Everyone occasionally searches for lost car keys. Usually, keys are not actually lost, they are just misplaced. However, when you’re running late and trying to get out of the house, misplaced keys can put a serious damper on your day. Or, suppose you wander in and out of 20 stores at the mall, then realize you don’t have your keys. Frantically retracing your steps can take a lot of time, not to mention the stress! And, if the keys get kicked out of sight, you may go back and still not find them. Make finding your keys easier with one of these devices that help locate lost car keys.
The devices work by using mini-transmitters and receivers. Attach one to your keyring and keep the other with you. When you cannot locate your keys, the transmitter you have communicates with the other transmitter and guides you back to your missing keys. Some devices use the Bluetooth connection on your smartphone, so there isn’t anything extra to carry with you. Others do not. Regardless of the extra features you find useful, they will all help you locate your lost car keys. And, you can track other commonly-misplaced items with these devices, as well. Here are overviews of models by three different manufacturers.
Tile products are Bluetooth devices that are small and convenient to use. They pair with an app on your smartphone to help you locate your lost car keys. In fact, Tile Sport and Tile Style receive the highest ratings of all the Bluetooth trackers available.
The Tile Sport and Style models offer ranges up to 200 feet, emit one of the loudest sounds, and have a unique crowd-finding feature. This allows other people to help you find your missing items when they are in range, but you are not. There is also a GPS function that tells you the last place your item was before you went out of range. Tile offers a less expensive model called the Tile Mate. However, it has about half the range of the others and slightly lower volume. For those reasons, I’d go for the Sport or Style models.
Another very nice feature of the Tile products is that they can help you find your missing phone. Simply double-press the Tile tag on your keychain and your phone will ring, even if it is set to silent mode. If you lose both your keys and your phone, though, you are pretty much out of luck!
The only downside to the Tile products is that they do not have a replaceable battery. The battery life is one year, and then you must “reTile,” as they call it. This basically means purchasing new Tiles at a discounted rate of up to 40%. Tile Sport and Tile Style both cost about $35 for one, $60 for two, and $75 for four. Tile Mate goes for around $20 for one, and $50 for four. When comparing prices to the other units, don’t forget that you’ll need to reTile once a year, so the ongoing costs of the Tile can mount. The initial prices plus the cost of reTiling make these products the most expensive of the three discussed here.
Like the Tile, Nut Find3 is a Bluetooth device that pairs with your smartphone. It has an indoor range of 30 to 100 feet, and an outdoor range of approximately 100 to 150 feet, which is 50 feet less than the Tile Sport or Style models. Nut Find3 offers comparable sound volume to the Tile Sport or Style. Although there is no crowd-find feature with the Nut device, it will remember the last place your keys were before you went out of range. Plus, one Nut Find3 can be tracked by up to 6 different phones, so your entire family can join in the search! Like the Tile products, the Nut Find3 will also activate the ringer of your missing phone, even when the phone is in silent mode.
There are a few other features that differentiate the Nut Find3 from the Tile devices. Nut Find3 has a feature that immediately alerts you if you leave without the item to the tracker. The Tile devices don’t offer that. Also, Nut devices have a replaceable battery. Their batteries don’t last quite as long (8 to 10 months) but replacing them is easier and much less expensive than the reTile program.
The Nut Find3 costs less than either the Tile Sport or Tile Style. Today, one will cost about $20, a two-pack goes for $32, and a four-pack for about $60.
The KeyRinger XL is a great device. It does not pair with a smartphone, so you do have to carry an extra item with you for it to work, but it has a much range (up to 300 feet), and a louder volume than any of the other devices. KeyRinger XL is simple to operate, as well. You attach one KeyRinger to your keys, and carry the other in your pocket or purse. If you misplace your keys, just press the button on your KeyRinger and the alarm will sound on the other unit.
If you have two sets, you can leave one unit in a kitchen drawer so you always have one handy when you misplace your keys in the house. The KeyRinger offers the longest battery life, at 18 months, and the battery is easily replaceable.
Another nice feature of the KeyRinger is that it works well with multiple items. For example, if you have several sets of keys and you lose one, you can program the KeyRinger to selectively activate only the sound and light features for the unit you need to locate. KeyRinger is affordable, as well, with a set of two going for about $30.
If you have a recurring problem tracking down misplaced car keys, then one of these solutions should make your life a little less stressful. And what could be bad about that? Of course, sometimes your car keys are really lost. If that happens, and you need a new car key, don’t call your dealer. A local automotive locksmith who specializes in car key replacement and programming can usually replace your lost car keys faster, more conveniently, and less expensively than the dealer.