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Best Key Finders

Updated August 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 12 Models Considered
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 75 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best key finders

    Last Updated August 2018

    There’s nothing more frustrating than walking out your front door only to realize you can’t find your keys. In days past, you would have had to search through couch cushions, under rugs, and in bags. The technology found in today’s key finders, however, eliminates the frustration of losing your keys.

    If you’re ready to stop the endless search for your keys, you’ve come to the right place. At BestReviews, we do the hard work like testing products and consulting experts so that we can recommend the best products on the market. We don’t accept manufacturer samples so that we can bring you unbiased opinions.

    We’ve provided a shopping guide to help you decide which features you need in a key finder. Be sure to read through our top five picks to see which key finders we think are worth your hard-earned dollars. And if you’d like to learn more about key finders before you buy one, continue reading this guide.

    Key finders are water-resistant but not waterproof. A rainy day or spilled drink wouldn’t ruin the receiver or fob, but dropping one in a lake or putting it through the washing machine probably would.

    Types of key finders

    Wireless radio frequency (RF) key finders

    These inexpensive key finders use radio frequencies to locate objects. The transmitter sends out a radio signal that sets off an alarm in the receiver.

    Many models have two to four receivers, each with a color-coded button on the transmitter. You can place a receiver on almost any item including your phone, remote control, or keychain.

    Radio frequencies can travel through walls, floors, and cushions within a limited radius, making this type of key finder most useful if you often misplace your keys inside your house. Most have a range of 90 feet in an open area.

    RF receivers are somewhat bulky, which may make them awkward when attached to certain items.

    When using an RF key finder, you’ll need to keep track of the transmitter. Many come with a transmitter base that makes storage easier. Some transmitters can be attached to a keychain, but make sure it’s not on a set of keys that could be misplaced.

    Bluetooth key finders

    Bluetooth key finders require you to download an app that allows you to control and locate a thin fob, which can be attached to your keychain or other items. These key finders frequently offer a choice of alarms, ringtones, and volume levels to make finding your keys even easier.

    Two-way Bluetooth key finders allow you to use the fob in reverse to find your phone. Bluetooth range varies from 30 feet to 160 feet. However, even if the fob is out of range, most apps can show you the last known location, which gives you an approximate starting point for your search.

    Some companies also offer the use of their entire network to find your fob. If any person within the company's network of users is near your fob, their phone can pick up the signal and pass the location information to you. While some people might like this feature, others may find the technology somewhat invasive.

    You’ll have to decide for yourself how much information you want the manufacturer to have about you.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Some Bluetooth key finders use the camera on your phone to give you a more precise location of your fob. Once you’ve activated the locator, the app superimposes an arrow over the image provided by the camera. The arrow then points you in the right direction.

    Features to consider

    Number of receivers/fobs

    Your keys might not be the only thing you lose on a regular basis. Some key finders are sold with a single receiver/fob; others come with up to six. Extra receivers/fobs can be attached to remote controls, purses, and extra keys.

    RF key finders have color-coded receivers with corresponding buttons on the transmitter so you know which button to press. When using a Bluetooth key finder, you can select which device on your registered list of items you’d like to find.

    Flashlights

    Many RF key finders have a light on the transmitter to help you find the receiver in the dark. Some Bluetooth key finders have a light on the fob that activates with the alarm but can also be used as a flashlight.

    If you buy a pack of Bluetooth key finders, each fob can be connected to a different device. One could be connected to your phone and another to your spouse’s keys. You can scroll through the app to choose which device you’d like to find.

    Alarm light

    Key finders that include a light as a visual alarm also make finding your keys easier, especially in the dark. You can find both RF and Bluetooth key finders with alarm lights.

    Alarm/ring type and volume

    RF key finders have only one alarm type and volume, so make sure it’s loud enough to hear. If it ends up lost in the couch cushions, the sound needs to be able to travel through dense materials. Bluetooth key finders often give you the option of different ringtones and several volume levels.

    Protect access to your key finder app by setting a password to the app. That way, if your phone gets stolen, the location of you and your keys stays safe.

    Battery life and replacement

    RF key finders vary in battery life, with some lasting a few months and others running for well beyond a year. The more often you activate the device, the faster the batteries run out.

    RF key finders come with replaceable batteries. Some Bluetooth key finders have replaceable batteries; others do not. Those that don’t often come with a manufacturer replacement plan that provides a discount on a replacement fob. Bluetooth models with replaceable batteries usually last three to four months, while non-replaceable batteries last about a year.

    Digital leash

    Some Bluetooth key finders have a digital leash feature that alerts you anytime the fob gets out of range (about 30 feet). Many people like this type of feature while traveling because it prevents them from leaving keys in a restaurant or other business while away from home.

    Key finders with non-replaceable batteries should have at least a one-year guarantee on the battery life.

    Panic button

    Panic buttons give you an extra safety option. They’re found only on select Bluetooth key finders, but they’re becoming more common. They offer different alert levels which you indicate by how many times you press the panic button.

    The technology may contact a few family members with a low-level alert or the local authorities with a high-level alert.

    Two-way location

    Some Bluetooth models have two-way locating, which allows you to use the fob to locate your phone. In this case, you press the button on the fob, and the phone rings even if it is set to silent.

    The phone has to be within Bluetooth range of the fob for this feature to work.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Two-way key finders let you locate your phone using the fob on your keys. Press the button on the fob, and your phone will ring – even if it’s set to silent.

    Key finder prices

    Less than $20

    In this lower price range, you’ll find many RF key finders with up to four receivers. These key finders may have a flashlight and/or storage base in which to store the transmitter.

    You may also be able to find a Bluetooth key finder in this range, but you’d likely only get one fob with it.

    If you want a Bluetooth key finder, be sure that it works with the operating system on your smartphone. These apps can also be used on a tablet or laptop.

    $20 to $40

    In this middle-of-the-road price range are RF key finders with up to six receivers. Many Bluetooth key finders come with a pair of fobs at this price point.

    Over $40

    You’ll find Bluetooth key finders with up to four fobs here. Panic buttons, ringtone selection, and two-way locating are among the extra features these pricier key finders offer.

    EXPERT TIP

    RF receivers are thicker than Bluetooth fobs. You may find it cumbersome to have a receiver on your remote control or smartphone. If you want something sleek and thin, fobs are the way to go.


    Tips

    • The range of an RF key finder becomes much smaller when obstacles get in the way of the signal. Homes, vehicles, and other metal structures can interfere and shorten the range.

    • Attach your receiver/fob securely so it doesn’t fall off. If you’re using adhesive to attach the receiver, give it a good tug to make sure it’s firmly bonded.

    • If you need the exact location of something or someone, you may prefer a GPS tracker over a key finder. GPS technology provides precise locations.

    Be sure to check the warranty on the key finder before purchasing. Some offer lifetime technical support while others offer only a few months. Also, check any warranties on defective parts in case you have any problems.

    FAQ

    Q. How do I attach the receiver/fob to my keys or remote?

    A. Receivers and fobs usually have a small hole you can put a keychain through. You can use a key ring to attach them to bags and other objects. Most also come with two-sided adhesive that allows you to attach them to items like a phone or remote control. Some don’t stick very well, so you may have to use additional adhesive to help them stay attached.

    Q. Do Bluetooth key finders use GPS tracking to help me find my keys?

    A. The Bluetooth range for some key finders is only 30 feet while others have a range of over 160 feet. But, no matter the range, once your fob is outside of the Bluetooth range, you’ll lose the signal. At that point, the app won’t be able to set off the alarm on your fob. However, the phone app can use GPS technology to provide the last known location of the fob when it was within range. Using that knowledge, you should be able to get close enough to set off the alarm on the fob and find your keys.

    Q. Can Bluetooth key finders be used to share my location?

    A. Manufacturers have their own rules and guidelines for how your information is used. You should read through their paperwork carefully, as your location will be trackable. If you’re worried about how your information may be used, you might want to consider an RF key finder.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Chris
      Chris
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Katie
      Katie
      Editorial Director
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor
    • Stacey
      Stacey
      Writer