Best Chain Wallets

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

40 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
228 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best chain wallets

Last Updated October 2019

It’s all about the Benjamins, especially when you’re thinking about how to pay at the register. Some people prefer to pay in cash, while others embrace the convenience of credit cards. Most people fall somewhere in between, with their wallets hosting a collection of cash, cards, photographs, and receipts. Regardless of where your preference falls when it comes to cash or credit, you want to know that your money and identification are safe and secure at all times. Chain wallets deliver the best of both, thanks to their unique design and reinforced security measures.

With a chain wallet, you’re quite literally attached at the hip to your wallet, thanks to a heavy chain that connects the wallet to a belt loop. One way or another, your chain wallet will stay put, and it can reduce the likelihood of a pickpocket running off with it.

If you’re ready to choose a chain wallet for everyday use, travel, or motorcycle rides, take a look at the different styles we recommend. You’ll find the right combination of fashion, functionality, and security in any of these chain wallets. If you’d like to learn more, read on.

A chain wallet is a secure way to manage your cash and credit cards when traveling abroad, but keep in mind that other countries have bills of different sizes. That means they could stick out or have difficulty fitting in your wallet. You might need to purchase a domestic style to accommodate their legal tender.

Key considerations

Fold

Chain wallets come in as many fold styles as traditional wallets, though bifold, trifold, and secretary-fold are the most popular.

Bifold wallets tend to be square or rectangular. These wallets fold in half and are generally thin if they’re not overloaded with cards.

Trifold wallets are more compact when it comes to surface area when closed, but they can be much thicker than bifold wallets.

Secretary-fold wallets are longer to accommodate unfolded bills or a checkbook. Well-designed styles space out the card slots for a flat fit, but because secretary-fold wallets have a greater capacity, they tend to be somewhat bulky and could stick out of a back pocket.

Closure

How a wallet closes is often a deciding factor when selecting one, so this detail is highly personal. Chain wallets usually have button snaps, hook-and-loop, zipper, or even magnetic closures. Certain styles only fold over and don’t have a closure. If you want the peace of mind an ultra-secure closure gives you, a zipper is a decent choice, followed by double or triple snaps. On the other hand, if you need the speed of easy access, you might opt for a single button snap or no closure at all.

Capacity

It’s safe to say that no two people keep the same items in their wallets. To account for this, there are chain wallets with different compartments to fit everything you need. Compact styles have a bill pocket and up to six card slots, one of which is usually an ID window. Larger styles have more space, sometimes even subdividing the bill pocket and offering as many as 24 card slots. In certain chain wallets, you’ll find dedicated areas for coins, checkbook, receipts, and photographs.

EXPERT TIP

If you find a chain wallet you love, buy two. Even though wallets last for years, the manufacturer could stop making your style and it won’t be available when you need a replacement.


Staff  | BestReviews

Chain wallet features

Materials

Chain wallets are typically made of leather. Other materials that have grown in popularity include vegan leather, vinyl, cotton, and synthetic fabric blends. While high-quality leather can be more expensive, you can find modestly priced leather wallets, putting them on par with other materials in terms of price.

Chain wallets also come equipped with a variety of metal embellishments for both functionality and fashion. Obviously, the chain is metal, though the grade, finish, and type of loops vary. These wallets can also have metal button snap closures, zippers, engravable plates, or emblems.

Leather

Type: If you’re drawn to leather chain wallets, you’ll have several leather types from which to choose. When it comes to quality, wallets marked “full-grain leather” are the best, with top-grain leather in second place. Bottom-cut and bonded are less expensive options when it comes to leather, though the quality is significantly inferior to full- and top-grain leather.

Style: Leather is a highly versatile material that lends itself to a variety of styles. Tanned leather is treated to hold up to aging and wear while maintaining authentic, one-of-a-kind color. Leather can also be dyed in vibrant colors, though there is the possibility of the dye bleeding if the leather gets wet. Leather engraving and embossing are also popular personalization options.

Maintenance: Leather is a long-lasting material that lasts even longer when it’s properly cared for. Depending on the finish and grade, leather can require regular treatment with lotion, oil, or conditioner to keep it clean and moisturized. When it comes to preventive measures, aerosol spray leather protectors apply a thin coat to the leather that prevents it from getting wet or stained.

RFID blocking

Some chain wallets incorporate RFID-blocking technology. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is a way to skim or scan credit cards and obtain information, a current technology employed by identity thieves. It can happen within seconds in public places. RFID-blocking wallets are equipped to combat this type of theft with a special insulation made of a combination of carbon and aluminum fibers.

EXPERT TIP

Chain wallets make classy, sentimental leather gifts. Give your present a personal touch by taking it to a leatherworker to engrave the recipient’s name or initials.


Staff  | BestReviews

Chain wallet prices

Even including several features that traditional wallets don’t have, chain wallets generally fall in a reasonable price range of $10 to $60.

Inexpensive: On the lower end, between $10 and $25, you’ll find typical bifold and trifold styles with fewer slots and compartments. These are ideal for holding the bare essentials.

Mid-range: Between $35 and $40 is where you’ll find more unique chain wallets. These styles often include RFID-blocking features and more compartments for extra cards, coins, and even a checkbook.

Expensive: The $40 to $60 range delivers the best in material quality and craftsmanship. These chain wallets also have more decorative features like engraving or embossing and metal embellishments like medallions or engravable surfaces.

EXPERT TIP

If you need to remove the chain from your wallet, keep it somewhere safe like a jewelry box or watch case with other similar accessories.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Don’t overfill card slots. Each card slot is designed to hold a couple cards at a time, and if you overfill them, you could stretch out your wallet. The slots could eventually become too loose and cause cards to fall out.
  • Choose textured leather. If you want to hide scuffs and marks that occur with normal wear, go for a textured leather wallet. Its naturally rugged appearance will keep the focus away from signs of wear.
  • Carry just the essentials. If you want to cut down the contents of your wallet, reduce it to the bare minimum: identification, credit card, debit card, and a few bills. It will make your wallet thinner and lighter, leaving more room in your pockets for other essentials.
  • Be prepared for metal detectors. If you’re going to a club or flying with your chain wallet, be prepared to remove it before going through metal detectors because it will likely set off the alarm.
  • Keep the closure facing inward. When you remove the chain wallet from your pants, the edge of the pocket can sustain wear from frequent rubbing against buttons and other embellishments. Place the wallet with metal parts facing inward so the hidden part of your pocket receives most of the wear.
  • Attach the chain to a strap. For those who wish to keep their chain wallet in a purse or carry-on, there’s also the option to place it inside and secure the chain to a strap.

Other products we considered

We like the compact design of the Contacts RFID Men’s Chain Wallet. The leather wallet is equipped with ten card slots and plenty of compartments for bills, coins, and train tickets. There’s also a convenient, easy-access slot at the back that’s perfect for your driver’s license. Choose from rich black, brown, or coffee to suit your taste, all of which are complemented by a dark brushed-metal anti-theft chain. It’s a real bargain for its quality and affordable price point. The Force is with you if you choose the Bioworld Star Wars Han Solo Chain Wallet. This trendy, budget-priced style mixes faux leather, polyester lining, and cotton for a textured, edgy look. While it’s a small trifold, it still has five card slots and enough space for several bills. As officially licensed merchandise, this chain wallet also features an attractive metal Rebel Alliance logo, a perfect choice for any Star Wars fan.

Frequent use of the zipper on your chain wallet can make it catch or jam. First, check that no fabric or threads are caught in the zipper, then try using a lead pencil, wax, or silicone spray to lubricate the teeth. Don’t let the lubricant leak or spill on the rest of the wallet.

FAQ

Q. Should I keep my chain wallet in my front or back pocket?
A.
If it fits in both pockets, then either one is fine. More than anything, it’s your preference. If you have a secretary-fold wallet, however, you should know that front pockets are usually slightly longer than back pockets, so for these styles the front pocket could be best.

Q. The hardware on my chain wallet broke. Can it be fixed?
A.
Yes. While one can be difficult to locate in some areas, a cobbler has the tools and experience to replace hardware and work on leather goods. Tailors, some of whom work out of dry cleaning shops, could also be equipped to handle your needs. Not all tailors work on leather, though, because it sometimes requires different tools and special needles.

Q. How do I clean my leather chain wallet?
A.
It depends on the grade and finish of the leather. There are lotions, oils, and aerosol sprays that all work differently to preserve leather quality. Refer to the packaging for the recommended care instructions.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Sian
    Sian
    Writer

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