Exploring the great outdoors with your best furry friend is an incredible adventure for everyone involved. Picture it: the wind blowing through your dog’s ears, the excitement of a new trail, and snuggling up in the RV at the end of a long day.
But the importance of keeping your RV at a safe temperature for your pets really can’t be overstated. Yes, RVs are better insulated than your car, but not by much. That’s why a pet temperature monitor has been a must-have for me since I hit the road with my dogs in 2019.
Waggle’s original device was the first unit I purchased when I moved into my travel trailer full time. While I liked its ease of use, I ended up ditching it due to unreliability. The cellular network it used felt deprioritized to the point of being useful only about 30% of the time, even if I had a cell signal using my phone on the same network.
That said, I was excited to test Waggle’s newest pet monitor, which has several new bells, whistles, and general improvements that are nothing to sniff at.
Read on for TREKKN’s take on Waggle and whether it holds up against the other temperature monitors on the market.
Related Reading: How to Keep Dogs Safe While Camping
Disclaimer: We received a promotional sample of the Waggle device in order to test and provide an honest review. This review is the honest opinion of the author after using and evaluating the product.
How Waggle Works
Waggle doesn’t connect to wifi. Instead, it uses a direct connection to a cellular network (currently Verizon) to beam temperature, location, and other info to your phone.
What does this mean for you? It means that if you’re in a remote area outside Verizon service, your temperature monitor won’t work either. So, keep that in mind if you like boondocking or camping in national or state parks with spotty signal.
Related Reading: What is Boondocking?
Waggle Pet Monitor: The Pros & Cons
Pros of Using a Waggle
EASY SET-UP AND USER FRIENDLY
Waggle is still one of the simplest solutions I’ve found. It’s essentially plug-and-play, and while it comes with a booklet, you probably won’t need it. Just download the app, plug in the device, and power it on using the single button.
The app walks you through the basic steps you’ll need to set up the unit and initiate service.
SMALLER UNIT WITH EASY INSTALLATION
The newest version of the Waggle pet monitor is smaller than the one I used in 2019. I like that it still comes in a mounting bracket you can easily adhere to any surface with the included sticky tape.
TAILOR ALERTS FOR YOUR INDIVIDUAL NEEDS
You can choose from a wide range of alerts, which now include geofencing. This is a new feature I really like. You can preset a range (say, half a mile) from the spot where you’re currently camping, and Waggle will notify you if the device (and therefore your rig) moves from that spot while you’re away.
Set your own temperature, humidity, and low battery thresholds. The app will suggest ranges, but you can also adjust them to your comfort level. I like to set the high-temperature alert at a low enough temp to give myself time to get back to my RV and let my dogs out well before any danger. I appreciate this level of flexibility.
CUSTOMIZE ALERT FREQUENCY
You can also select an alert frequency for different types of alarms. Available alerts include:
The addition of the “network” alert is handy, so you’re at least aware of when your monitor isn’t providing coverage. I haven’t seen this in action yet, but it sounds helpful. (Though not as helpful as universal coverage.)
RESPONSIVE CUSTOMER SERVICE SUPPORT
I contacted customer support about a minor setup issue, and they were responsive. I used the in-app chat functionality, but they also provide an easy-to-find phone number, which is nice (and increasingly rare).
The customizable app allows you to upload pet and RV photos that make the interface feel like yours.
There’s some extra stuff in here, like creating an AI avatar of your pet, that feels a little unnecessary for what I personally want from dog-related camping gear. But, if you’re the kind of person who would love to create a digital version of your pet and use their avatar to try out different “furstyles,” you’ll probably get a kick out of it.
Cons of Using a Waggle
I haven’t been able to test this pet monitor outside a major urban area with good cell coverage, so I have no idea whether my complaints about coverage with the original version have been resolved.
I’ll continue testing to see whether the monitor still uses deprioritized coverage. My guess is that it does, which might mean that you can’t always view the temperature of your RV in real time.
The device I currently use connects to a wifi network that I manage, which provides the peace of mind that comes from knowing I can check in wherever I’m camping. (Thanks, Starlink!) Using devices that are tied to a cellular network makes me nervous, because I’m often camping in places with unreliable signal.
Related Reading: RV Upgrades (Including Starlink Satellite) for Boondocking
The monthly fee is a serious drawback. At up to $349 retail, Waggle isn’t a low-priced device, and you’ll also need to pay a monthly fee indefinitely to get actual use from it.
I believe you can stop/start service, but you’d have to contact Customer Support, as I don’t see an easy in-app way to toggle coverage on and off.
What Else do You Need to Know About Waggle?
Waggle’s battery life has gotten better since the first iteration I tried. When I unplugged this unit from the wall, it still had about 50% of its battery life left after 32 hours.
This is nice for those who boondock without an inverter and need a unit that can run on the battery for a few days.
While I haven’t been able to road-test it in my rig yet, the device looks and feels pretty durable. If the backing tape on the mounting bracket holds up like I think it will, I don’t expect the unit to move from its bracket, even on bumpy roads.
As I mentioned above, the subscription fee is a significant drawback in my book. Monthly plans cost $24 for every month you want service.
Paying yearly will still cost you $16/month. That’s $200+ per year for a unit that isn’t cheap to begin with—and, to me, it’s only worth the money if it works nearly everywhere.
Find the most up-do-date pricing on the Waggle subscription page.
Overall Impressions of Waggle
While the device and app have some new features that I really like, such as the option to alert based on a geofence, I haven’t been able to test the device enough to feel confident in its performance.
As a former user of the original product, I’d want to use it in a few different areas to say that it performs the way it needs to for your average RVer to find it useful—which, in my opinion, the OG Waggle did not.
With so many wifi-compatible options on the market, it’s tough to get excited about a device with a monthly fee unless that coverage really blows me away.
I really like Waggle’s ease of use and frankly adorable user interface, but those things aren’t worth a monthly fee to me without performance that’s super reliable.
Note: I’ll update this review once I’ve had a chance to test Waggle in other locations.
Sarah Kuiken has been a full-time solo traveler for 4 years and counting, but she’s been a solo adventurer for decades. She owns her own copywriting business, Flourish Writing, which she operates from the road. Sarah loves to explore state and national parks with her two dogs, Orion and Piper—wherever they’re allowed, of course. When she’s not whipping up web copy for fellow entrepreneurs, she’s probably out hiking or paddle boarding with the dogs in tow. Learn more about her freelance writing business at FlourishWriting.com.