The Best Key Finders of 2020
The Cube Pro is our favorite key locating device and we love the modes and settings that the Pro offers. During our noise analysis, we found that it is among the most audible of all the Bluetooth models that we've reviewed. The Cube Pro 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 the Cube Pro 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 meaning 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 this level of performance, you're going to have to pay a premium. The Cube Pro is one of the most expensive key finders that we've seen — especially considering that the package only includes one device. This is also one of the heaviest models that we tested and it definitely makes your keys heftier. Bluetooth versions have many advantages, but they can also be kind of a pain. With this device, you'll need to download an app to a smartphone or tablet in order to set it up. If you're looking for a bare-bones easy to use model, this is not the one.
If you're in the market for a key finder system that is comprised of several tags with no setup process, check out the Esky package. Included with this kit is a remote, a remote stand, six individual tags, and all of the necessary batteries. Out of the box, the only thing that the user needs to do is put the batteries in the remote and tags, 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, meaning that you might have to wander around the house with the remote for a bit to find a lost item. Also, along with other RF models, it is a closed system that relies on its own 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.
The Innway Tag is an exceptional choice if you're looking for a solid all-around key finder at an affordable price. With a QR code on the box, you can quickly hit the reader with your smartphone and immediately be in business. We did not run into any issues when it came time to pairing this tracker with our phones. We also love the range of the Innway Tag — while using the measuring wheel we saw that this model was able to transmit to a distance of 395 feet.
The Innway Tag is also not without its flaws. The alerts that are emitted from this model aren't very loud. If the device is muffled by a furniture cushion, is lost in a car seat, or buried by other belongings you had better be a good listener or you're not going to find this thing. 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.
If you're a person that participates in rigorous outdoor activities and you'd like a device that will help you find your lost items, but you don't want to be concerned about taking a dip, 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 a period of 30 minutes before sustaining any damage. One of the best things about owning a Tile tracker is that you'll be a member of a huge worldwide group of Tile owners. The associated app supports Bluetooth searching capabilities that are unmatched. We also love that the Tile program includes 15 different phone ringtones.
There are some downsides that come along with the Tile Pro. It's a bit expensive — if you're looking for a budget option this is not the way to go. Also, during our sound pressure level analysis, we found this device to be on the quiet side. From 2 feet away, this model was only able to get the SPL meter up to 60.1 decibels, far from the loudest key finder in our review. If you want to experience all that Tile has to offer, you're going to have 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 Chipolo One is a marvelous choice for those who love the idea of having a way to find your phone using a Bluetooth device and you know that you need extra volume. With a measured reading of 82.3 decibels, you can rest assured knowing 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.
The Chipolo One doesn't come with many bells and whistles. This device has limited tones on both the phone and the tag itself. We weren't thrilled with the app or the user interface that this model uses either. That said, it's still a great product that gets the job done.
During our noise testing, the KeyRinger almost broke the sound pressure meter with an incredible 106 decibels from two feet away. For those that don't feel the need to have their keys linked to their cell phone, this package offers the perfect solution. It comes with two tags that are pre-programmed to be 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 they're paired for life. Also, unlike Bluetooth models which will require a cell signal to locate them, and unlike other RF sets that require a home base to find them, these devices only require each other. So if you're on the road in an RV towing a Jeep or in a truck towing a boat and you want to keep careful track of your keys this set is a great option.
We aren't especially fond of the weight of the KeyRingers — at 17.6 grams these bad boys are definitely going to add a bit of bulk to your chain. If you are looking for a key finder that interfaces with your smartphone or other smart devices the KeyRinger is definitely not the way to go. 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.
If you want a standard Bluetooth enabled key finder the Tile Mate works just fine. When it comes to range, this model is outstanding. We found that the phone to tag connection endured over an impressive 379 feet. We also love that the Tile app has so many capabilities including community find, smart alerts, and even a location history function that allows the user to see where the tag has been in the last 30 days on a detailed map.
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're going to need to pay for the Tile premium subscription. Also, this model is not very loud. During our sound pressure level testing, we found that this device only registered 60.2 decibels on the meter. The Tile Mate is water-resistant, however, if you're looking for a device that will withstand the elements there are other options that offer a higher degree of protection.
If distance, noise, and settings are high priorities when looking at key finders, the Nut3 is likely a good choice. The range on this device is insane — we were able to keep a smartphone connected to it up to a distance of 402 feet. Clocking in at 78.5 decibels on the sound pressure level meter, this device is also loud. It comes with a multitude of ringer settings, which is nice for variety, but also helps if you need to keep it quieter around the house or blast the volume to find it under a couch cushion.
Much of the competition, at least in the Bluetooth world, has added official waterproof ratings to their specs — Nutale has not done this for the Nut3. We would like to have 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 anonymously help them find a lost set of keys.
If you want two key finders for the price of one, check out the Kimfly kit. These tags have a pretty decent range — during our testing, they sounded the alarm up to 312 feet away. This model produces a decent amount of noise at 62.9 decibels at 2 feet away, which allows the user to hear it but also 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.
We weren't impressed with the lack of settings on the Kimfly. It only has one ringtone for the device as well as one for the phone. We were also disappointed to discover that you aren't able to connect more than one Kimfly to the same phone. That said, this package would still be a good choice for families, couples, or companies for which each partner, member, or employee would want their own finder to be connected to their own phone.
If you want to track several items with one remote and never deal with programming, we recommend the WOSPORTS package. This kit includes 6 key devices plus a remote that can be used for more than just finding keys — stash a tag in your glasses case, hang one on your satchel or put one in your purse. One thing we love about this package is that there is no setup at all. Just take the products out of the box, attach the tags to whatever you desire, and all you need to do to locate them is push their corresponding letter, color, or sticker on the remote. We think this kit would be the perfect fit for those that have a handful of items they'd like to keep close track of but also don't feel like dealing with extravagant features and controls.
That said, the WOSPORTS does not offer any of the bells and whistles. There are no Bluetooth features and the WOSPORTS tags are also larger than many key finders on the market. If you're looking for a slender device, these are not the ones.
Why You Should Trust Us
At GearLab, our goal is to provide our readers with the most up to date and accurate information possible. A huge part of our process is buying all of the products that we test from the same retailers as you, at full price in order to ensure that we have absolutely zero bias when it comes time to give our advice regarding which products we think are worth your investment and which are not.
Ross Patton is our lead tester on this project. Ross has a formal education in environmental science, which has given him the knowledge and know-how to be able to create tests and assessments from the get-go. From his passion for outdoor recreation, he was introduced to product research and development more than a decade ago in the world of snowsports. If you need somebody to dunk key finders in the lake, see how they function on top of a mountain peak, or attach them to an 80-pound hound dog, Ross is your guy.
Analysis and Test Results
We broke our performance tests up into four categories — dimensions, alert range, noise, and how easy each device is to use.
Ease of Use
During our ease of use assessment, we assess the difficulty of operating each model. The scope of this metric includes each device's integration with its app, how difficult it can be to set up, and what types of settings and modes each finder comes programmed with.
There are two primary types of key finder technology — RF and Bluetooth. RF (radio frequency) models are simpler, and they either require an included remote to find a tracker tag or they are able to alert each other within a certain range. Bluetooth is also a form of radio frequency. However, it is designed to use a more specific frequency and can also 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 just takes a second to pair the devices with the simple touch of a button. Bluetooth models require the user to pair the device with a phone or tablet. 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 sound the alert on their models without even using a phone.
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 largest community of people that own key finders in the world. The main takeaway from that fact is that if you drop your keys you're going to have a greater chance of locating them on a map by using Tile than using one of their competitors.
A lot 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 Cubes, the Nutale, the Kimfly 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 simplest package, but if you'd like to tag up to 6 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're going to want a Bluetooth enabled version. If you want to be able 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 Tile, Cube, and Chipolo.
If the physical attributes of your next device are important to you, we have you covered. We measured the dimensions of each model with a digital caliper, then weighed each one with a laboratory-grade scale. We also consider each device's waterproof rating, if any.
If you think that you might be exposing your keys to water during activities such as surfing, kayaking, or fishing we'd recommend the Tile Pro. This finder is rated to IP68 waterproofing — meaning that it can be submerged in 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes. Many finders we've tested have an IP67 rating, which means that they can withstand 1 meter of water for 30 minutes before sustaining any damage. In this group are the Innway Tag, the Cube Key Finder, and the Cube Pro.
To measure the range of each device we used a measuring wheel to mark off the furthest distance each model could stay connected to its home base, whether that base was a smartphone, a remote, or the sister model.
The Bluetooth key versions proved to be supreme following this assessment. The Innway Tag and the Nutale Nut3 both put incredible results on the leaderboard, both finishing around 400 feet. We were also impressed with the Tile Mate and the Cube Pro which were each able to stay connected to the smartphone for more than 365 feet.
In the RF department, we were impressed with all of the models that we tested — the Esky Key Finder kit along with the KeyRinger packages both showed ranges of more than 250 feet.
Lastly, we measured the volume of each model using a sound pressure level meter. We cranked up each model to its highest output and took readings from 24 inches away.
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 2 feet away. If you want decent volume but also want 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.
It is our job to make sure that our readers can rest assured knowing that we've taken the confusion and frustration out of shopping for items such as key finders. We hope that, after reading our intensive review, that you will be able to make well-informed purchasing decisions in regard to this product from here on out.
— Ross Patton