Keys are still an invaluable part of most people’s lives. We rely on keys to gain access to our cars, houses, apartments, backyard sheds, and maybe even our mailboxes. We do our best to keep track of them all, but there are inevitably moments when you simply can’t find them — even though you’re positive you put them back in their proper place. They usually turn up eventually, sure, but it’s no fun searching for them. Fortunately, there are iOS and Android-compatible trackers that use the magic of Bluetooth to make it easier to locate your keys, wallet, backpacks, and all the other important doodads in your life. Forget about pulling all of the cushions off the sofa — the right tracker can point you straight to your missing keys.
Below are some of the best Bluetooth trackers available, along with everything you need to know regarding their pricing and compatibility.
The Pixie isn’t like other Bluetooth trackers on the market. Rather than rely on your phone’s proximity to identify its relative location, the Pixie creates a local mesh network that enables precise, GPS-like triangulation of each unit within a certain radius (150 feet outdoors and 50 feet indoors). In contrast to some competing Bluetooth trackers on the market, it doesn’t make sacrifices for compactness — each Pixie measures 1.9 by 1.4 by 0.1 inches, and last 12 months on a single charge.
But the app is where the Pixie really shines. An augmented reality view shows bright-colored pixels overlaid atop each Pixie’s location, even through walls and furniture. And audio cues let you know when you’re getting close. Read our first impressions here.
Tile Mate ($20)
You can attach the Tile Mate to any object you wish to locate, but for the purposes of finding your keys, you probably want to slip it on your key ring. In the event that you do lose your keys, you can use the official iOS or Android app to trigger the Mate’s 88-decibel alarm or bring up a map showing your key’s last known location. If your missing keys don’t appear on the map, you can set the app to notify you when someone else with the Tile app comes near them. You can also use the Mate to find your misplaced phone by pressing the center of it. Once it’s attached, you won’t need to maintain or charge the key finder, as it’s designed to last for an entire year. Even after it bites the dust, you can get a brand new one for 50 percent off using Tile’s reTile program.
HButler Orbit ($30)
The average battery life of the Orbit is roughly six months, but unlike the aforementioned Tile Mate, you can open it up and replace the battery using the supplied tools. The device enables you to find your lost keys using a companion app for iOS and Android devices, which activates a 90-decibel alarm that comes directly from the Orbit’s built-in speaker. The last known location of your keys is also marked on a map to make it easier to find them. You can use the Orbit to find your phone as well, and it works as a selfie remote. There’s even a useful separation alert that will sound off if you leave your keys behind.
TrackR Bravo ($30)
The TrackR does everything you want a Bluetooth tracker to do. There is a companion app for both iOS and Android, you can use the TrackR to locate your phone, and it has the same separation alert feature as the Orbit. TrackR also lets you know how close you are to your lost keys, and more than one phone can ring and track them. If you have an Amazon Echo at your disposal or another Alexa-compatible device, you can even ask the digital assistant for assistance in finding your keys, potentially shortening the time it would take you to find them with the tracker’s 92-decibel alarm. You can also have your TrackR engraved with your information, which only boosts your chances of recovering the tracker. Watch our video review.
Pebblebee Finder ($30)
Pebblebee’s Finder touts an impressive tracking range of 200 feet, a distance that is a bit longer than other Bluetooth trackers on our list. The tracker’s stainless-steel design adds to its durability, and you can even replace the device’s year-long battery once it’s depleted. In addition to the loud buzzer, the tracker also features a bright LED that pulses, so you have a better chance of finding your keys in low-light situations. The Pebblebee Finder does require iOS 9 or later, however, or Android version 5.0 or above. It works without the need for an app to run in the background, so you don’t have to worry about it draining your phone’s battery.
Chipolo’s Bluetooth tracker comes in two variations: The Chipolo Plus and the Chipolo Classic. Both offer the same set of features — you can trigger a remote alarm, for instance, or check the last known location of your device — but they differ in terms of hardware. The Chipolo Plus is water-resistant, comes in several colors, and has an alarm volume of 100 decibels. The Classic, on the other hand, is a bit smaller and a features a 90-decibel alarm. You can also open the latter and replace the battery, though the same can’t be said for the Plus model. It really comes down to personal preference, however, given both can be had for the same price.
All the trackers so far are great if you’re only looking to track a couple of objects at most, but what if you want to track a whole bunch of things around the home? This collection of trackers with a tracking remote could be the answer to your tracking-queries. For the price above, you get four trackers that can be attached to keys, pet collars, or sticky-taped to remotes, and a central remote with a separate button for each individual tracker. Push the button, and it alerts the corresponding tracker to call for your attention. Each tracker has its own specific call, and while the trackers aren’t the smallest available, they’re still handy enough to attach to a wide variety of devices.