Because I refuse to haul around a Schneider-sized keychain, I routinely find myself ¾—always ¾—of the way to my office door before I have my apoplectic “I could have had a V8” moment and realize that my keys are still in the car.
It’s genetic. My mom and I both have the I’ll-put-them-where-I’ll-never-forget-them-this-time-and-always-forget-them-anyway disorder. I’ve heard that particular genetic mutation has worked its way into at least 50 percent of the population.
Well, there’s hope for us yet. Electronic tracking devices to the rescue!
Philip Michaels is Senior Editor for @tomsguide. He’s written a 15-page review of the best and worst trackers of 2017. If you’re like me, part of the reason that you forget your keys is that you rarely have the patience for plowing through a War and Peace sized review. Join me below for a quick summary of Michaels’ suggestions, but please do look to his article for the details.
First, and this is the basic question that you need answered, do they work? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is yes, but like your old college roommate, you’ll need to learn to live with the quirks.
The very best tracker Michaels argues that’s the Tile Mate (which I think sounds like something you clean your shower with, but I digress)gets the closest to covering all the bases, but even it has weaknesses that you’ll just have to live with. What are they? You can’t change out the battery. No biggie. It lasts for about a year. And the other: no geofencing. And since you’ve never heard of a geofence until just now, you likely won’t miss it. But if you’d like to be reminded of your absentmindedness before you realize it yourself, you’ll want to explore this active alert option (the Pally Smart Finder does have it).
Second, the power of the crowd is cool. The Tile Mate has an incredibly interesting feature that uses the power of the people to help you find your lost stuff. Other Tile users’ devices can detect your lost item and let you know about it…wait for it…without them being in on the secret. Well, of course, they have to allow their device to be used like this, but they aren’t given any of your private information about your keys being lost in the corner of their cubicle. How cool is that!
Third, user experience varies widely. Be prepared to tinker. We’ve already mentioned that the Tile Mate is the current top sleuth in searching for your lost keys, but other trackers are highly rated as well. Michaels gives praise to TrackR Bravo, Duet by Protag, Chipolo Plus and the Pally Smart Finder.
The other contenders rapidly decrease in recommended value. Stay away. They likely would leave you with more frustration than if you actually turned the house upside down looking for your keys in the first place. And even though there are several highly rated options out there, they won’t always work for you. You’ll likely want to buy your top pick from a place that has an easy return option. It might take some trial and error to find a tracker that feels more helpful than annoying.
So, there you have it. Your lost keys (or wallet or whatever that tends to hide out on you) might be losing its grip on your Monday morning madness. All the options above are less than $30 and work with iPhone and Android devices. Hope you find what you’re looking for! af
Richard Singleton, MACE, MAMFC, LPC, is the executive director at STARRY in Round Rock.