If you're looking for the best key finder, we have you covered. After studying scores of models, we purchased the top 10 key finders available today to pit against each other in a head-to-head showdown. We thoughtfully and carefully constructed metrics; we measured physical traits including each model's size and weight, as well as the level of noise and range. We also judged each device for its strengths and weaknesses in the ease of setup and usability departments. We've compiled a list of the highest performers and noted which is the best overall, which boasts several tags and an easy setup, which provides the best value, and more.For other cool gadgets and useful tracking electronics, check out our articles on the best Bluetooth trackers and running armbands. If you want more wearables to choose from, we also tested the best smartwatches and best fitness trackers to monitor your activity and provide fun stats.
The 6 Best Key Finders of 2023
Our Top Picks
The Cube Pro is our favorite key locating device. We love the settings and modes that the Pro offers, and during our noise analysis, we found it to be one of the most audible of all the Bluetooth models we tested. It has the option for disconnect notifications so that you'll know if you ever walk out of the house without your keys. The Cube app is top-notch, and they offer a desktop user interface that allows you to ring the device from a computer even if you aren't near your phone. We were also really impressed with its range when we took it into the field. We managed to stand 366 feet away from the device before the signal dropped. This particular model is also waterproof to a rating of IP67, which means that it can be submerged in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. One of our favorite features of this tag, along with other Cube products, is how seamlessly they function with Alexa.
For premium performance, you'll pay the price to match. The Cube Pro is one of the most expensive key finders we've seen — especially considering that the package only includes one device. It is also one of the heaviest models we tested and will bulk out your keyring a bit. Bluetooth versions have many advantages, but they can also be a bit of a pain. Setting up the device requires downloading an app to a smartphone or tablet — so if you're looking for a super simple, bare-bones key finder, this is not the best fit for you.
If you're in the market for a key finder system comprised of several tags with no setup process, check out the Esky Key Finder package. This kit includes a remote, a remote stand, six individual tags, and all necessary batteries. Out of the box, the user needs to put the batteries in the tags and remote, and then everything is ready to go. Each tag has a color-coded corresponding button on the remote, making operation a no-brainer. We measured the range of the Esky tags to be 260 feet — sufficient for most RF applications.
Unfortunately, when we broke out the sound pressure level meter to measure the noise produced by the Esky finders, we were less than impressed. The tags only emit 59.1 decibels of sound, which means you might have to wander around the house with the remote for a while to find the lost item. Also, along with other RF models, it is a closed system that relies on its radio frequency to alert each tag, and it cannot connect to a phone. If you're looking for a "smart" device that can integrate with other devices such as phones, laptops, or virtual assistants, this is not the right choice.
For an affordable and reliable all-around key finder, check out the Innway Tag. The QR code on the box allows you to quickly hit the reader with your smartphone and immediately be in business. We did not run into any issues when it came time to pair this tracker with our phones. We were super impressed with the range of the Innway — while using the measuring wheel, we saw that this model was able to transmit to a distance of 395 feet.
The Innway Tag is not without its flaws. The alerts that emit from this model aren't super loud. If the device is muffled by a furniture cushion, lost in a car seat, or buried by other belongings, you'll probably need exceptional hearing to locate it. Also, unlike other Bluetooth models, we found that the Innway Tag doesn't have much going on in the computer department. The Innway app is less than spectacular and doesn't offer a laptop-based user interface.
For folks who participate in rigorous outdoor activities like swimming, check out the Tile Pro. This model is rated to IP68 waterproofing, meaning that it can withstand being submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes before sustaining any damage. One of the biggest perks of this model is that the associated app's Bluetooth searching capabilities are unmatched. With the app, you'll be part of a huge worldwide group of Tile owners. We also love that the Tile program includes 15 different phone ringtones.
The Tile Pro comes with some downsides. To start, it's a bit expensive. Those seeking a budget option are better off with one of the more affordable models in the lineup. Another drawback we discovered during our sound pressure level analysis is that the device ranges on the quiet side. Tested at two feet away, this model could only get the SPL meter up to 60.1 decibels, which is far from the loudest key finder in our fleet. And, to experience all that Tile offers, you'll need to pay for their premium service. It's only a few bucks a month, but some other brands offer similar performance without a subscription.
The Samsung Galaxy SmartTag is our favorite for Samsung Galaxy users. In addition to helping you locate your keys, the SmartTag integrates with the Samsung SmartThings app. Once it's set up, this model can control a long list of smart home devices such as air conditioners, lights, and smart locks. Where the Galaxy SmartTag really impresses us is its ability to link with the Samsung Galaxy Find Network. This system uses other Galaxy Find Network-enabled devices to find your item, then relays a private message to your Galaxy device alerting you of the tag's location. There are millions of Galaxy users worldwide, so the chances of somebody coming within the Bluetooth range of your lost tag are much greater than other tracker networks. Finally, the SmartTag is loud — an important element to consider when purchasing a key finder.
Although the Galaxy SmartTag has many attractive features, our testing revealed some flaws. First, this model is bulkier than most other tag-style Bluetooth key finders. When we measured the Bluetooth range, the SmartTag was less than impressive. The positive side to this drawback is it might be easier to hear the alert and locate your keys once you are within its range than a finder with a much wider range. The most notable flaw is it requires cellular data or a WiFi connection to search with your Galaxy device. Many key finders function on Bluetooth or radio frequencies alone. If you ever lost your keys in an area with no WiFi or cell service, this key finder would be useless. Despite our shortlist of gripes, we strongly feel that the SmartTag is the way to go for Galaxy users who would like a great find network and a key finder that can also control several smart devices.
During our noise testing, the KeyRinger almost broke the sound pressure meter with an incredible 106 decibels from two feet away. This package offers the perfect solution for those who don't need to have their keys linked to their cell phone. It comes with two pre-programmed tags linked together right out of the package, so there is no complicated setup. The only process you'll ever have to go through with the KeyRinger is to hold the buttons down for a few seconds while the devices are near each other, and then they are paired for life. And unlike the Bluetooth models, which require a cell signal to locate them, and other RF sets that need a home base to find them, these devices only require each other. If you're on the road in an RV towing a Jeep or in a truck towing a boat and want to keep careful track of your keys, this set is a great option.
At 17.6 grams, the KeyRinger is far from lightweight — these bad boys are going to add a bit of bulk to your chain. If you want a key finder that interfaces with your smartphone or other smart devices, the KeyRinger is not the right option for you. This model runs on radio frequency, also known as RF, rather than Bluetooth technology. You aren't going to get any extra features with this package.
The Chipolo One is an excellent choice for those who need extra volume and love the idea of using a Bluetooth device to find your phone. With a measured reading of 82.3 decibels, you can rest assured that you won't have any issues with this device being too quiet. We also love how light this model is — at a mere 7.6 grams, you will hardly notice this key ringer on your keychain, unlike some much bulkier products. The Chipolo One integrates seamlessly with virtual assistants. If you like to use Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa, this key finder will suit your needs.
However, if you like all the bells and whistles, the Chipolo One may not be the best choice for you. The tones on both the phone and the tag itself are limited. We also weren't too keen on the app or the user interface of this device. Although, it's still a great product for getting the job done.
If you want a standard Bluetooth-enabled key finder, the Tile Mate is sufficient. This model has outstanding range; we found that the phone-to-tag connection endured over an impressive 379 feet. We also love that the Tile app has many capabilities, including community find, smart alerts, and even a location history function that allows the user to see where the tag has been on a detailed map in the last 30 days.
Although we love the Tile Mate and its capabilities, it's important to note that if you want to experience all of what this device has to offer, you will need to pay for the Tile premium subscription. This model is also not very loud. We found that this device only registered 60.2 decibels on the meter during our sound pressure level testing. The Tile Mate is also water-resistant, but if you're looking for a device that will withstand the elements, other options offer a higher degree of protection.
If distance, noise, and settings are high priorities when choosing a key finder, the Nutale Nut3 is likely the right choice. The range on this device is insane — we were able to keep a smartphone connected to it from up to 402 feet. This device is also very loud; it clocked in at 78.5 decibels on the sound pressure level meter. It comes with many ringer settings, allowing you to keep it quieter when around the house or to blast the volume to find it under a couch cushion.
In the Bluetooth world, much of the competition has added official waterproof ratings to their specs. However, Nutale has not done this for the Nut3. We would like to see some weatherproof reassurance in future models. Also, unlike other Bluetooth trackers, Nutale doesn't offer a "community find" feature, which allows the user to leverage other people with the same apps and devices as a tool to help them find a lost set of keys anonymously.
If you want two key finders for the price of one, check out the Kimfly kit. These tags have a pretty decent range; they sounded the alarm up to 312 feet away during our testing. This model produces a decent amount of noise at 62.9 decibels at two feet away, which is loud enough for the user to hear but won't wake up the neighbors. If you want a Bluetooth-enabled key finder but don't care for bells and whistles, the Kimfly is a great pick.
However, the lack of settings on the Kimfly is somewhat disappointing. There is only one ringtone for the device and one for the phone. We also wished you could connect more than one Kimfly to the same phone. Despite these shortcomings, we still feel this is a viable option for families, couples, or companies that want an individual finder for each partner, member, or employee's phone.
Why You Should Trust Us
For this review, we chose our In-House Senior Review Editor Ross Patton. Before joining us full-time at GearLab, he worked in product research & development in the snowsports industry for ten years. Since becoming a member of our team, Ross has spearheaded projects for all sorts of categories ranging from the best wifi extenders and lithium-ion power tools to rooftop tents. His professional experience, coupled with his education in Environmental Science, makes him the ideal person to tackle key finders.
Here at Gearlab, our focus is to help our readers find the perfect products by providing the most up-to-date and helpful guidance that we can. To ensure absolutely zero bias, we buy our products from the same websites as you do, and at full price. We want you to truly know which products are worth your investment and which ones are best left on the shelf.
Analysis and Test Results
We broke our performance tests into four categories — dimensions, alert range, noise, and how easy each device is to use.
Ease of Use
The ease at which you can use a key finder is likely to impact whether or not you actually use it. We assessed the ease of use by determining how difficult it is to operate each product. For this, we examined the device's integration with its app, the initial setup process, and the various settings and modes each finder has programmed. There are two primary types of key finder technology — RF and Bluetooth. RF (radio frequency) models are simpler than Bluetooth. This technology requires either an included remote to find a tracker tag or signals an alert within a certain range. Bluetooth is also a form of radio frequency. However, it utilizes a more specific frequency and can integrate with smartphones, desktop computers, and tablets.
The setup process for these devices is very different from model to model. RF types barely have a setup at all. The KeyRinger kit takes just a second to pair the devices with the simple touch of a button. Bluetooth models require the user to pair the device with a tablet or a phone. Some manufacturers such as Innway make this easier by including a QR code on the packaging that links to the app, but for most of these types, you'll be manually searching for the app in The App Store or Google Play.
Within the category of Bluetooth-based finders, we found a lot of differences between the apps. Some brands, such as Cube, have a near-perfect user interface that encompasses all capacities from connecting multiple devices, disconnect notifications, and even a fantastic desktop computer app that can alert their models without even using a phone.
The Samsung Galaxy SmartTag setup process is straightforward. You can either search for the app on your Galaxy device or scan the QR code on the packaging to automatically bring you to the appropriate download link. The device then easily pairs with the tag with a few short steps. We love this model because it can be used to control various smart devices around the house. Not only can you use your Galaxy device to find the SmartTag or use the SmartTag to find your device, but you can also program this model to control things such as lights or to unlock the front door if said devices are compatible with the Samsung SmartThings app. However, we should mention that unlike the other Bluetooth trackers in our review, this model requires that your Galaxy device be connected to WiFi or have a cellular data signal. If you're planning to use your finder outside of cell coverage, you'll need to go with a different model.
Tile offers many of the same features, except that you're going to need to pay for a monthly subscription for a few of them — namely the disconnect notice. However, when you go with a Tile product, you become a member of the world's largest community of people who own key finders. The main takeaway from that fact is that if you drop your keys, you will have a greater chance of locating them on a map by using Tile than using one of their competitors.
Many of these devices can also be used as a remote control for the shutter on your smartphone camera. In our review, the models that include this function are the Nutale, the Kimfly, the Cube, and the Chipolo. We found this to be a fun and innovative way to take selfies or photos in general.
If you don't want to deal with the complications involved with using your smartphone to find your keys or any of the apps, programming, and setup that come along with models that have these capabilities, you're going to want an RF package. We'd recommend the KeyRinger duo for the most straightforward package, but if you'd like to tag up to six items for easy locating, the Esky Key Finder kit is the way to go.
If you're looking for a model with maximum functionality, including integration with virtual assistants such as Siri or Alexa, you will want a Bluetooth-enabled version. If you want to view your keys on a map, alert your keys with your phone, or be notified when you get separated from your keys, check out the models designed by Cube, Tile, and Chipolo.
If the physical attributes of your next device are important to you, we have you covered. We measured each model's dimensions with a digital caliper, then weighed each one with a laboratory-grade scale. We also considered each device's waterproof rating, if any.
If you think you might be exposing your keys to water while surfing, kayaking, fishing, or another water activity, we'd recommend the Tile Pro. This finder has an IP68 waterproofing rating, which means it can submerge in 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes. The Cube Key Finder, the Innway Tag, and the Cube Pro have an IP67 rating, which means that they can withstand one meter of water for 30 minutes before sustaining any damage. The Samsung Galaxy SmartTag does not have any certified waterproof ratings, although Samsung claims this model is water-resistant.
The Bluetooth tag-style devices are all roughly the same dimensions — 40 x 40 x 10 mm. If you want an RF model that offers several tags and a finder remote, the Esky Key Finder tags are 32 x 32 x 6.8 mm with a compact controller with a handy stand. Our other favorite RF version, the KeyRinger, is a bit more bulky and awkward than the tags. Each tracker is 27 x 68 x 9.4 mm. However, with the KeyRinger, there is no finder remote as the two tags included in the package are used to ring one another.
For our range assessment, we wanted to get a measurement of how far away each finder was able to maintain a connection to its smartphone, sister model, or home base remote. We gathered this data by using a professional-grade measuring wheel in a flat area with no walls, vehicles, or other objects in the line of sight.
The Bluetooth key versions proved to be supreme following this assessment. The Nutale Nut3 and the Innway Tag put incredible results on the leaderboard, finishing around 400 feet. We were also impressed with the Cube Pro and the Tile Mate, which could stay connected to the smartphone for over 365 feet. The Samsung Galaxy SmartTag showed the shortest range in the Bluetooth department with a disconnect distance of 152 feet.
In the RF department, we were impressed with all of the models that we tested — the Esky Key Finder kit and the KeyRinger packages both showed ranges of more than 250 feet.
To measure the volume of each device, we employed a sound pressure level meter. We took our measurements from a distance of two feet, with each finder turned up to its highest alert volume.
There is no way around it — the KeyRinger is ridiculously loud. If the volume is a deciding factor for you, definitely check this model out — we measured 106 decibels of noise coming from this tracker at two feet away. If you want decent volume and Bluetooth options such as a multitude of tones or the use of a virtual assistant, check out the Chipolo One. This device emits an impressive 82.3 decibels but also comes with many features that we would consider to be luxurious. If you're a Galaxy user, the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag is impressively loud with a measured decibel level of 86.8.
Here at GearLab, we aim to provide our readers with the most informative reviews to provide you with the knowledge to purchase the ideal products for your needs and budget. Shopping for a device as seemingly simple as a key finder can quickly lead to a confusing shopping experience. Having read this review, we hope that you now have the confidence to purchase the perfect model.
— Ross Patton
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