Vehicle tracking device: the top systems | Vehicle Tracking Channel

Vehicle Tracking Device: The Top 3 Systems

Vehicle Tracking / Monday 09th April

However big or small your fleet, if your business involves managing vehicles and drivers, it’s vital that you operate as efficiently as possible to deliver on customer promises, outshine competitors and reduce your costs.

Businesses can use a vehicle tracking device to collect a variety of information about their fleet from simple data about vehicle locations using GPS live tracking to analysing advanced data. This includes fuel consumption monitoring and alerts to driver behaviour such as harsh steering, speeding, harsh breaking and excessive engine idling. It’s also possible to organise journeys better with live traffic reports, geo-fencing and routing capabilities.

  • Become more cost-efficient and lower your expenses, including excessive fuel usage, repairs and insurance.
  • Maintain your fleet with vehicle check reports and regular, on-time servicing.
  • Improve your fleet management with a clearer overall picture of your fleet while vehicles are on the move and identifying patterns over time.
  • Increase productivity and efficiency within your fleet, raising both job satisfaction and customer service levels with on-time deliveries and improved journeys.
  • Comply with legislation on driver hours, and improve your corporate responsibility towards the environment by lowering CO2 emissions.

But what are the main types of vehicle tracker?

The Top 3 Vehicle Tracking Device Systems

There are three main types of tracking device on the market; hardwired trackers, plug and play trackers and those integrated with the vehicle’s satnav system. Each have their merits and drawbacks depending on your business setup, needs and goals. You may like to consider the size of your fleet, types of vehicle and the features which will help you become more efficient.

Hardwired Trackers: Pros & Cons

Hardwired trackers need to be installed by a professional directly into the electrical system behind the dashboard.


  • One of the most accurate devices on the market, their external antennas provide a wider coverage, showcasing a wealth of data both in real-time and post-journey analysis.
  • It’s difficult to tamper with a hardwired device, providing more security for your trackers and making it less likely for theft to occur.
  • They have more capabilities when it comes to integrating with other systems including car alarms, ignition and fuel sensors.
  • Never have to worry about charging the device with their reliable power-connection.
  • They’re also suitable if analysing data out of hours via a vehicle tracking app.


  • They’re not designed to be easily moved from vehicle to vehicle.
  • Installation takes time and will need to be undertaken by a trained professional. You may find the tracker provider may offer this as part of the service.
  • With advanced data collection capabilities, they’re often more expensive than simpler trackers.
Plug and Play Trackers: Pros & Cons

Plug and play trackers connect directly to a vehicle’s OBD (on board devices) port.


These trackers can be moved from vehicle to vehicle easily which is ideal if you frequently change vehicles (e.g., hire cars) or want to remove the device when a vehicle isn’t in use.

  • Simple and easy to self-install, you can get these trackers up and running within minutes.
  • While not as secure as hardwired devices, they often have features such as monitoring unauthorised vehicle movement and anti-tamper alarms.
  • These trackers tend to be cheaper than their hardwired counterparts.


  • They’re easier to steal or disable than hardwired devices and will be more visible in the OBD socket.
  • You’ll need to ensure you have a compatible OBD port to plug the tracker in or have one installed.
  • In some vehicles, it may be easy to accidently knock the device out of place.
  • They’re not as accurate as hardwired devices and are mainly used as a GPS tracker (location tracking) rather than advanced data collection or integrating with other systems in the vehicle.


In-Built Satnav Trackers: Pros & Cons

Hardwired trackers need to be installed by a professional directly into the electrical system behind the dashboard.


  • Integrated with portable satnavs, you can easily move the device to another vehicle if required.
  • By programming a route into your satnav, the office can easily see where a vehicle’s next destination will be.
  • Drivers are able to input information into the satnav themselves, saving time with in-cab routing.
  • Route and journey options can be improved by inputting specific information about the vehicle and goods on-board. The satnav will take into account any restrictions on your journey.
  • Drivers will also have the benefits which come with satnav technology, including easily finding points of interest such as petrol stations and rest points on their journey.


  • Data on the satnav is often vehicle-specific, so you may need to input new information if you move the tracker to another vehicle.
  • Portable satnavs are easily visible from outside the vehicle, making them more prone to theft if not removed when the vehicle is not in use.
  • Like plug and play devices, they’re not as accurate or as advanced as hardwired trackers, so their suitability for your business depends on individual needs.


Which Providers Offer This Type of Tracking System?

Once you’ve identified the right type of motorcycle tracker, car or van trackers you need, the next step is to locate which providers are offering this type of GPS tracking device. Each provider offers slightly different capabilities, including the information they can extract from the vehicle for fleet management live updates.

Some of the main providers include:


TomTom specialises in trackers which offer real-time tracking as well as analysis of your fleet history to find patterns in journeys and geo-fencing capabilities. They offer a variety of options from their entry level tracking which offers basic reporting through to their expert level trackers which provide navigation, live traffic and in-built communication features.

Teletrac Navman

Teletrac Navman specialises in providing fleet management software to simplify your processes. Their advanced options include mapping, routing, vehicle analytics, connected workflow (two-way messaging, live updates and driver behaviour monitoring), compliance features (duty of care, fleet maintenance and vehicle mileage) and driver safety features such as in-vehicle alerts and performance information.

Crystal Ball

Crystal Ball’s vehicle, camera and mobile tracking systems provide the option for tracking drivers in and out of the vehicle while providing lone worker protection for your team. They also specialise in field service apps so that you can customise tracking features, as well as offering car dash cam services for improving driver behaviour and recording evidence for any insurance claims. Bolt-ons include asset management, fuel card integration, driver ID and remote immobilisation.


Quartix offers a range of options from basic information reports through to their full corporate tracking software which includes driver management tools, fuel management tools, fleet management support, duty of care compliance and organisational processes. They also offer free install and setup.


Fleetmatics are now known as Verizon Connect, still providing their advanced GPS fleet trackers which support both small and large fleets. Their software can be accessed from any device with an internet connection, offering detailed maps, dashboards and integration capabilities. This includes fuel efficiency reports, hardware diagnostic alerts, parts management and driver education tools.

RAM Tracking

RAM Tracking likes to cater to your needs whatever the situation. Therefore, their range of products and software includes those specialising in business vehicle tracking, small tracking devices and fleet, van and car tracking device software. Their devices are lightweight, enable real-time locations, and features include live email triggers and automated reports to improve decision making.

How to Choose the Right Vehicle Tracking System for You

While looking at all the information you have for choosing the best car tracking device for your fleet, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the wealth of information available to you. Luckily, comparison sites like the Vehicle Tracking Channel make life as simple as possible, taking the hassle out of the process while saving you time and effort.

We customise the service to your needs:

  • We’ll find out your circumstances from fleet size and the types of vehicles to features which will improve efficiency and help you to reach your business goals.
  • We identify the best systems which are suitable for your requirements.
  • We only recommended reputable providers in the car tracking device UK industry whose products have been tried and tested.
  • Unlike other comparison sites, during your free consultation, we take the time to talk you through your options, offering a personalised service which listens to your individual needs.
  • Our trained specialists have in-depth knowledge of the industry, so whether you’re looking for a GPS tracker for car dashboards or for a large fleet of trucks, we’ll identify your best options.
  • We’ll recommend devices which will reduce your costs and give you the best ROI, helping your business to improve its profits.

Why spend hours trawling through pages of research when we have the right information you need at our fingertips in simple formats for easy understanding. Find the right vehicle tracking device now.

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