You can buy a 'smart' collar for your dog—but should you?
Listen up, dog parents.
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And as if you needed another excuse to go shopping for your pup, one company just released a smart collar that tracks both your dog's location and their activity. With the chew-proof (and water-proof) Fi Collar, you can see where your pooch is 24/7 from your phone, get notified if they're lost, and see their daily steps.
But all of those cool features come with a cost. Below are some of the highlights of the collar, plus our expert's opinion on whether or not it's worth spending your money on.
How the smart collar works
Because the Fi Collar uses GPS technology and the LTE-M network, it has even more coverage than pet trackers that currently just use 3G/LTE networks. That means that it's more accurate and more effective at finding your pup. Plus, the LTE-M network is optimized for battery life so the collar's battery can last for up to three months on one charge.
And not only will the Fi Collar alert you as soon as your dog leaves their "permitted" zone, it also has a light which you can control from your phone to make it easier to spot them at night and to keep them safe.
How much does it cost in total?
The Fi Collar itself is $149. However, you'll also need to pay for a subscription plan (which costs $99 for a year) if you want to be able to use all of the collar's features, specifically the location-tracking capabilities. The cost of your subscription covers the GPS/LTE connection. Without it, you'll only be able to use the health-monitoring features.
Who is it for?
Depends on your dog—and more specifically, their personality. "My dog is very low energy and is always velcro’d to my side so I would definitely not buy it," our smart home editor, Sarah Kovac, explains. "But if you have a dog that tends to get loose/lost, then it’s well worth the investment. It pings you if the dog leaves a specified area and helps you track the dog down using GPS."
Kovac also notes that it may be a good buy for someone who is worried about making sure their dog gets enough exercise. However, she recommends a cheaper solution if that's your concern: "You can get an older FitBit for next to nothing and attach it to the dog’s collar if you just want to track activity."
Is the Fi Collar worth buying?
To put it simply, "I’m not sure you can put a price on your pup’s safety," Kovac says, adding that "If you’re wanting it for that reason, I think it’s a reasonable price." A.k.a if you're worried about Fido running off so much that you're losing sleep, the Fi collar may give you invaluable peace of mind.