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The Best Badge Reels for Your Work or School ID Card

three badge reels side by sideBadge reels are the go-to method for keeping ID cards on hand. They allow you to keep your ID on display at all times hands-free and without the risk of your card or badge falling out of a pocket. They’re small, compact, and lightweight, simple to use, clip right on to clothes, and can be retractable for easy swiping. For anyone who works with heavy machinery, badge reels are often a safer option than a lanyard or chain, as they don’t carry the risk of getting caught or tangled in the machinery. Some badge reels are also multipurpose, able to hold items like keys, or even credit cards. If you’re looking for a new way to display your work, school, or other ID card or badge, a badge reel is an excellent and often inexpensive choice.

What Should you Consider in a Badge Reel?

Here’s what to look for when picking a badge reel to hold your ID, access card, credit card, or keys:

  • Type: Are you looking for a badge reel that will clip onto your lapel or your belt? Do you want one that comes with a plastic cardholder already attached? Do you want one that retracts, swivels, or stays firmly in place? Despite their simplicity, badge reels are not one-size-fits-all, so consider which type might be best suited to your needs.
  • Design: When most people think of badge reels, they think of the classic black and translucent coloring. While these options are certainly widely available, don’t feel too limited. There are plenty of colors and patterns out there too, even customizable options that allow you to decorate your badge reel clip with personal photos.
  • Functionality: Depending on your job, you may want to invest in a more heavy-duty badge reel. Badge reels that are listed as such tend to be able to handle more weight and have greater retention ability. These are best for anyone who needs to have more than one ID badge on hand or those who need to carry keys as well.

Best Value: JANYUN Retractable Badge Reel Clips Holders

eight round, black badge reels with narrow silver hooks

Here’s a set of 40 high-quality badge reel clips for one low price. The badge reel is made from top-notch ABS plastic and metal for durability and a strong nylon rope that won’t break easily. The rope is also retractable with a fast rebound spring and it stretches out as far as 23.5 inches. The metal clip on the back allows these badge reel clips to hook easily onto clothing lapels, pockets, and belts alike. They work equally well for supporting ID cards, keys, lanyards, whistles, and more. They’re also a good option for DIY craft lovers, as they’re easy to customize.

Best Value

50 Pcs Retractable Badge Reel Clips Holder for Hanging ID Card Name Key Chain (Black)

A set of 40 high-quality and durable badge reel clips with a quick, retractable rope.

Best Design: BOCHEERY Retractable Badge Holders

three round, glittery, marble-patterned badge reels in different pastel colors

This is a set of beautiful and unique badge reels that give your ID holder a personal touch. They’re available in packs of two, three, four, six, or 10, or you can buy one individually if desired. There are more than 40 patterns, styles, and pictures available, from cute animals to gorgeous, colorful mandalas to marble-like designs and more. They’re guaranteed to look great whether you’re hanging these badge reels from your scrubs, suit, or backpack. The retractable 24-inch rope rotates a full 360 degrees, which means scanning your ID cards is a cinch, and the rope won’t tangle in the process. The metal clip with strong alligator-style teeth will fasten equally tightly to backpacks, belts, lapels, pockets, and purse handles alike.

Best Design

Retractable Badge Holders, Cute Nursing Badge Reel, Badge Clip ID Card Holders (3pack Pretty Marble)

Gorgeous, strong, and durable badge reel clips with pattern options that will appeal to almost every taste.

Most Personalized: The Badge Beautique Custom Photo Retractable ID Badge Reel

round badge reel with a custom photo of a dog
The Badge Beautique

Bring a picture of your pets, children, favorite vacation spot, or whatever else to work with your own custom, one-of-a-kind badge reel clip. All you have to do is upload your chosen photo at checkout, and the badge reel will come to you fully designed and ready to go. The clear epoxy badge provides a glossy finish and sleek look so your photo won’t decrease in style or quality with use over time. The vinyl metal snap keeps your ID card in place while the metal alligator clip fits easily onto scrubs, pants, shirts, and other clothing without scuffing or damaging them. The swivel clip rotates in a full 360 degrees so your custom image is always facing the right way up. The nylon cord is sturdy and retractable, extending up to 34 inches for easy access and swiping.

Also Great: Will Well Heavy-Duty Retractable Badge Holders

black oval badge reels with plastic sleeves and silvery hooks
Will Well

This is a four-for-one bundle that includes two reinforced, upgraded badge reel clips plus two vertical clear ID card holders for one low price. The retractable cord stretches up to 24 inches and is made of wear-resistant Kevlar, twice as strong as the usual nylon make. The strength and durability don’t end at the cord, either. These badge reel holders can support up to 3.5 ounces, the equivalent of seven keys plus your ID badge at once. The thickened, chromed carabiner clips are stable and won’t slip or unhook even when jostled, and the plastic cardholders have a wider edge for added protection. The carabiner clip is also removable if desired. The transparent plastic cardholders are waterproofed with a resealable zipper and can hold up to three credit cards. They’re also scan-friendly, so you won’t need to take your badge or card out of the case to scan it. It comes with a key ring so you can double the badge reel as a retractable keychain as well.

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Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and How-To Geek and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »
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