Grip-Key Key Organizer Review

What is a Grip-Key? Grip-Key is a Kydex polymer key organizer that allows you to stabilize, align, and organize your personal array of keys, giving you a compact Swiss-Army knife style sandwich […]

GripKeyWhat is a Grip-Key?

Grip-Key is a Kydex polymer key organizer that allows you to stabilize, align, and organize your personal array of keys, giving you a compact Swiss-Army knife style sandwich with your keys neatly stored inside.

A product in search of a need?

Grip-Key says that their product “…will eliminate all your key problems.” Wow! That is a pretty tall order. On a more realistic note, it is designed to keep keys from rattling, better organize them, and make them easier to carry.

We started this review cycle with open minds, but a healthy dose of skepticism. After all, we have carried keys on traditional key rings for a couple of decades, and people have carried keys for hundreds of years before us. Could there really be something new and innovative in the management of keys? The is the second key organizer that we received for review. The Key-Bar arrived a week or two before the Grip-Key and is discussed in a separate review here: http://gear-report.com/key-bar-key-organizer-review/

01-IMG_20150330_150055Some assembly required

The Grip-Key arrived wrapped in bubble wrap and inside a padded USPS First Class mail envelope. The Grip-Key had 2 sets of 3 screws (long and short) and T-nuts, a spring steel belt clip like you find on many IWB holsters, and a little instruction sheet. Assembly was simple enough. Just slide a screw through each end of the Grip-Key, plus one in the center and start putting on keys. Well, actually, it sounds a bit easier than it turned out to be in practice. While the whole process of setting up a Grip-Key is not complicated, it took me a bit of trial and error to get the right distribution of keys on each end. I had already drilled out the holes in a couple of keys, as the Key-Bar screws were just barely too large to fit. Since I was moving keys from the Key-Bar to the Grip-Key, this make the Grip-Key, the holes had already been enlarged sufficiently for the Grip-Key screws. I assembled and reassembled the Grip-Key about 3 times before I found the distribution of keys that worked best for me. It helped that I had already been through this process with the Key-Bar. Then a week later I realized that I had my big car key in the wrong place, as there is actually a molded indention on one end just for a large car key. However, there is a significant design difference between the two. The Grip Key sides are Kydex which has been molded a bit. The shape of the Kydex dictates positioning of keys and provides some squeezing pressure in a few places.

Any issues with the Grip-Key?

Grip-Key key organizer - done

No major issues, but some interesting challenges.

  • If you have any odd shaped keys, the you may not be able to use them in the Grip-Key. See the pic below where you see the round key to my little fire safe sticking out the side. I made it work, but it is not contained like the flat keys. Keys with built in car remotes likely won’t fit at all.
  • If you have a key fob for the door locks and alarm on your car, then you will have to attach it to the outside of the Grip-Key. Not a big deal, as there is a little grommet reinforcing a hole for this. Just something you have to keep in mind.
  • 09-IMG_20150514_173315Some keys don’t have holes big enough for the screws that hold the keys in the Grip-Key. I drilled out the holes to make them big enough.
  • It took some trial and error to figure out how to best arrange the keys on the Grip-Key. As with most of these “issues”, they aren’t really “issues”, just stuff you have to learn and adjust to.
  • The Grip-Key torques a bit when I turn the ignition key in the Battle Wagon. It doesn’t cause any problem, just feels weird to me.

What is Grip-Key made of?
The sample provided for this review is made of Kydex with a woodland ACU digital camo pattern printed on it. A quick scan of grip-key.com shows various other Kydex color and print options. Dimensions are about 4 inches x 1.5 inches.

Grip-Key key organizer - Key-Bar compared

Grip-Key key organizer – Key-Bar compared

Does the Grip-Key work?

First, let’s talk about how we tested the Grip-Key. Conceptually, the Grip-Key is only the second such device that I had seen. I kept noticing both Key-Bars and Grip-Keys in Instagram Pocket Dump pictures after creating our Gear Report Instagram account. I pinged Key-Bar on Instagram and they were kind enough to offer one for review. Within a week I noticed a similar product with a rather different implementation in the Grip-Key and they offered to send one also. So, we were brand new to the idea of using a key organizer and had both a Key-Bar and Grip-Key for review. While both products are similar in usage, their design and materials are quite different. So, I (Jeff) took the Key-Bar and Josejuan took the Grip Key. After about a month we switched. Each of us spent a month carrying each of the key organizers.

Based on this somewhat extended test, we came to a clear answer of “Yes!” It actually took a few days for me to get used to the different feel of having a Key-Bar clipped to the upper inside of my left hand, front pants pocket. Since I carried the Key-Bar first, I had no such adjustment period when I switched to the Grip-Key. I can say without a doubt that NOT being poked in the groin by keys pointing random directions in my pocket was a welcome change. While I may have started the review period with a healthy

Grip-Key key organizer - ignition

Grip-Key key organizer – ignition

skepticism, I am surprised to say that I don’t care to even think about going back to a keyring. The only problem I have at the moment is that I can’t decide which one I want to keep carrying. The Grip-Key and Key-Bar have some notable differences and each has pros and cons. Josejuan has the Key-Bar now and I am considering asking if he would mind trading it back to me. The Key-Bar is a bit heavier, but the rigid metal sides feel better to me when turning a key… like starting a the Luxury Battle Wagon, since there is no torsional flex. I never had any issues with the screws coming loose in the Key-Bar, but I have a couple of times with the Grip-Key. The Kydex Grip-Key is lighter, and thinner, which I like, but the pocket clip is a lot larger and tends to scrape on things. The Key-Bar’s pocket clip never seemed to snag on anything. Overall, I think I prefer the Key-Bar but not by much. I think either is a great way to get your keys under control.

Is it bulky or odd to have in my pocket?
Well, I think it was a bit odd at first, but not after I got used to it. Yes, the Grip-Key adds 2 slabs of Kydex to the already bulky set of keys in my pocket. However, the Grip-Key organizes the keys in 2 neat stacks so that it actually feels more compact than carrying the same keys on key rings. Because the pocket clip holds the keys close to vertically in my pocket, I don’t really notice them there nearly as much as before the Grip-Key. Josejuan had similar thoughts on this issue.

Grip-Key key organizer - belt clip

Grip-Key key organizer – belt clip

Does Gear-Report.com recommend the Grip-Key?
Yes, this is one of the items that has been an eye opener to both of our reviewers. While I really expected to be unimpressed and left scratching my head as to why anyone would pay $25 for Grip-Key, instead I find myself wondering how it took this long for someone to bring such a product to market. While I like the solid feel of the Key-Bar vs the flexible Kydex of the Grip-Key, I certainly like the Grip-Key’s $25 price better than the $45 for the entry-level Key-Bar.

Is the Grip-Key a good value?
The MSRP of this camo model is $25.
This seems high for a key chain, but it is not just price that we are discussing . We include here the value, performance and benefit from use.
What say our reviewers:

Jeff: “The $25 price seems to be on the low end for this new class of products. Given that this is a 100% American made, hand-crafted product, $25 seems like a fair price.”

Josejuan: “I like the Grip-Key a lot.”

Do we recommend?
Highly. As a product that we would not necessarily be seen as needed, most adults have at least a few keys for the office, auto, and home. Having a nice compact set of keys has proved to us the usefulness of this product.
The sample provided to us is the basic unit. The company has a variety of custom options and the Shark Key accessory to go with their Grip-Key.

Gear Rating:

Gear Score
Gearswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
A good option for quieting and organizing your keys

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About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits. A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps http://MGECOM.com acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management. Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.