How Thick Are Challenge Coins?

October 16, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Challenge coin size, shape and thickness are all main elements to coin design.
  • The standard thickness for challenge coins is 3 mm.
  • Most challenge coins are round with a diameter of around 2 inches.
  • Custom shapes, sizes and thickness allow for more artistic freedom in your design.
  • There are advantages to designing both thicker and thinner coins.

‍If you plan to design your own custom challenge coin, you’ll soon find out that you need to make a lot of difficult decisions including deciding on coin size.

So how thick is the average challenge coin? The vast majority of challenge coins are 3mm thick, however, there are plenty of reasons you might want your custom coin to be thicker or thinner than normal, and there are plenty of custom thickness options to choose from.

Designing your own custom challenge coin can be an overwhelming endeavor with tons of different design choices to think about. The size of your coin will no doubt be one of the most important and consequential decision choices you make so knowing more about what the most popular coin sizes are and what other options you might have is a big help. So how thick is the average challenge coin and what are the advantages of designing a thicker or thinner than normal coin?

Table of Contents

‍What Size Are Custom Challenge Coins?

Before getting into the specifics of coin thickness, it's important to note that thickness is just one part of the basic decisions you’ll have to make when it comes to the shape and size of your custom challenge coins.

Shape is the first thing you’ll have to think about. If you aren’t interested in designing a round coin, designing a custom shape for your challenge coin is great if you want something a bit more unique. A custom shape coin can really stick out in the crowd however, round coins are still by far the most popular.

In general, the most popular coin size is 3 mm thick with a diameter of about 2.0 inches, however, there are tons of standard challenge coin sizes to choose from, so you are by no means limited in your choices.

Half the fun of making a custom design is seeing what custom shapes and sizes you can come up with and how they will affect your final product, so you should explore all of your possible design options.

Larger vs. Smaller Coins

While challenge coins are usually around 2.0 inches in diameter, it's easy to make your custom coin much smaller or larger than this. There are specific reasons that you might want a smaller or larger coin however, the biggest thing this affects is your coin's surface area.

Essentially, the bigger the coin, the more surface area you have, meaning that you’ll have more room for artwork, text, or anything else you might want to put on the face of your challenge coin.

For those of you that want to include lots of artworks and text on your coins, opting for a larger coin with more surface area is the way to go.

Custom And Irregular Shapes

As I said before, round challenge coins are by far the most popular type of challenge coin. However, most coin manufacturers allow you to choose from a variety of other premade shapes or design your own custom shapes.

While the circular challenge coin design is definitely more traditional, designing a coin to look like the fire department where the recipients work or the insignia of the organization that will give them out, can make them a lot more unique and personal. You can even design a challenge coin to be a bottle opener.

How Thick Are Challenge Coins

While there are other important aspects of coin size and shape to think about, we're here to talk about coin thickness, which tends to be one of the aspects of challenge coin design that largely gets skipped over.

While other design decisions like coin plating, coin edge, artwork, metal used, and any other design detail usually provoke a lot of thought from the coin designer, most people simply choose the standard thickness without much thought at all.

However, thickness can have a big effect on the look and feel of your challenge coin, so thinking more about how thick your custom challenge coin should be is an important part of the design process.

Custom Challenge Coin Thicknesses

As you know the standard challenge coin thickness is 3 mm, however, there are plenty of other thickness options to choose from when designing your custom challenge coin. While 3 mm is the standard, there are some advantages to designing thinner or thicker coins.

Thicker Custom Coins

The biggest thing that coin thickness will affect is how heavy your challenge coin will feel. People tend to associate heavier things with being more valuable and since most people want their challenge coins to be as valuable as possible, making your challenge coins thicker and therefore a bit heavier, is a great way to do that.

Designing a thicker coin also allows you to do a lot more artistically. While a standard sized challenge coin might just be able to have a bit of depth to make the lettering stick out, making a coin thicker allows the raised areas and valleys on your coin to be much deeper and profound.

For instance, with a thickness of 8 mm you can make a uniquely shaped 3D challenge coin with deep recesses that can make a coin that looks like an airplane, an alligator or any other 3D shape you might have in mind for your coin.

Many customers also like designing cut outs in their coins, and while there’s nothing preventing you from doing this with standard sized or thinner coins, cuts out in thicker coins will appear much more pronounced and deep.

In general, designing a thicker coin will give you a lot more freedom of expression when it comes to your coin design and if you are looking to make a unique coin that will stick out from all the others, increasing the thickness of your challenge coin could be a great place to start.

Thinner Custom Coins

While it is much more common for people to design standard sized or thicker coins than it is to go the opposite route, designing a thinner coin can have its advantages as well.

As I mentioned before, thicker coins will be much heavier than a thinner coin, and while some people might want a heavier coin, there are many others who want their coins to be lighter and easier to carry around.

The metals challenge coins are made of are very strong, so there’s no need to worry about your coins bending or breaking either, despite thinner coins having a lesser perceived value to some people.

Thinner coins can feature intricate designs and vibrant colors allowing for anyone to make a thin coin with just a striking of a design as any other.

In the end, coin thickness is simply a matter of personal preference and whether you want your coin to be thinner, thicker, or 3 mm just like all the rest, every option will allow you to make a uniquely designed and incredibly special custom challenge coin.

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