The Ridge Wallet vs Ekster Wallet

As our daily transactions become ever more digitized, traditional bi-fold wallets grow ever more impractical. Many businesses only accept credit cards or digital transactions through Apple Pay and Venmo—which begs the question, why are you still carrying around a clunky wallet? 

Minimalist wallets are the way of the future. We’ve narrowed it down to the top two best minimalist wallet brands with so many options on the market: The Ridge and Ekster. Their slim silhouettes are perfect for front pocket carrying, the durable materials ensure longevity, and the deceptively spacious card-holding cavity fits all your most essential items.

Ideal for fans of EDC gear, both of these companies offer products that are stylish enough for city slickers but rugged enough for outdoor enthusiasts. High-quality materials, eye-catching aesthetics, and simple yet functional designs are just a few of the reasons The Ridge and Ekster are our top picks as the best compact wallets for men. But there are a few key differences between these minimalist powerhouses—and we want you to make the right choice for your pocket. So without any further ado, let the battle royale for the best minimalist wallet begin!

An Overview of The Ridge and Ekster Wallets

The Ridge

Designed to streamline your everyday essentials, wallets from The Ridge are the perfect sweet spot for minimalists who want to maximize efficiency. Choose between military-grade aluminum, titanium, or carbon fibre casings that feature built-in RFID-blocking technology to protect your sensitive information from wireless theft. A patented dual-track construction expands the internal chamber to hold up to twelve cards without adding bulk to your pocket. Paper bills are stored in the external cash strap or money clip, which can easily be interchanged or used simultaneously depending on how much cash you have on hand. Incredibly slim and ideal for ditching the clutter of standard bi-folds, Ridge wallets allow you to carry less so you can live more.

Ekster

Built for the 21st century, Eskter smart wallets blow traditional leather bi-folds out of the water. A patented card ejection mechanism fans out the contents of your wallet like a switchblade with just a single click of a button—no more fumbling around for the right card. The expandable backplate can take on a hefty wad of cash or more cards, while the special RFID-blocking layers protect your private information.

Every Eskter model can be upgraded to feature a solar-powered tracking device that will relay your wallet’s exact location to your phone anywhere in the world. High-quality leather, carbon fibre, and aluminum casings are offered in a wide range of sophisticated colours to ensure your cardholder is as stylish as it is functional. Ekster’s mission is simple—create intuitive, everyday products that make your busy life easier.

Side-by-Side Comparison of Durability

The Ridge

Wallets from The Ridge are built to take on any obstacle life throws your way. The tough-as-nails materials have survived intensive drop tests, extreme weather scenarios and don’t feature any flimsy parts that could break off during an adrenaline-filled adventure. In fact, The Ridge is so confident their wallets are indestructible that they offer a lifetime warranty policy that the vast majority of users never have to claim.

The most rugged wallet in their collection features a carbon fibre shell that’s forged with the same strength, flexibility, and durability as the materials that aerospace engineers use in rocket ships. The Ridge believes that your essential accessories should be of the highest possible quality, so they last for decades to come—which both eliminates the stress of buying a new wallet every few years and positively impacts the environment by reducing your reliance on cheaply made goods. The Ridge has the upper hand in the fight for the best minimalist wallet when it comes to out-right ruggedness.

Ekster

There’s no doubt about whether Ekster offers durable wallets—their booming success as the world’s leading smart wallet company is evidence enough. However, the level of ruggedness can depend on which model you buy. For example, the carbon fibre Ekster wallet is forged from military-grade materials that would withstand a nuclear blast. But the leather version of their classic cardholder is still heavily prone to water damage, scuff marks, and torn seams. Where The Ridge ensures maximum durability, some of the Ekster wallet designs can compromise longevity for looks. That being said, the inner aluminum cardholder will protect your items from extreme weather or accidental falls. At the end of the day, choosing the best minimalist wallet for your pocket just depends on whether medium-level durability is a dealbreaker.

Side-by-Side Comparison of Functionality & Features

The Ridge

Every element of a Ridge wallet is constructed to make using your wallet an intuitive experience. From the ergonomic thumbhole design that offers a sturdy grip to the cash strap that runs lengthwise across the back to provide maximum security for your bills, this compact wallet makes the most out of its minuscule frame. The stretchy inner elastic makes loading and unloading your cards incredibly easy. The ability to interchange the cash strap to a money clip gives you total control over this important accessory.

If size matters to you, there’s no question that the best small minimalist wallet on the market is The Ridge. The compact 86 x 54 x 6mm frame can be barely felt in your pocket, and it can slip easily into glove compartments, briefcases, or carry-on luggage. Not to mention, the slim silhouette isn’t easily spotted by pickpockets while you’re travelling on vacation!

Ekster

Compared to The Ridge, Ekster wallets do have a slight upper hand when it comes to the range of features they offer. While Ridge wallets are beloved for their extreme simplicity, the patented card ejection mechanism of Ekster’s design adds an exciting structural component to the overall functionality. A single click of a button fans out all your cards for easy access and keeps them tightly secured when pushed back inside.

Plus, the ability to add a tracking device is highly useful if you frequently misplace your wallet. The solar-powered card syncs up with your phone and can pinpoint its location anywhere in the world. It also has a two-way call feature that allows you to “ring” your wallet from your phone (and vice versa), the ability to connect to a worldwide lost-and-found network, and is compatible with Siri, Alexa, or Google Home for voice-activation capabilities. If you want a minimalist wallet with maximalist features, this is the choice for you.

Side-by-Side Comparison of Overall Aesthetic

The Ridge

Sleek and understated, the appeal of a Ridge wallet is its simplicity. The scratch-resistant casing looks sharp for years to come, and replacement elastic bands ensure an old cash strap attachment won’t tarnish the visual appeal of your cardholder. But probably the best part of the Ridge aesthetic is that it’s easily recognizable even at a quick glance. This brand is synonymous with quality construction, premium materials, functional features, and extreme attention to detail. Flashing a minimalist Ridge wallet at a business dinner with prospective clients or on a first date is a powerful status symbol that could gain you some brownie points.

Not to mention, the wide range of colours, textures, and patterns allow you to get creative on how to express your unique sense of style. Want to personalize your wallet even more? The Ridge offers custom laser engraving so you can treat your wallet as an heirloom instead of just a simple accessory. Preserve a precious memory, enshrine an inside joke, or simply carve out your name to mark your territory.

Ekster

With slim dimensions ideal for front pocket carriers, Ekster wallets certainly have the minimalist aesthetic on lock. The simple rectangular design and horizontal elastic cash strap don’t clutter your pocket and look sleek while making transactions. Plus, when you choose a premium material like the cross-hatched carbon fibre, your wallet gets a visual upgrade. However, one of the unique features of Ekster wallets is also its biggest design flaw—the quick card access button.

The little knob protrudes out from the bottom of the wallet, making it prone to catching on loose fabric or getting pocket gunk stuck in the creases. While it’s fun to have your cards fan out in front of you, the button is a bit of an eyesore that breaks up the otherwise sleek design. If that doesn’t bother you, then have at it. But for a clean, streamlined aesthetic that reflects the quality materials it was made of, The Ridge would be a better choice.

Side-by-Side Comparison of Extra Features & Warranty 

The Ridge

While some so-called “minimalist” wallets get weighed down with extra bells and whistles, The Ridge keeps its products incredibly streamlined for maximum efficiency. The only added feature is a T5 Torx screwdriver that comes with every wallet you order. This nifty gadget lets you swap out the cash strap for a money clip (or vice versa) whenever you feel like it. There is no need to take it into a store or ship it back for professional help—The Ridge believes that you should always have control over your important accessories. Plus, the screwdriver can come in handy for other items you have that use small screws!

Another stand-out feature of Ridge wallets is their lifetime guarantee policy. As one of the best minimalist wallets for men on the market, it’s unlikely you’ll need to activate the policy. But in the event of a hiking mishap or a dog-ate-my-homework situation, they are happy to replace it with a brand new cardholder. Most of their products also offer free returns within 45 days of purchase if you aren’t satisfied, but it’s hard to think of a reason why you wouldn’t be!

Ekster

If we’re talking warranty, there’s really no competition between these two minimalist wallet brands—The Ridge wins, hands down. Ekster’s warranty policy isn’t too shabby with free returns up to 45 days after purchase and a 12-month warranty, but it’s nowhere near as extensive as its competitor. If you treat your wallet like the prized possession it should be, the lifetime guarantee of The Ridge is a much safer bet to ensure your trusty cardholder stays with you for decades. Plus, the mechanical card release button on Ekster wallets is likely to break down after a few years. Without a lifetime warranty, you’ll be out of luck to get a free replacement when your wallet’s functioning goes south.

Additionally, Ekster doesn’t offer any extra gadgets or tools. The solar-powered smart tracking device is incredibly useful, but you’ll have to pay extra to have that tacked on to your wallet.

And The Winner Is…

After an extensive investigation of these two powerhouse brands’ overall design, durability, warranty policy, and extra features, the best minimalist wallet is The Ridge! The unparalleled construction, military-grade materials, thoughtful functionality, and commitment to being a truly minimalist accessory all add up to winning the grand prize. Not sure which Ridge wallet is right for you? Browse their entire collection to find the perfect material, colour, and bill-holding accessory that works for your lifestyle. 

You can read our full hands-on review of The Ridge wallet here.

You can read our full review of the Ekster Aluminum Cardholder here.


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