In the market for a Bluetooth tracker? We tested and rated top contenders to determine the best models on the market. We began by researching dozens of trackers before ordering the 12 most promising for a head-to-head, hands-on comparison. We measured the range of each model and compared the notification noise level of each device. We carefully considered the difficulty of setting up the trackers and installing their corresponding apps; then, we went through each model's features, settings, and capabilities to determine which ones are the best for which applications and uses.
The Tile Pro is our all-around favorite tracker. It has a Bluetooth range of 400 feet — one of the longest of any model in our review. It is also one of the loudest we tested as well, making items it is attached to with its convenient keyring hole super easy to find, even if they are buried under a couch cushion. It doesn't have a formal ingress protection (IP) rating, but it is water resistant. We also think a neat feature is that you can see how many Tile users are 'in your area' so you can get a sense of how extensive the network is (and thus the probability of finding a lost item that is also out of Bluetooth range).
On the downside, this is also the heaviest of the trackers in our review. Though we are only talking about a few grams, the difference is still noticeable compared to the average model when the device is attached to a set of keys. It may not be the typical user experience, but we also were not able to get this tracker to connect immediately on the initial setup, unlike every other model. Lastly, this is true of all Bluetooth trackers, but the lost mode is only as good as the network of users, and Tile almost certainly has a different scale than Apple or Android phones.
Dimensions: 40 x 40 x 5.8 mm | Weight: 11.36 grams
REASONS TO BUY
Easy to setup and use
REASONS TO AVOID
No computer app
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 is simple. After setup, we found the Innway app impressively straightforward to use with an intuitive interface. One of our favorite features of the Innway Tag is its IP67 waterproof rating, meaning 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.
Though we love this product, it fell short in some areas. The alarm tones that the device emits are faint. If the item you misplaced is hiding under blankets, beneath couch cushions, or between car seats, you'll need to listen very carefully to locate them. Currently, Innway doesn't offer a computer app. That means the only way to find their trackers is via the smartphone app.
The Chipolo One is a top option for anyone who likes extras. This device covers the basics well, with a decent Bluetooth range of 200 feet, a relatively loud alert sound at almost 80 dB from a couple of feet away, and a keyring hole to make it easy to attach to items. This colorful circle tracker is also one of the lightest in the category, meaning it doesn't add much heft to a set of keys. It has six different alert tones to choose from, as well as a directions feature, which tells you how to get to your device if it's out of Bluetooth range, as well as item sharing so that your family members can also track, say, your dog, on their phones. It doubles as a phone camera remote and can also trigger an alert sound from your phone if that happens to be what is lost.
The primary downside is the comparative size of its network. Once a tracker floats out of Bluetooth range from its connected phone, it relies on other phones with the Chipolo app to ping a new location. With that in mind, the Chipolo network must be just a fraction of the size of the 1.5 billion iPhone users worldwide (any one of which could ping an AirTag, for example). The alert sound is also quite shrill. This makes it easy to find, but it can also be somewhat annoying if the item isn't actually that far away. Issues aside, for a device with extra features, this one is our favorite.
The Samsung Galaxy SmartTag is a solid option for those with a Galaxy device. 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 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 has flaws. First, it's bigger and heavier than most tag-style trackers in our review. This isn't a dealbreaker because we are talking about differences in grams and millimeters. 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. However, 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 competitors' tags can be found while the phone has nothing but a Bluetooth signal — even if the WiFi and cellular data are disabled — as long as the tag is within range. Regardless, we still think the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag is an excellent 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.
The Apple Air Tag can't be beaten for the size of its network. If it goes out of Bluetooth range, it has 1.5 billion iPhones (and any other Apple device with the Find My app, for that matter) ready to anonymously ping an updated location to your phone as soon as one comes into range of the tag. As one might expect, it is also supremely easy to pair with your iPhone — pretty much just have Bluetooth on, and the phone will ask if you want to connect. It also works with the Find My app that iPhone users may already use for other devices, so it fits perfectly into the ecosystem.
We were shocked at just how small the Bluetooth range is for this tracker. At 35 feet, it is less than 10% of the other top contenders. Though this is generally fine for most practical uses when looking for an item in your house, it is still a startling difference. The design of this coin is also quite slick, meaning it has no integrated way to attach to keys, collars, or luggage handles as so many other devices do. If you want an "adapter," you'll have to shell out separately for it. Maybe this goes without saying, but this tag is only compatible with iPhones. However, this tracker is one of the best for its unparalleled search network and ease of use.
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 locate 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 five seconds so that you aren't annoying coworkers or housemates or up to 60 seconds if you don't want to keep sounding the alert multiple times while you search. We also appreciate the ability to choose from ten different phone tones.
However, it is 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 are fewer users than several other tracker brand communities, so the likelihood of this being a viable method of locating the item is significantly reduced. Despite the drawbacks, this tracker is still the way to go if volume and range are your primary purchasing factors.
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. To test Bluetooth trackers, we measured the range of their signals, assessed their features, and how easy they are to use out of the box and in the long run. We also carefully compared their notification noise levels as well as the physical form and dimensions of each model.
We break down our overall score into five key metrics:
Features (35% of overall scoring weight)
Ease of Use (20% weighting)
Range (20% weighting)
Noise (15% weighting)
Physical Attributes (10% weighting)
Ross Patton and Ben Applebaum-Bauch spearhead this review. 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 the original iOS — the first platform to allow for head-to-head fighter jet dogfighting simulators without an internet or cellular data connection. Ben has been with the GearLab team for six years. In that time, he has reviewed over 200 home goods and electronics products.
Analysis and Test Results
In order to thoroughly assess these devices, we used them in our everyday lives for months, attaching them to our keys, tossing them in our bags, and sticking them to valuable objects.
At GearLab, when we talk about value, we are comparing the overall score of any given Bluetooth tracker relative to its price. We aim to find top performers — those that might have a higher price tag justified by exceptional performance, as well as diamonds in the rough — those models that don't cost nearly as much as their best-in-class peers but still offer excellent performance for the price. These trackers have a relatively narrow price spread between the most and least expensive, so any high scorer is a good value. Having said that, a couple worth highlighting are our overall favorites, the Tile Pro on the high end as well as the Innway Tag, which is the least expensive of the bunch but still scores well.
These days, many trackers come with additional nifty features that enhance their overall performance. Anti-stalking protection, item-locating networks, phone camera shutter remote control, and triggering an alert to find a lost phone are just some elements that we consider beyond the essential capacity to locate an item.
Among our top performers in this metric are the Chipolo One and Apple Air Tag, but for very different reasons. The former has a whole host of additional features like the aforementioned phone camera shutter setting, the ability to set off a ring tone from your phone if you lose it, out-of-range notifications if you stray too far from your item, and item sharing, which allows family and friends to also keep track of chipped items. It is compatible with Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant.
The latter has an unparalleled network. If you get separated from your Air Tag, chances are extremely good that your item will come into range of another Apple device very quickly, thereby alerting you to its updated location — a super handy feature for a Bluetooth tracker if there ever was one. This is also true of the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag(but uses Samsung phones for location updates). The Air Tag also has an important anti-stalking safety feature: if your iPhone senses that there is an Air Tag that is traveling with you and you are not the owner, and the owner is also out of range of the tag, you will receive a notification about it.
In the middle of the pack, the Tile Pro is also nifty. It can also find your phone, item sharing with others, and a variety of ringtones to choose from. Its main drawback is its premiumization — it has even more cool features like location history, item reimbursement, smart alerts, and free battery replacement — if you're willing to pay annually. The Tile Slim Card and Cube Shadow are also decent performers in this metric.
Ease of Use
For this section, we examine how difficult or easy each device is to operate. We cover many elements concerning the user-friendliness of each tracker, including how simple or difficult it is to set up each model, how devices integrate with their app, as well as the functionality of the app itself, and how quickly you can get to locating your item once the app is open.
Right out of the box, we saw some stark differences between the trackers' setup process. The Apple Air Tag offers a real tap-and-go situation. Our test phone connected automatically to the new tag, and it integrates into the pre-existing Find My app, so there is no need to download anything new. Other models like 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 and 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, it is limited to smartphones. It 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 Chipolo One, 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 ideal for those constantly walking out the front door without their keys, wallet, or other belongings. However, the Tile trackers 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 specific period, at a particular 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.
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. We enabled the disconnect notice on tracker apps when applicable during this process. 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, Tile Pro, and Nutale Nut3 all displayed phenomenal range with a measured distance of 395, 400, and 402 feet, respectively. The Kimfly had a surprise performance at 312 feet, and the Chiplo One came in at a respectable 200 feet, with the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag holding 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 and the Apple Air Tag during our experiment, with a range of only 72 and 35 feet, respectively.
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 cannot hear the device, it may add up to less time hunting for it.
Each of these devices alerts the user to its location with a chirp. The volume and quality of this sound are essential to finding these trackers and their associated items. We use a sound pressure level meter to determine what kind of decibel rating each model produces.
The loudest Bluetooth tracker we have seen to date is the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag — this model blares out an impressive 86.8 decibels. The SmartTag offers users many tones and two different volume settings. The Tile Pro is a close second at 83.0 dBs. The Chipolo One and Cube Shadow are next, just barely quieter at just over 79 decibels each (the Chipolo's tones are also quite shrill, so they really stand out in a soundscape).
The Nutale Nut3 is just a little 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 the user to select a tone duration customized between 5 and 60 seconds in increments of 5 seconds.
The Apple Air Tag, Tile Slim, and Tile Sticker each produce decibel levels in the low 70s and have limited tone options. The two Tile models 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 and 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.
For many people, a tracker's size, shape, and weight are critical details. For this reason, we carefully weighed each tracker with a gram-sensitive scale and measured each with a digital caliper.
The Tile Sticker is highly compact compared to the others. This device is perfect for keeping track of smaller objects or for hiding larger belongings such as a bag or golf clubs, or a power tool for security purposes.
The Tile Mate is close behind with a measured weight of just 7.4 grams, followed by the Chipolo One and Kimfly in the eight-gram range and the Cube Shadow and Nutale Nut3 in the nine-gram range. The heaviest model is the 17-gram Tile Pro, which doesn't sound like a lot but is noticeable compared to the other models.
Regarding form factor, the Apple Air Tag is the slickest of the bunch. It's a smooth white and silver 39 mm coin — unfortunately, with no way to attach it directly to an item. Regarding card-style trackers, 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.
Many of these devices claim to have a certain degree of waterproofing, but the Apple Air Tag, Cube Shadow, Innway Card, and Innway Tag, are all rated with an official ingress protection rating of IP67 water and dirt proof. This means they can be fully submerged in water for an hour at a depth of up to one meter before sustaining any damage. The Chipolo One and Tile Mate have ratings of IPX5 and IP55, respectively, meaning they, too, can resist water submersion. Many of the other models also claim to be waterproof or resistant but don't have an official rating.
These devices have a large variety of battery types. The Tile Pro, Chipolo One, Apple Air Tag, 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.
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.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.