Key finder: How can I find lost keys in the home?

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How can I find lost keys in the home?

Question

My friend has lost all her house keys. Yesterday her next door neighbour had her call the police and changed the lock on the door. This has become quite worrisome. I am looking for some way to find lost keys in her home, which is where I believe they are.

Our answer

Managing keys is so important to both independence and security, and losing keys can be incredibly difficult for the individual and those who care for them. Thankfully, there are some simple and affordable devices to help track down lost keys in the home. Unfortunately, these devices are intended to be attached the keys before they go missing.

Radio frequency (RF) devices are a great option for finding lost keys in the home. These devices typically attach to the keys like a keychain and help with searching when the keys go missing. They are affordable, and they don’t require a subscription service. They are not as great if the keys go missing outside of the home since they only have a small range for detection. Here are some of these devices:

  • Key Finder RF Locator by FindKey (available from amazon.ca) has one transmitter which uses sounds and beeps to guide you to one of the four receivers. The radio frequency range is limited to 30 metres. This product costs $20 (Cdn).
  • Rdeghly RF Key Finder by Rdeghly (available from walmart.ca) has one transmitter uses sound and flash to help you locate one of the six receivers. The radio frequency range is limited to 30 metres. This product costs about $30 (Cdn).

Bluetooth is a good option for smartphone users. Again these devices are affordable and they don’t have any subscription fees. They have the additional benefit of helping the user to also find their phone if it goes missing. In these cases, the phone can ring the keys, and the keys can be used to ring the phone. However, the device does require a smartphone to find the keys. It does not have to be the key holder who has the smartphone, in fact it could be a neighbour who comes by to help find the keys. But the smartphone does need to be within range (about 60 meters) of the device to work. Here some Bluetooth trackers:

  • Innway Tag by innway (available from amazon.ca) is a keychain-sized Bluetooth locator. The card and the connected smartphone can ring one another, and the app shows the location where the card was when it was last connected to Bluetooth. This product costs $23 (Cdn).
  • Tile Mate by Tile Inc. (available from amazon.ca) is a keychain-sized Bluetooth locator. A connected smartphone can be used to ring the device – and visa versa. The smartphone app will show where the Tile Mate was when it last had Bluetooth connection. A key feature with this product is the Community Find option where other Tile users can help you to search by lending their own Bluetooth connection. The Bluetooth range is about 60 meters (200 ft). This product costs $30 (Cdn).

In cases where the keys go missing outside of the home the quickest means of locating the keys is with a GPS-enabled device. These products tend to be more expensive and carry subscription services, since they use a cellphone service to send and receive location information. GPS is also less accurate at pinpointing the exact location. For example, the keys could be 20 metres away from the location that the GPS gives. So, because of the accuracy challenge they might rely on Bluetooth once the device is within range.

  • Trax G+ by Trax (available from amazon.ca) is a GPS tracker that sends location information using a data plan. It works with a smartphone app that shows the item's location on a map. The device costs $150 (Cdn) plus a subscription fee.
  • Trackimo 3G Guardian GPS Tracker by Trackimo (available from ITF Factory) is a comprehensive tracker that uses GPS for missing items outside of the home, Wi-Fi for items in the home, and Bluetooth for nearby items. The cost of this product is $220 (Cdn) and includes one year of service.

You may also be interested in our answer to the question: what’s another way to carry or store your house keys so you don’t lose them?

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