The Best EDC Keychains of 2018 – Buyer’s Guide
Keys are essential items that get things done in day to day life. But once there are too many on your keychain, things get messy and you’ll end up with destroyed pockets and scratched smartphones.
EDC Keychains - or Every Day Carry keychains - open the door to a better, more organised way of living. They are simple devices that protect your pockets and their contents from sharp keys while helping you find the right key as and when you need it.
If you’re looking for something more cutting edge, there’s a market for technological EDC keychains, too. These multi-functional keychains carry all the tools you’ll ever need for a busy and active lifestyle. Want to carry a screwdriver, bottle opener, memory stick and multiple keys all on one simple device? Today’s EDC keychains do just that and much more. But which model is right for you?
This EDC keychain guide is here to inspire you to get organised and streamline your everyday carry essentials. So you’re ready for anything.
Different Types of EDC Keychain
As the simplest form of EDC keychain, key organisers are the best keychains for protecting your essential keys and making them easy to find. Most key organisers are made of two pieces of metal that join at either end with two screws. Insert your keys between the pieces of metal and secure them with the screws and hey, you’ve got a set of keys that look and work like a Swiss army knife.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the premium feel of key organisers and the simplicity they provide to your current key setup. For a simple EDC keychain without the fancy tools and gadgets, choose a key organiser. You’ll never know how you did without one.
The best keychain multi-tools provide all the functionality of a small tool kit in a pocket-sized device that can be clipped to your current keychain setup. Classic brands such as Victorinox, Leatherman and Gerber have diversified their product lines to include these smaller packaged multi-tools for a growing number of customers who need functional tools on the go.
The good news is you can choose from a wide range of tools. If you only need a couple of hex wrenches, a screwdriver and bottle opener - there’s a multi-tool for that. Need something bigger? Like pliers, scissors, wrenches, knife and a toothpick? There’s many multi-tool keychains to choose from that will suit your needs perfectly.
No matter what your hobby is: fishing, camping, hiking or shooting - a multi-tool is a must-have piece of kit, even if it’s just as a backup to your dedicated carry kit. For the widest variety of functions, the best multi-tool keychains from established brands will do everything you require. Choosing a top brand also gives peace of mind that, should your multi-tool break, you’re guaranteed a refurbishment or replacement. Victorinox and Leatherman both have a track record for great customer service and offer this guarantee with all of their products.
You often need a flashlight when using your keys in situations when it's dark during winter or while camping, so combining a keychain and flashlight will save you time and effort. Today’s technology means some models of flashlight keychain can compete with dedicated flashlight brands such as Maglite and emit as much as 100 lumens.
This means bright white light in a concentrated beam, exactly on the lock that you need to open. Some pocket-sized multi-tools are available with flashlight add-on modules and these are less bright but super compact and very useful. Although, for a minimal EDC keychain setup, you’ll get more lighting power with a dedicated flashlight keychain from makers such as ThruNite. For the best night time optics, choose a model that uses Cree LEDs. These are the brightest LEDs that last 20+ years even with daily use.
What are the Best EDC Keychain Brands?
Keysmart manufacture premium pocket key organisers that feature basic Swiss army knife items as well as high end gadgets. For a custom look and feel, Keysmart offer an online Keysmart builder where you can add all your favourite tools into one neat key organiser.
Choose from various sizes of memory card, folding knives, screwdrivers, bottle openers and flashlights to go alongside the 100 keys that Keysmart devices are capable of holding. You’ll never lose a key again either, since the Keysmart can be unscrewed and reconfigured using a penny as a screwdriver, which a smart design feature if ever we saw one.
The best tactical keychain is one with a ring full of useful and essential tools that you can attach to your current set of keys. While Leatherman are known for their rugged, advanced multi-tool designs, they also make models designed to live in your pocket alongside your current keychain.
They may not be the best for protecting pockets and phones against tearing and scratching. But they more than make up for this with the glut of useful tools you’ll be able to carry. Expect a knife, flat head and cross head screwdrivers, a bottle opener, scissors and pliers on even the basic Leatherman EDC keychains. Leatherman are a solid, travel-friendly option for the everyday outdoorsman.
Keyport are pushing the envelope where EDC keychains are concerned. They’re a company who’s geared towards the trendy tech side of tactical key organisers and offer two models that will tame your bunch of keys in no time.
The simple design of the Keyport Pivot works with any style and length of key and allows you to carry a pocket knife, flash drive and rollerball pen alongside your house keys. With enough capacity for 9 keys, you’re hard pressed to overload the Pivot but if you need more room, Keyport provide an inexpensive expansion pack.
If you’re looking for something more high tech, it doesn’t get flashier than the Keyport Slide. It looks like a sci-fi gadget from the next century but is - in fact - a key organiser with some very nice touches. The slide is a block of milled aluminium with three grooves on either side that your keys are screwed into. The screws are made of buffed metal with an anodised dot on each screw to identify the key you want to use. The idea is simple but the end product has a premium feel and will make you the envy of your gadget-loving buddies.
As the original Swiss army knife company, Victorinox make knives that are easily attached to your current keyring and incorporate some of the best EDC keychain items. Depending on how ready you want to be for any eventuality, Victorinox have a wide range to choose from and offer knives with as little as 5 tools all the way to 33 tools on the Swiss Champ model.
They’re still a favourite of the boy scouts and Swiss military as they offer everything you need for survival, outdoor sports and are the perfect backup to dedicated tools. Victorinox have supplied knives to the military since 1891 and with this heritage comes an equally impressive guarantee. If your knife or Victorinox EDC keychain is damaged due to fault or poor workmanship, you can send it to Victorinox from anywhere in the world and they will send a repair or replacement to your preferred address.
Overview: Top 10 EDC Keychains
Reviewed: Top 5 EDC Keychains
The Keysmart 2.0 is the perfect blend of style and functionality. If you’re in the market for a clever piece of kit that organises your daily essentials into one simple-to-use device with classic looks, then look no further than the 2.0.
The 2.0 is bigger and better than it’s smaller brother, with more features and add-ons available to customise your loadout. The updated version includes a removable pocket clip - for ease of use or a pared down look - as well as a more rugged system to keep the keys in place. Gone are the penny-turned screwheads in favour of a hardier allen key system. Add to this the improved bottle opener and a 2 year manufacturers warranty and you have a key organiser that’ll you’ll never leave home without.
If you’re really in need of a key-organising EDC keychain that can accommodate even the largest of rings, you’ll be want to invest in the optional expansion kit. Use the larger screws supplied with the expansion kit and you’ll have a Keysmart that can effortlessly store up to 100 keys. That’s right, 100 keys that would otherwise be awkward, sharp and dangerous to carry on a traditional keychain.
The Keyport Pivot Essential offers many great advantages as a key organising system, including a free lost and found service offered free of charge from Keyport. If you ever lose your Pivot there’s a message engraved on the side offering a reward when the keys are returned to Keyport.
So, Keyport clearly have your back but what do they put in your pocket? The Pivot essential comes with 10 tools and has room for 5 keys and a flashlight module is included, so you’ll never be fumbling in the dark for your keys.
The Gerber Dime is a survival multi-tool that’s ideal for those who travel by air. It comes in a bladeless version and offers 12 useful tools wherever you are. It’s tiny, too, fitting in the palm of your hand and adding a mere 60 grams to your current keychain.
The Gerber Legendary Blades company have been making some of the finest tooling in the survival industry for over 70 years. They’ve used their years of experience and thousands of research hours to craft the diverse tool range found on the Dime. The Dime is super compact, too, thanks to its butterfly folding design.
Super lightweight and with a whole range of tools including the best spring action scissors in this segment, the Leatherman Micra is considered the best survival multi-tool by those in the know. Ten indispensable tools unfold from this tiny butterfly knife and it’s an even lighter carry than the Gerber Dime at 50 grams.
Whether you’re an angler or a desk jockey, the Micra is a useful pocket-sized piece of EDC gear. When folded it’s about the length of your thumb. A truly impressive piece of design from the boys over in Portland, USA.
As well as the spring action scissors - which alone are worth the asking price - a thoughtful set of features include bottle opener, blade, nail file, tweezers and a phillips screwdriver head. Going back to the spring loaded scissors, you’ll be happy to know these go above and beyond the useless scissors found on traditional Swiss army knives. What’s better, the Micra comes with a lanyard, so it’s an ideal addition to your EDC keychain.
It’s perfect for placing in your pocket, glove box, back pack and fishing kit - in fact anywhere you’ll need a comprehensive set of tools and it now comes with a keychain loop. Adapt your keychain essentials to be ready for the great outdoors in a matter of seconds, thanks to Victorinox, the original and unbeaten inventor of the Swiss army knife.
It’s a fact that swiss army knives are so versatile that they’ve become a shorthand for products that do more than one job. The Swiss Army Mini Champ is no different and yet better than all the models that have come before it. As well as the expected double blades, scissors, nail file, bottle opener and backup blade, the Midnite edition of the Mini Champ comes with a retractable ballpoint pen, wire strippers, screwdriver (with ruler) and an LED mini white light.
Other EDC Keychains Worth Considering
EDC Keychains: A Buyer’s Guide
It’s important when choosing your EDC keychain setup to keep things minimal and avoid making your keychain cluttered. The name of the game, remember, is to make your keys and essentials easy to carry in one simple-to-use device. So, each EDC setup needs to be light, easy to carry, pocket-sized and inspire confidence when you use its tools and keys. There are many models out there to choose from, however. So, to get an idea of what these items are like to live with, check out the video below where 15 EDC items have been subjected to long term testing.
Consider what you need to carry in your day to day life when setting up an EDC keychain. Do you need many tools? Which tools do you need? Do you only want to organise your keys? Will a flash drive and other techy gadgets be useful? And so on. Here are the top 3 features that every keychain multi-tool must have.
Compact: Keys, tools and gadgets take up space. So to optimise your everyday carry items, you need a tactical keychain that’s compact. You’ll not only make space savings and avoid the dreaded ‘pocket bulge’; you’re keys and essentials will be made lighter when you consolidate them into one simple package, too. We recommend a key organiser or a multi-tool that is smaller than your palm for a streamlined EDC experience.
Durable: There are cheaper EDC gadgets on the market but we recommend spending more for better durability. Higher grades of metal and plastic used by brands such as Keyport, Leatherman and Gerber stand the test of time and have thousands of happy customers who come back to those brands only after losing their devices or after putting theirs’ through decades of use. Spend and little more and be rewarded with exceptional quality, every time.
Versatile: Your EDC keychain can adapt to every aspect your life. If you’re a fisherman, hobbyist, sports shooter or all-round handy guy, a multi-tool is an obvious choice. Since a pocket-sized model hitches to your keys, you’ll never be without it. If you work an office job, consider a key organiser with additional tools such as tracking locators and memory drives. The tech tools will suit your day job and complement a sleek and efficient corporate lifestyle.
When you set out each day - on your way to work, the trail or the city - you never know what gear you’re going to need. If you have an active life that means your everyday carry essentials need to reflect that with the right selection of tools. The only way to be certain of having the bare essentials with you at all times, whenever you need them, is with an EDC keychain.
The market for EDC keychains is so big we’ve only scratched the surface with this guide. But, if you need a tyre iron to repair a tyre, a knife to gut a fish or a way to store your memory stick somewhere you’ll always find it, invest in an comprehensive EDC keychain device from a reputable manufacturer. You won’t regret it.
To get exactly the right keychain, discover each niche that exists and weigh up their offerings against your personal criteria. This includes survivalist keychains, modular electronics, travel keychains, phone accessories and military tools. The best keychain multi-tool is the one that looks good, feels good and does what you want it to and more.