How to choose the best wallet
If there’s one personal item that gets a lot of use on a daily basis, it’s a wallet. Since it withstands considerable handling from being sat on, stuffed into pockets, or tossed on a dresser, it’s worth investing in one that can keep up.
Choosing the right wallet begins with taking a look at your current one: do your money and credit cards fit inside? If they’re haphazardly stuffed in slots, it’s time to get a larger one. If you aren’t utilizing all the space inside, consider paring down to a slimline design.
With so many wallets to compare, you might be wondering where to begin your search. To help you find the right one, we’ve compiled this buying guide featuring our top recommendations. We’re including our favorite, Perry Ellis Men’s Park Avenue Trifold Wallet, which features fine stitching detail and quality construction.
What to know before you buy a wallet
Before shopping for wallets, assess your regular inventory to determine what you need to carry — and what you can stop carrying. Paper bills and credit cards are the most common essentials, but some people require additional room for receipts, tickets, or key cards. If you carry change, you may need to choose a wallet with a zipper compartment.
There are countless styles of wallets available, though bifold, trifold, and money clip styles remain the most popular. Bifold wallets fold in half like a book and have a flatter profile than other wallets. Trifold wallets have a stacked design and can be a bit thick once they’re filled. Money clip styles house a few cards and can have an exposed clip, or one that’s enclosed as part of a bifold design.
Popular materials for wallets
- Leather: Leather is a classic choice for wallets, both in design and overall durability. Not only are leather wallets available in a number of colors and designs, they often match other men’s accessories, like shoes or watch bands. While they withstand quite a bit of use and handling, they’re not water-resistant and can stain easily.
- Nylon or polyester: Nylon and polyester are popular for their tough yet lightweight construction, as well as their water and stain resistance. Unlike leather wallets, these styles are closed with Velcro or zippers. While they’re not the most attractive option, they pull their weight for sports, camping, and travel use.
- Metal: Metal wallets — usually made with aluminum — are contemporary and trendy. They resemble a small box that hinges open and snaps shut, keeping your money and cards secure. Simple designs are just brushed metal, while other styles feature engravings or stamped designs.
- Plant-derived materials: There are plenty of wallets made with plant-based materials, such as hemp, jute, cotton, or bamboo. These aren’t as water-resistant as other wallet materials, but they tend to be softer and more durable.
How much you can expect to spend on a wallet
While you can find a simple wallet $20 and below, it’s likely made of synthetic materials and won’t last very long. Those priced between $20-$40 are constructed with better materials. Once you pass $40, you can find a broad range of designer leather wallets with stylish details.
Why do some wallets have chains attached to them?
A. Chain wallets are a way to ensure your valuables stay put during travel or transit. Many skateboarders, bikers and campers prefer chain wallets, as they minimize their risk of losing their wallet during periods of heightened activity. They’re also smart for travel to ward off pickpockets.
How long can I expect my wallet to last?
A. It’s hard to say since there are many variables, including material and construction quality. If you’re tough on wallets, they might only last a year or two before falling apart. To keep your wallet intact, make sure you don’t overstuff the bill and card slots, as it preserves the pockets and won’t put unnecessary stress on the stitches.
What’s the best wallet to buy?
Our take: Premium 100% leather wallet featuring a central ID card holder.
What we like: Understated design and modest profile. Organized slot design and easy card access.
What we dislike: Initial leather smell can be overpowering until it dissipates.
Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s
Top wallet for the money
Our take: Buttery-smooth leather finish with several vertical and horizontal card pockets.
What we like: Despite its budget-friendly price, quality is quite good. Offers plenty of room, with eight card slots, four pockets, and two ID windows.
What we dislike: Can feel bulky if filled to capacity with cards and currency.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Our take: Cute everyday wallet with a simple, versatile design.
What we like: Features two card slots, two slip pockets, and an ID window. Has RFID-blocking technology to keep your information safe.
What we dislike: May be too compact for some.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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