When it comes to things we use every day, we want to invest in quality products that will last a long time. And there are very few items we use more than our wallets.
Unfortunately, not all wallets are created equal. We’ve all had some that look great for years, and some that show signs of wear after a month. So, let’s get to the bottom of this: how long should a wallet last?
A quality wallet should last anywhere from two years to several decades depending on the style, the material it’s made from, how often it’s used, and whether it’s been well cared for.
There are plenty of factors that affect a wallet’s lifespan, and we’ll get into those below. But first, let’s take a look at how long an average wallet lasts, and whether yours is holding up like it should be. Hint: if you’re reading this, it is probably time to buy a GeoGrit wallet.
How Long Do Wallets Last?
While there are too many variables to say exactly how long any given wallet will last, we can estimate based on the material it’s made from.
Even the same types of wallets differ in quality based on the grade of the materials used and the manufacturer’s design and craftsmanship. But, how long does a wallet last on average? Let’s break it down:
Leather: Leather is a popular material for wallets due to its durability, flexibility, and classic, stylish appearance. With proper care, typical leather wallets can last anywhere from three to five years on average, while high-quality leather wallets can last longer, up to 10 years or more.
Metal: Some wallets are made from metal, such as aluminum or stainless steel. These “slim wallets” often offer additional security features, like RFID blocking. Metal makes for very durable wallets that can last for many years, even decades, as long as they are not subjected to extreme physical damage, making them one of the longest-lasting wallet materials.
Carbon Fiber: Carbon fiber is known for its strength-to-weight ratio. It’s stronger than steel but much lighter in weight, making it an incredibly durable option for wallets. Because carbon fiber is impact, scratch, and corrosion resistant, these wallets can last anywhere from five years to several decades depending on their care and usage.
Synthetic: Wallets can also be made from synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon, and other fabrics. These materials are often less expensive than leather, carbon fiber, or metal and can offer a range of colors and patterns. Synthetic wallets last between one and five years on average, depending on the quality of the material.
Canvas: Canvas wallets are durable and lightweight, making them a popular choice for outdoor activities, travel, or just a more casual look. Canvas wallets can last two to five years on average, but their lifespan may be shorter if they are exposed to harsh environmental conditions.
What Factors Affect A Wallet’s Lifespan?
There is more to a wallet’s lifespan than how well it was made (although that’s important!). The type of wallet, where it’s stored, and even how you carry it can all contribute to how well it holds up.
Design and Function: Naturally, a wallet’s design will greatly impact its durability. While there are plenty of factors to consider, as a general rule, the more moving parts it has, the sooner it will begin to show signs of wear.
Wallets with features like zippers or snaps are prone to wearing out fastest, simply because they have a moving piece that is constantly being pulled or pushed on. Wallets that are made of multiple pieces that are sewn together also tend to wear out quickly, as the stitching won’t hold up as long as a single piece of material.
Another thing to consider is that folding billfolds, no matter how nice the material, may start to show wear and creasing in their folds much faster than a wallet that doesn’t bend every time you use it.
At the end of the day, wallets that are made from as few materials and pieces as possible tend to last the longest. The simpler the wallet, the longer its lifespan. Minimalist wallets, which are made from a few pieces of metal, some screws, and an elastic band, are your best bet if you want a wallet that will hold up for the next 20+ years.
Material Quality: Based on the average lifespan of the different types of wallets outlined above, it’s safe to say that metal and carbon fiber wallets typically hold up the longest, with those made from leather coming in next. Those made from canvas and synthetic materials can last for several years, but definitely aren’t the most durable wallet.
That being said, not all wallets of the same material are created equal. The “grade” of leather used, for instance, will impact how durable and long-lasting it will be. Similarly, different metals are rated differently in terms of durability. A graded 6061 machined aluminum wallet, for example, is much stronger than many other types of aluminum alloy grades, like 5052, 3003, and 1100.
Where It’s Carried: While it may not seem like that big of a deal, where you carry your wallet is almost as important as how often you carry it when it comes to longevity.
Though one of the most common ways, carrying a wallet in your back pocket is actually the worst place to keep it. If you constantly sit on your wallet, of course it will start to show signs of wear.
The best place to carry your wallet is either in a bag or in your front pocket. Most wallets are too big to be carried in your front pocket, however, and not all of us carry a bag. A solution to this dilemma is to carry a slim wallet that’s small enough to fit in your front pocket, or even in a jacket pocket. It’s a lot more comfortable, too!
How Much You Carry in It: Wallets are only meant to hold so much – if you really must carry all those gift cards to places you’ll never go, you may want to just get a bag!
But seriously, overstuffing a wallet will stretch it to its max and put unnecessary strain on its seams, elastic, or whatever is holding it together. Carrying too much in your wallet is the quickest way to wear it out before its time.
How to Extend a Wallet’s Life
Luckily, caring for a wallet is pretty straightforward. As simple as it may be, taking a few extra steps to ensure your wallet is well-maintained will help keep it looking and functioning great for years to come.
The first way to take care of your wallet is to organize it. As we’ve already mentioned, overstuffing a wallet is the quickest way to ruin it. So, start by pulling everything out of your wallet and only put back what you really need to carry.
Equally important is how and where you store your wallet. To prevent corrosion or cracking, store your wallet in a cool, dry environment. Heat and moisture are the worst things to expose leather or metal to, so avoid this at all costs!
You should also refrain from storing your wallet with sharp objects like keys and knives that may scratch or tear it. We recommend keeping your wallet in an EDC tray, which will both prevent you from losing it and ensure it’s stored properly.
Finally, routine cleaning and maintenance will help keep your wallet looking fresh. Minimalist wallets typically only need a quick wipe down with a damp cloth every so often, while leather wallets may even need some conditioning.
Make sure to follow any instructions provided by the manufacturer of your wallet to keep it looking great for as long as possible. To learn more about how to care for a slim wallet, specifically, check out our article “How to Care For a Minimalist Wallet.”
What is the Longest Lasting Wallet?
Let’s cut to the chase – what is the most durable wallet type, and where can you get one?
The longest-lasting wallets are those made of strong materials, like aluminum and carbon fiber, that can be easily cared for and require little maintenance. These wallets have very few moving parts and can be carried in your front pocket, where they won’t be crushed when you sit.
If you’re interested in upgrading to a high-quality slim wallet that’s made in America, we suggest checking out our collection of GeoGrit wallets. Corrosion-resistant and RFID-blocking, these wallets are designed to be the last wallet you ever have to buy.
Not only are they incredibly durable, but all GeoGrit wallets are backed by a 30-day risk-free trial and a lifetime warranty, so you never have to worry about wallet shopping ever again.
Wallets can be hit or miss as far as how long they continue to look great and function well. But how long should a wallet last?
Depending on what your wallet is made from, it should be usable from two years to several decades with proper care. Metal or carbon fiber minimalist wallets tend to hold up the best, as they’re the most durable option. Leather is another long-lasting choice, while synthetic and canvas wallets usually only last a few years.
Caring for your wallet by cleaning it, storing it properly, and removing unnecessary items can help extend its life. But the best way to ensure your wallet lasts a long time is to invest in a high-quality, durable wallet with a lifetime guarantee.If you’re interested in carrying a minimalist wallet that’s made in the USA, check out our entire collection at GeoGrit.com. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and follow our blog to keep up on all our latest content.