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 Tile. See which Bluetooth tracker works best for Android or iPhone users, and read more about what to expect from these smart little tracking devices.
Perhaps the most popular Bluetooth tracker brand at the moment 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 limited-edition designs — like the comic-inspired superhero design or the colorful Malibu sunset designs — which come bundled in a Starter Pack including a Mate and a Slim tracker for $53.
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 that are nearby to locate your tagged item, so the fact it has a very large 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 30-days location history, then you have to upgrade to 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 which is designed to fit in 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 the ability to use 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 first two 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 offers a card for wallets, a stick-on disc, and adesigned to fit onto the arm of your glasses, which is a smart idea that seems to be unique to Orbit so far. There is crowd-finding, but the user base may not be as big as Tile or Chipolo. While battery life and volume lag behind a little, the Orbit Keys is quite stylish with that brushed aluminum finish in a wide choice of colors.
Eksy Trackers with Remote
Maybe you don’t care about seeing positions on maps and getting alerts when you leave things behind — maybe you just want a set of trackers to keep tabs on keys and other things around the home. This collection of trackers with a tracking remote could be the answer. For a pretty reasonable price, you get four trackers that can be attached to keys, pet collars, bags, or even sticky-taped to remotes, and there’s a central remote with a separate, color-coded button for each individual tracker. Push the button, and it alerts the corresponding tracker to beep and light up a small LED for your attention. The trackers hit about 70 decibels and they’re good for a 50 to 100-foot range.
While these trackers aren’t the smallest or the most stylish available, they’re still handy enough to attach to a wide variety of devices and they won’t cost you much money. They also don’t require you to install or use a smartphone app. These trackers rely on a different radio frequency than Bluetooth. They take replaceable CR2032 batteries and the remote requires two AAA batteries. They should last you a year or two depending on how often you use them.
- Best smartwatch deals for September 2020: Samsung, Fitbit, and Apple Watch sales
- The best smart blinds for 2020
- Here’s a list of portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day
- The five best Apple Watch Series 6 alternatives
- How to tell if your smartphone battery needs to be replaced