Ekster Key Holder Review
The Ekster Key Holder’s minimal size means it won’t add bulk to your already-bloated collection of keys, though it also limits how far the keys rotate.
- Minimal added bulk to your keys
- Quick detach via magnet is convenient
- Assembly is solid despite its small size
- Items can slip through the key ring’s gap and fall off
- Magnet detaches too easily in some cases
- Large keys’ limited rotation means unlocking doors feels awkward sometimes
.8 oz (22.7 g)
without key tracker | .95 oz with key tracker
0.31 in x 0.5 in x 1.2 in (0.8 x 1.3 x 3 cm)
The number of keys you carry seems to only go up as time goes on. You have one for your house, your car, your bike, your mailbox, and probably one or two keys that you forgot about but are too scared to get rid of (we can relate, don’t worry). Before you know it, you’ve already collected a bunch of them, and people are starting to call you “the warden.” Luckily, you can be a warden who never fumbles with their keys if you use a key organizer.
Key organizers come in many flavors, but this review will focus on Ekster’s Key Holder. It’s rather small, barely bigger than a key ring if you discount the actual key ring that comes included. This means it doesn’t add much bulk to your already very many keys, but sure there are drawbacks, right? Let’s find out.
Ekster’s design works more or less similarly to other key organizers. Keys are held together on a hinge, which, in turn, allows them to swing around. What makes Ekster’s Key Holder unique is how much more minimalist it is—visually, at least. Once you break it down into its individual parts, you’ll find a handful of them.
Two C-shaped metal pieces join together at the hinge and at the top. The top is locked in by a cap that twists into place. Said cap also plugs into the key ring’s socket that houses a magnet. Meanwhile, keys attach to the hinge through their respective holes, and rubber spacers are included to separate each one. It’s a relatively large number of parts for something so small, but they do fit together rather solidly.
Once you have your set of keys attached, you begin to notice a few things. First, because of the Key Holder’s small size, keys with wide heads have a limited range of rotation. Most keys will achieve a 180-degree rotation, which is enough for shuffling through and separating the one you need. However, it does make us long for the nearly 360-degree rotation of other key organizers—more on this in the next section.
If you want to take out one key, you’ll have to flip the others in the opposite direction. Those keys act as a sort of makeshift handle. Since there’s no shroud, using them as a grip feels awkward like they’re getting in the way. Not to mention that since the amount of rotation can vary depending on the size of each key’s head, they can be a bit spread out—not good if you’re using them as a grip. That said, this is far from our least favorite quirk of the Key Holder.
In total, we’re able to fit five keys of varying sizes. This is more than enough for us, but your mileage may vary. That said, if you opt to add Ekster’s Key Tracker gadget, that’ll take up space in lieu of a key. The Key Tracker will need its own evaluation if it’s a worthy addition, though it does come with its own LED that acts as a flashlight.
Let’s switch gears and talk about the rest of the Key Holder, starting with the magnet. The ideal setup would be hanging the included key ring to a belt loop or an attachment loop on your bag. You can then magnetically attach the Key Holder itself. This way, you can quickly detach and re-attach the Kay Holder without the hassle of hooking a carabiner or a clip.
While the included magnet is by no means weak, we’ve experienced at least one occasion where it unintentionally detached. We had it in a pocket and tried to pull on the key ring to get it out, but the Key Holder itself was left inside. That’s inconvenient if you’re the type (like us) who keep their key organizers in their pockets as opposed to hanging them externally.
The magnet is still miles more tolerable than arguably the biggest flaw of the whole package: the included key ring. Whereas standard key rings have an overlapped design that requires you to pry them apart to attach items, Ekster’s key ring has a gap. As tiny as this gap is, it only takes a small amount of prying to let loose whatever it is you have attached (i.e., the Key Holder and all of your very important keys).
Lastly, it’s worth noting that the Key Holder has visibly marked up after two weeks of testing. Luckily the gray finish does its best to camouflage the damage. Moreover, this hasn’t affected the Key Holder’s functionality, though it’s certainly a factor if your value keeping gear pristine.
The Key Holder comes off as barebones compared to the likes of Bellroy’s Key Case, Jibbon’s Key Organizer, KeySmart’s Key Organizer Original, and Orbitkey’s Key Organiser (yes, they use an “s”). The lack of a shroud means the Key Holder has a very small overall footprint, rivaled only by the even smaller KeySmart Mini. The Key Holder, though, bridges the gap between the Mini and the rest of the large key organizers. It has the size of the former but the build quality of the latter, courtesy of its metal construction.
While the Key Tracker’s performance as a smart tracker needs to be tested separately, we can briefly compare it to Apple’s AirTag. Overall, the AirTag just feels more sturdy than the popsicle-thin Key Tracker. The plastic construction becomes very apparent as you flex it. The one advantage the Key Tracker has is that it integrates directly with the Key Holder rather than having to hang off on its own. Oh, and did we mention it has a flashlight? We have? Just making sure.
It’s unfortunate that some of the Key Holder’s flaws stem from the parts that it comes with: the key ring and the magnet. That’s because even the limited degree of rotation of the keys and the somewhat awkward grip is a worthwhile tradeoff if you want a key organizer that doesn’t add a ton of bulk. Fortunately, you can swap out the key ring for a better one. As for the magnet, we hope you’re the kind of person who wants them on everything.
- Range of key motion is limited, especially with wider keys, which can make it hard to open a door with
- Clever bolt mechanism, feels like it’s locked in very solidly
- Enjoying the minimal footprint compared to other key rings
- Curious to see how the magnet works in testing—whether or not it comes off when we don’t want it to
- Key Holder is a bit scratched up after two weeks of use.
- Other key organizers provide a 360-degree rotation; however, this one only provides 180 and makes it a bit awkward since unused keys are in the way during use
- Clever fastening system, though the screw became slightly loose during usage
- Key right isn’t great—a key came off of it two times during use, and the magnet came off unintentionally once