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S5 vs. S7 – Understanding Thatcham Tracker Categories

Choosing the right car tracker can be a daunting task, especially with the range of options and brands available in the market. Among these options, Thatcham-approved trackers, particularly the Category S5 and S7, stand out due to their robust security features and compliance with UK insurance requirements. In this article, we will delve into what Thatcham tracker categories are, explore the differences between Category S5 and S7 trackers, and highlight the benefits of each to help you make an informed decision.

What Are Thatcham Tracker Categories?

Thatcham Research is the UK’s leading authority in the automotive security and safety, recognised for its rigorous testing and certification of vehicle security products. Thatcham tracker categories provide a benchmark for the quality, reliability, and security features of vehicle tracking systems. These categories are designed to help consumers and insurers assess the level of protection offered by different tracking solutions. Among the various classifications, Category S5 and S7 trackers are the most relevant for vehicle owners concerned with theft prevention and recovery.

Category S5 Trackers: Premium Protection for High-Risk Vehicles

Category S5 trackers represent the highest standard of vehicle tracking systems recommended for high-value and high-risk vehicles. These trackers are equipped with advanced technology to offer unparalleled security features

  • Advanced Location Tracking: Utilising GPS, GSM, and VHF (Very High Frequency) signals, S5 trackers ensure precise location tracking, even if the vehicle is hidden or in an underground parking lot.
  • Driver Recognition Technology: A distinctive feature of S5 trackers is the use of driver recognition technology, such as ADR (Automatic Driver Recognition) cards or tags. This technology alerts the system if the vehicle is moved without the recognized driver, providing an additional layer of security against sophisticated theft methods, such as key cloning.
  • Remote Immobilisation: Some S5 trackers offer remote immobiliser features, allowing authorized personnel to safely disable the vehicle’s ignition system remotely if a theft is confirmed, preventing further movement of the vehicle.
  • 24/7 Monitoring: S5 trackers are monitored around the clock by dedicated control centres, ensuring immediate action in the event of a theft, which significantly enhances the chances of vehicle recovery.

The primary benefit of Category S5 trackers is their advanced security features, making them an ideal choice for luxury cars, high-performance vehicles, and those at significant risk of theft. Their comprehensive protection often leads to preferential insurance premiums due to the reduced risk of theft and higher recovery rates.

Category S7 Trackers: Versatile Security for Everyday Use

Category S7 trackers, formerly known as Category 7, offer a robust level of security suitable for a wide range of vehicles. While not as feature-rich as the S5, they provide essential protection and peace of mind.

  • Reliable GPS Tracking: S7 trackers utilise GPS technology to offer reliable vehicle tracking and location updates, enabling efficient vehicle recovery in case of theft.
  • 24/7 Monitoring: Similar to S5 trackers, S7 devices are monitored around the clock by control centres that coordinate with the police to recover stolen vehicles.
  • Lower Cost: One of the main benefits of S7 trackers is their affordability. They offer a cost-effective solution for vehicle owners who want enhanced security without the premium price tag of an S5 tracker.
  • Insurance Compliance: Installing an S7 tracker can still lead to reduced insurance premiums, as it demonstrates a commitment to vehicle security.

S7 trackers are best suited for vehicle owners looking for a balance between security and cost. They provide essential tracking capabilities and peace of mind, making them an excellent choice for a wide variety of vehicles, from family cars to vans and motorcycles.

Choosing Between Category S5 and S7 Trackers

The choice between an S5 and S7 tracker ultimately depends on your specific needs, vehicle type, and budget. Consider the following factors:

  • Vehicle Value and Risk Level: High-value vehicles or those at greater risk of theft may warrant the advanced protection offered by S5 trackers. For standard vehicles, an S7 tracker provides a solid level of security.
  • Insurance Requirements: Some insurers may require the installation of an S5 tracker for certain types of vehicles. Check with your insurance provider to see if there are specific requirements for your vehicle.
  • Budget Considerations: While S5 trackers offer the highest level of protection, they also come at a higher cost. If budget is a concern, an S7 tracker offers a good compromise between security and affordability.


Understanding the differences between Thatcham Category S5 and S7 trackers is crucial for making an informed decision that aligns with your vehicle security needs and budget. Category S5 trackers offer premium protection with advanced features like driver recognition and remote immobilisation, ideal for high-value vehicles. On the other hand, Category S7 trackers provide essential tracking and recovery services at a more affordable price, making them suitable for a wide range of vehicles. By carefully considering your needs and consulting with your insurance provider, you can choose the right insurance approved tracker for you.

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Tracker Team supply & install a wide range of stolen vehicle trackers from award winning manufacturers. We are fully TASSA and Thatcham approved installers. We don’t ask our engineers to install 10+ trackers a day and rush the jobs we want them to carefully fit the unit in your vehicle and hide it away so it cant be found easily.