Owning a quality personal locator beacon can mean life or death when it comes to survival situations. We have provided a list of what we consider the best personal locator beacons and why we recommend them.You never truly know what will happen when traveling or being out in the wilderness. Because of this, it’s always important to be on the safe side and bring a device that will allow you to alert rescue services if you need to be found.
Before purchasing a product like this, the most important thing is to know what you want to get from it. Do you want to be able to communicate with friends and family or do you only need the ability to send an SOS message? How important is size and weight to you? Before spending a chunk of change on one of these items, make sure you have a clear idea of exactly what you want out of your personal locator beacon.
Table of Contents
Top 8 Best Personal Locator Beacons
|Bivystick Blue||Check On Amazon|
|Ocean Signal RescueMe||Check On Amazon|
|Garmin inReach Mini||Check On Amazon|
|ZOLEO Satellite Communicator||Check On Amazon|
|McMurdo Fast Find 220||Check On Amazon|
|ACR 2880 ResQ Link||Check On Amazon|
|PrimeTracking LLC Personal GPS||Check On Amazon|
|Spot 3 Satellite GPS||Check On Amazon|
1. Garmin inReach Mini
On the top of this list is the Garmin inReach Mini. This personal locator beacon has a unique text messaging technology that allows you to communicate with emergency services in times of need. It uses a 100% global Iridium network which you have access to through a paid subscription, which allows for two-way text messaging in case of emergencies.
All of this technology comes in a super small, compact device that is waterproof and lightweight. You are able to access downloadable maps, aerial imagery, weather forecasts, and much more. Because of all these features and the different things you can access with this device, it’s perfect for people who are planners and want to know extra information when out in the wild.
Powered with batteries, some people are unhappy with the battery life because it tends to be shorter than some others on the market. The price point is also fairly high so it’s not accessible to people on a budget. But because of all the unique and advanced technologies that come with this device, people think the price point is reasonable for everything you get.
2. ACR 2880 ResQ Link
Using this personal locator beacon is easy and quick for times of emergency and is pre-programmed for the United States. You can bring this product outside of the US, but it comes programmed to call the US authorities.
This device is battery operated and has a battery life of about 30 hours. If you are heading out for a long trip, make sure to bring extra batteries just in case. It’s smaller than the average cell phone and is lightweight so you can throw it in your backpack and carry it anywhere without even noticing it’s there. The size and weight make it great for backpackers and hikers who are looking to conserve weight.
Using three levels of signal technology, the ACR 2880 RexQ Link is able to accurately locate your position and lead rescuers to you. You don’t need to worry about this device not working as it has been tested in some of the United State’s most treacherous conditions. It’s waterproof and has a built-in strobe light which is yet another feature of this product that makes it easier for rescuers to find you quicker.
There’s a reason why this device is so high up on the list, it checks pretty much every box when it comes to what you need out of a personal locator beacon. One of the only main downsides is that the price is a little high. But because it provides so much safety and excellent technology, many people find it worth the price tag.
3. Spot 3 Satellite GPS
One excellent feature of this personal locator beacon is the ability to contact your loved ones instead of the emergency services. If you are in a situation where you don’t think you need the actual search and rescue people to come to find you, you’re able to send a message to your loved ones and let them know where you are.
But if you are in an actual emergency, you can easily contact the authorities and let them know you need help. The emergency message should reach them in just a few minutes. Like others on this list, this device is lightweight and small enough to fit into almost any pack or pocket. It’s great for backpackers or hikers who are trying to preserve weight.
Even though this product doesn’t allow for two way messaging, it still gives you the ability to contact loved ones or emergency authorities. It’s less expensive than some other options out there while still providing a range of great technologies.
One other feature this product offers is the ability to save your location and allow contacts to track you using google maps. If you’re looking for a less expensive personal locator beacon that still gives you some incredible abilities, this is one of the best options.
4. Ocean Signal RescueMe
One of the more simple products on this list is the Ocean Signal RescueMe. You cannot use this device to let your family know you are safe or see the weather forecast but it does its job well. You can easily press the button with one hand in case you are restricted and it will send a signal to the coordination center that will then contact the closest rescue services.
One downside to this product is that it will not float on its own. It does come with a floatation pouch so if you are traveling in the water you need to remember to attach it to the pouch.
A positive of this product is that it will send an SOS message no matter where you are in the world. Because of the coordination center and its ability to connect with the closest rescue services near you, you never need to worry about it not working outside the United States. With an incredible 7-year battery life, this is one of the most reliable of its kind.
One of the most important parts of purchasing a personal locator beacon is knowing what you need. Every device on the market is going to give you different technologies and uses. Before buying this one, or any, make sure you know what you want to be able to do with it.
5. Bivystick Blue
This product works great to send SOS messages and even to communicate with family or friends. Although not as technologically advanced as two-way text models, this device can send simple “I’m OK,” messages to people if the connection with your smartphone has been lost for whatever reason.
But when used in conjunction with your smartphone, you can send all the text messages you want, no matter how complex. The Bivystick uses a subscription process like some others which can be a pain for certain people.
Weighing in at only 100 grams, this personal locator beacon is one of the smallest of its kind. You can bring it with you anywhere without even noticing you have it. No product is perfect and that’s why you need to know what features are most important for you and your safety. Some people really prefer two-way text capabilities no matter what, but others don’t need them as much. If you want a simple and super small device that will call for help in times of need, this is just as good as any.
6. ZOLEO Satellite Communicator
Easy to use and simply designed, this Satellite Communicator is a fairly new product on the market but that doesn’t mean it’s any less put together. The device itself has an SOS button that you can use but customized text communication requires a phone and the app.
With the app, you are able to send text messages just like regular text conversations. But a unique and stand-out technology advancement this product has is the ability to have one text chain continue throughout different connectivity types. This is great for people who will be traveling in and out of signal.
You can send an “I’m OK” message from the app or the device itself in case you want someone to know that you are alive and well. The product is lightweight and small enough to travel with easily. It’s comparable to other similar items on the market in regards to durability and simplicity. It’s not the most advanced of its kind, but it does provide a lot of good qualities that people find important. One of those qualities is the battery, which is about 200 hours for this product!
7. McMurdo Fast Find 220
If you want a super simple personal locator beacon, this might just be perfect for you. It’s small and compact enough to bring with you easily and can quickly alert rescue services in case of emergencies. It features a bright LED light that can help get you found if you get stuck in the dark. This light can be helpful in multiple different situations so it’s a great addition to any personal locator beacon.
This item does contain a lithium battery that cannot be brought onto airplanes. It’s important that you are aware of this potential problem before you book a flight and pack the Fast Find 220. You would be forced to ship this item to your destination if you wish to have it at a location where you need to fly to.
The battery life is also only about 24 hours, so be prepared in case of emergencies. It does not rely on subscription purchases which is a major upside for some people. Despite some of the downsides, the Fast Find does its job. It can quickly and accurately bring rescue services to you in case you need them, and that’s what matters most at the end of the day.
8. PrimeTracking LLC Personal GPS
If you are on a budget, you should look into this. This device gives you real-time tracking so your family and friends can keep watch of you at any time. If you get into an emergency situation, you can easily press the SOS button, and rescue services will be on their way.
It definitely is not as advanced as other options on the market, but it works great for parents or caregivers who are looking after their children and want to make sure they are safe. Easy to use and compact, you will barely even notice it’s there.
You will need to purchase a subscription but you can actually see how fast someone is going and if they go past their desired location. With tons of tracking features, it’s a favorite amongst parents or people looking after elderly individuals. You can update the information every ten seconds which gives you real-time coverage of someone’s whereabouts.
After reviewing our top choices for the best personal locator beacons, we hope you found that some of our choices have peaked your interest. It’s always important to know what you want to get out of your product and what elements are highest on your list of wants. Once you realize what you need and after you have gone over this list, you’ll be well informed and confident in purchasing your own device.