An In-Depth Guide to Challenge Coin Sizes: Standard and Custom Options

challenge coin sizes

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Let’s discuss challenge coin sizes and how they impact your overall design. Custom-designing a challenge coin for a loved one or yourself is an excellent way to create an exclusive and unique gift. It can be an exciting and innovative process where you unravel your creativity and bring your ideas to life. The best part? Challenge coins are highly customizable, offering endless opportunities to make something unique and meaningful. Whether you want to commemorate a special event, honor a loved one’s service, or showcase your affiliation with a club or organization, a custom challenge coin is the perfect way to do it. 

At Lone Star Challenge Coins, you’ll find much of our coin-designing process interesting, entertaining, and exciting. We will work with you, giving you feedback on essential things such as what challenge coin size is recommended for your design, making the process as smooth as possible. You’ll be able to see your very own ideas take shape and become fully realized throughout the entire design process.

First Time Designing A Custom Challenge Coin?

First-time designers often face roadblocks, like picking the perfect size for their custom coin. While you’re free to customize the dimensions, it’s worth noting that there are standard coin dimensions you can consider for your project. Ultimately, the perfect size will depend on your design.

If the process sounds overwhelming, there’s no need to worry. We offer several different coin sizes and a slew of design options. We will work closely with you to turn your initial concept into a fully-fledged professional design that exceeds your expectations.

Want to learn more about challenge coin sizes and how they apply to the design process? Our guide will cover all you need to know, including the history behind challenge coins. Let’s get started. 

What are challenge coins?

Challenge coins are a unique way of signifying that someone is a member of a particular group or has been honored for some achievement. These custom-designed coins can come in various shapes and sizes.

Challenge coins have been around for centuries but have recently become popular among non-military groups such as businesses and public service organizations. They are exchanged as gifts or rewards for a job well done. They are collected and kept as souvenirs of the group’s accomplishments.

They Promote Camaraderie

These coins promote camaraderie, recognize outstanding achievements, and build morale within military units or other organizations. They typically feature a unit’s emblem or insignia and may include the organization’s motto.

They Signify Commitment, Dedication to Excellence & Appreciation

Challenge coins are tangible reminders of the commitment, hard work, and dedication of being part of a team or organization. They’re also a physical representation of pride in membership and are often given during special ceremonies or recognition events.

Furthermore, challenge coins can symbolize appreciation or gratitude to recognize individuals who have gone above and beyond in the line of duty.


Available in many shapes, sizes, colors, and designs, challenge coins can feature special features like luminescent effects or 3-dimensional elements. Whatever the design, a challenge coin is an invaluable asset to any organization!

Where Do Challenge Coins Come From?

As they’re becoming much more common within groups and teams of many kinds, you might come across challenge coins in various places, though traditionally, the challenge coin has been a staple of military culture. It can signify the military branch the coin holder has served in, the particular groups they may have been a part of, and some of the honors they’ve been bestowed with.

Challenge coins are also popular among first responders and government agencies. Regarding the former, a challenge coin can honor a member’s extraordinary achievements or acknowledge membership. The same goes for the latter, with various agencies having specific challenge coins as a form of bonding.

The Purpose of Challenge Coins

Challenge coins may be small and relatively simple tokens, but they can hold significant importance to those who collect them. While each coin contains its unique meaning to the holder, the main reasons why challenge coins are handed out in the first place usually fall into one or more of the following categories:

Signifying Membership

Holding a challenge coin is a signifier of the owner’s membership to the group it represents. While there are other ways military members can express their loyalty and membership to their particular branch or team, the challenge coin is one whose meaning persists long after that individual has retired.

Acknowledging Accomplishment

Many military members collect their challenge coins and display them all in one place. When gathered together, they tell an entire story about that military member’s years of service that is not only about the branch with whom they served, the teams and units they were a part of, and their highest-achieved ranking. It can symbolize the honors and accomplishments for which they were recognized.

Paying Tribute

Some challenge coins aren’t designed to represent a specific group or military branch but are created to honor a particular event. You can use commemorative challenge coins to celebrate joyful moments. They most commonly pay tribute to difficult circumstances where lives were lost, and heroes were born. These coins are designed to both honor those heroes’ actions and commemorate the lives lost.

The Typical Size of Coins

Designing your custom challenge coins can be a fun experience but poses some challenges. You’ll need to know a few things, including the standard challenge coin measurements. Your challenge coin can come in a wide range of sizes and thicknesses, but if you’re looking to create one that matches standard coin sizes, then yours should fall within the scope of 1.5” to 2”. 

Perhaps the most commonly selected size on a coin diameter chart is 2”, which is due in large part to the fact that such a size strikes a solid balance. It is big enough to display a detailed design but not so big that it becomes unwieldy. That said, if 2” does seem too small for your particular setup, then you can always go larger. Some designers create coins with diameters as large as 7”.

Thickness of Challenge Coins

The thickness of a coin is not something people get to choose. It depends on its size and whether it has 3D features. For coins with 3D designs, we add an extra 0.5mm on each side.

How to Choose Custom Coin Measurements

When deciding on the size, here are some things to consider:

Challenge Coin Design

Generally, you’ll want your design to be relatively fleshed out before you select your size, as coins on the smaller side of the spectrum won’t do your design justice if it boasts a higher level of detail.

As such, if you were aiming for smaller coin sizes but have detailed artwork, you may want to settle for something bigger than anticipated or dial down the intricacy of the design. Reducing the level of detail will make it fit better on a smaller coin. We can help you simplify your design while keeping it as close to your original design as possible.

Cost of Challenge CoinS

Sometimes, your budget will make some of your design choices for you. The larger a coin is, the more materials will be needed to create it. Thus, the more costly it will be. There’s also the cost of the coin mold, and like the material, the larger the mold is, the more it will cost you. If cost is a concern, opting for a smaller coin size will help you hit your budget. 

Plans for the Coin

If you’re hoping to display your coin on a wall or desktop, it’s often better to go with something more prominent. It will be more visually striking when on display, whereas if you want to stow your coin away and be able to carry it comfortably, then you may want to consider a smaller size.

Another thing you must consider is that there’s a particular prominence and weight (both literal and metaphorical) to larger coins that can help convey the importance of what they commemorate.

Order Custom Challenge Coins with
Lone Star Challenge COINS

Step 1

Send US Your Ideas

The first step is to send in your custom challenge coin idea. You don’t need to submit professional artwork to start the process. We can work with something as simple as a sketch or a written description. You can do this by filling out our online quote form. As soon as we get your request, we will send it off to the Lone Star design team so that they can begin working on your project.

Our design team has plenty of experience and focuses on creating the best high-quality designs. They will create a mock-up for you so that you can see what your coin will look like, and our veteran-managed sales team will email it over to you with a quote as soon as it is complete. Every design we create is free, with unlimited revisions available to our customers.

Step 2

Get A Proof & Quote

Shortly after you submit your project inquiry, our team will send a custom design for your challenge coin. Please review your proof carefully and analyze the quote we provide. If you are unhappy with the design, please tell us what you would like to change, and we will implement your changes free of charge —  as many times as needed.

Step 3

Approve & PURCHASE

When you give us the green light to proceed with your order, we will email you a link to our online invoice system so you can pay for your order. We accept most payment methods, including taking payment over the phone. Your coins can only start production once we have confirmed that the full payment has been made.

After submitting your payment, your coins will go into production immediately so we can get them out to you as quickly as possible.


Are larger challenge coins more valuable?

A challenge coin’s value is not solely determined by its size. The value lies in its symbolism, rarity, craftsmanship, and the significance of the unit or event it represents. While larger coins may have more visual impact, it does not necessarily make them more valuable.

Are there size restrictions for intricate designs on challenge coins?

Highly intricate designs may have limitations when it comes to smaller coin sizes. Fine details and small text may not be as clear or legible on smaller coins. It’s important to consider the balance between design complexity and the chosen coin size.

What is the advantage of a larger challenge coin?

Larger challenge coins provide more space for detailed artwork, text, or emblems. They can have a more significant visual impact and can be easier to appreciate from a distance or when displayed in a collection or shadow box.

What is the advantage of a smaller challenge coin?

Smaller challenge coins are generally more compact and portable. They can be easily carried in a pocket or displayed in a smaller case or holder. Smaller coins can also be cost-effective for organizations with limited budgets.

Can challenge coins have non-circular shapes?

Yes, challenge coins can be custom-made in various shapes. While circular coins are common, shapes like squares, rectangles, ovals, or custom outlines can be used to add uniqueness and reinforce the coin’s design theme.


To briefly summarize everything, the most common diameter of a challenge coin is 2”, though the most common sizes typically range between 1.5” and 3” wide. 3mm is the standard in terms of thickness, but coins as thin as 1.2mm and as thick as 6mm are not uncommon.

3 Important Factors

The three most important factors to consider when determining the size of your challenge coin are its level of detail (more elaborate designs are best suited to larger-sized coins), the budget you’re working with (the more significant the coin, the more expensive it will be), and the purpose of the coin. Remember, larger ones are good for display, and smaller coins are better for carrying). Check out our quickstart guide if you want more information on topics such as coin sizing or plating.

Let's Get Started!

We hope our guide has helped you better understand how to design the perfect custom challenge coins for you or your loved ones. If you’re interested in getting started, we invite you to get your free quote from Lone Star Challenge Coins today!
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