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ARCHIVE: How to Choose the Right Tri-Tronics Remote Training Collar

by Steve Snell

Tri-Tronics makes some of the highest quality training collars on the market. Not only have they been around longer than any other remote collar manufacturer that is on the market today, but Tri-Tronics is also the only major E-collar that is made in the United States.

To give you an idea of how long a Tri-Tronics collar can last, I still have two units built in the 1970's (an A1-70 and an A1-90) that still work today. They have a wide selection of products and picking the right system for your dog training and problem solving needs can be quite confusing.

Training Materials from Tri-Tronics

Folks that have never used a remote training collar on their dogs need to take a little time to learn the correct ways to introduce and use an e-collar in the training of their dog. Tri-Tronics includes a Basic Training DVD by J. Paul Jackson with their G3 Sport and Field lines. Tri-Tronics no longer includes a DVD with their Pro lines. A 5 page training section in the owners guide is included with each unit.


Introducing the 11 different Tritronics Collars

When you add all of the multi dog units and non-expandable systems, that number jumps to 39. This section is designed to compare each Tri-Tronics collar and show the similarities and the differences between them to help you make the best choice for you and your dog.

Tri-Tronics has 4 different classes of collars:

  • The Sport Units - Half mile range, wide choices of stimulation levels and smaller transmitters

  • The Field Units - One mile range systems designed with the hunter in mind

  • The Pro Units - One mile range systems designed for hunters, professional and serious amateur dog trainers

  • The Trashbreaker - Two mile range system designed for the hound hunter

    The Sport collars have stimulation levels that start at 1/2 and go to level 5. They have 1/2 levels between each level for a total of 10 levels. The Sport Combo allows you to split these levels again for a total of 20.

    The Field and Pro units have levels 1-6. Depending on the model, you can break these levels into a low, medium, and a high.

    This means that the Sport units start out lower and don't go as high. The Field and Pro units are stronger on the top end compared to the Sport collars.

  • Tritronics Collar / Receiver

    Tri-Tronics has one collar-receiver design that is used on all of its systems with a rugged molded case that is built to withstand all kinds of training and hunting conditions.

    If you buy the least expensive collar (Sport Basic for $239 (read review)) or the most expensive (Trashbreaker 6 dog unit for $1,069), you get the same high quality collar to put on your dog.

    All Tri-Tronics collars use rechargeable NiMH batteries in the collar/receiver. They are user-replaceable and should last 3-5 years with proper care.

    Collar Specifications

  • Collar Weight is 7.2 ounces

  • Collar Strap Length = 27 inches (with receiver mounted to collar)

  • Receiver Dimensions = 2.5 X 1.5 X 1.5 inches (without collar strap)

  • Collar Dimensions = 29.5 X 1 inches (without receiver mounted)

  • Tri-Tronics Collars will fit dogs with neck sizes from 10-inches to 24-inches.

    The Tri-Tronics collar will comfortably fit dogs 8 to 10 pounds and up. Some folks do not like the "look" of this size collar on dogs under 25 pounds, but they can easily carry the weight.

    All Tri-Tronics collars are waterproof and designed for safe use on swimming dogs. The insulated contact points will give a consistent stimulation on land or while in water.

    Tritronics collars use an Internal antenna system so there are no external wires to break. You can also replace the collar strap at any time.

    Tri-Tronics has two different styles of collar straps. The Sport Units and the Field Units come with the square double (K9) buckle. The Pro Units come with the same size collar strap but have a standard roller buckle.

  • Tritronics Transmitter/Remote

    The Sport Series transmitter is a smaller walkie-talkie size. The Sport transmitter comes with a lanyard that you can wear around your neck. I find the Sport Transmitter a little bulky to wear around my neck and I prefer the Spring Clip Holster for them.

    The Field / Pro Transmitter is based on the classic tube that Tri-Tronics has been using for over 30 years. The G3 version is substantially smaller than the previous models but still has the same feel and operation.


    RANGE -- How much transmitter range do you need? (1/2 mile)

    Tri-Tronics has 3 different range choices.
    • The Sport collars are 1/2 mile.

    • The Field and Pro units are 1 mile.

    • The Trashbreaker collars are 2 mile range units.
    Too much range will never hurt, but too little is a problem. Keep in mind that maximum range is based on "line of sight." This means that to get the full range out of a system there should be nothing between the transmitter and the receiver, and the terrain should be flat and open. This isn't going to happen in most places that we spend time with our dogs. Your range on any system that we carry will come down from the maximum based on training conditions, including weather, terrain, and the presence of cover.

    As a general rule, most folks can get by with a 1/2 mile range collar. 1/2 mile range is going to be enough for all pet and companion dogs, most retrievers, and flushing breeds and closer working pointing breeds. 1 mile range collars are a better choice for medium to big-running bird dogs, beagles and some hounds. If you are trying to stop chasing unwanted game, you will want at least a mile. Most hound owners prefer the two mile range Tri-Tronics Trashbreaker.

    Some folks that may not need the extra range of a 1 mile collar (say, your average retriever owner) will still want the other features of the Pro units. Range isn't the only factor to consider when you are picking a collar, but you want to make sure you cover this first.

    NOTE: A common assumption is that as the price increases with Tri-Tronics collars, you get a wider choice of stimulation levels. This is not always the case. A good example of this would be when a retriever owner is looking at a Classic 70 over a Sport Basic. The Classic 70 costs $60 more than the Basic, so it must be "better," right? Nope-- you are actually buying something you don't really need (extra range) and missing out on some things you do need: more choices (10 on the basic over 6 on the Classic) plus the momentary stimulation you get with the Sport Basic that you don't get with the 70. You can't just look at price to make the right choice.

    The Sport Series Collars -- 1/2 mile range

    Our most popular line of collars is the Tri-Tronics Sport Series. There are three different units in the Sport Series.

    All Sport units have a 1/2 mile range, continuous and momentary stimulation, and waterproof collars and transmitters, and are expandable to up to three dogs. The G3 Sport units do NOT come in a non-EXP version. Sport Transmitters (the part that you hold) are smaller than the longer range tube style transmitters. The Sport Transmitter weighs 4.83 ounces and measures 5.5" tall X 2" wide X 1.75" deep.

    SPORT BASIC -- #1 Best-seller

    The Sport Basic is our number one selling e-collar for all brands. It has 10 levels of continuous and momentary stimulation plus a non-stimulation buzz tone feature. The Sport Basic is a great collar for anyone needing basic control over any dog and is great for field and off leash use.

    SPORT COMBO -- Wider choice of stimulation levels

    The Sport Combo has all of the features of the Sport Basic but adds additional levels of both continuous and momentary stimulation for folks that need a wider choice of stimulation levels.

    SPORT UPLAND -- Beeper included

    The Tri-Tronics SPORT UPLAND has all the features of the Sport Basic with the exception of the buzz/tone feature. The Tri-Tronics SPORT UPLAND is designed for bird hunters and comes with a remote controlled beeper locator.

    The Tri-Tronics beeper is used to keep up with a big running dog. The Tri-Tronics beeper can be heard up to 400 yards away depending on terrain and wind conditions. The motion sensor in the beeper allows you to tell if your dog is moving or on point. The remote feature on the beeper allows you to turn it on and off or use it in a location only mode.

    Tritronics EXP = Expandable Systems for Multiple Dogs

    Add more dogs as your needs change. When you purchase any of the Tri-Tronics EXP Field or EXP Pro systems, you have the option of adding additional collars to make your one dog system into a multi-dog system with no loss in features or options. You can add multiple collars to it as your needs change.

    If you only have one dog or have no need for a multi-dog system, you have the option of saving $20 and purchase a non-EXP Field or Pro unit. I caution folks that are unsure if they will need the expandable system down the road about buying a non-EXP unit. The price difference isn't that great and having the option of upgrading at any point is well worth the extra $20 in my opinion. There is no difference is the operation of the one dog EXP transmitter and the non-EXP transmitter. The built in toggle switch on the EXP transmitter allows you to add additional dogs as needed.


    Tritronics Field and Pro Units -- 1-mile range

    Tri-Tronics Field and Pro units are one mile range systems designed with hunters and professional and amateur dog trainers in mind.

    The Tri-Tronics Field and Pro Transmitters feature the larger, tube style transmitters which weigh 9.6 ounces and measure 11.5" tall (with antenna) with a circumference of 5.5".

    All Field and Pro transmitters have the option of adding the Accessory beeper at any time. The "A" feature on the dial allows you remote control of the Accessory beeper from your transmitter. The beeper is standard with the Upland Special.

    Tri-Tronics has 7 different collars that fall into the Field and Pro line. Many of these collars are very similar with only minor differences in what they do:

    CLASSIC 70

    The Classic 70 is a 6 level continuous stimulation only collar. Tone is standard. It can operate up to 6 collars total. The 70 features one button for dogs 1-3 and a toggle switch to changing the buttons to dogs 4-6.

    FIELD 90

    The Field 90 is a 6 level continuous and 6 level momentary collar. Tone is standard. It can operate up to 3 dogs.


    The Flyway is an 18 level momentary and 6 level continuous collar. It does NOT have tone. It can operate up to 3 dogs.

    PRO 200

    The Pro 200 is an 18 level momentary and 6 level continuous collar. It is the exact same system as the Flyway Special except that it HAS tone. It can operate up to 3 collars.

    PRO 100

    The Pro 100 is the opposite of the Pro 200. It has 18 levels continuous and 6 levels of Momentary stimulation. Tone is standard. It can operate up to 3 collars.

    The only difference between the Tri-tronics Pro 100 and Pro 200 are in the stimulation choices. The Pro 100 is a continuous based collar (18 levels) with limited momentary stimulation (6 levels) while the Pro 200 is the opposite of the 100. The Pro 200 is a momentary based collar (18 levels) with limited continuous stimulation (6 levels)

    PRO 500

    The Pro 500 is a combination of the Pro 100 and the Pro 200. It has 18 levels continuous and 18 levels of momentary stimulation. Tone is standard. All other features of the Pro line are the same. It can operate up to 3 collars.


    The Upland has the exact same stimulation levels as the Pro 200 (18 levels momentary and 6 levels of continuous stimulation) but it comes with the Accessory Beeper for the location of your bird dog in heavy cover. Tone is standard. It can operate up to 3 collars.

    Long Range Problem Solving


    The Tri-Tronics Trashbreaker is a two mile range system designed for the hound hunter. The Trashbreaker is the exact same system as the Classic 70 but it has double the range. The Trashbreaker can be expanded up to a total of six dogs.

    It was originally designed for hound owners, but recent changes in the price have made it popular with folks that once used the Classic 70 (mainly beagle owners). The difference in price between a Classic 70 and the Trashbreaker is only $100 no matter how many dogs you add at any time. I only recommend these units for folks that are looking for long range problem solving.


    Continuous Stimulation and Momentary Stimulation

    Continuous stimulation allows you to control the length of the correction. With Continuous stimulation you can press and release the button and the stimulation will turn on when you press the button and off when you release it. You can also press the button down and hold it down for a longer stimulation. Tri-Tronics collars have a safety function that will "time-out" the collar when the button has been pressed down for more than 8 to 10 seconds (depending on the model) or until the user releases the transmitter button.

    Momentary stimulation is a quick-preset "attention getter" that lasts for a fraction of a second, no matter how long the button is held down. On most collars it will cut on and cut off faster than you can press and release the button.

    As a general rule, I recommend continuous stimulation for training. I also tend to lean toward the collars that have a wider choice of continuous stimulation over momentary because you can use continuous stimulation in a "momentary" fashion (press and release the button quickly and the stimulation turns on and off real fast) but it is difficult to make a momentary collar act in a continuous fashion (pressing the button over and over and over again).

    Some folks prefer to train with momentary because that want the timing (on and off) to be exact. They only use continuous stimulation to back up the momentary if the dog does not comply with the momentary. If you plan to use momentary in this fashion, I recommend that you look at the Pro 500 so that you have a wide choice of both momentary and continuous stimulation.

    The only Tri-Tronics collars that do not have momentary stimulation are The Classic 70 and The Trashbreaker. I normally only recommend these two units for folks that are looking for long range problem solving.

    - Steve Snell

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