Keys on ground with person walking away in the background

Never Be Late Again: The Best Key Finders of 2022

By Lazar Stojadinovic AccessoriesNo Comments

Key finders as a concept might seem a bit much at first glance: do we really need a smart gadget on our key rings too? If you’ve ever lost your keys or other important items when you most need them, you already know what the answer is.

There’s nothing worse than getting ready for an important meeting or rushing to catch a flight just to realize you can’t find your keys! Streams of cold sweat and swearing followed by turning the whole house upside down and eventually finding them under the fridge (?!) a few seconds before you were about to burst into tears. 

Although this (hopefully) doesn’t happen all the time, when it does, it really has the potential to ruin your day. Thankfully, the gadget gods have heard our prayers, and there are now a whole bunch of different trackers that are all aiming to help you out in your time of need.

Today, we’re tracking down (pun intended) the best key finders worth buying in 2022.

Apple AirTag: The Best Choice for iPhone Owners
  • Weight: 0.4 ounces
  • Dimensions: 1.3 inches (diameter), 0.3 inches (height)
  • Range: unspecified (Bluetooth)/global (Find My network)
  • Two-Way Finding? No
  • Battery Life: 1 year (replaceable)

Sale
Tile Pro: The Best Key Finder Overall
  • Weight: 0.4 ounces
  • Dimensions: 2.3 x x 1.3 x 0.3 inches
  • Range: 400 feet (Bluetooth)/global (Tile network)
  • Two-Way Finding? Yes
  • Battery Life: 1 year (replaceable)

Tile Mate: The Budget-Friendly Alternative
  • Weight: 0.3 ounces
  • Dimensions: 1.4 x 1.4 x 0.3 inches
  • Range: 250 feet (Bluetooth)/global (Tile network)
  • Two-Way Finding? Yes
  • Battery Life: 3 years (non-replaceable)

Esky 80dB RF: An Affordable Multi-Pack Option
  • Weight: 0.3 ounces
  • Dimensions: 1.9 x 1.3 x 0.2 inches
  • Range: 100 feet
  • Two-Way Finding? No
  • Battery Life: 6-9 months

Samsung Galaxy SmartTag: Ideal for Those With Galaxy Devices
  • Weight: 0.5 ounces
  • Dimensions: 1.5 x 1.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Range: 400 feet (Bluetooth)/global (Galaxy Find network)
  • Two-Way Finding? Yes
  • Battery Life: 1 year (replaceable)

Chipolo ONE: Extra Features at a Reasonable Price
  • Weight: 0.3 ounces
  • Dimensions: 1.5 x 1.5 x 0.3 inches
  • Range: 200 feet (Bluetooth)/global (Chipolo network)
  • Two-Way Finding? Yes
  • Battery Life: 2 years (replaceable)

Our Criteria

Key finders are a simple concept: you attach them to an item you don’t want to lose (it’s not restricted only to keys) and use a device to locate them, usually your smartphone. It’s the extra features and nuances that can make a particular model perfect or a total bust, however, depending on your needs.

Range and Network

The best key finders usually let you find a lost device in multiple ways. Bluetooth/RF helps you find a nearby device by sounding an alarm. If that fails, better versions also report in to a server: as long as you have internet access, you can see their last known location on a map. 

We’ll also talk about key finders that can communicate with other devices on the same network and help you locate your lost item wherever it may be.

Volume

Being within range means nothing if you can’t hear the key finder alarm. It’s an even bigger issue when the sound is muffled because the tracker is buried between the sofa cushions or at the bottom of a handbag. Unlike many things in life, in this case, louder is better.

Durability

Sadly, you can’t guarantee that you’re only going to lose your keys indoors. Look for a tracker that’s durable enough to withstand the elements: it’s not going to be much use to you if it stops working when it gets dirty or wet.

Battery

The best key finders have a long-lasting battery: they’re meant to be devices that we can basically forget about until they’re needed, and let’s face it, we’ve all got too many devices to charge as it is. If the battery isn’t rechargeable, make sure it’s at least replaceable and of a type that’s easy enough to buy.

Two-Way Finding

More often than not, you’ll use your phone to locate your key finder. That’s great, right up until the point where you lose your phone. Two-way finding solves this problem: just press a button on the tracker, and your phone will start making a sound.

If you can’t find your phone or your key finder in the morning, well, at least you know you had one hell of a party the night before.

Price

Key finders give you great peace of mind, and pay off instantaneously the first time you use them. Even so, it still makes sense not to pay a fortune for them, especially since you may well want to get multiple trackers so you can attach them to all of your important items.

Once you find one you like, you’ll likely stick with the same type, since you don’t want to have several apps doing essentially the same thing. Therefore, choose wisely; over time there’ll be more in the price than that $10-20 initial difference.

Ok, with all that out of the way, let’s look at the options!

Apple AirTag: The Best Choice for iPhone Owners

Apple AirTag

We start the list with probably the best-known key finder out there, Apple's AirTag. As with other Apple electronics, it’s well-made, gives you access to a bunch of features, and isn’t cheap.

The most significant advantage of the AirTag is that it connects with the Find My network. Thanks to that, you can get an assist in finding your lost item from all the other hundreds of millions of iPhones, Macs, and iPads around the world.

As long as your gear (or child, or pet) have an AirTag on them, any passing Apple device with an internet connection will quietly pass along their location.

If you have a modern iPhone (11 and above), you’ll be able to use Precision Finding, which helps you find the exact location of your AirTag if it’s in the vicinity. You’ll see a convenient arrow on your phone screen, telling you which direction to go and exactly how far away your lost device is. 

Want to know more about how the AirTag works in the real world? We covered it in much greater detail here.

The AirTag can also play a sound to help you find it when it’s nearby: it’s doesn’t have the highest volume of the trackers we’ve come across, but if you use Precision Finding to get you close, it’s loud enough. You can also trigger the sound via Siri, so you don’t even have to bother opening your iPhone app. 

Subtle and attractive in an understated way, the AirTag is surprisingly robust. It’s easily able to handle dust and immersion in water, with an IP67 rating that’s about as good as you’ll find in consumer electronics. The battery is a standard CR 2032 type, and should last around a year between replacements.

As with other Apple devices, however, AirTags aren’t particularly cheap. That’s not helped by the need to buy a holder or other accessory just to attach it to a key ring, since there’s no inbuilt hole.

Pros
  • Uses huge network of Apple devices to report location
  • Durable and reliable
  • Attractive
  • Good battery life
Cons
  • Not cheap and requires extras to attach to keyring
  • Only good for Apple/iPhone users: largely useless for Android owners
Buy on Amazon

Tile Pro: The Best Key Finder Overall

Tile Pro (2022) 1-Pack. Powerful Bluetooth Tracker, Keys Finder and Item Locator for Keys, Bags, and More; Up to 400 ft Range. Water-Resistant. Phone Finder. iOS and Android Compatible.

The Tile Pro is a genuinely impressive key finder, with a wide range of features that work at least as well as, and often better than, competing products.

First, the 400ft Bluetooth feet range is unmatched, letting you find your lost item across a wide area no matter how big your home or yard is. A super-loud alarm will sound at the touch of a button in the app, and you’ll be able to find what’s lost in seconds. Well, as long as it’s in the vicinity.

The Tile network is there for those unfortunate times when you’ve lost your belongings outside Bluetooth range of wherever you are. With it, you can see the last known location of your Tile, but also use the millions-strong community to track and report its location in the same way as Apple’s network.

If you press a button on your Tile Pro twice, it will sound an alarm on your phone, even if it’s on silent mode. Two-way tracking like this is always nice to have, especially if you’re as prone to misplacing your phone as you are your keys!

Tile Pro is compatible with Android and iOS devices, but also Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, which will make your early morning key-hunting missions a lot less stressful.

Tile Pro has an aluminum body and, like the AirTag, an IP67 rating against water and dust. In short, it can handle knocks and drops, and won’t stop working if it gets wet or dirty. The replaceable CR 2032 battery lasts around a year, and the tracker has a convenient hole for easy attachment to key rings or carabiners.

There’s a premium version of the Tile app that unlocks extra features like 30-day location history and smart notifications that tell you when your item is out of range, but the free version covers the core essentials you need. 

The Tile Pro ticks all the boxes we look for in a key finder and has broad platform support across Apple, Android, and other devices, which is why we consider it the best key finder you can buy at the moment.

It’s not cheap, but given all the features it comes with, it still feels like good value. If you need more than one, multi-pack options are available to bring the per-unit price down.

Pros
  • Excellent range
  • Replaceable battery
  • Aluminum body and IP67 rating
  • Loud
Cons
  • Pricey compared to some others 
Buy on Amazon

Tile Mate: The Budget-Friendly Alternative

Tile Mate (2022) 1-Pack.Black. Bluetooth Tracker, Keys Finder and Item Locator for Keys, Bags and More; Up to 250 ft. Range. Water-Resistant. Phone Finder. iOS and Android Compatible.

If Tile Pro is too expensive or bulky, or you don’t need all those extra features but still want a reliable key finder, look no further than the Tile Mate.

Compared to its premium cousin, Tile Mate doesn’t fall behind far behind its premium cousin. The 250ft range is still higher than much of the competition, for instance, and you can still use the app and other devices on the Tile network to help you find it your lost items.

The Mate also supports two-way finding to track your lost phone when it tries to ruin your morning by slipping down the side of the bed, and just like the Pro, you can unlock additional premium features by paying for a subscription.

The Mate works with both Android and Apple devices, along with Google Home and Alexa, so it easily integrates with your current setup.

IP67 water and dust resistance means the Mate will survive getting wet, and battery life is very impressive, at up to three years. There’s a major drawback to that long life, however: you can’t replace the battery. Once it dies, the tracker just becomes e-waste, and you’ll need to buy a new one.

Pros
  • Great price
  • Works with a wide range of devices
  • Good range
Cons
  • Non-replaceable battery
Buy on Amazon

Esky 80dB RF: An Affordable Multi-Pack Option

Key Finder, Esky 80dB RF Item Locator with 100ft Working Range, Wireless Wallet Tracker with 1 Transmitter and 6 Receivers for Finding Key, Remote, Pet and Wallet, Batteries Included-Black

While both Tile models and AirTag are great, if you need to purchase multiple key finders to cover all your devices, things start getting expensive. Even if you buy bundles, you’ll have spent a whole lot of money by the time you’ve bought 5+ premium trackers.

But what if you just need something basic to help you find a bunch of things around the house? What if you aren’t a tech person, or think having another app on your phone just to find your keys is too much? 

If any of the above sounds like you, take a look at the Esky 80dB RF key finder. Designed for those who lose, well, everything, you get a pack of six convenient key finders for around the price of a single premium tracker.

In contrast to the models we’ve mentioned above, these key finders are very simple. Each one is color-coded, and attaches to an item you don’t want to lose via a built-in hole. If you misplace an item, you just press a button on the remote to make the corresponding colored key finder ring.

And ring it will — loudly! As the name suggests, you’ll get anything up to 80dB at close range, which means you should be able to hear the key finder sounding no matter where you misplaced it around your home. There’s also a blinking red LED for low-light situations.

This key finder is really designed for in-house use: it has a limited range compared to others on the list, of up to 100 feet. This isn’t ideal, but since it’s meant for search missions inside your home, it’s not a dealbreaker.

The design and quality of the key finders is pretty good for the money: they’re quite thin, and look basic but not unattractive as these things go. The replaceable CR 2032 batteries last a few months, and the remote comes with a convenient stand.

Because there’s no app, your key finders become little more than a weird-looking key chain attachment if you can’t find the remote. In other words, don’t lose it! We’d suggest leaving it on the stand at all times unless you’re physically using it.

Pros
  • Excellent value
  • Track up to six different items
  • Simple to use
Cons
  • No customization and quite basic
  • Low range
  • Requires a physical remote, so less useful outside the house
Buy on Amazon

Samsung Galaxy SmartTag: Ideal for Those With Galaxy Devices

SAMSUNG Galaxy SmartTag Bluetooth Smart Home Accessory Tracker, Attachment Locator for Lost Keys, Bag, Wallet, Luggage, Pets, Glasses, 2021, US Version, Black

Samsung released the Galaxy SmartTag a few months before Apple announced its AirTag, and they’re pretty similar. This is a high-quality, premium tracker that’s priced towards the top end of the market, and leverages a large network of other devices to report its location once out of Bluetooth range.

A SmartTag lets you search for nearby lost items via Bluetooth, with an (unobstructed) range of up to 400ft. There are multiple volume and sound options to choose from, and at the maximum setting, SmartTags are very loud. 

If the tracker gets out of Bluetooth range, you can connect to the Samsung Galaxy Network and find your lost item with the help of other Galaxy device owners. This is a big plus given the millions of Galaxy devices worldwide, even though the network isn’t as big as Apple’s.

SmartTags really shine if you own other smart items within your home, at least if they’re compatible with the Samsung ecosystem. You can use the SmartThings app to configure the behavior of those devices and do things like (for example) turn on the lights in your house just by pressing a button on your SmartTag.

Although not cheap, the biggest drawback of the SmartTag is that it only works with Galaxy devices. If you don’t own any, you should look elsewhere. But, for those of you who are already a part of the Galaxy ecosystem, SmartTag is an excellent key finder with features you won’t find elsewhere.

Pros
  • Excellent for Galaxy device owners
  • Many options and impressive customization
  • Works with the entire Samsung-compatible smart ecosystem
Cons
  • Only good for Galaxy users
  • Not the cheapest
Buy on Amazon

Chipolo ONE: Extra Features at a Reasonable Price

Chipolo ONE (2020) - 1 Pack - Key Finder, Bluetooth Tracker for Keys, Bag, Item Finder. Free Premium Features. iOS and Android Compatible (Black)

Last on our list is the Chipolo ONE, a reasonably-priced key tracker with a surprisingly wide range of features for the money.

ONE works with Android and iOS devices, plus voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. Those integrations let you quickly locate your key finder even if your phone has disappeared. Once you do, two-way finding helps find your phone: press a button on the ONE twice to start the phone ringing.

It’s worth noting that the ONE is very loud (up to 120db), so there’s no chance you’ll miss hearing it if it’s anywhere nearby. If it turns out to be out of Bluetooth range, you can check its last known location on the map using the Chipolo app.

There’s even a community search option, where all other Chipolo devices will be on alert for your lost item. It’s not a patch on the Apple, Samsung, or Tile versions, just because there are nowhere near as many compatible devices out there in the world, but it’s a lot better than nothing.

The ONE has an impressive range of features for the price. You’ll get “out of range” alerts for free, for example, a feature many other manufacturers only give to premium (i.e., paying) users. You can also use it as a wireless camera shutter for your phone, and share it with other family members so they can also make it ring.

It has a replaceable CR 2032 battery, with an impressive two-year lifespan. It’s splashproof (IPX5-rated), which is useful, although other devices on this list have better protection. As for the Bluetooth range, it’s decent at up to 200 feet, but won’t break any records.

Pros
  • Very loud
  • Good value
  • Useful features
  • Out-of-range alerts included for free
Cons
  • Not the best range or durability
Buy on Amazon

Main image via Aleksander_Gwiazda/Shutterstock.com, product images via Amazon

About the Author
Lazar Stojadinovic

Lazar Stojadinovic

Lazar is a fitness enthusiast, ex-gaming addict, tech geek who loves computers more than people, cat lover with a legal degree, and a professional maker of failed plans. Oh, and he's a freelance writer as well.

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