You have all heard dreadful stories of lost bitcoin that are gone forever because someone didn’t use proper security measures when storing his coins or simply used an insecure wallet. This list of best hardware wallets will be your best friend in avoiding something like that happening to you.
You’ll want to find the best hardware wallet you can if you own the cryptocurrency, or are even thinking of buying some.
Some people are happy storing their coins in desktop or software wallets. However, the clever ones want to use more secure wallets. And this is not a bad idea if you are a long-term investor.
However, for long-term ‘HODL’ it’s recommended to use a Hardware wallet or a paper wallet. I personally endorse using best hardware wallets because they offer great security, and they can also be used for day to day transactions.
Hardware wallets are built in the form of a small computer and they promise enhanced security against software cryptocurrency wallets in the case of scams or theft. Moreover, your coins are safe even if someone stole your hardware wallet or your computer is hacked. If you lose your hardware wallet, all your coins can always be restored on a new cryptocurrency wallet.
Note: No one can transfer Bitcoins or other coins from your hardware wallet without knowing your secret pin code. More than that, hardware wallets do not use your laptop or system resources, which means that no spy screen recorder or Trojan can record what’s happening on your hardware wallet. You can read more on this in the below section:
What is a Bitcoin Hardware Wallet?
A bitcoin hardware wallet is a physical tamper-proof electronic device built to store private key of your coins in an offline setting. The digital signatures and private key needed to spend Bitcoins are generated via these wallets. Like the way you set up any wallet, it’s very important to write down the seed word (recovery phrase) on a piece of paper and store it in a safe place, such as the same place you store your birth certificate, cash savings, and other valuables. It’s highly recommended that you make 2-3 copies and distribute it. And there is no possibility of getting hacked because your keys are offline.
There has been no reported theft or loss of Bitcoins from a hardware wallet (at the time of writing this article). Some hardware wallets have a little digital screen with a user interface to verify transactions, and some have security grid cards. Even in the case of damage to your hardware cryptocurrency wallet, your Bitcoins can be easily restored with the recovery phrase.
Note: Hardware Bitcoin wallets were invented after Bitcoin was born, and currently other cryptocurrencies can be stored in these wallets as well (LTC, ETH, DASH, etc.).
You should definitely order a cryptocurrency hardware wallet if you want to store Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency secure for a long-term. And you should order one as soon as possible because most of these hardware wallets have a waiting period of a month or two because of huge demand. You should look no further than Ledger Nano S if you are looking for a single recommendation as the best Bitcoin hardware wallet. I would recommend ordering 2 of them at the same time (if money is not a problem).
Best Hardware Wallets for Bitcoin and Crypto
The Ledger Nano S is a product of a France-based startup, and the company (Ledger Wallet) has been around long enough to gain a respectful reputation and in all honesty I couldn’t find anything bad to say about their product.
The Ledger wallet features attractive and sleek European touch to its design. It is a battery-less device that can be connected to a mobile device or PC via USB. This is arguably most popular hardware wallet on the market – I would say also best hardware wallet.
Some of its core features are a flash drive like feel with two buttons on the side for navigating the interface, the easy to use OLED interface, and the backup seed key for recovery of your Bitcoins.
Check this video guide on how to start using this wallet:
The Ledger Nano S wallet supports nine cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Stratis, Dogecoin, Dash, Zcash). This is also the cheapest multi-currency hardware wallet available ($65).
If you are ordering Nano S, expect the following things in the box:
- Hardware Ledger Nano S device
- USB cable
- Recovery sheet
- User manual
Key Security Features of Ledger Nano S Hardware Wallet
- Recovery phrase is generated offline and decreases risk of hacking.
- Passphrase support is still not available. However, it will be available in upcoming models.
- Pincode (a 4 letter pin code) on setup, which helps you to secure your Bitcoins in case you lose your device.
- Temper proof seal.
It looks like a small calculator with an OLED screen and can be connected to a USB to your laptop or desktop computer.
This hardware wallet generates it keys offline and provides many basic features needed by a Bitcoin trader. This hardware wallet has a very strong security. A 24-word recovery seed key and randomly generated nine digit pins ensure security in case the device is damaged or lost.
The Trezor wallet can be used with Android devices and with apps such as Multibit HD, Mycelium, and TREZOR Wallet. Check this video tutorial series on how to start using Trezor:
Trezor model One wallet supports eight cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin, Namecoin, Dogecoin, Dash, Bitcoin Testnet, Ethereum (+ all ERC-20 tokens), Ethereum Classic, ZCash, and Litecoin). ETH is supported through an external wallet called MyEtherWallet. The Trezor’s price is a bit higher and is currently $99.
Ledger Nano X (Hardware Wallet)
Ledger presented their upgraded “Nano X” in January of 2019 during the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Here is a full review of Ledger Nano X hardware wallet.
Nano X is pretty similar to the older Nano S. Retaining the USB-like design, the device comes with dimensions of 72mm x 18.6mm x 11.75mm and the weight of 34g.
The wallet also comes with CC EAL5+ certified secure chip which stores your sensitive data, as well as built-in Bluetooth capabilities for wireless cryptocurrency management.
Ledger developed its own non-open source highly-secure operating system called BOLOS. This is the operating system seen on the Nano S and Ledger Blue. BOLOS is stored on the certified secure chip within the Ledger Nano X.
The device’s software is compatible with 64-bit desktop computers (Windows 8+, macOS 10.8+, Linux) or smartphones (iOS 9+ or Android 7+). Nano X offers a wide selection of cryptographic support; check out the complete list here.
Ledger Nano X offers Bluetooth connectivity to its users, making it a great solution for people who want to manage their cryptocurrency on the go. The wallet can connect to the smartphone’s Bluetooth and its contents can be monitored/controlled through the Ledger Live downloadable mobile app.
The device lets you install up to 100 cryptocurrency apps so you won’t be able to store every single cryptocurrency out of 1100+ that are currently supported by Ledger.
Model T was released on October 31, 2107, a date that coincides with the day Satoshi Nakamoto published his Bitcoin White Paper nine years prior.
Here is an overview of best cryptocurrency wallets.
Its sleek 64mm x 39 mm x 10 mm frame looks good and feels good in your hand. Another feature of the screen is that it’s a touch one. This means that TREZOR T has no buttons, unlike its two-button wielding predecessor.
For now, the T supports eight cryptocurrencies:
- ERC-20 tokens
- Ethereum Classic
Coming in 3rd place we have KeepKey, another hardware device available in the market for storing Bitcoins.
This hardware wallet has a beautiful though somewhat large design. The size of the KeepKey wallet is almost twice of the Ledger Nano S and Trezor and it is not so convenient to carry in your pocket.
KeepKey was launched in 2015, but it doesn’t offer much in comparison to the Ledger Nano S or Trezor.
It works like the other wallets, and it has same backup seed key feature with pin code enabled. At present, it supports six cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoins, Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Namecoin, and Testnet). KeepKey currently sales for $99 and can be bought from Amazon or directly from KeepKey site.
Consider reading these reviews and comments about KeepKey on Amazon and Reddit.
Key Security Features of KeepKey Hardware Wallet
- At transaction time you see the recipient on the screen and then confirm.
- KeepKey wallet is backed up by 12 words seed generated at the time of set up. You can recover your wallet with this seed in case of loss or theft of the device.
- Personal PIN to protect against physical theft or misuse.
- Safe to use on any machines compromised by hackers or infected machines.
Archos Safe-T Mini
Safe-T mini is a new hardware wallet produced by Archos, launched on July 2018. Archos is a French company whose main focus so far has been on production of tablets, phones, Android devices and portable data storage devices.
It works as a typical hardware cold storage wallet which lets its users store their cryptocurrency in a safe, offline way. As its name implies, the product is a smaller version of Archos’ flagship hardware wallet called Archos Safe-T Touch.
Coins supported by Archos hardware wallet are:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Bitcoin Cash(BCH)
- Bitcoin Gold (BTG)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Dash (DSH)
- Ether (ETH)
- Ether Classic (ETC)
- Groestlcoin (GRS)
- Monacoin (MONA)
- Fujicoin (FJC)
- Bitcore (BTX)
- ERC20 Tokens
The BitLox Bitcoin Hardware wallet is the Rolls Royce of Bitcoin wallets, and it was produced by the Hong Kong based Bitlox Limited. BitLox is a small handheld device that offers not only privacy but several security options as well. You can use this wallet to get directly into your Bitcoin account. At the moment, BitLox only works with Bitcoin. However, it is soon to expand to other cryptocurrencies. BitLox comes with a USB cable for device connection and is roughly around the same size as a credit card.
The company offers three different types of Bitlox hardware wallets that vary in price. The price for a BitLox Advance starts at $98, for BitLox Ultimate starts at $14, and for the BitLox Extreme Privacy Set begins at $198.
Digital Bitbox is the latest bitcoin hardware product. This device is provided by the Swiss-based company, Shift Devices AG.
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The Bitbox doesn’t use any cables as it plugs in much like the Opendime bitcoin stick.
The device is also smaller than most hardware wallets on the market. The wallet also comes with its own native software app that’s simple to use and avoids the security risks of browser-based extensions. You can avoid the security risks of browser-based clients thanks to the Digital Bitbox native software client. Additionally, the Bitbox comes with a recovery micro SD card. This card provides a secondary backup and can allow instant transfers between wallets. Also, private keys will never touch your computer or the internet. This makes Digital Bitbox a perfect cold storage solution.
Additionally, the Digital Bitbox can store multiple cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum classic, and associated ERC20 tokens, with plans to add more coins in the future.
Ledger Nano S vs. Trezor vs. KeepKey
|Ledger Nano S||Trezor||KeepKey|
· Bitcoin Cash
· Ethereum Classic
· ERC20 tokens
|Compatibility||Linux, Mac (10.8+), Windows (7+)||OS X (10.8 or higher), Linux, Windows||Linux, Mac, Windows|
|OLED Display and Buttons||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Weight and Dimension||Weight: 16.2 g (0.57 oz)|
Height: 98 mm (3.8 inches)
Width: 18 mm (0.71 inches)
Depth: 9 mm (0.35 inches)
|Weight: 12 g (0.42 oz)|
Height: 60 mm (2.36 inches)
Width: 30 mm (1.18 inches)
Depth: 6 mm (0.24 inches)
|Weight: 54 g (1.9 oz)|
Height: 38 mm (1.5 inches)
Width: 93.5 mm (3.68 inches)
Depth: 12.2 mm (0.28 inches)
|What’s in the box?||· Ledger Nano S Hardware Wallet device|
· USB cable
· Recovery sheet
· User Manual
|· TREZOR Hardware Wallet device|
· Micro USB cable
· Recovery seed booklet
· User Manual
|· KeepKey Hardware Wallet device|
· Nylon USB cable
· Recovery backup card
· Quick start guide
|Buy Now||Buy Ledger Nano S Hardware Wallet Now||Buy Trezor Hardware Wallet Now||Buy KeepKey Hardware Wallet Now|
Pros of Bitcoin Hardware Wallets
- The safest way to secure your Bitcoins
- Perfect for people who are looking to store large number of Bitcoins and for a longer time.
- 2 Level security ensures your Bitcoins are secure in case your device is lost or stolen.
- It’s easy to set up and run them.
- Your coins are in your custody and they are not dependant on any third party.
Cons of Bitcoin Hardware Wallets
The brighter side of hardware wallets is that they keep your keys safe offline. However, they also come with some drawbacks.
For example, you can’t access your coins if you misplace or forget your recovery seed key and/or PIN code.
That’s why it’s very important to always remember your PIN code.
It’s also highly recommended to write your backup seed key on a piece of paper and keep it in a safe place with your other valuable possessions. You should make 2-3 copies of this key and keep all of them in different places.
But if you’re smart about how you handle your wallet, the cons are easily avoidable.
If you are planning to store Bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency for a long time, get a hardware wallet.
It doesn’t get any simpler than this. Yes, hardware wallets cost money, but the amount of security you get by using a hardware wallet is much more valuable than the $50-$100 you’ll pay for buying the actual device.
Don’t say “it won’t happen to me” because there will be many more cases of hacking or theft once cryptocurrency becomes mainstream (and it seems like we’re getting there pretty fast). So make sure you are prepared….
Cryptocurrency wallet is a software or a physical device that stores your public address and private key. It can also receive and spend your crypto.
Hardware wallets are independent physical devices, which look and act similar to a flash drive and store your private keys. Hardware wallets are secure enough that you can even use them with a virus infected device you don’t trust.
Hot wallet is a cryptocurrency wallet that is actively connected to the internet. While it is easy to transact using these wallets, they are vulnerable to hacker attempts. Exchange wallets, mobile wallets, and desktop wallets are examples of hot wallets.
Ledger Nano S
Ledger Nano X
Cold wallets are type of bitcoin wallets that are airgapped – not connected to the internet and hence safe from computer viruses and hackers. Paper wallets and hardware wallets are an example of cold wallets. The idea is that if you want to store away and hold on to your cryptocurrencies safely, then you can use a cold wallet to keep them safe.
A hardware wallet is a physical device and special type of program that stores the user’s private keys in a secure hardware device. Private keys are often stored in a protected area of a microcontroller, and cannot be transferred out of the device in plaintext. Hardware wallets are immune to malware and viruses that steal coins from hot (software) wallets.
Yes. Hardware wallet uses an offline device or smartcard to generate private keys offline hence the name “cold” (not connected to internet).
If you are hardcore crypto-fanatic, you probably hold some of these coins as well. Here are the wallet solutions for them:
- Read here about best ETH wallets.
- Here is our list of best dashcoin wallets.
- Wonder what is the best wallet for Litecoin? Click here to find out.
- Read here about best NEO and GAS wallets.
CaptainAltcoin's writers and guest post authors may or may not have a vested interest in any of the mentioned projects and businesses. None of the content on CaptainAltcoin is investment advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified financial planner. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CaptainAltcoin.com