Since crypto is a decentralized and unregulated space, hacks and online attacks are much higher in crypto. If you’re someone who stores their crypto assets on online wallets or exchange wallets, know that your assets are always vulnerable to hacks and leaks. Data shows that 66% of all perceived crypto attacks are online attacks.
So, what’s the solution?
The solution is crypto hardware wallets. It’s fine if you know very little about them because, in this article, we will explain what hardware wallets are, how they are different from other wallets, and most importantly, the best crypto hardware wallets you can buy to keep your assets safe from hacks.
What are Crypto Hardware Wallets?
A typical crypto wallet consists of two components – Public Key and Private Key.
A public key is an address with which people can send you crypto. Think of it as your bank account number someone would use to transfer funds to you.
A private key, on the other hand, is a secret key only available to you. This key is used to unlock your crypto funds. Meaning whenever you’re making a payment with crypto or transferring them from your wallet, you would require this key.
Now, there are two kinds of wallets you should know about – Hot Wallets and Cold Wallets.
Hot wallets are online crypto wallets. In other words, crypto-wallets that store your private key on the internet are called hot wallets. It includes exchange wallets, mobile wallets, and software wallets.
Cold wallets are simply wallets that keep your private key offline. An example would be paper wallets.
Both have their pros and cons:
For instance, hot wallets allow easy and quick transactions but are vulnerable to online attacks like hacks. And while cold wallets eliminate the risk of online attacks, it’s not convenient for easy and quick transactions. Plus, cold wallets are sometimes vulnerable to theft, just as any of your physical assets.
This is where crypto hardware wallets come into the picture. Hardware wallets combine the easy transaction mechanism of hot wallets with the safety and security of cold wallets, giving you the best of both worlds.
But How Does it Work?
A crypto hardware wallet is a physical device that looks like a flash drive that stores your private keys. To make a transaction, all you have to do is connect the device with your phone or laptop and enter a pin to access your private keys. After which, the hardware wallet will ask for transaction details from your software wallet like the amount of the transaction, the receiver’s public address, etc.
Once it receives the required information, you’ll be asked to confirm and sign the transaction. There you have it, the transaction is complete, and the best part about the entire process is that your private keys are always secure and disconnected from the internet, even during the transaction.
However, if you’re trusting your assets (crypto) with a hardware wallet, you better be sure about it. You don’t want a wallet that doesn’t function well, gets corrupted, or is just too difficult to use. That will defeat the entire purpose of buying a hardware wallet. Right?
Different hardware wallets have different features, mechanisms, designs, etc. That’s why you must know what exactly you’re looking for, so you can choose the best one that suits your needs.
The following is a list of the best crypto hardware wallets, their features, how they work, and the pros and cons to help you choose the right one for you.
4 Best Crypto Hardware Wallets in 2021:
- Ledger Nano X
- Ledger Nano S
- Trezor T
Ledger Nano X
Launched in 2019, the Ledger Nano X is the latest edition of the Ledger Nano series. Right now, it’s considered to be the best hardware wallet in the market by many people.
Unlike many traditional hardware wallets, Ledger Nano X offers multiple options to connect with your phone and laptop, meaning you can connect this device via Bluetooth or USB, whatever you prefer.
It stores your private keys locally secured by a pin generated by you. The Nano X version is slightly different from its previous version, Nano S, in terms of making transactions.
To send or receive crypto on Nano X, you must install the application of the respective coin you want to transfer or receive. So, for instance, to send or receive Bitcoins, you’ll have to download the Bitcoin application on your Nano X. Plus, you can download and store up to 100 applications of different cryptocurrencies simultaneously, unlike its previous version that only allowed one at a time. Overall, the Ledger Nano X is pretty easy and simple to use, even for beginners.
Other than that, it supports more than 1500 coins, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero, etc., making it ideal for beginners as well as experienced and more advanced crypto users. However, one drawback is that it only has limited wallet storage.
- Easy and simple user interface.
- Multiple options for connectivity – USB & Bluetooth.
- Supports 1500+ coins.
- Can store multiple coins and up to 100 applications at the same time.
- Ledger’s secure two-chip technology makes it one of the most secure hardware wallets.
- Limited wallet storage.
- Quite expensive.
Ledger Nano S
The former version of Nano X, the Ledger Nano S released in 2016, is probably the best option after Nano X.
Since it’s an earlier version, you’ll see many downgrades compared to Nano X, starting with the connectivity options, allowing you to only connect via USB. However, it’s not all bad.
The security mechanism of this model is excellent, such that even you won’t know your private key. All you’ll have is a pin generated by you during the setup and a 24-word recovery sheet that you can use to reset or recover your wallet in case it ever gets stolen or lost.
Similar to Nano X, Nano S also offers 1500+ cryptocurrencies, including the major ones like Bitcoin and Ethereum. But even though it offers many cryptocurrencies, it only supports 18 applications.
However, on a more positive side, it allows you to install third-party apps out of that 18 application limit and offers a lot more storage than others. It also lets you stake your coins, which is pretty unusual and rare for a crypto hardware wallet.
Though not as good as the newest edition of the Ledger Nano series, Nano S still holds its own in the lists of best hardware wallets, even five years after its release, and one of the major reasons for this is the affordable, $59 price of this device.
- Supports 1500+ coins.
- Offers more wallet storage.
- Extremely secure mechanism.
- Allows staking.
- Very affordable.
- Only supports 18 applications.
- Only supports USB connectivity.
- Not ideal for beginners.
Trezor Model T
Launched in 2018, Trezor Model T is the only true competitor of the Ledger series, and in some sense, better.
Unlike the Ledger Nano X, Trezor Model T avoided incorporating Bluetooth and only allows you to connect the device with USB.
Model T uses similar mechanisms as other hardware wallets for keeping your private key and assets safe. During the setup process, which usually takes around 10-15 minutes, you’ll generate a pin that will grant you access to your private key every time you make a transaction. Plus, you’ll also receive a random 24-word combination generated offline, also known as the seed, to recover your wallet in case it ever gets stolen, lost, or you buy a new one.
The Trezor Model T offers 1600+ cryptocurrencies and unlimited storage, something its competitors lack. This device is fully touchscreen and has an extremely simple and easy user interface, which is best for beginners.
The Trezor Model T is open-source, meaning people other than the manufacturer themselves can investigate the code running the device. It allows the user community to find flaws and security loopholes in code, which they did. However, the flaw is pretty insignificant and negligible.
Other than that, it’s also in the higher price range compared to other hardware wallets in the market, but some believe it’s worth it.
- Supports 1600+ coins.
- Unlimited wallet storage.
- Fully touchscreen and easy user interface.
- It’s open-source.
Founded in 2015, KeepKey has come a long way to solidify its name among the best crypto hardware wallets. Though it might not be as good as the other three hardware wallets on this list, it could be the right one for you.
Similar to Trezor Model T and Ledger Nano S, KeepKey only supports USB connectivity.
KeepKey has a similar security mechanism and setup procedure as most hardware wallets. However, instead of a 24-word seed, it provides you with a 12-word seed and only one chance to note them down.
Although KeepKey has no limit on wallet storage, one of its major drawbacks is it only supports 7 cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, DASH, Dogecoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. This could be a dealbreaker for more experienced traders in crypto who deal with a variety of cryptocurrencies. However, beginners might still be fine with it.
Speaking of beginners, with its large LCD screen and easy user interface, KeepKey is great for one.
Overall, KeepKey is a great starting point for beginners who only deal with a few major cryptocurrencies and don’t require any extra flashy features.
- Unlimited wallet storage.
- Excellent security mechanisms.
- Large LCD screen and easy user interface.
- Ideal for beginners.
- Only supports 7 cryptocurrencies.
- Too big compared to other hardware wallets.
- Poor customer service.
- Lack of features.
Final Thoughts – The Best Crypto Hardware Wallets of 2021
If you’re new to crypto trading or investing, you should go for a device that’s not too expensive and difficult to use while having all the basic essential features you need to get a taste of crypto hardware wallets. And if you’re an advanced trader and investor, you can go for something that offers more features and options according to your needs.