That early-morning scramble to find your keys before you leave the house doesn't have to be so frantic if you've got a wireless key finder handy. No bigger than a standard key chain — and even smaller, in some cases — these dongles connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth LE to alert you when your keys are nearby or in danger of being left behind.

Plenty of key finders promise to keep your valuables close at hand, but after putting a variety of devices through their paces, the second-generation Tile ($25) emerged as the best choice for tracking the whereabouts of your keys, with improved range and a helpful two-way finding feature that lets you locate your phone from your key chain. Our runner-up was the Duet by Protag($29), which packs its feature set into a compact design. If you need a device with a loud alarm, check out the TrackR Bravo ($29), while the Pebblebee Honey ($24) adds other features like the ability to control your smartphone's camera.

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  • Johnbachman
    I am surprised there is mention of the Cube. That is the brand that I hear so much about. How does it stack up with the other key tracker devices. Was it in the test and just didn't rate?
  • mwamac
    This device was not that good. The tile and phone could be right next to each other and not work. It kept losing it's bluetooth connection. Went ahead and returned the tile, if no bluetooth connection, it is useless for finding anything.
  • McMhouse
    I'm looking for a key finder now, and this is the best, most current article I could find. It's a very well-written, in-depth, and comprehensive article. Great work! That said, I agree that the omission of a review of Lapa is a mistake. Would you please add them to your research?

    (I also looked into Pixie, but I don't think there's a need to review them in this article.)
  • loaf__
    I had a TrackR. It is now in the bin. Didn't work and when I dared complain on the Facebook page they deleted my comment and blocked me. Avoid.
  • CRM123
    The Trackr is the worste device. It is barely audible. The bluetooth range is terrible. The bluetooth connection fails all the time and their own tech support recommends that you have to restart the Trackr app on your phone several times per day in order for it to work. Who would do this. Trackr is a useless implementation of a good concept. BUY TILE.
  • larry1976
    Hmmmm... If I buy one Tile at $25 and have to replace it for $12 that's $37 spent in just one year. Not to mention if it goes before 11 months I'm out a beacon until I get a new one. Sure they might let me recycle early but I'm still without a Tile until the replacement gets there.

    If I buy any other beacon I'm still spending $25 average and If I replace the batteries once every 4-6 months I'm out $0.25 per battery (CR2032) and I'm never without my beacon.

    Also not having the Geofence is an even bigger set back. I don't want to have to go looking for something once I've lost it. The whole point is to not lose it and having the alert is huge. Walk away and your phone alerts you're out of range... OH! let me go back and get my item now.

    So the number one beacon costs more because you can't replace the battery and won't alert you before you leave an item behind. But it looks cool, beeps, improved their range from the first generation and you can beep your phone but only if you actually have it.

    That doesn't seem right.
  • Bill62
    In my experience, the tile has been a dismal failure. I tried an experiment and spent a few months with Bluetooth disabled on my phone to see if my tile locations would be updated by other tile users. Absolutely not one update within a two month period. When I bought my tiles, I did so with the understanding that when the battery died I needed to buy a new tile. I had no problem with that notion until the tile people quit reporting my tile location after one year even though my tile had very little use and still had battery life. They showed up green on my phone app, proving they still had battery life, but we're useless because the folks at Tile decided I needed to buy new tiles even though I had functioning tiles.
    This is my first post on this topic, but I have a complete documentation of my experience, including communication with Tile support.
    Not impressive.
  • pixienightfae
    I have tried two item finders - Tile and ProTag Duet.

    With Tile, I was actually a Kickstarter contributor, and it was a pretty abysmal experience. They kept changing the date the tags would be sent out, butting right up to when we were supposed to receive them. Which seems okay, but then I couldn't use it with my phone because I had an Android (which not realizing that was my bad)... luckily, i have a husband with an iPhone. Eventually I stopped using it because they added too much bulk to my wallet. We went back to them and then it said we'd have to replace them - which it wouldn't let me do when we transferred two tiles to my own account (because when we started using them again there WAS an Android app). I hear they are developing a thin tracker now (perfect for wallets), so I might recommend it to my husband - who seems pretty happy with them.

    With Duet, getting them was even WORSE. I was really looking forward to because able to have a credit thick tracker and the battery just didn't last NEARLY as long as it indicated it would. mostly because it would make the alarm go off on my phone if I didn't have the app open. Seriously. It was horrible. Then I broke the back of the other tracker when I went to replace the battery in it. So I called it on that one.

    I might be trying the pebblebee or the Chipolo next because really - it can't be WORSE than either one of those. If Pixies had an Android app, I'd be down to try them also.