Your traditional bifold wallet isn’t cutting it for you anymore. It’s bulky and cumbersome, leaving unflattering bulges or creases near your pockets. Plus, you simply don’t need everything it offers anymore because you don’t carry change.
You’re looking for an alternative wallet. One that functions as a cardholder, sure, but that also comes with an attractive minimalist design that combines comfort and convenience with a sharp look. Enter Ridge and Fantom. As two of the top designers of minimalist wallets, they specialize in creating wallets with few moving parts that are ideal for your needs.
But which is better? Both create superb men’s wallets but read on to see which comes out on top in the Fantom vs. Ridge wallet battle.
About Fantom Wallet
Fantom Wallet started as a Kickstarter campaign in 2017 with the mission of creating one of the best wallets for the modern minimalist. After hitting its modest CA$6,000 goal, the emerging company attracted over 5,500 backers, who collectively pledged a little over CA$600,000 to bring the wallet to life.
The result - The Fantom R wallet.
Using a clever pop-out design, the wallet lets you “pop” debit and credit cards out of its slots, offering easy access and even allowing you to use them while still in the wallet. It can also carry cash thanks to a combination of a money clip on the front of the wallet and a smart lever at the top that reveals a coin holder.
Beyond that, it has many of the features you’d expect in a modern minimalist metal wallet, including RFID-blocking technology and a choice between an aluminum wallet and a carbon fiber variant.
Price Range and Models
Though it started with a single wallet (the Fantom R), Fantom has grown to the point where it has ditched the R entirely in favor of three new models:
Fantom S Wallet - Available in three varieties, capable of holding between three and 14 cards depending on your choices, the Fantom S is the closest to Fantom’s original R wallet. It’s a smart RFID wallet that comes with a money clip and an optional (though paid) Apple AirTag holder. Prices start at $69.
Fantom X Wallet - Though you lose a few color options with the Fantom X compared to the Fantom S, it makes up for that by being 22% smaller. That justifies the higher price tag (starting at $119), and you can still hold up to 13 cards in the wallet. Plus, the aluminum chassis built into the wallet helps keep it slim while improving durability.
Fantom M Wallet - Magsafe is the operative word for the Phantom M wallet. It comes with special magnets built into the back that allow you to attach it to an iPhone without interfering with the complex circuitry inside the device. That alone is reason enough for its $129 starting price tag.
About Ridge Wallet
There are wallets like Ridge Wallet, and then there’s the real thing. Like Fantom, Ridge started out as a Kickstarter project, though it was ahead of Fantom by about four years. Father-and-son team Paul and Daniel Kane were the visionaries behind the wallet, which aimed to offer a minimalist wallet with superior build quality that the buyer could fit into their front pocket or back pocket without anybody knowing about it.
They succeeded. Today, Ridge is recognized as an innovator in the minimalist wallet space, which is why its products find their way into the pockets of more than two million people.
Price Range and Models
Where Fantom offers three customizable wallet options, Ridge focuses more on materials, crafting wallets with different designs and flourishes across three main types of metals - aluminum, carbon fiber, and titanium.
Aluminum Wallets - With prices starting from $95, Ridge’s aluminum wallets are the most lightweight option in its range. They hold up to 12 cards and can attach a money clip, cash strap, or both. You’ll also find plenty of products in Ridge’s range that complement the design of its aluminum wallets, such as men’s rings and keyholders.
Carbon Fiber Wallets - Though the design stays the same between carbon fiber and aluminum wallets, you get the benefit of increased toughness starting at $140. It’s almost impossible to damage Ridge’s carbon fiber wallets, which are made using the extra-tough 3K version of the material.
Titanium Wallets - Ridge’s titanium wallet occupies a middle ground between its aluminum and carbon fiber options. They’re a touch more expensive than an aluminum wallet (prices start at $125), but they offer more strength while keeping the slim design and ability to carry up to 12 cards.
Ridge also produces a range of “premium” wallets, including a gold version, which is a slim wallet that offers RFID protection and many of the same features as its other wallets, only with the added benefit of being made using gold.
Direct Comparison: Fantom vs. Ridge Wallet
So, which comes out on top? This more in-depth wallet review stacks the brands up against each other so you can see which is best for your everyday carry needs.
Design and Functionality
Though both Ridge and Fantom do well in the design and functionality category, Fantom wallets tend to have a slight advantage for one reason - your cards pop out of the wallet. It’s a clever design feature, too, as Fantom builds a catch into their wallets so your cards only pop out a certain amount before stopping making it easier to thumb through them without worrying about them dropping out.
Ridge doesn’t have that functionality. But it excels in other areas, such as being able to hold 12 cards as standard (Fantom wallets can hold up to 13, though they also have slimmer models that hold fewer). As for add-ons, both do well. Ridge offers a choice between a money clip and cash strap (or both) but no coin holder. Fantom gives you a coin holder, as well as the option for an AirTag holder.
Material and Durability
EDC wallets need to stand up to wear and tear, drops, and crushing. Both Fantom and Ridge manage that, though Ridge comes out on top because it offers a wider variety of materials. You can choose between aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber with Ridge, whereas Fantom’s most expensive wallet (the Fantom X) comes with an aluminum chassis as standard and some carbon fiber parts.
Ridge also uses “best-in-class” materials, such as 6061-T6 aero-grade aluminum or 3K carbon fiber. Fantom doesn’t tell you as much about the specific types of materials it uses beyond them being carbon fiber and aluminum, but it does offer a ceramic coating on its Fantom X wallet.
Price and Value
On the surface, Fantom seems to have Ridge beaten when it comes to price. Its Fantom S starts at almost $30 less than an aluminum Ridge wallet, and even the Fantom X starts at a lower price than a Ridge wallet made using 3K carbon fiber.
But the use of the word “starts” clues you into how Fantom wallets can quickly rocket up in price. If you want a silicone band for a Fantom wallet, for instance, you have to pay extra. The same goes for adding a money clip or a coin holder. So, you’ll often find yourself paying more for a Fantom wallet than you would for a Ridge one if you want increased card capacity and streamlined card access.
Customer Service and Warranty
Ridge and Fantom both offer limited lifetime warranties, which guarantee replacement wallets (or replacement parts) if your wallet isn’t up to a high enough standard. Ridge’s wallet extends further, as it applies to any of its wallets no matter where you buy them. That means you can order from Amazon and still go through Ridge to activate the wallet’s warranty.
As for returns, the two companies approach this aspect in different ways. Ridge gives you the option of a 99-day free trial, allowing you to return the wallet at any point during that trial at no extra cost. With Fantom, you get 30 days to apply for a refund if you’re unhappy, and it’ll charge you $10 for the return shipping label it sends, which it deducts directly from your total refund.
User Reviews and Feedback
Customer reviews suggest that the Ridge wallet is the clear winner on user feedback, at least when it comes to Amazon customers. Ridge’s standard wallet holds a 4.6 out of 5 rating, beating the Fantom wallet’s 2.5 rating handily.
For Ridge, reviews tend to focus on the high build quality and slim profile, though several point out you’re paying a higher price for a premium product. Fantom reviews touch on a few design issues, such as the coin holder not being as good as customers hoped for, though many reviews point out that it’s a good slim wallet, even if many features that reviewers believe should be standard are paid add-ons.
The Verdict: Choosing Between Fantom and Ridge Wallet
After that full review, you can see that both the Ridge wallet and Fantom have plenty to offer. Fantom wallets have a lower starting price, though you’ll pay more if you want any of the add-ons offered. Ridge wallets come with at least one of those add-ons included as standard (the money clip or cash strap), but you pay a little more as a base price.
Ultimately, both serve the purpose of being minimalistic cardholders, even if each approaches the concept of carrying cash in different ways. It’s also worth noting that Ridge has a larger number of designs and color options, which may appeal to the more fashion-conscious.
Final Thoughts: Wallet Evolution
Whether you go for a Ridge wallet or a Fantom wallet, you’re getting a quality product that serves your everyday carry needs well. Both represent the next step in wallet evolution, moving you away from bulky bi-folds and towards slim designs that are fashionable and functional. If you’d like to learn more about Ridge wallets, you can find the entire collection at the Ridge online store.
Is Fantom a good wallet?
Fantom wallets are good, especially for people who like the idea of a wallet that pops cards out for easy access. Just know that their base price can be deceiving, as the company charges more for add-ons that other slim wallets, such as Ridge, offer as standard.
Is Ridge the best minimalist wallet?
Though it’s up for debate, Ridge certainly has one of the best reputations out of all minimalist wallets. Its Amazon reviews demonstrate that (4.6 out of 5), which is why many prefer Ridge to brands like Ekster and Dango.
What is the advantage of a Ridge wallet?
The biggest advantage of a Ridge wallet is that it packs a lot into a small package. The wallet can hold up to 12 cards and comes with cash-carrying options, including a money clip or cash strap.
What is the difference between a Ridge wallet and a Fantom wallet?
The main differences between Ridge and Fantom wallets lie in design. Fantom wallets have a “pop” feature that makes it easier to access cards. However, you’ll pay more for a money clip or cash strap on a Fantom, which comes as standard on Ridge wallets. Other than that, the Fantom wallet is similar to Ridge wallet.