Traveling always comes with its mishaps, and now more than ever, there’s no greater gamble than a checked bag. In fact, one airline recently chartered an entire flight filled with only luggage to return 1,000-plus lost bags. That’s just a sliver of the 684,000 bags mishandled this year, according to Air Travel Consumer Reports published by the Department of Transportation. So, skip the guessing game and the panicked dash to the closest airline kiosk by stashing luggage trackers in your belongings.
A luggage tracking device can fill in the blanks on where your lost items may be. They work by utilizing tech like GPS, Bluetooth or WiFi (depending on the tracker) to locate an item: “A GPS tracker taps into a global satellite system that uses microwave signals to help track down the precise location of where the unit is in real time,” says Good Housekeeping Institute Chief Technologist & Executive Technical Director Rachel Rothman. Other trackers use Bluetooth, so they have to be in relatively close proximity to the paired device or, in some cases, within range of other Bluetooth devices in the network. It’s not exactly a foolproof measure — your luggage can still get lost — but knowing exactly where it ended up should give you some relief.
We at the Good Housekeeping Institute found the best luggage trackers worth stowing away in your suitcase. Our picks include tags that our Lab pros have tried over time and during our quest to find the best key finders.
Our top picks:
Stick around after our picks to learn more about important features to look for in a luggage tracker, plus more info on how we tested and made our top recommendations. Need more help packing for your next trip? Check out our guides to the best luggage brands, best smart luggage and best carry-on luggage.
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BEST OVERALL LUGGAGE TRACKER
|Size||3.27 in. x 0.47 in. x 4.09 in.|
BEST VALUE LUGGAGE TRACKER
Pro Bluetooth Tracker
|Subscription||Optional Tile Premium ($2.99 per month) or Tile Premium Protect ($8.33 per month)|
|Size||2.32 in x 0.3 in x 1.32 in|
BEST LUGGAGE TRACKER FOR ANDROIDS
|Subscription||Starting at $19.95 per month|
|Size||2.25 in x 2.25 in x 0.8 in|
BEST LUGGAGE TRACKER for International Travel
|Compatibility||GPS and WiFi|
|Subscription||Required $19.95 monthly fee|
|Size||1.81 in. x 1.5 in. x 0.6 in.|
BEST LUGGAGE TRACKING TAG
Stainless Steel Smart Luggage ID Tag
|Size||3.15 in. x 1.73 in.|
How we chose the best luggage trackers
Our Good Housekeeping Institute engineers regularly test the latest and greatest tech like fitness trackers and even dog GPS trackers, so you know what’s really worth the investment based on your needs. We haven’t formally tested this category, but our recommendations come from a combination of one-off GPS tracker tests by our experts, previous testing from our Lab’s best key finders guide and picks from highly rated online reviews.
In our test for key finders, we tried some in our Lab and sent others to consumer testers for real user feedback. We logged dozens of hours with these trackers, collecting hundreds of data points including the length of the tracking range, the loudness of the alerts according to a decibel reader, the ease of replacing the batteries and how easy it was to use the apps.
What features to consider in a luggage tracker
✔️ Battery type: Some GPS trackers use rechargeable batteries that only last a few days before needing to be plugged in, while others come with replaceable batteries that can last well over a year, Rothman says. If you’re on a longer excursion, invest in one with a long battery life.
✔️Compatibilities: “It’s ideal to look for a tracker with a couple of complimentary technologies being used,” Rothman says. “That way, no matter where in the world your luggage winds up, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you can track it down!” For those that only use Bluetooth, you’ll have to be in close proximity, so it’s less advantageous for luggage tracking and better suited to finding a set of lost keys in your house. Some use Bluetooth and WiFi or tap into larger Bluetooth device networks to offer more coverage, as is the case with AirTag and Tile. Those with GPS offer large areas of coverage and more accuracy but can easily be obscured indoors.
✔️ Subscription fees: Many tracking devices offer basic features free of charge, but some offer premium features like GPS tracking or real-time location services with a monthly subscription. Make sure the device you choose comes with the functionality you want before you commit to a subscription plan.
✔️ Size: Luggage trackers come in a few standard sizes, and none are particularly large (think a credit card size in terms of length and width), Rothman says. Some are smaller and can double as a keychain attachment or tuck nicely into a pocket so it stays hidden. The best tracker for you depends upon how versatile you want it to be: If it will be solely for luggage, a bit larger is likely fine, but if you want to use it for keys and wallets, too, you might want to look for a smaller form.
Are luggage trackers TSA-approved?
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
As Good Housekeeping’s Chief Technologist & Executive Technical Director, Rachel Rothman oversees testing methodology, implementation and reporting for all labs. During her 14 years with the Institute, the self-described Gadget Girl has had the opportunity to evaluate thousands of products, including countless innovative breakthroughs in consumer tech and home improvement. She ran the testing of the above Lab-recommend picks and lent her expertise on GPS trackers to this guide. Associate Product & Reviews Editor Jacqueline Saguin teamed with Rothman and vetted popular online reviews to round up all the above luggage tracker picks. She regularly collaborates with the Labs to synthesize its data in putting together product reviews on the best products, according to testing.
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