It’s not easy to pick a winner between the Ekster Senate and the Ekster Parliament. But after carrying both of these cardholder wallets on and off for four years, I definitely prefer one over the other.
For me, it’s the Senate. For you? It might be the Parliament. So read on.
The differences are subtle
The Parliament gives you a more elegant looking leather wallet with a slightly higher card capacity. The Senate is thinner and more more compact overall.
They both use high-quality leather but the Parliament’s leather has a plusher more high-dollar feel. In terms of price, the Parliament is $90 and the Senate is 10 bucks cheaper. Not a whole lot of difference there.
What makes either the Parliament or the Senate a great choice is that both of them are pop-up style wallets with the same super-efficient card ejection system.
With the flick of a little slider button at the bottom, each wallet will quickly eject up to six cards from a solid aluminum case.
My favorite part is it only takes one hand to eject your cards.
The Senate is more minimalist than the Parliament
The main design difference between the two is that the Parliament is a bi-fold style wallet that will hold at least 4 more cards than the Senate.
The Parliament has two inside pockets and one outside. This makes the Parliament considerably thicker than the Senate’s simpler, more compact design.
Check out my full review of the Ekster Parliament here.
The Senate feels more like a slim, minimalist cardholder. It just has one additional card slot.
The cool thing is that you can make it even slimmer by removing the outside panel and elastic band. You’ll lose the extra card slot, but this will thin the Senate down to about 1/4″ thick.
When you remove this panel, you’ll also eliminate the cash strap that’s attached to it. So Ekster even throws in an extra elastic money band to replace it with.
Both wallets are a front pocket carry
I like to carry my wallet in the same front pocket as my phone, mainly because I carry my keys in my other front pocket. Hard steel keys take their toll on leather wallets (and aluminum wallets, for that matter). Keys don’t do phones any good either when they’re jostled together.
Because of the relatively narrow profile (not much wider than a credit card), both the Senate and Parliament will fit comfortably next to my phone. Even in tight Levis.
However, because of the extra space needed for the ejection mechanism, they are longer than a credit card by 3/4″. Unless you have super shallow pockets, this shouldn’t be a big deal.
Where I do feel a difference between the two wallets in my pocket relates to the thickness. The Parliament is bulkier because of the bifold design and you can definitely feel the extra padding in your pocket. As you might suspect, the more cards you put in, the thicker it gets.
Check out my full review of the Ekster Senate here.
The Parliament has higher card capacity
Both the Ekster Senate and Parliament hold a maximum of 6 cards in the solid aluminum pop-up case. Yes, for the paranoid amongst us, the aluminum case also blocks RFID scanning.
The Senate only has one additional card slot for a total of 7 cards. If you like, you can also place a card or two under the cash strap. And surprise, this cash strap will also hold a few bills of cash. I use mine a lot for receipts, too.
The card capacity of the Parliament goes way up with enough room for 11 cards, not including any you might slip under the cash strap.
However, you want to be careful with overloading the Parliament with too many cards.
I found that more than one card in each of the two interior slots of the Parliament wedges the cards between the card slot and the aluminum case. This prevents the wallet from closing completely.
One clear advantage of the Parliament over the Senate is that you can keep your cards and cash completely hidden inside when the wallet is closed. This gives the Parliament a spiffier, more formal look.
With the Senate, your $20 bill and restaurant receipt under the cash strap is exposed for all to see. For me, it’s a rough and tumble look that I kinda like. Or, at least, don’t mind.
Personally, I think six cards (or less) in the card ejector is more than enough cards for most people. Since the card ejector capacity for the Senate and Parliament is the same, the extra card capacity of the Parliament isn’t much of a benefit.
What the Parliament gives you is a dressier look than the Senate. The Senate is more stripped down and simple and feels more compact in your hand and in your pocket.
Quality-wise, they both use high-grade ECCO leather, though I must admit that the Parliament leather feels more supple and “richer” than the Senate. But I love the minimalist feel of the Senate.
If this were a horse race with the Ekster Senate vs Ekster Parliament, I’d say the Senate wins by a nose.