Key-Bar Key Organizer Review

Key-Bar Key Organizer Review What is a Key-Bar? *Updated November 2017* No, its not the key to the liquor cabinet. We think it is worth your time to keep reading anyway. Key-Bar […]
key-bar key organizer - some keys don't fit

key-bar key organizer – some keys don’t fit

Key-Bar Key Organizer Review

What is a Key-Bar?

*Updated November 2017* No, its not the key to the liquor cabinet. We think it is worth your time to keep reading anyway.
Key-Bar is a 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.

I’ll toss out a bit of a spoiler: It is over 2 years since I wrote this review and I still carry the Key-Bar every day. We review so much gear that it is unusual for a product to stick around and become a part of my daily routine. Congrats to Key-Bar for making a key organizer that I can’t put down.

A product in search of a need?

The sales pitch is that the Key Bar keeps keys from rattling, better organizes them, and makes 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 a better way?

BTW, This is the first key organizer that we received for review. The Grip Key is discussed in a this Grip-Key Key Organizer Review.

Some assembly required

key-bar key organizer - assembly

key-bar key organizer – assembly

The Key-Bar arrived in a metal box similar to an Altoids tin, complete with 3 pairs of stainless screws, a pocket clip, a key fob loop, a stack of stainless washers / key spacers, directions and a couple of rubber o-rings.

Assembly was simple enough. Just:

  • thread an o-ring onto a screw,
  • slide a screw through each end of the Key-Bar,
  • 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 Key-Bar is not complicated at all, it took me a bit of trial and error to get the right combination of keys, screws and washers. I also had to drill out the holes in a couple of keys, as the screws were just barely too large to fit. I assembled and reassembled the Key Bar no less than 5 times before I found the distribution of keys that worked best for me. Josejuan estimated that 20 keys would fit in the Key-Bar. I have a few odd shaped/sized keys, so I think about 15-ish is about all it will hold for me.

Any issues with the Key-Bar?

key-bar key organizer - drilling key holes

drilling key holes

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 key-bar. 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 Key Bar. Not a big deal. Just something you have to keep in mind.
  • Some keys don’t have holes big enough for the screws that hold the keys in the Key-Bar. As you can see, 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 Key-Bar. As with most of these “issues”, they aren’t really “issues”, just stuff you have to learn and adjust to.
  • The round ends of the Key-Bar may prevent your car key from going all the way in to the ignition. I could have ground down the end of the Key-Bar, but opted instead to file a bit of plastic off of the ignition switch housing in the Luxury Battle Wagon. For the record, I have no idea why Ford thought it necessary to put such a big key vagina on e-150.

What is Key-Bar made of?

The sample provided for this review is made of aluminum and stainless steel screws. A quick scan of shows various other materials such as copper, titanium, carbon fiber, brass, and a few multi-material hybrids. They also offer a few interesting finish options, which appear to be mostly different types of anodizing.

Grip-Key key organizer - Key-Bar compared

Grip-Key key organizer – Key-Bar compared

How we tested

First, let’s talk about how we tested the Key Bar. Conceptually, the Key-Bar is the first such device that I had seen. I kept noticing it 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, 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.

Does the Key-Bar work?

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. The pocket clip holds the Key-Bar up and secure, instead of having a jumbled mess of keys at the bottom of my pocket. 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 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.

Grip-Key vs Key-Bar

The Grip-Key and Key Bar key organizers have some notable differences and each has pros and cons. Josejuan has the Key-Bar now and am thinking of 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 the 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 key organizer. The Kydex Grip-Key is lighter, 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 key organizer 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. Honestly, yes, the Key Bar adds 2 chunks of metal to the already bulky set of keys in my pocket. However, the Key-Bar organizes the keys in 2 need 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 Key Bar.

Josejuan was more direct in his feedback, stating “No, it is not. Compared to the usual having the keys freely moving and jingling in your pocket, this is cleverly organized and quieter. The Key Bar has a clip included which lets you clip the keys to the belt or pocket edges.”

Does recommend the key-bar?

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 $45 for Key-Bar, instead I find myself wondering how it took this long for someone to bring this sort of key organizer to market.

Is the Key-Bar a good value?

The MSRP of this aluminum model is $45.
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: “Call me cheap, but I struggle a bit with the $45 price tag. At the same time, I am looking forward to getting the Key-Bar back.”

Josejuan: “On this we have to acknowledge that it is worth every penny.”

Do we recommend the Key-Bar?

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 more advanced options and also has some accessories to go with their Key Bar. They have small tools like screw driver, bottle opener, stainless comb, memory stick, and other items that compliment their system.

*Updated November 2017*
I am still carrying the Key-Bar over two years later. I think that tells you all you need to know.

Gear Rating:

Gear Score
A surprise product that I didn't expect to really like, but won me over with solid construction and reliable use

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Originally posted 2015-06-23 17:05:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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 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.