Keeping your ID card close at hand makes it easier to swipe or scan the card as you enter buildings, unlock doors, pay with your card, check out materials, and more. But how does something as helpful as a badge reel work?

This image shows the internal structure of a basic ID badge reel. Individual features may change (a square case instead of a round one, or a different type of clip, for example), but the structure is always the same.


First, the reel is made from a durable outer casing. You can choose from different shapes, colors, sizes, and even customize them with your organization’s logo. The back side of the case will often have a clip to attach the reel to your clothing, and some reels even come attached to lanyards.

Within the reel is an inner reel, which the cord is wrapped around. This keeps the cord from getting tangled, so you can quickly pull out and retract your badge.

The cord is attached to the strap or clip you connect to the ID card. Whether you put the ID card in a holder or hole punch the card itself, this allows you to clip cards in and out.

Shop all ID card badge reels.