• Slim Wallet Comparison

    by  • 2013/06/24 • Hardware, Review, Thoughts • 8 Comments

    As a follow-up to my recent article about the best wallet ever, I was given the opportunity to test some of the slim wallets available on the market. These wallets are all designed  to slim down your wallet and protect your cards. As an added bonus they all look better than a rubber band! I used each of these wallets for a minimum of one week so I could try it out in day-to-day life with my usual set of cards, cash, and papers. This comparison is to help you decide on which wallet might best fit your needs. I try to stay away from picking “the best” because user preference varies drastically and the features I’m looking for in a wallet may not be yours.

    Here are all of the wallets I used in alphabetical order:

    Ainste Small Evan

    small-evan-01 small-evan-02 small-evan-03

    The Ainste Small Evan wallet was one of the classiest looking wallets by itself. The leather was a little thick/stiff but the inside was soft which protected the cards very well. Overall, the Small Evan struck the most balance of wallets tested between good looks, slimness, and flexibility of use. It wasn’t the slimmest or most flexible, but it had good trade-offs between all three. Using the wallet with all of the cards on the inside fold was a little difficult to get used to. Putting cards on the outside made the wallet much more efficient, but killed the aesthetics of the professional looking leather fold. The good news is you can use the Evan with cards outside the fold day-to-day and then put all your cards on the inside if you don’t want to flash your cash or need to look more professional. The Small Evan is available at a great price for what you get and they are working on an RFID blocking version, as well as adding colors, which will be great for customization and security.

    Pros

    • Good price
    • Classy look
    • Protects cards with thick leather and soft lining
    • Replacement bands are available cheap

    Cons

    • Hard to access cards in the center
    • One of the thickest slim wallets I tried

    Link to Ainste store

    Bellroy Card Sleeve

    card-sleeve-02 card-sleeve-01 card-sleeve-03

    Before testing the Bellroy Card Sleeve wallet, I had a few reservations. I usually don’t like sleeve-style wallets because they are too hard to get cards in and out of, and too stiff to hold a lot of cards. The Bellroy has definitely changed my mind about sleeve-style wallets. The leather is really high quality and soft, and the angled slits on either side were perfect. Getting a payment card or ID in and out was super easy because of the angle and they were just deep enough to hold the cards securely. Cash was harder to get in and out of the side and middle pockets, but I found sandwiching the folded bills between other cards did the trick. The pull tab for the center pocket worked better than I expected. It’s amazing that I’ve never seen this on any other wallet before. The leather did stretch after a couple weeks, but the wallet looked great and was very thin. Efficiency of use was much better than I expected because of the side pockets and pull tab.

    Pro

    • Really easy to use because of a great design
    • Looks classy and feels high quality
    • Multiple colors available

    Cons

    • Really thin but not the overall smallest wallet because of edge stitching
    • Can’t hold as much as the other wallets with elastic bands
    • Leather stretched after extended use
    • A little pricy (in my opinion)

    Link to Bellroy store

    CardNinja

    cardninja-01 cardninja-03 cardninja-02

    The CardNinja was the most unconventional wallet I tried. The idea was very well executed and the material used was a perfect fit for this application. I could fit a lot of cards in the CardNinja, but often had problems getting cash or papers in the wallet. The sticky back was able to be removed and replaced multiple times, so long as you peal it off from the bottom corner. The concept was hard for me to get used to and I found myself often trying to find my wallet while I was holding my phone. Whenever mobile payments become a reality, the CardNinja is one step ahead.

    Pros

    • Could hold more cards than I expected
    • Convenient for when I was out
    • Multiple colors available
    • Fits well on just about any smartphone I tried that is iPhone 4 size or larger

    Cons

    • I didn’t always want to carry my wallet when at home and in bed
    • Didn’t trust letting kids play with phone + wallet
    • Didn’t fit with my iPhone case

    Link to CardNinja store

    Compact Wallet

    compact-02 compact-01 compact-03

    If you like the rubber band wallet, you’ll probably love the Compact Wallet. It is the only wallet I tested with a portrait elastic band rather than landscape. The elastic holds the cards really well, and the material allows the cards to slide in and out easily (even better than a rubber band). There’s also a colored plate for rigidity, separation, and ease of access to center cards. The Compact Wallet isn’t the most elegant looking wallet, but it was the smallest and felt really durable for day-to-day use.

    Pros

    • Simple design
    • Feels really durable
    • Color choices for customizability

    Cons

    •  Not as professional looking as other options

    Link to Compact Wallet store

    HuMn Mini

    humn-mini-01 humn-mini-02 humn-mini-03

    The HuMn Mini felt like it was in a different class than the other wallets. The material felt really nice in your hand (aluminium plates) and even the packaging was a step above the others. It has the added benefit of blocking RFID so you can keep all your cards safe from scanners (if that’s something you’re worried about). The design was more flexible and customizable than any other wallet I tested, and the price reflects the higher standards. I had a difficult time getting used to how to use the HuMn, but thanks to the flexible layout, I often used it with just one center plate. If you want something slightly larger and like to fold your cash in half, they also make a slightly larger version called the HuMn 2 which is a decent hybrid between a normal-size wallet and a slim wallet.

    Pros

    • A wopping 1600 color combinations
    • Flexible wallet usage with 1, 2, or 3 plates
    • Packaging and materials are high quality
    • Additional plates and bands available separately
    • RFID blocking

    Cons

    • More expensive than any other wallet tested
    • Spreading the plates to access cards may take some getting used to

    Link to HuMn store

    Simple Wallet

    simple-wallet-01simple-wallet-03simple-wallet-02

    The Simple Wallet I imagine is what you would get if the Bellroy and Card Ninja had a baby. The design is a leather pouch with an elastic pocket all rolled into one. I tested the Simple Wallet 1.0 which did not have the added benefit of the phone strap on the back or the key loop on the side. While they seem like very welcomed additions they were by no means deal breakers to not have. I’m also not sure if the phone strap would hold the average Android phone as they are often much bigger than the iPhone. The Simple Wallet looked the part of a hipster business man, in a good way. It was a little bit flashy in its design but the leather and elastic lent itself to a more refined feel. While it was slimmer than a traditional wallet it was closer in thickness to the Ainste which was one of the thicker wallets I tested. I ran out of space for cards so if you need to hold more than 10 cards you may want to look elsewhere. I also occasionally had a hard time getting cards and bills in and out of the leather pocket but that was probably due to over stuffing the pouches. Overall, the Simple Wallet got me called a hipster by more people than any other wallet which to me signified that the design and functionality hit a good trade off.

    Pros

    • Flashy and refined at the same time
    • Additional functionality with key holder and phone strap
    • Great price for what you get

    Cons

    • Leather pocket was less flexible than others
    • Couldn’t hold as much as other wallets

    Link to Simple Wallet

    Slim Clip

    slim-clip-01 slim-clip-02  slim-clip-03

    I wasn’t sure what to think about the Slim Clip before I started using it. I have never liked money clips or magnets, but knew quite a few people who loved this one. I was really impressed with how well this $4 clip worked. The card-holding side has little wings to keep the cards from sliding out, and the opposite side is for holding cash. I found the card side does not hold as many cards as I typically carry, so I ended up putting cards on both sides. However, the separation made it easy to locate either my ID or payment cards by having them on opposite sides. Anything more flimsy than folded cash was hard to get in the clip and it doesn’t really accommodate bills folded more than once, but for something so simple and cheap it had great functionality.

    Pros

    • Lowest price point of all wallets tested
    • Really small

    Cons

    • Couldn’t hold very many cards
    • Doesn’t hold double-folded bills very well
    • Some concerns about durability

    Link to Slim Clip store

    Other Options

    I didn’t personally test these wallets, so I didn’t feel like I should comment on them, but here are a few other options if nothing in the list above suits your needs.

    CRABBY Wallet

    crabby-wallet

    Link to CRABBY store

    Tight Wallet

    tight-01

    Link to Tight Wallet store

    X Band

    xband

    Link to X Band store

    Conclusion

    I enjoyed testing all the various wallets more than I expected. They all are really different in application, and you should be able to find something to fit your preferences. With all of the great options, even though it has been 2 weeks since I finished testing all the wallets, I still have not settled on which one I want to use as my daily wallet.

    If there’s a wallet you think I should have tested, or one that I should add to the “other options” list, please leave a comment below.

    About

    Avid learner with a passion for technology and people. He is always trying new things or taking something apart to make it better.

    http://1n73r.net

    8 Responses to Slim Wallet Comparison

    1. kp
      2014/01/06 at 19:44

      Did you ever decide which one you like best?

      • 2014/01/06 at 23:24

        My favorite was probably the Compact Wallet with the Bellroy sleeve being a close second.

        • kp
          2014/01/07 at 20:11

          Thanks for the research. Much appreciated.

          • kp
            2014/01/10 at 22:20

            How can the Compact Wallet be purchased?

            • Jim Pelletier
              2014/01/11 at 15:22

              Hello, KP. Please contact me directly. See the email address in my response above. Thanks!

            • Jim Pelletier
              2014/01/17 at 13:02

              kp, the twelvedegreeangle.com webstore is back up and running. come check us out for The Compact Wallet.

        • kp
          2014/01/07 at 20:17

          Link to Compact Wallet not working. Would like to shop for it. Who makes it? Can you post a good link?

        • Jim Pelletier
          2014/01/11 at 15:21

          Hello, I’m the creator of The Compact Wallet. I’m happy to hear that Justin liked it best. Sorry about my website being down, but if you’re interested in purchasing you can contact me directly: jim at twelvedegreeangle dot com. Thanks!

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