and the other will be stuck to wherever you choose to place it. Depending upon the type of trailer that you have, you may have many good areas for hiding it.
Most trailer tracking systems are waterproof and can even survive a serious storm. However, be sure to check the packaging and instructions for yours to make sure it can withstand any kind of weather. If not, you’ll need to give it a little help in this area.
Fortunately, there are some very good methods for turning your tracking device into a waterproof device while still taking advantage of the special features.
Some handy accessories for turning your tracking device into a waterproof GPS tracker include (but are not limited to) waterproof boxes and waterproof magnetic cases.
-Install in a registration box of reefer trailer, or inside the 7-way electric box of dry van trailers.
See below a Trakkit Mobile tracker already installed inside a dry van, and with an easy connection for power.
-Install in Roof AC or vent enclosure with air-conditioned trailers
-Install in the tongue crank housing near the hitch (see above pictures)
-Install in the cowling near the top of the refrigeration unit for reefer trailers, connect power to the battery.
Hardwire to 12 Volts if Possible
For GPS trackers, the length of time between charges depends on the movement of the trailer. For instance, if the trailer is moving frequently (loading/unloading, any vibration) the battery will discharge more quickly.
If your trailer has its own battery, then it is best to connect the tracker directly to the battery or the Aux or 12v power of the trailer. (see diagram below)
This way even if the tracker loses power, when it is hooked up again it will get the power and start tracking. If your trailer has a 6 or 7-way plug, then it will have the +12 volt power pin needed, be sure to test with an ohm meter to be sure.
* Remember to test the GPS tracker in a few locations on your trailer to see which performs best before settling on a permanent install.
The following are the best trailer tracking devices tested:
LandAirSea-54 GPS Tracker (Made in the USA)
This tracker offers a magnet-mount that’s 100 percent waterproof as well as complete global coverage. It’s a real-time tracking device ( 4G LTE) that also offers geofencing, location reporting, and historical playback.
The box includes your tracker, charging accessories, and an on/off pin. The cheapest subscription plan (as of 12/31/21) is $19.95 per month (for 3 minute updates) unless you choose prepayment on either a 6 or a 12- month plan. There are considerable savings offered with both plans.
- Compatible with Android, iPhone, and MAC devices as well as PCs;
- Is one of the top GPS tracking devices on the market when it comes to versatility;
- Made of weatherproof materials, ultra-durable for standing up to tough weather conditions;
- Has LED lights that you can disable (via the app) so your device won’t give away the location;
- Includes a built-in high-powered magnet that makes it simple to install the device on your trailer;
- Includes a SIM card and there are no other accessories needed;
- Subscription is required;
Yes, this GPS tracker is not only an easy-to-use tracking device but also provides the capability of customizing all of your settings so you’re receiving all of the important updates (like tracker movement notifications and proximity alerts via emails, text messages, or even push notifications.
With all of those amazing features, you’ll rest easy knowing that, if something happens to your trailer, you’ll have a much better chance of recovering it and its contents.
- Reliable tracking of assets, people, or vehicles with this personal GPS.
- Offers an ultra-compact design with a built-in magnet that’s super-strong.
- 100% waterproof.
- Attaches easily to the trailer frame.
- Tracking and mapping in real-time with Google Maps on the SilverCloud App or web-based software.
- Provides both email and text alerts.
|Dimensions||2.25 x 2.25 x 0.8 inches|
|Batteries||1 Lithium-ion battery required.|
Trak-4 GPS Tracker for Equipment Trailers, and Vehicles (complete w/ 12v wiring harness)
Its internal battery is high-capacity, which means that it continues operating even after disconnection from the 12-volt power system (or if your 12-volt power system happens to go dead).
In addition, the Trak-4 12V is capable of reporting for more than 12 months without charging it again.
- You can use this device with your computer, tablet, or phone;
- You get unlimited cell data;
- No contract is required;
- No activation or cancellation fees;
- SIM card built-in;
- Only costs $6.99 a month (prepaid annually) or $12.99 per month (paid monthly);
- Subscription required;
- Only works in the U.S.
For charging, all you have to do is connect the device to 12-volts on your trailer for continual trickle charging. And, it’s quite easy to use, too. Anybody can sign in and start to use this device in just minutes.
Basically, it’s “just attach and go”. You can start getting texts or email alerts whenever your device and your trailer leave or enter a selected area. You can also receive alerts when your battery gets low. The device itself is weatherproof and made for both indoor/outdoor use with its sturdy commercial housing, while still remaining conveniently small.
- You can choose between Elite or Battery-Saver reporting frequencies.
- Your Trak-4 checks in once a day even when your trailer isn’t moving.
- You can track multiple units using the same map with Expert Mapping.
- Map history includes animated trails for indicating your device’s direction of travel over time.
- Sharing your device location with business associates, family, and friends in real-time is easy with Unlimited Sharing.
- Trak-4’s cell-trilateration gives you an approximate location (if there’s no GPS signal available like inside your garages).
|Dimensions||4.25 x 2.25 x 1.1 inches|
|Model #||Trak-4 12v|
|Batteries||1 Lithium-ion battery (included)|
Spytec GPS Tracker (GL300) with App and Real-Time Tracking
It utilizes 4G satellite technology for receiving location alerts via its Android and iOS apps. With its easy-to-use software, you can watch your trailer tracker as it’s moving on a map, and customizing the boundaries and alerts is simple as well and the same goes for seeing speed, past data, speed, distance, and more.
- Very easy to set up and track;
- Extremely reliable;
- Rechargeable battery lasts up to two weeks;
- The automatic low-battery alert helps you with planning ahead and tracking longer;
- Customer support is only available via online chat;
- Requires monthly subscription;
How about reliable service, you ask? This Spytec GPS Tracker also offers a 99.99 percent uptime as well as a .256 millisecond processing time. Simply put, the cloud-based technology used by this tracker is capable of giving you all of the data that you want, and exactly when you want it.
Size and versatility are also very important factors when choosing a GPS tracker and this one is one inch thick and offers a two-week battery life. All you have to do is set/activate and then use your GPS tracker to keep your trailer secure. And, the affordable subscription is another plus.
Spytec’s subscription prices start at $19.95 per month if paid annually or $24.95 per month if paid monthly. With your subscription, you get free 24/7 support plus a lifetime warranty on your GPS trailer tracking device.
- Get flexible measurements (either imperial or metric units).
- Use follow mode for watching your tracker moving across the map in real-time.
- Track your team, users, and/or tiered permissions.
- Use group monitoring on the same account.
- Get help from the Help Center and Webinars to get up and track with no unanswered questions.
- Create custom boundaries.
- Get detailed tracking information.
- Receive customized alerts.
- Get changeable maps.
- View your tracking activity in light mode, dark mode, or satellite view.
|Dimensions||1 x 1.5 x 3 inches|
Spark Nano 7 GPS Tracker by Brickhouse Security
That’s because the amazing Spark Nano 7 is operating on the 4G networks across Canada, Mexico, and the US, which are lightning-fast with future-proof coverage.
- On standby, the battery lasts up to 15 days;
- While active, the battery lasts 8 days;
- You can track it on your cell phone with any provider;
- The magnet is quite strong;
- The tracker is both small and sleek;
- Only programmed for use in Canada, Mexico, and the US;
- Subscription required;
The Brickhouse Security subscriptions are affordable. They include three different plans for you to choose from. They are the annual plan, the quarterly plan, and the monthly plan.
The most cost-efficient is, of course, the annual subscription plan at $17.99 per month ($215.88 per year). Next is the quarterly plan at $22.99 per month ($275.88 per year/$68.97 every three months). The highest price is for the monthly plan at $29.99 ($359.88 per year). However, there are no contracts required for any of the subscription plans and the company offers you the option of hassle-free cancellation at any time.
- Smallest GPS Tracker with coverage (4G) all over North America.
- Waterproof magnetic case.
- View your GPS trailer tracker’s location in real-time.
- No long-term contract is required.
|Dimensions||5.5 x 5 x 4.1 inches|
|Batteries||1 Lithium Polymer battery (included)|
Tracki – 4G GPS Hidden Tracker/Locator
This one also has a larger battery option in addition to a 12v hardwire power cable.
It features advanced 4G LTE Technology. These days, with 2G and 3G coverage gradually coming to an end, it’s now time to start upgrading to 4G LTE because it can provide better network coverage for ensuring a stable high-speed connection for tracking devices.
They have a 12v power adapter cord that works well to hardwire this tracker.
- This 4G hidden magnetic GPS tracker has a strong magnet and high-gain GPS module;
- Activation only requires a simple email to the company’s support line;
- Comes with a Sim card already installed;
- Doesn’t require a clear view of the sky;
- Three working modes, including normal, intelligent, and power-saving;
- Various Smart Alerts range from a vibration alert to a geofence alert, low-battery alert, and more;
- Can be difficult to update the time;
- Some units would only display kilometers per hour and meters;
This hidden GPS tracker is capable of keeping a 180-day tracking history. It also features historical track playback and multi-smart alerts. In addition, it’s built to last from the heavy-duty materials used in manufacturing to the IP65 water-resistant housing. And, this tracking device also features an extended battery (10000mah) that can last as many as 20 days or more (on a full charge).
With 30-second updates and three working modes for supporting efficient power saving, you have the option with this tracking device for modifying your settings according to your particular needs. This GPS tracker uses Google Maps for mapping and tracking. If you’re involved in fleet management, this device is convenient for keeping you advised of your trailers’ current locations in real-time.
One of the more unusual (and always welcome) features of this tracker is the fact that it comes with one free year of subscription service included. And, renewal for the second year is only $69.00. So, your company can easily afford a tracker for each and every trailer and track their whereabouts via Android, iPhone, or Web app.
- SIM card included.
- Supports a 3G/4G network.
- Is an innovative GPS+LBS type of tracker/locator that’s well-designed for keeping assets safe.
- Delivers high-quality and very powerful software functions.
- IP65 waterproof.
- Provides a history playback, tamper alarm, geofence, and more.
|Dimensions|| 2.91 x 2.72 x 1.38 inches|
|Batteries||One Lithium Polymer battery (included)|
Trailer Tracking Software & App
Each of these trackers comes with an app that allows you to track the location of your trailers. Most also include a desktop software app that makes it easier to monitor from the commercial dispatch centers and terminals.
They may have an API that can tie the trailer tracking data into your backend systems.
Cheaper Way to GPS Track your Trailer
Did you know a cell phone makes the best GPS tracker?
It can be hardwired into your trailer just like a standard GPS tracker and can be hidden in places other trackers can’t because of the GPS receiver sensitivity and cellular coverage.
It’s able to track in parking garages, tunnels, etc. When other trackers lose GPS signal, they won’t update.
You can even install the phone tracker inside a metal tool box or battery box. Perfect for dump trailer battery lockbox.
Above is a screenshot of the Trakkit Mobile Phone GPS tracking kit pictured below hidden in a dry van trailer.
And the most important part is the monthly cost.
Just about all GPS trackers and the ones mentioned above have about $20 / month costs, but there are cell phone plans that are under $10 per month and are perfect for use as a GPS tracker because the data used is so small.
Total Cost of each GPS Tracker (Yearly)
Since most people will want a permanent GPS tracking solution for their trailer(s), it is important to know the yearly costs of each cellular-based GPS tracker. (see graph and data table below)
|Brand||Price||Monthly Cost||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4||Year 5||Ping Rate|
*the table price is calculated by taking the monthly subscription fee of each tracker by 12 months each year plus the initial device cost.
It’s quite clear that GPS trailer tracking devices are a good option for adding safety and security to your already busy life. They can definitely help you with keeping track of your trailer (or even a fleet of trailers) as well as any contents involved if theft occurs.
Your tracker accomplishes this by allowing you to be aware of its whereabouts at all times. No need to worry constantly about your trailer. Yes, many require a subscription but it’s minimal when you compare it to the cost you could incur if thieves target your trailer.
Hopefully, the above info about our choice of the five best GPS trailer tracking devices will be of some help to you in choosing the best device for your needs.