GPS Dog Collar vs Invisible Fence: What is the Difference?

Last Updated on July, 2024

Both GPS dog collars and invisible fence systems work to keep your dog safe and prevent it from getting LOST! Hence, both invisible fence systems and GPS dog collars can become a very important asset for pet owners.

Nobody wants a lost pet on their hands, and a GPS dog collar or invisible fence could work to ensure that your dog doesn’t go wandering the streets alone and get lost.

Dogs have the tendency to wander and stray; hence it is important that you, as the pet owner, take all the precautions necessary to ensure your pet’s safety. 

Let’s dive into greater depth to not only understand GPS dog collars and invisible fences systems, but figure out which is the better system to ensure your dog’s safety and well-being. 

GPS Dog Collar vs Invisible Fence – Let round one BEGIN!

Quick Summary

Both GPS Dog Collars and Invisible Fence Systems can be used to keep your dog safe and prevent it from getting lost.

GPS Dog Collars use GPS technology to track your dog’s movements, while Invisible Fences rely on buried wires and radio signals to create barriers.

When picking between the two, consider the features, reliability, durability, and battery life of the system, plus whether you need GPS tracking or not.

About GPS Dog Collars

a dog wearing gps tracker and standing on the ground

GPS systems work through GPS technology to track your dog’s movement. Often paired with a phone, GPS systems communicate using GPS signals.

GPS signals are used to not only track your dog’s movements but also correct their behavior through tone, vibration or shock correction. 

More advanced GPS dog collars allow you to create virtual fences that work to keep your dog within a designated space created by you with the app. However these fences aren’t as advanced as standalone electric dog fences.

Instead of correcting your dog when it reaches the end of the fence, these systems send an alert to your phone. 

GPS tracking systems are completely wireless. A GPS tracking system will not only help you keep your dog within the safe zone, a good GPS dog collar will allow you to track your dog’s real time position on a paired mobile device. 

GPS systems use state-of-the-art technology, making them a very reliable and intelligent choice. However, the degree of how good a GPS dog collar is GREAT will depend on the make and brand of the collar, each having a varied set of features. 

We share our top GPS-tracking dog collar picks in this guide.

About Invisible Fences

a dog wearing invisible fence collar and sitting near the boundary flags

Invisible fences come in two types. 

Wired pet fences are in ground dog fences which require you to install an underground cable to mark the perimeter of the invisible fence. Also known as an underground dog fence, the installation of an invisible dog fence could involve the burying of a wire. 

The underground wire will communicate with the receiver collar via a transmitter. The collar will get triggered if your dog comes too close to the underground wire.

A tone, vibration or shock correction will be triggered, telling your dog that they are too close to the underground wire (invisible fence perimeter) and to retreat back to the safe zone.

An invisible fence can also be a wireless pet fence if there is no need to install wires to make the invisible fence work. Some invisible fences on the market use RADIO and BLUETOOTH technology, which doesn’t require the installation of a boundary cable.

They create circular boundary fences and are varied by way of reach and distance to a GPS fence system (GPS wireless dog fence) that uses GPS technology. 

An invisible fence is also called an electronic dog fence, which is varied from a physical yard fence due to the fact there is no need for an actual physical barrier along the fence boundary. 

Though traditional physical fences (above ground fences) will obstruct views, a buried wire of invisible fences (under ground fences) does not in any way change the landscape of the property. 

An invisible fence is not a physical fence; it is usually a buried wire that communicates with a receiver collar to keep your dog within a safe zone by relying on tone, vibration and shock correction. 

We have a list of recommended Invisible Dog Fences on our website.

The Difference Between GPS Dog Collars and Invisible Fences

dogs wearing GPS Dog Collars and Invisible Fence collar

GPS dog collars use GPS technology, while invisible fences rely on buried wires and coded radio signal based radio signal triggers to create non-physical barriers for your pet. 

GPS dog collars create geofences and are often paired with a phone. The geo fence is created using a phone. While they don’t correct your dog upon reaching the boundary, they do a pretty good job in sending alerts to your phone allowing you to act instantly. 

While GPS Dog collars use GPS technology and a cellular device, invisible dog fences are containment systems which require you to bury wires. GPS dog collars won’t require you to install wires; hence there is no digging involved. 

Though both allow for correction delivered through the dog’s collar, the mode of operation of the two are varied. 

An invisible fence system will use a transmitter mounted in your house or garage, while a GPS collar doesn’t usually come with a transmitter. A GPS collar works in combination with a mobile phone, which acts as the transmitter. 

While GPS dog collars are portable (you can take them on your camping vacations), an invisible fence system, if wired, will be LOCATION SPECIFIC.

Sure, there are wireless invisible fence systems in the market which do offer portability; however, they don’t offer the added benefit that GPS collars provide. 

What added benefit?

GPS dog collars allow you to track and locate your dog. Even if the invisible fence system is wireless and you can take it with you when camping, most wireless dog fence, if your dog runs away, won’t help you TRACK or LOCATE your dog. 

While invisible fences are only dog containment systems, a GPS dog collar is a pet tracking system, which will not only help you TRACK your pet, but also be notified and alerted if your dog leaves the confines of your property. 

While a wired dog fence could get obstructed by other invisible fences in the surroundings or even nearby tall buildings, GPS dog collars are more reliable and are rarely obstructed by intrusions. 

When it comes to fences, most GPS dog collars are a little less advanced than electric fences as your dog will not be corrected. However, where the GPS system excels is in the REAL TIME location tracking of your dog.

You can just check your phone to know where your dog is, even from another part of the world, which is excellent. 

While an invisible fence will work to keep your dog in a designated area, a GPS collar will do that, plus more!

What to Consider When Buying an Invisible Fence?

invisible fences on the table

When buying an electric dog fence, you have to consider the difference between wireless fences and wired fences. While wireless fences won’t require a buried wire, many invisible fence systems will require you to install an underground cable. 

Wireless GPS systems compare better to invisible fence systems. 

When picking an invisible fence system, you also want to consider the correction modes available and the quality of the collar. 

Remember, an invisible fence is an electric fence, also known as hidden fences.

While standard physical fences will work to keep your dog within a designated space, an invisible fence will TRAIN your dog to do the same by teaching them the confines of the space they are allowed to roam in. 

If physical fencing is not the option for you and you want to pick an invisible fence system, you have to ensure that you do all the reading and research on invisible fences to ensure you buy the one that is RIGHT for YOU!

Wireless dog fences are usually considered better than the ones that require a buried wire. However, the quality of wireless dog fences will also vary; hence check for the reliability and durability of the product before you make a purchase.

How to Choose the Best GPS Collar System?

dogs wearing gps collars

When choosing the best GPS collar system, you have to consider the functionality of the system.

What are the features that it offers? Does it send you notifications on your phone if your dog leaves the confines of your property? Does the GPS collar system track your dog’s position?

You then have to consider the RELIABILITY of the technology used to operate the GPS collar. The better the connectivity of the technology, the more reliable a system you will have on your hands. 

Durability and battery life are both parameters you need to consider. You want something that your dog won’t be able to easily damage.

You also preferably want a system which has a waterproof collar (because your dog can and will get wet in the rain.)

Benefits of Invisible Fences

a human walking with a dog near the invisible fence flags

Invisible dog fences will work to keep your dog safe. They will use various modes of correction to teach your dog the confines of a safe area, allowing you to train your dog to stay in your backyard. 

Invisible fences will prevent your dog from straying and getting lost. Unlike physical fences, they don’t obstruct your view or change the landscape of the property. They can be moved and adjusted much more easily than a physical fence. 

An invisible fence is an electric dog fence that will allow your dog to roam the whole property and will teach them to stay within your property. 

Benefits of GPS Dog Collars

a dog wearing gps collar

Primarily, GPS dog collars are tracking systems which will allow you to track your pet’s real time location. Advanced GPS dog collars will also work to confine pets to a designated space. 

A good GPS dog collar will allow you to access both these features, which in essence, will allow you to use it as a containment system and tracking system. 

Wireless GPS systems use state-of-the-art GPS technology, which offers a more reliable connection. 

Are GPS Dog Collars Better Than Invisible Fences?

a dog running on the ground

The best GPS collars will allow you to track your dog’s location in real time.

That being the case wireless invisible fence systems such as the Halo 2+ are actually more advanced than GPS dog collars and will allow you to not only create virtual fences on your paired mobile but will also help keep track of your dog’s location with the help of GPS.

Hence, in actuality, GPS dog collars have limited scope and applicability in comparison to some advanced wireless invisible fence systems. 

While invisible fences are usually going to be location-bound (buried wire), a GPS dog collar will provide greater mobility and portability, allowing you to use the system on the go.

However, a wireless invisible fence system such as the Halo 2+ will provide both mobility and portability. 

Hence, the answer is simple, more advanced wireless fence systems which have GPS tracking features are considered the better option when comparing GPS dog collars with invisible fence systems.

Which One Should You Buy?

GPS Dog Collars and Invisible Fence

It’s up to you and depends on what you’re going to use the systems for. 

If you want to keep track of your dog and are okay with the geo-fence with alerts instead of corrections, a GPS collar would be enough for you.

If you aren’t that fussed about location tracking and want a system to keep your dog contained, an invisible fence, either wired or wireless will do the job. 

However, I’d recommend you simply pick a system with both location tracking and virtual fencing if your house does not have any kind of fencing.

Because, you’ll be able to keep a constant eye on your dog and at the same time keep them contained safely inside the boundaries you’ve created. 

Who doesn’t want something like that?

And there’s no better product to do it than the Halo 2+ GPS wireless dog fence, with in-built GPS tech and highly capable fencing options, you’re sure to keep your dog safe and secure. 

Final Thoughts

Wireless dog fence systems have so much appeal. You won’t need a physical fence which will obstruct your view and change the landscape and value of your property. 

However, with so many options in the market, it is important that you understand the difference between GPS dog collars and invisible fences. 

I’d give the slight edge to wireless GPS dog fences as they provide the luxury for both location tracking and virtual fencing, but it does not mean that GPS collars are bad. Both are excellent in their own rights, but you’re the one who knows what’s best for you. 


Not all invisible fence systems will require you to bury a wire. Some invisible fence systems will use circular radio technology to create a circular safe area, decided by the location of a transmitter. 

Though not all GPS dog collars will allow you to make virtual fences, some of the more advanced collars, such as the Fi Series 3, will. 

Most of the wireless fence systems can cover up to 10 acres of land. However, there are also products that are capable of covering more than 1000 acres. 

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Stefano Giachetti
Stefano Giachetti is always excited to share his knowledge and love of animals with you through our blog, IPetGuides. And he has always loved animals and has been blessed to have many pets throughout his life. Currently has a Pomeranian Dog Breed.

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