Following up on the original comparison, we take another look to compare review of the Ridge wallet to the Aviator wallet. So what has changed? Both are slim wallets, RFID protected, money clip, coin trays and even self-maintainable.
(if you want to see all the features and how many cards and cash it can hold, please watch the video)
Has the Ridge done anything new or innovative with their wallet since their release? My question may be unfair, however, we will be exploring it in today’s review as we update our comparison between the Ridge and the Aviator Band wallets, since a number of things have changed as the two companies have made adjustments to increase their competition with each other.
First, we will take a look at the Aviator models. The evolution of this product line started with the original which they call the classic. This wallet has a coin tray on the flip side like the rest of their products and cards are accessed from the side, that way, the coin tray, or the cavity tray as Ridge likes to call it, does not fall out. Furthermore, it has got a money strap on the back, and a felt piece that helps grip the cash. The classic, on the other hand, has only a money clip. Last year the Slide was introduced, this pole strap greatly helps provide access to the cards. As a result, it brought modifications to the coin tray, but the capacity remains good. About a month ago, they introduced what they call the slide one, which has no thumb push. The evolution of the thumb push between the classic and the slide can be described as smaller in nature, more specific to the thumb, and directional in the classic, while the slide is not. They have other materials, such as carbon fiber, which is cool because you can get these anodized screws as part of it, or their rich aluminum selection which contains different colors, besides, you can customize them in different settings which we will talk about. They also have a titanium version, which, when fully configured, comes in at an eye-burning $765 price tag. I got a selection of several different Ridge wallets, the burning embers or the forged embers, the forced ash, the topology carbon fiber Damascus, the burnt titanium, and a couple versions of aluminum. We look at quite a variety that Ridge provides. They offer a lot of options, especially on the aluminum side, but there are no differences. All the models are the same from a functionalist perspective, all that varies is the materials, which is quite fine and I do not find anything wrong with that. They have also introduced a separate tray, a cavity tray, which is to compete with the Aviator. They introduced what they call a bottle opener, but it is a limited function tool because it has some capability for screws for measurement adjustment, which is a function that competes with Dango.
Before jumping into the card and cash insertion test, I would like to point out that I used some embossed cards as I have received comments about using them in testing, especially with these particular wallets. Embossed cards have raised letters and numbers on them, which means an increase in volume and a decrease in the number of cards inside of a wallet despite the capacity it may talk about.
Starting with the Aviator’s card capacity, it has the ability to adjust the size via the included screwdriver and can hold up to 20 cards. It comes in three order options, as it has the configurations of one to seven, four to 11, and seven to 20. It is quite flexible, but of course, you make all the changes yourself. Our Ridge is the nice Damascus model. It has got a good heft to it and can hold up to 12 cards before starting to overstretch the elastic.
So what has changed is practically nothing. The capacity of both has remained the same, both the Aviator and the Ridge have a cash strap, the only difference is that one is horizontal and the other is vertical. Personally, I think that the Ridge one is easier to operate.
Albeit the aviator has increased the custom strap options, it remains a strap. They continue to offer the same options, however, the Ridge has additional capabilities. It comes also with a cash clip, and if you get a combo package, you also can swap the strap for the clip and you can move between them based on your preference.
So what has changed, again, nothing, the Ridge still provides both options, a clip and a strap, while the Aviator provides only a strap. So are you team clip or team strap? I do not think that sounds right.
Before I start getting comments about who still uses coins, I would like to mention that the world still uses them and that they are heavily used outside the United States, but to avoid all the controversy, because we all know the world needs a new controversy, Ridge introduced a tray, but they call it a cavity tray instead of a coin tray. They were smart, but the word cavity brings to mind either search or dental, so it does not sound attractive to me.
As mentioned, many do not like having their cash exposed via a strap or clip, thus, the tray can be used to store cash folded, which allows to remove the clip or strap and keep the wallet very slim and clean. With the Ridge, the cash can be folded twice, which keeps it out of the way of prying eyes, and then you could dispense with the strap or the clip. The Aviator, on the other hand, permits to have the little coin tray on the back and opposite of the card pull strap, the cash is added by slipping it in, and that allows not having to put anything on the outside. I did not use the tray that comes with the slide, the reason is that the pole strap needed to be modified to adjust and provide capabilities to compensate for the deficiency, as a little bit of space is lost. The problem is that it does not work very well with cash folded twice. Therefore, I took the tray from the classic and it did not seem to have any interference as it worked just fine. It is something to consider if you are wanting to put cash inside the Aviator using the tray.
So what changed is that Ridge saw the included Aviator coin tray, and immediately provided one and called it a cavity tray, since you can put other things inside. Also, Aviator began lining their trays to reduce coin rattle, a problem we had in our original comparison. They adapted it to the slide version. As a result, we witnessed the emergence of the pole strap version, which also reduced slightly the capacity on the interior.
Looking at the beveled card entrance, in the Aviator Classic the slide is top-down. A closer look at the beveled edges shows that the cards are beveled, which provides the ease of insertion to slide in and not catch on the top. The Ridge excels at it and the bevel is provided at the top and on both sides making extraction, and especially insertion so much easier. The reason why is because, since this is a sandwich wallet, meaning that instead of pulling your top and lower card, you have to pull the entire stack out when you want to gain access to a particular card, then getting it back in easily is paramount for utilization and functionality of the wallet.
So what has changed is nothing. Both still have excellent entry points for cards, albeit with the Aviator vertically and the Ridge horizontally.
Furthermore, the card insertion backstop prevents cards from going crazy. On the sides, we have some elastic guides, but in the back, it is the backstop. As you are pushing cards further, they will not continue to go out the back, that is a way to capture them. The Ridge has this different from the Aviator. Once the Aviator folks introduced the pole strap and the slide version, the strap acted as the backstop, which works nicely. But, the classic model lacks the pull strap, meaning it has no backstop, the cards can continue out the back. Whether you see that as a problem or not, it is up to you, but it is an interesting difference between the two wallets.
What has changed? Nothing has. I have come to like having a backstop and I do not believe you will have cards fall out if you do not have one, but it certainly keeps them all flush without needing to do it like with other non-slide versions of the Aviator, like the classic model.
Another difference when a tray is involved is getting access to cards which requires pulling out the tray, and that can be a bit of a nuisance, whether it is on the top or the bottom, although it might be easier on the bottom. It is almost considered as another card in the stack, unlike the Ridge, the Aviator has its tray underneath, meaning the cards are on top. The tray is pulled from the bottom, it is meant to be used separately and contained as a different feature within the wall.
So what has changed? Well, there is more interaction with the coin and cavity tray, which introduces more pain for Ridge users when accessing the cards, because they have to take it all out. It is not the case with the Aviator because it is a flip, cards are pulled from the top and as you flip it over you will have coins from the tray in the bottom.
Concerning the FRID, we talked about Classic Aviator, classic slide, slide one, and the Ridge, they are both the same. I have tested both and they both protect against 13.56 megahertz signals, which is what is used with credit cards. It is made based on the material, for such metal versions of wallets as with the Ridge where everything is pretty much metal except for the carbon fiber, the RFID has a naturally adaptive blocking capability.
What has changed? Well, nothing. The metal used provides a natural RFID blocking, which is good I guess. As you may know, I am not much for RFID blocking, as I believe that it is more of a scam and I digress to its necessity.
As for the manufacturing location, the Ridge is manufactured in China, while the Aviator is manufactured in Germany. The purchase options are various, as there are many different materials between both product lines, you can see all the Ridge models we have and you can check the ones coming in for the Aviator. In addition, the Aviator side is customizable to a great degree, you can have it with a money strap, no options, or money strap with several options.
Regarding the price of these wallets, we can get a feel for how things go because they can be expensive type wallets. The price begins from $78 and can go up to $200 plus dollars on the Aviator, and from $95 up to $225 plus dollars on the Ridge. Ridge has increased their aluminum version significantly rising from $75 to $95 in just a couple of years, but what about maintenance? Well, all of these wallets are capable of having you, as the owner, perform maintenance on them. The Ridge’s elastic and the Aviator’s elastic pole straps both can wear out, stretch, or break over time because of the inherent screws within the Ridge, and because of the Aviator’s screw plate that allows you to go through its details. All this can be changed and swapped with a new material to have as good a new wallet again.
In regards to the carry options, fundamentally, you have two pieces of metal with elastic around them to hold cards. A rubber band could provide the same functionality as many have mentioned. Yet, I am not quite sure, because I would like to pull out my rubber band wallet at a dinner party, but I guess I am not as fashion secure as some of you all, which is fine by me. However, regardless of that, you are dealing with metal. Therefore, a rear pocket carry would be more uncomfortable than just maintaining a front pocket carry, which is recommended due to it being a small footprint. It is light and does not add undue bulk in your pocket unless you decide to carry a deck’s worth of cards which does not look appealing, but you know that you have the possibility to carry that much.
So finally, which one is better? Has Ridge done anything innovative or new since its introduction six odd years ago? Sadly, the answer is no. They have added competitive or reaction components like the tray and the tool card, which helped address more competition with Dango than anything else. But is the reason for this non-change related to the fact that they are moving into other products? Which they are as they are expanding their overall product line, or is it because they cannot improve on perfection?
Both reasons are arguable, but customers, generally, expect forward movement improvement and innovation with the products that they are attracted to. Overall, the Aviator continues to innovate, demonstrating the possibility to do more with something as simple as a sandwich wallet.
So which one is better?
To facilitate the matters and make it easy for you, if you like engineering, then the Aviator is nice. It is a conversation piece and you can fiddle with it quite a bit. However, if you like the carry simplicity, then the Ridge works very well with less complexity, which a lot of people find appealing. So in the end, it is a matter of your taste.