Best Bluetooth Tracker of 2021
The Innway Tag is a spectacular all-around product. Right out of the box, we liked the setup of this model — it has a QR code on the packaging, which automatically opens the app download link when scanned. Pairing the tag with a smartphone was simple. After setup, we found the Innway app to be impressively straightforward and easy to use with a simple and intuitive user interface. One of our favorite features of the Innway Tag is that it has an IP67 waterproof rating, meaning that it can withstand complete submersion in up to a meter of water for an hour. During our range testing, we activated the alarm tone on this tracker from an impressive 395 feet.
Although we couldn't find too much to complain about, the Innway Tag did fall short in some areas. The alarm tones that the device emits are pretty faint. If you've misplaced the item you're searching for under blankets, beneath couch cushions, or between car seats, you'll need to listen very carefully to locate your misplaced possessions. Innway also doesn't currently offer a computer app, so the only way to find their trackers is by using the smartphone app.
If range, loudness, and customization are priorities on your list of essential factors when considering a tracker, check out the Nutale Nut3. We were able to keep a smartphone connected to this tracker from a whopping 402 feet. The tremendous range coupled with a 78.5-decibel alert volume means you'll be locating your missing items in no time. We love the variety of settings programmed into the Nut3. The alert on the device and the phone alert can be set to play for 5 seconds so that you aren't annoying coworkers or housemates. This model can also be set up to 60 seconds so that you don't have to keep sounding the alert multiple times while you search for your items. We also appreciate the ability to choose from ten different phone tones.
However, we found it somewhat disappointing that the Nut3 lacks a waterproof rating. Many Bluetooth trackers have a "community search" — a platform where the other users of the same trackers will automatically update your items' location if they come within range of the device. Although Nutale does offer a community search, there aren't nearly as many users as several other tracker brand communities, so the likelihood of this being a viable method of item location is significantly reduced. Despite the drawbacks, this tracker is still the way to go if volume and range are your primary purchasing factors.
Dimensions: 47 x 47 x 2.2 mm | Weight: 9.76 grams
If having a cutting-edge app to accompany your Bluetooth tracker is a priority for you, take a look at the Cube Shadow. The Cube smartphone app works seamlessly with the tracker. A great feature is the "crowd find" community that will alert the user of a lost tracker location if another Cube user happens to come within range of the device. The Cube app works fantastically with Alexa. If you have an Alexa-enabled device, you can simply ask it to ring your wallet, keys, phone, or any item you've tagged with a Cube tracker. This manufacturer takes the app side of trackers a step further than most — in addition to a smartphone app, Cube also has a free computer app that allows you to see your trackers and your phone on an interactive map and activate alerts for either of them. We measured a volume of 79.3 decibels from two feet away, so hearing the alerts won't be an issue with this model. The Shadow also has an IP67 waterproof rating and is recharged using its included magnetic charging cable.
Where the Shadow fell short was its range — we could only activate the alert tone from a maximum distance of 72 feet. We also found the shape of the device somewhat awkward. It's slim enough to fit in a wallet, but it doesn't have the exact dimensions of a credit card like other card-style trackers, so it may be a bit bulky for this application. There is also no way to attach it to a keyring, so you'll have to use one of the included stickers to attach it to an object with a loop or lanyard. Drawbacks aside, we recommend the Shadow for anyone looking for an Alexa-enabled Bluetooth tracker.
If you have a Galaxy, the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag is a solid option. Not only is the SmartTag a Bluetooth tracker, but it also works as a remote control for the Samsung SmartThings app. It can control devices around the house, such as lights or even a smart lock or air conditioner. We love Samsung's Galaxy Find Network. If you lose the item that the tag is attached to, any Galaxy Find Network-enabled device that comes within range of the tag will pick up its signal and relay a private notification letting you know its location. Considering that there are many more Galaxy users than Bluetooth tracker-specific brand network users, this dramatically increases your chances of locating the tag. Lastly, this device is one of the loudest trackers that we've gotten our hands on. Once you're in range, chances are, you are going to hear it.
Despite the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag's many impressive features, it's not without its flaws. First, it's bigger and heavier than most tag-style trackers in our review. Considering that we are talking about differences of grams and millimeters, this isn't a dealbreaker. Second, when we broke out our measuring wheel for the Bluetooth range test, we were unimpressed with the distance this model requires for a connection and subsequent alert. But the biggest disappointment while assessing this product was discovering that a cellular data or WiFi connection must be established on the Samsung Galaxy phone for it to track the tag. Several competitor's tags can be found while the phone has nothing but Bluetooth signal — even if the WiFi and cellular data is disabled — as long as the tag is within range. Regardless, we still think the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag is a great option for Galaxy users who want to use the tag as a controller for their smart home devices, or those looking for an outstanding community find network.
In the world of credit card-shaped Bluetooth trackers, the Innway Card is the champion. This device offers the same simple setup as its cousin, the Innway Tag. We were able to stay connected to this device for a measured distance of 125 feet, which is significantly further than the other card trackers in our review. As with the other Innway trackers, the Card has a waterproof rating of IP67, meaning that it can be submerged in up to a meter of water for an hour before sustaining any damage. This model is also rechargeable, and it's so thin that you'll barely notice it in your wallet or purse.
We aren't overly impressed by the alert volume produced by the Innway Card. Using a sound pressure level meter from a distance of 2 feet away from the tracker with the alarm enabled, we could only get a maximum reading of 61.5 decibels. If you'd like to rely on sound to find your items solely, we suggest choosing a model that emits a louder alert. Regardless, this is our favorite credit card-style model.
The Tile Sticker is compact — with a disk shape and a diameter roughly the size of a quarter, it's ideal for sticking to just about any loss-prone belonging you can think of. Even with this model's miniature size, it produces quite a bit of noise with a measured sound pressure level of 72.8 decibels from 2 feet away. A perk of choosing a Tile brand tracker is the vast network of people using the community platform. When an item is lost, Tile will update you with a location if any other members of the platform come within range of your tracker, without notifying them. The Tile app also works with Siri shortcuts, so you'll be able to ring your lost items without ever lifting a finger. The Tile claims that the Sticker is waterproof, although there are no official ratings on their website or packaging.
The main flaw we found with the Tile Sticker is that you cannot replace the battery. Although the battery lasts for three years, once it's dead, that's it. Tile does, however, offer a subscription service that allows customers to send their trackers in to have batteries replaced. We find this to be inconvenient, considering other trackers are rechargeable or have replaceable batteries. On the subject of subscriptions — some of the Tile capabilities require the user to pay a monthly fee to enable any locked features. If you're going to purchase trackers from this brand, you should include paying for their services in your budget. But, once you get a Tile subscription, they're one of the best all-around brands.
The Kimfly is a great Bluetooth tracker budget buy. It includes two Kimfly tags for less than the price of one of many competitors' products. We measured the range on this model to be a commendable 312 ft, and although it isn't the loudest tracker around, it's still loud enough in most instances. If all you're looking for is a basic tracker without any bells and whistles, we recommend saving the extra few bucks and purchasing the Kimfly.
That said, when compared to its high-tech adversaries, the Kimfly falls short in a few key ways. The app for this model doesn't support connecting more than one tracker to each phone. Even though the package comes with two trackers, you cannot use them both with the same device. This still might be ideal for couples, businesses, or families where each member wants their tracker for their own phone. The app for the Kimfly is weak when compared to the others, and it lacks a community search platform. This tracker only has one tone setting and is not waterproof.
The Tile Slim is our recommendation if you're in the market for a thin, credit card-shaped tracker for use in a wallet, purse, or passport pouch. A variety of nine individual alerts on this model can be set to either a high or low volume. The loudest volume during our tests reached 74.5 decibels, — much louder than the other credit card-style trackers. The Slim is waterproof, so you'll be able to find your lost possessions even with adverse weather conditions. Tile boasts the largest network of community users in the world, meaning that your lost items are much more likely to be found in the background of someone using the platform than many other tracker brands. This device also plays nice with Siri — you can set a shortcut to have your iOS devices trigger the alarm on the tracker.
Tile claims that the battery on the Slim will last for three years, but once it runs out of juice, you have to send it in to have it serviced, or you'll be in the market for a new tracker. Users of the Tile must pay a monthly fee to unlock features for their products that other tracker brands offer for free, but one benefit of paying for the premium upgrade is that the subscription includes free battery changes. This model is also thicker than the other card-style Bluetooth trackers that we have tested. If you own other Tile products, the Slim is a great addition to the family.
The Tile Mate is a standard Bluetooth tracker. We could keep this model connected to a smartphone up to a distance of 379 feet, which is much further than card-style and sticker-style trackers. This model is one of the few Tile trackers that comes with a rechargeable battery. One of our favorite features of the Tile trackers is that they work with Siri shortcuts, which makes it simple and easy to activate the device's audible tone.
We weren't thrilled to discover that the Mate has only one option for tones on the device and companion smartphone considering that many trackers offer several tones for both. This model's alert only registered 60.2 decibels on our sound pressure level meter from a distance of 2 feet. You will have to have some pretty sharp ears if you are going to hear this model from any substantial distance. The Tile Mate is IP55 water-resistant, which, compared to other models, is a lower level of ingress protection (dust and water resistance). We were also disappointed to learn that there is a monthly fee to use several of this device's premium features. It's still a great option if you're willing to dish out a few extra bucks and use Tile's outstanding community search system.
When it comes to credit card-style trackers, the SafeDome has some neat features like its variety of tone settings for phone alerts, and we especially like the innovative wireless charging pad.
Sadly, we found quite a few flaws with this model. With a measured volume of only 52.5 decibels, the alert emitted from this device is practically useless. It also only has one tone option, which is relatively faint and generic. When we broke out the measuring wheel to see how far the SafeDome could stay connected to a smartphone, it lost the signal at only 60 feet.
Why You Should Trust Us
At GearLab, we purchase every product we test at full price from the same retailers as our readers. We never accept freebies, demo models, or prototypes from manufacturers — our goal is to determine which products are simply the best, regardless of the price or name brand associated with them.
We chose our In-House Senior Review Editor Ross Patton to tackle this project. With more than a decade of product testing experience under his belt as well as a formal education in environmental science, Ross is no stranger to comprehensive experiments and tests. He has been an advocate and user of Bluetooth devices since the days of the old-school Motorola Razr flip phones and original iOS — the first platform to allow for head-to-head fighter jet dogfighting simulators without an internet or cellular data connection.
Analysis and Test Results
We divided our overall performance assessment into four individual metrics — ease of use, noise, range, and dimensions.
Ease of Use
To begin our assessment, we examined how difficult or easy each of the various devices are to operate. This metric covers many elements concerning features that enhance the usability of each tracker, such as how difficult each model is to set up, how easily they integrate with their app, and what kinds of settings and modes each tracker possesses.
Right out of the box, we saw some stark differences with the setup process between the trackers. Some models such as the Cube Shadow, Innway Tag, Samsung Galaxy SmartTag, and Innway Card have a QR code on the packaging that can be scanned to link your phone directly to the corresponding app download. Other manufacturers include a link in the instruction booklet that is manually entered to direct the user to the download link. In our review, the Nutale Nut3, Tile, and Kimfly devices use this approach.
The quality and functionality of the apps themselves differ between manufacturers. Our favorite app is the Cube, which offers all of the aforementioned features but also allows you to ring your phone as well as your trackers from a desktop or laptop computer. As a bonus, the Cube user interface works seamlessly with Alexa. Some apps such as the Kimfly's are basic with minimal functionality — the app included with this device shows a bare-bones map and only supports connection for one device at a time. The Nutale easily connects several devices at a time, but along with the Kimfly is limited to smartphones and does not offer a platform for finding your devices with a desktop or laptop computer. We found the Innway and Tile apps to be very similar. Each of them effortlessly connects several devices to one account, and the user can easily view their trackers from a computer.
Many of these devices double as a shutter button for your smartphone camera so you can snap the perfect photo or start and stop video without being near your phone. The models in our review that include this feature are the Cube Shadow, Kimfly, and both Innway models.
Bluetooth trackers have a large variety of settings and capabilities. Most of the products in our review can alert the user when they have stepped out of the tracker's range — a feature that is ideal for those that are constantly walking out the front door without their keys, wallet, or other belongings. The Tile trackers, however, require a subscription and subsequent monthly fee to access the disconnect alerts. The Nutale Nut3 and Cube models have an interim silent mode that disables all alarms and alerts during a certain period, at a certain location, or both.
Some models work well with intelligent assistants such as Siri and Alexa. If this is a feature you're interested in we suggest you look at the Tile and Cube products.
The Samsung Galaxy SmartTag works with the Samsung SmartThings app and can control several smart devices around your home, such as smart locks, lights, and thermostats.
For many people, the size, shape, and weight of a tracker are critical details. For this reason, we carefully weighed each tracker with a laboratory-grade scale and measured each one with a digital caliper.
As far as card-style trackers go, the Innway Card is the closest to the size of an actual credit card. If you're looking for a compact tag-style tracker, the Nutale Nut3 could be an excellent option for you.
The Tile Sticker is extremely compact compared to the others — this device is perfect for keeping track of smaller objects or for hiding on larger belongings such as a bag or golf clubs or a power tool for security purposes.
Many of these devices claim to have a certain degree of waterproofing, but the Cube Shadow, as well as the Innway Card and Innway Tag, are all rated to IP67 waterproof. This means they can be fully submerged in water for an hour at a depth of up to one meter before sustaining any damage.
These devices have a large variety of battery types. The Kimfly, Nutale Nut3, Samsung Galaxy SmartTag, and Innway Tag trackers all utilize replaceable batteries. The Innway Card and the Cube Shadow both have rechargeable batteries — the Innway Card's charging cable attaches to the tracker with a spring-loaded clip while the Shadow employs magnets to connect its cable. The Tile Slim and Tile Tag are not rechargeable, nor do they have replaceable batteries, so when they die, you'll have to send them back to Tile to be serviced or head back to the tracker marketplace for a new device.
To measure range, we connected each tracker to a smartphone and systematically moved it farther and farther away, alerting the device until it could no longer transmit a signal. During this process, we also enabled the disconnect notice on tracker apps when applicable. In every instance, the disconnect notice alerted within a foot or two of when the smartphone lost the capability to transmit to the tracker. We then measured the distance back to the tracker with a measuring wheel.
The Innway Tag and Nutale Nut3 both displayed phenomenal range with a respectable measured distance of 395 feet and 402 feet. The Samsung Galaxy SmartTag held a signal to a so-so distance of 152 feet. The card and sticker-style tracker ranges are significantly shorter than the tags. The Tile Slim showed a decent range of 92 feet, and its little cousin the Tile Sticker disconnected a bit closer at 86 feet. We were unimpressed with the range of the Cube Shadow during our experiment, with a measured range of only 72 feet.
Depending on the situation, a tracker with a smaller range may be a better choice because it will pinpoint a smaller search area on the map. If you're not able to hear the device, it may ultimately add up to less time hunting for it.
For the last section of the review, we used a sound pressure level meter to determine what kind of decibel rating each model produced.
The loudest Bluetooth tracker that we have seen to date is the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag — this model blares out an impressive 86.8 decibels. The SmartTag offers users a large variety of tones and two different volume settings. The Cube Shadow came in second, producing its loudest noise level at 79.3 decibels. This device also has three different tone options on the device itself as well as a list of 15 different tones for the phone alert.
The Nutale Nut3 is not too far behind the Shadow at 78.6 decibels, but it only has one device tone and ten phone tones. However, a feature we appreciated from the Nut3 is that it allows for the user to select a tone duration customized between 5 and 60 seconds in increments of 5 seconds.
The Tile Slim and Tile Sticker both produce decibel levels in the low 70s and have limited tone options, but we love that they include different volume options for the tracker alerts. The Innway Tag is relatively quiet with a measured sound level of 61.8 decibels, but we like that it has three device tones as well as the option to select between three different phone tones. The Kimfly finished a little bit behind the pack in this portion of our review — it emits a so so noise level of 62.9 decibels, but it only has one tone setting for the device and the smartphone it's connected to.
Choosing a product as seemingly simple as a Bluetooth tracker can be a baffling and daunting process. Whether you're looking for a sticker-style model, a tag, or a card, this assessment will lead you down the path to the ideal product for your personal needs. It is our hope that the footwork we've done and the research that we've compiled in our hands-on review will guide you to your perfect tracker.
— Ross Patton