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  • Garmin T20 vs T5 Series Collars

    May 11, 2023 7 min read

    Garmin T20 vs T5 Series

    When it comes to Garmin tracking collars, we have seen a many different variants over the years. Starting with the DC20 way back in 2007, we have since seen the DC30, DC40, DC50, and then finally the T5 family of collars. For the last decade the T5 has been the go-to tracking collars for Garmin GPS systems. This is all about to change with the introduction of the Garmin T20 Tracking Collar.

    In this article, we will be breaking down the T20’s new design features, such as the replaceable GPS band, extended life battery pack, Wi-Fi software updates, colored beacon lights, and the new dynamic update rate. As if that isn’t enough changes, we will also discuss the new body design and charging clip.


    User Replaceable GPS Band

    The biggest improvement, in my opinion, with the T20 over the T5 series collars is the ability to replace the GPS band. Gone are the days of having to replace an entire e-collar because there is damage to the GPS band, which ultimately renders a collar useless. Ever since the release of the DC30 collar, the devices have had a collar band that included the GPS module and a wire running back down to the dog device. The DC30 was made from nylon, which would fray over time (not to mention hold odor) and eventually tear. The DC30 was somewhat replaceable, using a pin and socket design, but the pin was prone to breaking. The DC40 had an internal GPS antenna. The DC50 went back to the external antenna, but this time went with a rubber strap and a soldered in wire. This was an improvement over the DC30, but more difficult to repair. The T5 and T5X have the same design as the DC50 collars. The T5 Mini had a slightly different design and had its GPS wire with a connector that snapped into a port on the circuit board. It was then siliconed in place to hold the connector into the socket. These were easier to replace but were time consuming and you needed to reapply expensive silicone.

    With the newly redesigned T20 collar, the GPS band and GPS module are now quickly replaceable with the removal of two Phillips screws. Garmin will be selling a replacement GPS band for the T20 collar which includes the orange GPS module, something that they have never done with any of their previous collars. This should make it possible for owners of the collars to now replace their own GPS bands without having to send it the device for repair or replacement. Hopefully this reduces customer frustrations from wasting both time and money on normal wear and tear over the years.


    Dog Device Size and Form

    The T5, T5X, TT10, TT15, and TT15X all shared the same shell with the only differentiating feature, other than the lack of contact points, being the GPS module was colored orange on the T5 and T5X. With the introduction of the T5 Mini and the TT15 Mini, they once again shared the same body, using the same body design from the Garmin PRO Series collars. Once again, the only differentiating feature other than the lack of contact points was the orange GPS module. The new T20 and the TT25 again share the same battery cover part of the body, but new to the T20 is the top plate of the collar is now a bright orange. This combined with the return of the orange GPS module really makes the device stand out as a T20 collar. This is a great feature for those that field trial, where tracking and training collars are forbidden. There will be no doubt that you’re running a tracking-only collar.

    Talking about the new body design of the TT25 and T20 collars, let’s compare its overall size to the other tracking collars. The T20 comes in significantly smaller than the T5 and T5X collars and is just slightly larger than the T5 Mini collars. This is perfect for those running smaller dogs and the weight reduction will still be appreciated by the larger dogs. With the new smaller body, the T20 does not sacrifice either battery life or maximum tracking range. The T20 keeps the same maximum tracking range of up to 9 miles and an impressive battery life, which we will cover in the next section.


    Battery Life

    The original T5 had a battery life of 20 to 40 hours, depending on the update rate the collar was running at. The faster the update rate, the faster the battery would drain. This battery life allowed for all day hunting, and in most cases, several days without the need for recharging. The T5 Mini with its smaller body, sacrificed battery life for weight and compactness. It got between 16 to 30 hours depending on individual usage. This was mostly still plenty of battery life. Then the T5X came out with its monstrous up to 80 hours of battery life. This allowed for several multi-day hunts on a single charge. Many hunters traded in their T5s for the newer T5X for this feature alone.  So where does the T20 collar come in with its smaller form factor? The T20 gets an impressive up to 68 hours of battery life. This is thanks to its new dynamic tracking setting, which changes the update rate of the collar to a slower rate to save battery life when the dog is not moving. You may be wondering why one would “downgrade” to the T20 with the T5X having 80 hours of battery life. Well, boy, do we have some exciting news for you. The T20 has another feature that those looking for max battery life are going to love. The T20 has the ability to add an extended battery life pack onto the body of the device, which boosts the battery life up to 136 hours! Instead of a weekend hunting trip, we are now talking about a week-long hunting trip on a single battery charge!


    Software Update Over Wi-Fi

    For those that have ever used the DC30 and DC40 collars will remember that updating the software on them was completely different than that of all the newer collars. The DC30 and DC40 were updated over Bluetooth from the Astro 220 and Astro 320 handhelds. This was a neat feature that didn’t require a computer, only needing a handheld with the latest software. One downside to this was it was a slower process and tied up both the handhelds and the collars, and often failed and had to be restarted if the communication connection was disrupted. The DC50, T5, T5X, and T5 Mini were updated via connection to a computer and using Garmin WebUpdater or Garmin Express. This was a smooth process but required the use of a computer with Internet connection and having to clip in each collar every time it needed updated. The T20 takes a giant leap into the 2020’s and now has Wi-Fi connectivity and can now update wirelessly anytime it comes into the network, completely removing the need for a computer.


    Beacon Lights

    Beacon lights were introduced to the Garmin collars with the Garmin PRO Series family of devices. These lights were then brought over to tracking collars with the T5, T5X, and T5 Mini all having beacon lights included. These beacon lights could be remotely activated, providing a bright white LED light to see where your dog was in the dark. This was a great feature for those tracking their dogs at night, especially while coon, fox, and coyote hunting. When running multiple dogs though, it was impossible to tell which white beacon light was which dog. The T20 tracking collar solves this with the introduction of multi-color user selectable beacon lights. You can now set each dog to their own beacon light color.


    Charging Clip

    The T5 series had two sizes of charging clips to charge the dog collars. The full size charging clips would charge the T5 and T5 collars, as well as being compatible with the training and training TT10, TT15, and TT15X. The T5 Mini collars have a smaller charging clip that was also compatible with the Garmin PRO Series collars (PT5, PT6, PT10, and TB10) and the TT15 Mini. The T20, because of its unique body, has a new charging clip that will be compatible with the TT25 and T20 collars. Please note that this will be for the standard battery pack. As we mentioned above, the T20 features the ability to add an extended life battery pack to the device. With this extended life battery pack installed, another longer charging clip is needed to charge the device.


    Maximum Range

    One thing that did not change was the effective range of the T20 over the T5 and T5X collars. Both the T20 and T5/T5X collars are advertised to have a maximum range of 9 miles. Though with the new small form factor of the T20 collars, you should be getting better range than you would have if you were running the T5 Mini, which got a maximum 4 miles of range while still having the small body.


    Unit Price

    You may be surprised to see that there is not a price increase for the latest and greatest tracking-only collar from Garmin. These units will be priced the same as the T5X collar at $299.99. Despite having the same price, you will be getting a feature packed, high-tech collar.



    We couldn’t be happier with the new design of the T20 tracking collar. It takes the last 15-20 years of tracking experience with the Garmin devices and refines it into a new sleek device. With its new smaller design, replaceable GPS band, and improved battery life, we think that everyone is going to really like this collar. We can’t wait to hear your experience and thoughts on this new tracking collar!


    LCS E-Collar Trade-In Program

    Are you considering the purchase of a new Garmin T20 and already have an older Garmin DC30, DC40, DC50, T5, T5 Mini, or T5X series collar? With the LCS E-Collar Trade-In Program, you can send in your old equipment, working or non-working, for credit towards your new Garmin purchases. For more information on our E-Collar Trade-In Program, see LCS Trade-In Program. If you are ready to send in your equipment check out, Simple Tips for the LCS E-Collar Trade-In Program, for information about sending in your trade-in and making the process go as smoothly and quickly as possible.

    If you have any questions about the new Garmin T20, please leave a comment below or reach out to our customer service by calling 1-800-662-5202, using our live chat during business hours, and emailing us at service@lcsupply.com.

    Thank you for reading!

    Michael Cassatt – LCS Director of Marketing

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