Simple, directional at-a-glance GPS dog tracking in the handheld
Familiar Tri-Tronics "low-medium-high" e-collar usability
Uses the same reliable TT15X collar as the Garmin ALPHA
Today, we're looking at the Garmin PRO 550 PLUS. It's the newest line of e-collar GPS tracking systems from Garmin.
An E-collar that Includes GPS Tracking
Everything we've had up to this point has been GPS systems that included e-collar functions. The main product in that category is the Garmin ALPHA.
The Garmin PRO 550+ is an e-collar that has traditional e-collar features that includes tracking. The beauty of this is it gives you the functionality that you need with an e-collar:
The ability to train your dogs without looking at the transmitter
Has all the necessary e-collar features -- buttons, dials, and toggle switches
Allows you to work with multiple dogs at the same time
Allows you to raise and lower stimulation levels on the fly one-handed without having to look at the transmitter
The PRO 550 PLUS has all of the features of the PRO 550, which is Garmin's top-of-the-line e-collar, but they've added tracking on top of that. The tracking on the Garmin Pro 550 PLUS is a very simplified version of what Garmin offers in their other GPS tracking systems.
It doesn't give you everything that you're going to get from the advanced systems that include maps, but it tells you JUST the things that you really need to know.
It Has a Very Simple Screen
It shows you:
the DIRECTION your dog is from you
the DISTANCE your dog is from you
if he's MOVING or ON POINT, or for a hound dog if he's TREED
Everything you really need to locate your dog is on the screen on the 550 PLUS, without a lot of the unnecessary features that people get bogged down with.
Who should use the PRO 550 PLUS?
The Garmin PRO 550 PLUS is designed for a couple of different folks:
Those looking for a simplified tracking system:
- Those looking for more functionality out of their e-collar system:
That's hard to do with a Garmin ALPHA because of the touchscreen and how you change things on the ALPHA.
- Easily raise and lower STIM
- Easily change dogs
- No-look operation
- Less complexity
- Easy to operate
- No menus to navigate
- No touchscreen
Operation is VERY Simple
As my eyes get older, it's harder to see some of the small screens. That is not the case with the 550 PLUS -- the ARROW on it is very large, and you can read the text on it pretty easily.
The Garmin PRO 550 PLUS has 18 levels of continuous and monetary stimulation. It also has TONE and VIBRATION. It can operate up to 3 dogs from one transmitter.
It has running lights that can be remotely turned on and off by the transmitter.
It has a 2-mile range for both e-collar and tracking functions
It has RECHARGEABLE batteries in the handheld and on the collar. You're going to get about 24 hours from the handheld, and in the collar, you're going to get about 25.
REGULAR & MINI
The Garmin PRO 550 PLUS comes in two versions -- the regular version with the TT15X collar, and the MINI version with the MINI TT15 collar. You can combine MINIs and regulars on the same system if you have big dogs and small dogs.
The biggest difference between these two collars is going to be BATTERY LIFE.
- REGULAR -- 25 hours @ 2.5 second update
- MINI -- 16 hours @ 2.5 second update
RANGE is pretty much identical. There may be a few situations where you get a smidge more range out of the larger collar, but most of the time they perform about the same.
I recommend 40 pounds as the over/under point when it comes to choosing the REGULAR or the MINI collar.
I've used the REGULAR-sized collar on dogs as small as 20 pounds, and it's a little tight. But 30- to 35-pound dogs can get away with either size. You can use the MINI collar on larger dogs, but to me, there's no real advantage to it.
The Garmin PRO 550+ will work with Garmin Fenix Watches
The PRO 550+ is also compatible with the Garmin ALPHA and can be used on the same dogs and in conjunction with other Garmin ALPHA systems
PRO 550 PLUS vs. PRO 550
The PRO 550 PLUS
has 18 stimulation levels compared to 21 on the PRO 550
. This is because the TT15X collars are based on the ALPHA system, which also has 18 levels.RANGE
The PRO 550 PLUS works on the MURS frequency band, whereas the PRO 550 works on the 27-MHz frequency band, so the PRO 550 PLUS will get more range for both tracking and training.
The stated range on the Garmin PRO 550 PLUS is 2 miles, compared to 1 mile on the Garmin PRO 550. Terrain plays a big factor. In my tests with the Garmin PRO 550 PLUS, at times we were getting more than a 2-mile range.
You can add a Car Top Antenna
or one of the longer Extended Range Antennas
to get even more range.BATTERY LIFE
The PRO 550 PLUS has less battery life than the standard PRO 550.
The PRO 550 PLUS handheld
gets around 24 hours of run time, and TT15X collars
get around 25 hours of run time with a 2.5-second update rate.
Compare that to a PRO 550, where you will get 60-80 hours from the collar, and substantially longer from the handheld because there's not an enormous amount going on unless you're pressing buttons.
One of the biggest adjustments in moving from a regular PRO 550 to a PRO 550 PLUS is needing to charge your handheld nightly.BARK LIMITER MODE
The regular Garmin PRO 550
has a Bark Limiter mode that you can set on the collar. The PRO 550 PLUS
- PRO 550 PLUS collars are NOT compatible with regular PRO 550 collars.
- The PRO 550 PLUS IS compatible with the Garmin ALPHA. They work off the same frequencies and the collars are identical.
- It is also compatible with the Garmin ASTRO handheld and collars (tracking only)
- It is compatible with older TT15 and TT10 collars.
If you currently own a Garmin ALPHA and want better e-collar functionality, you can buy the PRO 550 PLUS Transmitter
and use it in conjunction with the system you currently have.
It will work with both the ALPHA collars and ALPHA Handheld
, giving you great MAP functionality and great E-COLLAR functionality at the same time.
I'm planning on running a similar combination myself. I currently use an ASTRO 430
, which does NOT have stimulation, and a regular PRO 550 e-collar. I'll be replacing the PRO 550 with a PRO 550 PLUS transmitter for my e-collar functionality, and continue to use the ASTRO handheld
for my mapping.Watch Steve's Pro 550 Plus Review on Youtube