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Although some people are very keen on using terms, most often don’t have the time to follow up on the proper meaning of terms they use. When shopping around for keychain accessories to keep your bunch of keys organized, you’ll come across key rings and key fobs. Knowing the difference between these two is crucial in choosing the most functional and appropriate accessory for holding your keys.

What is a Key Ring?

As the name suggests, a key ring holder is a metal ring that holds the keys of your car, bicycle, or even your house. You’ll find them in different sizes and are often circular. In most cases, the keyring is attached to a keychain.

The most common type of keyring is a double-loop piece of metal wire with one end pried open so a key can slide along the spiral to become wholly engaged into the ring.

The very first thing you need to decide on is the size of the ring. You need to take into consideration the type of items you’re going to put in it. Most manufacturers produce lightweight keyrings that can fit any wallet or purse. You’ll also find them slim and durable. These rings are available in many different shapes and sizes, but the most common is the circular type.

What’s a Key Fob?

The true definition of a key fob is that it’s a small electronic gadget that can attach to a keychain, used for unlocking doors electronically. Since its invention in 1983, key fobs have undergone lots of changes to become a major player in electronic door systems.

But in casual conversation, a key fob is nothing but a piece of leather, plastic, metal, or wood that makes it easier to grab a bunch of keys when in the pocket. At times, people also attach a fob to the keys to indicate the function of the keys, as in, “get me the keys with the yellow fob, it’s for the store.”

The fob is just a piece of material that helps to distinguish a set of keys from another. Most people use keychain key holder with a key fob to get a better grip of the key and make a statement.

Key fob carabiner

Which One to Choose Between a Key Ring and Key Fob

In essence, there’s no brainer when it comes to choosing between a keyring and key fob because most of the time they work together. The keyring often goes together with the key fob to make it easier to identify the keys.

So, the actual question to ask is, how would you go about choosing a keyring and a key fob? Let’s have a look at some of the factors worth considering.

Choosing a keyring

Keyrings are mainly made of metal, most stainless steel to make them durable and strong. When choosing a keyring, consider the number of keys you’ll be attaching to the ring. If you want to keep a bunch of keys together in one ring, you may opt for larger-sized rings. But again, that may make it very difficult to find a key when you need it in a hurry.

Instead, the best would be to buy several keyrings and stash the keys that are most used together or open doors close to another in one key ring holder. That way, it’ll become easier to identify the right key you need when you need it. For instance, you could keep your garage, basement, and car keys together in one ring as these are often related. 

Another factor to consider is the material. Although plastic keyrings do exist, they aren’t the best especially if your key bunch is often mishandled. You need something extra strong to keep the keys together and prevent losing any should it be mishandled.

Choosing a key fob

When it comes to selecting a key fob, this is where you can get more creative as there are so many options and things to look into.

Look at the design and style of the fob that matches your profile. If you’re a racing car enthusiast, you could go with fobs designed in the form of these speed machines. For animal lovers, you could choose an animal-themed key fob, such as a tiger, bear, or dog.

Still, on the style, you could also choose one with a logo or a special message. And the good thing is that most sellers online offer the option of personalizing the key fobs according to your preferences.

Another option is that you could also make the fob a small handy tool, such as a flashlight, calculator, discount cards, bottle openers, garage door openers, or USB flash drives. Attaching the key fob to a titanium carabiner using a keychain can also add some elegance to your keys.


While having a generic keychain key holder will keep you away from possible safety issues, keeping all the keys of your house in one key ring can also result in a mess. This can make the key holder awkward to carry around for long. In addition, keyrings are too bulky to carry easily, so you may end up losing your keys while trying to place them inside the key ring.

Whereas, key fobs are more practical and compact than key rings. While both key rings and key fobs can be used, the former is usually more suitable for everyday use, while the latter is best for frequent use.

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