I keep an Evans magnetic key on my floor tom, so it gets the most use, but some T rod tops are a couple mm too small for the Evans to get a grip. I like a Promark Ratch-It which has both ratcheting and a large comfy handle.
I also like the Evans magnetic key because the "handle" part is curved in such a way that it's comfortable and finely controllable too.
My ideal custom key would be just like the Evans key, but with a way to have it on a key ring.
My sentimental favorite was the Premier key that came with my brand new '89 Projector kit. It had sharp corners, but it could go on a key ring and it was cool because it was Premier. I lent it to some knucklehead in '91 and of course he lost it.
sonor’s key with the orange rubber grip is the best i’ve used so far but it got stolen the second day i had it, so i’m using the tama keys with the knob on top. i will eventually get some more of those sonor keys.
I've never had a favorite until I received one of these with a Sensitone I purchased earlier this year. There's something about the weight distribution (with the relatively heavier orbs on the ends) that feels a bit cozy in my hand.
I'm a fan of the crank handle style...especially when time is essential...though i've taken on the 'have a replacement instrument at hand' as opposed to 'be able to switch out heads fast' approach for my snare. Other heads can usually be avoided until a time-break is had...except the Bass...and who wants to lug another bass around?
Mine has a more conical intake for the lug head so its a bit easier to get it mounted on the lug.(I think mine is Gibralter?)
Not sure how to gauge its monetary value...couple of bucks ranging to everything I have in the right needful situation.
As far as custom, I would like to see new approaches to head mounting but that is usually a nightmare of poor engeneering. I'd like to see Shubb take a stab at it...I really like their capo design.
DW SM800 drum key keychain. Has the knurled top for spinning and detaches from the rest of my keys. Probably the only drum key I haven't lost in the seven years I've had it. Literally in my pocket right now!
The Tama and Sonor Protean come in tied for second, but the DW wins by virtue of being the detachable keychain.
The magnetic Evans key doesn't really fit very snug on tension rods, and I have zero use for the magnet.
My favorite key came with the first set of brand new drums I ever purchased. My wife (gf at the time) used to take it from me and tell our friends it was the key to my heart. She would also tell people I spent more time with Pearl than I did with her.