best hardware wallet for crypto

12 Best Hardware Wallets For Crypto – Bitcoin 2021

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Last Updated on September 22, 2021 by Calvin C.

Cryptocurrency is the new-age medium of exchange that initially faced skepticism in its inception back in 2010. This digital currency, notably Bitcoin, has now gained recognition and value, hence cases of hacked cryptocurrency wallets are common. With that background, it makes sense to use the safest way to store Bitcoin and altcoins, and this is achieved with a hardware wallet.

In this article, I look at the best hardware wallets for crypto and how you can also start using one. If you invest in at least $100 worth of cryptocurrency, you definitely need a hardware wallet. A newbie may not be aware of this until it’s too late, when hackers are long gone.

As the need for security increases, the need for a hardware wallet also increases and most people follow this progression:

1. Exchange wallet (e.g. Coinbase) >> 2. Hot wallet (mobile app wallet, browser-based wallet etc) >> 3. Cold or hardware wallet (the safest wallet e.g. Ledger)

What is a hardware wallet?

By definition, a hardware wallet is a portable, physical device that is built to store private keys for crypto assets, allowing you to safely transact online anywhere and anytime.

When you create a software wallet or hardware wallet, two keys are generated, a public key and a private key. In addition, a seed phrase is also created, with 12 to 24 words to recover your wallet in case you lose the private key.

The public key is derived from the private key and the two keys play an important role in the functions of your wallet.

A public key allows you to create wallet addresses that you use to receive cryptocurrency from a sender and as the name suggest, it is publicly visible.

On the other hand, a private key is used to confirm that you are the owner of the wallet, so it has to be kept safe.

Anyone who has access to your private key can access your crypto assets and steal them. This is what separates a hardware wallet from software wallets (apps or browser wallets) because only you have access to the private key.

In software wallets, you rely on the provider of the wallet services to generate the private key, something which automatically presents a security problem. If the platform is hacked, your login credentials can be exposed and you lose your coins.

In addition, platform fees are too much in some cases, so it’s a good idea to transact directly from the hardware wallet.

A hardware wallet is a cold wallet, meaning your keys are stored offline, as opposed to software wallets which are connected to the internet all the time, hence the term “hot wallets.”

Benefits of hard wallets:

  • They have a self-destruct feature after repeated PIN attempts to protect your public and private keys.
  • The PIN is encrypted and only generated by you
  • Private keys are only entered on the device, not on the computer, so hackers have no way to access them.
  • Can hold multiple currencies simultaneously e.g. Bitcoin, Ethereum or Ripple
  • Safe from malware attack
  • Every transaction has to be verified through the hardware device. No-one can access your crypto funds without the device.

Setting up a hardware wallet

When you connect your hardware device, you set a PIN that you use to unlock the wallet.

In addition, a 24-word passphrase or seed is generated and this is used to retrieve your coins in case the hardware wallet is damaged or stolen.

You write the phrase on a recovery seed card preferably a metal one and keep it safe somewhere, never on your device.

With a hardware wallet, you can buy or sent cryptocurrencies and maintain your own personal ledger of transactions.

It is important to purchase your hardware wallet from a trusted vendor only. You should be the only person who sets up the device.

If you use a device that has already been activated, someone else may possess the seed words and use that to steal your coins.

Got no time? Look at the top hardware wallets that you can get today:

1. Trezor Model T

trezor model t best hardware wallets for crypto
  • Made by SatoshiLabs
  • Hardware and software is 100% open source
  • Is a second generation Trezor wallet, after Trezor One
  • It is very popular and supports more than 1200 tokens
  • Security Certfication: CC EAL5+
  • Costs €159

This is one of the best hardware wallets, competing closely with Ledger Nano X.

There is a color touchscreen for easy control and to give it a premium appearance.

You can opt for a firmware that is optimized for Bitcoin or you can choose a model that supports multiple cryptocurrencies.

Since it’s open source, tackling of bugs is fast and easy as anyone can report or provide solutions to issues.

Major operating systems are supported and that includes Windows, Linux, MacOS and Android (sorry iOS users, there is no support for it yet).

Management of transactions on a computer requires Trezor Suite or other third party wallets like Exodus, Magnum etc.

Trezor has metal wallet backups that are included in the box to protect your 24-word recovery phrase:

Cryptotag Zeus – made from space-grade titanium to withstand adverse conditions. You engrave a 4 digit numbers that match words in the BIP39 word list.

Cryptosteel Cassette – alternative metal wallet backup made from stainless steel. Comes with pre-stamped metal pieces that you slide into a slot to form words. Although it is resistant to corrosion, it can easily be deformed by strong forces, which is not a good sign.

What comes in the box?

  • Trezor Model T
  • Model T Magnetic dock
  • USB-C cable
  • 2 x Recovery seed card from Crytotag
  • Trezor stickers

2. Ledger Nano X

  • Editor’s Choice
ledger nano x
  • Made by Ledger, a company based in Paris, France
  • Is a second generation Ledger wallet, after Ledger Nano S
  • It has a sophisticated certified chip
  • Can store more than 1500 tokens
  • Security Certfication: CC EAL5+
  • Costs €119

Ledger Nano X supports all major operation systems and these include Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android and iOS.

There is a USB cable for connection to a computer and Bluetooth for connection with mobile devices.

Unlike its predecessor, Ledger Nano X has a bigger screen and storage, in addition to Bluetooth connection with mobile devices.

You can easily control this device using only 2 buttons, which are also used for selecting options.

This hardware wallet is very secure, using an inhouse operating system called BOLOS.

To transact, you connect the device to Ledger Live, which has a desktop and mobile version. Ledger Live allows you to buy, sell and swap cryptocurrencies.

With a Ledger wallet, you can avoid exchange fees or delays by transacting directly from your hardware wallet.

What comes in the box?

  • Ledger Nano X
  • 1 getting started leaflet
  • USB-C to USB-A cable
  • 3 x Recovery sheets
  • 1 x Keychain strap

3. BitBox02

  • Made in Switzerland by Shift Cryptosecurity
  • Equipped with an OLED display and invisible touch sensors
  • Supports more than 1500 tokens
  • MicroSD card support for easy backup
  • Costs €119

A feature that sets it apart from other hardware wallets is the presence of a microSD card for easy backup and recovery.

You can still use the usual recovery phrase, but the card makes things faster.

There are two models, one device that is optimized for Bitcoin only and another that supports multiple cryptocurrencies.

Since the Bitcoin-only wallet has less code, this further enhances security as there is less attack surface.

Major operating systems are supported and that includes Windows, MacOS, Linux and Android.

The firmware is open source, making it easy to identify and fix bugs. To use a BitBox02, you install the BitBoxApp on your mobile device or computer.

What comes in the box?

  • BitBox02
  • USB-C to USB-A adapter
  • USB-C extension cable
  • 3 x Recovery sheets
  • Rubber pulls
  • Stickers

4. SafePal S1

  • Made in Shenzhen, China and is invested by Binance
  • Supports more than 20,000 tokens
  • You can add more tokens with a firmware upgrade
  • Security Certfication: CC EAL5+
  • Costs $49.99

This is the size of a credit card, making it light and easy to carry around.

To maximize security, the device has a self-destruct mechanism that is activated when you lose your wallet or when it’s stolen.

Unlike other hardware wallets, SafePal S1 uses 100% offline air-gapped signing mechanism so it’s truly a cold wallet.

This means no Bluetooth, no WiFi, no USB connection and no NFC.

What comes in the box?

  • SafePal S1
  • USB cable
  • User manual
  • Cleaning cloth
  • 3 x Mnemonic Phrase card
  • 2 x Stickers

5. SecureX V20

securex v20
  • Made in Taiwan
  • Large 2.8 inch touch screen
  • Supports more than 1000 cryptocurrencies
  • Security Certfication: CC EAL5+
  • Costs €139

Supports major operating systems which Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android and iOS.

Connection is done via Bluetooth and USB-C connection.

A 600mAph battery powers the device for up to 7 hours.

This device has a military-grade Infineon Secure Element chip, together with tamper-proof sealing labels.

Up to 500 accounts can be managed on one device which is impressive.

What comes in the box?

  • SecuX V20
  • USB cable
  • SecuX black pouch
  • 2 x Recovery sheet
  • Quick start guide

6. Ledger Nano S

ledger nano s
  • Made by Ledger, a company based in France
  • Is the first generation Ledger wallet
  • Can support more than 1000 tokens
  • Also uses the BOLOS operating system, like the Ledger Nano X
  • Security Certfication: CC EAL5+
  • Costs €59

The Ledger Nano S supports major operating systems and these are Windows, MacOS, Linux.

Connection to mobile devices (iOS and Android) is done using an OTG cable, unlike the Ledger Nano X which uses Bluetooth.

In addition, it has less storage that its successor.

What comes in the box?

  • Ledger Nano S
  • 1 x USB cable

7. Trezor Model One

trezor model one
  • Made by SatoshiLabs
  • Hardware and software is 100% open source
  • Is a first generation Trezor wallet
  • It is very popular and supports more than 1000 coins
  • Costs €49

It supports major operating systems like Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android but not iOS.

This was the first hardware wallet and it is optimized for keeping Bitcoin safe.

A bright 128 x 64 OLED display is built-in for quick navigation and easy usage.

The cheaper price may be attractive to beginners, but if you want more functionality, I suggest you go for the Model T.

Comes in 2 colors – black and white.

What comes in the box?

  • Trezor Model One device
  • Micro USB cable
  • 2x Recovery seed card
  • Trezor stickers

8. Opolo Cosmos

opolo cosmos
  • Supports more than 200,000 tokens and more than 120 coins
  • 100% offline
  • Open source firmware
  • Uses an EAL6+ Secure chip, making it one of the most secure hardware wallet
  • Costs €119

This new hardware wallet supports Windows, MacOS and Linux.

There is a 3.2 inch TFT screen for easy navigation and verification of transactions.

In addition, the Opolo Cosmos has a password manager. You can read more about password managers here.

The device has no Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity which increases security.

It can only be powered on when a USB cable is connected.

You connect it to the Opolo Desktop App for more features.

Boasts other security features like randomized keyboard, USB data encryption, PCB encapsulation, secure bootloader and more.

What comes in the box?

  • Opolo Cosmos device
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • 1 x Opolo card to take the seed/mnemonics backup
  • 1 x Opolo paper backup

9. Satochip

  • Size of a credit card with an EAL6 certified chip
  • A chip card reader or NFC-enabled device allows you to manage your crypto assets
  • Supports Bitcoin and a few other coins e.g. LTC, ETH
  • Open source project
  • Costs €25 (device only) or €80 (device and card reader)

There are several editions with themes representing various coins e.g. Bitcoin design, Bitcoin Cash design, Litecoin design, Ethereum design etc.

The hardware wallet is currently supported by Electrum, Electrum for Litecoin, Electron Cash, Electron Cash SLP Edition, MetaMask and MyEtherWallet.

What comes in the box?

  • Satochip
  • Card reader (First Edition)

10. Keystone Pro

keystone pro
  • QR code transmission with no Bluetooth connectivity or USB connection
  • This eliminates any malware infiltration risks
  • EAL5+ Secure Element
  • Open source firmware
  • Costs $169

It has a 4 inch display which makes it easy to use.

If you are in public, you can safely unlock the device using a fingerprint sensor at the back.

In case of theft, there is a self-destruct mechanism to safeguard your crypto assets.

Integrates with many software wallets.

What comes in the box?

  • Keystone Pro
  • AAA battery holder
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Charging cable

11. D’cent

  • Beautiful design with a premium feel
  • Large 128 x 128 OLED display
  • Built-in fingerprint scanner
  • Supports Bitcoin and many other crypto assets
  • Security Certfication: CC EAL5+
  • Costs $119

This hardware wallet is built for Android and iOS devices.

It’s easy to recover your assets when the device is lost or stolen.

Connection is via Bluetooth or USB.

What comes in the box?

  • D’cent
  • User manual
  • Recovery sheet

12. Coldcard X

coldcard mk3 onoff
  • Made in Totonto, Canada
  • Supports Bitcoin only and has an air-gapped connection
  • Bright 128 x 64 OLED screen to show you all details of your transactions
  • There is a microSD card slot for easy backup
  • Has a dedicated security chip
  • Costs $179

Communication is controlled by SHA-256 responses to prevent eavesdropping and replay.

Immune to brute-force combinations and the device bricks itself after 13 tries.

Clear case so that you can check if any attacker has placed an implant in the device.

There is a chip that is labelled “Shoot This” in case you want to destroy your data completely.

What comes in the box?

  • Coldcard X device
  • 2 x Industrial microSD card

Remember, “not your keys, not your coins” so take the security of your crypto assets seriously and get one of these recommended hardware wallets.

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Tech writer and VPN expert. DIY enthusiast and loves anything to do with space science.

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