So you're looking for the best key organizer, huh? Well I put the most popular key organizer brands to the test in a head to head (to head) battle. Read on to hear the results!
I first published this article toward the end of 2018. Since then, I've tested and heard about several other great key organizers (see the “Other Options” section toward the end of the article).
I've also experimented with carrying my keys on a small carabiner, which you can see in this EDC video.
That said, my top picks and rankings below still stand. These are great choices for 2020, and I really don't think you can go wrong any of them.
This article and its links have been updated for 2020. Enjoy!
If you're on the hunt for the best key organizer, you're probably not happy with your current key situation.
I feel your pain. Keys are one of the most important parts of your everyday carry (EDC), and the traditional setup – loose keys on a key ring – is less than ideal for several reasons:
- Your keys poke into your leg
- They cause excessive wear on your pockets
- They they create an ugly bulge
- Keys shift around as you walk
If this loose key situation annoys you, you're not alone. Since guys don't typically carry bags, we keep our stuff in our pockets.
And if the stuff in our pockets is causing discomfort throughout the day, it can be super annoying (even if it's just mild discomfort).
The solution, of course, is to use a key organizer to “tame” your key situation and make them easier to carry around all day.
Now, there are many different key organizers available for purchase online. Some are made from brands that specialize in accessories and EDC, while other are made by companies that focus specifically on key organization.
If you search Google for any variation of “best key organizers” you'll find a bunch of round up articles that list the top 5, 10 or 20 options.
The problem is, in my research, I couldn't find anyone that actually tested all of the most popular options to see which one is really the best.
Since I'm extremely particular about my EDC and possible a bit obsessive about organization, I decided to get to the bottom of this, once and for all.
SHOP THE POST
The Review Process
My plan went as follows:
- Identify the most popular key organizers on the market
- Reach out to these brands and ask for samples (this helps keep my costs down)
- Unbox each product
- Set up each product (at least twice)
- Use each product every day for at least one week
- Make video / write this article
I'm happy to say that this plan went off without a hitch. I'm also happy to report that the brands I reached out to were kind enough to provide free samples for review – all of them.
I'm very grateful for this, as it helps keep my production cost down. So kudos to these brands for working with me on this.
Before we dive into each key organizer, you need to know a couple of general points:
#1: These are all great options
The products I tested are the best of the best. There are hundreds of key organizers out there, including many “me too” products and rip offs.
The brands included in this article are consistently rated very highly. They're all great options and, in my opinion, they're all a huge improvement over just carrying your keys on a key ring.
#2: You'll sacrifice some convenience
Key organizers make your keys more comfortable to carry, but they don't make your keys easier to use.
When it comes to actually using your keys (taking them out of your pocket and unlocking a door), all of these organizers add an extra step.
In this regard, some organizers are better than others (more on this later), but they all add this extra step.
#3: It depends on your key setup
In general, less keys is better. Most of these organizers work better for people who either don't own a car or who drive a modern car with keyless entry.
If, like me, your car has a thick plastic key and a fob, some of these organizers will be harder to use.
On the other hand, if you don't have any car key, or you have a car that only requires a fob (or has the buttons built into the key), these products will work better.
I found that most key organizers weren't designed to work with my setup – a thick plastic car key, separate fob and a couple of loose keys.
#4: These work great with EDC extras
If you're the type of guy who like to carry a small knife, bottle opener, USB stick or multitool, you'll love using a key organizer. Come to think of it, you probably already have one…
Many of these products can accommodate EDC extras like multitools and knives, without adding any bulk to your setup.
The Best Key Organizers That I Tried
Okay, let's get into this. Here are the products I tried out, along with their general ratings across various categories:
- Ease of setup
- Ease of use
- Pocket comfort
Feel free to sort by any of these criteria. Note that this table uses a three point rating system. For a given category, three keys is the best possible score.
|Picture||Name||Highlight||Price||Setup Time||Ease of Use||Comfort||Aesthetic||Customization||SCORE|
|Bellroy Key Cover Plus||Best overall||$45.00||1m 16s||🔑🔑🔑||🔑🔑🔑||🔑🔑🔑||🔑||10|
|Orbitkey Key Organizer||Best overall||$43.50||0m 52s||🔑🔑🔑||🔑🔑🔑||🔑🔑🔑||🔑🔑||11|
|Campbell Cole Key Wrap||Most handsome||$40.95||0m 40s||🔑||🔑||🔑🔑🔑||🔑||6|
|Keyport Slide||Most practical||$39.00||30m 0s||🔑🔑🔑||🔑🔑||🔑🔑🔑||9|
|Keyport Pivot||Most customizable||$22.98||1m 36s||🔑🔑||🔑||🔑||🔑🔑🔑||7|
|Keybar||Easiest to carry||$35.00||5m 11s||🔑||🔑🔑🔑||🔑||🔑🔑||7|
|KeySmart Pro||Smartest||$59.99||3m 5s||🔑🔑||🔑||🔑||🔑🔑||6|
Note: I had included “build quality” as a line item in this table, but in my opinion, all of these products receive five stars for build quality. These are durable, well built devices that should last for many, many years.
Let's take a closer look at each product.
Bellroy Key Cover Plus
If you search the web for the best key organizers, you're sure to come across Bellroy.
Their Key Cover Plus is the larger version of their always popular Key Cover.
I tested both sizes, and the bigger version accommodates my bulky car key nicely.
There are several things I like about the Bellroy Key Cover Plus. First, it has a magnetic closure that makes it easy to use with one hand.
Second, it's very easy to set up. The only organizer I tested that was easier to set up was the Campbell Cole Key Wrap.
This comes in handy when you need to lend your key to a friend or take it with you when you go running.
I found both Bellroy Key Covers to have a premium feel, which makes them a pleasure to use. They also feel great in the pocket.
For all of the reasons, the Bellroy Key Cover Plus is among my top two picks for the best key organizer of 2018.
Orbitkey Key Organizer
The Orbitkey Key Organizer is also a great little product that has a high quality look and feel.
Unlike the Bellroy options, the Key Organizer is available in a variety of materials, including leather, canvas and rubber.
For the sake of comparison, I went with leather.
The Orbitkey is slightly harder to set up than the Bellroy and Campbell Cole, so it takes a little longer to get your keys on and off.
That said, it's not as hard to set up as the Keybar or KeySmart organizers.
My one complaint with the Orbitkey is the length. It's just a tiny bit too short to accommodate my car key.
The only solutions are to force the key into the slip or put the key on the outer ring, which sort of defeats the purpose or a key organizer.
Of course, Orbitkey does sell extras like their multitool, which fits nicely with your keys and doesn't add any extra bulk to your EDC.
Overall, I think the Orbitkey Key Organizer is a great mix of simplicity and functionality, and it's easy on the eyes too!
Campbell Cole Key Wrap
There are things I love about the Campbell Cole Key Wrap. I love it's simple design and high quality components.
I love how easy it is to set up and remove keys – something that comes in handy when you don't want to take your whole keychain with you (like when you take a walk to go for a jog).
But it's a little bulky for my needs. I think the whole thing could be smaller, especially the metal loop.
Also, since it has a button closure, it's not very convenient to use (compared to the Bellroy's magnetic closure, for example).
It's almost impossible to use the Campbell Cole Key Wrap with just one hand, start to finish.
This is definitely one of the best looking key organizers you can buy, but (in my opinion) it's not the most practical choice for daily use.
The Slide is definitely the most unique organizer on this list, and it's the only one that makes one-handed use an absolute breeze.
It's also highly customizable. You can easily add a knife, flashlight, multitool or USB drive to this device, without adding very much weight or bulk.
This innovative little key organizer is surprisingly small for how functional it is. It doesn't feel bulky in your pocket like you'd expect.
Of course, the Keyport Slide isn't perfect. It's definitely the most difficult organizer to set up, as your normal keys won't fit into the slots.
You have to go to a hardware store or locksmith to get new keys made specifically for the Slide.
It's also not the prettiest product on the list. The design aesthetic is unapologetically functional. It's not trying to win any beauty pageants.
The Keyport Slide is not for everyone, but it's perfect for some people. If you value function over form and convenience over all else (even if it means extra set up time), you'll love the Slide.
The Pivot is Keyport's answer to Orbitkey and Keysmart. It's the same basic layout as most organizers – a solid chamber in which your keys rotate in and out of.
Unlike the Slide, the Pivot will work with your existing keys.
Like the Slide (and unlike Orbitkey or Keysmart), the Pivot can be easily customized by adding a pocket knife, mini flashlight, pen, multitool, etc.
Also, while the set up isn't as straightforward as something like the Campbell Cole Key Wrap, the instructions that the Keyport Pivot (and Slide) came with were very easy to follow.
After a frustrating set up experience with Keybar and, to a lesser extent, Keysmart, I really appreciated the thoughtful packaging and instructions from Keyport.
Like the Slide, the Pivot isn't the most handsome organizer you can buy, but if you're all about function over form and want plenty of customization options, you'll love this product.
Keybar is a no nonsense, heavy duty key organizer that's made right here in the U.S.A. It's patented, minimal design is great for anyone who wants something simple and bulletproof.
Other than the Keyport Slide, which requires a trip to the hardware store, I found the Keybar to be the most difficult organizer to set up.
The instructions that came with the product weren't super helpful, and getting the perfect key order and spacing took a steady hand and lots of patience.
Other products with similar designs, such as the KeySmart Pro, came with better instructions and were easier to set up.
That said, once I got Keybar set up, I really enjoyed carrying it, mostly because of it's innovative attachable pocket clip.
I'm actually surprised that products like Orbitkey, Keysmart and Keyport don't have pocket clips. This makes your keys easy and comfortable to carry.
Keybar gets extra points for the pocket clip, even though the set up was kind of frustrating.
It's also worth mentioning that, even though all of these products seem very durable, the Keybar seems like it could stop a bullet.
KeySmart Pro is the version with Tile built in for “find my keys” tracking using your smart phone. It's a nice feature, but I probably wouldn't pay extra for it since I don't often lose things.
If you lose your wallet or keys a lot, having Tile tracking built into your key organizer could be a life saver!
KeySmart Pro is very similar to Keybar and Keyport Pivot. It's a hard shell with space for your keys and various tools, plus a ring on the outside for your FOB and anything else that doesn't fit inside.
KeySmart executes this design nicely. The keys rotate smoothly, and the bottle opener / FOB ring is a very practical touch.
Two drawbacks are the design and size. The KeySmart Pro is slightly bulkier than some of the other hard shell options, and the branding is a little loud (at last for my taste).
This vs. That
Maybe you've already decided which key organizer is best for you, or maybe you've narrowed it down to two choices.
Here are some common comparisons among the top key organizers:
KeySmart vs. Keybar
There are three big differences here. First, the KeySmart Pro has Tile built in, which lets you find your lost keys.
Second, the Keybar comes with an optional pocket clip.
Third, the Keybar (metal version) is substantially heavier than the KeySmart Pro (which is made mostly out of plastic).
For some people, one of these features will be the deciding factor.
KeySmart vs. Keyport
The KeySmart Pro and Keyport Pivot are very similar. The biggest difference between these two products is the customization options you get with the Pivot.
If you're trying to decide between the KeySmart and Keyport Slide, that's a different story. The Slide will take more effort to set up, but it's highly customizable and can be used with one hand.
On the other hand, Keysmart is easy to set up and can be used with your existing keys.
Both of these make your keys easier to carry around all day.
Orbitkey vs. Keybar
There are three important difference to consider…
First, the Orbitkey is made from soft materials (leather, canvas, etc.). This means it's very light and flexible, which makes is easy to carry but harder to turn (when you actually use your keys).
Second, the Orbitkey is easier to set up and add/remove keys.
Third, the Keybar has a pocket clip, while the Orbitkey does not.
Orbitkey vs. Bellroy Key Cover
Unlike the hard shelled products that are made from metal or plastic (Keysmart, Keybar, Keyport, etc.), the Orbitkey and Bellroy Key Cover are made from soft materials like leather and canvas.
This is why these two organizers are so comfy to carry in your pocket, and also very stylish.
Both products are very easy to use and can be used with one hand, although the Bellroy is noticeably easier, which is important if you often have your hands full with work stuff, groceries or kids.
If you really like carrying a multitool or knife, Orbitkey may be a slightly better option for you.
More Great Key Organizers for 2020
These weren't included in the original testing round before this article was written, but here are a few more solid options that have come across my desk (or inbox) recently.
I actually had a couple of readers tell me to check this one out. With over 2,000 reviews on Amazon and a 4.5 star rating, it seems like an excellent option.
Made in Germany from carbon fiber, it's lightweight, as the only real weight comes from your keys (up to 14 of them).
As an aspiring minimalist, I really like this option. It's simple, no frills design gives you only what you need, and nothing more.
If you like carrying a knife but want to keep your EDC simple, the QuietCarry Shorty is perfect for you, as it lets you combine your knife and keys in one compact package.
It holds 3-5 keys and has a loop for your car fob, so it's best for minimalists who only carry a couple of keys and want to have a small knife or multitool on them at all times.
This is a tooless key holder made from anodized aluminum, and it has a stainless steel bottle opener built in (which is pretty sweet).
At the time of writing, it's only $15 on Amazon, and it has 4.5/5 stars. It doesn't have any loose parts and holds 24 keys.
It's also been featured on popular everyday carry sites as one of the top choices for this year.
Phigvel Leather Key Case
Made from oiled horsehide, this is a slim and durable solution that's great for guys who prefer a more rugged aesthetic.
It has a snap button closure for easy access, as well as embossed labels (home, office, car, etc.) to help you identify your keys.
I've heard great things about this key case. It also has solid customer reviews, although some people have had problems with loose screws.
Like I said at the beginning of this review, these are all great products. If you're unhappy with your current EDC and hate the feeling of loose keys in your pocket, any of these key organizers will be an upgrade.
You will sacrifice some functionality when you put your keys on an organizer. It adds an extra step to the process of actually using your keys to turn on a car or unlock a door.
I recommend buying your top 1-2 choices and testing them out in the real world. You'll figure out very quickly which key organizer is best for your needs.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!