3 Tips for Choosing the Right Badge Reel in 2020

3 Tips for Choosing the Right Badge Reel in 2020

Badge reels, those tiny extension cords that attach to ID badges allowing wearers to easily swipe key cards, log work hours, prove credentials, and gain entry to automated access controlled spaces, may appear to be about as utilitarian as it gets. 

In the grand scheme of office supplies, they don’t have the same je ne sais quoi as, say, flashy tech tools like treadmill desks or wireless charging stands. But the essential badge reel actually is just as important—maybe more so—than the above. They’re an essential tool of many essential workers, the people on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

But no matter the role of the wearer, there’s a badge reel for everyone. They come in a variety of options designed for every industry, individual, or job.

The truth is, one badge reel does not fit all. Depending on a person’s role, they might want different specifications out of their reel and here we’ll give you three tips for choosing just the right badge reel this year.

Consider Your Job

Like all great tools, a badge reel should help make your work easier. So consider what you do before buying just a regular old reel. For instance, the following workers might choose these reels:

Weight Watchers

Some people simply wear their ID on a badge reel, while others use them to hold heavy items like keys. An economy badge reel does not work in the case of the latter. 

Those hauling around a load of keys need a heavy duty reel that can carry the weight. Reinforced reels are the only option. For that, a great option is Key-Bak Heavy Duty Badge Reel Carabiner with Key Ring and 48" Cord

Note Takers

Constantly jotting down thoughts on the go? Ditch putting a pencil behind your ear and get this SpecialistID’s Retractable Pull Badge Reel Pen / Pencil Holder with Carabiner Clip. The ultimate way to always keep a writing utensil handy, a pen or pencil perfectly fits into this unique holder. 

Consider Your Tasks

The trick with a badge reel is, if you’re wearing it on a lanyard, it can get in the way, swinging into customers, products, services, or patients, for those in the medical field. The answer to avoiding that? Don’t put it on a lanyard. Put it on something else, or lock it out of the way so it doesn’t swing. Here are some options to keep your reel badge in place.

Leather Belt Loop

Handsome and useful, this leather Duty Gear Retractor reel attaches to a belt allowing the user to safely keep their ID badge, keys, or other attachments at hip level, rather than dangling from their neck. Convenient and easy to access, this is ideal for industries like construction. 

 Belt Clip

If you want to keep your badge reel attached to your belt but don’t want a splashy look, this sleek Black/Chrome Heavy Duty Badge Reel With Nylon Cord Clear Vinyl Strap And Belt Clip is understated yet functional. 

Consider Your Personality 

The beauty of a utility like a badge reel is it doesn’t have to be boring and it doesn't have to be uniform. It can show your personality thanks to creative vendors crafting and creating wildly unique covers for this tool. Here’s how to have a little fun with your reel. 

Choose Your Own

Etsy vendor Carolina Street sells packs of five interchangeable badge reel covers so you don’t have to commit to just one look. You can change it up for every business day of the week. Match your reel badge to your mood. 

Corgi with Glasses

Give your badge reel a sense of humor with a smiling Corgi wearing sunglasses. Or the nurse-friendly “Cover Your Meowth” featuring cats wearing masks. Or the hilarious “Wine is my Valentine” option. Thanks to clever Etsy vendors, you can shake up your badge reel with a little sense of fun. 

Consider Materials

Today, companies are using all kinds of materials to craft badge reels covers. Etsy is full of options from flowers and plaids, to football team mascots and cow prints. Here are a few favorites to consider.

Clip Options:

  • Belt clip
  • Swivel clip
  • Alligator spring clip
  • Carabiner clip
  • Card clip


  • Round
  • Square 
  • Heart 
  • Oval 
  • Flat 
  • Rectangle

Material Type: 

  • Polyester
  • Polypropylene 


  • 5/8" 
  • 3/8" 
  • 1/8" 

 No matter the style or material, the key point to remember when choosing the right badge reel for you is to remember how convenient they are. 

They can make time spent accessing and storing access cards shorter. 

They help people hold on to their important ID cards, keys, and tools, and for many—including some the most valuable people on the frontlines of the pandemic—they can help make responding in an emergency faster and easier for individuals like nurses, doctors, police and first responders.

Back to blog