Key|Smart review

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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.


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!

Update 12/10/14

I use this EVERY day. It holds my school keys. It does loosen up with time so I have to just put the twist on the screws every now and then. I have had a few keys bend a little in the lock while using it. It’s just a great way to keep my thigh-digging cluster of keys organized and not digging at my thigh or tearing a hole in the pants pocket.

Source: The sample for this review was provided by Key|Smart. Visit their site for more info.


Product Information

Price:$23 for the Key|Smart, $25 for the Extended Key|Smart
  • 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
  • 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

26 thoughts on “Key|Smart review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. Interesting. This would also seem to act like a key extender for people with arthritis or weak hands who need additional leverage.

  3. 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. 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 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 –

  5. very nice but wayyy to pricy for what you are getting. maybe $10.00
    would be a better price. Just because it is made in America doesn’t
    mean you have to soak the public. Is this why people buy made in china??????????????????

  6. Tried to use it for a month…keys were too difficult to get out. Then I had to replace a key. After struggling with getting it set up again, I’m going back to my key ring. Just wasn’t worth it.

  7. Brian, were you thinking of the KeySafe II? It’s less than $8.00 (free ship), here and there online, and has many features to compare with KeySmart that might be worth trying. Original design developed from 1962.

  8. Order # 103-6244218-1900213. My son wanted one of these for his birthday. I bought it for him and he love it. Now my other son would like to have one too. This is great!

  9. Haven’t actually used yet; got a red and blue one hoping 93 yr old spouse would find it useful for the keys he’s constantly misplacing, but not inclined to try. I’ve installed my car key on the end with the extra hangout thing; our house key has a fob for getting into the building…. Not sure I can add it to this? Also, no rubber gasket came with either?

  10. I bought 2 key smarts, 1 for my wife, and 1 for me. I also bought the extender kit, in case I needed it. I tried for an hour to try to put it together so that it would work correctly. Finally I gave up. Myself, I think this is a piece of JUNK. I should have bought only 1 to see how it would work for me. Now I am stuck with 2 of them. I can’t think of anyone I dis-like enough to even give them 1 of these. Well, I am out a tidy some of $$, but live and learn I guess. DON’T BUY THIS THING!!.

  11. Howdy, please go to ebay or Amazon and look for my “KeySafe II” We’ll trade you even if you send your (2) “Key] Smart (s?) to us (REM Industries) and write a beta test review comparison comment/feedback here and on these two sites, if you would like buy more there as well:

    Thank you,
    Dick A. (inventor/patent holder)
    Roger M. (REM Industries)

  12. I think its a great concept. However not a fan. I just cant get my keys out of the section you are hiding them into. I think it needs to be easier to get them out of. I think I’ll be going back to my usual key chain. Great concept but totally frustrating.

  13. Dick, So you are asking me to buy the Keysmart 2 on Amazon, and then send back the 2 keysmarts that I already have? I paid $25.00 X 2 for 2 keysmarts, and $2.00 for additional extension rods.

  14. i just bought one of these and was excited to use it i got the extended one, however i got the washers but there were no extension rods in mine, the washers were not even in a separet packet they were on the keychain. disappointed that i cannot use it , wasted my money.

  15. Paid about $100 AUD for mine, which included a few optional extras and postage. Putting together was very fiddly, took me about an hour. Long keys did not “slot” in together according to the pictures. Had to hang my car key from it using a key ring anyway because the weight of all the keys would actually rotate in the ignition and turn the car off. Getting keys out was a royal pain, especially in a hurry. Very very disappointed!

  16. who would want to try your suggestion for “Keysafe 2, the next best thing,” investing another eight bucks when there is little confidence in the Keysafe product..

    1. Eloyd, Thanks for asking, but don’t remember saying “next best thing”. Have you looked? My suggestion was try our KeySafe II, $7.75, no tx, free ship, USA 100% Mojave CA Mfg, Lifetime Satisfaction Guarantee (sold on Amazon & ebay–long history, descriptions and pics). Lots of confidence in my patent (sold black, blue, red, magenta, gray, bronze, azure, silver & olive of the eleven choices, with comments on red, black, silver, ). Blk, Sil, & Red have comments on Amazon, more on ebay feedback. In use for decades, first design in 1962. If you don’t like it, we’ll buy it back, and appreciate your feedback, pro or con. Your experience with KeySmart seemed less than satisfactory. Have you asked for a satisfaction refund from KeySmart (also sold at Ace Hdw)?

      Amazon has a separate ‘performance feedback’ page and folks often use that instead of comments. Here’s one on our “Scarlet Red”:
      “Works just as described. It’s a great design. I would recommend this key holder to anyone. It’s easy to use and works great.”

      ‘We build, you decide!’ Thx,

      Semper Fi.

  17. Customer service is horrible. Bought the expansion pack on the rugged KeySmart. 2-14 keys. Barely holds 10 and the screws only go in 1/16 inch. I complained and after 5 attempts received a message telling me to purchase the expansion pack for 2-22 keys. Bad customer service.

  18. Have just bought a smartkey, but am disappointed as it was made in china, and has no logo, just a bit shoddy looking , for a basically good design

  19. Bought a Key Smart as I found the idea great. Unfortunately it simply doesn’t work, it is difficult to fit and change keys and it gradually loosens and after a while it falls apart with the risk of losing a key or two (I found all keys but one when mine fell apart). Sadly not to be recommended!

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