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Slim in size, the Code 118 Wallet can store anywhere between 1-7 credit/debit cards in its main slot. Additional cards can be stored around the elastic strap for a total capacity of up to 10 cards.
The standard and original code 118 wallet is made from a 6061-T6 aerospace-grade aluminum. The strap that fits around the center of the wallet is made from a combination of elastic and 3K carbon fiber. A good choice of both durable and lightweight materials.
The wallet comes in a small size of 3.9 x 2.3 x 0.29 inches. This is just slightly larger than an average credit/debit card. It can fit comfortably in both a front and back pocket without causing stress or strain.
Code 118 suggests the wallet comes with a lifetime warranty. That being said, I couldn’t find any exact terms & conditions as to the exact meaning behind this, whether it protects against accidental damage or just manufacture defects and craftsmanship.
The code 118 wallet is a fairly affordable wallet starting at a price tag of $49.95 (for their standard wallet). For a wallet of this design, this is below the average price of these style of wallets.
Code 118 seems to have many discounts and sales throughout the year. This includes all major holidays including Christmas and Black Friday. As I’m writing this (09/19/23) they’re having a flash fall sale with up to 40% off on selected items.
A short overview of the Code 118 Wallets featured as shown in this promotional video.
- Fantastic size. If you’re looking for a slim or minimalist-sized wallet then this is a fantastic choice.
- Great value for money. For the materials used and a good level of craftsmanship, the wallet is a fantastic price and undercuts many other metal wallet brands on the market today.
- Great storage and ease of access. Code 118 uses the popular pop-up mechanism for easily accessing cards.
- The brushed matte finish on the aluminum is easily scratched. After a month of use, I found around 3 noticeable scratches on the wallet surface, with a few smaller hairline scratches.
- The elastic isn’t the highest quality especially when compared to the other materials. From an aesthetic point of view, it does take away from the quality, look, and feel of the wallet.
Listen to the Code 118 Review
How Good is The Code 118 Wallet?
It would be wrong for me to say that the Code 118 Wallet was doing anything new. Although it may be your first time seeing a wallet of this unique style, the so-called pop-up wallet that the Code 118 Wallet uses has been around for the best part of a decade. The likes of Ekster and Secrid are the most popular and best examples of pop-up wallets. The Code 118 Wallet was founded in 2020 and has a very noble story for its founding. Simply put, Code 118 is calling out and challenging the outdated EDC (everyday carry) and wallet community and wants to create a wallet that is both quality and affordable – very commendable. After purchasing the Code 118 Wallet I set about putting it through a series of tests, along with committing to use this wallet as my daily wallet for 6 months (starting February 2023).
Code 118: The Buying Process
The Code 118’s website is a little bare-boned and I found myself puzzled by the lack of information available on it. As a customer in the United Kingdom, I wanted to first see how much it would cost to ship internationally (as orders are dispatched from Los Angeles, US). That information is available unless you get to the checkout. Another baffling aspect is the lack of information on Code 118’s warranty. Although they do state in multiple areas of the site they offer a ‘lifetime warranty’ this means very little or nothing without more clarity or context. Do they offer repairs or replacements for accidental damage or theft? Or is it simply a lifetime warranty on manufacturer defects? This matters and the lack of clarity is quite misleading to customers. This was a common theme throughout Code 118’s website and it made for a poor buying experience.
Being in the UK, and with Code 118 being based in the US, I unfortunately had to wait up to 10 days to receive my order. The ordering process was very simple and was mainly down to Code 118 using Shopify which is a safe-to-use and intuitive e-commerce platform. The costs of shipping do vary based on the country you live in so please bear this in mind. If you live locally to Code 118 (USA) then shipping comes in at $5.00. For me in the UK, it cost £5.00. (5 to 10 days). Not bad all things considered.
Throughout the process of purchasing the wallet Code 118 kept me updated and provided great transparty with my purchase. I immediately received a confirmation email of my order and was updated with the appropriate tracking information when my wallet was shipped. My wallet took 8 days in total to arrive at my doorstep which, again, I was happy enough with. Overall, I was happy with the buying process, and the speed and communication provided by Code 118, I just wish their website was a little more updated in terms of basic information whether it be their warranty or information on shipping.
The various colors the Code 118 Wallet is available in.
Look and Design
I’m a huge fan of the look and style of the Code 118 Wallet. Although this section is ultimately subjective, the minimalist and clean look is right up my alley and this wallet perfectly encapsulates this style. It comes with a sort of industrial look, almost like it’s part of a machine, and has a high-class look that wouldn’t look out of place in a sports car. This effect is made possible thanks to the high quality and choice of materials that the Code 118 team chose when designing the wallet. Aluminum (also Titanium is available), and carbon fiber not only look the part but are lightweight and durable.
The Code 118 team also hasn’t skimped on the array of different color options either. In total, the wallet is available in 7 color offerings including Gray, Blue, and Green. They also release a variety of limit edition colors with the most recent being the Brushed Gray and Black models. So does this wallet meet your style and fashion? Well, I don’t think you can go wrong with this wallet for any style. The range of colors makes this highly versatile whatever you wear and that’s one of the fantastic selling points of this wallet.
Functionality and Utility
The main selling point of the Code 118 wallet comes down to its card storage and access mechanism. This mechanism isn’t unique to Code 118 and has quickly taken the wallet industry by storm dominating the market. This mechanism is commonly referred to as the pop-up, cascade, or slide style of wallets. They work with a spring-loaded mechanism. To access your cards from inside the device, you can simply push or slide a lever to allow your stacked cards to cascade out of the wallet in an organized manner. Not only this but these cards are fanned or spaced out perfectly so you can see and grab the exact card you want.
Having used many different brands of pop-up wallets over the years I can confidently say that not all of these wallets are built equally. Some poor-quality examples, break easily, get jammed or simply have the lever snap off. In the case of the Code 118 Wallet, I was very happy with how it performed over the 1 month I used it. Cards slid out smoothly, cards were spaced out evenly and the entire device seemed well-built and study to use. Along with this, the quality of materials used was above average and the entire wallet has a high-quality look, feel, and finish to it.
So what are the downsides of this style of wallet? Well, the main drawback is probably down to how many of your credit/debit cards can be stored inside. Code 118 suggests that a maximum of 7 cards total can be stored inside which we found was accurate. But there is one thing you need to consider and that is how many of your cards are embossed. Embossed cards are actually slightly thicker than other cards so they take up more space inside the wallet. Although 7 is the maximum in total the wallet can only store up to 5 embossed cards. Just something to keep in mind when considering a wallet like this. They are fairly small in their capacity and you should make sure the wallet meets your needs before considering a purchase.
Luckily The Code 118 Wallet has one more trick up its sleeve. That is the elastic strap that is wrapped around the middle of the wallet. This serves two distinct functions and helps expand the wallet functionality. The first is for additional card storage. Additional cards can be tucked under the elastic for any cards that can’t fit inside further expanding the storage. I wouldn’t store any more than 3 under this strap. This is mainly down to the fact it does increase the size of the wallet and too many would cause the wallet to bulk which makes carrying it more uncomfortable. The second is for banknote storage. It’s very uncommon in this style of wallet to have dedicated cash slots such as those in traditional leather wallets. In this case, banknotes can be folded up and, again, tucked under the strap. Not the most secure or effective way to store physical cash but it does the job and keeps the wallet at a compact small size.
The Ekster Cardholder in Olive Green: Read Our full review here.
The Code 118 Vs. Competitors
As I mentioned previously, pop-up wallets are fairly commonplace in a crowded market. Because of this, to give you the most choice and a well-informed decision we wanted to put the Code 118 Wallet up against some other big players on the market. In this next section, we’re going to compare the Code 118 wallet to two of the biggest names in wallets. The Ekster Cardholder and the Secrid Slim. These wallets provide a few alternatives for you to consider before you take the plunge and purchase the Code 118 Wallet.
Ekster is a brand I’ve been familiar with since 2016. These guys first funded their innovative wallet through Kickstarter and have since gone from strength to strength realizing a wide range of wallets all utilizing the same pop-up mechanism as the Code 118 Wallet. Today I’m going to be comparing Code 118 to the Ekster Cardholder which is the equivalent in the Ekster range.
The first thing to note is the difference in price. While the Ekster comes in at a higher price of $89.00 the Code 118 sits pretty at just $49.95. So what is the difference between the two, and is the Ekster Cardholder worth the extra $40.00? With both of them in my hands, I must admit that Ekster does feel better quality. From the brushed metal through to the elastic strap. The choice of materials just feels more premium.
One other big difference between the two is the location of the lever that is used to activate each wallet’s pop-up mechanism. While the Code 118’s Lever protrudes from the bottom of the wallet (added to its size) Ekster has seamlessly built this into the side of the wallet keeping its size to a minimum. Not only this but the Ekster’s mechanism is a lot smoother than Code 118’s and it feels more robust to use on a daily basis.
Overall it’s clear to me that the Ekster Cardholder is a better wallet than the Code 118 – but at what cost? I’m finding it difficult to justify the increased price of the Ekster, as, although it is better I’m not sure it’s worth that extra $40.00. This makes it hard to choose between the two. At the end of the day, it’s down to you to decide based on your individual budget.
Side by side comparsion of both the Ekster and Code 118 Wallet. The Ekster Cardholder comes with a backplate as standard.
Taking to the Streets: What Do People Think?
One thing we like to do with every wallet we purchase is get some first impressions about any one wallet. We took to the streets of Manchester asking men their thoughts on the Code 118 Wallet and whether they liked what they saw. In total, we asked 20 men over a 3-hour period. We asked these men for their first impressions and gave them the wallet to hold, and play around with. With the information we collected, we managed to gauge the following information about the Code 118 Wallet.
- The majority of men still don’t know what a pop-up wallet is: Out of the 20 men we asked the vast majority of them (16 out of 20) had never come across a pop-up wallet before. Their reactions were a combination of both surprise and excitement at the design. After allowing them to try the wallet out most said they liked the idea and design of the wallet and it worked very easily. When we asked if they’d consider changing to a pop-up wallet 12 out of 20 said that it was better than the current wallet they were carrying. Those who said they didn’t complain about the wallet’s lack of capacity compared to their current wallet.
- The majority of men still carry cash with them – this was a deal breaker: Although as a society we’re moving away from carrying physical cash with us, the majority of men we asked still like an efficient and effective way of carrying banknotes. Most men asked how they store cash and were fairly disappointed with the Code 118’s wallets’ method of storing banknotes folded under the elastic strap. After asking what wallets they carried, most men showed us a classic leather bi fold that has the effective method of storting banknotes with a full-width cash slot. After asking if this was a dealbreaker for them, most men answered yes. This goes to show that storing cash effectively is still a big concern for most men.
- The majority of men loved the design and size: Over the years wallets have gotten smaller and smaller and the vast majority of the 20 men we asked loved the compact and thin size of the Code 118 Wallet. We allowed each man to try putting the wallet in both their front and back pocket and each preferred the size of the wallet compared to their own. They said it could hardly be felt and was more comfortable.
So what can we rake away from this? It seems that most men are still unaware of the innovation happening in the wallet industry. Pop-up wallets still take most men by surprise and most like what they see when shown a pop-up wallet for the first time. That being said, cash is still a big deal, at least in Manchester, and being able to store this effectively was a barrier to entry when it came to the Code 118 Wallet. The last question we asked every man was ‘Would you consider swapping to the Code 118 wallet?’ 12 out of 20 said they consider this style of wallet as their next.
The 118 Wallet is slim and can barely be felt inside a front or back pocket.
Maintance & Care
Caring for any wallet can provide added longevity to its lifespan. If you’re considering the Code 118, or any pop-up wallet, then here are some tips we learned along the way on how you can keep your wallet in tip-top condition and hopefully last a lifetime.
- Expect Scratches: The Code 118’s brushed metal will and can get scratched. There wasn’t a lot we could do about this as with daily use this is to be expected. The scratches were more noticeable on darker-colored wallets such as the Jet Black and Thermal Red versions of the wallet. Colors like the Slate Gray and Metallic Sliver faired much better as the scratches blended into the surface. For me, I like the look of a well-loved and used item – think of it like Patina. The age, and scratches, of a wallet give it charm and add character. But be warned there’s not a lot you can do to prevent this (without being super careful) so if this look isn’t for you it might take away from your experience of using the wallet.
- Don’t Over Stuff the Wallet: One aspect of the Code 118 Wallet you should know about is the problem of overstuffing. Slide Wallets can only store a certain amount of cards. Overstuffing the mechanism with too many cards can cause them to get stuck, and in the worst-case scenario, jam the mechanism entirely potentially breaking it. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and only store the recommended number of cards at any one time. Not doing so, could cause your wallet to break and the Code 118 Wallet is not exempt from this.
- The Elastic Strap can be Washed: In our experience elastic can get quite grubby over time and this was the case with this wallet. Dirt and grime, usually in the pocket, stick and cling to the elastic causing a build-up of dirt over time. Don’t be afraid to remove and wash this strap. We recommend soaking the elastic in a bowl of warm water and leaving it to dry for at least 24 hours.
- Consider one of Code 118’s add-ons: One aspect of the Code 118 wallet we’ve yet to touch on is their range of accessories, or so-called add-ons, that are designed to work in tandem with the wallet and add/improve upon the wallet functionality. Code 118 offers 4 different accessories to choose from including a Modular Backplate ($19.95), Leather Case ($24.95), AirTag Strap ($14.95), and Multi-tool ($19.95). Each of those adds a certain level of added functionality to the wallet. While the modular backplate allows for expanded storage of credit/debit cards the leather case adds a touch of class to the wallet while protecting your wallet against scratches. The Multi-tools is a credit card-shaped device that acts as a 12 in 1 tool, while the AirTag Strap allows for storage of one of Apple’s trackable AirTag devices.
The Code 118 with its optional Modular Backplate. This expands the capacity to around 15 cards.
Code 118 Wallet: Final Thoughts
Overall I was impressed and happy with my time using the Code 118 Wallet. Generally speaking, the edge does have to be given to other Pop-up wallets on the market (mainly the Ekster and Secrid), but that doesn’t mean Code 118 is bad. In fact, when it comes to the price tag I feel the Code 118 Wallet has the edge and is fantastic value for money for those who don’t want to pay upwards of $100.00 for a wallet. The Code 118’s founding was based on the idea of providing quality and affordability and I can’t deny they’ve achieved this goal.
With wallets starting at $49.95, this is at least 30% less than the most popular alternative. Not only this but Code 118 seems to have sales on very frequently with the largest I’ve seen is 40% off RRP. All in all, although the Code 118 might not be the best wallet at any one thing, it is by far one of the most value-for-money wallets on the market today. For more information on this wallet check out their official website by using the link below.
Overview: Overall the Code 118 Wallet was a pleasant wallet to use. It excelled in its high-quality materials and ability to easily store and access cards (thanks to its pop-up mechanism). Compared to other simular designed wallets the Code 118’s price was amazing and fantastic value for money compared to its competitors. This wallet is great for those on a budget.
I’m happy to report that after one month of use, I found the wallet has held up nicely. I have a few hairline scratches across the surface of the metal, but nothing that detracted from the overall look and feel of the wallet. The mechanism works seamlessly and hasn’t jammed once as of yet. A very promising start.
Just a few hairline scratches
Mechanism is durable and not jammed yet
Elastic is clean, and held its elasticity
After 6 months of daily use, the wallet is starting to show signs of wear and tear. I have counted around 6 – 10 hairline scratches and a few larger scratches embedded into the metal. The wallet has still held up nicely and has still yet to jam – amazing! The elastic has only had one clean so far. Maintenance of this wallet is easy and low.
Maintance is low
No issues with construction or durbality or with the pop-up mechanism
Around 10 scratches on and around the metal - a few deep ones
Reviewer of Wallets
Hi, I’m James and I’m the owner, author, and self-proclaimed ‘wallet expert’ here at All The Wallets. I’ve been reviewing wallets for over 10 years and have amassed a collection of over 500 wallets. I’m here to provide you with impartial reviews, information, and news on men’s wallets from across the world. All The Wallets is here to provide you with a trusted source, and directory of some of the biggest and smallest wallet brands and help you make the best decision possible when choosing your next wallet. Learn more about me here.