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 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 a single SmartTag in black, oatmeal, or denim blue directly from Samsung, as well as two- or three-packs.
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 — just say “Hey Siri, find my keys” or “Hey Siri, find my wallet” and if they’re nearby, just 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, the iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max, and the iPhone 13 series.
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 it’s detected by a device 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, or a four-pack if you’re the type of person who loses anything and everything, and choose 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 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 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 up to three years, and has a price that’s easier to swallow. You can pick up the Tile Mate in black or white, starting from $25 for a single tracker, or grab a four-pack for $70.
Tile’s also releasing a new tracker, the Tile Ultra, later this year, which will utilize UWB for augmented reality-enhanced finding.
All of Tile’s trackers now have an IP67 rating, so you can submerge them in up to one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. They all 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-day 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 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.
Orbitkey’s x Chipolo Tracker comes in black or cream, is IP52 rated (so it can survive a light splash of rain or water), and has a loud 90-95db ringer, with a 50-meter range. It also has a remote camera button built-in, great for selfies or group photos. The replaceable CR1620 battery should last for around six months, and you get a two-year warranty.
This tracker is compatible with most iOS or Android devices and you can pick up a leather key organizer to fit the tracker into, which comes in a wider range of colors and designs.