Top 5 Best Hardware Crypto Wallets 2020: Ledger vs Trezor vs KeepKey — The Ultimate Guide

Cryptocurrency Wallets
Fri, 03/27/2020 - 18:36
Vladislav Sopov
U.Today explains what hardware cryptocurrency wallets are, how to use them and why you need to buy one right now. Ledger, Trezor or KeepKey - which one is the real gem?
Cover image via www.shutterstock.com
Contents

As often happens in crypto, the simplest device is also the safest one. It should work perfectly for the storage of your digital assets, both Bitcoin (BTC) and altcoins. A hardware wallet is one of the best ways to secure your private keys and, thus, your riches. Here, U.Today will explain how this gadget works and cover the best hardware wallets available in 2020.

What is a hardware crypto wallet

A hardware crypto wallet is an electronic device designed to secure the private keys of your blockchain address and to authorize transactions.

To start with, a hardware crypto wallet is not a ‘wallet’ in the strictest sense as it doesn’t store your money or other assets physically or in the form of some code or information. A hardware crypto wallet is much more like a set of keys. It secures private keys that allow you to access your tokens allocated on some blockchain address.

Unlike keys to your doors, a hardware crypto wallet not only allows you to access your funds, but also interacts with crypto wallet software on your computer in order to sign a transaction. As a result, you don’t need to copy and paste your private key - your hardware crypto wallet authorizes the transaction without exposing it once you enter a PIN-code.

What is a crypto wallet

A cryptocurrency wallet is a pair of public and private keys that belong to a certain blockchain address. 

Crypto wallets allow storing and operating digital assets (tokens, cryptocurrencies) through different software environments, web-interfaces or downloadable software (applications, plug-ins, extensions, etc.) Also, a crypto wallet is an integral part of every blockchain.

Why do you need to use a hardware crypto wallet

There are multiple reasons for buying a hardware cryptocurrency wallet if you are serious about your crypto investments. 

First of all, with hardware crypto wallets, you’re independent of any kind of scam led by cloud wallets or hot wallets operated by software applications. Only you have control over your private keys and, thus, nobody can access your wallet. Even if your hardware crypto wallet is stolen, the malefactor is not able to utilize it without the PIN code and seed phrase.

Furthermore, hardware crypto wallets have very user-friendly interfaces. Applications and cloud services can be complicated for newbies in crypto. However, hardware wallets are typically operated by only two buttons and one screen - much easier than the most primitive mobile phone available.

Last but not least, please note that all hardware wallets keep your keys secret and safe even when you are off-chain and off-line. Problems with a poor Internet connection won't compromise you anymore.

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Hot crypto wallets vs cold crypto wallets

To understand hardware wallets properly, you need to realize the difference between hot and cold wallets. Hot wallets are software environments (web interfaces or applications) that allow matching private and public keys to authorize transactions. A hot crypto wallet only works on-chain and, therefore, on-line when an Internet connection is available.

Cold wallets allow the integrity of keypairs with no regard to the quality of Internet connection. The most widespread types of cold wallets are paper wallets (sheets of paper with a printed version of a keypair), metal wallets (badges or capsules with the engraved symbols from which a keypair can be assembled) and hardware wallets - an electronic USB-compatible device that stores private and public keys and authorizes transactions via special software.

Image by U.Today

Best Hardware crypto wallets: specifications

In this section, we will demonstrate the features and specifications of the top hardware crypto wallets already used by millions of users worldwide.

Name

Price

Currencies

Special offers

Colors/Materials

Dimensions

Ledger Nano S

$59

BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC, DASH and ERC-20 tokens (7 simultaneously)

Backup Pack, Family Pack

Plastic, Steel /Gray, Black, Red

56.95mm x 17.4mm x 9.1mm

Ledger Nano X

$119

BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, XLM, EOS, ERC-20 tokens (100 simultaneously)

Backup Pack, Family Pack

Plastic, Brushed Steel /Gray, Black

72mm x 18.6mm x 11.75mm

Trezor ONE

$59

BTC, LTC, DASH, ETH, BCH (Doesn’t support ADA, XMR and XRP)

Ultimate Pack

Plastic, Aluminium / Black, White

60mm x 30mm x 6mm

Trezor Model T

$165

BTC, LTC, DASH, ETH, BCH, ADA, XMR,  XRP

Ultimate Pack

Plastic, Steel /Gray, Black

64mm x 39mm x 10mm

KeepKey

$49

BTC, BCH, BTG, ETH, LTC (Doesn’t support ADA, XMR and XRP)

No data

Plastic, Gold /Black

38mm x 93.5mm x 12.2mm

Ledger Nano S cryptocurrency hardware wallet

The Ledger Nano S crypto hardware wallet is designed by Ledger SAS, a distributed blockchain team incorporated in France. The concept of the Ledger Nano S was released in June, 2016. They have sold more than 1.5M items so far.

Ledger Nano S (Image by Ledger)

Ledger Nano S: Basic Information

Made of stainless steel and plastic, Ledger Nano S weighs 16.2g. This wallet is equipped with a USB Type Micro-B cable and two chips, ST31H320 and STM32F042. 

Ledger Nano S: Currencies Supported

Ledger Nano S supports Bitcoin (BTC) as well as all major altcoins: ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC, DASH. 1000+ ERC-20 tokens such as DAI, BAT, ZRX are also supported. At the same time, it can operate between 3 and 7 applications to support the tokens of crypto behemoths.

Ledger Nano S: Main Features

Ledger Nano S can be connected directly to any 64-bit desktop computer operated by Windows 8+, macOS 10.8+ and Linux. Also, through the OKG device, it may be connected to Android 7 smartphones and laptops. It is not designed to receive Bitcoin (BTC) mining rewards.

Ledger Nano X cryptocurrency hardware wallet

‘Security can co-exist with simplicity‘ is the motto of the Ledger Nano X wallet, a high-performance easy-to-use device.

Ledger Nano X (Image by Ledger)

Ledger Nano X: Basic Information

Ledger Nano X is a powerful stylish device. Two chips constitute the core of Ledger Nano X, namely ST33J2M0, responsible for security, and STM32WB55, which ensures a wireless connection. The item is made of brushed stainless steel and plastic, weighing 34g. Ledger Nano X has a battery with a large capacity of 100 mAh.

Ledger Nano X: Currencies Supported

This device supports more than 100 applications providing access to an unmatched toolkit of cryptocurrencies. Ledger Nano X works with 1250+ ERC-20 tokens as well as with all major coins - BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, as well as XLM and EOS.

Ledger Nano X: Main Features

Ledger Nano X is interoperable with 23 external crypto wallet applications, e.g. MyCrypto.com, MyEtherWallet, etc.

The users of Ledger Nano X can earn on their idle crypto tokens as staking and direct reward receival are both available with this hardware crypto wallet. At the moment, the staking of the most-demanded high-tech Liquid Proof-of-Stake (LPoS) altcoin, Tezos (XTZ), is available on Ledger Nano X.

A Bluetooth bridge may be established between Ledger Nano X and a smartphone with the Ledger Live mobile application installed. Only public data is transported through Bluetooth; critical data (such as private keys and seed recovery phrases) always stay within the device. For interaction with mobile devices, the USB C-Type cable is also suitable.

Trezor ONE cryptocurrency hardware wallet

Trezor ONE crypto hardware wallet is the first-generation of Trezor devices by the Czech team SatoshiLabs s.r.o. released back on January 29, 2014. Its developers have set many standards in this sphere regarding cryptography and hardware.

Trezor ONE (Image by Trezor)

Trezor ONE: Basic Information

Trezor ONE dimensions are 60mm x 30mm x 6mm. It weighs 12g. This hardware crypto wallet is fueled by a 120 MHz embedded ARM processor Cortex M3, which runs on Trezor’s very own operating system. The device can be connected to a desktop or portable computer as well as to a smartphone through a Micro USB connection.

Trezor ONE: Currencies Supported

This crypto hardware wallet supports BTC, LTC, DASH, ETH, and BCH. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with XMR, XRP or ADA. 1000+ ERC-20 coins from ICOs are supported.

Trezor ONE: Main Features

Trezor ONE shows information from transactions on a six-line OLED display. The user can validate or cancel the transactions with two buttons below the screen. The solutions of this wallet are approved by CE and RoHS certification bodies. Trezor ONE is available in black and white colors.

Model ONE can be equipped with metal recovery badges, memory capsules and extended connection tools. Moreover, the producer offers the option of storing it in a silicone or leather case.

Trezor Model T cryptocurrency hardware wallet

Trezor Model T is the next generation of the Trezor ONE wallet that was released by SatoshiLabs in Q1, 2018.

Trezor Model T (Image by Trezor)

Trezor Model T: Basic Information

Trezor Model T is a hardware crypto wallet with a high-quality color 240x240 LED touchscreen display, which is its first striking difference from its predecessor. The Model T is around 5% bigger than Trezor ONE with dimensions of 64mm x 39mm x 10mm and a weight of 22g. Every Trezor Model T pack also contains a magnetic dock through which the wallet can be fixed on any plain surface

Trezor Model T: Currencies Supported

In addition to the full range of tokens supported by Trezor ONE, the Model T also operates Ripple (XRP), Tezos (XTZ), Eos (EOS), Cardano (ADA) and Monero (XMR).

Trezor Model T: Main Features

Trezor Model T generates a unique 12-word recovery phrase once it is plugged into a computer. The device can restore access to an old account or create a new one. While demonstrating the seed phrase, the item shouldn’t be unplugged from the computer.

Trezor Model T supports nine-digit PIN-codes and can be labeled with a proper noun. Both Trezor ONE and Trezor Model T can also serve as a U2F hardware token for digital authorization.

KeepKey cryptocurrency hardware wallet

KeepKey hardware wallet was released for the first time in 2015.

KeepKey Wallet (Image by KeepKey)

KeepKey: Basic Information

KeepKey is a crypto hardware wallet that interacts with the computer via a native Google Chrome extension. Its dimensions are 38mm x 93.5mm x 12.2mm. It weighs 54g. This wallet is powered by an ARM Cortex M3 processor and protects the user's keys with a TRNG (Hardware-Based Random Number Generator) algorithm.

KeepKey: Currencies Supported

KeepKey has a very limited currency toolkit of 50 assets including BTC, BCH, BTG, ETH and LTC. It doesn’t support ADA, XMR or XRP.

KeepKey: Main Features

KeepKey is developed and supported by the ShapeShift cryptocurrency exchange platform. Integrated natively in ShapeShift’s API, KeepKey supports interoperability with numerous third-party software hot wallets, e.g. Electrum and Mycelium. An eight-digit PIN-code and 12-word seed phrase serve as security tools for the KeepKey crypto hardware wallet.

ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees announced that KeepKey will also have a luxurious golden edition named after investor and trader Peter Schiff, a great advocate of Bitcoin (BTC) key privacy. Feedback from the users of the wallet leaves nothing to desire. In December, 2019, the security department of the Kraken crypto exchange unveiled a critical flaw in KeepKey’s infrastructure. Also, some users claimed that KeepKey’s customer support level is poor.

Trezor Model T vs Ledger Nano S

 

Trezor Model T

Ledger Nano S

Dimensions

64mm x 39mm x 10mm

56.95mm x 17.4mm x 9.1mm

Currencies Supported

BTC, LTC, DASH, ETH, BCH, ADA, XMR,  XRP, and ERC-20 tokens

BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC, DASH and ERC-20 tokens 

User Experience

Moderate

Intuitive

User Interface

Touchscreen

Buttons

Price

$165

$59

Extra Features

Acts as UDF token

Android devices supported

It’s not so easy to compare the Trezor Model T to the Ledger Nano S. It looks like these two brilliant wallets are designed for different use-cases. Ledger Nano S is less complicated, smaller and it’s a real slam dunk as your first hardware crypto wallet.

Ledger Nano S is a splendid gift for your non-CS friend or relative, which will introduce them to the magical world of cryptocurrencies. Trezor Model T is intended to serve as a safe haven for the keys of more experienced blockchain users. Furthermore, it will be useful for those whose occupation requires signing documents with a digital certificate.

Trezor Model T vs Trezor ONE

 

Trezor Model T

Trezor ONE

Dimensions

64mm x 39mm x 10mm

60mm x 30mm x 6mm

Currencies Supported

BTC, LTC, DASH, ETH, BCH, ADA, XMR,  XRP, and ERC-20 tokens

BTC, LTC, DASH, ETH, BCH (Doesn’t support ADA, XMR and XRP)

User Experience

Moderate

Easy to Moderate

User Interface

Touchscreen

Buttons

Price

$165

$59

Extra Features

Acts as UDF token

Acts as UDF token

The two have even less in common because they represent two generations of one device. Just like the Ledger Nano S hardware crypto wallet, Trezor ONE is an ‘old but gold’ option. Stored in a silicon or leather case, it can also be a stylish accessory to show that its owner is familiar with crypto and blockchain technologies.

Trezor Model T reveals a different story. Its extended privacy features toolkit target security geeks. Also, its touchscreen dashboard may confuse those accustomed to the ingenious two-button interface of other crypto hardware wallets. Trezor Model T is better suited for investors with a diversified portfolio as it supports more crypto behemoths.

Ledger Nano S vs Ledger Nano X

 

Ledger Nano S

Ledger Nano X

Dimensions

56.95mm x 17.4mm x 9.1mm

72mm x 18.6mm x 11.75mm

Currencies Supported

BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC, DASH and ERC-20 tokens 

BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, XLM, EOS, ERC-20 tokens

User Experience

Intuitive

Moderate

User Interface

Buttons

Buttons

Price

$59

$119

Extra Features

Android devices supported

Bluetooth connection, XTZ staking

Just like in the previous case, Ledger Nano S and Ledger Nano X represent two generations of one game-changing technology - hardware multi-chain cryptocurrency wallet.

Ledger Nano X is much more capable since it supports 100+ apps compared to the 20 apps of its predecessor. It pioneered the world of Bluetooth-powered hardware cryptocurrency wallets. Its screen is wider than that of the Ledger Nano S and its USB-connection is enabled through a more advanced type of cable.

Ledger Nano S crypto hardware wallet is smaller and is more than 50% lighter compared to Ledger Nano X. Having been a top crypto wallet for years, it has much more user feedback.

How to save on the best cryptocurrency wallets

Both Ledger and Trezor hardware cryptocurrency wallet producers have special offers that can help you save money while purchasing.

Ledger Family Pack X (Image by Ledger)

Hardware Crypto Wallets Best Buy

Offer Name

Offer Includes

Normal Price

Offer Price

You Save

Ledger Backup Pack

One Ledger Nano S + One Ledger Nano X

$178

$149

16%

Ledger Nano S Family Pack

Three Ledger Nano S devices

$177

$129 27%

Ledger Nano X Family Pack

Three Ledger Nano X devices

$357

$299 16%

Trezor Ultimate Pack

Trezor ONE + Trezor Model T + Cryptosteel

$288

$252

12%

Ledger Backup Pack

Ledger Backup Pack is a bundle offer from Ledger Shop. It contains one Ledger Nano X and one Ledger Nano S. This pack merges the benefits of optimal protection and flexibility. The owner of a Ledger Backup Pack can manage his/her assets on the go via Ledger Nano X and utilize Ledger Nano S as a safe home storage.

This pack costs 149 USD instead of 178 USD, the total price of the two devices. As a result, you save 16%.

Ledger Nano S and Ledger Nano X Family Pack

Ledger Nano S Family Pack consists of three Ledger Nano S hardware cryptocurrency wallets. It allows the customer to invite the whole family to the world of crypto. This pack costs 129 USD instead of 177 USD for three separate Ledger Nano S wallets. You can save 27% with this offer. One customer can purchase only 5 family packs.

A similar offer is available for Ledger Nano X. As this device is designed for more advanced users of crypto, you can equip your business team with the Ledger Nano X Family Pack and let them save, manage and stake their crypto.

With this offer, one pack costs 299 USD instead of 357 USD, the normal price for three devices. You can save 16% with this offer.

Trezor Ultimate Pack

Trezor Ultimate Pack contains Trezor Model T, Trezor ONE and Cryptosteel. Cryptosteel is a memory device made of stainless steel that comes with 250 letters engraved on each side. The owner of this hardware crypto wallet can have the first four letters of each word of his/her unique recovery seed phrase engraved on the side. Due to the design of the seed phrase, every word can be recovered via the first four letters.

Trezor Model T accompanied by Trezor ONE is a bundle for an unmatched level of security. Micro USB and USB C-type cables, a magnetic holder, paper recovery seed cards and Trezor brand stickers are also included in the offer.

This offer isn't quite as discounted as those in the Ledger shop. It costs 252 EUR, down from 288 EUR total for each item separately (Trezor ONE + Trezor T + Cryptosteel). As a result, you can save 12%.

Related
Erik Voorhees Announces 'Peter Schiff Edition' of Hardware Wallets

Hardware Crypto Wallets: Highlights

  1. What is a hardware wallet? A hardware cryptocurrency wallet is a device that secures your keys and signs the transactions in the blockchain.
  2. Ledger Crypto Hardware Wallets. The most popular hardware wallets are produced by Ledger SAS. Their product has two generations, the Ledger Nano S (basic) and Ledger Nano X (extended). The second one works with many more applications and allows storing more types of crypto tokens. Staking is also available on Ledger Nano X only.
  3. Trezor Crypto Hardware Wallets. Trezor cryptocurrency wallets by SatoshiLabs also have two generations, Trezor ONE and Trezor Model T. The second one supports a richer toolkit of currencies, comes with a Bluetooth connection and has a color screen.
  4. The more you buy, the more you save. While purchasing a cryptocurrency wallet produced by Ledger or Trezor, it’s better to check the options of buying a pack of three devices as it allows you to save with discounted  'bulk' offers.
  5. Different gens, different use-cases. First-generation wallets (Ledger Nano S and Trezor ONE) are designed for newbies while the second-generation wallets (Ledger Nano X and Trezor Model T) are useful for more experienced traders.

Referral program

While working on this review, we tried to be unbiased and strictly provide you with the most up-to-date and complete information only. Should you find this article useful, please, don’t hesitate to buy the hardware cryptocurrency wallets via the referral links included. Referral rewards for this promotion help us deliver our services to you.

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About the author

Blockchain Analyst & Writer with scientific background. 5+ years in IT-analytics, 2+ years in blockchain.

Worked in independent analysis (Crypto Briefing) as well as in start-ups (Swap.online, Monoreto, Attic Lab etc.)

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