Ridge Wallet vs Ekster Cardholder: (Choose THIS ONE)

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Ridge and Ekster are two of the biggest names in the minimalist wallet industry! Thankfully I have had the chance to spend extensive amounts of time with both of their wallets, and I’m going to help you out by shedding light on exactly which one is best in different categories, and which one wins out for me!

Quick Note: The wallets I tested from Ekster were gifted to me by the brand for me to check out. However, all opinions are my own.

TL;DR: Just in case you don’t want to read through everything in this article (or watch the video comparison), you probably should just get the Ekster Cardholder. While the Ridge is more durable and compact, the Ekster does a better job in day-to-day usage by giving you considerably easier access to more cards.

What is a Minimalist Wallet?

Ridge Wallet and Ekster are a part of the revolution of old-school wallets. No doubt, you are used to the leather wallets of the past. These are the bi-fold wallets that wear out regularly and fall apart constantly. 

Almost every wallet from the past 100 years is plagued with plastic windows that are faded and cracked, filled with decades of receipts, coins, and other random junk you didn’t know a better place to go. While front-pocket leather and cloth wallets did have a short foray (and helped my back out a ton), minimalist, metal, and other hard material front-pocket wallets are easily the better alternative.

Wallets have long been the junk drawer of your pockets, and these two companies (Ridge and Ekster) have set out to change that. Instead of cramming your wallet with things you don’t need, they have taken away the 97 different pockets and given you easy access to everything that matters. That would be your cards and cash.

You will find that your first task after buying either the Ekster or Ridge Wallets is that you will need to purge your wallet of everything you don’t need and will only put what you need. I had to do it, and I won’t turn back, and neither will you.

What is the Ridge Wallet?

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  • Easy access to your most-used cards
  • It looks awesome
  • Extremely durable
  • You can't make it bloated.
  • Compact sizing
  • More difficult to access lesser-used cards
  • It could hold a bit more cash.
  • Dimensions: 0.24" by 3.39" by 2.13"
  • RFID Blocking: Yes
  • Card Capacity: 1 to 12
  • Cash Organization: Strap or Money Clip
  • Coin Storage: No (accessory available)
  • Weight: 59 - 87 grams (depending on material)
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04/13/2024 06:25 pm GMT

The Ridge Wallet was the original in minimalist wallets, and little has changed since its founding in 2013 and the subsequent crowd-funding campaign that raised $266,622 to get the company off the ground.

This wallet is a genuine minimalist wallet, as it is essentially two aluminum plates that are brought together with a high-quality elastic strap. You can choose between a cash strap or a money clip (I prefer the cash strap) to keep your paper money.

You can choose from plenty of colors, from the white that I own (and reviewed here) to their carbon fiber and even a 24 Karat gold-plated version. All their wallets are RFID-blocking and come with a lifetime warranty.

What is the Ekster Cardholder?

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  • Dimensions: 0.29" by 4.1" by 2.3"
  • RFID Blocking: Yes
  • Card Capacity: 1 to 15 ( 1-6 in main cardholder, additional 9 in backup storage)
  • Cash Organization: Strap
  • Coin Storage: No
  • Weight: 59 - 87 grams (depending on material)
  • Extremely easy to access up to six cards
  • High quality build
  • Expandable storage
  • Easy to access cash
  • A bit larger than competition
  • Moving parts can wear
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04/13/2024 09:00 am GMT

Ekster was founded similarly to Ridge Wallet. They launched the wallet via a crowd-funding campaign on December 14, 2015, and were funded entirely within under 15 hours, reaching a total of €331,946 by the end of its run.

While the Ekster is still an authentic minimalist wallet, they have taken a bit more of a different route. Instead of pushing the cards out with your hand (via a notch), you press a button located at the bottom of the wallet, and up to six of your most used cards are fanned out in front of you.

Their cardholder wallets include an expansion plate for their exterior to help you maintain up to 15 cards (including the six inside of the cardholder). Cash is held on the opposite side of the wallet via a cash strap (no money clip available).

You can choose from several colors and materials, including the forged carbon fiber version I was gifted (and reviewed here). They also have a Parliament Wallet (which they also recently gifted me, and should have a review out soon on), which combines the luxurious feel of a bifold with the functionality of the Cardholder series of wallets (just switching out the expansion plate and cash strap for leather pockets).

1. What is the price difference? (Winner: Tie)

The Ekster wallets start at a lower price ($89 Base MSRP) than the Ridge Wallet ($95 Base MSRP). However, both companies offer plenty of pricing options, from their base models to the range-topping wallets for well over $200. Ultimately, Ekster and Ridge are not entry-level wallets and sit at a premium price point, regardless of your chosen version.

2. Which holds up to daily abuse better? (Winner: Ridge Wallet)

I have used my Ridge Wallet for over a year now, and it sits in my pocket with my vehicle’s key fob, along with various key organizers that I have been trying out. It has held up exceptionally well, with only minimal nicks and dings from continuous usage. The strap has not worn out and continues to hold to keep the cards from falling out.

I have not used my Ekster for nearly as long as the Ridge Wallet; however, I am confident in the materials. After spending some time researching, I have heard that the mechanism for fanning out the cards has some possibility of failing and can cause the cards to not stay in the wallet correctly. I have not experienced this (and may never have), but it is something to consider.

Now that I am a couple of weeks into my Ekster Cardholder ownership, I can see a few rub marks on the corners of the Ekster’s matte carbon finish, which makes me feel like the Ridge Wallet holds up better.

3. Does the Ekster or Ridge hold cards better? (Winner: Ekster)

 If you need easy access to more than six cards, I recommend the Ridge Wallet, as you will have easier access to all of your cards, and not just the six found in the cardholder. 

On the other hand, if you only use six cards or under, the Ekster is lightyears better in this regard. One of the biggest downsides to the Ridge Wallet is that it can be difficult to access individual cards, as you have to pull all your cards out to access any outside the outer two cards.

The Ekster displays up to six cards at the push of a button, and each one is perfectly spaced out for easy access.

4. Is the Ekster or Ridge more usable? (Winner: Ekster)

While the Ridge Wallet is extremely usable, the Ekster is considerably better thought out. With the ease of access to the cards, expandable exterior storage, and dedicated places to keep your cash (Ridge also has this), the Ekster edges out the Ridge Wallet in usability. 

The Ridge Wallet is smaller, so if this is important to you, the Ridge will be more usable.

5. Does the Ekster or Ridge look better? (Winner: Ekster)

Styling is up to the eye of the beholder. However, I think the Ekster looks better than the Ridge Wallet. As mentioned above, the Ekster seems more well thought out, and there is a place for everything.

However, the Ridge Wallet wins out if you genuinely want minimalist styling. You can’t get much more minimalist than two aluminum plates and a strap.

Which one do I recommend?

I recommend the Ekster Wallet over the Ridge Wallet. While it may not be as reliable and is bigger than the Ridge, it makes up for it in ease of access to cards, and the styling is better. 

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