Hands-on Gear Review

Compare personal locator beacon ratings side-by-side >

ACR ResQlink 406 Personal Locator Beacon Review

Editors' Choice Award

Personal Locator Beacons

  • Currently 3.6/5
Overall avg rating 3.6 of 5 based on 2 reviews. Most recent review: January 2, 2014
Street Price:   Varies from $267 - $390 | Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Five-watt transmission power, dual frequency SOS transmission, COSPAS/SARSAT’s reliability and long track record, no annual fees, easy one handed (even gloved) operation.
Cons:  Unless the lack of messaging is a con for you, we found no faults with this device.
Best Uses:  Any activity or expedition during which an SOS broadcast needs best chance of being answered, functions best with clear view to sky.
User Rating:     
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (3.0 of 5) based on 1 reviews
Manufacturer:   ACR ResQLink 406
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ February 6, 2013  
The SOS function of the ResQlink is probably the most effective of any device we tested. It transmits your SOS message at 5 watts of power, compared to 0.4 watts for the Spot 2 Satellite Messenger, and 1.6 watts for the DeLorme InReach Satellite Messenger. If the lack of messaging is not a deal-breaker for you, then this device is the clear winner. It wins our Editors Choice as the best SOS device. It also wins our Best Buy award because, with no mandatory messaging plan (which typically cost $100-200 a year), this device is clearly the least expensive to own over 2-5 years.

Compare top rated competitors side-by-side >

  • Photos
Click to enlarge

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Ease of Setup
Like any SEND device, the ACR must also be registered. There are, however, no annual fees to pay in order to register or be rescued, and when you register your device (for US customers, at least), you do so with NOAA, which gives a certain sense of security. With no smartphone pairing and no subscription plans to choose from, that part is simple and worry-free.

Satellite Network
The ResQLink, operating on the COSPAS/SARSAT military satellite network described above, is arguably the most effective of all the devices tested when in SOS mode. But, realistically, it only has an SOS mode. ACR does offer a limited “Self-Test” message service that seems meant to help it compete with SEND devices but, due to the finite battery life, the ResQLink is only good for 220 self-test “OK” messages without GPS information, and 12 messages with GPS information, during the battery’s five-year lifespan. To add this service to your device costs $60 (www.406link.com). We can’t really think of many situations in which this could be viewed as a valuable function, other than to occasionally reassure yourself that the ResQLink is capable of sending messages. Based on ACR’s track record alone, we would be more than happy to trust that it would work when needed and we would not buy this device if messaging was a priority.

The ResQLink’s lack of real messaging capabilities is not a reason to overlook it. If your main concern is having the most powerful and reliable beacon to use in case of emergency, and tracking features aren’t crucial, then this is definitely the device for you. The dual SOS transmission (406MHz / 121.5MHz) and 5-watt transmission power coupled with the reliability and global coverage of the COSPAS/SARSAT constellation makes this the most “serious” device that we tested, in pure SOS terms.

Other Versions
The ACR ResQLink 406 Plus is identical to the device reviewed here, except it is fully and autonomously buoyant and costs and extra $20. If you are using your device at sea, you may want to consider the Plus as it won't sink if you drop it. Note: If any device that you choose is not attached to you during marine applications, it won’t work, and if you’re not floating, you’re not being saved.

Chris McNamara and Matt Gerdes

Compare this product side-by-side to top competitors >

Where to Buy?

Thinking about buying some gear we've reviewed? Help OutdoorGearLab out if you do. Just click on any of the above seller links and if you make any purchase, the seller will contribute a portion of the sale to help support this site. It won't cost you anything extra, and it's a simple way to help us fund our gear reviews. Thanks!

*Most retailers free shipping offers apply only to lower 48 US states using ground/economy shipping. See retailer's website for details.

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: January 2, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Average Customer Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 67%  (2)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 33%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 1 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
Write a Review on this Gear

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Jan 2, 2014 - 10:43pm
Tommy Penick · Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab
I've never had to push the uh-oh button on this yet, but it's been along on all my adventures for the past three years and is holding up great! Always works on the test, let's hope we don't have to figure out how high test it is.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
Help other readers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? 

Have you used the ACR ResQlink 406 Personal Locator Beacon?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...

Write a Review on this Gear
Click to enlarge
ACR ResQlink 406 personal locator beacon
Credit: ACR
Where's the Best Price?
Seller Price
Amazon $267.27  -  8% off!
REI $280.00  -  3% off!
MountainGear $299.97  -  8% off!
Compare prices at 4 sellers >

*Help support OutdoorGearLab. If you click on one of the seller links and make a purchase, a portion of the sale helps support this site
Related Best-in-Class Review
The Best Personal Locator Beacon and Satellite Messenger Review

The Best Personal Locator Beacon and Satellite Messenger Review

We take four of the top personal locator beacons and put them in head-to-head tests to find out which is the best for SOS and sending and receiving messages when you are out of cell phone range.
Video video review
Helpful Buying Tips
Get More OutdoorGearLab
Follow us on Twitter, be a fan on Facebook!
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Related Gear Reviews