Badge Reel vs Holder: How to Choose the Right Option?

Badge Reel vs Holder

There is a reason most people who work in an office opt to wear their ID badges on lanyards or neck chains. Badge holders keep information safe and avoid them from getting lost. At the same time, badge reels allow quick access when needed without requiring it to be detached. So if you’re looking to get new retractable badge reels or holders for your office, it’s essential to know the difference and what you need.

Badge Reel vs. Holder: What’s the Difference?

The difference between a badge holder and a reel is how long they are. While both lengths typically range from 4 to 8 inches, a badge reel has a cord that adds about 3 to 5 inches more to it. Badge reels can also extend further than the standard badge holder, at times up to 1 foot.

You can extend a reel by pulling on the cord, detaching it from one end of the metal clip that holds it together with a strong adhesive or glue. This feature allows you to use it as a lanyard and benefit from the extra length, making it easier to attach to your belt loop or even allowing you to wear it across your body.

When choosing between badge reel vs. holder, consider where you typically wear your ID. If you are looking for quick access, perhaps even while sitting down or bending over, then a badge reel may be the best choice for you. 

In case you are looking to attach it to a crowded wallet, one that is full of cards and bills, consider getting a badge holder instead.

Badge Reel vs. Holder: How to Choose?

Now that you know what a retractable badge reel vs. holder is, it’s time to consider how much functionality is the most important when choosing between them. In general, both are highly durable and can last for years with proper care. Here are some other things to consider:


Badge holders tend to be made from plastic or polyester material, while reels are usually made from rubber or fabric. This allows the holders to remain intact even if they get wet from water or sweat, which can quickly happen in an office setting where many people work long hours. On the other hand, reels typically come with a retractable belt clip and a strong adhesive to keep them in place.

Length and Durability

Since you can extend both types of lanyards, it’s essential to consider how long you want them to be. 

Badge reels tend to be anywhere between three inches and seven feet, while badge holders are closer to four or 5 inches. If you need something longer than that, then a retractable badge holder might be a better choice for you.

Weight and Portability

Since badge reels typically weigh less than a badge holder, they may not work as well when attached to your wallet. Badge holders tend to be bulkier and heavier than the reel, so it’s best to leave them on your desk or in your bag unless you need to detach them.

Your Purpose

Now that you know what a badge reel is and how it differs from a badge holder consider why you need one. Keep in mind that different types of reels can be used for different purposes, so knowing yours will help you pick the best one:

Desk Badge Reel: If your office requires you to show your badge when entering the building, perhaps even for lunch breaks or meetings, then a desk reel may be the best choice for you. These reels are usually smaller and allow fast access without removing them from your bag or wallet.

Retractable Badge Holder: If you’re looking for something convenient to wear on top of your shirt or blouse, then a retractable badge holder is the best choice for you. It’s also great for people who need quick access when entering restricted areas or meeting with clients.

Lanyard Badge Reels: If your job involves public speaking, attending training sessions in another building, or even just handing out passes to attendees, a lanyard badge reel may be an excellent choice for you. 

These reels are usually larger and designed to be worn around the neck. They also have a sewn-in clip in addition to a retractable belt clip, so they can easily attach to your clothes or purse.

Special Circumstances

In some cases, people need custom lanyards to present their credentials in the best way possible. If you plan to get yours embroidered or printed, choose a badge holder that offers this feature.

Both badge holders and reels are excellent ways to keep your ID on hand while at work. They allow you quick access when needed and keep it safe from damage, making them the perfect choice for any office environment. 


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