Ridge Wallet vs. Ekster Cardholder: You Need To Choose This One

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I have been using my Ridge Wallet for over a year and recently completed a review of it. However, I also recently contacted Ekster, interested in discovering everything there is to know concerning Ridge’s main competitor. 

Ekster was kind enough to send me a care package free of charge to check their wallet out, so I chose the Forged Carbon Fiber version (of course). That said, a review or even mention of their product was not guaranteed, and this article is strictly because I wanted to let you know my findings.

Now that I have had both of the top minimalist wallets on the market, I wanted to share my thoughts on precisely who each is for and which one I recommend.

Why should you trust me? I have used both of these wallets extensively. How you store and carry your money is essential, and I have made sure to use both of these wallets daily to see precisely how usable they are, and I am sharing those thoughts with you!

My Choice
More Reliable
5.0
4.5
Pros:
  • Extremely easy to access up to six cards
  • High quality build
  • Expandable storage
  • Easy to access cash
Pros:
  • Easy access to your most-used cards
  • It looks awesome
  • Extremely durable
  • You can't make it bloated.
  • Compact sizing
Cons:
  • A bit larger than competition
  • Moving parts can wear
Cons:
  • More difficult to access lesser-used cards
  • It could hold a bit more cash.
My Choice
5.0
Pros:
  • Extremely easy to access up to six cards
  • High quality build
  • Expandable storage
  • Easy to access cash
Cons:
  • A bit larger than competition
  • Moving parts can wear
More Reliable
4.5
Pros:
  • Easy access to your most-used cards
  • It looks awesome
  • Extremely durable
  • You can't make it bloated.
  • Compact sizing
Cons:
  • More difficult to access lesser-used cards
  • It could hold a bit more cash.

Minimalist Wallet Overview

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 have 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 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?

4.5
Specifications:
  • 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)
Pros:
  • Easy access to your most-used cards
  • It looks awesome
  • Extremely durable
  • You can't make it bloated.
  • Compact sizing
Cons:
  • More difficult to access lesser-used cards
  • It could hold a bit more cash.
See Price: Ridge Wallet Read My Full Review
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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 I own 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?

5.0
Specifications:
  • 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)
Pros:
  • Extremely easy to access up to six cards
  • High quality build
  • Expandable storage
  • Easy to access cash
Cons:
  • A bit larger than competition
  • Moving parts can wear
See Price: Carbon Fiber Cardholder Read My Full Review
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

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 comprehensive route. Instead of pushing the cards out with your hand, you press a button, and up to six of your most used cards are fanned out in front of you.

Their wallets can also have an expansion plate for their exterior to help you maintain up to 15 cards. Cash is held on the opposite side of the wallet via a cash strap.

You can choose from several colors and materials, including the forged carbon fiber version I sent and received. They also have a Parliament Wallet, which combines the luxurious feel of a bifold with the functionality of the Cardholder series of wallets (you can see those here).

How do the Ridge Wallet & Ekster Cardholder Compare?

Ridge WalletEkster Cardholder
PricingTieTie
DurabilityWinner
Card Access & StorageWinner
Daily UsabilityWinner
StylingWinner

1. What is the price difference between Ridge and Ekster?

Winner: Ridge Wallet & Ekster Cardholder

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 (my favorite right now is the Keyport Pivot 2.0). 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 will), 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 Cardholder

If you need easy access to more than six cards, I recommend the Ridge Wallet, as you will have much easier access to your cards. 

On the other hand, if you only use six cards or under, the Ekster is lightyears better in this regard. One of the significant 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.

With the Ekster, it 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 Cardholder

While the Ridge Wallet is highly 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 Cardholder

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. 

The Ekster has found its way permanently (at least for now) into my pocket as my daily driver.

My Choice
More Reliable
5.0
4.5
Pros:
  • Extremely easy to access up to six cards
  • High quality build
  • Expandable storage
  • Easy to access cash
Pros:
  • Easy access to your most-used cards
  • It looks awesome
  • Extremely durable
  • You can't make it bloated.
  • Compact sizing
Cons:
  • A bit larger than competition
  • Moving parts can wear
Cons:
  • More difficult to access lesser-used cards
  • It could hold a bit more cash.
My Choice
5.0
Pros:
  • Extremely easy to access up to six cards
  • High quality build
  • Expandable storage
  • Easy to access cash
Cons:
  • A bit larger than competition
  • Moving parts can wear
More Reliable
4.5
Pros:
  • Easy access to your most-used cards
  • It looks awesome
  • Extremely durable
  • You can't make it bloated.
  • Compact sizing
Cons:
  • More difficult to access lesser-used cards
  • It could hold a bit more cash.