SportDOG TEK 2.0 vs. Garmin Alpha 100

SportDOG-TEK-2.0-vs.-Garmin-Alpha-100
Today, I will review the SportDOG TEK 2.0 vs. Garmin Alpha 100. These two are among the most popular dog and tracking collar brands in the market. With the prices being similar, it makes sense that I should make a comparison guide to help consumers find the best fit for their needs.

Whether you look forward to camping or hiking, a dog tracker can help avoid unnecessary problems during each trip. Know that your canine companions could be well-behaved indoors, but new smells and sights arouse their curiosity and may trigger their instincts to chase.

Also, a dog tracker is an invaluable tool if you are serious about training your dogs to become skilled hunters.

Who Should Get The SportDOG TEK 2.0?
The SportDOG TEK 2.0 uses a combination of HopTek™, GPS, and GLONASS so that you could effectively communicate with your dogs within a 10-mile range. While it is among the most advanced tracking systems in the market, it has less bells and whistles compared to the Garmin Alpha 100. So, if you are on the lookout for something advanced yet easy to use, I recommend you get this system.
Who Should Get Garmin Alpha 100?
The Garmin Alpha 100 is an excellent choice if you want a more detailed tracking and training collar system. This unit offers a greater range of features that are essential to professional hunters and adventurous dog owners alike. I am talking about BaseCamp, BaseStation, and BirdsEye Satellite Imagery, all of which provides a more in-depth and comprehensive user-experience.

  • Touchscreen
    The biggest difference between the SportDOG TEK 2.0 vs. Garmin Alpha 100 is that the latter comes with a touchscreen.
  • Range
    Thanks to HopTek™, the Tek 2.0 can flawlessly provide up to 10 miles of range regardless of the weather or terrain. Meanwhile, the Alpha 100 provides up to 9 miles of range, given that certain conditions are met.
    Also, the TEK 2.0 can support up to 21 collar receivers/handheld transmitters, while the Alpha 100 can support up to 20.
  • Audio Updates
    Another feature I like about the SportDOG TEK 2.0 is that it provides audio updates via a Bluetooth-enabled earpiece. This ability is a godsend for hunters since they no longer have to put down their gun just so they could hold and see their tracker. The Garmin Alpha 100, on the other hand, lacks this feature.
  • Unlimited Lifetime Map Updates
    With the SportDOG TEK 2.0, you will not have to pay for monthly or yearly subscriptions.
  • Battery Life
    As for the battery life, the Garmin Alpha 100 outperforms theTEK 2.0 by having eight more hours of run-time for its handheld device and six more hours of run-time for its e-collar.
    At 25%, Alpha 100 switches to Rescue Mode to conserve battery. During this mode, you will only receive updates every two minutes.
  • Beacon Lights
    The Alpha 100 comes equipped with Beacon Lights to help you see your canine companion up to 100 yards away during nighttime.

Comparisson Table

Model
Tracking System
Compatible Softwares
Range
Touchscreen Display
Battery Life
Waterproof
Price


GPS + GLONASS

Included desktop app


10 miles
None
Handheld device lasts about 12 hours
GPS collar lasts about 24 hours
GPS collar features DryTek® and submersible to 25 feet
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High-Sensitivity GPS + GLONASS

BirdsEye Satellite Imagery, BaseCamp, BaseStation, Garmin Adventures

9 miles
Yes
Handheld device lasts about 20 hours
GPS collar lasts about 30 hours
IPX7 water rating
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SportDOG TEK 2.0 GPS Tracking & E-Collar System

SportDOG TEK 2.0 GPS

SportDOG® was the first company to combine GPS tracking with e-collar training. The goal was to achieve a more reliable and precise tracking and training. Featuring HopTek™, I can determine the accurate location of my canine companions all the way out to 10 miles! This technology beats interference problems regardless of the terrain.

So far, TEK 2.0 is the only tracking system with voice updates sent right from the handheld device. My handy gizmo has told me exactly which direction each of my dogs were heading. It likewise notified me how far they have gone and how fast they are moving.

I would not have to look down or take my hands off my equipment. To make things even better, TEK 2.0 uses GPS + GLONASS so that it captures data from both satellite constellations.

The handheld device has an icon-based menu, allowing for quick and hassle-free navigation. I can manage a pack of 21 dogs with its array of programmable stimulations. The collar receiver features DryTek® technology, making it waterproof and submersible up to 25 feet.

Likewise, the handheld device is just as rock-solid. These gadgets are the kind of thing you want as you head into the bush on a hunt!

PROS:
  • 10-mile range using HopTek™ technology
  • Tracks up to 21 TEK 2.0 collars/handheld devices
  • 100, 000 preloaded topographic US maps
  • Unlimited lifetime map updates; no subscription required
  • 99 levels of momentary, continuous, and rising static stimulation
  • Optional vibration and tone options
  • Comes equipped with a rechargeable lithium-ion batteries
  • TEK 2.0 collar stays active for 24 hours per charge
  • TEK 2.0 handheld device stays active for 12 hours per charge
  • Enjoy a hassle-free user interface and hands-free, real-time voice updates
  • Compatible with Bluetooth earpiece
  • Designed for dogs weighing 8 pounds or larger
  • Weatherproof; designed to withstand the heat, cold, rain, snow, etc.
CONS:
  • The battery life of the handheld device could not even last an entire day
  • The design of the power switch is too small and is cramped between the GPS and radio antennas

Garmin Alpha 100 TT 15 GPS Dog Tracker

Garmin Alpha 100

The Alpha 100 TT 15 combines the industry’s leading Garmin GPS tracking system with Tri-tronics in one handheld device.

The handheld device comes pre-loaded with 100, 000 topographic US maps. Like other Garmin trackers, the Alpha 100 is featured with BaseCamp, which is a handy app that lets you organize waypoints, routes, and tracks that you can refer to for your next adventures. To top it off, you will receive a one-year free subscription of BirdsEye Satellite Imagery.

As the name hints, this feature has allowed me to achieve a bird’s eye view of my surroundings. Instead of lines and solid colors, I was able to experience a more vivid representation of my surroundings. And if you like, you may also share your experiences to your friends and fellow explorers via Garmin Adventures.

The Garmin Alpha 100 e-collar is advanced as anything Tri-Tronics has ever made! The collar allows me to simultaneously monitor the speed and distance traveled of up to 20 dogs. I can view such updates via the touchscreen as often as 2.5 seconds, but I can also configure the update rates to prolong the battery life.

Complete with 18 different training levels, plus tone and vibration alerts, I can correct the behavior of each dog while they are out in the field.

PROS:
  • Keep tabs on your dogs within a 9-mile range
  • One Alpha 100 handheld device can track up to 20 dogs wearing compatible collars
  • Track co-hunters’ handheld transmitters using Contact Tracking
  • 100, 000 preloaded topographic US maps
  • Enjoy free one-year subscription of BirdsEye Satellite Imagery
  • Touchscreen display with multiple customizations
  • 18 different training levels
  • Optional vibration and tone options
  • Comes equipped with a rechargeable lithium-ion batteries
  • Alpha 100 collar stays active for 12 hours per charge
  • Alpha 100 handheld device stays active for 20 hours per charge
  • Featured with BaseStation and BaseCamp
  • E-collar comes with a beacon light
CONS:
  • Lacks audio updates
  • The touchscreen menu is complex for others to use
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SportDOG TEK 2.0 vs. Garmin Alpha 100: Face to Face Comparison

Now, let us pay closer attention to the features and capabilities of each unit, as these features can affect how you will use them at a later time.

Size

Garmin Alpha 100

The Alpha 100 is suitable for adult dogs and puppies, as well. The collar fit neck sizes up to 27 inches.

User Interface and Controls

SportDOG TEK 2.0

The TEK 2.0 handheld device is not touch-enabled, but its user interface is as user-friendly as an old school Nokia. I can quickly manipulate the icon-based menu through the use of a navigation wheel and buttons. All of the key options can be found on the homepage.

Best of all, I get real-time voice updates so that I would not have to constantly check on the handheld device. The voice updates would tell me which direction my canine companions are heading, how far they have reached, as well as how fast they are moving.
SportDOG TEK 2.0 - User Interface and Controls

Garmin Alpha 100

The user interface of the Garmin Alpha 100 is as bright and colorful as that of TEK 2.0, but it is not as user-friendly as I expected it to be.

There are plenty of menus to access the setup options, and only a few of these menus are accessible from the home page. As a result, I ended up wasting time searching for basic functions. Also, the interface lacks a “Home Button” and so, you have to back out from the sub- menus until you see the home icon.

Another thing to note is that the 3-inch display tends to change if you do not take steps to lock the keys and touchscreen. Unfortunately, the way it is done can be a pain. If I keep the display locked all the time, all useful information on the screen will be replaced with a large message that says it is locked. I have to use the touchscreen to clear that notification badge.

While I have never had a problem with the touch screen in wet conditions, it does not work well with gloves, despite the manufacturer’s claims. From my experience, these design flaws reduce training option efficiency.

What is more, the touchscreen zooms in and out by pressing plus and minus on the screen. It would have been better if I could zoom in and out using two fingers, just as I would using a smartphone.
Garmin Alpha 100 - User Interface and Controls

Battery and Duration

Garmin Alpha 100

garmin 100 battery
The Garmin Alpha 100 uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery similar to its competitor, but it beats the TEK 2.0 in this department.
The tracking collar of Alpha 100 offers six more hours than the TEK 2.0, amounting to 30 hours in total. The same goes for its handheld device, which has 20 hours of run-time. Therefore, the Alpha 100 might be a better choice if the battery life matters most to you.
If the battery does drop into a critical battery level and your hounds are still roaming at a distance, the Rescue Mode on each collar will activate automatically. This feature will switch the collar into an update mode of two minutes to save the battery life.

Tracking Systems

Garmin Alpha 100

garmin 100 tracking
The Garmin Alpha 100 makes use of high-sensitivity GPS plus GLONASS. You can set your Alpha 100 to show not only your canine companions but also other hunters in your group that use the same gadget.

Just like the TEK 2.0, you can measure the speed, distance, and direction being traveled by your dogs. However, the range of coverage for the Alpha 100 is less than a mile compared to the TEK 2.0.

Nevertheless, the Alpha 100 connects to satellites much faster than its rival, TEK 2.0.

Maps and Virtual Boundaries

Garmin Alpha 100

garmin 100 map
The Garmin Alpha 100 comes preloaded with 100,000 topographic US maps. Although I cannot avail of unlimited lifetime map updates, I can enjoy a one-year subscription of BirdsEye Satellite Imagery with each purchase of the Alpha 100 TT15 bundle. BirdsEye Satellite Imagery provides a highly detailed bird’s eye view of terrain, roads, bodies of water, tree lines, and more.

I can also load my laptop with the BaseStation software, turning it into a field control center for tracking multiple dogs and fellow hunters. This feature is ideal for canine search and rescue teams. Since the Alpha 100 makes use of GPS and GLONASS, you will get safer and more secure tracking even when the Internet or cell phone network is unavailable.
Using the BaseCamp software, I can also view and organize maps, waypoints, routes, and tracks that I could use as future reference. BaseCamp shows topographic map data in 3D via my computer screen.

This free trip-planning app has also allowed me to create Garmin Adventures, which I can share with friends and fellow explorers. When paired with a BirdsEye Satellite Imagery, I can transfer an unlimited amount of satellite images to my device. Lastly, the Alpha 100 also has the ability to set up multiple Geofences or delete them as needed. A GeoFence is a virtual perimeter that represents a geographical area or range. You will be notified whenever your dog leaves a GeoFence so that you can trigger the appropriate stimulation.

Electronic Collar Features

SportDOG TEK 2.0

The TEK 2.0 GPS collar has 99 levels of momentary, continuous, and rising static stimulation. I also have the option to train with young pups using vibration or tone. Having equipped with a wide variety of training features ensures you can find the appropriate correction for dogs of all ages and sizes. That aside, the e-collar for the TEK 2.0 has a battery indicator, as well.

Garmin Alpha 100

Garmin 100 for dog training
The Alpha 100 is an invaluable tool not only to prevent your canine companions from getting lost but also in training and controlling your dogs to stop chasing unwanted game.

The training buttons on the touchscreen allow you to communicate with each dog through safe and effective methods. These methods include continuous stimulation, an audible tone, or vibe command. With the help of Tri-Tronics electronic training, you may choose between two stimulation modes to customize your training even further.

Traditional stimulation allows you to make swift changes within a predetermined level of stimulation: low, medium, and high. Whereas, linear stimulation grants progressively more stimulation starting from level 1 up to 18.

Another feature I like about the Alpha 100 e-collar is the LED Beacon Light built into it, which you can activate using your handheld device. Since I love walking at the boulevard during the night, I benefit from the peace of mind knowing that other people could see my canine companion in low light conditions.

Collar lights are particularly handy to have when you are camping in the woods. I can set the light to illuminate continuously, blink slowly or fast. However, my tests have shown that the battery life will be cut in half if you set the collar to continuous illumination.

Accessories

Garmin Alpha 100

garmin 100 kit
Aside from the Alpha 100 handheld device and a black TT15 GPS collar, you will receive:

  • 1-year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription
  • Belt clip
  • 5-inch standard and 13-inch extended range antennas (for Alpha)
  • 18.5-inch standard and 22.5-inch extended range antenna (for TT15)
  • Charge clip
  • Split adapter cable
  • AC adapter
  • Vehicle power cable
  • USB cable
  • Contact point set with wrench
  • Durable field bag
  • Manuals

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are GPS trackers safe for dogs?

GPS trackers are generally safe for dogs. Owners are encouraged to equip their four-legged friends with a tracking device to ensure their pets’ safety in case they get lost during a trip or if they stray away from home.

Is the Garmin Alpha 100 waterproof?

The Garmin Alpha 100 is not waterproof, but the handheld device can withstand accidental immersion in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes.

How do I set up my SportDOG TEK 2.0?

The Setup Wizard will ask you to choose between Guided Setup or Default Settings. Highlight your choice using the arrow keys and then press Enter. When choosing Default Settings, you will have one dog and one collar paired so that you can go directly into the field.

How do you declutter an Alpha 100 map?

Press Menu on your map screen followed by the down arrow. Press Declutter Map and you should be all set.
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Conclusion

The SportDOG TEK 2.0 and Garmin Alpha 100 are similar to each other on their core. Both systems use GPS + GLONASS, and come preloaded with 100, 000 topographic maps. Each training system also offers static, vibration, and tone/sound training modes. You can also set Geofences for each unit.

While the TEK 2.0 outperforms the Alpha 100 in the mile range and number of devices it supports, the Alpha 100 is still richer in special capabilities. Don’t get me wrong. TEK 2.0 is advanced, and I love its ability to give me audio updates.

But as a whole, I would opt for the Garmin Alpha 100 by a small margin. Both units demand a good deal of money and since both products are priced similarly, I would go with the absolute top-performing.

Then again, it all boils down to your preferences, as well.

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