Guide to Choosing Between AirTag and Orbit Tracking Devices

March 5, 2024

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Discover the key differences between Apple’s AirTag and Orbit to determine which Bluetooth tracker best fits your needs.

With easy-to-lose items like keys, wallets, and bags, a tracking device can be a lifesaver. As a tech writer who has tested smart tags for 5 years, I’ve relied on trackers from Apple, Tile, Chipolo, and other brands like Milwaukee Tick to keep my essentials secure.

Follow along to gain the knowledge you need to pick the right Bluetooth tracker for your needs and budget.

Overview of AirTag and Orbit Trackers

AirTag and Orbit are two of the most popular “item finders” that use Bluetooth and GPS to locate lost items.

AirTag is designed by Apple exclusively for use with iPhone and iPad. The white disc-shaped tracker has user-replaceable batteries and a variety of accessories.

Apple Airtag

Orbit offers black card-style trackers compatible with both iOS and Android. The Orbit Card includes a keyring hole for portability.

Orbit Card

Both use the Find My app and crowd-sourced location to help users quickly find misplaced belongings. But with differences in features and compatibility, is AirTag or Orbit better for you?

Main Features of AirTag and Orbit

To decide if AirTag or Orbit is a better fit, let’s dive into the standout features of each item finder.

AirTag Features

  • Precision Finding – Navigate visually via on-screen arrows and audibly with sounds to zero in on AirTag’s exact location.
  • Lost Mode – Lock AirTag into Lost Mode to get notified when it comes within Bluetooth range. Leave contact info for Good Samaritans.
  • User-replaceable battery – CR2032 batteries last over a year and are conveniently replaceable by users.
  • Range – Bluetooth range up to 800 ft and UWB range up to 131 ft for Precision Finding.
  • Accessories – Keychains, straps, holders and more. Apple-approved accessories made specifically for AirTag.
  • Size and design – Small, lightweight white disc measures 1.26 inches wide x 0.31 inches tall. IP67 water resistance.
  • Apple device integration – Seamlessly pairs with iPhone, iPad and Mac for easy setup. Locate AirTag via Find My app.

Competitors like Bytetag, Whistle, Baseus, Cube, and Ekster offer alternatives, but AirTag’s integration with Apple’s Find My network provides advantages over these item trackers.

Orbit Features

  • Range – Bluetooth range up to 130 ft for basic tracking. Ability to view last known location if out of range.
  • Water resistant – Can withstand splashes and spills due to IPX5 water resistance rating.
  • Crowd GPS – If Orbit Card goes out of Bluetooth range, the TrackR community can help locate it.
  • Replaceable battery – User-replaceable CR2032 battery lasts 1 year. Low battery notifications.
  • Size and design – Ultra slim 0.15 inch card shape with rounded corners. Available in various colors.
  • Cross-platform – Compatible with iOS and Android phones. Locate with TrackR app.

Main Use Cases

AirTag and Orbit serve similar purposes for locating lost items, but have slightly different ideal use cases.

Best AirTag Uses

AirTag works well for:

  • Keys – Attach to keychains so you never lose your keys again. The Precision Finding feature makes it easy to locate keys.
  • Wallets and purses – Slip an AirTag into a pocket or bag compartment to find your valuables.
  • Luggage – Ensure checked bags arrive safely and aren’t lost by airport staff.
  • Outdoor gear – Use AirTag to recover lost or misplaced camping equipment, umbrellas, etc.
  • Pets – Safely attach to a collar to keep track of cat and dog locations.
Airtag Accessories

Top Orbit Card Uses

Orbit Card is optimized for:

  • Small valuables – Ideal for items like eyeglasses, headphones, remote controls that need an ultra slim tracker.
  • Key organization – The card shape easily slides onto keyrings without adding bulk.
  • Handbags – Simply drop into a pocket of a handbag, backpack or work bag.
  • School supplies – Adhere inside a student’s locker, pencil case, textbooks or notebooks.
  • Travel – Pack an Orbit Card in your passport case, luggage tag or coat pocket when traveling.
Orbit Card Durability

AirTag vs Orbit: Feature Comparison

FeatureAirTagOrbit Card
DesignWhite disc with silver Apple logoThin credit card shape in various colors
Dimensions1.26 in x 0.31 in2.4 in x 1.5 in x 0.15 in
Weight0.39 oz0.1 oz
BatteryReplaceable CR2032Non-Replaceable Battery
Battery LifeOver 1 year3 year
Water ResistanceIP67IPX6
Tracking Range800 ft (Bluetooth)
131 ft (UWB)
130 ft (Bluetooth)
Crowd FindingYesYes
Precision FindingYesNo
Lost ModeYesNo
AccessoriesWide range of 1st-party accessoriesLimited 3rd-party accessories
PlatformsApple devices onlyiOS and Android
Price$29 for 1
$99 for 4 pack
$25 for 1
$70 for 3 pack

Accuracy and Tracking Range

Two of the most important aspects of any item tracking device are accuracy and range. Here’s how AirTag and Orbit compare:

AirTag Accuracy and Range

With advanced Ultra Wideband technology, AirTag provides the most precise tracking of any Bluetooth item finder I’ve tested.

The Precision Finding feature gives visually guided directions on screen and audio cues to lead you directly to your AirTag within a 131 ft range.

AirTag has excellent accuracy even when other Bluetooth devices are nearby, with minimal direction confusion. For longer distances, AirTag’s Bluetooth range goes up to 800 feet to track items room-to-room.

Airtag Find My

Orbit Card Accuracy and Range

Orbit Card relies on Bluetooth technology alone for tracking. The accuracy is quite reliable within a 130 foot Bluetooth range.

I’ve tested Orbit Card against competitors like Tile and Chipolo, and found Orbit to have similar Bluetooth accuracy and range.

Without ultra-wideband capabilities, Orbit can’t match AirTag’s pinpoint Precision Finding. But for general room-level accuracy, Orbit Card performs well.

Orbit Card Find My

Battery Life

AirTag uses a user-replaceable CR2032 coin cell battery that lasts around 1 year before needing replacement. Orbit has a non-replaceable battery designed to last around 3 years.

Airtag's Battery
AirTag

AirTag’s stated battery life is over 400 days, reflecting its capacity with user-replaceable convenience. Orbit, while listing its expected battery life at 3 years, does not offer the option for users to replace the battery, marking a significant difference in long-term usability.

In my experience, battery lifespan comes down to usage frequency more than small battery differences. If you trigger the tracking devices multiple times per day, you may need to replace batteries sooner.

I appreciate that AirTag allows battery replacement by users. Competing trackers like Orbit have built-in rechargeable batteries that can’t be swapped out.

Durability

For tracking devices meant to tag along on your daily adventures, durability is a must-have. Here is how AirTag and Orbit hold up:

AirTag Durability

The stainless steel body encasing AirTag’s electronics gives it a solid, durable feel. AirTag has an IP67 dust and water resistance rating.

Airtag Waterproof

In my testing, AirTag withstands drops from counters and tables without damage. The finish holds up nicely to keys rubbing against it.

Over time, AirTag will scuff and show signs of wear. But it’s built to last through ordinary daily use.

Orbit Card Durability

With an IPX6 water resistance rating, Orbit Card can handle splashes and spills. The seamless design lacks any cracks or crevices.

In a purse or pocket, Orbit stands up well to bumps and friction. The rounded corners prevent sharp edges from fraying fabric.

One downside is Orbit Card’s thin plastic body is prone to showing scratches if you have keys rubbing against it frequently.

For the most part, both trackers have adequate durability for carrying in bags and on keychains during everyday activities.

Compatibility

AirTag is designed exclusively for Apple devices, while Orbit opts for wider cross-platform compatibility.

AirTag Compatibility

One of AirTag’s standout features is seamless integration with Apple’s ecosystem.

AirTag pairs with and is located through the Find My app on:

  • iPhone and iPad with iOS 14.5 or later
  • Mac with macOS 11.3 or later
Airtag Ease Of Use

AirTag setup takes seconds by simply bringing AirTag near your iPhone or iPad.

No Android support is offered. AirTag leverages U1 chips in newer iPhones for Precision Finding, limiting cross-platform functionality.

For Apple users, owning an iPhone, iPad, or Mac maximizes the user experience. But those in the Android or Windows ecosystem cannot utilize AirTag.

Orbit Card Compatibility

Orbit Card is compatible with both iOS and Android devices via the TrackR app:

  • iPhone running iOS 8.0 or later
  • Android phone running 5.0 or later
Orbit Card Trackr App

Bluetooth pairing and setup are straightforward through the TrackR app on either operating system.

By supporting both major mobile ecosystems, Orbit Card accommodates diverse users. It lacks Precision Finding, but otherwise offers full functionality regardless of your device type.

For the widest compatibility and no limitations based on operating system, Orbit Card is the most versatile pick.

AirTag vs. Orbit Pricing

Both AirTag and Orbit Card are competitively priced against rivals like Tile and Chipolo. But AirTag tends to offer greater overall value.

ProductPrice
AirTag (1-pack)$29
AirTag (4-pack)$99
Orbit Card (1-pack)$25
Orbit Card (3-pack)$70

AirTag is sold individually for $29, which is $4 more than Orbit Card’s $25 price.

But AirTag’s 4-pack pricing at $99 makes them just $24.75 per AirTag. Compared to Orbit Card’s $25, the multi-AirTag pack provides cost savings.

Given AirTag’s advantages in precision finding, accessories, and Apple integration, the minor price difference provides outstanding value compared to other item finders.

For wider compatibility and a slimmer profile, Orbit Card still offers appealing value at its price point. But AirTag delivers premium features for marginally higher cost.

Pros and Cons

To recap the key benefits and downsides of each tracking tag:

AirTag Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Pinpoint Precision Finding feature
  • Extended range with UWB support
  • Tight integration with Apple ecosystem
  • Huge selection of 1st-party accessories
  • Attractive pricing, especially for multi-packs

Cons

  • Apple device users only
  • Disc shape isn’t as inconspicuous
  • More expensive than most single Orbit Cards

Orbit Card Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Extremely slim, inconspicuous design
  • Cross-platform iOS and Android support
  • Built-in hand sanitizer holder
  • Color options to match personal style
  • Usually cheaper than single AirTag

Cons

  • No ultra-wideband for Precision Finding
  • Plastic body prone to scratches
  • More limited accessory options
  • iOS and Android tracking experiences differ

Key Differences Summarized

AirTag

  • Unrivaled accuracy via Precision Finding
  • Longer 131 ft UWB range
  • Optimized for Apple ecosystem
  • Greater durability
  • More accessories available

Orbit Card

  • Thinner, discreet card design
  • Hand sanitizer holder
  • iOS and Android compatible
  • Cheaper single unit price
  • Variety of color choices

Which is Right For You?

AirTag and Orbit Card each have pros and cons that make them better suited for particular users and use cases.

Best for Apple Users

AirTag is the obvious choice if you solely use Apple devices. The integration with iPhone, iPad and Mac provides the most seamless tracking experience.

Best for Android Users

If you have an Android phone, Orbit Card is likely the better pick thanks to its cross-platform TrackR app.

Best for Key Chains

AirTag’s durability gives it an edge for attaching to keys. The Precision Finding also makes it easy to locate keys around the house.

Best for Small Items

Orbit Card’s ultra-slim design makes it ideal for sliding into wallets, glasses cases, purses and other compact items.

Best for Travel

Frequent travelers may prefer Orbit Card for the hand sanitizer holder and wider device compatibility when abroad.

Best Budget Option

Orbit Card single packs are slightly cheaper than single AirTags, providing savings for budget-focused shoppers.

No tracker is one-size-fits-all. Assess your personal tech ecosystem, use cases and budget to determine if AirTag or Orbit Card is the right fit.

AirTags enable unique tracking uses like mounting to drones, ski gear, and cars when renting through Turo. The possibilities are endless!

FAQs

Still have some questions? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about AirTag vs Orbit Card.

Does AirTag work with Android?

No, AirTag only works with iPhone, iPad and Mac. There is no Android compatibility due to AirTag’s reliance on Apple’s U1 chip.

Does Orbit Card have Precision Finding?

No, only AirTag has ultra-wideband support for Precision Finding. Orbit Card relies on Bluetooth alone for tracking.

Can you replace batteries in AirTag and Orbit?

Yes, AirTag has a user-replaceable CR2032 coin cell battery that lasts 1+ year, while Orbit Card features a non-replaceable battery with a battery life of 3 years.

Is AirTag or Orbit Card more durable?

AirTag is more scratch and water resistant. Orbit Card’s thin plastic body tends to show wear sooner when attached to keys and coins.

Does AirTag have any monthly fees?

No, AirTag does not have a monthly fee. It’s a one-time purchase with optional extras like engravings.

Can an AirTag be used to track people?

AirTag is designed to track items only, not people. Apple has added features to deter unwanted tracking of people.

How many Orbit Cards come in a 3-pack?

Orbit Card sells a 3-pack containing three separate Orbit Card trackers for broader coverage.

What accessories are available for AirTag and Orbit?

AirTag has a huge first-party accessory ecosystem. Orbit Card relies more on generic third-party keychain holders and cases.

Can you attach an AirTag to a dog collar?

Yes, AirTags can be secured safely onto dog collars using an AirTag holder or collar attachment accessory.

Decide What Matters Most to You

When selecting a tracking tile, narrow your choice by prioritizing what matters most.

If you want the very best tracking accuracy and range, AirTag wins. Opt for Orbit Card if cross-platform compatibility is paramount and ultra-thin size is preferred.

Hopefully this comprehensive comparison provided the details you need to confidently choose the right Bluetooth tracker for you between industry leaders like AirTag and Orbit Card.

Whichever model you pick, a tracking tile takes the stress out of misplacing essentials. Never lose your valuables again with an AirTag or Orbit Card along for the journey.