Do GPS Trackers Need a Battery?

The advent of real-time tracking technology has become increasingly valuable for many businesses across various industries worldwide. The insights offered by GPS tracking devices have impacted nearly every facet of these businesses, from security to asset management.

GPS tracking devices are incredibly versatile and they offer many benefits. Many of the GPS devices employed in industries today are invaluable in managing fleets and enabling on-site teams to improve efficiency across the board. But what about unpowered assets? Do GPS trackers need battery packs for such applications? And do GPS trackers run out of battery?

Below, we’ll answer these questions and uncover the various functions and applications of a battery-powered GPS system in different industries.

Types of GPS Trackers

Do GPS trackers need battery power? It depends on the type of device used. There are four types of GPS trackers used in business, which can be split into two groups: those with their own power source and those without.

  • No Power Source: There are two types of GPS devices that don’t come with their own power source: plug-in and hardwired devices. Both devices are typically used in managing fleets as they are connected directly to the vehicle to use its battery as a power source. The difference is that a plug-in GPS device is plugged into the vehicle’s OBD II port, while a hardwired GPS device is wired directly to the car under the dashboard. Both are excellent in detecting the vehicle’s location and whether it has been turned on or off.
  • With Power Source: Solar-powered and battery-operated GPS devices belong to this group. Both device types do not depend on a vehicle’s power system and instead use their solar panel or battery packs as their power source. This serves as the answer to the question ‘do GPS trackers need battery power?’ Solar-powered GPS devices rely on solar energy to function but will also draw power from a battery backup once it runs out. Meanwhile, battery-operated GPS devices operate solely on the power supplied by their internal battery pack. Both are widely used in tracking unpowered assets.

All About Battery-Powered GPS Trackers

In tracking and monitoring unpowered assets, GPS tracking devices will need to have the following qualities:

  • It must have its own power supply
  • It should be portable
  • Can protect itself from the elements through its rugged hardware
  • Easy to set up, install, and update over-the-air
  • Requires little to no maintenance

Today, most battery-powered GPS trackers satisfy those requirements, paving the way for powerful monitoring capabilities across different industries. Through the power of these devices, companies can now monitor the transit of precious cargo in real-time and secure valuable assets to protect the company’s interests and its bottom line.

How Long Does a Battery Powered GPS System Last?

One common question about using battery-powered GPS systems is: “do GPS trackers run out of battery?” Special battery packs power most GPS trackers to ensure they have enough power to satisfy their application requirements. This can range anywhere from a few hours to a few years. For example, some GPS trackers on the market today can have a battery life of 21 days. But a long-life tracking device can stay on for up to 10 years without needing replacement.

“But how long do GPS trackers last?” That depends on the device’s tracking interval. Today, GPS devices have built-in battery-saving features that control their battery usage and prolong their battery life. Many of these devices frequently alternate between reporting and standby mode, significantly impacting battery life. The shorter the intervals between each report, the shorter its battery life will be. For instance, the Geoforce GT1 Global Asset Tracker can last up to 1.5 years when transmitting once every hour but can stretch up to 3 years when transmissions are done once every four hours.

Applications of Battery-Operated GPS Trackers

  • Retail: Shipping containers carrying retail merchandise can be tracked easily to find their location and determine whether there are any discrepancies in the inventory.
  • Logistics: Valuable insight can be gained from the information provided by portable GPS trackers, such as optimal routes taken, frequency of stops (or determining whether the driver gets enough rest), and easier rescue during emergencies.
  • Vehicle Rentals: GPS trackers in vehicle rentals can help track the location of rented vehicles and provide information helpful in issuing driver reports.
  • Agriculture: Farmers can benefit from a long-life tracking device that can protect itself from the elements.
  • Construction: Theft is a common issue in construction sites that can easily be solved thanks to battery-powered GPS trackers that can track the location of the assets during theft recovery and insurance situations.

Powerful Asset Management Tools By Geoforce

Through the power of the best battery life GPS tracker on the market, you now have the ability to streamline your processes and boost productivity across your entire organization. Take advantage of the power of a long-life tracking device like our AT2 and AT4 tracking devices to secure your fleet through Geoforce’s robust asset tracking and management solutions. Learn more about the best battery life GPS tracker and other devices applicable to your industry by contacting us through this form or talking to us directly by calling 866.914.0833.