Keychains have been used for more than a century to help people keep track of their keys for homes, vehicles, and offices. However, new keychain designs incorporate many other useful tools that can include charging cables, flashlights, wallets, and bottle openers. They also come in several different forms, like the carabiner or keychain bracelet. These adaptations help keep your essential keys organized in one place, plus they can help you prevent small or important items from getting lost.
The best keychain for you will have a feature that can help you during the course of your day or in the case of an emergency. You can also give or receive a high-quality keychain as a gift, with many versatile uses and features to choose for personal likes and needs. Take a look at the keychains below to find a product that you like, or read on to learn more about keychains before making your decision.
- BEST OVERALL: Hephis Heavy Duty Key Chain
- BEST FLASHLIGHT: Nitecore TUP 1000 Lumen RCHRGBL Keychain Flashlight
- BEST MULTITOOL: Geekey Multi-tool
- BEST LIGHTNING CABLE: Power4 Lightning Cable Keychain
- BEST PERSONALIZED: Hat Shark Customized 3D Laser Engraved Keychain
- BEST KEYCHAIN BRACELET: Coolcos Portable Arm House Car Key Ring Holder
- BEST WALLET KEYCHAIN: MURADIN Bifold RFID Wallet with Key Chain Organizer
- BEST COIN PURSE: AnnabelZ Coin Purse Change Wallet with Key Chain
- BEST LANYARD: Teskyer 8 Color Neck Lanyards with Key Ring
Popular Types of Keychains
Keychains are one of the most versatile accessories you can carry with you, serving many purposes. Keychain types can include standard key rings, personalized keychains, lanyards, carabiners, utility keychains, wallet keychains, tech keychains, and decorative keychains.
Standard Key Ring
Standard key rings hold the keys on almost every type of keychain, and are only the ring portion of a complete keychain. These rings typically feature an overlapping circular piece of metal that doubles over almost completely to form a secure loop for keys. The user must pull the metal apart to thread a key onto the key ring, which can be difficult, depending on the flexibility of the ring.
Key rings normally are made with stainless steel to reduce worry about rusting or corrosion. The steel is strong and durable, but flexible enough to allow the metal to pull apart without permanently bending or otherwise changing the shape of the key ring. Key rings can come in a variety of sizes, and their material might be thick, high-quality steel or a simple, single band of thin stainless steel.
When you choose a key ring, ensure that the overlap on the metal ring is enough to hold your keychain and keys without bending or slipping. If the overlap is too narrow, heavy keychains, trinkets, and keys can cause the metal ring to pull apart, which can lead to you losing your keys.
Looking to get a gift for a family member or a friend? A personalized keychain is a great way to go. These keychains typically have a standard key ring attached to a short, steel chain, which then attaches to a personalized object. Personalized keychains normally come in metal, plastic, leather, or rubber.
- Metal personalized keychains often cost the most, but they have a more luxurious appeal. The seller can inscribe your chosen words, or even an image, into the metal so that you or a gift recipient can feel the depth of the cut with the fingers. These personalized keychains range in price depending primarily on the type of metal used.
- Plastic personalized keychains sit at the other end of the price spectrum as the least expensive personalized option. These keychains do not usually offer custom inscriptions, but offer a wide range of premade choices, such as keychains that display first names.
- Leather personalized keychains often are considered the second most luxurious keychain material. These personalized keychains can include premade and painted messages or pictures, but the seller can add to these keychains with a custom message of your choosing.
- Rubber personalized keychains jostle for position with plastic keychains for the least expensive and often have a similar prepainted selection to choose from.
Lanyard keychains comprise a standard key ring and a 360-degree steel connector that joins the key ring to a lanyard users can wear around their neck, wrist, or just carry in a pocket. Lanyards can be made from several different materials, including nylon, polyester, satin, silk, braided leather, and braided paracord.
Satin and silk lanyards feel soft to the touch, but they are not as durable as the other lanyard materials. Braided leather and braided paracord are both durable, but the braids can rub on the skin when worn around the neck. Nylon and polyester are the best materials for lanyards, with an even mix between durability and comfort.
Lanyard keychains also are commonly used to carry identification cards in secure buildings, such as a corporate office or a school. They also might have a quick-release buckle or plastic clip that can be undone if the lanyard becomes hooked on an object, or if you need to detach your keys to open a door or show an identification. The addition of the clip allows you to remove the keys without pulling the lanyard over your head, which can be an important detail right before a big meeting.
Carabiner keychains tend to be popular with people who like to get outdoors in their spare time because the carabiner can be used when hiking, camping, or boating to keep keys, a water bottle, and a flashlight close at all times. These keychains also often attach to a person’s belt loop or a backpack so that they don’t have to worry about trying to force a large set of keys into their pocket.
Carabiner keychains are made with a standard stainless steel key ring looped through a hole in the end of the carabiner. This allows you to use the opening in the carabiner without your keys getting in the way. The carabiner portion of these keychains can be made with stainless steel, but it more often comes in aircraft-grade aluminum, which is both lightweight and durable.
These keychains can offer painted designs, engravings, and a variety of color options for customizing a carabiner. The carabiner is a great accessory to have because it has a wide assortment of purposes, from a task as simple as connecting keys to a belt loop to a more complex purpose, like locking a tent zipper from the inside.
Utility keychains can help you deal with unexpected situations throughout your day. While it would be nice to be able to keep your tool box by your side wherever you go, this just isn’t possible due to the sheer size and weight. However, a utility keychain allows you to have a range of helpful pocket tools ready when you need them.
These keychains can include scissors, a pocket knife, screwdrivers, a bottle opener, and even a small set of pliers, so the user can take on a variety of small jobs. Keep in mind that if you have a utility keychain with a set of pliers, it will have some heft, and might not be comfortable in your pocket. Larger utility keychains work well with carabiner keychains because the carabiner can hang from a backpack or bag.
Many items can fit into the utility keychain category, so these keychains come in a variety of materials such as stainless steel, ceramic, titanium, and rubber. They also vary in size, shape, weight, and function. One of best examples is a Swiss Army knife keychain that has multiple utility tools.
Wallet keychains combine the card- and cash-carrying ability of a wallet with the key-holding ability of a keychain so that you can fasten your keys to your wallet, or even connect your wallet to your bag or purse so that it cannot easily fall out or be taken. Wallet keychains might have one or two standard key rings with wallet sizes ranging from simple coin purse keychains, to card holder keychains, and finally even full wallet keychains, though these can be bulky.
- Coin purse keychains can be made with rubber, plastic, denim, or even leather. This is the smallest type of wallet keychain, designed specifically for storing spare change. With a coin purse keychain, you can ensure that you always have money for a morning coffee.
- Card holder keychains are larger than coin purses, but have a slim profile appropriate for holding cards only. The number of card slots can vary from a single card sleeve to six or more slots for your identification, credit cards, debit cards, and other cards you might want to carry. Card holder keychains come in leather, nylon, denim, or even aluminum, giving you a range of aesthetic options.
- Full wallet keychains are much larger than either a coin purse or a card holder. They can hold cash, coins, and an assortment of identification, credit, and debit cards. With your keys attached to the keychain you can worry less about leaving the car without your license and debit cards. These keychains are made primarily of leather, nylon, and polyester, making them durable and long lasting.
As technology advances, the features of tech keychains become more advanced to help make day-to-day life a little easier. Tech keychains can have simple functions like a flashlight to help find the keyhole when arriving home late, or they can have complex functions, such as connecting to a phone through Bluetooth so you can find your keys when you misplace them. Tech keychains also might have laser pointers, smartphone power cords, and electronic lighters.
- Flashlight keychains can have several different lighting functions including direct beams, broad beams, intermittent flashing, and color lighting.
Bluetooth keychains can link to your phone so that you can track your keys if they are misplaced. This type of keychain might also be able to play a signal or sound from the keychain to help locate keys.
- Laser pointer keychains are a great way to keep the attention of your audience when giving a presentation at work or at school. They are generally small and easy to carry, with a long battery life so you won’t have to worry about replacing a new laser pointer keychain anytime soon.
- Smartphone power cord keychains provide a method to charge a smartphone using a tablet, computer, or power hub so that you don’t have to scramble to find a power outlet.
- Electronic lighter keychains can light candles, start campfires, or light up for other purposes. These keychains produce a powerful electrical arc that isn’t affected by wind, so you can quickly light a wick or kindling.
Decorative keychains include different aesthetic designs as simple as a painted picture or as involved as combining function and design, like a keychain bracelet. The purpose behind these keychains is to look attractive. Unfortunately, looks sometimes outweigh quality, resulting in attractive designs paired with substandard chains or keyrings.
You can find a decorative keychain in just about any material from simple painted wood charms to die-cut metal figurines. The definition of a decorative keychain is broad. Essentially, any keychain with purely aesthetic features that do not serve a functional purpose can be considered decorative. This might include designs as simple as a unique keychain shape.
Decorative keychains are a good option for those who want to personalize a key ring, or to give a functional keychain more aesthetic appeal. Prices for these keychains can also range widely based on the quality of the material, aesthetic design value, and additional features they might have, like a built-in laser pointer.
Our Top Picks
These best keychain recommendations consider keychain type, quality, and price to help you find a keychain for your everyday use.
When going camping, hiking, or climbing, having a carabiner keychain like the Hephis Heavy Duty Key Chain to hold your keys is a great way to keep your hands free while ensuring that you don’t lose anything. This carabiner keychain also can secure important items like a water bottle and can attach to a belt loop or a bag when you go to work, school, hiking, or anywhere outside the home. It weighs just 1.8 ounces despite the thick carabiner design.
The carabiner keychain includes two stainless steel key rings and it has five key ring holes arranged at the bottom and top end of the carabiner to help organize and space keys apart. The carabiner is made of an eco-friendly zinc alloy and measures 3 inches by 1.2 inches. This keychain also has a handy bottle opener tool at the base of the carabiner.
The Nitecore TUP 1000 Lumen Keychain Flashlight, which weighs in at 1.88 ounces, is an excellent keychain and flashlight. It boasts a whopping maximum brightness of 1,000 lumens for a directed beam that’s equal to a regular car headlight (not a high beam), and it can be set to five different brightness levels, visible on an OLED display.
The robust body of the keychain flashlight is made of durable aluminum alloy, which makes it impact resistant up to 3 feet. Its battery can run for a maximum of 70 hours, and it can charge via a built-in micro-USB port, which has a rubber covering to help protect it from moisture and debris. For times when you need a long beam of light, the smooth reflector helps throw the powerful beam up to 591 feet.
The Geekey Multi-tool is made of durable, water-resistant stainless steel and at first glance appears to be the size and shape of a regular key. However, on closer examination, the tool lacks traditional key teeth, but features a serrated knife, 1/4-inch open wrench, bottle opener, and a metric ruler. This compact multitool measures just 2.8 inches by 1.1 inches and it weighs only 0.77 ounces.
The multitool keychain was designed with quick repairs in mind so it comes with a wide selection of tools to tackle tasks from wiring to bike repairs. The multifunction keychain has six wrench sizes in metric and imperial, a wire stripper, a 1/4-inch bit driver, wire bender, five screwdriver tips, a can opener, file, imperial ruler, and even some additional features like a built-in smoking pipe and bowl.
As technology advances, so does our need to power the items we use, and the Lightning Cable Keychain can help keep iPhones and Android phones charged. The charging cable folds in half to fasten around a standard stainless steel key ring. The two ends of the charging cable connect with a magnet to ensure that the cable does not fall off the ring.
The charging cable folds out to 5 inches in length and has a USB port on one end that can plug into a computer or a wall adapter for power. The other end has a 3-in-1 adapter that can be used for micro-USB, Lightning, and type-C USB ports, allowing you to charge most popular smartphone types including Apple, Samsung, and Huawei. The keychain weighs just 0.7 ounces and is made with a combination of zinc alloy and ABS plastic.
A personalized keychain like the Hat Shark Customized 3-D Laser Engraved Keychain is a great gift for someone close to you who deserves that personal touch. You also can get one for yourself with a witty phrase or remark engraved across one or both sides. Choose between six single-sided options, including bamboo, blue, brown, pink, tan, or white marble coloring. You also might want to choose a double-sided product available in bamboo, blue, or white.
The bold, 3D text is laser engraved for long-lasting use. The keychain is made of soft, smooth leather, which is water resistant, though it should not be submerged. The customized leather portion of the keychain is attached to a standard stainless steel key ring that won’t rust or break in poor conditions.
Instead of trying to dig for your keys in your bag or purse, keep them secure on your wrist with this fashionable Coolcos Portable Arm House Car Key Ring Holder. The bracelet measures 3.5 inches in diameter and comes with two stainless steel key rings in various colors. The keychain weighs just 2 ounces and should slide easily on or off most wrists.
Style choices for this keychain bracelet include color and pattern options, and each of the 30 options include a bracelet, two key rings, and a decorative tassel that matches the color and patterning of the bracelet. When it is time to remove keys, scan an identification, or otherwise remove an item from the bracelet, just open the quick-remove key ring clasp and replace it when done.
The slim profile of this MURADIN wallet keeps it from catching in a pocket or bag when you try to take it out. The bifold closure is easy to open, while keeping cards and ID safe within. The wallet is made with aluminum shielding, which is naturally resistant to electronic signals. This construction protects your personal information including your banking cards from being stolen through the use of electronic anti-theft devices.
Best of all, the wallet includes a durable keychain connection made of two stainless steel key rings and a thick piece of woven leather to ensure that the wallet remains connected to your keys, your bag, or any other item or object.
Carry coins and your keys together so you don’t leave the house without one or the other using the AnnabelZ Coin Purse Change Wallet with Key Chain. The coin purse measures 5.5 inches by 3.5 inches and it is made of a high-quality synthetic leather that is soft, durable, and lightweight, at just 2.39 ounces. It stays closed with a stainless steel zipper to ensure that cards, cash, coins, and other items stay safe.
The coin purse has a single pocket, but includes three separate card slots to help keep cards organized for quick retrieval when needed. This keychain also has a long, delicate key ring chain that looks attractive with any of the 17 coin purse color and design choices.
Attaching keys to a backpack, bag, or even belt loops can still leave them exposed to the elements and to theft opportunities. An alternative is to carry your keys around your neck, using these colorful neck lanyards from Teskyer. This product comes with eight different lanyard keychains, each with an individual color. At the end of each lanyard are two stainless steel connections, including a standard overlapping key ring and a metal clasp or hook that can swivel 360 degrees to accommodate easy scanning or showing of identification.
The lanyards are made of strong, durable nylon that feels soft to the touch, but should withstand tearing, pulling, and even cutting to some extent, though a sharp pair of scissors could get through the material. This lanyard keychain is 20 inches by 0.5 inches and each of the eight lanyards weighs 0.7 ounces.
Tips on Buying and Using Keychains
When looking for a keychain, you want to ensure that you don’t accidentally end up with a paperweight that will be more effort than it’s worth to carry around with you. A good weight limit for an individual keychain is 5 ounces.
Wallet keychains typically fall under this weight limit, allowing you to connect your keys to your wallet without weighing it down. The average wallet keychain comes with about six card slots and measures 6 inches by 4 inches or less.
To keep your wallet keychain secure, make sure that it has a durable stainless steel chain. The chain should be made with thick, tightly woven links that would be difficult to bend or break. Stainless steel also is a water-resistant material, so there’s no need to worry about the chain rusting and wearing out.
- To ensure that a keychain is a benefit instead of a burden, it should weigh less than 5 ounces.
- Average wallet keychains measure 6 inches by 4 inches or less and typically have six card slots.
- The chain on a keychain should be made with durable, water-resistant stainless steel to ensure that the keychain trinket or tool is securely connected to the key ring.
FAQs About Your New Keychain
Check out the answers to some commonly asked questions about keychains.
Q. What is the difference between a keychain and a key ring?
A key ring only refers to the actual ring where the keys attach. The keychain refers to the key ring, the chain attached to it, and any included decorative or functional element, such as a flashlight.
Q. How heavy is too heavy for a keychain?
Anything over 5 ounces can be considered too heavy for an individual keychain because a keychain also typically holds several keys. The combined weight can pull on clothing, and might even damage a car’s ignition switch if the entire keychain weighs more than 3 pounds.
Q. How do I attach to a keychain?
To attach a keychain, you must open the ring using a thin piece of metal, like a coin. Once the ring is open, you can slide the key over the metal loop until it is no longer pressed between two sides of the ring. The key should now be on the keychain.