Hardware wallets are popular and well-recommended across the crypto-sphere. The best options all make it simple and easy to securely store and use bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), litecoin (LTC), and many more cryptocurrencies.
But what’s the best hardware wallet? Which hardware wallet should you buy?
In this post, I’ll walk through my favourite cryptocurrency hardware wallets.
What is a Hardware Wallet?
Hardware wallets are devices where you can securely store (and use) your cryptocurrency.
They isolate the sensitive information (your private keys) on the device itself. This information never leaves the device. When you do want to make a transaction, you’ll be required to physically confirm the details on the device. Nothing can happen unless you authorise it through these gadgets.
Hardware wallets aren’t as convenient as mobile and desktop wallets, but they’re much more secure. Because of this, they’re suitable for securing the majority of your crypto-portfolio.
“…right now, securing [cryptocurrency] private keys is one of the biggest hurdles to mainstream adoption. As it stands today, the process of creating and properly storing these keys is extremely arduous and stressful.”
Hardware wallets make this whole process simple enough that even non-technical users can (confidently) secure their cryptocurrency. Because of this, they’re popular and well-recommended across the crypto-sphere. With hardware wallets, it’s difficult to go wrong.
Hardware wallets aren’t free. But many consider them worth the investment for the ease, convenience, and peace of mind that they offer.
But what’s the best hardware wallet for you?
Best Hardware Wallets (2018)
1. Ledger Nano S
Over 1.3 million Ledger Nano S hardware wallets have been sold across 165 countries since it was launched in 2016.
It’s only continued to get better since its release. It now supports over 45 cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), litecoin (LTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), dogecoin (DOGE), and every ERC-20 token. Support for many more is in progress.
They’ve also revamped the wallet interface with the release of Ledger Live. Apart from looking great, you’re now able to manage many cryptocurrencies from within a single easy-to-use app.
The best part? It’s still an affordable cryptocurrency hardware wallet (£89.99 / €102 / $117 incl. shipping).
The Ledger Nano S is popular and well-recommended across for good reason. When putting together this list, it was clear that the Ledger Nano S deserved to be right at the top (even though I do prefer the Trezor Model T).
2. Trezor One
The Trezor (aka Trezor One) was the world’s first bitcoin hardware wallet. It was released in 2014 by SatoshiLabs. It remains an excellent choice in 2018.
- Support for over 40 cryptocurrencies (+ all ERC-20 tokens).
- Fantastic wallet interface (perfect for beginners).
- Excellent password manager.
- Fido U2F support.
While the Trezor itself looks and feels cheap, the wallet interface is fantastic. It’s easy to use and allow you to manage many of the supported cryptocurrencies from within a single application (offering a fluid experience). Compared to Ledger Live (for the Ledger Nano S), it’s miles ahead.
After a recent price drop, the Trezor is cheaper than the Ledger Nano S (£83 / €95 / $108 incl. shipping). It’s a close second to the Ledger Nano S, mainly because it supports fewer cryptocurrencies and feels a little clunky to use.
Regardless, the Trezor One remains well-recommended and popular in the crypto-sphere. It’s still an excellent choice in 2018.
Coinkite’s Coldcard is a bitcoin hardware wallet which started shipping in August 2018.
At about £55 (incl. shipping) from UK resellers like MyHardwareWallet, it’s one the cheapest hardware wallets around. While it looks cheap, it’s a serious piece of kit.
This is what stood out to me:
- It’s open source, but locks away your private keys in a secure element too.
- You can keep it 100% offline (i.e., never connect to a PC).
- Can easily backup wallets on a MicroSD (if you want).
It only supports bitcoin (BTC) and litecoin (LTC). Although it is simple enough to get started with, it’s not as beginner friendly as the Ledger Nano S or Trezor either.
But if you only care about bitcoin (BTC) support? Then it’s an excellent hardware wallet choice. I’m not surprised it’s received praise across Twitter.
The Trezor Model T (aka Trezor T) launched in May 2018. It’s the successor to the original Trezor which:
- Has a full-colour touchscreen (240 x 240px).
- Supports more than 40 cryptocurrencies (+ all ERC-20 tokens).
- Features the same fantastic wallet interface as the Trezor One.
- Has an easy-to-use password manager and Fido U2F support.
The Trezor Model T looks and feels a lot better than the Trezor One. With the addition of a decent touchscreen, it’s easier and more intuitive to use than the Ledger Nano S or Trezor One too (which, by comparison, feel clunkier to use).
The Trezor Model T also uses a new operating system, dubbed Trezor Core. This should translate to expanded cryptocurrency support (e.g., Ripple and Monero) compared to the Trezor One.
With so much upside, what’s the catch?
The price. The Trezor Model T currently retails for £167 / €192 (incl. shipping). That’s about £84 / €97 more than the Trezor One. Is the Trezor Model T really worth the extra money?
Initially, I didn’t think it was.
But the more I messed around with it, the more I preferred it over every other hardware wallet I’ve tested. That’s mainly because the touchscreen makes it so much easier to use. Yes, it is the premium option – but don’t immediately rule it out because of that.
5. Digital BitBox
The Digital BitBox is a Swiss-made cryptocurrency hardware wallet released by Shift Devices in 2016.
It’s the most compact (45 x 18 x 7mm), lightweight (4g), and discreet (little branding) that I’ve reviewed. When I tested the Digital BitBox, I thought it was intuitive and easy to use.
It doesn’t have an on-device screen, which means you need to securely pair it with your smartphone to check transactions details. I didn’t like this.
It also only supports bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), ethereum Classic (ETC), litecoin (LTC), bitcoin cash (BCH) and all ERC-20 tokens. If you’re after the widest cryptocurrency support, you’d be better off sticking with the Ledger Nano S, Trezor One, or Trezor Model T.
It’s about £69 / €78 (incl. shipping) from the official website, but you can usually get it cheaper from local resellers (it’s £59 on MyHardwareWallet).
Other Hardware Wallets
The Ledger Blue is a battery-powered hardware wallet with a full-colour 3.5 inch touchscreen display (320 x 480px). It supports fewer cryptocurrencies than the Ledger Nano S (about 30 & all ERC-20 tokens).
The Ledger Blue is a premium hardware wallet option, with a premium price tag to match (£249 / €284). For twice the price of the Ledger Nano S, you’d imagine it’d pack a serious punch!
But it doesn’t. I didn’t think much of it. Here’s why:
- The Ledger Nano S has more active development (with more updates and coin support).
- They’re selling the last public batch (which probably means updates will become even rarer).
- It includes Bluetooth, but nothing actually uses it.
The KeepKey supports bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), dash (DASH), dogecoin (DOGE), ethereum (ETH), litecoin (LTC), namecoin (NMC) and 30 ERC-20 tokens. It also has built-in Shapeshift integration which lets you easily trade backwards and forwards between supported cryptocurrencies too.
The KeepKey looks good (with its anodized aluminium case and polycarbonate front), but seems expensive for what it offers. Given the affordability and feature-set of their competitors, I probably wouldn’t even consider this.
Until the 31st December, they have a buy one get one free offer on the official website. Quite cool if you’re looking to gift a hardware wallet this holiday season.Buy Now
Summary: What’s the Best Hardware Wallet in 2018?
All of these hardware wallets are great options. Regardless of which one you choose, you’ll gain the peace of mind that your hard-earned stack of cryptocurrency is safe and secure.
If I was recommending a hardware wallet to a friend, I’d probably point them towards the Ledger Nano S or Trezor One. They’re both affordable (<£100), supports a growing number of cryptocurrencies, and easy-to-use. Of these two, I prefer the Ledger Nano S.
Here are my reviews of both: