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If you’re tired of misplacing your keys, there’s good news: technology can take this daily frustration off your plate. Electronic key finders are tiny tracking devices that can be attached to a keyring or other frequently-lost item. With the press of a button, the finder will beep, chirp, or otherwise sound an alarm to lead you to your lost item. Some, like the Chipolo One Key Finder at Amazon, come with a companion app that will show you a location on a map or even remind you when you’re forgetting your tracked item. Some, like the Tile Pro at Amazon, have a very large “range,” meaning the remote can find the tracker from hundreds of feet away, while others are much more limited.
Key finders have a receiver (the device you attach to your keys) and a remote. The remote sends out a signal and “finds” the receiver using either radio frequencies or Bluetooth technology. Those that use radio frequencies (RF) tend to be pretty basic devices: press a button and the tracker on your keys will chirp. These kinds of key finders do not require a smartphone connection and usually don’t have much in the way of extra features. Bluetooth key finders, on the other hand, have to be connected to a smartphone. They’re controlled using an app, and these apps usually include more advanced features like map locations and out-of-range notifications. Bluetooth trackers also tend to have superior range. The downside: they’re usually more expensive.
If you want to track items in real-time and over a much greater distance, look for devices that use GPS technology instead of RF or Bluetooth. Our list of car GPS trackers is a good place to start.
400-ft. Bluetooth range
Requires a phone with Bluetooth
The Tile Pro is a Bluetooth key finder with a whopping 400-foot range, the longest of any of the products on this list. And for this kind of tracker, range is everything. The Tile Pro is a 1.7 x 1.7-inch square with a hole in the corner so you can easily attach it to your key ring. It’s also durable and water-resistant, though the black color option is prone to surface scratches. Simply download the Tile app on your phone or mobile device and then sync it to the Tile device using Bluetooth. If you misplace the item the Tile is attached to, you can either ring it — the Pro has the loudest ringer of any Tile device — or view its location on a map in the app. The app also gives you access to Tile’s Community Find feature, which anonymously engages other people’s Tile devices and provides you with a location update if someone else comes within range of your missing device. If you have your keys but can’t find your phone, you can use the Tile Pro to make it ring. The Tile Pro runs on a regular CR2032 button battery that’s simple to replace. It’s available in both black and white color options.
200-ft Bluetooth range
Community Find feature
The Tile Mate is a slightly smaller Tile device than the Pro. It also has a shorter 200-foot Bluetooth range but a lot of the same extra features. The Mate has a replaceable CR2032 button battery that greatly extends the life of the device — each battery can power it for about a year. It measures 1.4 x 1.4 inches and has a hole in the corner, making it an ultra-compact addition to your key ring. Like other Bluetooth trackers, the Tile Mate connects to your phone using Bluetooth and must be within range in order to be “found.” If you misplace your keys, you can ring the Tile and follow the sound, or look at its location on a map in the Tile app. The Community Find feature comes in handy if you lose your Tile completely. It puts other people’s Tiles on the lookout for your lost device and will update you with its location if your Tile is within range of someone else.
Set of 4 finders
Doesn’t require an app
If you need a basic set of trackers for objects in your house, this set of four from Esky is a basic budget option that will get the job done. Unlike the more advanced devices on this list, the Esky uses a separate remote instead of an app and communicates with the trackers using radio frequency (RF) instead of Bluetooth. RF trackers generally have a shorter range, and this one tops out at under 100 feet. If you’re always losing things in the same room or a couple of rooms — i.e. you leave your keys in a coat pocket and then put it into a closet full of other coats — then 98 feet is plenty. Press a color-coded key on the remote and the corresponding tracker will beep loudly and flash, making your misplaced item easy to find even in the dark. The Esky trackers can be attached to a keyring via the built-in loop or stuck directly to an object using the included velcro patches.
In-app tracking map
Finicky app features
80 dB ringer on the quiet side
The Mynt E key finder is a solid Bluetooth tracker with a very appealing price tag and a compact, unobtrusive design that’s available in both black and white. Like other Bluetooth key finders, you use an app on your phone to ring the tracker or view your keys’ location on a map (a great feature for this price range). The ringer maxes out at about 80 dB, which is on the quieter side compared to other devices on this list. The battery is replaceable and lasts for about six months at a time. The Mynt app also offers notification features that are similar to more high-end key finders, including an alert when the tracker goes out of range. This feature is designed to remind you if you accidentally leave your keys behind, but the downside is that it needs to be toggled on and off to prevent the ringer from going off when you’re separated from your keys for perfectly normal reasons, i.e. setting them down in your house and walking away.
Very loud ringer
The KeyRinger finder is very straightforward to use and its extra-loud ringer makes it a good fit for those who need higher volumes. The package comes with two identical devices that are paired to each other and ready to use right out of the box — simply double-click the button on one of the trackers to set off the alarm on the other. The maximum range is 300 feet. It can be attached to a key ring via the plastic loop on the device or attached directly to other objects using the included adhesive tape. The KeyRinger runs on a CR2032 button battery that lasts for about 18 months and is simple to replace once it dies. The ringer may be too loud and unpleasant-sounding for some, but it’s definitely effective. This device is also a bit bulky compared to the other key finders on this list so you’ll want to take that into consideration if you’re attaching it to something slim like a smartphone.
Keeps keys organized
Holds limited number of keys
Difficult to add or change keys
The KeySmart Pro is not a typical key finder — it’s actually a key organizer and multitool, combining the keys you use everyday with customizable accessories like scissors, a USB stick, a pair of pliers, or even a firestarter. The KeySmart comes with a built-in Tile tracking feature that allows you to ring or view your keys’ location on a map using the Tile app. Like other Tile devices, the KeySmart Pro relies on a Bluetooth connection to a mobile device to use this feature. This battery-operated key organizer is rechargeable and comes with an included flashlight and bottle opener. It holds up to 10 keys and keeps them in a particular order so you can find them immediately (definitely a more organized method than a typical key ring). Unfortunately, it can be a tricky process to take the KeySmart Pro apart to add or remove keys and accessories.
Compatible with voice assistants
Battery drains quickly
This key finder from Chipolo has a lot of convenient features that come standard with most mid-range Bluetooth finders. Once you’ve connected the finder to your phone, you can control it using the Chipolo app, which allows you to ring the finder or see its last location on a map. You can also press a button on the Chipolo device to ring your phone. The tracker is super thin and has a water-resistant design that makes it durable and unobtrusive wherever you attach it. But the Chipolo app has a few more tricks up its sleeve that set this little device apart. It’s compatible with all the most popular virtual assistants including Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant, meaning you can use your smart home hub or the built-in assistant on your phone to voice control your Chipolo. The app also generates reminders when your Chipolo goes out of range to ask if you’ve forgotten your keys. This is a very helpful feature that can stop you from leaving important items behind in the first place.
Doubles as smartphone selfie remote
Phone finder feature
This compact key finder from Orbit uses Bluetooth to connect to your mobile device. Download the Orbit app on your phone and use it to ring the tracker or view its location on a map. Like some other Bluetooth finders on this list, the Orbit can also ring your phone if you misplace it. The device itself is made from aluminum and has a waterproof build to protect against day-to-day damage. It’s about two inches across and has a built-in loop that you can thread your key ring through. Perhaps the most unique function is the Orbit’s selfie remote feature. When the finder is paired with your phone, you can use it to take hands-free photos. It runs on a replaceable button battery (and comes with a spare in the box), but the battery tends to run out relatively quickly. The Orbit is available in a wide range of colors and looks more like a key ring accessory than some of the bulkier devices on this list.
No loop for a key ring
If your primary concern is tracking your wallet, then definitely check out the Tile Slim. We’ve been focusing on key finders in this list, so most of these devices have a bulkier form factor or are very obviously designed to fit on a key ring. The Tile Slim, on the other hand, looks like a credit card and is made for flat objects like wallets, phones, laptops, and passports. It can be slipped into a pocket or stuck directly to your valuables for low-profile tracking. Like the other Tile products on this list, it uses the Tile app to ring the finder (which can ring back to your phone as well), show the location on a map, or access the Community Find feature to put other people’s Tiles on the lookout for your lost item. It’s also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant so you can use your smart home hub to ask Tile to find your things. The Tile Slim’s battery lasts for three years and is not replaceable.
The Tile Pro has excellent range, an unobtrusive design, and convenient in-app features like Community Find to help you locate items lost far afield. If you want something less expensive, the Tile Mate is a great alternative with a slightly smaller form factor and Bluetooth range.
Emmeline Kaser is a former editor for Lifewire’s product round-ups and reviews. She is an experienced product researcher specializing in consumer tech.
Battery Life- A key finder's battery life depends on if it uses a rechargeable lithium ion cell or a coin cell battery. The latter on devices like the Tile will result in longer battery life, as much as a year longer, while the rechargeable battery may be suitable for the key finders that use RF technology.
Range- When a key finder with this feature gets too far from your phone, it automatically sounds an alert. This can come in handy if your keys ever fall out of your pocket, or you set them down and accidentally forget to pick them back up.
Bluetooth vs. RF - Key finders that use radio frequency (RF) technology are typically cheaper and come with more key fobs. Bluetooth key finders can offer more functionality, though. Some allow you to use the key fob in reverse to find your phone, and you may even be able to use a network of other users to find your keys if you lost them somewhere outside the range of your phone’s Bluetooth.