In wallet circles, two of the most well known names are Ridge and XSTO. These two have taken the wallet area by storm, the Ridge thanks to its entry as the dominant maker of band wallets, and XSTO owing to its out of the left field functional design. Currently, because both are metal walls and have good fan bases, this comparative review has been made.
Both of these wallets are slim, according to our definition. A feature comparison between the two wallets reveals that, starting with the Ridge, the cards insertion is done with all cards at once in the main opening. The company recommends up to twelve cards before over-stretching the elastic. Accessing the cards is done by the finger push slot on the back, and thanks to the excellent lip on the inside metal piece that provides a path, there is less resistance for the cards when inserting. The wallet has a cash band and Ridge has a cash money clip version of this as well. Cash can be folded in thirds or fourths before insertion. This wallet provides a very compact method of carrying cards and cash. The XSTO, on the other hand, comes in four card sizes, being four, six, eight and ten, therefore a limitation, compared to the Ridge.
Previously, with the STO wallet, which was the precursor to the XSTO, they did not offer a ten card version, therefore, this is an upgrade. It might be interesting to note that it has a lanyard attachment for an anti pickpocket purpose or other uses. Looking at the top, there’s a card holder insert that appears to be slightly bent on each side, but is used to help hold the cards down when placed in the slot. The company sells a carbon fiber version of this, and that would be recommended as it is stronger and more rigid. When the cards are inserted in the main body, they click into place and the cash can be placed underneath the cards, going on the bottom, folded in thirds or fourths. The stainless steel spring bottom provides an anchor to the cards and cash. That is how cards and cash are maintained in the XSTO.
We’ll compare these wallets from three perspectives; construction, capacity, and usability. Starting with the Ridge, this burnt titanium version is designed in the United States and made in China. It is made from grade five titanium, screwed with aluminum screws to metal plates. The interior plates are metallic. Furthermore, it has a screwdriver that allows this wallet to be totally serviceable. If anything breaks, like the elastic, or goes wrong, it can be completely taken apart, fixed and put back together.. In addition, Ridge sells replacement parts such as elastic and other things. This feature makes this wallet long lasting, if something breaks it does not have to be thrown away. Looking at the bottom of the cash straps on the Ridge wallets, there are little grippy, rubber nodules, which is a great attention to detail because when cash is placed they prevent it from slipping out and getting lost.
The XSTO is designed in the United States, however unlike Ridge, it is made in the United States as well. Their wallet is CNC’d from a 6061 aluminum, powder coated in green color, it is all metal and contains no elastic or plastic. This wallet comes in six colors. The thin stainless steel plate acts a little as a spring helping the cash support. It used to be plastic, and so, the quality has increased. It is also slightly larger for currency capacity, being able to handle foreign currencies thanks to its height compared to the original STO. Between the original STO and the currently reviewed XSTO, there are a couple of design changes. The first is within the tension arm, which has been removed making it more substantial, while it used to be open on both sides.
In respect to size differences, the dimensions of the Ridge are 3.4 x 2.1 x .3”, the XSTO are 3.75 x 2.3 inches and its depth depends on the card capacity option. The Ridge weighs 73 grams and the XSTO 40 grams. From a price perspective, this titanium Ridge is $105, and the XSTO in the reviewed configuration is $62 which goes up to $66 with a $2 increase for each increment in capacity. From a capacity card perspective, the Ridge can normally hold six cards and three slips of cash, with the company indicating it can hold up to 12 cards, while the XSTO six cards encompasses the six cards and three slips of cash, the XSTO largest model takes 10 cards.
From a usability perspective, a carry test was performed on both wallets. With the Ridge, the card insertion is very smooth, owing to the lip that exists on both insertion points. It also offers a convenient method to push cards out with just a thumb, without requiring all cards to be pulled out. Another interesting fact about this wallet is the serviceability. The elastic in this wallet is a single elastic piece, which, if unscrewed and the interior plates separated, all the channels where this one piece of elastic has been melted, welded together and fit can be clearly seen. This is advantageous because in case of encountering problems it will be a one-piece problem instead of having multiple pieces to change.
The XSTO on the other hand, has improved the tension bar. As the cards are slid inside, they make a very satisfying click, which means that they are captured inside of the tension bars and that they are not coming out. The cash, in an easy way, goes under the cards on the Ridge by simply moving the cards to the side. Moreover, the spring on the bottom and the tension maintaining the cards prevents cash from falling out. The little dip in the bottom of the wallet facilitates the accessibility to the cash when moving the cards.
One favorable aspect to the XSTO compared to the Ridge is that the cash is stowed beneath the cards, making it invisible, while it is visible on the outside of the Ridge, which is not every person’s choice.
In regards to the drawbacks of each wallet, the Ridge band suffers from the same problem, the entire contents are stacked into a single space with no organizational method provided by the wallet. Normally wallets have different slots where the cards can be organized, and easily retrieved based on their positioning. In a band wallet such as the Ridge, it is a monolithic stack requiring strategic placement of the cards. For example, looking for a card placed in the middle of the stack requires fanning which can be a little cumbersome. The XSTO has the limitation of the number of cards which is decided by the purchased capacity. It can be slightly flexible with an addition of two cards, however.
Some problems of wear and tear happening on the edges of cards have been reported as cards in the XSTO are inserted in and out of a wallet. This is due to the tension between both the top and the bottom of the wallet to hold the cards in place. The reports claim that over time it de-laminates the edges of the credit cards. Another issue occurs when a few cards are inserted leaving in-between gaps, a light sound of cards rocking around can be heard. Therefore a good amount of cards should be placed to prevent that from happening. The carry test with the XSTO was done with two metal cards for three weeks, which didn’t experience delamination, however, longer carry times might be the case.
In the end, choosing either of the Ridge or the XSTO comes to the level of a personal choice.
Hitting the spot on so many requirements, the XSTO (used to be called the STOW) sits at an almost perfect slim wallet for cash and card carry; easy to access, simple for card extraction too.