You better grab a coffee (or a beer)...
In fact, before you do anything, bookmark this page right now as you’re unlikely to get through it in one sitting. Seriously!
Let me ask you a quick question...
Are you morbidly obsessed with key holders like I am?
No? Good ...because there’s only room for one key holder freak on this planet!
In my quest to create the World’s Greatest Key Holder (EDIT: which I believe I’ve done - but it is now discontinued, sorry)... I did a little bit of research. Okay, who am I kidding - I did a TON of research.
This page is basically: 'The Wikipedia of Key Holders'...
Considering how long keys have been around – it’s strange (in hindsight of course) how long it took for compact, pocket-friendly key holders to arrive.
It’s really only been in the last couple of years we’ve seen them – and that’s pretty much all thanks to Kickstarter.
Kickstarter has been the launching-pad for around twenty successful key holder projects totalling more than one million dollars!
We’ll start by going through the successful Kickstarter key holder projects...then the failed ones.
After this we’ll go through general key holders found online, some found on Etsy, finally a few homemade key holder “hacks” (some of which are hilarious) ...and end with some step-by-step guides from Instructables on how to make your own.
I have a confession...
I’m completely and absolutely biased when it comes to products I produce myself.
But, I really don’t care ...because I only make the best gear.
So I know whatever bias I have is completely justified!
Before I jump into the list of key-holders - I'll also confess here that I created a key-holded ...but have since discontinued it.
However, I have produced another small run of the titanium masterpiece I call the HangKey™.
In line with the over-the-top confidence I have in my own products I'd like to show you my titanium key "dangler". It's fully-grade-5-titanium, ultra-compact and almost entirely hand-finished:
Possibly available here: (...if I've done another small run of them) http://www.cogentindustries.com/products-page
At the time of writing this the HangKey™ is still available on my Cogent Industries website – but I’m not sure I’ll keep making it check the link above right now to see if it’s still available.
I backed this project mainly out of curiosity.
Oh, and it’s made of titanium – which is kind of like a “trump card” for me.
Brad’s website: http://www.tacticalkeychains.com
Out of interest...
When I received my TiKeY it was anodized blue and gold – so I took to it with my grinder and polisher (yes, there’s that obsessive habit of mine – I just can’t leave stuff alone. I am forced by my flawed genetic code to customize anything I touch).
Came out pretty damn good I thought...
I don’t quite get this one...
I mean, yes, it’s damn slim and looks fairly well made:
Main website: http://www.key-disk.com
But man, those pointy corners on it are a strange one. Definitely wouldn’t want those poking into my jeans pocket (although it's not as bad as some I've seen!).
Who am I to comment though – the project raised over $55,000 with 1600+ Backers.
This was one of the few Kickstarter key holder projects I backed.
As with many projects I back on Kickstarter it was more out of curiosity than anything else.
There was no “wow” factor when it arrived to be honest. It didn’t look or feel as good in real-life as it did in the project pictures.
Don’t get me wrong...
There was nothing wrong with it. The project creator delivered exactly what he said he would. It’s just me:
I ALWAYS Have Super-High Expectations of Everything and Everyone...
The bad news is that it means I’m perpetually disappointed all the time.
But, the great news (for YOU that is) ...is that when you buy something from me -- or subscribed to my emails or whatever -- you can be guaranteed I DELIVER in every possible way. Lucky you!
It blows my mind...
Now, I’m no designer or engineer ...in fact I basically “hack” my way through creating incredible, well-design products (...but that’s just between you and me thought, okay?).
The Key Valet here is another key holder with square corners.
Okay, it’s probably meant to be “dangled” from bags and belt-loops – but I still don’t see the point in the square corners – that’s a hole-in-the-pocket waiting to happen.
Am I alone in this? Maybe it’s just me.
Okay, enough negativity...
The thing I love about the Key Valet is the countersunk screws. Man oh man I’ve been itching to see a key holder with those (...well apart from a prototype I made around 8 months ago I never released ...although I may release it soon).
I saw key holder after key holder released on Kickstarter over the last 6 months with sticky-out screws and bolts.
Anyone else get a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling whenever they see a perfectly flush, countersunk screw?
The screws and posts do it...
Yep, this project has some well-thought-out features – but the thing that really does it for me are the screws and posts.
Take a look around half-way down the project page where they go into detail about the screws and posts. I love when people think before they make something:
Main website: http://www.et-designs.com
A nice, clean design but...
I’m not quite sure why they never countersunk the screws fully. Strange.
Main website: http://www.cineik.com/k-addict.html
They also offered it in titanium ...which is always, always welcome!
This is a funny project...
It’s probably the most professional-looking key holder on Kickstarter (or anywhere for that matter).
Main website: http://www.tessrand.com
They’re late on Reward delivery (and I empathise with them sincerely ...only once you launch your own project on Kickstarter -- and have to deliver it -- do you realise how many “little things” there are ...how long they take ...and how fast time creeps up on you!)
Although the project looked so polished ...the actual production looks more hands-on-and-sleeves-rolled-up style Which I LOVE!
In fact, I’m convinced that had they gone for the more home-grown feel in the presentation of their project they would have done even better than they have done already.
Everything I know about Kickstarter tells me this key holder should have been a rip-roaring success – but it didn’t do as well as it could have.
Main website: http://www.okii.eu
Yes, it was successful (well over 200% funded) ...and the product itself ticks most boxes in terms of simplicity, quality (from the Kickstarter images at least) and so on.
Here’s EXACTLY Why This Project Didn’t Do Better...
I study Kickstarter a lot - and as far as I can see the Reward prices were simply too high. That’s it. Had they picked lower price-points for their rewards I'm convinced they would have funded many, many times over.
It’s a nice, simply key holder ...hell I might have backed it myself if it was offered in titanium.
The clever thing about this key holder is that it’s open source – so if you have a 3D printer (which I do!) then you can simply print your own one in a matter of minutes!
Main website: http://www.bladekey.com
However, a plastic key holder is certainly not something I’d carry around - so I'd only print one out of curiosity.
The design however is one of the best I’ve seen for shear simplicity and function. Very cool. The one they offered on Kickstarter was aluminium.
Here’s the link to download to the design so you can print it on your 3D printer:
This one is interesting...
And by “interesting” I mean: I don’t personally understand the popularity of this design.
Actually, there are two versions on the project page ...the larger Keylet and the smaller Key Caddy.
I can understand the Key Caddy for sure – it’s nice and compact ...but don’t quite get the larger Keylet.
The creator doesn’t seem to have a website – so I don’t believe these are available anymore anyway.
What a concept...
Main website: http://www.mykeyport.com
I’m secretly envious of the Keyport - but only partially – and here’s why:
It’s a clever concept and is proving really popular (that’s the part I’m envious of).
It’s something I’d never use for two reasons:
#1 - The shear hassle of sending keys (and filling in forms – anything but that!) to get keys cut to fit the Keyport.
#2 - It’s not high enough quality for me (it has plastic bits on it).
Obviously thousands of people don’t share my opinion on this. And that’s okay.
The Keyflip is basically the same concept as the open-source BladeKey™ I talked about above ...but less good.
It’s kinda “chunky” and kinda “square-cornered” ...these two things prevent me from delving any further.
Main website: http://www.mykeyflip.com
Oh, a titanium version was offered on the project ...but the chunkiness and square-corneredness of the design are simply too impractical.
This key holder was kind of like the “original” key holder on Kickstarter.
It was certainly the most popular one to have been on Kickstarter once it was funded.
Main website: http://www.getkeysmart.com
Nice, simple and clean design – but not high quality enough for me unfortunately.
Same concept as the Keylet I’ve talked about above:
Main website: http://www.leftfielddesign.net/store.html
Here’s the reason I love this project (not the product itself – but the Kickstarter project)...
Take a look at the Creator’s profile and you’ll see his three previous projects (for the same product) all failed to get funded. Well, he cancelled them before the projects ended.
Then, it’s as if he went, “Screw it! Key holders seem to be popular ...I’ll just make one of those!"
And, as if by magic, a successful project is born!
Now, the above is just conjecture (because I like to think this key holder came about) ...I don’t know how it really came about.
Don’t try to be original. See what works and do the same.
There’s no doubt about it...
This is probably the best looking key holder I’ve seen – it’s just a pleasure to look at:
Main website: http://www.orbitkey.com
The design is clean and simple too – not wonder it did so well on Kickstarter!
Same concept as the Switchy key holder I discussed earlier:
Carbon fiber body (nice) and aluminium posts/screws (less nice) ...it will certainly be a light key holder.
The integrated torch is a pretty cool option and could (in fact, most likely would) be a super successful project on its own.
I think this is the third credit-card sized key holder I’ve seen on Kickstarter:
Main website: http://www.myjackey.com
But, to be fair...
It’s actually a credit-card holder as well – so in that respect it’s a little different to the other similar key holders I’ve seen.
At the time of writing this the project is still running ...but not looking like it’s going to reach its funding goal.
The concept was cool...
But the end product is, well ...not very good.
I don’t mean to sound so harsh – especially when I can see the work that went into producing this product.
The simple fact is:
The first impression of this key holder is that it’s an average-quality, mass produced product ...regardless of how it came about – that is what it looks like.
This key holder had everything going for it...
...an entire team behind it
...rave reviews by various well-known websites
...and so on.
The funding goal was pretty high for sure (certainly the highest of any key holder project on Kickstarter by a long shot!).
It’s easy to sit here behind my keyboard and tell others what they did wrong (...damn, that’s probably why I do it so often) ...but I’m definitely not going to do that here.
But, I will say this...
The KEEO holds just three keys ...but it’s MASSIVE!
And it’s not just big in two-dimensions (like a few key holders I’ve talked about so far) ...it’s a three-dimensional behemoth.
Here’s how I would have done it... (yes, I am now firmly on my soapbox!)
Forget about the technology part of it and go back to prototype #5 (see image below) from the prototypes they showed on their project page:
From what I can see in the image ...#5 is a nice, compact-looking, high-quality key holder ...a few "tweaks" and it's ready to go.
Like I said...
The popularity of key holders has skyrocketed recently thanks to Kickstarter.
While most key holders -- certainly the most innovative ones -- are on Kicktarter ...there are quite a few others to be found generally around the internet.
And, because I'm such a nice guy, I've compiled pretty much all of them here for you:
Not really my scene...
But I’m sure there will be people who love this kind thing:
Kind of old-school ...but kind of new at the same time.
Similar to the OrbitKey Kickstarter project I covered earlier – except the keys are not all held together.
I like this because “FreeKey” sound like freaky! (yes, I really am that sad)
Not really a key holder as such – really just various split-rings – but I thought I would at least cover it here for you.
A funky little key holder...
Comes in a variety of colours too:
A real nice, old-school looking key holder...
It’s pretty cool to see such a compact, classic key holder at a time when hi-tech-looking is so prevalent.
This is basically a better quality version of the Patent Keyholder I discussed above.
Here’s my take on it:
Instead of using it as a key holder ...it would be far better to attach all your other key-chain gear to it(flashlight, cache, and so on).
Fairly original, high quality ...and an eye-watering price. Cool.
Definitely won’t have mass appeal, but...
If you’re arthritic then it could very well be a gift from the gods:
Quite possibly the simplest key holder you’ll see...
Even though this is essentially just a piece of leather with a split-ring fed through it ...it’s awesome.
I really, really like it. Beautifully simple and appears very high quality.
You’ve got to hand it to Etsy...
If you want something that’s handmade -- and blatantly, obviously handmade -- Etsy is the place to go! (...not to say there isn't some VERY professional stuff there as well)
And the first key holder up is a prime example of this...
Now, what I’m wondering is...
Will this thing float if I drop it in the sea?
Either way - it looks pretty cool.
A few different versions (different engravings) are available if you look in the site below.
A cheap-and-cheerful key holder:
A soft-looking leather keyholder...
They say it’s “vegetable tanned leather” ...and I have absolutely no idea what that means (I’ll Google it later).
Of all the leather key holders I’ve seen...
This was is definitely the best looking. In fact, it’s well designed too ...and it’s compact.
You’re going to love this...
A whole load of homemade, sleeves-rolled-up key holders – some fantastic examples of originality and lateral-thinking:
Here’s the recipe for this one...
#1 – Take a Leatherman multi-tool
#2 – Rip it in half
#3 – Take out the insides of one of the halves
#4 – Pack a bunch of cut-down keys into this empty half
This really can’t be called a “hack”...
If this guy offered it as product then he’d definitely have buyers.
It’s got tritium vials so you can find it in the dark!
Oh, and in case you’re unfamiliar with tritium ...it’s basically like glow-in-the-dark-stuff but emits a lot more light. It does this continuously as it’s radioactive with a half-life of around 12 years.
Not sure whether to take this one seriously or not...
Remember... Lego corners are pretty pointy – could be a hole-maker for your pocket!
Have you got a mad desire to make your own key holder?
Below is a list of different step-by-step- guides from the Instructables website.
Some of these are real "hack" jobs ...and others have a very presentable end result - enjoy:
If you want to make your own key holder...
Just follow these step-by-step instructions:
There’s a bit of work involved in this one ...and you need to chop your keys down.
However... the result is incredible.
It's compact and looks like the kind of thing your grandfather would carry:
Super-simple wooden key holder instructions – clear and simple:
If you only have access to a hacksaw, file and drill – this is the project for YOU:
It's pretty "raw" looking ...but better than nothing for sure.
Oh, and it kinda looks like the key-holder Robocop would carry ...if he needed to ...and wasn't a fictional character.
You MUST check this out...
Original thinking at its very best!
A key holder made from fishing gear – love it:
The requirements for this key holder are:
One shackle ...and, uh, that’s it.
If only it was titanium...
This is basically a do-it-yourself version of the OrbitKey Kickstarter project I talked about earlier.
Pretty good, clear instructions ...and the end result is very presentable:
As far as I know that’s pretty much all there is in terms of key holders on this planet.
One last thing…
Out of all those 40+ key holders I still genuinely believe my own HangKey™ pocket key clip (okay, you got me, it's not really a "key-holder" as such) is the best ...hey, I may not be modest, but I tell you the TRUTH!
What you need to do is... click here RIGHT NOW to see if my Titanium HangKey™ "Dangler"-style Pocket-Clip is still available!
If you want obscenely in-depth gadget guides, then you've got to check out my "Sniper Guides". Click Here to learn more...
"The Ultimate 'Key Holder' Guide" -- Click Here
"The Ultimate 'Titanium Pen' Guide" -- Click Here
I started this website for a couple of reasons... Firstly, because I couldn't find any "gadget" type websites that aren't covered in distracting advertising. Secondly, I design and manufacture my own high-end products (and so, yeah, this is a place where I can shamelessly promote my high-end products :-).