In briefA cryptocurrency hardware wallet keeps your private keys stored in a secure offline environment. Hardware wallets are widely considered to be the gold standard for securing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Leading hardware wallet brands include Ledger and Trezor.
When it comes to storing cryptocurrencies safely, hardware wallets are widely considered to be the gold standard.
Hardware wallets keep the private keys to your crypto stored in a secure offline environment—meaning that unlike software wallets, they’re completely immune to online attacks. The best hardware wallets are also resistant to physical tampering.
Hardware wallets are ideal for anybody looking to safely store a substantial cryptocurrency portfolio, or carry their portfolio with them on the move. They are also an excellent choice for anybody looking to store their crypto assets long-term, with little need to access them regularly.
There are currently dozens of options on the market, each with their own pros and cons, and target userbase; we’ve rounded up some of the leading contenders.
Ledger Nano XLedger Nano X (Image: Decrypt)
First released in 2019, the Ledger Nano X is one of the latest entries to the hardware wallet market. A step up from the older Ledger Nano S, the Nano X features improved internal memory, enabling you to store up to 100 apps instead of the two or three that the Nano S can manage. It also has a revamped design with a larger display, and Bluetooth support—enabling you to use the device to sync wirelessly with the Ledger Live smartphone app.
Like its predecessor, the Nano X supports a huge variety of cryptocurrencies and is one of the most portable wallets available, making it ideal for those regularly on the move.
A series of firmware updates since the Nano X’s release have added features including streamlining the update process for the device, and adding full support for Ethereum 2.0.
Read our full review of the Ledger Nano X
Trezor Model TTrezor Model T (Image: Decrypt)
The Trezor Model T is SatoshiLabs’ latest foray into the hardware market. The Model T is similar in design to the older Trezor Model One—albeit with a larger touchscreen interface, and support for a much wider range of cryptocurrencies.
Although pricey, the Trezor Model T is regarded as one of the best hardware wallets on the market, particularly for those concerned with the security implications of the Bluetooth connectivity that many recent flagship wallets come equipped with.
July 2021 saw the launch of Trezor Suite, a full desktop app that replaced the previous Trezor Wallet web app as the main interface for Trezor wallets. It makes for a more streamlined and secure user experience, with features including one-click Tor integration and the option to buy crypto and have it sent directly to your hardware wallet.
Read our full review of the Trezor Model T
Ledger Nano SLedger Nano S (Image: Decrypt)
One of the most popular cryptocurrency hardware wallets on the market, the Ledger Nano S is an attractive, easy-to-use wallet that is suitable for those looking for robust security on a budget.
The Ledger Nano S features support for well over 1,000 cryptocurrencies, and packs a built-in bank-grade secure element.
A major firmware upgrade in May 2021 streamlines the onboarding process, giving you a choice of four words when confirming your recovery phrase rather than forcing you to cycle through all 24 words. It also adds the Nano X’s Control Center feature; a long press on both buttons takes you to a menu that lets you adjust settings and delete apps on the device, without having to use the Ledger Live desktop software.
Read our full review of the Ledger Nano S
Trezor Model OneTrezor Model One (Image: Decrypt)
First released by SatoshiLabs in 2014, the Trezor Model One was one of the first hardware wallets to hit the market. Despite its age, the Trezor One still impresses with its security features, support for a huge range of cryptocurrencies and compatibility with dozens of external wallets.
As one of the older wallets on the market, the Trezor One is attractively priced, but still hangs with some of the best in terms of features.
Like its more expensive cousin, the Model T, the Model One also benefits from being able to employ the new Trezor Suite app as a wallet interface.
Read our full review of the Trezor Model One
CoolWallet SCoolWallet S (Image: Decrypt)
The CoolWallet S is a slimline hardware wallet that’s designed to fit in your wallet alongside your debit and credit cards. The CoolWallet S features support for most major cryptocurrencies and is one of the few waterproof hardware wallets available.
The CoolWallet S also comes with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to manage your portfolio from almost any Bluetooth-capable device.
Read our full review of the CoolWallet S
KeepKeyKeepKey (Image: Decrypt)
The KeepKey is a simple hardware wallet with a premium design and feel. Designed to be easily accessible, the KeepKey allows users to store most popular cryptocurrencies in cold storage and exchange assets directly on the device thanks to its built-in ShapeShift functionality.
As one of the cheapest hardware wallets on this list, the KeepKey provides excellent bang for the buck, particularly for those that don’t need top-end features.
Read our full review of the KeepKey
SafePal S1SafePal S1 (Image: Decrypt)
The Binance backed SafePal S1 is a lesser-known hardware wallet that looks to make cryptocurrency storage more secure through a completely self-contained device that lacks USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and any other connection methods.
This relatively cheap device features a built-in camera and six physical buttons, which are all you need to store and access thousands of different cryptocurrencies by scanning QR codes on the associated mobile app.
Read our full review of the Safepal S1
The Best Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallets: The Verdict
As with most things, selecting the cryptocurrency hardware wallet that works best for you will likely come down to your individual needs and preferences. Every wallet on this list will provide better security than a standard software or mobile wallet, but not all offer the same ease of use, features, and range of supported cryptocurrencies.
Based on security alone, the Ledger Nano S is arguably the most battle-tested of the bunch, and has clearly benefited from the insights garnered by Ledger’s Donjon security team. The Ledger Nano X is arguably just as secure since it uses the same security stack, and its Bluetooth connectivity doesn’t appear to have weakened its security, but it’s newer and hasn’t yet been subject to as much scrutiny.
The KeepKey is one of the easiest wallets to use, making it a good choice for newcomers to the crypto space; the Ledger Nano S and X are also extremely accessible thanks to the intuitive Ledger Live application. On the flip side, the SafePal S1 is less accessible to inexperienced users.
As for asset support, the Ledger Nano X simply mops the floor with everything else on the list—but that versatility comes with a relatively high price tag. For a good mix of value for money and asset support, the Ledger Nano S should represent an acceptable middle ground for most users, and the Trezor Model One offers similar value for those with a diverse cryptocurrency portfolio.
Additional features like two-factor authenticator functionality can be found on several devices on the list, including the Trezor Model One and Ledger Nano X, while the Trezor Model T, CoolWallet S, and Ledger Nano X offer Bluetooth support for increased flexibility.Ledger Nano X (Image: Decrypt)
Overall, we believe the Ledger Nano X represents the best mix of security, asset support, and additional features, but those that don’t need Bluetooth support will likely be served just as well by the cheaper Ledger Nano S wallet.
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