A good cryptocurrency hardware wallet is an absolute essential for many of us. Aside from helping us feel more connected to our funds, hardware wallets keep us safe and give us peace of mind when using digital currencies.
It’s been my mission for the past few years to help people understand cryptocurrencies and keep safe when using them. Having a hardware wallet is one of the most important components in keeping your cryptocurrency secure.
If you’re looking for one, you’re going to want the best hardware wallet you can find.
Read through this guide if you want to understand the difference between the different wallet providers. If you are in a hurry to find the best your money can buy, you’ve also come to the right place.
What are hardware wallets?
The short of it is that hardware wallets are portable devices that give us secure access to our crypto. They function by generating a user’s private keys in a secure, offline environment while featuring an easy to use display. They usually connect via USB or Bluetooth to internet-connected devices like your computer. A separate screen on the wallet is used to verify and approve transactions to help prevent disclosure of sensitive information to the internet-connected device. This all combines to be very handy as you don’t have to worry about a computer being compromised.
Aside from security advantages, a hardware wallet also gives users tactile control over their funds. To many, having their funds in their hands is a familiar feeling that is paramount for adoption.
There are just a few hardware wallets on the market, yet still, it may be difficult to choose the right one for you. I have put together these top four hardware wallets to help you save your time and money experimenting.
The six hardware wallets we chose to highlight are NGRAVE ZERO, BitBox, Ledger Nano X, Trezor Model T, and KeepKey. They all have different features and attributes that may make one more suitable for your objectives.
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Below are the best cryptocurrency hardware wallets going into 2021.
NGRAVE is a new competitor to the scene. The company was incubated by one of the top leading security research firms in the world, imec. Dubbed the “coldest wallet” in the industry, the device doesn’t allow you to connect to the internet in any way. Rather than using a USB port or Bluetooth, the ZERO uses one-way QR code communication to relay information to connected devices while staying offline. All of this means that you will never have to worry about compromised software.
Another great feature is that the NGRAVE Zero also comes with their “Everlasting Backup” for your seed phrase. These stainless steel sheets are fire-resistant, water-resistant and ‘recoverable.’ This makes storing your seed code a breeze compared to other wallet providers that only include paper to backup your seed.
Pros: NGRAVE exemplifies end-to-end product thinking. Unique “cold” design means it cannot be compromised digitally and that you never have to worry if your hardware wallet’s software is okay. Great for people who want complete peace of mind about their crypto funds and especially for those that travel often with their devices. Includes stainless sheets right out of the box to simplify the proper storage of your seed phrase.
Cons: This is a new company with its first major product. With IMEC behind them, you can expect great security, however, community support may take some time to catch up.
Also, read our Ngrave ZERO review.
#2 BitBox02 Hardware Wallet
The BitBox02 is a great tool for individuals to easily store, protect, and transact cryptocurrencies. Its companion, the BitBoxApp, provides an all-in-one solution to securely manage your digital assets with ease.
The hardware wallet looks like a small USB-C thumb drive, and the display is not visible when it is powered off. With its small form factor and no visible screen when powered off, the BitBox02 is a very discreet device, inheriting the classical Swiss values of quality and privacy. Everything you need is included: a regular USB adapter, a USB extension cable, a microSD card for the backup, some lanyards and stickers. Optionally, you can also get additional microSD cards for backup redundancy.
According to Shift Crypto, the BitBox hardware wallets have been available since 2016 and have been sold in over 100 countries.
It also has features for advanced users. The BitBoxApp offers an easy connection to your own Bitcoin full node, providing additional privacy because nobody else (not even Shift Crypto) will learn about your transactions. The “coin control” feature is important for users that use a coin-join wallet like Wasabi or Samourai, otherwise, they wouldn’t have control over what coins are selected to use in a transaction. And the BitBox02 is also compatible with the Bitcoin wallet Electrum and MyEtherwallet, so power-users can use their favorite tools directly with added hardware security.
The secure dual-chip architecture is a unique feature that addresses issues regarding transparency and physical protection of other hardware wallets. The BitBox02 uses a secure chip for physical device hardening in combination with fully open-source firmware, which neither Ledger (closed-source firmware) nor Trezor (no secure chip) can provide. Shift Crypto also has a transparent threat model that explains what attacks their products protect against, and which are considered out of scope.
The Trezor Model T is the latest developed by Satoshi Labs which was the first hardware wallet provider of note in the world. The Model T is different from other wallets in that it features a touchscreen interface. The Trezor wallet allows you to store countless cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Namecoin, Dash, Ethereum and more.
Pros: Supports many cryptocurrencies. Allows conversion to fiat currency. In wallet, exchange have many functionalities including atomic swap and fiat exchange.
Cons: Pricey. The Model T is an upgrade in user interface but not much else from the Trezor One. It is almost 3 times as expensive as the less feature-rich but equally functional competitors.
You can learn more about the Trezor wallet here.
Also, read our comparison of Ledger vs Trezor
The Ledger Nano X, from a France-based start-up company, looks like a typical USB thumb drive except with a steel shell. The device can be connected to any mobile devices or personal computers with a USB or Bluetooth.
Bluetooth connectivity and mobile support are major upgrades that the Ledger Nano X has over the Ledger Nano S.
The device supports over 30 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin, Tron, and more. This is the most popular hardware wallet to date — aided in part by Ledger’s huge marketing effort over the years.
Pros: Ledger is the most popular hardware wallet provider. The wallet allows you to store many different cryptocurrencies. There is a lot of community support in the form of software integration that uses ledger to directly transact. These include many new decentralized exchanges. The device is constantly updated with new software.
Cons: Interference layout makes it so that set up or rebooting your wallet takes a considerable amount of time. The added mobile support is great but its main improvement, Bluetooth functionality, is far from being smooth. Many software updates that affect user experience: often introducing lag & wallets that are not always immediately compatible. Only company to incorporate Bluetooth connectivity. While security concerns have not been substantiated, Bluetooth is looked on by the industry with suspicion as possibly introducing another attack vector.
You can learn more about the Ledger Nano X and other Ledger products here.
Also, read our comparison of Ledger Nano S vs X
The SecuX STONE V20 Crypto Hardware Wallet is crafted with a diamond-shaped aluminum case that is designed by a Taiwan-based blockchain security company. All SecuX STONE V20, W20, and W10 wallets are embedded with a Secure Element chip to protect your Private Key and device PIN safely.
With a large 2.8” touchscreen display, SecuX STONE V20, W20, and W10 wallets allow cryptocurrency users to operate by finger tipping easily and view multiple crypto accounts at a glance. The users are able to easily tip on the intuitive color vivid icons with readable characters.
SecuX STONE V20/W20 wallets are the best cross-platform crypto hardware wallets that support major Operating Systems including Windows, Mac OS, Chrome OS, Linux, Android, and iOS. SecuX STONE V20/W20 feature with dual connectivity that allows the wallet connect to the desktop, laptop, mobile phone via USB or Bluetooth. Cryptocurrency investors can use SecuX Mobile iOS or Android App to manage crypto assets easily on the Bluetooth-enabled SecuX STONE wallets.
SecuX STONE V20, W20, and W10 adopt a SecuX Web App as a portal without the app-installation which is a truly easy solution to access your account management and send/receive the crypto assets at all times.
Pros: SecuX STONE hardware wallets support cross-platform OS compatibility that allows cryptocurrency users to easily manage the cryptocurrencies and make the transaction on-the-go.
Cons: SecuX STONE hardware wallets are lesser coin support for major crypto coins, such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Binance, Groestlcoin, DigiByte, Dash, Stellar Lumens, DOGE, and all ERC-20 Tokens.
Read SecuX Stone review
The KeepKey is similarly shaped to the Ledger, however, it features an easy to read digital display. Its parent company, Shapeshift, is a long time and trusted software wallet provider in the crypto space.
Pros: An upgrade to the Ledger in appearance. Easy to read and use compared to its competitor Ledger Nano X. Syncs with the Shapeshift wallet, giving you options for exchange right out of the box.
Cons: When comparing it to its competitors TREZOR and Ledger, it still lacks community support. Moreover, users must add software such as Electrum or MultiBit to make use of Keepkey applications. Usable only when it is connected via a USB cable that’s plugged into an internet-connected device.
Best Cryptocurrency hardware wallets list
Want more information on hardware wallets?
Interested in a more in-depth explanation? I have linked a video of Andreas Antonopoulos here for that purpose. Antonopoulos does a great job of explaining what hardware wallets are and are not.
While hardware wallets are an investment, they may be worth it given the peace of mind you will get from them when managing your digital assets. Hardware wallets will keep you safe when transacting, but you’ll still need to keep backups of your seed and follow other best practices. For best practices around cryptocurrency storage, start here with another one of my favorite Antonopoulos Q&A session
Thank you for reading!
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