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Fi vs Whistle: Which Smart Dog Collar is Better?

Smart devices have seemingly taken over every aspect of our human lives, so it’s no surprise that they’re starting to invade our pets lives as well! Though there are tons of GPS pet trackers on the market today, only a few really top the charts and those are the Fi and Whistle Go Explore models.

In this article, I’ll be doing a direct review comparison of the Fi and Whistle GO Explore based on my own testing. Below is a summary of my review and takeaways for each, with more in-depth reviews for each product in the following sections.

Whistle GO Explore Review
4
$130

The Whistle Go Explore packs a TON of functionality into an overall great device. However, this added functionality does make the mobile app more confusing.

Pros:
  • Does not require a base station
  • Supports three designated "safe zones"
  • Feature rich health-tracking
Cons:
  • Confusing mobile app
  • GPS tracker does not include the collar
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That being said, there’s only one that combines value, performance, convenience, and style into one irresistible package. If I had to choose one, it would be the Fi smart collar. It’s simple mobile app and amazing battery were the key factors that pushed it to the top.

Fi Smart Collar

Company Background

Founded in 2017 by Johnathan Bensamoun and Loren Kirkby, Fi is a company looking to re-invent pet parenthood as we know it by utilizing cutting-edge technologies. 

Fi’s headquarters can be found in Brooklyn, New York. In 2019 they debuted the world’s first smart collar for dogs that used the LTE-M cellular network. This revolutionary strategy would redefine the use of technology in the up-and-coming smart pet tracker market. 

LTE-M is a low power wide area (LPWA) network. It supports the use of loT, because its interactions with hardware are far less complex than other networks. The LTE-M network provides better coverage for longer distances. 

Key Features

This collar is made with the most adventurous dogs in mind. Not only is this smart collar water-resistant, but it also boasts an IP68 Waterproof Rating!

If your dog is the swimming type, there’s no need to worry about water damage as it can withstand complete immersion at 1.5m deep in water. It also has spray saltwater resistance for your trips to the beach.

The Fi Smart Dog collar features Armored Aluminium Faceplate and Reinforced Internal Metal Armor. This makes it incredibly durable for even the roughest and rowdiest of pups. 

This collar boasts an impressive battery life. If you and your dog are lounging at home most of the time, you can expect the collar to last from 1-3 months on a single charge. In my personal testing, I got 60 days of use on average between charges.

Generally speaking, the more active your dog is, the shorter the battery life will be. Still, even for the busiest dogs, the collar should last for several weeks before needing a recharge. 

Comprehensive activity tracking detects when your dog is moving and how many steps they take. You can track activity by hour, day, or month. This feature may not be so valuable for a lot of people, but it is another good way to estimate how far away your dog is if they suddenly go off on their own.

The premium Fi Collar LED light is perfect for nighttime walks and gives you a lot more scheduling flexibility. You can even change the color of the light from your Fi App. 

Pros 

  • Can use both real GPS or your mobile GPS 
  • Better battery life than competitors
  • Free shipping, a 1-year warranty, and a free 30 day GPS subscription
  • LED lights for nighttime walks
  • Very durable

Cons

  • Though Fi offers a mobile app, there is no web version, so it cannot be accessed on electronic devices
  • You can only access activity tracking features when you sign up for a GPS subscription, though you can still see your dog’s activity day-to-day
  • There have been some reports of poor customer service, but it has not been an issue in my experience with them

Whistle Go Explore

close-up of whistle go explore in pink

Whistle Labs Inc. is a subsidiary of Mars Petcare, from San Francisco, California. It was founded in 2012 by Ben Jacobs, Steve Eidelman, and Kevin Llyod. They released their first product in 2013 and are committed to revolutionizing the game of pet wearables.

Whistle is widely accredited by professionals and laymen alike. They have partnered with PetSmart and some of their products have been used in research about chronic pain in dogs. 

Whistle is very wellness-oriented, and many of their smart devices, including the Go Explore collar, track details like the number of calories burned. Their devices also give recommended activity levels based on your dog’s age, breed, and weight.

Key Features

The Whistle Go Explore tracker conveniently attaches to your dog’s existing collar to track them with GPS technology. This circumvents a lot of hassle for you and your dog to find the perfect-fitting collar when you’ve already got several that you don’t want to get rid of.

The collar includes health monitoring to inform you about your pet’s scratching, sleeping, and licking habits. This, in my opinion, is an underrated feature!

By monitoring this data over a continuous basis, even if you’re not checking every week, you can catch a skin irritation, or worse, early on and get your dog to a vet sooner rather than later. 

You can also share these reports with your vet through the app.

Whistle is known for their subscription plans which every customer has to buy in order to use their devices. I personally don’t mind this as it makes sense that a data connection is needed for tracking, but not everyone is a fan. 

Still, there are three different subscription plans sure to meet any pet owner’s budget. The only difference in benefit is that the 1-year and 2-year plans include a 30-day free trial, while you don’t get any free trial with the monthly plan. 

Whistle touts that the Go Explore’s battery can last up to 20 days when fully charged. I found this number to be a little conservative as it lasted for 22 days on average in my experience.

It’s definitely not bad and not too far behind the Fi, but this time period can be seriously affected by constant usage, so you may end up charging it more often than you’d like.

Pros

  • The Whistle Go Explore has been tested and given an IPX8 waterproof rating, meaning it can withstand even the wettest weather conditions
  • No base station is required to charge your Whistle Go Explore
  • Program up to three “safe zones” that alert you when your dog leaves or returns from a designated area. You and your family control the positions of those safe zones

Cons

  • Not very suitable for dogs under 20 lbs 
  • Whistle devices can only be used with a subscription plan
  • The notifications for when pets leave the designated safe zones can lag and will only alert you after the fact. 

The Winner!

The Fi Smart Dog Collar’s advanced and intuitive features, affordable price point, unbeatable battery life, and the accuracy of its tracking ability make this collar the best pet-centric GPS device of all its comparable peers. 

Fi’s premiere GPS tracking service and state-of-the-art Smart Collar design have been featured in USA Today, Business Insider, and even Forbes. That’s because Fi’s robust technology and customer-obsessed culture have made it one of the most successful suppliers of GPS pet tracking services in a very competitive sphere.

The risk-free 1-year warranty, 30-day free GPS subscription, and the inclusion of free shipping and handling make the decision to choose Fi’s Smart Dog Collar an easy one.

When you use their services, you also gain access to a large online community of your fellow dog owners who use Fi Smart Dog Collars. This helps connect you to other pet lovers and see that Fi’s patented tracking technology is also protecting dogs in your neighborhood.

You trust GPS technology to get you and your family where they need to go. Now, trust it to keep your pet where they belong: by your side. The best way to do that is with a world-class GPS Smart Collar from Fi

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

These are some good basics to know for those who are newer to the world of smart collars!

Can I use dog trackers for hunting?

Yes. In fact, tracking collars were initially designed for hunters who wanted to track their hunting dogs in the fields. Over time they were adapted for everyday pets. You can still find collars like that today, though they are specifically marketed for hunting dogs.

GPS dog trackers can gather precise info on the dog’s position, which would prove especially useful for hunters. Some trackers can even send a vibration or audio tone through the tracker to help make training a hunting dog simpler.

Why not just get a microchip?

While you can use a microchip to reunite you with your lost pet, it only provides permanent information; it doesn’t actually communicate with satellites for real-time tracking like GPS. 

Microchips also do not provide additional info such as activity levels and other useful health insights.

What’s the difference between a tracker and a smart collar?

Trackers are usually separate devices that you attach to your pet’s collar or harness, while a smart collar includes the GPS tracking technology in an easy, all-in-one pet collar. 

Is a GPS tracker safe for my dog?

Yes, you can rest assured that a GPS tracker is perfectly safe for your beloved pooch. GPS is only a one-way radio signal transmission from satellites to Earth. The strength of this signal is low enough that it doesn’t affect the brain, heart, or any other vital organs.

You and your pets are exposed to GPS signals every day without any adverse side effects. Tracking simply listens for these signals, pinpointing their exact location in real-time, to help you locate your pets and keep them safe.

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