Best No-Touch Keychain Tool
Establishing personal hygiene and halting the transmission of germs has taken the front seat today. As such, touch-free keychain instruments have risen to prominence, as they limit interaction with possible contagion-bearing surfaces. These handy gadgets facilitate opening doorways, pressing lift buttons, and even signing on digital screens sans direct contact. There are numerous choices available, and selecting the best can be perplexing; this post simplifies it by compiling the top contenders for you.
- The GermKey Brass Hand Tool
- CleanKey by KeySmart
- SafeTouch Hygiene Multi-Tool
- The TouchTool Pro by StatGear
- NoContactKey by Peel
- Best Pick for Simplicity
- Best Pick for Compactness
- Best Copper Model
- The Competition and How We Chose What to Test
- Weights, Sizes, and Materials
- Field Testing
- Contender Notes
It’s a well-known fact that a substantial segment of humanity overlooks essential hygiene rituals like washing hands after sneezing or restroom use. Consequently, public surfaces such as door knobs, handrails, lift buttons, faucets, toilets, and touch screens can be filthy and potentially dangerous. In response, we’ve reviewed and tested ten of the best “contact-free opening tools” that conveniently protect you when navigating in public areas.
The product type we’re discussing here, especially noteworthy during the COVID outbreak, is known popularly by many names – sanitary keychains, touch-free keychains, contact-free opening tools, among others. However, the central principle remains the same: an indirect tool that assists you in completing regular undertakings like shopping or ATM transactions without the need for hand contact.
The majority of these no-contact tools fall within the price range of $5 to $20 and are relatively simple to manufacture and sell. Consequently, the market is flooded with a plethora of options, making it challenging to discern one from another. Numerous competitors offer identical versions sourced from the same factories, leading to a saturated marketplace. A quick search for “hygiene keychain” on Etsy yields a staggering 645 results.
Regrettably, due to COVID-related fears, numerous swindlers are exploiting the situation by pushing “antimicrobial” sanitary keychains that merely sport a plastic cover resembling copper or brass. Importantly, terms like antibacterial or antimicrobial are regulated by government norms. So, some legitimate products avoid such labels to prevent regulatory complications.
Brass and copper are the optimal materials for these tools since these metals possess inherent self-cleaning properties, known as the Oligodynamic effect. Given that the primary purpose of these tools is to interact with unclean surfaces, it is logical to avoid materials like plastic that harbor germs for extended periods. While contamination, such as COVID, may persist on brass or copper for up to four hours, some degree of self-cleaning capability is preferable to none. Certain product reviewers, like The Wirecutter, argue that the absence of immediate sanitization renders the entire product category futile, suggesting the use of gloves instead. However, we believe that you are discerning enough to understand that brass and copper are not magical solutions, but rather effective ones.
As individuals unfamiliar with such tools, we embarked on a mission to purchase a variety of popular models available in the market and put them to the test in real-life situations.
The GermKey Brass Hand Tool is a stylish and practical option, designed to minimize direct contact with public surfaces. Made from antimicrobial brass, it naturally kills bacteria and viruses on contact, ensuring a germ-free experience. The ergonomic design includes a door hook, a button pusher, and a stylus tip for touchscreens. The compact size and keyring attachment make it easy to carry wherever you go.
The CleanKey by KeySmart boasts a minimalist design crafted from copper alloy, which is known for its antimicrobial properties. It features a flat-tip design for pressing buttons on elevators, ATMs, and other public interfaces. Its door hook allows for easy opening of doors without touching handles. The included keyring makes it easy to attach to your existing keychain, ensuring you always have it on hand.
The SafeTouch Hygiene Multi-Tool is a versatile and compact option, offering various features to help you navigate public spaces. Made from an antimicrobial zinc alloy, it provides a high level of protection against germs. This tool features a door hook, button pusher, and touchscreen stylus, along with a built-in bottle opener. The lightweight design and keychain attachment make it a convenient choice for everyday use.
The TouchTool Pro by StatGear is a prime, multi-purpose device conceptualized for day-to-day use. Constructed from sturdy antimicrobial aluminum alloy, it’s a compact and durable item. It features a door hook, button presser, and touchscreen stylus tip, making it indispensable, plus a box cutter and built-in carabiner to attach to keychains or bags conveniently.
NoContactKey by Peel is a clean, minimalist device made from antimicrobial brass offering superior germ resistance. Designed with a door hook and a button-pushing flat tip, the slim profile and keychain attachment make it a handy, non-disruptive keychain supplement, always available when needed.
Best Pick for Simplicity
StatGear’s Hygiene Hand Lite
StatGear’s Hygiene Hand Lite made its debut as a Kickstarter venture in response to the global toll of COVID. Impressively, it achieved its fundraising target on day one before securing a noteworthy $585k from 11,000 backers. Despite the initial success being attributed to the prevalent anxiety, it became clear that the product excelled when benchmarked with other alternatives, with Hygiene Hand Lite emerging as the preferred choice.
The original version, which is heavier at 2 ounces compared to the Lite version’s 1 ounce, also comes with a higher price tag. However, the Lite version proved to be more than sufficient on its own, rendering the heavier and costlier version unnecessary. In terms of size, shape, and weight, the Hygiene Hand Lite falls within the average range among its competitors. During our real-world testing, we found it to be compact enough to be convenient on a keychain, while still providing ample functionality for essential tasks. It effectively handled doors, buttons, and touch screens encountered during our testing. Additionally, the tool comes with a bonus retractable carabiner, allowing it to be easily attached to a backpack, purse, and other items.
Best Pick for Compactness
Saint Midas Touch
Among the smaller contenders, the Saint Midas Touch stood out as our favorite choice. To be honest, the competition in this category was not very impressive, with most of the smaller options leaving us disappointed. However, the Midas Touch surpassed our expectations by effectively fulfilling almost every requirement we encountered during testing. Its only limitation was with exceptionally large doors or objects that couldn’t fit within its 1″ grabber diameter. The size and weight savings compared to the StatGear model were noticeable, allowing the Midas Touch to blend in more seamlessly with a set of common keys. Furthermore, it boasts thoughtful design details that add a touch of glamour, setting it apart from the standard metal blocks typically found in this category. The finger hole diameter provided a comfortable fit for a wide range of hand sizes.
Best Copper Model
Among the various models, the Aviano catches the eye immediately due to its visibly-copper construction. While most products are made of brass, an alloy of copper and zinc that is essentially similar except for its golden color, the Aviano stands out with its copper composition. There is some evidence suggesting that copper self-cleans at a faster rate than brass. Therefore, if you have a specific preference for copper, the Aviano, although it didn’t emerge as the overall winner, still performed well enough to not be considered a “loser.” We appreciated the inclusion of a slit in the finger hole, which serves as a convenient quick-attach system, allowing you to slide it onto a belt loop or a similar attachment point. However, there were a couple of drawbacks we noticed. Firstly, the Aviano is slightly larger in size compared to other models. Additionally, the dual “noses” at the front of the tool are of equal length, which means that when approaching a touchscreen at a 90-degree angle, both noses make contact with the screen at two different points, which can be a bit inconvenient.
The Competition and How We Chose What to Test
During our research, we acquired and conducted field tests on the following products:
- Aviano ($24) (Availability uncertain)
- Jingolden ($9) (Availability uncertain)
- JLIAN MIOR ($9) (Availability uncertain)
- KeySmart CleanKey ($25)
- Kingsbom ($14) (Availability uncertain)
- Midas Touch ($20)
- Peel ($35)
- StatGear Hygiene Hand Lite ($14)
- Z-Key ($28) (Availability uncertain)
For comparison’s sake, we also looked at a few imitation products and other alternatives like the plastic sheathed Germ Nerd.
To make our assessment process efficient, we initially eliminated any products not claiming to be made from copper or brass, as a lack of self-cleaning properties would defeat their intended function.
This approach significantly reduced the number of contenders. Subsequently, we focused on products with the highest ratings and those commonly found in e-commerce stores and social media advertisements. We also excluded excessively small models that appeared less practical and overly large options, considering that they are meant to be carried on a keychain.
Since many of these products are essentially rebranded trinkets originating from a small group of manufacturers, we endeavored to eliminate duplication by selecting the most prevalent version. Thus, while our analysis may refer to a specific brand, our observations apply to all brands that offer identical products under different labels.
Weights, Sizes, and Materials
As we brought all the products together, significant size and weight differences stood out. To begin our review, we weighed each tool to cross-check their veracity against the marketing claims:
|Actual weight (ounces)||Size (inches LxWxH)|
|Aviano||1.1||3.5 x 1.5 x 0.16|
|Jingolden||0.9||3.4 x 1.1 x 0.2|
|JLIAN MIOR||0.8||2.8 x 1.2 x 0.16|
|KeySmart CleanKey||1.7||3.5 x 1.4 x 0.2|
|Kingsbom||0.7||2.8 x 1.2 x 0.16|
|Peel||2.4||3.5 x 1.8 x 0.16|
|Saint Midas Touch||0.9||2.8 x 1.4 x 0.3|
|StatGear Hygiene Hand Lite||1.0||3.2 x 1.2 x 0.12|
|Z-Key||3.5||3.4 x 2.5 x 0.5|
The options naturally divided themselves into two size categories: large and small. The StatGear model exemplifies the borderline between these two categories: standing at approximate 3.2 x 1.2 inches and weighing 1 ounce.
Some smaller, budget-friendly options raised eyebrows initially as they didn’t seem to be genuine metal, let alone copper or brass. All products were marketed as brass except for the copper Aviano.
To verify the authenticity of the metals used, we conducted common DIY tests, including the use of a magnet to detect if a product was merely “plated,” as well as scratching the surface to examine the material underneath.
To our surprise, every product that claimed to be copper or brass turned out to be genuine. The ones that initially appeared fake had surface coatings that created a deceptive impression. It raised questions as to why companies would conceal the real metal beneath a coating, especially considering that the coating reduces the self-cleaning properties, which are inherent to brass or copper surfaces. The reasoning behind such practices remains unclear.
A few options featured a plastic or rubbery tip specifically designed for touch screens. While these tips facilitated the use of touch screens, we ultimately concluded that they were not worth it. The tips tended to detach or showed signs of imminent detachment, became dirty, dried out, and developed cracks, rendering them less practical over time.
To evaluate each tool comprehensively, we integrated them into our everyday routine: attaching them to keychains, carrying in pockets, and bags. This approach helped us understand their practicality as we explored our daily tasks.
Furthermore, we dedicated several hours to testing all the tools simultaneously in various public settings. We specifically targeted different types of doors, touch screens, public restrooms, elevators, and more to ensure a comprehensive and fair comparison.
One notable observation revolved around the size and shape of the main “hook” area of each tool, which played a crucial role in differentiating our recommendations from the rest. The ability to handle a wide range of door types emerged as a significant differentiating factor.
While smaller keychains excelled in terms of being unobtrusive, it was important to strike a balance. After all, if a tool becomes too bothersome on the keychain, the likelihood of using it diminishes. While we appreciated the compact form factors of smaller tools, their smaller main openings for grabbing proved limiting, as approximately 50% of the doors we encountered in public were incompatible.
The main “grabber” shape mattered as well. For instance, the costly, large, Peel Keychain Touch Tool with its short and angular nose always slipped off handles when pulled.
In practical use, simple rectangular shapes turned out to be the most effective. Some tools had a knob on the end or a negative angle (dirking back towards the finger) which facilitated carrying and retention but didn’t show any marked effect on the core tasks.
While pushing doors appeared less significant, as one can utilize their body or any object to push, we still tested this functionality. We discovered that the main issue stemmed from the pressure exerted against the exterior side of the finger during pushing. Unlike pulling, where the force is distributed on the interior/pad of the finger, pushing exerted pressure on the side with less padding over the bone. Consequently, prolonged use led to some discomfort.
We performed several tests on different touchscreens, including ATMs, post office kiosks, and self-checkout terminals at Walmart and supermarkets. Plastic or rubber-tipped models proved most effective, but none were compelling enough to be our top recommendation.
Among the metal options, we identified a sweet spot concerning the amount of metal that came into contact with the screen. Insufficient contact, such as the outer tip of a 90-degree corner, resulted in the screen failing to register the touch. Conversely, excessive contact led to confusion or unintended clicks on the screen.
Some products advertised additional uses, such as cutting open packages. Given the increased emphasis on disinfecting packages due to COVID-19, this feature seemed appealing. However, in practice, these tools rarely delivered satisfactory results. Instead of cleanly cutting the tape, it often tore and became tangled, rendering the feature impractical.
Here are some brief notes about each of the non-winning tools:
- Jingolden: Appears to be a knockoff of the KeySmart, but it falls short in terms of functionality, primarily due to its small main grabber opening.
- JLIAN MIOR: Too small to effectively work on some common doors. Additionally, it has a cheap-looking and feeling coating.
- KeySmart CleanKey: We were disappointed with KeySmart’s marketing approach as they bombarded us with unwanted emails after our purchase. The slanted hook design, while facilitating carrying bags, caused issues with certain doors.
- Kingsbom: Too small in size, and the plastic tip gave the impression that it wouldn’t last long. The underlying copper material was coated over, which was a letdown.
- Peel: This tool was the most disappointing among all the contenders. As depicted in the earlier video, it struggled to perform the basic task of opening doors. The inclusion of a bottle opener in the same hole as the finger grip made the tool uncomfortable to hold, as the large hole had to accommodate bottle tops. Furthermore, the flat edge designed for flipping bottle caps caused discomfort by digging into the skin.
- Z-Key: This tool is exceptionally large. While it excelled in its functions, most individuals would find it too cumbersome for everyday carry. In fact, its size and weight even make it suitable for use as brass knuckles, although that would likely result in hand injury if used for punching.
No-touch keychain tools are a practical and essential addition to your everyday carry in today’s hygiene-conscious world. The GermKey Brass Hand Tool, CleanKey by KeySmart, SafeTouch Hygiene Multi-Tool, TouchTool Pro by StatGear, and NoContactKey by Peel are all excellent options, each offering unique features to help minimize contact with potentially contaminated surfaces. By investing in one of these tools, you can protect yourself and others, contributing to a healthier and safer environment for all.