Comparing the Trimble R12i to The Trimble SPS986,

The Trimble R12i and Trimble SPS986 are both top-of-the-line GNSS receivers designed for high-precision surveying. While the R12i is more commonly used by surveyors, the SPS986 is often favored by those in the construction and marine fields. Despite their slight differences in application, both receivers offer similar performance and accuracy.

Although the Trimble R12i generally has a higher retail cost than the SPS986, the two receivers have nearly identical performance. Below, we will compare the technical specifications of each receiver to help you make an informed decision about which one may be best suited for your needs.

The Trimble R12i and Trimble SPS986 GNSS receivers have some physical differences in terms of their appearance and design.

The R12i has a cylindrical shape with a diameter of 11.4 cm (4.5 inches) and a height of 16.8 cm (6.6 inches), and it weighs approximately 1.1 kg (2.5 lbs). It is designed to be compact and portable, making it easy to carry and use in the field. The receiver is housed in a rugged, durable shell that is designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions.

On the other hand, the SPS986 has a more boxy, rectangular shape with dimensions of 19.1 cm (7.5 inches) x 19.1 cm (7.5 inches) x 9.5 cm (3.7 inches), and it weighs approximately 2.3 kg (5 lbs). It is designed to be more rugged and durable than the R12i, with a sturdy, yellow exterior that is highly visible in the field. The SPS986 is also IP68-rated for protection against water and dust.


Here are some bullet points comparing the technical specifications of the Trimble SPS986 and the R12i, and why the SPS986 may be a better choice at a lower price point:

Technical Specifications:

  • Both receivers support L1, L2, L2C, L5, and GLONASS frequency bands for high-precision positioning.

  • Both receivers have the ability to receive real-time kinematic (RTK) corrections for accurate and reliable positioning.

  • Both receivers support multiple communication protocols, including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, for easy connectivity with data collectors and other devices.

  • The Trimble R12i is smaller and lighter than the SPS986, making it more portable and easier to carry in the field.

  • The Trimble SPS986 has a longer battery life of up to 10 hours, compared to the R12i's 9 hours, which can be useful for extended fieldwork.

  • The Trimble R12i features ProPoint GNSS technology, which provides improved signal tracking and reduces multipath errors.

  • The Trimble SPS986 has a built-in 4G LTE modem for fast data transfer and remote support, which can be useful for fieldwork in remote areas.

  • The Trimble SPS986 has a larger internal memory of up to 1 TB, compared to the R12i's 4 GB, which can be useful for storing large amounts of survey data.

Price Comparison:

  • The Trimble SPS986 has an MSRP of around $16,000, while the R12i has an MSRP of around $23,000.

  • The SPS986 offers similar technical specifications to the R12i, but at a lower price point, making it a more cost-effective choice for surveyors who need high-precision positioning technology.

Overall, the Trimble SPS986 offers many of the same technical specifications as the R12i, but at a lower price point, making it a more affordable choice for surveyors who require high-precision positioning technology. The R12i's smaller size, ProPoint GNSS technology, and compatibility with a wider range of data collectors may make it a better choice for some surveyors, but for those who prioritize price, the SPS986 may be the better option.

Buy or rent a Trimble SPS986 at the best price available by clicking here.