Security

Stainless steel wallet review: Two years later

A stainless steel wallet seems like it would be pretty durable. How is it after two years of use?

About two years ago, I ordered a stainless steel wallet from ThinkGeek and reviewed it for TechRepublic:

I decided to spend a few bucks on something made out of materials that should, in theory, be very durable. While I’m at it, I could get something that blocks RFID, has a slim profile, looks good, and serves as the subject for a security product review.

I chose a stainless steel wallet from Stewart/Stand.

A year later -- about one year ago, now -- I wrote a "one year later" review that started with almost exactly the same words as this review. This might seem repetitive, but I think it serves the purpose of providing something most reviews never do: useful information about the long-term value of the purchase.

How is it after two years?

The description I found on the ThinkGeek site, back when I shopped for a new wallet, read:

You might think that steel would be hard on your jeans pocket, but in fact these wallets have the texture of silk and are woven from micro fibers of stainless steel.

It still bears the same descriptive text, and appropriately so, because the wallet's exterior still feels the same way it did when it was brand new -- slick to the touch and luxurious. As I said in my first review, it invites one to pick it up to feel its texture, and it is still true.

The wallet is subtly designed. While its look is certainly unique, it is also unpretentious. It does not stand out enough to draw attention, but when someone notices, it can elicit questions. Of course, being a security geek, I am only too happy to explain the RFID-blocking benefits of a wallet woven from 25,000 stainless steel threads that are each about one thousandth of an inch in diameter.

Building on what I said last year:

  • It is hard on my pants, with a tendency to wear holes in the back pockets of my jeans, though so far none of the holes are big enough to pose a threat to the pocket's ability to hold the wallet.
  • A small blemish appeared near one corner of the wallet during the first year. That is still the only real blemish on the wallet's exterior, another year later.
  • The slight imprint on the inside from the cards I keep in the wallet has become a touch more pronounced, and some wear shows on the interior in general, but it has not gotten substantially more worn.
  • I reported last year that there were no signs of wear that would indicate a loss of durability. I think it was about a month after that review that a small crack appeared in the steel fabric near the top of the inside of the fold. That crack has not noticeably grown, and there has been no further damage suggesting loss of durability.

Next time I need a new wallet, I will probably purchase (or make) something different, if only for the novelty of something new -- even though Stewart/Stand's product lineup seems to be expanding. Given the durability of this wallet, however, I do not expect to need a replacement for a few more years.

About

Chad Perrin is an IT consultant, developer, and freelance professional writer. He holds both Microsoft and CompTIA certifications and is a graduate of two IT industry trade schools.

28 comments
DWRandolph
DWRandolph

The stainless steel wallet I got from Think Geek did not hold up at all well. Not only the interior blemishes from credit card embossing Chad mentioned, but the crack along the outside of the spine went all the way from top to bottom and the snags pull my pocket inside out whenever I pulled out the wallet. Neither did it do anything about the one RFID I could easily test (the office card key works just as well from between credit cards inside the wallet as by itself held in front of the reader).

sleahcim
sleahcim

I'm pretty hard on wallets and carry mine in the front pocket (harder for pic-pockets to steal, I'm told) and seem to replace my leather versions about once a year. This looks like a good product worth investing in. Thanks Chad for the follow-up. It is rare for anyone to extend a review over the span of time. Very refreshing.

sperry532
sperry532

How well does it really work? Call me picky, but I'd prefer more information and actual testing than "...I tested its RFID blocking properties at a 7-11...." before I plunk down $$$ on a "cool" wallet. By-the-by; American Science & Surplus has a similar (if not the same) wallet for under $21. It may just be a knock-off, but you never know.

michael.brodock
michael.brodock

and I still like it. I have the leather outside checkbook version and it still looks good. I still remember the video of a guy using a homemade wand to steal someones credit card info when I go to the gas station and smile because my CC is only out and in front of me for a little bit and then back in its stainless steel sheath where it belongs. It definitely gives peace of mind to me.

sdavis
sdavis

I did not see a link to a photograph. Did I miss it? I know you are not the TechRepublic Google tool, but it would have been nice to see a picture or a link to one. Interesting concept. Thanks for the update.

Murfski-19971052791951115876031193613182
Murfski-19971052791951115876031193613182

I like mine, too. I have the same little crack near the fold that you mentioned, but it doesn't seem to be a problem. I do have one gripe. The "slick to the touch" feeling that you mention makes it difficult to get out of my pocket; my fingers can't get a good grip on it. All in all, though, I like it, and will probably keep it for the foreseeable future.

apotheon
apotheon

That obviously does not match my experience. I suspect the RFID protection failure you experience must have something to do with the crack along the spine, or the wallet being overstuffed enough that it essentially stands open at the top edge. I'm guessing, of course. I think the effectiveness of the wallet probably depends significantly on usage habits.

apotheon
apotheon

Too bad Wagner of Switzerland is so awful at Web design. That site doesn't even work in half the browsers I have installed.

apotheon
apotheon

I was hoping the periodic reviews over time would prove valuable for some readers. I'm glad it worked out that way.

apotheon
apotheon

I didn't get to see what it said before you deleted it. It would be better, I think, to allow the author of a comment to just delete it entirely so not even a stub remains, as long as it has no votes yet and nobody has yet clicked the "Reply" link for it.

apotheon
apotheon

I don't have complete RFID testing kit in my personal inventory. Do you? Find someone who does, and ask that person to test the wallet, if that's what you want. In the meantime, this review will have to do, I suppose.

apotheon
apotheon

I'm glad you found my first review valuable, and that the wallet worked out for you. I guess we can count yours as another (roughly) two year success story, then.

apotheon
apotheon

> I did not see a link to a photograph. Did I miss it? No, you didn't miss it. I don't have a very good recent picture of it; I'm not a photographer. There's a link to the original review in this article, though, where there's a small pic of the wallet when new, and I have a photo of the contents of my pockets and belt from February 2011 (including the wallet), though -- and while the wallet's a touch blurry in the photo of the contents of my pockets, it gives a general sense of its current condition, and it hasn't changed appreciably since then. Here you go: my daily carry from five months ago. I've since replaced the knife with a better one and added a magazine pouch. My smartphone is not in the image, because I used it to take the picture.

dave
dave

as it would make picking your pocket much harder. Just a thought.

JimTheEngineer
JimTheEngineer

I asked where one might get some of that SS fabric, then searched online - and found that I could buy a roll of it ($$$). (I've got to learn to think before "speaking"!) I then tried to delete the message (it wasn't necessary anymore) but couldn't do so. (Open mouth; insert foot...)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I've been using one for a couple of decades. You can consolidate all your 'daily carry' in a single load. Plus, it won't wear out your jeans pocket.

nkfro
nkfro

But I agree with apotheon. We can't all think of everything ourselves. I needed stasinless steel mesh for proper sheilding on a DIY project and had no luck finding it.

apotheon
apotheon

The comment might have been repurposed to mention where you found stainless steel fabric, in case someone else is curious. Just a thought. Thanks for responding.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Leaving it at your catechism of the cautious, thinking still, incautious.

apotheon
apotheon

Sure. Potentially lethal adversaries in day-to-day life are looking for easier targets. It is safer to never have reason to draw than to have the element of surprise when doing so. There are, of course, cases where I would prefer the element of surprise. For those cases, I would handle things differently than at other times.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Surely not to potentially lethal adversaries. You would not be so foolish.

apotheon
apotheon

I suppose it probably is, to some extent. I like lightweight, versatile tools that multiply my ability to defend my resources, backups in case of failure, and keeping the business end of my keys private. Is that what you mean? . . . or are you just talking about the fact I make no bones about what I carry?

santeewelding
santeewelding

Epitomic of your open-source approach to personal security?

apotheon
apotheon

You're not talking about the lump that gets in the way. You're talking about the lump that points the way.

apotheon
apotheon

If I don't have stuff distributed between pockets, I end up with a singular lump that gets in my way.