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Garmin Pro 550 vs Garmin Alpha #7501377 05/01/19 03:26 PM
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ftworthian Offline OP
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Any users have experiences with both? Don't need a 4+ dog set up, so really just looking to understand the pros and cons of these two units. Garmin pro 550 looks simple to use, but the Alpha has some neat features and a lot more range. Cost aside, who has used both and why/what would you buy again? I have a tritronics e collar for yard work and hunting but interested in the tracking capability in these two units. Thanks

Re: Garmin Pro 550 vs Garmin Alpha [Re: ftworthian] #7501731 05/01/19 09:52 PM
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Dogmountin Offline
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The Garmin Pro 550 Plus with navigation has a 3 dog limit, uses the same TT15 collars as the Alpha 100 and is quicker for training purposes. The Pro 550 plus has a shorter range than the Alpha 100. Several customers have just added the Pro 550 plus handheld to their Alpha 100 system for ease of training. It really depends on what you are looking for, but the Pro 550 plus will serve most with the tracking and training capabilities. If you hunt private and need land ownership info it may be beneficial to get the alpha 100 system. If you need any help feel free to give us a call 720-557-6075 Front Range Gun Dog Broomfield CO.

Last edited by Dogmountin; 05/01/19 09:56 PM.

Re: Garmin Pro 550 vs Garmin Alpha [Re: ftworthian] #7501780 05/01/19 10:32 PM
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First, you are talking about tracking, so you mean Pro 550 PLUS, right?
Also, you don't need 4 dogs, but do you have two? I think the difference between one and two is huge. I think switching between them is different.
I don't know if you will find anyone with experience with both. The 550 + is new.
I will go ahead and comment about my experience with the Alpha and only one dog.
For $150 more, I would definitely buy the Alpha again over the 550 +.
I like at the end of the day to see stats on my dog. How many hours he ran, how many miles, how fast. That is useful to me.
I like that at the end of the day I can easily plot the day on a map on a big computer screen. It shows exactly where my dog ran. Sometimes I see areas we missed. It gives me an idea of how he thoroughly he is covering terrain.
I love a GPS. I don't know how guys use a phone for GPS, at least in the woods. To instantly mark a covey. At the end of the day, to show me quickly how to get back to the truck. Or, better, to give me a ma; showing how we came from the truck and how we could get back to the truck without working the same ground.
I hunt public, so I have an On X chip. That is brilliant. To have the reassurance of knowing exactly where the public land ends allows me to go a lot farther with confidence, without fear of trespassing. It is on the same device that I can track and train my dog. Really nice.
Maybe you never hunt public. But maybe you are thinking of a trip to Kansas. On X. My On X chip came with a free trial on the phone. Night and day. GPS is better.
I write at length, because when I was considering my choices (before the 550 + came out), the google searches gave really vague and unclear info on the Alpha. Some said it was too slow as a training device. After using it nearly two years ON ONE DOG, including through force fetch, I have to say this comment baffles me. I have to wonder if people who say this actually used it. I do have another ecollar without tracking, but I found I never use it, because the Alpha functions perfectly as a training device WITH ONE DOG. Let me try to show you how it works. I have my three buttons at the top set where I want them. The buttons are right above the screen. If I press the button for Temporary correction, on the touchscreen right below that button, something pops up immediately which shows what number intensity I am on. On either side of that number are a plus and a minus. So if I need to increase or decrease intensity, I just touch the screen, changing intensity instantly. How could anything else be faster? I shouldn't comment, because I haven't used it, but I think that on the 550, with the separate intensity dial, that might actually be slower to make adjustments.
One guy's opinion.

Re: Garmin Pro 550 vs Garmin Alpha [Re: ftworthian] #7501782 05/01/19 10:36 PM
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I posted my comment before seeing that of Dogmountin. Not meaning to get in fights with anyone. But I still don't understand how the 550 could be faster to react for training. Maybe someone could explain it to me.

Re: Garmin Pro 550 vs Garmin Alpha [Re: ftworthian] #7501795 05/01/19 10:58 PM
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The Alpha technology is unnecessary for bird hunting. I have a dozen pals that had the Alpha, because it was the best thing going at the time. Itís too complicated and most folks bought a $600 watch with the same arrow on the screen that points to the dog as the 550 has on the remote.

When you shock a dog you need to be looking at that dog, not at a computer screen. The easy features on the 550 make that possible. As far as range goes I know my 550 will get at least 3.6 miles in the right conditions, Iíve seen it. Iím glad I waited, the 550 Pro is the best $1000 Iíve spent in a long time.

Re: Garmin Pro 550 vs Garmin Alpha [Re: Lalo] #7501824 05/01/19 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Lalo
I posted my comment before seeing that of Dogmountin. Not meaning to get in fights with anyone. But I still don't understand how the 550 could be faster to react for training. Maybe someone could explain it to me.


Iíve never owned the Alpha but have watched my buddies struggle with it. Iíve played with it on my dogs and didnít buy. What I like about the 550 is you can operate it all day for training and not look at it. Itís easy to switch dogs and turn up the heat without having to put your readers on. That reminds me of another complaint that itís hard to see with polarized sunglasses on. I decided it just wasnít for me. All I want my collar to do is point in the direction my dog is and burn them when necessary. I donít care how many miles they ran but the marking coveys function sounds good. I donít know if Iíd take the time to mark a waypoint though, but thatís just me.

Last edited by scalebuster; 05/01/19 11:30 PM.
Re: Garmin Pro 550 vs Garmin Alpha [Re: ftworthian] #7501896 05/02/19 12:09 AM
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Want to re-emphasize that my experience is with one dog. Would not be surprised at all if switching between dogs is easier on 550.
Also, I may be kind of rudimentary in my use of the collar. Tone for recall, temporary at about 4 to get his attention if he doesn't listen to a command and constant at 6 if he really needs correction (which is rare). I rarely adjust intensity in the field, but when I needed to, it was very fast. But since I don't normally adjust intensity, I don't normally look at the unit to correct the dog. Three buttons, which I think is exactly the same as the 550 if you are not adjusting intensity.

Last edited by Lalo; 05/02/19 12:55 AM.
Re: Garmin Pro 550 vs Garmin Alpha [Re: ftworthian] #7502255 05/02/19 02:15 PM
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ftworthian Offline OP
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All great information, sounds like 550 Plus is all I really need, but that the Alpha has some neat features that come with slight "cost" of not as simple of an E-Collar if running multiple dogs. I am a one dog hunter now, but expect that to change over the years. Ill study some more and try and get my hands on both. Thanks

Re: Garmin Pro 550 vs Garmin Alpha [Re: ftworthian] #7502294 05/02/19 02:53 PM
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First off I am new to upland hunting so I don't have the experience of the other posters. Last year I bought the Alpha for the peace of mind that I wouldn't lose my dog. I found the GPS map features very useful when I hunted the Chaparral Wma. It is super easy to get turned around and lose sight of your dog in the thick brush. Being able to mark my truck kept me from getting lost. I also hunted in the panhandle last season and felt the Alpha wasn't really necessary. In summary where you normally hunt might impact your decision.

Re: Garmin Pro 550 vs Garmin Alpha [Re: ftworthian] #7502541 05/02/19 07:12 PM
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I have both--prefer the 550 for younger dogs that need correction. It is a lot faster to use as you don't have to scroll thru pages. These days I mostly keep the alpha in my bag and stick with the 550.

I prefer to have the Alpha with a lost dog or a lost hunter. My partner uses an alpha so when I have my 550 out the other features--- location of truck etc. are available. ( The truck location feature is really handy when hunting brushy areas or big country on the prairie/

Re: Garmin Pro 550 vs Garmin Alpha [Re: ftworthian] #7502696 05/02/19 10:30 PM
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All great feedback for the original poster, nice work guys. I struggle with the timing of correction using the Alpha 100 with a multiple dog set-up and so have added the 550 Plus handheld since I'm working some younger dogs. For me the time switching between dogs using the screen is a fail-stim comes in a little too late. I also wear sunglasses and so it makes it harder to read the screen quickly and make sure I'm on the correct dog (eyes are not as good as they once were). I do think the Alpha is great for single dog owners since you can just use the buttons. That being said, I also carry the Alpha 100 transmitter at all times, great for marking coveys. Had a dog get sprayed in the face by a skunk a few years back and she bolted about 5 miles. The extra range and mapping on the Alpha transmitter made recovery possible -she was a little stinky but safe and sound. I also use the Alpha with the OnX card for land ownership..priceless.
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Re: Garmin Pro 550 vs Garmin Alpha [Re: ftworthian] #7502784 05/03/19 12:25 AM
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Iím still a garmin 220 user, and carry a pro 200 e-collar. But the pro 550+ is on my radar.

Re: Garmin Pro 550 vs Garmin Alpha [Re: ftworthian] #7507809 05/09/19 01:13 AM
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I just bought the Alpha 100 last week , I really like it so far. Forrest

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