If you’re still clanking around in 2017 with a giant hoop of keys, looking like you’re about to go make sure the Count of Monte Cristo is still in his cell, I have two pieces of news for you: first, you’re too late, he escaped; second, there is a better way.
Enter, the key organizer.
Key organizers have come a long way since they came on to the scene in the late 2000s. The first organizers were little more than shackles with bolts and nuts — hardly upgrades from the cheap rings they were replacing. While perhaps not the first, the most prominent company to advance the science of key organization was KeySmart. And, seeing as they’ve been at it as long as they have, its no surprise they make our first pick.
Peruse your options below, consider your use case, and read on for more information about each pick.
|KeySmart Classic – Compact 2-14 Key Holder and Organizer|
|Keybar – Aluminum Key Organizer|
|Keyport Slide Pro 8+ Bundle|
|Keydisk KeyKlip Carabiner Key Holder|
|Orbitkey 2.0 – Premium Leather Organizer|
What to look for in your key organizer
When considering which key organizer is going to be your own personal best bet, there are three things you will want to consider:
How many metal keys are you carrying?
If you’re only carrying one or two keys, the space and weight savings of adding a key organizer may not be worth the effort — you may wind up with more bulk in your pocket than you had to begin with. If, however, you are carrying more than three keys and/or you can eliminate another piece of your kit with a key organizer (see KeySmart USB drive, etc.), organizers may make sense for you.
Are you carrying a key fob?
Virtually every key organizing system has some method of attaching a key fob (those electronic things you use to unlock your car, open your garage door, etc). However, as most key organizers use a folding method of consolidating your keys, much like a pocket knife, fobs don’t typically fit. Most organizing systems use a simple ring system to attach the fob to the organizer, essentially making your organizer a heavy keychain attached to your car key. Realize this going in, and recognize that your overall key-carry bulk reduction is going to be limited by the heft of your fob.
How do you intend to carry your keys?
The key organizer arose out of a need to organize and consolidate keys to carry them in a pocket. Key organizers are thus really designed to be pocketed, not clasped to your belt or worn around your neck. If you intended to do either of those two things we suggest you take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself if that is the kind of person you want to be.
The best key organizers:
If you aren’t sure which key organizer to buy, and just want the best, most extensible, easy to use option, we submit: The original KeySmart Classic. Like a good friend that knows you’ve had too much, it will reliably hide your keys. Like an even better friend, it will also hold your USB drive containing all of those emails that may or may not point to your involvement in election tampering.
The KeySmart Classic will organize up to 14 keys and doesn’t require custom keys. Exceptionally, KeySmart also covers their products with a 2 year manufacturer’s warranty — no small feat when their product is designed to be carried with you, well, everyday. It is extensible and can have bottle openers, flashlights and a litany of other accessories added on.
The aluminum Keybar doesn’t muck about. Its milled from a solid piece of aluminum, contains a clip to attach it to your belt (like an animal), or inside your pocket (like a country gentleman), and is made in the US. It can hold up to 12 keys with the standard screws or 28 keys with extended screws. It has less moving parts and is preferred by many for it.
The Keyport Slide Pro takes a different tack with key organization — the keys slide out of the organizer like a box cutter. Keyport markets their Slide Pro less as a key organizer and more as a multi-tool that happens to also be able to carry your keys. For that reason, the Keyport Slide Pro comes with a USB drive, an LED flashlight, a pen and a bottle opener.
While the Keyport does provide a very slim and very slick method for organizing your keys, it also requires custom key cutting. Keyport provides you with several key blanks that you will have to have cut to replace your existing keys. If you are absolutely dead set on reducing the overall bulk and weight of your key carry, at all costs, this is a great option. If you’re just looking for something that you can quickly deploy with your existing keys, or for a gift, look elsewhere.
Keydisk has taken an interesting tack with their KeyKlip Carabiner — rather than attaching all of your keys at one pivot point like a pocket knife, they are nested within a rectangular piece of aluminum that is also a carabiner. This widens the profile of the organizer but allows it to be slimmer — you have two stacks of keys in the organizer rather than one.
The KeyKlip is itself a carabiner, ready to be clipped to your bag or (in cases of dire emergency) your belt. The standard kit allows for up to 10 keys to be stored, but can be expanded almost limitlessly with extender kits.
The Orbitkey 2.0 is the simplest of the bunch. It consists of a loop of leather (note – not full grain leather), a post for attaching your keys, and a metal link to attach other key fobs or accessories. It also accommodates the fewest keys — designed to hold 2-7.
What the Orbitkey does have going for it is minimalism and sophistication. If you don’t have many keys to carry, and want your keys to be wrapped in a nice piece of tan cowhide to match your driving gloves, the Orbitkey will keep your keys tucked away and the leather will help minimize the chance your keys scratch other objects in your pocket. Orbitkey also manufactures a small multi-tool, which can be added to the Orbitkey 2.0 to ensure you always have a few standard wrenches, a screwdriver, and a bottle opener close on hand.