When you think about it, Bluetooth trackers are an amazing piece of innovative tech. They use very little power and harness the smart part of your smartphone to keep track of your things, all at an affordable price.
But there are some differences to pay attention to when buying a Bluetooth tracker, and we’re not just talking about the obvious ones, like shape and color.
Most Bluetooth trackers have a battery that can last between 6 to 12 months and in most cases, the batteries are either rechargeable, replaceable, or non-replaceable with a renewal program for the whole tracker.
Bluetooth trackers with rechargeable batteries typically have the shortest charge and need to be recharged anywhere from weekly to every 3 months. You can recharge them using a standard USB mini charger (the same you use for your smartphone).
Ones with replaceable batteries can last anywhere from 6 to 9 months, depending on the model. Once the battery runs out, you can buy a new battery and replace it yourself. The replaceable batteries are usually one of the coin-shaped ones, which you can find in most shops and online and will cost between 1 – 5 $, depending on the brand.
Some smart trackers require a specialized tool to open the tracker and replace the battery, which tracker companies will include in your order.
Trackers with non-replaceable batteries will last the longest, up to a year, and are usually water resistant. Since you have to replace the whole tracker when the battery runs out, most companies offer a discounted repurchase program, where you can get the new tracker at a discounted price of up to 50%, and at the same time, they will also help you recycle the old one.
The costs of replacing a tracker every year are a bit higher than just replacing the battery, but the good news is these discounts usually apply to any tracker the company offers, so you can upgrade your tracker to the newest model or just go with a different color to change it up.
Any tech based on Bluetooth will work optimally at a range of up to 30 feet. With Bluetooth or BLE trackers this range is extended to about 100 feet and a handful of companies have further stretched this so that your phone can stay connected to your tracker even at distances of 200 feet. Ultimately the connection range will depend on your surroundings. Obstacles like thick walls, trees, and cars can decrease the connectivity range.
Companies will usually list the maximum range a tracker can stay connected in their product descriptions, so make sure to check out a few independent reviews before buying and see how the numbers hold up in an actual test. We recommend the YouTube reviewer ModernDayFamilyMan, as he likes to test any claims Bluetooth tracker companies make regarding their products.
Bluetooth finders are made to be heard, so one of the most important features is the sound the gadget makes when you start actively searching for it. The tracker’s ringing must be loud enough to be heard even if your lost item is buried under a couch cushion, a pile of toys, or if you find yourself searching in a noisy environment.
Pay attention to the ringer melody too. Will you be able to hear it in a noisy environment? Does the company offer a few different melodies you can choose from or do they have one default ringer for all of their devices?
Think about what you’ll be using the Bluetooth tracker for before your purchase. Will you use it to find your keys, your wallet, your backpack, or to track your pet?
Some Bluetooth trackers can have additional features, for example, a thin, card-like shape, water resistance or phone notifications when it goes out of range, which you might find useful. Some you can share with your family and friends through the accompanying app if the item you want to track is used by a few people.
Like with every other product, the prices of Bluetooth trackers can go from incredibly cheap to incredibly expensive. You can factor the tracker’s accompanying features into how much you’re willing to spend, but there’s another great way to check if a tracker’s price is worth it before you buy. You can view the accompanying app ratings, user feedback and the company’s responses on the App Store and on Google Play to help with your final decision.