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The best Apple AirTag alternatives: Never lose your keys again
Apple AirTags are great for iPhone owners, but what if you’re an Android user? Or what if you want a different form factor? When considering Apple AirTags alternatives, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Do you have a Samsung phone?
- How small of a tracker do you need?
- Do you want smart home integration?
- Will your tracker be somewhere it can get damaged?
Once you’ve thought that through, we’ve tested and selected the very best AirTags alternatives to help you keep track of your belongings. Keep reading for our top recommendations.
The Samsung Galaxy SmartTag is best for Samsung fans
For anyone with a Samsung smartphone, Samsung’s own Galaxy SmartTag is by far the best choice. Much like Apple’s option, it’s tightly integrated with the company’s ecosystem, which makes the experience seamless for Galaxy owners, but locks everyone else out of the fun. It’s also only compatible with Samsung’s SmartThings, so if you’ve already bought into other smart home tech you’ll want to look elsewhere.
With that out of the way, we really enjoyed using the Galaxy SmartTag. We found it small and easy to toss in a pocket, and the minimalist design and colors don’t clash with most modern devices. At 13g it isn’t the smallest on the market, but some of that size is to accommodate the standard CR2032 coin cell battery, which is easy to replace once depleted. A single battery will last for months, and they’re cheap and easy to find in most stores.
The biggest benefit of the Galaxy SmartTag is Samsung’s oversized footprint in the industry. Like AirTags, SmartTags are tracked by every compatible Samsung phone nearby, and with Samsung remaining the leading smartphone OEM worldwide, that will maximize your chances of finding a lost device.
Smart home integration is another unique feature we liked about the SmartTag. Each tracker has a button that can be programmed to perform simple tasks at home, such as turning on a light or sending a text message. You can program two functions with this one: one for a short press and one for a long press. However, this only works with devices that are compatible with Samsung’s SmartThings platform.
Ultimately, the Galaxy SmartTag is the easiest AirTags alternative to recommend for anyone using a Samsung device. They aren’t the cheapest or the smallest, but they’re the most fully featured. If you want even more features, the Galaxy SmartTag Plus adds ultra-wideband (UWB), which makes it even easier to pinpoint the tracker from further away, even creating a 3D map with compatible devices. However, it’s more expensive ($39) and we think most people will be better served with the standard model.
What makes it stand out
- Easy-to-replace battery: This uses a CR2032 battery, which is cheap and easy to find in stores.
- Huge install base: Samsung phones are everywhere, and all of them will help track your SmartTag.
- Smart home integration: The programmable button can perform simple tasks with compatible SmartThings devices.
The Tile Pro is the most durable AirTags alternative
If you want a tracker that’s ready to take a beating, we recommend the Tile Pro. The durable, metal body is built for adventures, and it has an IP67 rating to prevent water damage. Despite this, it still uses a replaceable battery. The standard CR2032 cell will last roughly a year before needing replacement, and they’re easy to find. It also comes in a lot of attractive colors, although we did find that the white version gets visible scuffs and scratches quite easily. If that bothers you, opt for a darker color.
The new Tile Pro also has a different form factor, which at first we weren’t sure about. It’s longer and thinner, which makes it more awkward to place in some spots. However, it fits much more comfortably on a keyring alongside house keys and car fobs than the more square designs found on other trackers. Likewise, for dog collars.
One of the biggest selling points of the Tile Pro (and all Tile trackers) is that they’re fully cross-platform. Unlike Apple AirTags or Samsung SmartTags, you can get full functionality regardless of your phone. However, without tracking baked into devices, the install base for phones capable of helping you find your device is much smaller.
Speaking of tracking, Tile claims this model has a range of 400 feet, but we struggle to see how that’s possible, considering it doesn’t support UWB. Expect much more limited coverage if you live in an area with trees, houses, or literally anything but flat plains. We did like the inclusion of a QR code on the back, though. This makes it easy for anyone who finds your Tile Pro to get your contact information to return it.
We’d be remiss not to mention the other huge downside of the Tile Pro: a subscription service. While it will work just fine on its own, Tile Premium costs $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year and adds a few more features. For the Tile Pro, this includes yearly battery replacements, smart alerts which trigger automatic notifications when your Tile Pro is far from you or in a new place, and up to $100 in device reimbursements. At the end of the day, this isn’t that much money, but we did find it annoying since some of these features are included on competitors for free.
While the Tile Pro is our top pick from the company, the Tile Mate ($24.99) is also worth a look. It has many of the same features, but isn’t nearly as durable and has a quieter ringer. The Tile Slim ($34.99) is similar, but shaped like a card to easily slip into a wallet or jacket, and packs a whopping three years of battery life. Finally, the Tile Sticker ($29.99) is the smallest of the bunch, with an adhesive pad on the back. This is our least favorite of the bunch since the adhesive struggles to stick to anything but the smoothest of surfaces.
What makes it stand out
- Ecosystem agnostic: This works with both iOS and Android devices from a variety of OEMs.
- Exceptionally durable: The hard metal body can take a beating, and features water resistance.
- QR code: A QR code on the back makes it easy for people to return your lost Tile Pro.
The Chipolo One is a solid alternative pick
There are many item tracker creators beyond heavyweights like Apple, Samsung, and Tile. Chipolo is one of the few that stand out from the crowd — both for sheer value and for embracing new technology.
The Chipolo One is well-priced, and no features hide behind subscriptions. For example, the aforementioned out-of-range alerts are included free of charge. It also doubles as a remote camera shutter for your phone camera, which pairs nicely with a simple smartphone tripod.
We were also surprised by how loud the Chipolo One is, producing 120dB of sound to find your device even in noisy environments. The two-year battery life is above and beyond what other trackers offer, but this does come at a cost. The battery is not replaceable, so when it runs out, you have to buy a whole new tracker.
Like Tile’s offerings, the Chipolo One works with all phone manufacturers, although tracking is even more limited. Unless you opt for the newer (and slightly more expensive) Chipolo One Spot ($27.99), only users who have the Chipolo app installed will help track your device. Conversely, The Spot works with the Apple Find My app, but only on iOS. It does feature a replaceable battery though, so it’s a great AirTags alternative for Apple users. Likewise for the Chipolo Card ($35.00), which is very similar in design to the Tile Slim.
What makes it stand out
- Affordability: The Chipolo One is a cheaper AirTags alternative for the masses.
- Volume: This little tracker is capable of putting out some serious sound for noisy environments or the hard of hearing.
- Two-year battery: This has excellent battery life, but it comes at the cost of a replaceable battery.
The Cube Shadow is the thinnest and lightest AirTags alternative
AirTags and similar trackers are fairly unobtrusive, but if you want something ultra-thin, the Cube Shadow is a great option. At just 2mm thin, you can stick it to just about any device in your house and forget it exists until you need it.
The Cube Shadow has more going for it than just size, of course. It also features a rechargeable battery, which helps keep the thickness to a minimum. Cube also totes IP67 water resistance, although we don’t recommend dunking your devices in water to test it. The alarm is nice and loud at 100dB, too.
However, we weren’t a fan of Cube’s software. It’s less intuitive than options from Samsung or Tile, and it’s very prone to false alarms. It does have crowd find, although this particular tracker is mainly designed to be used at home for laptops, remotes, or medical devices like an insulin pump. Cube makes a more standard keychain model ($24.95) and a Pro model ($29.95), although we wouldn’t necessarily recommend those models over other AirTags alternatives.
What makes it stand out
- Size: This thing is tiny. At just 2mm thin, it’s the thinnest on the market.
- Water resistance: The Cube Shadow is IP67 rated to survive for up to 30 minutes underwater.
- Rechargeable battery: No need to replace the battery, as this one is rechargeable.
The Cube GPS Tracker is the best AirTags alternative with GPS
AirTags work well in densely populated areas, but coverage will plummet once you move away from other people with iPhones. If you’re looking for an AirTags alternative that works (almost) anywhere you go in the world, the Cube GPS Tracker is worth a look.
As the name implies, this device features built-in GPS, with its own SIM card. This means that as long as there is cellular coverage nearby, you can find your device. To conserve battery, it only activates when it detects movement outside of a determined area, which translates into anywhere from 10 to 60 days of tracking. Cube’s software also provides tracking history, so you can see where devices were headed, even after they lost cell connection.
Despite this, it’s quite small and compact. It measures about 1.5 inches by 2.75 inches, which is small enough to slip into any bag or suitcase. Note that this isn’t really designed to track your keys. It’s more for high-value items like a car or camera bag. The straps on the sides are also perfect for attaching to a dog collar if your pets are prone to running away.
Now for the downside: the Cube GPS Tracker requires a subscription. It starts at $16.50 a month if you get an annual plan, which is far more than you’d pay for simpler AirTags alternatives. However, the device itself is relatively affordable ($24.99), so if you want to track your suitcase while traveling, you can save money by deactivating your subscription when you don’t need it.
What makes it stand out
- GPS tracking: As the name implies, this has its own SIM card capable of finding your device almost anywhere.
- Subscription model: Monthly subscriptions are annoying, but if you only need tracking for a short time, this works out much cheaper than alternatives.
- Location history: This feature allows you to see where your device has been, not just where it currently is.
What to look for in an AirTag alternative
Apple AirTags are one of the most popular BLUetooth trackers, but it isn’t hard to find suitable alternatives. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping around.
- Compatibility: Apple AirTags are only compatible with iPhones, and some alternatives like Samsung’s SmartTag have similar limitations. Others, like those from Tile and Chipolo, are platform agnostic.
- Form factor: Most AirTag alternatives are designed to fit keys and other small items, but others feature other form factors. Some are longer, and others are thinner. However, you often trade battery life or other features for smaller form factors.
- Tracking ecosystem: One of the most essential features of AirTags is Apple Find My app compatibility, which means millions of phones worldwide are helping to find your device. Only a few alternatives share this feature, with most drawing from installs of their own apps, or in the case of Samsung, the phones it manufactures.
- Waterproofing: Some AirTag alternatives feature IP67 water resistance, which is a nice bonus if you plan on using them outdoors. However, this doesn’t mean they should be used for swimming or submerged in water for any period of time.
- Pricing: Most BLUetooth trackers land around the same price point, although third-party options are typically a bit cheaper. If you want greater savings, buying sets of trackers will work out significantly cheaper, and extras can be gifted to friends or family.
Frequently asked questions
Most BLUetooth trackers do not work with Apple’s Find My app. However, the Chipolo One Spot does, making it a great option for iPhone users.
Some BLUetooth trackers feature rechargeable batteries, and others need replacement batteries. Others are only good for a single charge, and require the entire tracker to be replaced once the battery is spent.
Unfortunately, the risk of stalking is present with all BLUetooth trackers, although some companies have taken an effort to prevent it.