Readers of The Source will recall my travails with keys from a couple of months ago, when I went to make some duplicate keys and found a robot doing a significantly worse job duplicating keys than human hardware store employees once did. Because there isn’t a commercial real estate broker, owner or property manager working today who doesn’t struggle with keys and locks, let’s take another look at cutting-edge key technology: the Nite Ize S-Biner Key Rack.
Nite Ize? S-Biner?
My pal Safety Jim, a born commercial property manager if ever there was one, told me about this nifty piece of gear right around the time we discovered the key-making robot I posted about back in June. Jim handles lots and lots different sets of keys every day, but I noticed that he doesn’t wrestle with steel rings keeping keys together. Instead, he rapidly attaches and disconnects keys from an odd bit of gear called a S-Biner Key Rack. It’s made by a company called Nite Ize, (pronounced “night eyes”). Based in Boulder, CO, Nite Ize products include flashlights, which explains the company name. The product name is a takeoff on the caribiner, an essential bit of mountain climbing gear that balances safety, speed and strength by controlling rope lines that are run through it.
The S-Biner treats keys and key rings like a carabiner treats rope: a innovative spring-loaded “S” shape allows super-quick attachment and removal of keys or key rings while providing pretty much stable locking of keys in place on the S-Biner. The time and hassle this saves compared to mating keys using steel rings is significant. It’s an absolute game-changer for property managers on the go; it even weighs less than the average master key ring, so it’s the kind of product that improves in ways you didn’t expect.
There is one area where the S-Biner pictured above can’t deliver the same thing that steel key rings can: absolute attachment security. A key can’t fall off a steel ring, but it is (very slightly) possible that a S-Biner attachment can disengage in an unwanted way, for example, when jostled inside a crowded pocket. After two months of testing this hasn’t happened, but because I see that it could, it’s worth mentioning. It’s also worth mentioning that Nite Ize makes a wide range of variations on the S-Biner design that address and “harden” against this small possibility by using a slightly more complicated locking design.
At well under ten bucks (under five for the S-Biner) these products are worth a look, if you ask me. (Or Safety Jim.)