GPS / Navigation » SPOT Personal Locator Beacon

Whether you’re just checking in, allowing others to track your progress, or calling for help – SPOT gives you a vital line of communication with friends and family when you want it, and emergency assistance when and where you need it. And since it utilizes 100% satellite technology, SPOT works around the world – even where cell phones don’t.

Size: 4.38 X 2.75 X 1.5” (approx. 111 mm x 69 mm x 44 mm) Approximate Weight: 7.37 ounces (209 grams)

169.99 USD (SRP)

Low-Cost satellite service subscription required.

SPOT features four key functions that enable users to send messages to friends, family or emergency responders, based upon varying levels of need:

Alert 9-1-1 – Alert emergency responders to your exact location
o SPOT sends one message every 5 minutes until power is depleted or 911 is cancelled.
Ask for Help – Request help from friends and family in your exact location
o SPOT sends one message every 5 minutes for one hour or until Help is cancelled
Check In – Let contacts know where you are and that you’re okay
o SPOT sends three identical messages to the SPOT service for redundancy. The first of those three messages is delivered.
Track Progress – Send and save your location and allow contacts to track your progress using Google Maps™
o SPOT sends one message every 10 minutes for 24 hours or until SPOT is powered off.

Battery Life

Includes 2 AA 1.5V lithium batteries; under normal usage a full battery charge should meet or exceed the following

* Power on, unused: Approx. 1 year
* SPOTcasting tracking mode: Approx. 14 days
* 9-1-1 mode: Up to 7 consecutive days
* SPOTcheck OK/√: 1900 messages

$99.99 USD/yr basic satellite service subscription includes:

ALERT 9-1-1:
Dispatch emergency responders to your exact location. Unlimited usage included.

Let contacts know where you are and that you’re okay. Unlimited usage included.

Request help from friends and family at your exact location. Unlimited usage included.

Terms and conditions apply >>>

Upgrade Services:
$49.99/yr USD Tracking Upgrade Option
Send and save your location and allow contacts to track your progress using Google Maps™.

GEOS Search & Rescue Benefit
$7.95/yr USD (if purchased at initial activation. $150.00 USD afterwards)
Provides up to $100,000 USD of additional search and rescue resources, including helicopter extraction around the world and reimbursement benefits – underwritten by Lloyd’s of London – for any emergency service expenses incurred. For more information, including terms and conditions, visit

Product Website:

Please rate this product: (no login required)
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (21 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...

Comments (12)

ChrisOctober 28th, 2008 at 6:09 pm

I have one and like it. It’s not perfect but it generally does what is advertised. My wife likes it when I’m out of contact and I like it because I hate cell phones and this works far more often. Too bad you don’t know 100% for sure your message got through and it could be smaller and lighter but I’ll continue to use it and carry it. I have the normal service and the “tracking” feature.

HeckboyMarch 22nd, 2009 at 8:33 am

I have one that worked perfectly in the Grand Canyon when a hiking partner broke both bones in his lower legs 600 vertical feet below the rim on a very remote route. NPS received our distress signal 2 min. after setting it off, they got 47 position updates in the 6 hours it was on……that being said it took 6 hours before we got any help. My conclusion – great product but after you set if off you better be busting your ass to change your situation and not sit around waiting for help.

ChadMarch 24th, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Anyone have one that I can borrow for the first week in April? I don’t see myself using it for the entire year, so I don’t really want to buy one. I’d be interested in working out a monetary exchange for using it also.

maadjurguerAugust 12th, 2009 at 12:15 pm

I’ve been using this for 6 or so weeks and it generally works as advertised. At this point, I’m still keeping it in a mesh pocket on the back of my camelback while riding. This positions the unit at roughly 45 degrees when I’m riding along. Realizing this is not the optimal “vertical” position that SPOT mandates for use, it still transmits fairly regularly while in tracking mode. I’ve noticed that while in this position (45 degree angle), it transmits just fine except when my back is facing SW or NW….I imagine this is a function of the satellite locations at any given time. When in a vertical position, it works perfectly most of the time while in tracking mode. When it does not, I just reset it back into tracking mode.

AndrewJune 11th, 2010 at 7:06 am

I have one, and I’m not as impressed as I’d like to be. I have the basic “low cost” $99 a year service—no tracking. The documentation doesn’t really specify the difference between what the difference between the basic and the extra tracking service does.

One ‘gotcha’ is that with the basic service you can only send messages every 20 min. They simply won’t go more often. I often have no idea if the message was sent or not. With a few big bikepacking trips planned, I hesitate to rely on it as much more than extra weight in my bag.

stanAugust 1st, 2010 at 7:50 pm

I have had my Spot for about a year. I do a lot of motorcycle riding in the mountains. It seems to have really hard time getting a message out if you are not in wide open spaces. I just went on a 7 hour motorcycle ride in the mountains, covering 150 miles. I sent 5 OK check-in messages druing the ride, and only 1 got through. Does this mean that if I crash and need help I have a 20% chance taht my message will get out? What if I am too injured to climb to the top of the nearest mountain where I have unobstructed skys? A good choice if you are in wide open spaces, but maybe not in the mountains, or the forest.

ScottMAugust 2nd, 2010 at 7:17 am

stan — the unit will try a lot harder to get help and 911 messages out. It continually tries to get a signal and will even send a message without a GPS lock. So, I would expect much better than 20% chance in case of emergency.

One problem is people that only use OK (not track mode) will pull the SPOT out, hit OK, then put it away. It can take several minutes to get a new GPS fix and send the signal out, so you need to leave the unit facing up and with a clear view of the sky for about 20 minutes after hitting OK. People that use the track feature have a lot better luck with messages getting out for this reason.

DavidNovember 3rd, 2010 at 3:03 pm

First of all, it doesn’t work unless you have wide open sky.  Perhaps if you are concerned about getting lost on a prairie this product may work. I got a message out from a parking lot at a football stadium but could not get a signal from a city park with a few trees. So, if you are headed to the mountains, leave this piece of junk at home. Second, the company will re-bill you automatically. They hide this in the fine print so you get a surprise a year later. Customer service (misnomer) is VERY RUDE and will NOT refund what they auto bill you. This product and company are just short of fraudulent. STAY AWAY!

elwood64November 13th, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Have used this product for 3-4 years and am very satisfied. I ride by myself often, and it allows me some peace of mind in case I wreck alone. I have never had it not get a signal out (in ‘OK’ mode). The trick, as mentioned, is that it does take around 5-10 minutes to get the gps lock and signal sent. Be patient grasshopper. I have tested it in low tree cover and tall pines. Always sent. I only have basic service, and will always ride with it in my pack.

craigofnzSeptember 22nd, 2011 at 4:36 am

* It uses a simplex satellite data service – this means there no confirmation that a message has been sent.
* Best used with tracking mode enabled.
* When send ‘OK’ messages, remember to stay still for 20 mins.

I have had a SPOTv1 for three years. I take it on all my backcountry adventures (on cycle and foot) and have now successfully used it in three continents :).

My family like knowing where I am, and the tracking combined with trip plan it works well to assure them that I am fine. No emergencies so far, but the gives me both persistent send for help, and when followed by families or friends, if it failed due to a canyon or tree cover etc, failure to follow advance plans, a long time without position updates would be an additional indicator as to where I am, based on my last known time and position.

Erik K.April 27th, 2019 at 9:13 pm

Are there any similar satelite devices that allow 2 way texting between 2 people?

BuccaneerJune 23rd, 2019 at 2:57 am

Garmins inReach Explorer+ allows 2 way texting.

Add your review / comments

Your comment is powered by WordPress | Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)|