Bluetooth vs GPS vs UWB - A short guide

Expected read time: 2 min

Let’s start with what Bluetooth, GPS, and UWB have in common: They’re all wireless communication technologies that can also be used to help you find your lost things.

But each one is a different type of wireless technology, which means they won’t always all be able to help you find something you lose.

Here’s how it works:

Bluetooth

Bluetooth trackers are great when you want to look for things you misplaced nearby. The range is limited to about 300 feet (90 meters) and the tracker needs to be connected to an Android phone or an iPhone through an accompanying app to enable you to find your things.

Bluetooth technology operates on the 2.4 GHz frequency band and is designed for low-power, low-data-rate applications, which makes it great for connecting to wireless devices in close proximity to your phone.

It also means it doesn't use a lot of battery power, which is why most Bluetooth finders can last over a year on one small coin battery.

Wireless earbuds are a great example of this technology and its shortcomings. If you’ve ever listened to music while walking away from your phone, you know what we’re talking about.

Chipolo Bluetooth trackers find misplaced keys nearby Chipolo Bluetooth trackers find misplaced keys nearby

GPS

GPS is short for Global Positioning System and it’s a satellite-based navigation system used to determine the location of something on Earth.

GPS trackers are great if you’re looking for something you truly lost. It will enable you to determine the position of a lost item no matter where on Earth it is or how far from you it is when you look for it.

The technology doesn’t allow a GPS tracker to connect directly to your phone and instead uses a network of satellites in orbit around the Earth to triangulate the position of the GPS finder. It does this by calculating the time it takes for a signal to travel from the item tracker to the satellite and back.

GPS trackers find lost things anywhere 2 GPS trackers find lost things anywhere 2

Because they don’t connect directly to your phone but use third-party technology, GPS trackers are unable to pinpoint the location of a lost object and can only navigate you to an approximate location that can have up to 160 feet (50 meters) in radius.

The most popular use of GPS technology is the navigation system we use on our phones and in our cars. If your car ever suddenly ‘jumped’ a few hundred feet to the left or the right on the map while you were driving, now you know why.

UWB

Ultra-Wideband is on of the latest wireless communication technology and has more precise location-tracking capabilities. While a UWB tracker has a longer range and can transmit data at much higher speeds it also uses more battery to do so.

The main advantage of UWB finders is that they can guide you to the precise location of your lost keys with your mobile phone, which is a great feature, if you’re trying to find your keys in a noisy room or if you have any hearing limitations that could prevent you from hearing the ringtone of your Bluetooth finder.

What can each help me find?

In short:

Bluetooth is a short-range wireless communication technology that is commonly used to search for things that were misplaced nearby.

GPS is a satellite-based navigation system that is used to determine the location of a lost item at greater distances.

UWB is a newer wireless communication technology that uses a wide bandwidth to provide accurate location information of a nearby misplaced item.

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