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Key|Smart review

By: Mark Rosengarten
on May 14, 2014 11:00 am

Side By Side Fanned

There’s a great thing about being a teacher…being entrusted with a large number of keys.  Keys to my classrooms, to the different cabinets in the classroom, my desk, my filing cabinets, cabinets in different rooms, the bathroom and the goggle cabinet.  I teach chemistry and there are a large number of cabinets I need to be able to access.  Keeping the 11 keys I use for work on a traditional keychain has worn out the pockets in my pants for the last quarter of a century.  When the opportunity to review a solution that might spare my poor pockets, I pounced on it. 

KeySmart packaged

The Key|Smart is on the left, in blue.  the Key|Smart Extended is on the right, in red.  There are several ways these can be configured, I configured them to work with my specific school keys.  Each small pouch to the right of each Key|Smart contains eight spacers and two extension adapters.  Each one also comes with a small key ring that can be attached to the end of the assembled Key|Smart.

Assembly was not intuitive but fortunately Key|Smart has a short how-to video on their site that helped to explain how to assemble the unit.  The rings do not act as washers, as one might think, but rather as spacers to keep things level from side to side as you build your stack of keys.

Disassembled

First, unscrew the two screws that hold the two sides together and set them aside.  You can use the extenders if you want to have a thicker stack of keys.  I used the extender on both sets so I could fit maximum keys.  You can customize the arrangement of keys to make it into whatever you want..  The Key|Smart comes with two blank keys to show you how the thing fits together but I put those keys aside.

Assembling Small

Here I am starting the shorter unit.  I used this to store my three room keys.  The longer one I used for my cabinet, desk and filing cabinet keys.

Top Spacer Small

I used the spacers to keep equal space on either side of the Key|Smart as I built the stack.  In the smaller unit I alternated the keys left and right and put in spacers on the opposite side.  Here you can see the attachment point for the keychain on right side, and a spacer is on the left to keep it all even before screwing the whole thing together.

Filling the Keys

Here is the longer Key|Smart as assembly nears completion.

Top Screw

This is the assembly screw.  Notice the black rubber gasket?  This makes the whole thing stay together securely and prevents the screw from coming loose as you swivel keys back and forth within the unit.

Large Fanned

And now the assembly is complete!  Notice four keys on either side?  I chose to put the shorter keys on this Key|Smart so they can all fit flush inside the unit, much like an Allen key wrench set.  I didn’t need to use more than one spacer when putting this together.

Small Side

Here is the small Key|Smart assembled.  Notice the three spacers between the keys on the right side?  This was to allow for even spacing on that side with the other key on the left side.

Side By Side Fanned

Now here are both Key|Smarts next to each other, fully fanned out so that you can see what it can hold.  The loop is also in place.  The keys glide in and out smoothly, with a little resistance that holds the other keys in place while you swivel out the one you want.  The keys stay put for the most part when shaken.  You can adjust the tension to your taste.  The rubber gasket on the screw makes this possible.

Large Assembled

Here you can see that the longer Key|Smart doesn’t need spacers because of the way the keys fit in so well!

Comparing To Knives

So, how does this compare to tools you might use every day?  The smaller one is smaller than a small Swiss Army knife (the one in the photo is the one I used in Boy Scouts 33 years ago) and the longer one is about the same size as the Swiss Army knife.  A Victorinox Multitool is placed next to it for comparison.  When assembled with the expanders in place, the small one measures 2 7/8″ (73mm) long by 5/8″ (11mm) wide by 1/2″ (13mm) deep.  Your real width will vary depending on the size of the keys you put into it.  The longer one measures the same width and depth but is 3 1/2″ (82mm) long.

How does it feel in the pocket?  Like there’s nothing there.  Nothing to get caught, nothing to dig in the leg, nothing to tear at the fabric of the pocket.  Using the keys is going to take a little getting used to because the mechanics are a little different than you might be accustomed to but it’s really no problem.  I really appreciated the nicely organized setup that allowed me to use my keys without them all getting tangled up in each other.  Sure, you can’t put keys between alternate fingers to make a makeshift self-defense weapon but I’ll take the compact organizational heaven that this thing creates in my pocket.

Each Key|Smart is available in 7 different colors.  A “Titanium Edition” is also available though it is more expensive at $59.  The regular Key|Smart is $23 and the Extended Key|Smart is $25.  Additional extension rods cost $2 per pair with additional spacers.  Other accessories include lightweight key blanks and a USB memory stick that can be installed directly into the Key|Smart.  Check it out now at getkeysmart.com!

 

Product Information

Price:$23 for the Key|Smart, $25 for the Extended Key|Smart
Manufacturer:Key|Smart
Pros:
  • Fits plenty of keys into a nice compact package
  • Will save your pants from getting worn out
  • Helps to avoid key tangle in large bunches of keys
  • Fully customizable and expandable with optional extenders (two come with each but you can get more if you need them)
  • Very lightweight
Cons:
  • Can be difficult to figure out the optimum arrangement for your keys
  • You really need to watch the video to see how this thing gets assembled

Comments

  1. 1
    Andy Jacobs says:

    Nice review, Mark! I like this and may have to pick one up myself. I hate jangling keys. Hate ‘em.

  2. 2
    Michael says:

    Interesting. This would also seem to act like a key extender for people with arthritis or weak hands who need additional leverage.

  3. 3
    Amar says:

    I backed this project on Kickstarter and when it finally arrived I put 4 keys on it following the instructions. While the keys (regular house and mail box keys) themselves fit inside the “case” it was such a pain to use them everytime:

    — Keys were too tight requiring 2 hands to draw the key (a worse situation than plain old key ring)
    — Within 2 days of normal and gentle use the screw holding the keys would get loose needing tightening with a dime
    — My regular (the ~2″ Axxess brand) house key won’t come out all the way due to the screwed in end hits the little metal clasp that has the key ring on it (this makes using the key awkward since you can’t hold it 180 degrees to the ground while inserting

    I really respect the design but I think that due to the several possible variations in peeople’s key sizes this product needs a version 2 that reduces the issues I noted above. I threw mine away.

  4. 4
    Thantos says:

    Amar, how foolish. About 30 seconds with your brain and a dremel tool, and all issues you outline could have been addressed. Keys are NOT universal, but with some outside the box thinking and all concerns could have been addressed. My Key Smart has simplified keys for me. No more jingling. No more getting stabbed while riding my motorcycle (that key is independent, and I use the Key Smart for my home, office, and workshop keys). All centralized. All stored properly within the incredible device. I was bummed I was late to the game on Kickstarter, but quickly resolved they by joining the members only group buy site Massdrop. I was able to pick up a few Key Smarts for a deep doscount there. I even got the beautiful titanium edition for less than offered on their getkeysmart.com site. I dont believe there is a group buy going on now for Key Smart, but given interest, there likely will be. Here is a referral for those who would like to join MassDrop – https://www.massdrop.com/r/LYLX9W

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