Dogtra Pathfinder Vs. Garmin Alpha

Dogtra Pathfinder Vs. Garmin Alpha

Which is better, the Garmin or Dogtra Pathfinder

This debate is all over social media groups. It’s like a Chevy, Ford, Toyota, Dodge argument. It usually starts out this guy, that guy, or I know a guy that had this issue and now will never use this brand again and will only use the other.

I have been a diehard Garmin user ever since they acquired TriTronics and before that ran all TriTronics systems. I’ve used the Astro 220, Alpha 100, Alpha 200, and now the Alpha 300 and Alpha 10 and every collar combination for all of them. I’ve had my share of issues especially with the Mini collars but my overall level of service and satisfaction has been great. That’s why when we started this business that’s all we sold.

Recently, more customers have been asking about the Dogtra systems and friends that have them have been urging me to try one. After a little field testing alongside my Garmin every night I decided that the Dogtra does provide a valuable option to our customers and we decided to become a dealer and offer them for sale.

Here’s my Chevy vs Ford debate.

The Dogtra is a substantially cheaper unit price wise. However, that is because they don’t have to produce a handheld because your smartphone functions as the handheld. This is a blessing and a curse. It’s one less device to carry without the handheld but you’ll need a newer smartphone to use the App and because it’s an App if something happens with your phone your track and train ability is tied to it. Battery drain on my phone hasn’t been significant but I have to remember to charge my phone before hunting each night compared to with the Alpha it’s a self contained unit and w/ the 300 last multiples hunts before needing to charge. The ability to customize training and button function on the Alpha series especially when running multiple dogs is a big plus over the basic functions of the Dogtra App. But if you don’t need that then the Dogtra Training functions work fine especially for 1 or two dogs.


The Dogtra maps are brighter and clearer even than my Alpha 300 and are Google Earth type images. However, it doesn’t have the property boundaries or owner information you get with the Garmin maps. With Garmin maps cards you have the info for whatever state your in as long as you have the card regardless of cell service. With the Dogtra you’ll need to download the maps ahead of time if you won’t have service to use the satellite imagery while in the field. This is an easy process but is similar to downloading Birdseye or Outdoor Maps+ on the Alpha and is done in small areas. I have noticed though that the free Garmin Explore App mapping/tracking function is very similar to the Dogtra map clarity and information and allows you to still have free satellite imagery for use with the Garmin when paired to your phone for areas you don't have map card for.


The collars themselves are well constructed on the Dogtra. The older Garmin collars had the notorious issues of the GPS strap cracking or breaking and losing signal but the TT25 and T20 collars have solved that issue and even if one did break is now user replaceable where as the Dogtra collars would need sent in.  The new Garmin collars have added features like wireless update and multiple collar light color configurations and blink rates, although the newest Dogtra collars now feature collar lights as well similar to previous Garmin collar versions.

Range is similar on both and I haven’t noticed much variation between the two but we will be doing Range videos on YouTube soon to show both.

Accessories- the Garmin system utilizes Garmin products such as the watches and DriveTrack systems for auxiliary tracking. But the with the Garmin Explore App you can now utilize your phone or a tablet for mapping in addition to Garmin products. The Dogtra will work with app driven devices like an Apple Watch or IPad. This ultimately comes down to what you already have or the add on costs of the devices you want to add. Bottom line is they both have a range of accessories for tracking off the handheld.


Both manufacturers make quality products, if they didn’t we wouldn’t carry them. The advantage of the Dogtra is definitely price point but it requires you to use your phone as the Handheld. The Garmin is a standalone system always ready to go but with a higher price tag. Currently I’m running both systems when hunting, if you have questions feel free to reach out via phone or email and I can give you my Ford vs. Chevy take.

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