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Fi Dog Collar Review (real-world pet reviews)

I had the opportunity to spend several months doing hands-on testing with the Fi dog collar and decided to write up a full review based on my experience. While smart collars have been around for several years, the limiting factor, in my opinion, was always their short battery life.

Thankfully, the technology has greatly improved on this front! Here are my quick thoughts on the collar, but don’t skip out on the in-depth Fi dog collar review that follows it.

With that in mind, keep reading to learn more about the specific criteria that I used to test the Fi dog collar.

Fi Dog Collar Models Comparison

Series 2

The Fi Series 2 Dog Collar is the brand’s original GPS collar, offering real-time tracking and activity monitoring.

The collar is available in two sizes, Small/Medium and Medium/Large, and comes in six different colors. It has a battery life of up to 2 months and can be charged wirelessly.

The Series 2 collar is equipped with advanced GPS technology that provides precise location tracking and accurate activity data.

It also has a built-in LED light that can be activated remotely from the Fi app, making it easy to locate your dog in low-light conditions.

Series 3

The Fi Series 3 Dog Collar is the latest model with improved features and performance.

It is available in three sizes, Small, Medium, and Large, and comes in eight different colors. The Series 3 collar has a battery life of up to 3 months and can be charged wirelessly.

The Series 3 collar has several upgrades from the Series 2, including improved GPS accuracy, faster location updates, and enhanced activity tracking.

It is also more durable and water-resistant for up to 30 minutes in 1 meter of water.

The Series 3 collar also features a new “Escape Artist” mode that alerts you if your dog tries to escape from a designated safe zone.


When comparing the Fi Series 2 and Series 3 Dog Collars, several differences exist.

  • The Series 3 collar has a longer battery life and is water-resistant, making it more durable and reliable.
  • It also has improved GPS accuracy and faster location updates, which can be important in emergency situations.

The Series 3 collar is also available in additional sizes and two more colors than the Series 2 collar.

However, the Series 2 collar is still a great option for those on a budget or with smaller dogs, as it offers many of the same features as the Series 3 collar at a lower price point.

Overall, both the Fi Series 2 and Series 3 Dog Collars are excellent options for pet owners who want to keep track of their dog’s location and activity. The choice between the two will depend on individual preferences and needs.

The Research

As a consumer, you should expect any modern smart dog collar to include features like GPS tracking and activity monitoring. However, the real-world application and use are what really sets them apart!

For each of the categories below, I”ll dive in deep to see how the Fi smart collar stacks up to everyday use. Each one will receive a star rating of one through five, with five being the best possible rating.

Fi Initial Setup and Use

Rating: 5 stars

The first thing that I noticed after receiving the Fi GPS dog collar in the mail was its simple but effective packaging. Like an Apple product, the collar was packaged in a concise small box that provided adequate protection while minimizing waste.

If you prefer to relax and watch a video instead, make sure to take a look at my video review of the Fi Smart Collar!

Unlike certain products where it feels like you’re breaking into Fort Knox to open them, this one was easy and straightforward.

Inside the box, I found the collar, base/charging station, and instructions for setup. Because testing the collar’s battery life was crucial to my evaluation, so I decided to charge the collar before going further.

After roughly a two-hour charge, I saw the solid blue light indicating that its charge was complete and started the setup.

Fi smart collar review
Fi smart collar box contents

The first setup step involved downloading the Fi mobile application from the Apple App or Google Play store.

Note: It’s worth pointing out that there is no web version of the Fi app; you do need to access it from a mobile phone or tablet.

Once the application was downloaded, I was prompted to create an account, allow the app to access GPS, enter a few details about my dog (Gus), and connect to my home WiFi.

This setup took a whopping two minutes to get the collar fully set up (not including the initial charge time). Talk about a speedy and painless setup ๐Ÿ™‚

The collar was fully set up and ready for use at that point!

Setup Tip!

One thing I should point out that hung up me up at first is that you need to accept the request for allowing location access when prompted.

When you’re away from home with your, the collar connects to your phone via Bluetooth for location information as part of it’s battery saving approach (which I’ll cover in more detail later).

Out of habit I had clicked “not allow” when first prompted, so make sure that you enable this setting!

Fi Battery Life

Rating: 5 stars

As I previously stated, the battery life (or lack thereof) was going to be one of the primary make-or-break factors for me. While charging a collar every few days certainly isn’t an insurmountable task, it’s just one more thing to add (and more likely forget) in an already busy life that most of us lead.

In my mind, if I needed to charge the collar every few days, then it probably wasn’t going to feel worthwhile to me.

Based on reviews that I’ve read of other top dog smart collars like the AKC Link or Whistle 3, their battery life ranges from three days to a week on the high end. That type of battery life just wasn’t going to cut it for me.

Thankfully – the Fi smart dog collar didn’t let me down when it came to battery life. I’ll admit that I came into the testing very skeptical of their claimed “up to 3 months usage under typical conditions”.

My Kindle doesn’t even last that long, and it’s a battery-life champ!

At the time of writing this article, Gus has been wearing the Fi smart collar for 29 days straight, and the battery life still has an incredible 59% charge left!

Since I couldn’t borrow the collar indefinitely, I’ll have to extrapolate out to calculate the battery’s expected life. Since the battery was 41% depleted in my 29 days, that means that it should take approximately 70 days to run out.

Frankly, that’s mind-boggling, considering that my initial charge time was 2-hours!

Fi collar low battery email notification
Fi collar low battery notification.

Update: In addition to seeing the collar’s battery level displayed directly on the “feed” tab of the app, I also found it extremely helpful that they took the time to proactively notify me when the battery level did drop low.

Between work, the kids, and everything else that life brings on, I’m certainly one who could use a gentle reminder to ensure that the collar was recharged when the time comes!

Just looking at the collar that the Fi team had loaned me, it clearly had a little wear from previous testers and certainly did not have a fresh battery.

It goes to show that they had confidence in their product’s battery life and weren’t afraid to send me one for testing that had its fair share of use already.

If you’re interested in learning more, I’d recommend looking at the Fi smart dog collar on their website. Go ahead and test out that 3-month battery life for yourself!

Dog Collar Testing Conditions

The most important factor impacting battery life will be its usage conditions. While within range of the base or your phone, the collar is able to connect via Bluetooth and avoid using the GPS function.

This allows it to save battery during normal day-to-day use.

Luckily, Gus exhibits what I would consider pretty typical behavior for a family dog. She spends most of the day roaming around the house/yard or sleeping (that’s the Dane for ya ;)).

We also take her on walks, hikes, and trips to the dog park, but generally, I’d say that her activity level is pretty moderate. She doesn’t need a ton of exercise but definitely enjoys getting out to stretch her legs (as do I).

With the exception of nighttime, Gus wore the collar all day, every day during testing. Before testing the Fi collar, our practice had always been to remove her collar at night, so we continued doing so with the Fi GPS dog collar.

While Gus is usually at home or around our family, I did take the opportunity to activate “lost dog mode” while she was away from the house with my wife on three occasions. This allowed me to safely test how the mode performed and also simulate how its use would impact battery life.

Clearly, activating this mode more frequently would lead to decreased battery life. However, I felt that using it three times in less than a month was already more than an average user should expect to need it.

Fi Activity Tracking

Rating: 4 stars

Before testing the collar, I thought the GPS tracker would be the most critical feature. However, I found that it’s not something you should need to use very often (or at least that’s the hope).

What surprised me with its usefulness were the activity tracking features.

Using accelerometers, the collar is able to detect when the dog is moving and how many steps they take. This data is aggregated into bar graphs that can show activity by hour, day, or month (as shown below).

Fi mobile app screenshots of activity tracking by day, week, and month.
Activity tracking views (Day, Week, Month)

In this example, you can see in the far left hourly view where Gus was very active just before 9 am and then took it easy for the next hour ๐Ÿ™‚ For the middle weekly view, a longer hike on Saturday lead to an increase in her activity for the day.

The month view appears incomplete simply because at the point of capturing this screenshot we had not completed the month yet.

Step counts for the day, week, and month, are shown in the large bold font at the top of each screenshot. With her daily goal of 10,000 steps, I found myself checking throughout the day to make sure that she was on pace to meet the goal.

I’d even proactively take her out on an extra walk to make sure she met it!

While this may seem silly, this little gamification is a great way to ensure your dog gets enough exercise. For giant breeds, like Great Danes, weight management is critical for their long-term health.

Dane are already notorious for hip-related issues, so keeping their weight in a healthy range greatly helps to reduce strain on the joint.

A more recent update to the Fi app also includes the ability to see how your dog’s activity levels compare to other dogs. This can be sorted by overall, breed, as well as your state of residence. I found this as yet another way to keep me motivated to keep Gus’ activity up and increasing through the ranks.

While having all of this data is fantastic, my one critique is that accessing historical activity data is only available once you’ve signed up for the GPS Plan.

The plan is a subscription service that enables GPS tracking functionality as well as enables access to the historical activity tracking data which I’ll cover in more detail next. Without the plan, you are only able to see data for the current day.

Fi Dog Tracking

Rating: 5 stars

As can be expected from most modern smart collars, the Fi GPS dog collar also supports the ability to track your dog using a variety of methods.

However, unlike other “smart” dog collars, they’ve made a few critical enhancements that allow you to track your dog without ruining the collar’s battery life!

Let’s take a look at the various ways that the collar is able to collect its location data.

  1. Around the home – Let’s face it, most dogs spend the majority of their time around the house. For this reason, the Fi team smartly designed the base station to connect to the collar using Bluetooth and use WiFi to determine the dog’s location. With this WiFi-only usage, they estimate that the collar will last up to 3 months on a single charge.

  2. Owner-guided outings – Whether it be walks, hikes, or trips to the dog park, you’re expected to accompany your dog on most of these outings. For this reason, the collar is also able to connect to your mobile phone using Bluetooth.

    It then leverages your mobile phone’s connection to pull location data rather relying solely on the collar. In this mixed mode, they estimate that the collar will last up to two months on a single charge. In my testing, I found it actually to exceed this estimate ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Non-accompanied outings – Think of this as an outing in which your dog is away from home but not with you e.g. daycare, or on trips when you may be with them but not have your mobile phone.

    Since there’s nothing for the collar to connect to, it relies solely on GPS. Depending on your dog’s activity, it will generate a new GPS location every 2-5 minutes leading to a battery life of up to three weeks.

As you can see, the Fi team took many intelligent approaches to maximize battery life while still providing the necessary data. They’ve built a very smart collar from Bluetooth pairing to using accelerometers to modulate GPS ping frequency.

Last but far from least, some of their best choices also involved the choice of very specific technologies. In particular, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and LTE-M selection are key contributors. While many companies have jumped on board with BLE, very few have made the transition to LTE-M.

When it comes to smart devices like collars, LTE-M is like 3G/LTE on steroids. LTE-M is a low-power technology that provides vastly enhanced battery life. It also has 20-30% more coverage than standard 3G/LTE cellular networks in the United States.

If you ever needed to find your dog in an emergency, you’d better hope it’s using LTE-M!

Fi mobile app location tracking
Location tracking views

Above are a few screenshots showing Gus at home (left), the recap of our walk route (middle), and Gus’ location when I activated “lost dog” mode. When activated, the data is refreshed every 60 seconds and updates on the map in real time.

For privacy reasons, I redacted street addresses in these screenshots. However, they are absolutely present in the map overlap to help find your lost pet!

Dog Collar Appearance & Build

Rating: 4 stars

From a construction standpoint, I found the Fi smart dog collar to be extremely well-built. It has a solid weight and quality feel that makes me feel confident in its durability. Unlike some smart products which come full of cheap plastic, this is far from the case with the Fi collar.

All of the “smart” hardware is housed in the extremely compact black and silver portion of the collar. The back of the tracker has contact points for easy access during charging.

The D-ring and other attachment points are all made of metal to ensure that they never fail. Last but not least, the adjustable strap is made from robust one-inch webbing. The collar can be ordered in a variety of sizes. I’d recommend either the large (16″ – 22.5″) or extra-large (22″ – 34.5″) for most Great Danes.

Fi smart collar review
Fi smart collar in its yellow and gray versions.

While the collar is built to last, the area where it has the most room for improvement is the strap’s appearance. While the core tracking component is small and elegant, four color options are currently available: gray, yellow, blue, and pink.

It’s worth pointing out that they have improved in this regard, as the collar originally launched with just yellow and gray collar options. Furthermore, they’ve added the addition of a Martingale band in 2020. While still not perfect, it’s clear that they’re listening to consumer feedback by continuing to add more options.

Thankfully, they provide large and extra-large sizes to accommodate giant breeds such as Great Danes. However, I wish that the collar width also increased with the larger versions. A 1.5″ band just looks so much better on the long neck of a Great Dane in my opinion!

To help address this, Fi has created Fi MAKERS. These are approved 3rd party vendors who craft high-quality, custom accessories to go along with it. For reference, you can find a list of these accessories here.

The Fi Smart Collar Is An Effective Choice

While there are still a few small areas for improvement, I can say that overall I was thoroughly impressed by the Fi dog collar.

When it comes to trusting a collar to find a lost dog, this is THE best option on the market right now. It’s battery life ensures that it stays online while you’re tracking them, and spares you the hassle of remembering to charge it on a frequent basis.

Not only does it deliver where you expect it to but in many others as well, and that’s why I can safely say that I’d recommend the Fi dog collar to anyone looking to purchase a dog smart collar today.

If you’re interested in learning more, I’d recommend looking at the Fi smart dog collar on their website. In addition to being what I’d consider the best product on the market, you can test out that 3-month battery life for yourself!


Can you use Fi’s collar for cats?

The Fi collar is designed for dogs weighing ten or more pounds and with a neck larger than 11.5 inches. Because it was designed for use with dogs, it is not recommended to use for cats.

How much does it cost to use the Fi Dog Collar monthly?

The Fi Dog Collar requires a monthly subscription plan, which costs $19 per month. This plan includes the Fi Collar, access to the Fi app, and unlimited data usage.

Should your dog wear the Fi collar 24/7?

It’s generally recommended to remove your dog’s Fi collar at night. This is not out of necessity to charge it, but rather to avoid irritating the skin on their neck.

Why monitor your dogs activity?

Drastic changes to your dog’s activity level could lead to weight gain or be an early indicator of sicknesses and ailments.

16 thoughts on “Fi Dog Collar Review (real-world pet reviews)”

  1. I have almost 2000 feet of fence on a wooded lot with a creative hound, escaping has been a problem and she has never found her way back, we just have to look for her helplessly, give up, and eventually get a call. There have been times she’s been in the woods behind the house, chasing things and barking her head off, but that puts her in such a “zone” that if she’s 5 feet away while in pursuit you can’t get her.
    Tried another collar a couple years ago and (1) it didn’t track and (2) it has to be charged every day and (3) it lasts about 2 hours in tracking mode.
    Recently saw this collar and WOW! I’m getting about a month with each charge. It can last days not hours in Lost mode. (My understanding is that if the collar is either near your phone or within wi-fi range of the base, batter use is lower. Due to the size of our lot when she goes outside she’s in range of neither.)
    She’s escaped once with the collar and I got her within 45 minutes. She was in those woods but this allowed me to find her during a lull in her activities when she wasn’t in pursuit of something, so I was able to get her.
    What a wonderful product.

  2. Being an RV traveller sometimes out in the sticks, I wonder which carrier Fi uses for tracking. Do they use Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile?

  3. Okay, I’ve found the answer to my question. Fi uses AT&T Mobile to provision its service plan and if you are travelling and wondering if the area is covered, you can find the area of coverage at:

    • The distance of the dog from you isn’t the determining factor. The collar simply connects to the AT&T network to post GPS data to the Fi app, which you in turn need connectivity (Wi-Fi or cellular) to view the status.

  4. Maybe I’m using the wrong mode?? We have to charge our collar almost weekly. Plus it tells me that she has left home several times during the night with me, but we are all sleeping, no one has left home. Not sure what to do about that. Other than these few weird things we love the collar. Fun to see how far we go on walks and a big relief to know we can find our pup if she ever strays away from home.

    • I’ve had it for two days and have been in wifi range the entire time and my battery is down to 45% now. I’m kind of worried that the claims aren’t realistic. I’m going to charge it and give it another go around. But 4 days certainly isn’t going to cut it!

  5. RickWink Says:JULY 14, 2022 AT 9:50 AM
    Fi Collar Review
    Terrible customer service & warranty
    We used our 1st Fi collar for 6 months before it went out. They have not followed thru to resolve the problem. It is extremely unreliable, goes offline for 40 minutes or more and canโ€™t be relied upon. We spent hours & days going back & forth with Fi, documenting the problems, screen shots confirming the issue, and comparing it to the previous collar in similar situations, but they would not step up and take care of the issue. Their responses are belittling and insulting at best. I canโ€™tโ€™ stress enough that they have a worthless customer service attitude and to avoid them at all costs.

  6. I know this is a little late from the review being posted but I’m considering Fi for my 16lb spaniel that likes chasing rabbits in the woods and has managed to get away twice (first time the leash failed, the second time she surprised the person walking her). I really worry that the 1 minute updates won’t be sufficient for her woods zoomies, even though last time she got out she did come when I called for her after about 15 minutes of running. Is the 1 minute updates really sufficient to track down your pup?

  7. We’ve had a fi collar for under 2 years, and about a year ago the collar stopped working completely. A replacement was sent because the original was still under warrantee, but now, less than a year later the replacement is not working again. This one will not charge and we tried resetting and charging the collar several times already with no luck. We requested a replacement and got terrible customer support unwilling to stand behind their product. they wanted us to “buy” an upgraded one to replace the broken one, on top of the yearly subscription fees we pay. We will be canceling our membership since the collars don’t seem to be quality and keep breaking every single year. that is a very expensive product to be buying a new collar every year. Found the following website with other honest reviews that have the same problem, wish I saw this before buying our Fi collar: (83% gave it a 1 out of 5 star)


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