Is the Machine Era Wallet Worth It in 2019?

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Is the Machine Era Wallet Worth It in 2019?

It feels like it was only yesterday when we saw an explosion of new slim wallets for EDC popping up on crowdfunding sites. Many of those projects proved successful and their resulting products have since become staples in plenty of EDCers' pockets. One of the earliest and first of its kind was Machine Era's slim aluminum wallet. Despite its seemingly barebones appearance, it stood out with its utilitarian design language, intuitive operation, and durable build quality. It's been through several revisions since its debut back in 2013, culminating in the Ti5 Wallet we have now. With so much competition in the slim wallet market these days, it begs the question: is the Machine Era Ti5 Wallet worth it today?

Why Was the Machine Era Wallet So Popular?

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The original aluminum Machine Era came along when everyday carry as a whole started to hit its stride, and people really began to reconsider what they kept in their pockets. Popular EDC wallets were usually made from thick premium leather, or more affordable but just as tough nylon or polyester—especially from tactical brands. Machine Era shook things up with something so starkly simple in its design: just a slab of metal with a band to hold your cards in place. But its design was considered and the attention to detail was there, as you'd expect from a piece of kit designed and machined in the USA.

It went through iterative improvements and revisions until reaching its current form as the Ti5 in late 2015. The Ti5 keeps its tried-and-true metal-and-elastic design at its core, with a few key improvements. First, it's made from grade 5 titanium, offering excellent durability for its weight and a unique handfeel. Next, a thumbslot in the back of the wallet made accessing cards even easier while also shaving off a few grams. The thumbslot also added extra functionality as a bottle opener you'd always have with you. With these improvements in addition to its made-in-USA quality, the Ti5 became a go-to choice for ultra minimalists and titanium fans alike.

Our Recommendation

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Given that the Ti5 can be purchased for less than $50 these days, we think it's still worth buying today. Its combination of an original design with premium materials and the origin of manufacture are hard to come by these days, with very few other options meeting those three criteria.

However, the wallet isn't for everyone. Not everyone would benefit from a metal wallet, and people who carry cash notes would be better served by a wallet with a dedicated billfold section. Also, while the Ti5 does block RFID skimming, it only does so when carrying the wallet with the cards facing your body. With that said, for a slim and sturdy way to stash your cards, the Ti5 is worth considering.

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Other Wallet Options to Consider

If you're not quite sold on the Ti5, here are a few more recent offerings. They're all based on the plate-and-band design in a vertical orientation, with RFID blocking, thumb retrieval, and some form of multifunctionality.

  • Rugged Material Ranger: More affordable at around $35, with more built-in functionality. It one-ups the Ti5's bottle opener with 12 built in tools, mainly different sized drivers and wrenches on top of its cap lifter. The Ranger also blocks RFID signals and is built in the USA. One major difference is that the Ranger features a powder coated stainless steel build, rather than the Ti5's grade 5 titanium. (Buy on Amazon)

  • Trayvax Armored Summit: The Armored Summit prioritizes extreme thinness in its design, but doesn't compromise on features and durability. Like the Ti5, it's built in the USA and based on a plate-and-band design that includes a built-in bottle opener. Instead of titanium, it's made from a melonite-finished heat-resistant steel plate for its chassis. Its namesake Armor Plate add-on protects your cards from RFID skimming as well. Its two unique features include a wide ID display and an attachment point for a lanyard, making the Armored Summit best suited for EDCers who need to flash credentials often and value the security of extra retention in their wallet. It's a few dollars more than the Rugged Material Ranger mentioned above at just under $40. (Buy on Amazon)

  • Dango M1: With a cost of entry around double that of the Ti5 or any of the other alternatives on this list, the M1 is solidly a premium upgrade pick. It's still lightweight, it's durable to the point of borderline overengineered, and it still blocks RFID skimming. It isn't the thinnest, it isn't made of titanium (rather, aluminum and luxurious top grain leather) and it doesn't open bottles in its base configuration. However, as a platform it has tons of potential to dial in to fit your EDC's needs. By adding one of Dango's multi-tools to the wallet, it offers functionality beyond just opening beers. With the right straps, it can be worn as a lanyard or it can be tethered for extra security. (Buy on Amazon)

Have you used a Machine Era wallet? Tell us about your experience and whether you think it holds up today in the comments below.

#have-you-carried #edc-classics #product-overview #ti5 #wallets #machine-era see all



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Discussion (5 total)

The Machine Era wallet is still a fantastic wallet. I carried mine for a couple years and loved it. For the price it’s amazing. It was replaced in my edc with the Decadent Minimalist DM1 In titanium, which solves some of the minor issues I had with the Ti5.
This and the Rugged Material Ranger were on my list of the wallets I was considering.

Ultimately I landed with MSTRMIND Collective's APEX Wallet 2.0, which seems to get skipped when talking about similar wallets. You can read more about it here: https://everydaycarry.com/posts/33119/peak-wallet-performance

What I love about the APEX 2.0, is that it does not rely on elastic bands. It uses a strong metal suspension clip. https://mstrmndcollective.com/products/apex-wallet-silver-vertical. Ironically, the APEX 3.0 does use a band (their first after straying away from it) and pretty much looks and functions like the other ones from the list above.
No credit should ever be given to anything with a “bottle opener”. How often do you need to be able to crack a beer at all times? Besides, anyone worth their salt can open a bear with damn bear anything that’s not a “bottle opener” (i.e. cigarette lighter, knife, table, sharpie, pen, key, key chain, flashlight etc.). It’s really not fair to market this in the tool count. I can open a bottle with any of the above and a lot more. In fact I have a metal wallet that does not have a bottle opener and I can still open a beer with it, except that I never have a need to, and I drink beer all the time...haha. Who’s with me? Carry on!
This is no dig on Machine Era by the way. Love them!
I’ve used my Ti5 wallet for years and it doesn’t have a scratch on it. Looks and works as good as the day that I bought it and I haven’t had to replace the band on it yet.
I miss the original design. More rounded corners, sleeker and indestructible. This version I am sure was less to make but looks cheaper too. I am still using the aluminum and brass versions today, years later.