If you have ever been derailed from an on-time departure because you lost your keys or wallet, consider investing in a Bluetooth tracker. These small devices attach to your belongings and use your smartphone to keep track of their location. There are many options available, so we tested some of the most popular models to determine the best Bluetooth tracker for your needs.
Bluetooth trackers are small discs or cards that use short-range, low-energy wireless signals to communicate with your smartphone. They typically offer features like separation alerts to notify you when you have left an item behind, as well as crowd-sourced finding capabilities to locate tagged items out of range. Depending on your needs, there are several specifications to consider when choosing a tracker.
When it comes to compatibility, Apple’s AirTags only work with Apple products, but some third-party manufacturers like Chipolo have devices that can connect to the Apple Find My network. Meanwhile, Tile offers trackers that work with both Android and Apple devices.
Crowd-sourced finding capabilities are important for tracking lost items, and Apple’s Find My network is the largest, with over a billion iPhones in service that can act as locators for AirTags. Google is also developing its own Find My Device network, but Tile currently has the second-largest finding grid, with millions of users helping to locate lost items.
In our tests, AirTags and Tile trackers were able to locate items relatively quickly. However, the size of the finding network may not be as critical for everyday use. Chipolo’s classic trackers stood out for their performance in other areas, earning them a top spot on our list.
Separation alerts are an important feature of Bluetooth trackers, as they notify you when you are too far from tagged items. Both AirTags and Chipolo come with this feature by default, while Tiles require a subscription to enable it. In our tests, Chipolo sent an alert when we were between 250 and 450 feet away from a tagged item, while AirTags and Tiles had varying ranges.
When it comes to connectivity, volume, and design, different trackers offer various features for finding lost items. AirTags have a “find my keys” function and can easily be attached to accessories, while Chipolo and Tile offer different device designs with varying volumes and battery options. They also offer features to address stalking and stealing concerns, such as alerts for moving tags, and Anti-Theft Mode to render trackers undetectable by others.
In conclusion, Bluetooth trackers are useful for locating lost items, but they may not be the best option for combating theft. Each tracker offers unique features and capabilities, so it’s important to consider your needs before choosing the best Bluetooth tracker for you.