The best personal locator beacons are a must-have for an outdoorsman. Well, every time you are going on a hiking adventure in the wild, you cannot disregard the fact that you can find yourself in a remote place all over sudden. While your phone may have GPS to help locate, some places are simply so remote that your phone may fail to pick up a signal.
A personal locator beacon is designed to help rescuers know exactly where you are and assist you as fast as possible. It gives you peace of mind knowing that no matter what happens you will be helped. In this piece, we introduce you to the best brands for 100-percent user satisfaction.
Check out the Best Personal Locator Beacons Reviews
1. ACR Personal Locator Beacon (PLB-375 ResQLink+406)
If personal locator beacons were to be ranked in order of how small they are, the ACR PLB-375 ResQLink+406 would be the first on the list. It is small, and it floats, meaning it will provide you with ultimate convenience. Furthermore, this device weighs just 5.4 ounces; hence, it is probably one of the lightest in the industry. The best part is that the small compact design does not affect its performance in any way.
This unit is a GPS-enabled, full-powered rescue personal beacon designed to help make the lives of boaters, water-borne sportsmen, and pilots much more convenient than ever before. It will work quickly and accurately in relaying your position to a worldwide network of rescue and search capabilities.
Well, it is able to deliver such a stunning performance because of the three levels of integrated signal technology. These are GPS positioning, 121.5 MHz homing capability, and a powerful 406 MHz signal. This personal locator beacon is also equipped with a built-in strobe light that improves visibility during night rescues.
2. Artex Personal Locator Beacon
It is not just the ACR PLB-375 ResQLink+406 model that is cost-effective; the Artex PLB uses a satellite network funded by governments, and this means you will not incur any charges in case you use it during emergency. Ideally, it works with the only officially accepted worldwide dedicated rescue and search satellite network that is operated by Cospas Sarsat.
Regardless of where you are, the Artex Personal Locator Beacon will work. All you need to do is to activate it and then it will transmit your position and ID to a Rescue Coordination Center through a satellite link. After that, the rescue services nearest to you will be promptly notified of your situation and the search and rescue process will be initiated.
The personal locator beacon only weighs 4.09 ounces (117 grams), and it measures just 2.1 inches long by 1.3 inches wide by 3.0 inches high. Well, it is one of the smallest as well; hence, can easily be carried on the go. Additionally, it has a reliable battery that lasts up to 7 years under a 24-hour operation.
3. ACR GlobalFix Pro 406 2842 EPIRB Category I Rescue Beacon
With a 5-year non-hazmat lithium battery, this PLB is undoubtedly reliable. The battery may not have the longest life in these reviews, but it still puts out a great performance. What’s more, this rescue beacon has a built-in GPS receiver that ensures more accurate and faster position indication. By so doing, the GPS receiver allows rescuers to pinpoint exactly where you are. The gadget also has a 121.5 MHz Homing Beacon Transmitter that will allow the rescuers nearby to home in on your position.
Another wonderful feature is the 406 MHz Satellite Search and Rescue transmitter that instantly notifies authorities should you find yourself in a distress situation anywhere in the world. Moreover, the PLB is equipped with a built-in strobe that comes in handy during a nighttime rescue process. The enclosure with the hydrostatic release is included to further improve the performance of this unit.
4. ACR AquaLink 406 GPS Personal Locator Beacon
This PLB has saved over 25,000 lives since it was introduced to the market in 1982. It has a reliable signaling technology, which makes it more accurate as well as greatly improving its performance. Like other high-performance units, this personal locator beacon is equipped with a powerful 406 MHz signal and 121.5 MHz homing capability.
These well-thought-out features greatly improve the performance and accuracy of this personal locator beacon. The PLB also features an integrated LED strobe light that will lead rescuers to exactly where you are. The personal locator beacon is small, and, therefore, very convenient to use.
As if that’s not enough, this gadget floats. It is reliable, accurate, and high-performance. Ideally, the fact that it does not require subscription fees means it is cost-effective. ACR does a great job of producing reliable PLB. That being said, we are positive that this unit will work a treat for you.
5. Spot Satellite Messenger
When you are traveling abroad in a territory you are unfamiliar with or headed into the backcountry, you should definitely have the Spot Satellite Messenger. It is a reliable model designed for worldwide satellite tracking as well as emergency alert capabilities. It uses GPS technology to transmit your location to your SPOT account every ten minutes.
Moreover, this satellite messenger is backed by a 1-year manufacturer warranty that protects against defects in workmanship and materials. It weighs 7.4 ounces (210 grams), which although does not make it the lightest in the industry, it makes very much convenient to use. Ideally, this personal locator beacon measures 4.4 by 2.8 by 1.5 inches (11 by 7 by 4 centimeters).
Needless to say, it is compact and can be fitted anywhere. The Spot Satellite Messenger also comes with 2 AA lithium batteries. This means you will be able to use it right out of the box. The personal locator beacon is great for rescue and personal tracking. It works by sending GPS coordinates and distress message to Emergency Response Center.
6. McMurdo Fast Find 220 PLB – Programmed for US RegistrationBuy now from Amazon
A good personal locator beacon is one that is reliable and will deliver even in adverse climate conditions. Well, the McMurdo Fast Find 220 Personal Locator Beacon falls in this category. It has been tried, tested, and proven in some of the most remote conditions in the world.
In addition, this personal locator beacon activates easily and is extremely easy to use. All you have to do is to deploy the antenna and then pull the anti-tamper seal. Once you are done, press the ON button. The PLB is also waterproof, and this means you will be able to rely on it even in a rainy condition.
Plus it is small enough to fit in your back pocket. When a distress call is initiated, the unit’s built-in GPS will fix where you are within a few meters before relaying your distress call to orbiting satellites via a powerful 406 MHz signal. Its lithium power cell further makes it reliable by offering a minimum 24-hour continuous operation as well as a 6-year battery storage life.
7. ACR Aqualink View PLB
Like any other reliable, top-quality personal locator beacon, this unit works by relaying your position to a worldwide network of Search and Rescue satellites in case of an emergency. It has a digital display that will allow you to test it as well as to check on your battery power and co-ordinates. Additionally, it has 3 levels of signal technology, which are GPS Positioning, 121.5 MHz homing capability, and 406 MHz signal.
These technologies improve the performance of this PLB by relaying coordinates accurate to within 100m to worldwide emergency services. In addition, the ACR Aqualink View PLB has an LED strobe that helps attract attention of the rescuers once they are closer to you. It floats, and this helps improve its performance.
Furthermore, its battery lasts longer to ensure ultimate reliability. You will need to replace it after 6 years. The device may be costlier than most units in these reviews. Nevertheless, this should not be a concern, given that it delivers peerless performance. It measures 5.8 by 2.3 by 1.4 inches and weighs 9.3 ounces.
6. McMurdo Fast Find 220 PLB – Programmed for US RegistrationBuy now from Amazon
This unit is on this list because it is equipped with lots of unique features that are hard to find in other units. It has a built-in navigation system, which helps improve its performance and accuracy. These unique features will let you do cool stuff – some of which may not be possible with other personal locator beacons.
You will be able to plan your adventure in advance; send and receive text messages; share your journey with friends or family, and many more. You will also be able to trigger an interactive SOS and communicate back and forth with the 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center.
This will help you customize the help you need. Besides, this two-way satellite communicator is an accelerometer, digital compass, and barometric altimeter. It does everything and even goes the extra mile just to keep you safe in unfamiliar territory.
9. Garmin inReach Mini
Garmin makes quality smartwatches. Therefore, we are certain that this gadget is highly functional as well. It is small, rugged, and lightweight so you can carry it with you to a remote place and have peace of mind knowing that you will definitely be assisted should you be in an uncomfortable situation. The 100-percentage global iridium network enables 2-way text messaging.
It is important to note that a satellite subscription is required. Ideally, you will be able to trigger SOS to the 24/7 rescue and search monitoring center. It is crucial to not that satellite subscription is required here as well. What’s more, this device will provide you with an optional weather forecast service that offers comprehensive updates directly to the user’s paired device or inReach Mini.
You will be able to send as well as to receive inReach messages via compatible Garmin devices such as connected wearables and handhelds. The display resolution of this unit is 128 by 128 pixels, which is just fine. The personal locator beacon measures 4 inches tall by 2 inches wide and weighs 4.23 ounces.
10. Garmin inReach Explorer+ Satellite Communicator
Garmin knows that you might find yourself in some remote places with no cell tower or phone service. That’s why they are happy to introduce to you the inReach Explorer + Satellite Communicator. It has 100-percent global Iridium satellite coverage that enables two-way text messaging in every part of the world. Ideally, it is worth noting that a satellite subscription fee is required.
The water rating of this satellite communicator is IPX7, which is high enough to protect it from water damage. The device uses a rechargeable internal lithium ion, which is very reliable. Furthermore, you can pair it with mobile devices via Earthmate app to gain access to downloadable maps, U.S. NOAA charts, and color aerial imagery.
The satellite communicator has a screen size of 2.3”, and it measures 1.5 by 2.7 by 6.5 inches. Plus it is very lightweight, as it measures 0.5lb only. It is designed to carry and use anywhere. With it, you will be able to communicate, share location, and even activate SOS functions. That being said, this unit is perfect for those who traverse the land, water, and the skies.
Buyer’s Guide for the Best Personal Locator Beacons
Still undecided on what to pick? Consider the following factors.
Since you are most likely to use your personal locator beacon in remote places, picking a unit that is tested, tried, and proven in remote and totally hostile places makes a lot of sense. Ideally, you should choose a device from a reputable manufacturer that is willing to assist you should you have a problem with your gadget.
The reliability of a PLB is further improved by a battery with a long life. Therefore, make sure your unit comes with a battery that lasts really long, perhaps up to 7 years or more. Ideally, a long-lasting battery is cost-effective because it spares you the hassle of having to spend money on a new battery every now and then.
It is advisable that you have your personal locator beacon with you every time you are going on an adventure. Nevertheless, you will not be able to do that if your personal locator beacon is heavier and/or larger. So, when buying a unit, ensure that it is compact enough to fit anywhere. Also, make sure it is lightweight and easy to carry.
Most people hate subscription fees and if you happen to be one of them, then picking a PLB that does not subscription fees or charges of any kind is very important. Well, these personal locator beacons are connected to government rescue and search centers. They are, therefore, totally free and very convenient, especially if you are economic-minded.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which personal locator beacon has a long-lasting battery?
With a battery that lasts up to 7 years under 24-hour use, the Artex Personal Locator Beacon has the longest battery life in these reviews.
Which personal locator beacon is the lightest?
The Artex Personal Locator Beacon weighs 4.09 ounces. And this makes it one of the lightest units in the market. Therefore, if you normally carry a lot of items in your backpack, going for a device that is insanely light is advisable.
Which companies make the best personal locator beacon?
These include Garmin, ACR, and Artex, among others. They make quality PLBs that are rugged, lightweight, and loaded with incredible features.
A personal locator beacon is great for pilots, boaters, and outdoorsmen and women. They come in handy whenever you are in trouble by alerting the rescuers of exactly where you are. Nonetheless, finding the best quality locator beacon can be very hard; thanks to the numerous brands. But we say, worry not, because this article has everything you need to know before a personal locator beacon.