The Ultimate Review of the Onn Bluetooth Item Tracker in 2024

February 19, 2024

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Losing your keys, wallet, or other important items can be incredibly frustrating. Item trackers provide a convenient solution – small Bluetooth devices that can be attached to your belongings and tracked down using a smartphone app if they go missing.

Apple’s AirTag is the most popular option, but at $29 each, they aren’t cheap. Walmart’s Onn Bluetooth Item Tracker provides a very similar experience for just $15. But how does it actually perform? I tested out two Onn trackers to find out if they live up to the hype.

Overview of the Onn Item Locator

Onn Item Locator

The Onn Bluetooth Item Tracker is a small circular device that can be attached to keys, wallets, bags, and more to keep track of your stuff. Here are the key details:

  • Works through Apple’s Find My network, just like AirTags
  • $15 price – half the cost of an AirTag
  • CR2032 replaceable battery lasts up to 1 year
  • iOS only – Android not supported
  • Bluetooth and UWB tracking
  • Water resistant design
  • Built-in hole for attaching to keychains

At first glance, it seems to offer an almost identical experience as the AirTag, but at a fraction of the price. However, my testing revealed some major drawbacks.

Hands-On Review and Performance Testing

I purchased two Onn Item Locators to thoroughly test their performance. Here is how they stacked up in real-world use:

Unboxing and Setup

Getting started with the Onn tracker was quick and simple:

  • Took it out of the packaging and peeled off a small plastic film on the battery tab.
  • Pressed the button to turn it on – it emitted a pairing chirp.
  • On my iPhone, a notification popped up to connect it to the Find My app. This automatically paired it.
  • I was then prompted to name the tracker and choose an emoji icon for it.

Total setup time was under 60 seconds. The Find My app immediately showed the tracker’s current location and battery level.

Design

The Onn Item Locator features a smooth white plastic rounded square shape, about the size of a quarter.

  • It’s noticeably larger than the AirTag but still quite small and portable.
  • The plastic feels a bit cheap and hollow.
  • There is a hole in one corner which is great for attaching it to key rings, bags, etc. The AirTag lacks this hole so you have to buy a separate case.
  • It seems durable enough for everyday use. I dropped it a few times on hard floors with no damage.
  • The CR2032 battery is easy to replace by twisting open the case with a coin.
Onn Item Locator Design

Tracking Performance

I tested tracking performance in a variety of real-world scenarios:

  • As a keyfinder – attached to keys to find when lost in the couch.
  • On a backpack – to track it down if forgotten somewhere.
  • In a public place – to see if I could locate it if left behind.

The Onn tracker performed inconsistently:

  • The 60-70 foot Bluetooth range was sufficient to locate it in my home.
  • However, the speaker often only chirped once quietly when pinged. I would expect it to chime repeatedly like an AirTag when lost. This made it hard to zero in on.
  • In public testing, it was unable to be located even within 40 feet when placed in a purse in a coffee shop. My phone couldn’t find it at all.
  • The UWB precision finding feature, which allows centimeter-level accuracy, failed to activate every time.
Onn Item Locator Tracking Performance

Overall, the Onn tracker was unreliable for retrieving lost items compared to AirTags which work flawlessly.

Battery Life

Battery life was very poor:

  • The first Onn tracker I tested drained from 100% to less than 50% in just 2 weeks of average use.
  • This is nowhere near the 1 year life that Apple promises for AirTags.
  • I replaced the CR2032 battery, but it made no difference. Clearly a defective battery.
  • My second Onn tracker failed to work at all right out of the box, so I couldn’t even test battery runtime.
Onn Item Locator Battery Life

The battery life issues make the Onn tracker unusable for long-term tracking of items. Frequent battery replacements would be required.

Pros

  • Inexpensive at just $15
  • Hole for attaching to keys, bags, etc.
  • CR2032 battery is easy to replace

Cons

  • Unreliable tracking performance
  • Extremely short 1-2 week battery life
  • Quiet, weak speaker can’t find it when close by
  • Fails completely in some situations
  • Larger and cheaper feeling than AirTag
  • No Android support

Should You Buy The Onn Item Tracker?

I tested two different Onn Bluetooth Item Trackers, and both exhibited major flaws: inconsistent tracking, absurdly short battery life, and complete tracking failures.

While the $15 price tag is appealing, the poorly executed performance makes this not worth purchasing. I cannot recommend the Onn tracker at all due to its severe reliability issues. You’re better off spending a bit more for a fully functional AirTag or trying a different budget tracker like Tile.

Alternatives To Consider

Here are the best item trackers to consider instead of the Onn model:

Apple AirTag

Apple Airtag

The gold standard – precise tracking, long battery life, wide compatibility. Reliable but more expensive at $29 each. You can even use AirTags to track your dog.

Tile Mate

Tile Trackers

Tile has the widest compatibility across iOS and Android. Just $25 and waterproof. However, some users report issues with Tile trackers not working properly, so reliability may be a concern.

Chipolo One Spot

Chipolo One Spot 2022

Sleek, loud ringer, and affordable at $28. Cross-platform. You can even attach an AirTag to your pet’s collar for tracking.

Samsung SmartTag

Samsung Smarttag

Great for Samsung Galaxy users at just $29.95. Feature-packed app. However, some users report connection issues with the Samsung SmartTag.

Key Takeaways

  • The Onn Bluetooth Item Tracker promises low-cost tracking like Apple’s AirTag, but severely underdelivers with unreliable performance.
  • Both of the Onn trackers I tested had major issues with inaccurate tracking, failing to make a sound, and absurdly short 1-2 week battery life.
  • For just $15 more, the Apple AirTag provides precise, long-lasting tracking that actually works when you need it.
  • Consider the Tile Mate or Chipolo One Spot as reliable cross-platform alternatives. But steer clear of the Onn model.
  • You can attach an AirTag to a pet collar or place one in your luggage for tracking valuables.

FAQs

Q: Does the Onn item tracker work with Android phones?

A: Unfortunately no – the Onn tracker only works with iPhones due to relying on Apple’s Find My network. For Android compatibility, look at Tile or Chipolo trackers.

Q: Can you replace the battery in the Onn tracker?

A: Yes, the Onn uses a standard replaceable CR2032 coin cell battery. But replacement didn’t help the very short battery life in my testing. The AirTag battery lasts over a year before needing to be replaced.

Q: How accurate is the Onn tracker for finding lost items?

A: I found it to be very inaccurate compared to AirTags. The weak speaker and inconsistent tracking made it unreliable for locating lost items. AirTags provide precise tracking using ultra wideband technology.

Q: Can AirTags be used to track people without consent?

A: Apple has built in safeguards to deter and detect unwanted tracking. However, there have been some reports of AirTags being used for stalking, so vigilance is important.

Q: Where is the best place to attach an AirTag on a bike?

A: A seat post or handlebar mount work well to deter bike theft. You can buy specific AirTag bike mounts or improvise your own attachment.