Selecting the best badge holder for your needs would seem like an easy task. However, if it’s not well thought out, your badging initiative may not be as efficient as it should be. Common problems include the badge flipping over to the backside, the slot punch area breaking too quickly, the badge hanging too low to be easily observed, the badge image transferring to the plastic holder cover, and difficulty in presenting the badge to a badge reader.
Here are some suggestions to help you select the best badging options:
- Breakaway Fitting - Never order a badge lanyard without a safety breakaway fitting that prevents personal injury if the lanyard gets caught or pulled. Never!
- Wide Plastic Hook – Choose a wide plastic hook instead of the thin hooks that are often offered as badge accessories. A wide hook will keep the badge facing forward and hanging evenly. It will also increase the life of the slot area (a narrow hook increases stress to the thin slotted area of a card or badge holder.)
- Retractable Reel - If your badges will be presented or swiped in a reader, add a reel attachment with a clear vinyl strip to your lanyard. Otherwise, holders will be forced to remove their badges or to lean into the reader. It’s all about ergonomics!
- Quick Disconnect Buckle - This is another nice lanyard option to consider, making it much more convenient for people to present their badges to a reader or person.
- Metal - Never order a lanyard with a bulldog clip, ring or metal hook. They are not designed for ID badges. Also, never use metal bead chains – remember – metal rusts!
- Multiple Badges - One of the primary reasons for using a badge holder is to carry more than one badge. Several holder configurations are available; however, the rigid plastic multi-badge holders are the best choice.
- Rigid Open Faced Holders - When used with a lanyard (wide plastic hook or clear vinyl strap connector), a rigid open faced holder will hold a badge or multiple badges securely. They are also designed so that badges can be quickly and easily removed and replaced for presentation to a reader or person.
- Pouch Holders - Clear vinyl pouch holders are a very common badge holder option. However, it’s important to specify UV protected anti-transfer material. Without this, the badge image can transfer to the holder material, and the slot area will break much more quickly. Remember to use a wide plastic hook or clear vinyl strap for strap clips and lanyards.
- Clear Vinyl - Always order clear vinyl straps. They last much longer than opaque or white strap clips.
- Bulldog Clip - The bulldog configured strap clip allows the badge to be placed securely in the chest area where it is much more easily observed. This is not a bad feature for the lowest cost badge holder!
- Jewelers Pin - This option should be selected when the badge must be securely worn without the risk of accidental removal. It is not often used because it’s difficult to remove the badge and place it back, and the pin can damage clothing. Lanyards are the best option in this case.
- Bulldog Clip – These are ideal for placing the badge and reel in the chest area. The reel can be clipped to the shirt collar or pocket, or even to a pinched section of a shirt.
- Belt Clip - The belt clip option allows the reel to be affixed to a belt or pant waistline. However, this means that the ID badge is positioned in the worst place for observation. Tip: add a reel attachment to a lanyard with a clear vinyl strap to affix to the badge.
- Carabiner Hook - The most secure of badge reels, but they do cost more, but highly worth the value if you are looking to secure the badge to the pant waistline.
- No Twist - Order badge reels that will lock the badge into position once they’re closed. This prevents badge flips.
- Armbands – These are an option when hanging a badge is not possible. However, armbands tend to warp the badge media, making it difficult to present the badge to swipe-readers.
- Badge Clamps - If you don’t want to purchase or replace a badge slotting tool, try some badge clamps. These clamp securely onto the badge and have a bulldog clip for affixing to clothing.
- Magnetic Bar Set - If you don’t want the slotted look, a magnetic bar set will affix the badge to common clothing with a very strong magnet that doesn’t harm the material. This is not the best choice if the badge must be removed several times a day.
- Smart Card & Contactless Security Blocker Holder - So you thought your smart cards are secure? If your badge is configured with contactless RFID technology, a hacker could covertly skim the card with some high-tech portable tool, and play them back to gain access to your information. These clamshell design holder blocks electronic access to the badge until the person manually exposes it.
Joe French is Vice President of eXpress badging, based in Cocoa Beach, FL. He can be reached via https://www.expressbadging.com/ or at (321) 784-5925.