Best Personal Locator Beacons for Outdoor Camping: Our Top Reviews

Written By iwasthinkingnatural

Passionate about nature and sustainability, and attracting people away from technology and into nature. 

Greetings outdoor lovers, explorers, and thrill-seekers, alike! As some of you might know, I’ve been busy lately diving headfirst into the fascinating world of Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs). Today, I find myself eager to share my wealth of findings with you. Independently researched, painstakingly gathered and passionately compiled, this review is aimed at helping you choose the best PLBs, tailored to your specific needs. Please note that my perspectives are completely unbiased, as I’ve received no sponsorship or incentives from any of our featured manufacturers.

In my eagerness to tackle the question of what makes a good PLB, I began with a rigorous investigation into the ideal characteristics these lifesaving devices ought to have. Taking into account all aspects from reliable global satellite network connections to specifications related to water resistance, durability, ease of use, lightness, compactness, and sound battery life, I formed a comprehensive benchmark. Each feature weighs in heavily on the overall camping experience, making it a necessity rather than just a nice-to-have.

To illustrate further, when examining the PLB425 by ACR Electronics Inc., I found that it scored heavily on its robust satellite connection, compact design, and its SOS functionality – quintessential elements in any PLB. But it fell short on specific features like battery life and absence of a weight-bearing strap. Then on the contrary, we have the PLB410 by ACR Electronics which excelled on battery life but missed the mark by not incorporating an SOS button shield. These are clear examples of the wide variance in specifications that one could find across different brands and models. Indeed, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, hence the importance of thorough research based on your individual needs before a purchase decision is made. In the following sections of this post, you will find a lot more detail about each product that was reviewed.

When choosing a personal locator beacon (PLB) for camping, ensure it possesses a reliable connection to global satellite networks for unerring worldwide coverage and quick GPS coordinate transmission. Look for a rugged, water-resistant design that can endure various outdoor challenges. It must be user-friendly and provide clear directions for distress signal activation. Top-notch battery life is paramount as rescue missions may be prolonged. A compact, lightweight build enhances carry comfort. Opt for a beacon with an easily accessible SOS button, a bright strobe light for optimal visibility, and a self-test feature to confirm it’s in working order. Bear in mind, an ideal PLB should offer a subscription-free service. Lastly, a weight-bearing strap provides ease for securing it onto your equipment or clothing. Remember, understanding its operation before exploring the wilderness is crucial.

ACR PLB425 ResQLink View Personal Locator Beacon

Modeled by ACR Electronics, Inc., the ResQLink View Personal Locator Beacon is a SOS device of compact design. It’s a GPS-enhanced personal beacon that’s been fine-tuned for adventures where safety is non-negotiable. The tool provides geolocation and distress signaling equipped with multiple handy features. The product ships in a 11 x 4 x 7.5 inches box and weighs almost 1.98 pounds. The color yellow represents an eye-catching appearance suited for wilderness use. It gets backed up by a Product Specific battery, ensuring a longer operational duration.


  • Device name: ResQLink View GPS Personal Locator Beacon
  • Brand: ACR Electronics, Inc.
  • Dimensions: 11 x 4 x 7.5 inches
  • Weight: 1.98 pounds
  • SOS signal range: not specified
  • Battery life: not specified
  • Waterproof rating: not specified
  • Satellite network compatibility: COSPAS-SARSAT
  • Extra Features: SOS functionality, self-testing, Strobe Light
  • Warranty period: not specified

Pros & Cons

Our research revealed many attributes that set the PLB425 apart. It provides a stable connection to global satellites, offering fast, accurate GPS coordinates—a crucial parameter for plasma beacons. Its sturdy, compact, and lightweight design makes it highly portable. Impressively, this waterproof device can weather various adverse conditions. Its easy to use, even under stress, with clear instructions for distress signal activation. The on-board SOS functionality and self-testing feature are integral parts of its operation. The existence of a high-intensity, blinking strobe light increases visibility during low light, and potentially a lifesaver. All these come without needing any subscription—an economical choice in the long run.

Yet, some areas of this PLB could use improvements as revealed by our study. Here, the prime concern lies around the battery—it performs well but isn’t anything exceptional. If the battery capacity were greater, this device would provide superior warranty. Unexpectedly, the device lacks any weight-bearing strap. A durable, weight-bearing strap would have been beneficial for securing it to clothing or bags. While the product inclusion is thorough, it’s missing an LED light—an element that could further enhance visibility.

ACR Electronics PLB410 RLS Personal Locator Beacon

This product is a personal locator beacon (PLB) by ACR Electronics. It is designed for outdoor enthusiasts who frequently venture into remote areas. Equipped with Return Link Service functionality, the device ensures reliable connections with global satellite networks. This PLB is small, lightweight, and comes with features such as a robust battery life and built-in buoyancy. It is also integrated with Strobe and Infrared Strobe for enhanced visibility and includes a multifunction clip system. The device operates without any subscription and is proven to be a reliable safety tool in the wilderness. It comes in a yellow and black color scheme.


  • Device name: Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
  • Brand: ACR Electronics
  • Dimensions: 4.52 x 2.03 x 1.49 inches
  • Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • SOS signal range: Global satellite network compatibility
  • Battery life: 5 years
  • Waterproof rating: Not specified
  • Satellite network compatibility: COSPAS-SARSAT, GNSS, Galileo
  • Extra features: LED Strobe and Infrared Strobe, return link service, multifunction clip system included, no subscription required
  • Warranty period: Not specified

Pros & Cons

Based on our research, the PLB by ACR Electronics shines in terms of reliability and ease of use. Its most prominent positive is the reliable connection to global satellite networks ensuring safety wherever you are. The device is also easy to handle even in stressful situations due to its lightweight and compact design. Excellent battery life is another key positive, ensuring the device stays operational over extended periods. The PLB is also noted for its durability and water resistance, making it suitable for all weather conditions. Return Link Service functionality without requiring any subscription is an added advantage.

Nevertheless, the ACR Electronics PLB has a couple of potential downsides. While it’s substantial in durability, its high price point can be a potential roadblock for users with a tight budget. We also noticed a lack of mention regarding an SOS button shield, which is crucial in preventing accidental activation of the distress signal. A feature to confirm the successful transmission of a distress signal is missing as well. The device would have been more appealing with a weight-bearing strap for more convenient portability.

ACR Electronics PLB435

The PLB435 Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) by ACR Electronics is an outdoor survival gear piece that is compact and meant for use when exploring unfamiliar territories or participating in various outdoor activities. The dimensions of the device are 4.52 x 2.03 x 1.19 inches, and it weighs 5.3 ounces, making it lightweight and easily portable. This device was initially available from June 14, 2022. It is designed with a yellow and black color. The PLB435 doesn’t require subscription and runs on 2 Lithium Metal batteries, thus ensuring uninterrupted usage.


Pros & Cons

The PLB435 has several key positives that stick out throughout our research. The most notable are its compact size and lightweight structure making it ideal for packing without adding too much weight. It has an excellent battery life with up to 28 hours of operational life, essential for long outdoor adventures. The beacon’s connection to global satellite networks for worldwide coverage ensures that an SOS signal can be easily transmitted to emergency services. The PLB435 is durable, able to withstand harsh weather, and is buoyant, thanks to its unique construction. It comes with easy-to-understand instructions and a Return Link Service, helping users to feel confident and safe during their outdoor activities.

However, our research brought to light a few potential drawbacks of the PLB435. Even though it provides a subscription-free service, some users might find the Text Back service, which comes at an additional cost of $48.00 per device, relatively high. Also, the PLB435 is more expensive compared to the average price of personal locator beacons being reviewed. In addition, the device’s LED lights could be more robust and improved for better visibility in extremely low light situations.

Artex Personal Locator Beacon 8110

The Artex PLB sets the standard for introducing the smallest, lightest, highest performing PLB in the world. With its 66-channel GPS receiver and 406 MHz distress signal, this PLB ensures that the user’s precise location is relayed to the worldwide network of search and rescue satellite. A built-in LED strobe light increases visibility for search parties. Weighing in at just 4.1 ounces, this lightweight, compact device is easy to carry on any outdoor adventure. Furthermore, its wireless capability is another added convenience.


  • Device name: Artex Personal Locator Beacon
  • Brand: Artex
  • Dimensions: 2.1 x 1.3 x 3 inches
  • Weight: 4.1 ounces
  • SOS signal range: Not specified
  • Battery life: Not specified
  • Waterproof rating: Not waterproof
  • Satellite network compatibility: COSPASSARSAT
  • Extra features: LED Strobe Light
  • Warranty period: Not specified

Pros & Cons

This PLB meets many of our expectations: It hooks up to a global satellite network for reliability and accuracy, it’s lightweight and compact for comfortable portability, and it features an SOS functionality that can be critical in emergencies. Moreover, it has an integrated strobe light for increased visibility, and it runs without any subscription fees, which is a significant cost-saving over time. It uses a lithium-ion battery; while the battery life hasn’t been specified, lithium-ion cells are generally known for their longevity.

On the downside, although it excels in many areas, our research notes suggest the device is not waterproof, which is a disadvantage in harsh weather conditions or accidental drops in water. Moreover, the ease of use and the presence of a self-testing feature or a weight-bearing strap are not mentioned in the product description. The product does not seem to include a digital compass, which could be a valuable addition to its features.

ACR Electronics Personal Locator Beacon PLB-425.

The product largely meets expectations, but has a few major flaws. It is compact, lightweight, has worldwide coverage via COSPAS-SARSAT, and is easy to use. However, there are issues with GPS lock and limited self-testing due to battery constraints. There are also concerns regarding non-rechargeable or replaceable batteries. While the product is somewhat more expensive than average, it provides a subscription-free service, which makes it cost-effective in the long run.

Conclusion: A Critical Analysis and Decision

In the search for the perfect Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) for camping, the process involved comprehensive evaluations of various options. My scrutiny wasn’t arbitrary. It was ambitious, anchored on a clearly defined benchmark against which each PLB was assessed. What emerged, as the most favorable to these parameters, was the ResQLink View GPS Personal Locator Beacon by ACR Electronics, Inc.

The journey through the analysis was stimulating, checking off integral attributes like strong, reliable satellite connection, durability, simplicity of use, reasonable battery life, and more. While each PLB presented a distinct functionality and feature set, the PLB425 ResQLink stood out for its meticulous adherence to our benchmark standards. It’s a beacon of hope seamlessly integrated with practical features, sturdy yet lightweight, and easy to operate—even under stress. The built-in strobe light, a boon for visibility in dim light conditions and the self-test feature enhancing the safety factor were impressive. The fact that it provides device functionality without the requirement of any subscription crystallized its economic advantage.

However, like any product, the ResQLink has room for improvement that became evident during the comparison. The absence of a weight-bearing strap and an average performing battery did pinch the perfect picture a bit. Yet, its positives overwhelmingly outperformed its negatives and also towered over other PLBs in offering a well-rounded, reliable, and user-friendly package. Despite minor deficits, it upheld most attributes that an ideal PLB should encompass, hence justifying my choice.

It’s noteworthy here, however, that while the Acr Plb425 Resqlink View Personal Locator Beacon crowns our list, the other PLBs studied, like the Acr Electronics Plb410 RLS Personal Locator Beacon or the Artex Personal Locator Beacon 8110, had their moments of glory with a few trump card features. But it was about the PLB that checks most boxes, not all. In our quest for the best PLB for camping, the ResQLink claimed that paramount position for its holistic approach to user safety and convenience.


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