You don’t have to be old to constantly lose track of where you kept your keys or phone. We all have our moments.
But it is worse for most seniors because of their declining memory. Forgetting where they left items becomes an everyday challenge.
This is not only frustrating but can interfere with their wellness and safety when they forget things like their phone, medicine and house keys.
If you have an elderly friend or family member, I recommend getting them a key finder.
This is a small gadget that helps them keep track of where their important items are and recover something if it gets lost.
A key finder consists of a transmitter and several receivers that you attach on the keys, phone or whatever else you need to find quickly and easily.
Pressing the transmitter triggers a specific receiver, which beeps and lights up to announce its location.
What to Consider When Buying a Key Finder for a Senior
a. Type of Transmitter
RF or radio frequency transmitters are the most common. They are the best for the elderly.
That’s because they are easy to set up and don’t require an app.
Even more importantly, the radio frequencies can easily penetrate through walls and furniture, making it easier to find a lost item.
You’ll also come across Bluetooth key finders that usually pair with your phone. You can then locate an item by pressing a button on a companion smartphone app.
The range determines how close you have to be to find an item. The longer the range the better especially for seniors who live in large or storied homes.
A longer range is also better for seniors who spend a lot of time outside and thus are more likely to misplace something outdoors.
Most radio frequency key finders have a range of about 100 feet or 30 metres. Bluetooth key finders on the other hand differ in range depending on the Bluetooth technology used.
The cheapest (class 3) Bluetooth key finders have a short 10m range.
Class 1 devices can have a range as long as 300 feet or about 90 metres. These are the best.
c. Number of Receivers
As I mentioned, there are two parts to a key finder: the transmitter and the receivers.
The transmitter is usually paired to several receivers. This allows you to attach the receiver to different items.
You can have one for the keys, another for the remote control, another for the dog and so on.
Most key finders come with at least two receivers while others have as many as six. The more the better since you can attach them onto more things.
d. Sound Level and Lights
To announce the location of the lost item, the receiver attached to it beeps and lights up when the button on the transmitter is pressed.
It’s important that the transmitter be loud even when buried under cushions or when it’s in another room.
This makes it easy for seniors to follow the sound.
The sound level for most receivers is 80dB.
Most receivers also have LED lights that flash to make it easier to find the item especially in the dark.
Finally, check the battery life.
The best key finders last 6-12 months before you need to change the battery.
Note that some key finders don’t have replaceable batteries, which means you have to buy a new device when the battery dies.
If you find this inconvenient, check that the key finder uses a commonly available battery.
Or you can avoid all that hassle and buy a rechargeable key finder (though you’ll most likely still need replaceable batteries for the receivers).
The Best Key Finder for Seniors Reviews
This is an RF key finder that comes with the option of 2, 4 or 6 receivers.
The transmitter is small and you can attach it to a set of keys (just don’t lose them) or your belt to keep it close.
The receivers also have keyrings and they are small enough to slip into a wallet. For things like the remote control, use the included double-sided tape to attach the receiver.
The main device has big colour-coded buttons, each controlling a similar-coloured receiver. When you press the button, that receiver activates as long as it is in range. The range is about 130 feet (40 metres).
It produces loud beeps (75-80 decibels) that are easy to here (though they are not as loud outdoors).
The receiver will also produce a flashing red light that is helpful when looking for an item under the couch or in a dark room.
Battery life depends on how frequently you have to locate missing items. With average use, you should get about 6 months of battery life.
Replace the battery whenever the sound starts getting weaker.
What we like about it:
- Long range.
- Loud, especially when indoors.
- Includes flashing light.
- Easy to attach to items.
- Long lasting battery.
This RF key finder has a range of about 30 metres. It can penetrate walls and furniture, making it easy to find items hidden in cushions or in another room.
The pack includes one wireless transmitter and four receivers that you can attach to just about anything.
The receiver hobs have small holes for inserting a keyring through. You can also slip one of the fobs into your wallet or use the sticky pads to attach them to the remote control or reading glasses.
The transmitter is a compact and stylish phone-like device with four buttons for the four receivers.
The buttons are colour-coded to match with the receivers. They are also large, making it easy for seniors to press the right one.
The transmitter remote has a small LED light at the top that functions as a flashlight. It’s handy when you are looking for something in the dark.
The receivers also have LED lights to make it easier to locate something. In addition to lighting up, they beep loudly when activated.
What we like about it:
- Includes a set of four receivers for use with multiple items.
- Transmitter is easy to use thanks to the large buttons, colour-coding and flashlight.
- Includes a convenient base for the remote. Ensures you don’t lose it.
This easy-to-use RF tracker can achieve a range of up to 40 metres in an open area and about 25 meters indoors.
It can find lost items through fabric, wood, floors and walls.
With 1 transmitter and 6 receivers, you can use this key finder with more items; not just your keys, wallet and remote control.
The trackers are easy to attach to your keyrings, remote control, glasses, luggage and even pets.
You can insert them into a keyring, put one inside your luggage or wallet or use the double-sided tapes to stick them to various items.
They are pretty loud too, producing 80 dB beeps and flashing a red light to help you locate a lost item.
The remote is compact and includes 6 large buttons. They are colour coded to match with the six receivers.
The remote comes with an improved design that allows you to stick it to the wall or the door, ensuring it doesn’t get lost.
Battery life is quite good. The batteries last about 6-12 months depending on your level of usage.
The receivers use a standard CR2032 while the remote requires 2 AAA batteries.
What we like about it:
- More receivers.
- Versatile and easy to use.
- Long battery life.
If you are looking for a budget key finder, this is the best.
It doesn’t use RF or Bluetooth technology. Instead, you whistle when you can’t find something.
The sound triggers the receiver and it begins to beep and flash.
This pack consists of two receivers that are easy to attach to keys and other items. They have a cute bird shape with eyes that twinkle when you whistle.
There is also a small LED light that doubles up as a flash light.
It’s not as loud as a conventional key finder and it can be inconvenient to use (whistling vs. simply pressing a button) but it’s a great option for those who just want something basic and cheap.
What we like about it:
- Includes a flashing light for easier location.
5. Tile Mate
The key finder is relatively expensive compared to others on this list. The basic option, which is already more expensive than other key finders, includes just one tracker.
A 4-pack will cost you more than double the average cost of other key finders.
Is it worth the extra money?
Depends on what your needs are.
If you need a key finder with a long range, I highly recommend this one. It has a range of about 45 metres or 150 feet, longer than any other key finder we have reviewed.
One other feature that makes it worth the price is reverse tracking. Here’s how it works.
To use the tracker, you first have to download an app and then pair your phone to the tracker. Now anytime you lose something, just press a button on the app and the tracker will play a loud tune.
It can also work the other way round. If you lose your phone but have the tracker nearby, double press the Tile button and your phone will ring loudly (even if it’s set on silent).
And that’s not the best feature.
Once you download the app and link your tracker, you join a lost and found community. The community can get you out of some tough situations.
If you lose something and you are out of Bluetooth range, the app on your phone won’t help.
But if there is a community member in range, their phone will automatically find it for you and send you the location.
Pretty cool, don’t you think?.
What we like about it:
- Long range.
- Community-based lost-and-found.
- Easy to set up and use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How does a key finder work?
A key finder is a smart device that can help you find keys and other items that are easy to misplace. There are many different makes and models of key finders available in the market, each with special technology to pinpoint the location of your missing items.
Bluetooth key finder: This is a tag that you attach to important items like your keys or wallet. The tags can also be inserted into gear containers, instrument cases, or other objects.
You then link the tag to your smartphone (paired with the appropriate software from the key finder manufacturer).
Bluetooth key finders cannot track your item in real time to geo-locate it. The finder will only tell you the last place it had access to the tracking tag.
Bluetooth key finders are proximity-based, which means you have to be in range to locate the lost item.
Radio frequency (RF) key finder: RF key finders use simpler technology to help you recover your lost items. RF key finders come with an associated transmitter. The transmitter, like a remote control, has buttons on it that you press to activate the key finder.
RF key finders are not dependent on apps, smartphone based technology or internet connectivity to function.
Audible key finder: Audible key finders function as both transmitter and receiver. They do not require radio frequencies or a Bluetooth connection to work.
Audible key finders work by emitting loud and unique noises. When the paired key finder picks the unique noise, it begins emitting its own noise.
Like Bluetooth key finders, audible key finders only work when in close proximity to the lost item.
Q: How to make a key finder?
If you want to keep tabs on your keys and other important items, the best and most reliable way is to get a key finder. Key finders are lightweight, discreet and won’t cost you much money.
If you want to make your own Bluetooth or RF key finder from scratch, it’s complicated and requires some skills in electronics. Here’s an instructables guide if you want to go the DIY route.
Q: Where can I buy key finder?
Amazon is a great place to start. You’ll find a wide variety of key finders at affordable prices.
Other good places to check include eBay and Argos. Also, check if your local electronics store has some key finders in stock.