TrackR vs Tile: Which One Is The Best Bluetooth Tracker?

By Steve Hall

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We have all lost something at some point in our life. Misplacing a key here and there on a busy day is a totally normal occurrence. Some of us are better at keeping track of our belongings than others. But with the ever-increasing interconnectivity between devices, you might not have to worry about losing your stuff ever again!

Bluetooth trackers are a relatively new technology. Two of the biggest competitors are TrackR and Tile, founded in 2009 and 2012 respectively. Both companies continue to improve what they have to offer, introducing new features, designs, and increased functionality with smartphone applications.

The concept is pretty straightforward. Whenever you lose something, as long as you are nearby, you can use the tracker to make a noise to find your keys, wallet, etc. Or in some cases, you can use crowdsource tracking to find your item (more on that later).

At their core, both are essentially the same product. But they get the job done in different ways. Plus, depending on which model you opt for, you can get access to the host of other features and functionality that might be better suited for your needs.

To figure what is right for you, let’s take a look at the options and compare the features of both products.

tile on keys 

Tile: Bluetooth Tracker with Plenty of Features

Tile might be the newer product, but they are by no means behind the competition. With Tile, you have a variety of unique trackers to choose from. Each with specific features that allow for more specific use in your day-to-day life.

The main features are what you would expect. Place the tracker on the item you don’t want to lose. Then use the app to activate the ringtone when you are nearby. Or vice versa, you can tap the Tile button to make your phone ring. This even bypasses the silent feature on your phone. As long as it is powered on nearby, you’ll hear it ring.

What if you are too far away? No worries, you can also have the option to see where your tracker has been recently. Getting an exact location on your phone’s map and the date it was recorded being there. When worst comes to worst and you can’t find your device anywhere, that is when the crowdsourced tracking comes into action. Anyone else with the Tile app can help pinpoint the location of your lost item!

Right now, Tile is featuring four options for your tracking needs. As well as a premium tracking service that gives users access to even more features.
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Tile Sticker:

The Tile Sticker is the smallest option available. The connection range is 150 feet, and the device waterproof. The ringer is not as loud as the other models, but shouldn’t be an issue considering it is intended to be used in a shorter distance.

The main advantage of the Sticker is right in the name. You can stick this little tracker anywhere you need. This gives you a ton of flexibility, and with the waterproof design, you should have no problem tracking items outdoors as well.

The only limitations are that you need a flat surface to stick to. And once you do place the Sticker, it is not really meant to come off. You can remove it if needed. Using heat, a thin surface like a credit card, or brute force. But once you do this, there is no guarantee that it will stick to another object.

The Sticker has a built-in battery with a three-year lifespan. This isn’t replaceable like some of the other models below, but three years is a solid amount of time. You can check the current price and reviews for the Tile: Sticker over here on Amazon.

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Tile Pro:

With the Pro, you are trading affordability for performance. The Pro features the longest-range signal at 400 feet and the loudest volume. The design is more traditional to early trackers. In that, it works like a keychain. Allowing you to attach the Tile through the open loop.

It may only be water-resistant, but the design is still rugged enough to handle frequent travel. And that is the main advantage of the Pro. The 400-foot range might be overkill in your home, but for a busy lifestyle on the go, it may just save your most valuable belongings from being lost. We see it as being a great option for pets as well, who have a tendency to wander off.

Also, the Pro uses a 1-Year Replaceable CR2032 battery. No need to purchase a brand-new device, just a new battery. If you’d like to check out further reviews or the current price here’s a link to the Tile Pro over on Amazon.

Tile Mate:

The Tile Mate is essentially the budget version of the Pro. It comes with all the same features as the Pro, but is just a little bit quieter and has a smaller range of 200-feet. The difference in volume compared to the Pro is negligible. However, the difference in range is pretty big.

We see the Tile Mate is the optimal choice for families or someone who wants to track multiple items at once. The performance is basically the same, but it is more cost-effective to purchase multiple Mates.

The Mate also features replaceable 1-year batteries but uses a CR1632 instead. If you feel comfortable with the price, go for the Tile Pro. But the Mate does just as well if you are looking to save some money. 

If you’d like to see what the current price is, you can check it out over here on Amazon.
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Tile Slim:

The last model is a little more unique. The Slim is designed like a credit card and fits easily into your wallet, passport, or notebooks. It has a 200-foot range and is also waterproof with a 3-year built-in battery like the Sticker.

The Slim is mainly designed to fit into a wallet. Tile advertises it “as thin as two credit cards,” which indicates it probably wasn’t meant to be used outside of much else. But you could use an adhesive to attach the Slim to the back of your tablet, laptop, or other items.

In this way, it would function much like the sticker, but with a longer Bluetooth range. However, you decide to use it, the Slim is still a great choice for narrow spaces and wallets. It can be found over here on Amazon if you want to check out all the reviews as well.

Tile Premium Service:

Tile Premium is completely different from Tile’s other products. Premium actually isn’t a tracker at all, but a subscription service that enhances the functionality of your Tiles.

There are three main features to premium and a few bonuses on top of that. First off, you’ll get access to special “smart alerts.” These alerts activate and get sent to your phone whenever you leave a location without something. Basically, instead of having to retrace your steps later, your Tile will inform you immediately when you might be about to lose an item.

Also, with Premium, you’ll find a 30-day location history within the app. You’ll see everywhere your item has been recently, complete with addresses, times, and dates. Making it easier to track down a long-lost item.

Finally, you’ll have access to an unlimited sharing feature. This means you can invite others to track down a Tile on their phone. This can be used to help you find something or is an easy way to share a single Tile on an item used by you and others.

Besides those features, they will send you a free battery replacement every year, extend the warranty of your Tile to three years, and give you access to a special customer care line.

Are these extra features and bonuses worth it? The cost for premium is only $2.99 a month. And that is after the 30-day free trial to see if you like the service. Overall, none of these extras is a game-changer. They are nice perks and add some functionality, but most people could probably do just fine without premium.

The only feature that might really be needed is the sharing feature. If you have a pair of keys or any item that moves between people frequently, the share feature adds a lot of convenience. Plus, if you split the monthly cost, it almost becomes a nonfactor. 

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TrackR Pixel: The Budget Pick Bluetooth Tracker

TrackR has offered various models over the years, but today it features one mainline product. The TrackR Pixel, which you can essentially think of as the equivalent to the Tile Sticker.

The features are quite similar. The Pixel is small and designed to stick wherever you need it. A key loop is included also. The ringer is several decibels louder, but that kind of difference really isn’t important. The Pixel does have LED lights, allowing you to find your item easier in the dark. Bluetooth range is up to 100 feet, but naturally can be obstructed by other objects and walls. The battery is a CR2016, that is easily replaceable.

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The TrackR app also allows you to ring your phone with the Pixel, or use the map view to see where your item has been last. Crowdsourced locating is implemented just like the Tile. Whenever another TrackR gets within range of your device, you’ll be given an update on your phone.

Most notably, the price point of the TrackR Pixel is currently considerably lower than what Tile has to offer.

If you’d like to check out the current price and reviews from others on the TrackR Pixel you can find it over here on Amazon.

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Tile VS. Trackr : Which Should You Buy?

As you can see, Tile has a much more robust lineup of products and features. TrackR’s Pixel is an okay choice for buyers on a budget. The main features are nearly identical to the Tile Sticker, although the Sticker is waterproof. Both products are compatible with smart home devices that feature Alexa. Allowing you to activate your tracking features with a voice command.

The real difference is in the quality of those features. You might have to pay a premium price for Tile products, but you are paying for better quality. The connectivity, app interface, and extra features are all better on the Tile trackers. TrackR is cheaper but less reliable. The user reviews you can find on over here on amazon and other websites speak for themselves. Many buyers run into more issues with TrackR.

Another important difference is the crowd location feature. This feature only works if there is an active user base. While it might vary from location to location, overall Tile has the bigger crowd. This means less reliability from TrackR in comparison.

TrackR is by no means a bad product. It’s a budget-friendly pick that boasts affordability at the sacrifice of some quality. It will often do the job just fine, and we see it being a good tool to track items in the house. Where range and product durability are not an issue. But once you move outside, the shorter range and less durable design make the Tile trackers feel like the clear winner.

 In the end, depending on your needs you may find one better for you than the other. However, Tile is the better product overall. You have much better features, quality, and functionality from Tile in every way. We recommend Tile for any item that goes outside the home. It may cost more, but you’ll have a more reliable and durable tracker. Along with the flexibility of multiple product designs, and the Premium subscription service.

Is it Worth Buying a Bluetooth Tracker?

Considering the low cost of these trackers, averaging roughly $30, it definitely beats having to buy a brand-new phone, losing your entire wallet, or replacing expensive equipment.

A feature like crowdsourced tracking will work better in heavily populated areas. Some of the functionality is then completely dependent on where you live. Which somewhat limits the product. Also, unless you travel quite frequently, most people won’t need a tracker.

Of course, some of us just can’t help but lose things. I know a few friends whose lives would drastically improve if they had access to a tracker (I know I’ll be picking up a few extra for the holidays). And that is the issue with both TrackR and Tile. It won’t appeal to everyone, but some people will find they can’t live without it.

If you find yourself constantly worried about losing your things, then a Bluetooth tracker is a must! You’ll save yourself from enough stress that will make the price well worth it.


[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h2″ question-0=”What is the range of the TrackR?” answer-0=”Up to 100 ft. or 30 meters (with a clear line of sight). If there are objects in the way like furniture or other things then the range can be less.” image-0=”” headline-1=”h2″ question-1=”Can you track a car with tile?” answer-1=”Yes, you can find your lost car if you download and pair the Tile app to your device. You have to leave your Tile app running in the background so that you can see the last place your app found your tracking device.” image-1=”” count=”2″ html=”true” css_class=””]

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Steve Hall

Steve Hall is the founder of this website, a certified technology professional and a smart home tech enthusiast fascinated by the power of connected devices.

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