Several years ago, I planned on getting a carabiner to organize my keys. I got tired of carrying loose keys in my pocket. They’re bulky, noisy, hard to dig out, and it hurts when they jab you in the leg.
Knowing this, my wife got me the KeySmart Rugged for Christmas 2018. I’ve been using it ever since, almost two years now. So, I figured it was about time to write my KeySmart review.
It’s not for everyone. There are one or two downsides that have me considering swapping it out for a carabiner. But there are many good reasons to add it to your everyday carry.
Who is KeySmart?
Michael Patrick created KeySmart in 2013 after having frustrations like the ones I described in my introduction.
So many people bought KeySmart that Michael has to move his operations from his parent’s basement to a warehouse in Chicago, which they also outgrew and had to move out of.
To date, KeySmart has sold more than 1,000,000 keyring organizers and other everyday carry gear such as backpacks and wallets to customers in 190 countries.
KeySmart Models and Special Editions
There are a few KeySmart models and special editions you can buy.
- KeySmart Pro with Tile – This holds up to 14 keys. It has a Location Tracker which will make your keys or phone ring (even when on silent) so you can find them when they’re lost.
- KeySmart – The original model. This holds up to 8 keys or a combination of keys and accessories.
- KeySmart Rugged – This is the version I own. This comes with a pocket clip, bottle opener, and a loop so that you can attach your car keys and fob. This holds 8 keys, but you can expand it to hold up to 14 keys.
- KeySmart Leather – This uses synthetic leather instead of metal. It holds up to 10 keys.
These come in different colors. Some models come in more colors than others. The standard KeySmart comes in black, red, blue, and titanium. The Rugged does too, as well as mossy oak and the special edition US Army.
The KeySmart Pro also comes in white, slate, gold, rose gold, and special edition colors schemes including mossy oak, Star Trek, and Jean-Luc Picard.
There are many colorways, so you should have no problem finding a color that works with your everyday carry gear.
Accessories You Can Add to Your KeySmart
One of the neat things about KeySmart are all the accessories you can add. Think of it almost as if you’re building your own Swiss Army Knife.
Here are some of the accessories you can add.
- Deep carry pocket clip
- MagConnect – A magnetic quick release system that connects/disconnects your KeySmart from whatever else you might be carrying, such as your car key fob.
- MultiTool – This is a box cutter, Phillips head screwdriver flat head screwdriver, and pry bar. The box cutter also looks like it could double as a seatbelt cutter.
- Quick Disconnect – Similar to the MagConnect but instead of a magnet it’s a carabiner.
- NanoScissors – A small pair of scissors (like the ones on a SAK).
- NanoStylus – So you don’t have to touch your mobile device’s screen.
- Nano Pen – Always have a writing utensil with you.
- Nano Torch – A miniature keyring flashlight.
- Nano Wrench – A flathead screwdriver and nut driver. I have this.
- Folding Knife – A small knife that sits inside the KeySmart.
- Nano Ruler
Some of these accessories will sit on a keyring. However, others will sit inside the KeySmart, which means it will take up 1+ key spots. You’ll want to keep this in mind when deciding which KeySmart model you want and whether to buy the extension kit.
Other KeySmart Products
While my KeySmart review only focuses on their key organizer, they have many other products that will compliment your everyday carry.
- Urban21 Commuter Backpack
- Urban Portfolio Briefcase
- Urban Hybrid Messenger Bag
- Urban Passport Wallet
- Urban Bi-Fold Wallet
- Urban Slim Wallet
- Airpods Case
- Portable Charger
I don’t have any experience with the other items they sell, but maybe one day I’ll check them and write a review.
Here are a few things I liked the most about the KeySmart Rugged.
The folding knife is a neat accessory. It’s small and discreet, perfect for cutting loose clothing string, small plastic bags, and anything else in which a 3”-4” blade would be overkill.
The KeySmart reduces and condenses a bulky keyring to something a tad bigger than a Swiss Army Knife.
I love the pocket clip. You can carry this like a pocketknife, which eliminates the need to dig through your pockets or bag for your keys. They’re right there when you need them.
There are many accessories you can add to or attach to the KeySmart. You can almost carry an entire miniature everyday carry kit on your keys – a great backup kit to your regular EDC.
They KeySmart is so small I don’t even know I’m carrying it. There wasn’t a transition period where I had to get used to either.
They KeySmart is well-designed. It’s neat and minimalistic. Most models are made out of metal, so you know it can take a beating. Odds are, this will outlive you.
If you’ve every carried a bunch of loose keys on a keyring, you know how noisy it can be. The KeySmart eliminates all the noise.
They KeySmart isn’t perfect. There are a few downsides you should know about before you decide to buy one.
Just keep in mind that not all of these are downsides are based on my own experience. Some of these come from reviews and feedback I’ve seen from other customers. I’m including these to give you as much info as I can.
One complaint people have is they struggle to find the right keys. This hasn’t been a problem for me, but it’s easily fixed. You can color coat your keys or have special keys made so that they’re easier to find. You can also fan out your keys to quickly find the one you need.
Another complaint is that the KeySmart is tough to assemble. This is a fair point. I thought it was a little tricky too – and I’m mechanically inclined. The bright side is that there is plenty of instruction online. I include a video and some tips in the next section too.
My biggest complaint is that the KeySmart doesn’t hold newer car keys or key fobs. I realize this is probably asking too much. But I’d love if I could carry everything in the KeySmart so that I could have a truly minimal EDC. You also lose one key to the keyring attachment so that you can carry your car keys and fob.
Some people complained about breaking their posts. I didn’t have this problem but, again, I’m mechanically inclined. These are small posts, so you don’t need to put your weight into it when you tighten them down. Besides, tighten them down too much and your keys won’t move.
Some people also complained about their KeySmart coming loose. I’ve never had this problem. In fact, I’ve never had to tighten mine down after two years of regular use. But even if you do, so what – that’s considered “maintenance” which is a normal part of carrying EDC gear.
This probably looks like a large list of downsides, but there are two important things to remember here – at least as far as this KeySmart review is concerned.
- I haven’t experienced most of these problems and I’ve been carrying the KeySmart Rugged for nearly two years. Many of these complaints are what I’ve seen shared from other customers.
- I doubt many of these complaints are legit problems that most KeySmart owners will have or experience. You have to chalk some of these complaints up to “user error.”
Ultimately, despite any issues I’ve had, I recommend the KeySmart. I don’t know if I’ll carry it forever, but I’ve been using it for two years with minor complaints. I’m certainly in no rush to replace it.
How to Assemble KeySmart
Assembling the KeySmart can be tricky. I’ve worked on cars, motorcycles, ATVs, and jet skis (which are a main pain to work on), and I struggled a bit to put this together. So, I wanted to give you a couple tips to help you put it together.
First, this video gives you a good overview of how to assemble the KeySmart.
You’ll also find two videos on KeySmart’s website. Just make sure you watch the right video (based on the number of keys you’re adding).
Here are a few more tips that I think will help you put the KeySmart together easier and faster than I did.
- Work on a flat surface, like a table or countertop.
- Consider keeping all your parts and working on a white towel. This will make it easier to spot your parts, as well as prevent them from falling off and getting lost in your carpet.
- I don’t recommend using spacers between your keys unless you need to, as they don’t help the keys move any better. Only use the spacers to ensure your keys and accessories are lined up, and that you equally fill each post.
- You might have to use two keys to offset an accessory. It depends on your keys and how thick they are. Otherwise you’ll want to plan on using spacers to line things up.
- Make sure your keys are lined up well and that both sides are evenly filled up, otherwise your KeySmart will be lopsided and won’t work right.
- Tighten down your posts to the point to where your keys barely move (but not so tight that you break the posts!) and then back them off an 1/8 of a turn and then check to see if they move how you like. If it’s still too tight, do another 1/8 of a turn and continue doing this until the keys move how you want them to.
These tips should help you out a little. If you’re still struggling, trying reaching out to KeySmart. You can also post your questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to help out.
The Bottom Line: Do I Recommend KeySmart?
Yes. I’ve been carrying my KeySmart Rugged for two years. I wouldn’t use anything that long if it wasn’t a good fit for my everyday carry.
That said, it might not be for everyone.
If you only have a couple of keys, this might not be worth the money, time, or effort to buy and setup. A couple of keys – in my opinion – is a far more minimalistic approach than a keyring organizer of any kind.
However, if you have a couple of keys and also want to carry some keyring EDC, such as a knife, bottle opener, knife, or flashlight, then the KeySmart is a no-brainer. It makes it simple to carry the equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife on your keyring.
Or, of course, if you have tons of keys – if you’re a janitor, teacher, run a garage, or something similar – then that’s another fantastic reason to give the KeySmart a closer look. It’ll save you time, headaches, and pain trying to find, sort, and dig out your keys, not to mention prevent them from poking you in the leg.
So, here’s the bottom line. If you want to minimalize your everyday carry keyring while also having the option to carry every more gear, the KeySmart is a great way to do that.
Does KeySmart have a warranty?
Yes, they have a 2 year warranty. Their warranty applies to all their products regardless of where you purchased it (Amazon, eBay, etc.). Just make sure you keep your receipt or proof of purchase.
How many keys does each KeySmart hold?
It depends on the model you get, but it looks like the max is 14 keys.
How long does KeySmart battery last?
It depends on the model, but it should last three to six months. The battery recharges in about 2 hours.
Is KeySmart TSA approved?
Yes, it should be fine. However, you’ll want to keep in mind that many of the accessories (such as the knife) might NOT be TSA approved.
Does KeySmart hold car keys?
Not newer car keys wrapped in thick plastic or key fobs. But if you have an older car, odds are you can add it to KeySmart or have a copy made that’ll fit.
Is KeySmart made in the USA?
Yes, they’re handmade in Chicago, Illinois. You can get an idea of how they’re made by watching this video.