One wallet’s lifespan can be significantly different from another one’s.
There are a couple of things that determine how long the wallet’s lifespan will be, including the material used to make it, how you use the wallet, and how you take care of it. It is also important to care for your wallet well and to properly choose it, in order to prolong its lifespan.
How long do wallets last?
On average a basic leather wallet will last 2-3 years if it is made of lower-quality leather, and up to several decades if it is made of high-quality leather. Metal wallets will last even longer compared to leather ones, and titanium wallets will practically last forever.
Wallets and their lifespan
These are the facts you should know about wallets and their lifespan.
How long should an average wallet last?
On average, you would expect your non-metal wallet to last at least 3 years. After this period of time, most wallets tend to show signs of aging and degrading.
Some wallets can last a lot longer than this, especially if you choose a high-quality wallet. There are also some steps you can take to prolong your wallet’s lifespan.
If your wallet doesn’t last at least this much, then it probably hasn’t been of the best quality. This is exactly why it is important to understand what affects a wallet’s lifespan, so you don’t have to buy a new one in a couple of months.
Do different wallets have different lifespans?
Different wallets do have different lifespans. A wallets lifespan is affected by different factors, such as the:
- the material used to make the wallet
- how you take care of the wallet (and especially how you clean your wallet)
- how you use your wallet
Even wallets that are made out of the same type of material, such as leather wallets, can have a very different lifespan, considering that not all leathers are of the same quality.
When is the right time to replace your wallet?
Replacing your wallet should be an obvious choice if you notice any stains, holes, tears, feature malfunctions, or stretching on your wallet.
There are some other indicators that point out that it is time for a new wallet as well. You might notice some of them in the wallet’s design, especially if it has some sort of graphic design on it. The picture will slowly fade and lose its bright colors, so the overall wallet will look old and worn out.
Another indicator would be the fold lines, which are most noticeable on bifold and trifold leather wallets. The fold lines will look wrinkled which is a normal occurrence from using your wallet every day.
See my detailed guide on when to replace your wallet to know exactly the right time to do so.
Which type of wallet will last you the longest?
In general, wallets made from high-quality metals may last the longest, especially wallets made from titanium or other very durable materials.
When it comes to more everyday wallets such as leather ones, there isn’t an exact type of wallet that will last you the longest. The best answer to this question would be generally a wallet that uses good quality materials in its manufacturing process, one that is compatible with your lifestyle, and, of course, one that you can take care of. All three factors are very important and they need to be considered when choosing a wallet.
Sings that your wallet is at the end of its lifespan
These are some of the signs that indicate that it’s time for a new wallet.
You have been using your wallet for more than 3 years
As mentioned above, the average lifespan of a wallet is 3 years, and usually, after that, it starts to look worn out. After using your wallet for this long it is probably a good idea to start searching for a new one.
There is visible damage on the wallet
A wallet is an item you use every single day, so it is normal for it to damage easier than other things. The damage can be anything from a scratch to a torn-up pocket. Whatever it may be, your wallet is too important of an item for you to just leave it damaged. If you notice any sort of damage on it you should either try to get it repaired or get another wallet if that is not possible or not worth the hassle.
The wallet looks worn out
Something that could occur is that the wallet can just start to look worn out even if it isn’t damaged and even if you haven’t been using it for a long time. In this case, it is probably a good idea to replace it, as there’s usually no way to revert this.
Your wallet doesn’t fit your lifestyle
This one is very important, because if you choose the wrong type of wallet for your lifestyle, it can affect your overall lifespan. Make sure to consider how much storage space you need and what type of designs suits you best. If your current wallet doesn’t fit these criteria, you should replace it with one that does.
Your wallet doesn’t fit your style
Style is something that all of us change from time to time and experiment with. If you are going to change your sporty look for a formal aesthetic, for example, make sure to get an elegant wallet that would fit it as well.
Different factors that determine a wallets lifespan
There are a couple of things that affect how long your wallet will last.
One of the main and most important things that affect how long a wallet will last is the material that is used to make it.
Leather wallets, for example, if made out of high-quality leather, can be quite durable. But even the best types of leather wallets won’t be good for someone who has a job that exposes their wallet to harsher environments. In this case, a stronger metal wallet would do the job better. While titanium wallets are the most durable by far, they can also be quite expensive, which is why aluminum wallets are often the best compromise between quality, durability, and affordability.
Another thing to consider is that even two wallets that are both made out of leather can be quite different. Some types of leather are just more durable than others. Even the way the leather is cut can make a whole difference in the wallet’s quality.
Overall, top-quality materials are costly, so it makes sense that you would need to invest a bit more in a wallet that is just as good. Even so, this is the best option if you are truly looking for a premium wallet that will last you a lifetime.
How you use your wallet
I cannot stress this enough – the way you use your wallet can make all the difference in the world when it comes to its longevity.
For example, if your wallet is made to hold just a couple of cards and cash bills, but you continue to overstuff it, chances are, it will be damaged pretty soon. This is why it is important to define exactly what you need out of your wallet so that you can buy one that fits your needs perfectly.
Some of the things to consider when choosing a wallet are:
- how much card and cash storage you will need
- what type of wallet features would be helpful in your everyday life
- what type of material is best for you
- what type of design suits you best
How you take care of your wallet
Chances are, no matter what type of wallet you own, if you don’t take good care of it, it will damage more easily. There are a couple of ways you can give extra care to your wallet.
If you own a leather wallet, you should learn how to care for the specific type of leather you own. Cleaning your leather wallet, as well as keeping it dry, aren’t the only things you need to do – you should also consider the proper way to store your wallet when you don’t use it.
Metal wallets are easier to care for than leather wallets, but even they need some attention. It is good to replace some parts of your wallet, like screws or a money clip, from time to time. Also, make sure to keep the metal clean and shiny.
Different types of wallets and their lifespan
There are many different types of wallets, each with its unique traits and manufacturing materials. Such differences between them can only mean that their lifespan is different as well.
The main thing that determines how long a leather wallet will last you is the quality of the leather that is used to make it.
Lower quality leather may last you up to 3 years if you take good care of your wallet. On the other hand, some wallets made out of full-grain and top-grain leather can last you as many as 10 years without any issues.
No matter what type of leather wallet you choose, keep in mind that there are certain things that can damage all types of leather. Some of the main things that could be harmful are water and heat.
Metal as a material is very long-lasting but doesn’t last forever. One of the main things that can have a bad impact on metal objects, including wallets, is water and air. This is why it is important to have the metal protected by a basic anti-corrosion coating. Some manufacturers apply a procedure for protecting your wallet from those elements, so make sure to read the wallet description and the reviews in this blog before buying.
If you are looking for a wallet that has one of the strongest yet lightest available materials that also don’t break the bank, you can get one that is made out of aluminum.
On the other hand, if you want maximum durability and premium quality, you will likely want to get a titanium wallet. Just keep in mind that this material is more expensive than most, so a large number of titanium wallets come at a higher cost.
Either way, metal wallets are more durable and easier to take care of than leather ones, so they will last you for a longer period of time.
Things you can do to help your wallet last longer
There are some things that you can do in order to maintain your wallet so that it lasts you longer.
Clean your wallet
Whether you own a leather wallet or a metal one, it is always important to keep it clean.
Of the two, leather is harder to maintain and is not as durable as metal. You can use simple household products like vinegar to clean leather, or you can purchase a product specifically made for this purpose. Stains and scratches are also very hard to remove on a leather wallet.
The leather not only needs to be cleaned but it should be conditioned as well. For these reasons, I would recommend getting a metal wallet if you don’t want to do this much maintenance.
See my complete guide on how to clean your leather wallet to learn more.
Keep it dry
It isn’t wrong to say that water is the kryptonite for leather. Even top-quality leather can get damaged by it if it is exposed to it long enough, and many metals can rust or corrode if they get in contact with water. Small amounts of water won’t cause harm to your wallet, since it has a protective layer that gives you enough time to wipe the water off, before the leather soaks it up. It’s still advisable to dry off your wallet as soon as you can after exposure to water.
A large amount of water is another topic. If you leave your leather wallet soaked in water for a long period of time it will lose its skin oils, which will make the wallet stiff and brittle. A metal wallet will probably rust.
Keep it away from the sun
Any type of natural material will get damaged if it is exposed to much to the sun. Leather is made from animal skin, so it falls within this category. Overexposing your leather to sunlight can result in discoloration, cracking, drying, and even premature aging. The main culprit for this is the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Ultraviolet light doesn’t cause damage to just leather wallets, it can also affect metal wallets. If a metal wallet is exposed to the sun for a long period of time, the process of corrosion will initiate at a faster rate.
Store it properly
At first, you might think that just throwing your wallet in the wardrobe is a good solution, but you really shouldn’t do this. If you don’t store your wallet properly it could get damaged, so it would be best to place it in neat packaging where it won’t be exposed to natural elements.
Use it properly
Using your wallet properly is one of the most important steps you could take towards caring for it and prolonging its lifespan.
My advice here would be to carefully consider the number of cash bills and cards you need to carry, and whether or not your wallet can handle this. This is an important step because one of the main reasons that wallets get damaged is because they get overstuffed, and are not used properly.
See my detailed guide on how to slim down your wallet to learn all of the tips and tricks under the sun.
How to choose a wallet that lasts a long time
Here are a couple of tips to help you choose a better and longer-lasting wallet for yourself.
Considering a couple of pointers when choosing your leather wallet will make a huge difference, most notably the quality of the leather, the stitching of the overall design, and how the wallet is made.
What you should look for in a leather wallet
These are the types of leather you should look for while reading the wallets description:
- full grain leather
- bridle leather
- top grain leather
- vegetable tanned leather
- calf skin
What you should avoid when picking a leather wallet
Try to avoid the following leather types:
- genuine leather
- bonded leather
- patent leather
Another red flag here is if the wallet only offers a warranty that is less than a year.
Visible features that show a leather wallets quality
Be sure to take a close look at the stitching of the wallet, so that you can make sure that it isn’t crooked. Also, try to avoid thin cotton stitching on wallets.
Another thing to take a look at is the wallet corners – it is better if they are pleated instead of cut.
You can tell that a leather wallet is of good quality if it has an all-leather construction and a natural smell. The leather should feel smooth and almost have a considerable weight when in the hand.
The stitching should be straight and you should look for a warranty that lasts a long time. One extra big plus is if the wallet has pockets for embossed cards.
When it comes to metal wallets, just make sure that you choose one that uses a strong and durable metal. My suggestion here would be to go for a wallet that is made out of aluminum, or titanium if you can afford to buy a more premium wallet.
You can even opt for a combination of a metal and leather wallet, which also seem to be quite durable.
One of the most important things to consider here is how well the wallet is made. With that being said, it would be best to get a metal wallet from a trusted brand that offers a long warranty for it.
Choose a wallet that is compatible with your lifestyle
The best way to make sure that you take good care of your wallet is to choose one that fits your lifestyle well.
Most users tend to strain their wallets because they are not compatible with their daily needs. For example, owning a small-capacity leather wallet and still filling it with a bunch of cards and cash bills, just because you can, is one of the worst things you could do.
Make sure to thoroughly evaluate your needs, so that you can purchase a wallet that can handle them.