What Is a Lanyard?

Hey there! Have you ever wondered what those colorful cords or straps people wear around their necks are called? Well, they're called lanyards! Lanyards are an incredibly versatile accessory that serve a variety of purposes. In this article, we'll explore what exactly a lanyard is, its common uses, and even take a stroll down memory lane to discover its origins. So, let's dive in!

Definition of a Lanyard

A lanyard is a cord or strap worn around the neck or wrist to carry items such as keys, identification badges, or small tools. It typically consists of a loop that can be attached to various objects using attachments like J-hooks or lobster clasps.

Purpose and Common Uses of Lanyards

Lanyards serve a multitude of purposes and are widely used in many industries. They offer a hands-free solution for carrying essentials, keeping them easily accessible while keeping your hands free for other tasks. Some common uses of lanyards include:

  • Carrying keys: Lanyards are a popular choice for keeping keys secure and easily retrievable.
  • Badge holders: Many people use lanyards to display identification badges or access cards.
  • Event passes: Lanyards are commonly used to hold event passes, allowing attendees to easily display them.
  • Mobile phone holders: Lanyards with phone holders allow you to keep your device close at hand.
  • Tool holders: In industries like construction, lanyards are used to carry small tools or equipment, making them portable and accessible.

Brief History of Lanyards

The history of lanyards dates back to the 15th century when they were used by French military officers to hold their pistols, whistles, and swords. Lanyards were initially made of braided fabric or leather and were used as decorative accessories by the French nobility.

During World War II, lanyards gained practicality as soldiers used them to secure their pistol holsters and identification tags.

In recent years, lanyards have become a popular promotional item for businesses and organizations. They can be customized with logos or slogans, making them a great way to represent a brand or convey a message.

Types of Lanyards

Breakaway Lanyards

Breakaway lanyards are designed with a safety feature that automatically releases the lanyard from the wearer's neck if it becomes caught or pulled. This reduces the risk of injury or strangulation in situations where the lanyard may be exposed to moving machinery or other hazards.

Breakaway lanyards are commonly used in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, or construction, where safety is of utmost importance. They are also great for schools or events where children or large crowds are present.

Retractable Lanyards

Retractable lanyards, also known as retractable badge reels, feature a mechanism that allows the attached object, such as an ID badge or keys, to be extended and retracted as needed. The retractable feature adds convenience, as the item can be easily accessed without the need to remove the lanyard from around the neck.

These lanyards are commonly used in environments where frequent scanning of ID badges or access cards is required, such as in office buildings or secure facilities.

Custom Lanyards

Custom lanyards offer the opportunity to personalize your lanyard to meet your specific needs or represent your brand. They can be customized with company logos, slogans, or even unique designs.

Custom lanyards are often used as promotional items, giveaways, or as part of a uniform in various industries. They provide an excellent way to create brand recognition and leave a lasting impression on potential customers or clients.

Materials Used in Lanyards

Nylon Lanyards

Nylon lanyards are durable and soft to the touch. They are known for their strength and resistance to wear and tear. Nylon lanyards are highly customizable and can be printed with intricate designs or logos.

These lanyards are commonly used in industries such as sports, events, or even healthcare, where durability and comfort are essential.

Polyester Lanyards

Polyester lanyards are known for their affordability and excellent print quality. They offer a smooth surface that allows for sharp and vibrant designs.

These lanyards are often used for promotional purposes, at trade shows, conferences, or as giveaways.

Woven Lanyards

Woven lanyards are made using a weaving technique that creates intricate and detailed designs. The design is woven directly into the lanyard material, providing a professional and long-lasting result.

These lanyards are commonly used by businesses, clubs, or organizations that require a more sophisticated and elegant appearance.

Attachments and Accessories for Lanyards


J-hooks are a popular attachment for lanyards due to their simplicity and effectiveness. They feature a small hook that can be easily attached to a variety of items, including keys, ID badges, or small tools.

J-hooks are commonly used in industries such as hospitality, education, or retail, where quick and easy attachment of items is necessary.

Lobster Clasps

Lobster clasps are commonly used with lanyards to securely attach items. They have a spring-loaded mechanism that allows for easy attachment and removal of objects.

Lanyards with lobster clasps are versatile and can be used to hold items like keys, badges, flash drives, or even small pouches.

Badge Holders

Badge holders are plastic sleeves or pouches that protect identification cards or badges from damage or wear. They often come with pre-punched holes that allow them to be easily attached to a lanyard.

Badge holders are widely used in various industries where employees or attendees need to display their identification cards or badges.

Bottle Openers

Yes, you read that right! Some lanyards even come with built-in bottle openers, making them a fun and practical accessory for events or gatherings.

Lanyards with bottle openers are perfect for parties, concerts, or any occasion where having a bottle opener on hand could come in handy.

Safety Considerations for Lanyards

Proper Lanyard Length

It's important to ensure that your lanyard is the appropriate length to avoid potential safety risks. Lanyards that are too long can pose a risk of getting caught in machinery or becoming a tripping hazard. Similarly, lanyards that are too short may cause discomfort or restrict movement.

It is recommended to follow safety guidelines provided by the lanyard manufacturer or industry-specific regulations when determining the appropriate length for your lanyard.

Breakaway Features

In environments where lanyards are exposed to potential hazards, such as machinery or equipment, breakaway lanyards with safety-release mechanisms are crucial. These mechanisms allow the lanyard to detach from the wearer's neck if it becomes snagged or pulled forcefully, reducing the risk of injury or strangulation.

It's essential to ensure that the breakaway feature is in compliance with safety regulations for the specific industry or workplace.

Weight-Bearing Capacity

Every lanyard has a weight-bearing capacity, and it's crucial to be aware of this limit. Exceeding the weight capacity can result in accidents, as the lanyard may break, causing the attached object to fall or become a safety hazard.

It's important to consider the weight of the items you plan to carry on your lanyard and ensure that the lanyard's weight capacity is sufficient.

How to Choose the Right Lanyard

Identify Your Needs and Requirements

Start by considering the purpose for which you'll be using the lanyard. Are you looking for a lanyard to carry keys, display identification, or promote your brand? Define the necessary features and specifications based on your specific needs.

Determine Your Budget

Take into account factors such as the quantity of lanyards needed, customization options, and desired materials. Balancing quality and affordability is essential, so set a realistic budget that meets your requirements.

Research and Compare Options

Explore different lanyard suppliers and manufacturers. Read customer reviews and testimonials to gauge the quality of their products and services. Consider requesting samples or prototypes to evaluate the lanyard's materials, attachments, and overall feel.

By thoroughly researching and comparing options, you'll be able to choose a lanyard that not only meets your needs but also represents your style or brand effectively.


To wrap it up, lanyards are versatile and functional accessories that have come a long way from their humble origins. They serve a wide range of purposes in various industries and can be customized to reflect personal or brand style.

Whether you're looking for a durable nylon lanyard for outdoor activities, an affordable polyester lanyard for promotional purposes, or a sophisticated woven lanyard for a professional environment, there's a lanyard out there that will suit your needs.

So, go ahead and choose a lanyard that matches your style, serves your purpose, and makes your life a little more convenient!

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