Are you someone who often finds yourself searching for lost belongings? Do your car keys always seem to disappear? If you struggle to keep track of important items, a Bluetooth tracker could change your life — and keep you from losing your cool.
Some of our top picks include Chipolo and the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag. See which Bluetooth tracker works best for Android or iPhone users, and read more about what to expect from these smart little tracking devices.
Samsung Galaxy SmartTag
Samsung Galaxy SmartTag is the Bluetooth tracker to get if you’re already in the Samsung universe. With a range of just under 390 feet (120 meters), this tiny little square tag works with the SmartThings app but is only compatible with Samsung Galaxy phones. Attach the SmartTag to your keys or wallet, tap the ring button on your phone’s app, and follow the sound — no more lost things, ever. The Samsung Galaxy SmartTag can even help you find things when you’re offline or out of range, using the Galaxy Find Network, and you can scroll through the history of where your tag has been.
The center of the SmartTag is actually a button that lets you control your IoT devices at home with just a single click, like your lighting or air conditioner, giving you a reason to use your tracker even when you haven’t lost something. Just set up your devices using the SmartThings app, and you can turn things on or off after you’ve left home or before you get home.
This tracker uses a replaceable CR2032 battery, but it does have a shorter battery life than the Tile tracker, lasting a few months rather than a year. You can pick up SmartTags in black or oatmeal directly from Samsung.
Apple’s equivalent to Samsung’s SmartTag is the AirTag. Just attach one of these tiny circular trackers to any item — from your keys to your wallet or bag — then go to the Items tab in the Find My app already installed on your iPhone, and the tracker will play a sound on its built-in speaker. AirTag works with Siri too — say “Hey Siri, find my keys” or “Hey Siri, find my wallet,” and if they’re nearby, follow the sound to hunt them down.
For those who like to know precisely where their items are at all times, there’s PrecisionFinding, which uses Ultra-Wideband Technology to show you exactly where your stuff is — the iPhone app shows you the direction to head in and the distance to your AirTag. PrecisionFinding works on the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max.
If you’ve left your wallet at the bar, the FindMyNetwork feature helps you track down your AirTag thanks to billions of iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices worldwide. Your privacy is always protected while using network features — no location or history data is stored on the AirTag itself, and everything is encrypted. You can even set your AirTag to Lost Mode, and when a device detects it in the network, you’ll automatically receive a notification of its whereabouts.
Like the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag, there’s more to AirTag than just finding lost things. You can use your AirTag to share contact information with others by tapping it on an NFC-capable smartphone. It’s quick and easy to get set up using the app, and the tracker uses a replaceable CR2032 battery that should last for over a year. Your AirTag is water-resistant, and if you pick it up directly from Apple, you can personalize it with your initials and/or the emoji of your choice.
You can pick up a single AirTag, or a four-pack if you’re the type of person who loses anything and everything and chooses from a colorful range of keyrings and loops to personalize your tracker. Just remember it only works with Apple’s own devices, so there’s no Android support.
Perhaps the most popular Bluetooth tracker brand is Tile, and the current range of Tile trackers covers the vast majority of situations. There’s the waterproof Tile Sticker, which is about the size of a quarter and capable of sticking to most metal or plastic objects. It’s IPX7 rated, has a range of around 150 feet, and boasts a battery life of three years. The Tile Slim is a credit card-sized tracker designed to fit easily in your wallet or purse. It has a range of 200 feet and a battery that should last three years. The Tile Pro is a square with a hole in the top corner designed to slip easily onto a key ring, and it has the longest range at 400 feet. It’s also the loudest of the Tile’s trackers and has a replaceable battery that should last a year.
Our pick of the bunch is the Tile Mate, which has a similar design to the Pro but is cheaper. The trade-off is that the range drops to 200 feet, but it is still loud, comes with a replaceable battery that should last a year, and has a price that’s easier to swallow. Right now, you can pick up the Tile Mate in several— like the colorful Paradise jungle-inspired design or the Breeze Sails design — which come bundled in a Starter Pack including a Mate and a Slim tracker from $44.
All of Tile’s trackers work with a companion app on your iPhone or Android phone. You can trigger the tracker to play a sound to help you locate the item you’re looking for, and you can also see the last known location on a map. You can also use the Tile Mate to locate your phone by pressing the button on it twice. Tile also enables any of its trackers nearby to locate your tagged item, so the fact it has a huge user base is important. Tile also supports Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can tell your smart speaker to ask Tile where you left your keys and trigger the ringer. If you want smart alerts when you leave something behind, an annual battery replacement, and a 30-days location history, then you have to upgrade to a subscription service, Tile Premium, which costs $30 per year or $3 per month — with a free 30-day trial.
The Chipolo ONE is very similar to the Tile Mate, except it is circular and comes in six different colors. It also has a loud alarm that goes up to 120 decibels, it’s water-resistant with an IPX5 rating, and it takes standard CR2032 coin batteries, which you can replace — though a full battery should last around two years. The Chipolo ONE is ideal for keys, and it can also give you an out-of-range alert on your Android phone or iPhone that helps prevent you from leaving your keys, or whatever it’s attached to, behind; unlike Tile, these out-of-range alerts come at no extra cost, and there’s no need for a subscription. Double press the button on the Chipolo, and your phone will ring. The range is 200 feet, and Chipolo also works with Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa.
You can track tagged items on a map on your phone or in your web browser. You can also mark things lost and get help locating them from other Chipolo users, though it has a smaller user base than Tile, so this feature might not work as well. You can also get a Chipolo CARD designed to fit your wallet, but it doesn’t have a replaceable battery, and it’s not quite as loud. Other than that, it works the same way as the Chipolo ONE. One other neat feature that Chipolo offers is using the Chipolo ONE or CARD to take a remote selfie with your phone.
You’ll find a full range of tracking products from Orbit, and they work much like the previous entries on our list. Our pick is the Orbit Keys, an aluminum disc that attaches easily to a key ring. It comes in loads of colors, it’s IPX6-certified for water resistance, and it can play an alarm at 90 decibels. It can also make your phone ring, trigger a selfie-and, of course, you can use the Android or iOS app to see its last known location. It also works with Alexa and can trigger an alert when you leave a tagged item behind. Although it does have a replaceable battery, the average battery life is a bit lower than its competitors at roughly six months.
Orbit also has a special glasses tracker designed to fit onto the arm of your glasses, a stick-on disc, and a card for wallets, which we think are some pretty cool ideas from Orbit. They also offer crowd-funding, even though the base isn’t as large as Chipolo or Tile.
Between the wide array of colors and the brushed aluminum finish, the classic look of the Orbit Key compensates for the size and slightly limited battery life.
Eksy Trackers with Remote
If you spend most of your time at home and still always manage to misplace personal items, perhaps you don’t need more high maintenance features like precise coordinates mapping places visited on a long route.
This collection of trackers with a tracking remote might do the trick. You get four trackers that you can attach to keys, pet collars, bags, or even sticky tape to remotes for a pretty reasonable price. You also get a central remote with a separate, color-coded button for each tracker.
The push of a button will stimulate a visual and auditory notification about the tracker dings and shine LED light. The trackers hit about 70 decibels, and they’re suitable for a 50 to 100-foot range.
The Eksy trackers are somewhat bulky and not very attractive, but they work well with most devices you’d need them for. More importantly, they won’t break the bank.
They don’t require you to install or use a smartphone app, which is nice. These trackers rely on a different radio frequency than Bluetooth. They use replaceable CR2032 batteries, and the remote requires two AAA batteries. Both trackers and remotes can last up to two years with normal use.
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