A wallet doesn’t have to just be a place to carry your ID, credit cards, and cash—the best ones are stylish, useful, light, and affordable. We asked you which ones you thought fit the ticket, and after over a hundred nominees, we’re checking out some of the best, based on your suggestions.
Sure, you could just run down to the department store and pluck a wallet off the shelf—it can be as utilitarian as you want, or as high-end and well-crafted as you want, and the good ones can fall right in between. A good wallet can have tools attached to it like bottle openers and knives, or be thin and trim, designed to be minimal and take up as little space as possible. Earlier in the week we asked you for your favorites. Now, after hundreds—seriously hundreds of nominees, here’s a look at your best picks, in no particular order:
Simple, thin, and trim, the Front Pocket ID Wallet from Saddleback is affordable ($ 33 direct or from Amazon), fits perfectly in a front pocket, and is designed to be minimal. If you’re used to carrying everything in the world in your pocket, you’ll need to trim your collection of stuff down—the Front Pocket ID wallet holds 5 cards in two card slots, and the front one has a window so you can put your ID card or driver’s license front and center. That front window won’t get cloudy or crack over time, and there’s a space for business cards right behind the ID area. The whole body is made of finely crafted leather with reinforced sides, and the cash slot in the back gives you plenty of room for bills. It’s available in four colors—carbon, chestnut, dark coffee, and tobacco. Like any good piece of leather, as you use it, it’ll stretch to fit what you need to put in it, and even subtly change shades and pick up a little character.
Those of you who nominated the Front Pocket ID wallet praised both its price and its craftsmanship. Others of you highlighted Saddleback’s 100 year transferable warranty on its workmanship, and the longevity of its products. The price is right too, and many of you opted for something like this because it’s affordable and it’ll still last a lifetime. Some of you pointed out that all of Saddleback’s wallet options are great, so even if this specific model isn’t up your alley, they likely have another affordable option that’ll work perfectly for you. The Saddleback Bi-Fold, for example, earned a number of nominations on its own in this thread, and the Saddleback Business/Credit Card wallet was popular in this thread Regardless, you can read more about the star here—the Front Pocket ID wallet, in its nomination thread here or this thread here.
Big Skinny’s Compact Sport Wallet comes in a more casual nylon microfiber version or a hybrid version with leather on the exterior and microfiber on the interior. Both are simple bifold wallets that are large enough to carry everything you need, but small enough to fit in any pocket. It’s designed to stay thin, and avoid the expansion you get from other bifolds—namely that it grows the more crap you stuff into it. The Compact Sports Wallet features two hidden storage pockets for extra cards that you can’t give up, but only has slots up front for four to six cards—the ones you use all the time. The cash pocket is large enough for standard US currency, and the spaces in the front have two extra-wide slots, one of which features a clear plastic window for your ID card or license. The hidden pockets are thin and designed for you to stack and stash the cards you don’t use very often, and the front pockets are offset so you can see what you have in the wallet. The rounded edges and slim profile are designed to keep things minimal without sacrificing practical space. It’s affordable too. The nylon version will set you back $ 22 direct, or just shy of $ 20 at Amazon. It’s available in three colors: Black, brown and navy. The leather/nylon hybrid version is $ 27 direct, or $ 25 at Amazon, available in black or brown.
In its nomination thread, any of you noted that this is a perfect wallet for those of you with—erm—thicker carrying requirements who are also looking to downsize to just the essentials, or at least something a little less bulky in your back or front pocket. A few of you noted your own experiences with the Compact Sports Wallet, both in nylon and in leather, and explained that it’s as thin as advertised, as spacious as advertised, and durable to boot. One of you mentioned that you keep it in your front pocket along with your phone—in an Otterbox case, no less, and another one of you mentioned that you’ve owned tons of bifold wallets over the years, and this one’s the best. One of you even suggested a different Big Skinny bifold in another thread. Either way, it’s worth a look. Read more in its nomination thread here.
The Classic Leather Original Wallet by Allett is a proven, tried-and-true wallet design that looks bigger than your usual bifold, but it doesn’t take much to tell how thin the thing will be eventually. By offsetting its card slots completely, the wallet gives you more space for your commonly used cards, but will still fold completely flat to fit into your pocket. The back is still large enough for bills, and the leather version (shown above) is leather on the exterior and ripstop nylon on the interior. The whole thing is capable of carrying up to 24 cards in the front, and stays thin even when it’s loaded up. There’s even a rubber grip on the interior of the card sleeves to keep your cards from just slipping out, even if you only carry a few at a time. The long design lets you carry bills either horizontally or vertically, or stash receipts and other documents in the back pocket for safe keeping. It’s available in black and brown, and will set you back $ 35 direct or at Amazon.
Those of you who nominated the Allett Classic Leather Wallet highlighted how thin the wallet can be even when it’s packed down with cards. a number of you noted that it fits well in your front or back pockets without being thick and bulky, and it’s durable enough to last for years on end without even looking like it might need replacement (one of you said you’ve had yours for nine years now, and a number of you noted you’ve had yours for at least seven.) Others of you praised the craftsmanship, and noted that it’s held up well with everything you’ve put it through. It wasn’t the only Allett wallet in the roundup though. A few of you suggested the Allett Soft-Tech Nylon Sport Wallet for a more casual look in this thread, and in this thread a number of you preferred the smaller profile and exterior ID pocket of the Allett EcoThin Outside ID Wallet. Either way, you can read the nomination thread for the Classic Leather wallet that started it all here.
Bellroy’s Note Sleeve Wallet is an attractive bifold wallet that’s small enough to fit in any front or back pocket, but large enough to fit bills, cards, and coins—something a number of other wallets that boast their size and minimalism avoid discussing entirely. The Note Sleeve has a full-sized bill sleeve in the back that’ll fit just about any type of currency as well as other documents, and 3 quick-access sleeves on the interior for your commonly used cards. One of those sleeves has a pull-tab for your less often used cards, so you can get them out when you need them, but they’ll stay neatly stacked flat in their sleeve for every other time. That bill sleeve in the back has a small change pocket that can be opened or secured shut, and there’s another card sleeve on the other side of the billfold for even less frequently used cards, or thinner cards like business cards. The entire body is made of leather—both the exterior and the interior (although the interior of the billfold is nylon.) The Note Sleeve Wallet is available in eight colors—black, cocoa, tan, blue steel, cognac, cocoa java, java, and slate. You can browse the colors exactly on their site, and if you want one, it’ll set you back $ 90 direct or from Amazon.
In its nomination thread, the Note Sleeve Wallet was popular because of its stylish construction, thinness, minimal profile, and its pockets for change, hidden cards, and the pull-out tab for things you use (hopefully) less often, like insurance cards and such. One of you even noted that you frequently feel like you forgot where you put your wallet because it’s so thin. Plus, thanks to its size and profile, you’ll never stuff it as full as some wallets we’ve seen. You also noted there’s a slot for a SIM, perfect for traveling, and it’s big enough for things like a bus or train ticket or a boarding pass if you’re on the go. Many of you also praised the quality of the leather, noting that it looks like it’ll hold up for a lifetime. It’s not the cheapest wallet in the roundup though, and many of you noted the price was a bit of a ding. It’s not the only Bellroy you nominated either—our friends at Lifehacker Australia love the Bellroy Travel Wallet enough they wrote a whole article about it. It’s big enough to fit passports, boarding passes, train tickets, and everything else neatly in a front pocket. The Bellroy Slim Sleeve earned praise in this thread, the Card Sleeve was nominated in this thread, and the Bellroy Very Small Wallet got some love in this thread—all great if you’re looking for alternatives. Those aside though, you can read the nomination threads for the Bellroy Note Sleevehere and here.
Immortalized in Pulp Fiction, the Bad Mother Fucker wallet is indeed a real thing, and you can buy one for your very own. It may not make you as much of a bad motherfucker as Samuel L Jackson, but your $ 15 will at least net you an all-leather wallet with stitching around the edges and, of course, “Bad Mother Fucker” embroidered on the front. It’s available in the brown leather and black embroidery from the movie, or in all black leather with white embroidery on the front, just to mix it up a little bit. It’s a standard billfold, with two deep billfold pockets at the top, a clear ID sleeve on the left side, three quick access sleeves on the right, and two deep hidden sleeves behind those. But hey—you’re not buying that wallet because of its features of craftsmanship, you’re buying it because you are what the wallet says you are. Plus hey, $ 15 bucks isn’t much—they even let you buy one and get a second one half off. You know, for gifting.
The BMF wallet earned tons of nomination threads on its own, and all of them were pretty simple. A photo of the wallet, a link to the clip (sometimes), and well, the fact that the wallet speaks for itself. To that end, we’re not going to put words in your mouth here. You can read the threads yourself here and here,
Now that you’ve seen the best, it’s time to crown a Lifehacker community favorite. Cast your vote:
We have a number of honorable mentions this week. First, while these wallets aren’t exactly gender specific, all of these wallers would traditionally be considered “men’s” wallets. Of course, there’s nothing stopping ladies from using these wallets themselves, we also noticed that there were only a handful of so-called “women’s” wallets in the roundup—and we didn’t want anyone to read this and think “Well, what about us ladies?” To that end, we figured that we’d highlight some of the mentions of women’s wallets in the call for contenders thread too.
The Hobo/Millie International/Lauren Wallet
The Hobo Millie Clutch (and variations of it) are all generally clutch-style wallets with kisslocks at the top (the kind that snap together with a click-lock at the top and snap open the opposite direction when you need them), metal trim around the opening, and an all-leather body, available in any pattern you might want. In its nomination thread, you noted that women’s wallets seem to be redone every year, so availability is sporadic, but we found a couple options over at Nordstrom’s for you if you’re looking for some styles and patterns to choose from. They’re all about the size of a wallet, small enough to either be carried in a larger bag or large enough to be carried on their own without a ton of hassle. You also noted that the bottom pocket has a zipper that’s perfectly sized for a phone. Read more in its nomination thread here.
Cloth Zipper Wallets and Cosmetic Bags
One of you noted that you preferred to use cloth cosmetic bags and carry-alls as wallets—they may not have a lot of sleeves or pockets, but the best ones have one or two on the sides, zipper shut firmly, and are still small enough to go in a pocket or in a larger bag if you need them. We don’t have a link for the one shown above specifically, but you can read more about the idea in its nomination thread here.
A few more honorable mentions we should highlight—first of all, the Dash Wallet earned high praise for a unique design that’s super-thin and minimal, but that doesn’t force you to abandon everything, or shove everything into stacks so tightly bound that you can’t get access to anything. Of course, there are a variety of Dash Wallets available, from the older 1.0 and 2.0 versions that are a touch thicker and more square around the edges as opposed to the newer sleeves and 3.0 models that are tapered with angled pockets and a more slim profile. You can read more in this nomination thread, and visit their site to see their available styles and prices—most will set you back around $ 20 to $ 30 direct.
Another honorable mention worth your attention is The Elephant Wallet, a minimal wallet that forces you to pare down to the essentials, but still gives you enough space to carry those essentials easily. Available in multiple models, colors, and styles depending on whether you plan to just carry bills and cards, or even carry coins, the Elephant Wallet is ideal for people who want a super minimal, modern profile to their wallets without the a ton of extra fabric or material in their pockets. In fact, we’ve loved the Elephant Wallet so much that we’ve covered them before on our own, and still think they’re worth a look. A number of you agree—you nominated it in this thread and this thread separately.
Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention a pair of Lifehacker favorites that work well as wallets—the simple rubber band, which we’ve immortalized in this post on why a rubber band may be the best wallet you coudl have. In similar Lifehacker fashion, we have to tip our hats to the ever-useful binder clip, which works perfectly to keep all of your cards and cash in on neatly organized place that can go anywhere and fit in any pocket. Both options are cheap, minimal, and get the job done, and many of you rallied behind both as options in our call for contenders thread.
Want to make the case for your personal favorite, even if it wasn’t included in the list? Remember, the top five are based on your most popular nominations from the call for contenders thread earlier in the week. Don’t just complain about the top five, let us know what your preferred alternative is—and make your case for it—in the discussions below.
The Hive Five is based on reader nominations. As with most Hive Five posts, if your favorite was left out, it didn’t get the nominations required in the call for contenders post to make the top five. We understand it’s a bit of a popularity contest. Have a suggestion for the Hive Five? Send us an email at [email protected]!
Photo by Alberto Ziveri.