Which Ecollar to buy is one of the most common questions asked by people who have heard of the tool, and want to investigate further. There are many brands, many models, and it's easy to become confused. This article will attempt to clear those muddy waters a bit.
Generally there are models that offer a two-mile range, a one-mile range, a three-quarters of a mile range, a half-mile range, or less than one-half-mile range. These ranges are measured under optimum conditions in order to standardize them. We're dealing with the transmission of a radio signal so anything that will interfere with a radio signal, will interfere with an Ecollar signal.
Very few people will be working their dog at a distance of one mile; in most terrain you can't even see your dog at that distance. But if you work a SAR dog, (Search And Rescue) it might be a consideration. If you work a PSD (Police Service Dog) and you find yourself in modern buildings with metal construction, it also might be a factor. The higher power of the three-quarters of a mile or one mile units can help to "punch through" difficult receiving situations such as chain link fences, rolling hills, or metal framed buildings. But most users won't be facing those situations, and will find that a three-quarters or a half-mile range unit will fill their needs.
There are two ways to deliver stim to a dog, continuous or momentary. Monentary is sometimes called the "nick" mode. With continuous, the stim is delivered as long as the button is held down. (Modern versions of Ecollars have a built-in safety feature that shuts them off after 10-12 seconds, in case of malfunction). With the momentary mode, the Ecollar delivers a stim lasting a fraction of a second, and then shuts off. To give another stim, the button must be released and then pressed again. Both types are useful.
Many Ecollars offer another mode, either emitting a sound or a vibration, similar to that of a pager or cell phone set on "silent." That can be useful for teaching a recall, praising or warning your dog that a stim is imminent, or for giving commands. The dog must be trained for each of these uses. Some people who have dogs that are deaf, find the vibration mode useful to get the dog to look at them.
On all of the collar units, the RX (the receiver), the part that the dog wears, are waterproof. They're intended to resist the immersion that a hunting or retrieving dog will subject them to. Some of the TX (the transmitter) the part the trainer holds, are waterproof.
If you plan to use my methods, the ones that the articles on this site describe, there are ONLY two brands of Ecollar that will give you good results. Both brands offer a very high number of levels of stim, one of them 100 levels, and the other 127 levels. And they allow you to dial up and down through the available power settings, while holding down the button, continuously changing the stim level in very small increments, while delivering stim.
Any other brand is a compromise, and while it may be a quality unit, will not meet the requirements of my methods. Other brands will not allow you to raise and lower the stim levels in small increments, over the entire range of stim, while continuously delivering the stim.
One of these brands is Dogtra and the other is Einstein. Both brands have websites that describe their product in detail.