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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.

Personalized Keychains

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

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

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

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

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.

Tech Keychains

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

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.

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Our Top Picks

These best keychain recommendations consider keychain type, quality, and price to help you find a keychain for your everyday use.