Do you always find yourself looking for lost items? Do you struggle to remember where you placed your car keys or phone? If you are a person who struggles to keep track of your things most of the time, a Bluetooth tracker can make all the difference. A high-quality, smart Bluetooth tracker will help you locate valuables that are lost or misplaced. Let’s take a look at some of the best products that will help you keep track of your valuables.
What Is a Bluetooth Tracker?
A Bluetooth tracker is a small device designed to help you track your valuables in real time. These devices are often designed to be small and unobtrusive. That is, they can slip inside a bag, attach to the back of a device, or get into a keychain with your keys. These trackers rely on Bluetooth to connect wirelessly to your device and transmit data to that device. Through a dedicated app, you should be able to see the real-time location of the tracker on a map.
Bluetooth trackers also differ in terms of features. Depending on the type of tracker you are using, you might view additional details such as battery life. Some trackers can send you an alert when they go out of range or when their battery is about to die. Meanwhile, some are also able to make loud noises to make it easier to find them.
Bluetooth trackers, in general, are simpler than GPS trackers. They don’t require an internet connection or satellites to pinpoint a location. They simply work with the personal area connection between the tracker and your device. However, the range at which a Bluetooth tracker can work is only limited to about 200 feet. The reason is that the UHF radio waves that Bluetooth uses can only travel within short distances.
10 Best Bluetooth Trackers for Tracking Your Valuables
Bluetooth trackers have increased in popularity over the years. As it turns out, most people experience losing track of their things once in a while. And so we have trackers that are meant to track different things (phones, keys, or even pets and children). If you have a beloved pet that you want to track, there are trackers made especially for them. But for this list, we’ve compiled the best Bluetooth trackers for your personal things.
The Apple AirTag is a small, circular Bluetooth tracker. It’s about the size of a bottle cap, with a plain front and the Apple logo at the back. The tracker can be attached to a purpose-built keychain that attaches to your bag or even to the collar of your pet.
The device itself is water and dust-resistant, which means that it can withstand bad weather conditions. Its batteries are replaceable, ensuring that you can keep the tracker for a long time.
Apple AirTag is only available in the color white. But the keychain that accompanies the device comes in a lot of colors. That includes California poppy, forest green, baltic blue, red, and saddle brown.
There are two key features of the AirTag. First is precision tracking, which gives you an accurate measurement of the distance between the tracker and your device. In addition, the accompanying mobile app will also make use of sounds, haptics, and visual feedback to help you find the item. If the user is blind, the app can give verbal directions.
“Find My Network” is another key feature of the AirTag. If your tracker goes out of range, it will try to detect AirTags within the vicinity. It will then piggyback off the signals of those AirTags to let you know its last known location. This is similar to the community-finder features of other trackers on Apple devices to send you a notification about its location. The relay of information happens behind the scenes, which means that only you will know its location.
There’s one setback, though. Being an Apple product, it can only work with Apple phones or tablets. The devices must also have support for Bluetooth 4.0.
The Tile Mate is a small, square-shaped Bluetooth tracker, about the size of a contact lens case, that you can use to track your things. It has a small hole on the upper-left corner that can attach to a keyring, bag handle, or even pet collar. It also carries replaceable batteries that work about a year before they need to be replaced.
The Tile Mate is available in a variety of colors. That includes black, white, ruby red, azurite blue, and rose pink.
The Tile Mate follows standard tracking procedures. Like with other Bluetooth trackers, you need to download an app to register the tracker’s location within range. If the tracker goes off-range, you can report it as missing, and a special feature will help you find it.
One of the more notable features of Tile Mate is that you can use multiple devices to track it down. If you have an Android and an iPhone, you can download the app on both devices to track the device down. It’s also possible to add as many Tile Mate trackers as you want to your network.
The Tile Mate is also equipped with a community-finder feature. If your device gets outside the Bluetooth range, it will piggyback on the signal of other Tile trackers nearby. This will allow the tracker to ping its location straight to your device. However, this feature is exclusive to the US. Tile also has millions of customers in the US, which helps strengthen community-based tracking.
Tile Mate is a highly popular alternative to Apple AirTags, and it works on both Android and iOS devices. The devices must also have support for Bluetooth 4.0.
Tile is also offering an additional subscription service for Tile users. For a small monthly fee, you can get Smart Alerts, which send you alerts if you’ve left your keys either at home or at work. It also comes with free battery replacements and 30 days location history.
The Innway Card is an ultra-thin Bluetooth tracker that’s specially designed for tracking wallets. You could be forgiven for mistaking the device as a credit or discount card since that is exactly what it looks like.
This Bluetooth tracker also carries rechargeable batteries that have a lifetime of between two to three years. Now, you’re probably wondering, how can a device like that get charged? Well, the charger clips onto the edge of the card and charges it normally likes a phone. The device is also able to withstand about a meter of water for about an hour.
The Innway Card is available in four colors. That includes black, blue, red, and green.
The Innway Card follows most of the standard protocols for location tracking. Any tracker that’s within range will show up on the map of the dedicated app. The app can connect to the tracker to make it emit high-pitched sounds so you can find the item faster. If the sound isn’t loud enough, you can use signal strength as an indicator. If the tracker gets off-range, it will ping its last location on your phone.
One of the more notable features of Innway is its phone finder feature. This feature lets you find your phone even when the tracker is not attached to it. However, note that this will only work if the phone you are searching for has been paired with the tracker. This works because you have to press the button on the tracker, which will trigger your phone to ring.
The Innway Card is compatible with Android and iOS devices. The devices must also have support for Bluetooth 4.0.
The Chipolo Card is another card-based Bluetooth tracker for your wallet. It’s roughly a third of the size of a credit card but twice the thickness. The device tucks into the sleeve of your wallet or bag with ease.
The battery on the Chipolo Card cannot be replaced, but it can last for about a year before needing replacement. The accompanying app will also send you a warning when the battery is about to die.
The Chipolo Card is available in a single color of white.
Location tracking for Chipolo is pretty standard. Like other devices, you need to download an app that will allow you the tracker’s real-time location. If the tracker goes out of range, you can report it as a lost item. This will activate a global community-finder feature. It doesn’t matter if someone takes your tracker overseas. It will ping a location once it comes near another Chipolo tracker.
The Chipolo Card also has a variety of very novel features. It includes one that sends you an alert whenever you’ve left your phone behind. This works with the assumption that you keep your tracker in your wallet or bag and that your phone has to be in there.
Another feature lets you take a selfie with your phone by simply clicking on a button on the tracker. This feature is a breath of fresh air from having to hold your phone while taking a selfie.
Another very cool feature lets you ask Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri to find your tracker. You’ll need to pair your tracker with your smart speaker and other devices, but it’s definitely worth the effort.
Chipolo is compatible with Android and iOS devices. Not all devices, though. For Apple devices, it has to run on at least iOS 12, and for Android, it at least Android 7.
The Tile Pro is another tile-based Bluetooth tracker to help you find your frequently misplaced items. It’s the iteration to the highly popular Tile Mate. It has a nearly identical design to the Tile Mate, except it’s slightly larger in form. The device also maintains the round hole at the top corner for easy attachment to a key ring.
The Tile Pro carries a replaceable battery, which means that you can use the device for a long time. You’ll need to change its batteries at least once a year.
The Tile Pro is available in black and white colors. But the brand is also offering seasonal, funky designs on its website. The names of the designs are just as creative, with options like Paradise, Spaceman, and more.
The Tile Pro is similar in many ways to the Tile Mate and follows the same protocols for location tracking. The tracker will send its real-time location to a dedicated app on your phone while within range. It also features a loud alarm that you can trigger to help you find it. It will also get you access to a community-finder feature that will allow it to piggyback on the signals of other Tile trackers.
The key aspect that makes the Tile Pro different from Tile Mate relates to its range. The Tile Pro boasts of a slightly improved range of 200 feet, 50 feet more than the Tile Mate. However, a few factors can affect the signals passing in between the device and the tracker. These can include obstructions such as walls or objects in between the tracker and the receiving device. While obstructions don’t completely block off Bluetooth signals, they do get diminished by obstructions.
The Tile Pro is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. The devices must also have support for Bluetooth 4.0.
The subscription option available for Tile Mate is also available for Tile Pro. A subscription comes with Smart Alerts, which sends you reminders for valuables you’ve left behind. It also comes with free battery replacements and 30 days location history.
The Galaxy Smart Tag is the latest iteration in the lineup of Samsung smart tags. It takes on a soft, diamond-shaped design with a round hole at the top to attach to a keychain. The device was designed to attach to a keychain with your keys, but you can also string it up to your bag and other valuables.
The Galaxy SmartTag operates on a standard button battery that you can replace once a year. It’s also waterproof and dust-proof. The device is available in neutral colors, black and white.
The Galaxy SmartTag works like your typical tracker but with some improvements. The SmartTag is both BLE and UWB enabled, which allows for more precise location tracking. The tracker works with an AR finder on your phone that shows you exactly how far away the device is. It will also guide you towards the item as it can take stock of your current position. You can also trigger an alarm that will make the tracker emit high-pitched sounds.
The Galaxy SmartTag also boasts an extended range of 400 feet (393 meters). However, obstructions like walls and objects can diminish the signal between the device and the tracker. As such, we are inclined to think that the actual levels would be less than the stipulated range.
The Galaxy SmartTag features an AR finder. This AR finder will interactively guide you to your phone’s location using graphics. SmartTag can also work with a few internet of things (IoT) devices in your home. For example, if you forget to turn off a light inside your room, you can use the SmartTag app to turn it off remotely.
The Galaxy SmartTag only works with Galaxy phones and tablets. It pairs with the latest version of the Smart Things app, which is pre-installed on Galaxy devices. Users are also allowed to add as many as 200 SmartTags to a single device.
Chipolo One is a small, circular Bluetooth tracker that you can track your frequently misplaced items. It’s only a little wider yet thinner compared to the Apple AirTag. It has a smooth, plastic casing and a circular button on top to attach to keychains and even pet collars.
Chipolo One carries a replaceable button battery that works for about two years before needing to be replaced. It is also dust and water-resistant. The device is available in various colors, including black, white, red, blue, yellow, and green.
The Chipolo One follows the standard method for tracking devices. It has an accompanying app that you need to use to locate your devices in real-time. The tracker itself has an alarm that you can trigger remotely to help you find it within close range. Should your tracker go off range for any reason, you can report it as lost so that other Chipolo trackers nearby can help in the search.
One of the more novel features of Chipolo One is its ability to integrate with the virtual assistant Siri. That is, you can instruct Siri to look for your tracker within the house. You can also instruct Siri to engage the tracker’s alarm, to turn it on or off. If you’re curious to know which of the three virtual assistants are the best, check out this comparative analysis of Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant.
Another key feature is the out-of-range alerts. This feature sends you a notification via the app whenever you leave an item with a Chipolo chip attached to it. It could be anything from your keys to your tablet case to your bag. It’s a similar feature to Smart alerts from Tile, except that the service is free.
Another feature allows you to use the tracker’s button as a trigger for your phone camera. In other words, you simply have to click the button on the tracker to take a picture. It’s a novel and hands-free way to take selfies.
The Chipolo One is compatible with Android and iOS devices. For Apple devices, it has to run on at least iOS 12, and for Android, it has to run at least Android 7. The devices must also have support for Bluetooth 4.0.
The Cube Pro is a compact, square-shaped device that’s meant to help you find your frequently misplaced items. The device comes after the original Cube tracker and is the second device in the Cube lineup. It’s covered in sturdy, rubber material-lined metal bearings.
The Chipolo One is being advertised mainly as a key finder. However, it’s also able to attach to other things like phones, handbags, or even pet collars. It has a button battery that you can replace about after a year of use. It’s also water-resistant and dust-proof. The device is available only in the color black.
The location tracking features of Cube Pro follow the standard. It syncs with a special app that lets you know the real-time location of your item within range. It also notifies you in case the item goes off- range. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any community-finder features for the Cube Pro. But perhaps it takes a little time for the company to add that feature.
The Cube Pro improves upon the range of the original Cube tracker. The Cube tracker only had a range of 100 feet, but the Pro has 200 feet. It’s also a little smaller in size and width compared to the original Cube. But again, the presence of obstructions can affect the actual turnout of the range.
One of the more novel features of Cube Pro is its ability you know when you’ve left it at home or in the office. If your phone gets within a certain distance from the tracker, it will send you a notification. This is great for when you accidentally leave a valuable at home.
Another novel feature allows you to take hands-free selfies with your camera. That is, you can use the button on the device to substitute for your phone’s camera button. You can stay as far as 30 feet from the camera and then press the device to have your picture taken.
The Cube Pro is compatible with Android and iOS devices. The devices must also have support for Bluetooth 4.0.
The Nutale Nut3 Keyfinder is another compact Bluetooth tracker with a gorgeous design. The device is covered in plastic swirls that make it look like a seashell with a square body. It has hinges on the top-left corner to attach to keychains connected to your keys, handbag, backpack, and so on.
The Nut3 carries a replaceable button battery that works for about two years before needing to be replaced. Unfortunately, the Nut3 doesn’t have a waterproof rating. It might not hold against rain or accidental water spills. You can take your pick between white and grey color options for the Nut3.
The Nut3 boasts a range of 400 feet, which is quite impressive for its size. An app accompanies a real-time location map to show you exactly where your item is within the specified range. The tracker has an alarm that you can trigger using the in-app functions. This should help you find items within a close range much faster.
The most notable feature of the device is its ability to help you out when you’ve lost your phone. If your phone is missing, you can press the tracker to make it ring your phone remotely. In the event that the tracker gets out of range, both the tracker and your phone will beep to alert you.
The Nutale Nut3 is compatible with Android and iOS devices. More specifically, it works with devices running on iOS 7 and later and on Android 4.3 and later. The devices must also have support for Bluetooth 4.0.
The Tile Sticker is another Bluetooth tracker that can help you locate your missing items. It’s probably the most compact device in the lineup of Tile trackers. Its width is close to that of a single coin, while its height is four coins. It has an adhesive pad on its back that’s meant to attach to various things like your wallet, your passport, or even your pet.
The Tile Sticker is too small to carry replaceable batteries, but the one it has can last for up to three years. It’s also waterproof and dust-proof. The device is available only in black.
The Tile Sticker has the same functionality as the other Tile trackers. It can detect whenever your device is within range or if it is out of range, and the Tile app should help you find things in real time. This Bluetooth tracker also features an alarm that will ring loudly when prompted via an app. It also benefits from Tile’s famous community-finder feature that allows other devices to help out with the search.
The feature that’s most notable about the Tile Sticker is its range. It has a range of 400 feet, which is honestly pretty impressive for a device so small. Naturally, there will be factors that come into play when it comes to the actual range. But if you keep your devices within the home most of the time.
All Tile devices are also equipped with buttons that can help you find your phone. Pressing on the button will trigger your phone to make a sound, which would make it easier for you to find it. If you get a subscription, you’ll be able to get Smart Alerts. The app also allows you to grant access to other family members so they can help you track your item.
Tile Sticker is compatible with Android and iOS devices. These devices must also have support for Bluetooth 4.0.
How Does a Bluetooth Tracker Work?
Before you can track anything with your Bluetooth tracker, you need to connect it to your device. This process will allow the two devices to share data, which is a process referred to as encryption. The pairing of the devices should enable them to communicate, and the tracker will be able to send signals allowing the device to estimate its location.
Each tracker can present itself to the device it is paired with, but it doesn’t present itself to any other device in the area using Bluetooth. In other words, the exchange of data is exclusive between the device and the tracker. Other Bluetooth devices within the vicinity will not be able to intercept the data. This should make it nearly impossible for an outsider to hack into your connection to view the data. But if you want to maintain a secure connection overall, you may also opt to set up a VPN.
The two devices will continue to send signals to each other, and the user will be able to view the tracker’s location on a map within a dedicated app. Using this map, the user can then search for the item that the Bluetooth tracker is attached to. For example, if you accidentally dropped your phone in a park somewhere, or if you forgot where you left your keys.
Most Bluetooth trackers are too small to carry rechargeable batteries. So, most of them carry built-in batteries. Some batteries can be replaced while some can’t. If you can’t replace a battery, you have to replace the whole device when the battery dies. But it shouldn’t be that big of a problem since Bluetooth trackers are much cheaper than GPS trackers.
Bluetooth vs. GPS Trackers
There are, in general, two categories of trackers available in the market. Those are GPS trackers and Bluetooth trackers. While these two categories share the same purpose, there are key differences between them.
The first key difference relates to the range. GPS trackers can provide an updated location regardless of distance. On the other hand, Bluetooth trackers are limited to a range of 200 feet. The difference is that GPS trackers rely on both a mobile internet connection and satellite to generate information about a real-time location. Bluetooth devices don’t rely on a cellular connection and instead rely exclusively on the strength of the wireless connection between two devices.
Most Bluetooth trackers are equipped with an alarm that makes sounds. It can be triggered to make sounds via a mobile app or automatically make a sound when it gets out of range. This is supposed to help you pinpoint the exact location of the device and fast. On the other hand, you have GPS trackers that are not usually equipped with alarms. If they do, it could mean additional costs either for the device itself or through monthly fees.
Most Bluetooth trackers offer community-based assistance to help you find items that are out of range. The user would first have to report the tracker lost or stolen through the app. Once that tracker gets within range of another tracker, the app will send the owner notification and the last seen location of the tracker. It’s a simple process, and it seems to work well in practice.
Bluetooth trackers are usually compact devices that can easily fit into your pocket. Some are as small as keychains and are meant to be attached to your keys. On the other hand, GPS trackers tend to be bulkier since they carry more components. As such, you would rarely find a GPS tracker that’s the size of a keychain.
Important Bluetooth Tracker Features to Consider
If you are considering buying a tracker, there are a few things that you need to consider first. You want to see specifications in your tracker, which would make your life easier when searching for your items.
The first thing that you need to look at is range. How far can the device be tracked via Bluetooth signal before it goes off the map? Most Bluetooth trackers would have a range between 150 to 200 feet. A longer range will better improve your chances of finding your lost items. More powerful trackers with at least 400 feet in range tend to cost more. But at the same time, they will allow you a larger space in which to view your item’s location. Keep in mind that some manufacturers can exaggerate the actual range of their devices.
Bluetooth trackers are great for finding things that you’ve misplaced around the house. As such, it helps when the tracker has an alarm capability that will alert you to its specific location. Trackers that emit higher decibel sounds are, of course, much easier to find. Forgot where you put your phone down before going to bed? You can instruct the tracker to make a noise so you can locate your phone.
Another consideration that you need to make is whether the tracker is compatible with your device. Most trackers are compatible with all types of devices. But there are those (e.g., Apple AirTags) that only work with iOS devices. Make sure to check that the tracker will work on your phone. Otherwise, the tracker will not work at all.
You’ll also want to know how strong the battery of the tracker is. You’ll want to know how long it will last on a single charge and its product lifetime. Its battery life per charge is important since it will tell you how much time you have to look for an item if it gets lost. If the battery dies, it will no longer ping its location to your phone.
It’s also important to consider the product lifetime since this will give you an idea of when you need to replace the device. An increasing number of trackers are using rechargeable batteries. These tend to be more expensive than non-rechargeable ones, but they are better for your pocket and the environment in the long run.
You’ll also want to consider the items that you want to attach the tracker to. Most trackers have a particular use case in mind, even though they claim to be multi-purpose. You can usually spot a tracker’s purpose based on its design.
For example, trackers like the Chipolo One have compact frames and a hole in them. This tells you that they’re meant to attach to keys. Trackers like Innway Card are made to look like real cards because they’re meant to slip into your work case or wallet. Other trackers, like the Tile Sticker, have adhesives to help them attach to flat surfaces. Still, trackers like Apple AirTags are designed to work with accessories to fit into various use cases.
In some cases, you have to exercise your creativity to make the tracker stick to the device that you want. There are also a bunch of accessories online that can help you secure your tracker.
Bluetooth trackers aren’t perfect, but they’re great for everyday use. They’re great for looking for items that you commonly misplace. They’re also great for keeping track of items that are too important for you to lose and ensuring specific items are with you when you go out. In these cases, a Bluetooth tracker can go a long way. However, there are also cases where Bluetooth trackers won’t be of help to you at all. If traveling to a far-off location or having a person or large item to track, a GPS tracker might be better.
Overall, Bluetooth trackers are one of the more practical inventions of late and a must-have for everyone. There’s a possibility that these Bluetooth trackers will eventually integrate within the IoT environment. Check out this list of the most popular IoT devices today.