The Best Hardware Wallets in 2018

Unfortunately, hackers have been able to steal many people's bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The best way for non tech-savy people to protect their cryptocurrencies/assets is to buy a hardware wallet. We have reviewed the best hardware wallets in 2018.

Exactly what is a hardware wallet? How does a hardware wallet work? More details about this review, please. You can read about these things towards the bottom of this page, but for now, let's get on with the review.

Hardware Wallet Crypto-currenciesPriceSecurityBeginner FriendlySupported Forks*Our reviewOffer on website
Trezor Black +8€89 + VAT
Trezor T +8€149 + VAT
Ledger Nano S +18€69.6 incl. VAT
Ledger Blue +18€274.8 incl. VAT
KeepKey +6$129
CoolWallet$119
CyroBit Cyro Card +all$55 incl. VAT
Digital Bitbox+4€54

* By 'forks' we mean the two bitcoin-forks that occurred in 2017. Here we explain why forks are relevant in this review.


Trezor Black

TrezorBlack,-140px

€89 + VAT
Trezor Black is a very popular and safe hardware wallet that is easy to set up and use. It also has a good price. As a bonus you can use the Trezor hardware wallet to enhance your overall Internet security.

Cryptocurrency Support

The following cryptocurrencies are supported: Bitcoin, bitcoin cash, bitcoin gold, litecoin, NEM, ether/ethereum, dash, ethereum classic and Zcash.

Trezor has supported past bitcoin forks. This means that anyone who had bitcoin on a Trezor hardware wallet when the forks occurred got free bitcoin cash and bitcoin gold on their Trezor devices. For this reason, we believe it is likely that Trezor will support future forks.

 

Security

The Trezor hardware wallets are largely considered the safest wallets on the market. The devices are protected even if one connects them to virus-infected computers. If a Trezor hardware wallet gets stolen, thieves can’t access the cryptocurrencies stored on them because the devices are pin-protected. And once you have a new Trezor hardware wallet shipped to you, you will regain access to your funds.

The one type of hack that a Trezor can’t protect from is phishing attacks (because the Trezor is offline and the phishing happens on your computer). But the company has gone to lengths to help people protect themselves from this type of attack by requiring double-checking of addresses before completion of a transaction.

More details about Trezor Black’s security is available on this post.

 

User Interface

The Trezor Black hardware wallets connect to desktop computers via USB, so you can’t use them with cell-phones.

Because the screen on the Trezor Black is so small, it can’t display all the information you may want, such as transfer history, balance etc. For this reason, the Trezor Black is designed to connect to an interface on Trezor’s website where you can see all information. You can also access that information on a Google Chrome App. Although the later allows you to do everything securely off-line, the website-option is the easiest way (yet it is very safe).

 

Customer Support

In our experience, the customer support was fast, friendly and personal. You contact the company representatives via a contact form on their website.

 

Special Features

You can use your Trezor hardware wallet to increase your overall cybersecurity. Your Trezor device can be used for offline 2 Factor Authentication on other websites that you use, which prevents predators from logging into your Internet-accounts, even if the predetors have your passwords. And you can even use your Trezor to encrypt documents and emails.

 

Drawbacks

The screen is very small compared to other hardware wallets.


Trezor T

Trezor-T,-140px

€149 + VAT
Trezor is largely regarded the safest and most trusted hardware wallet company on the market and the model ‘T’ is Trezor’s Rolls Royce. It has the highest level of security and can be connected to both mobile phones and desktop computers. Trezor T will start to ship in January 2018. 

Cryptocurrencies Supported

The following cryptocurrencies are supported: Bitcoin, bitcoin cash, bitcoin gold, litecoin, NEM, ether/ethereum, dash, ethereum classic, Zcash.

Trezor has supported past bitcoin forks. This means that anyone who had bitcoin on a Trezor hardware wallet when the forks occurred got free bitcoin cash and bitcoin gold on their Trezor devices. For this reason, we believe it is likely that Trezor will support future forks.

 

Security

The Trezor hardware wallets are largely considered the safest wallets on the market, and the model T has new features that make it even safer than its predecessor, the ‘Black’ model.

All confidential data, including the password, is entered exclusively through the screen of the off-line encrypted Trezor T device where communication with your computer is only enabled after authentication. In this way, the Trezor model T is protected even if you connect it to a virus-infected computer.

If your Trezor device gets stolen the thieves can’t access your bitcoin/cryptocurrencies as they are pin-protected, but you can regain access to them once you have a new Trezor hardware wallet shipped to you.

The one type of hack that a Trezor can’t protect from is phishing attacks (because the Trezor is offline and the phishing happens on your computer). But the company has gone to lengths to help people protect themselves from this type of attack by requiring double-checking of addresses before completion of a transaction.

More details about the Trezor T security is available on this post.

 

User Interface

The Trezor T hardware wallets connect to desktop computers via a USB cable, or to cell-phones that have USB-C ports.

All information you may want, such as transfer history and balance can’t be displayed on the Trezor T display. For this reason, it is designed to connect to an interface on Trezor’s website where you can see all information. If you go for the desktop USB-option you can either use Trezor’s website to access all information about the cryptocurrencies you have stored on your device (such as transfer history and balance), or you can access that information on a Google Chrome App, which allows you to do everything securely off-line. The website-option is the easiest way (yet it is very safe).

It is not clear to us what interface will be used if you connect the Trezor T to a cell-phone (model T will start to ship in January 2018), but it will probably be by an app. Based on the company’s track record of not over-complicating the user experience we have faith it will be easy to set up and use.  

 

Customer Support

In our experience, the customer support was fast, friendly and personal. You contact the company representatives via a contact form on their website.

 

Special Features

You can use your Trezor hardware wallet to increase your overall cybersecurity. Your Trezor device can be used for offline 2 Factor Authentication on other websites that you use, which prevents predators from logging into your Internet-accounts, even if the predetors have your passwords. And you can even use your Trezor to encrypt documents and emails.

The Trezor company also states that the Trezor T is ready for advanced features with microSD.

 

Drawbacks

Not too many to be honest, except that the design of the Trezor T is not as nice as most other hardware wallets. It would be great if no cords were needed, but that comes with extra security concerns, even if some security experts believe the concerns are minor.

You’re going to have to wait to get it. When this text went online (December 2017) the Trezor T was temporarily sold out.


Ledger Nano S

Ledger-Nano-S,-140px

€69.6 incl. VAT
Considered one of the safest hardware wallets on the market, the Ledger Nano S is a very popular product. It can hold a very large number of altcoins, it’s small and convenient, and the price is relatively low. 

Cryptocurrencies Supported

Ledger Nano S supports this impressive list of crypto coins: ark, bitcoin, bitcoin cash, dash, dogecoin, ether/ethereum, ethereum classic, expanse, komodo, litecoin, PivX, PoSW, Ripple, stratis, ubiq, vertcoin, viacoin and Zcash.

Ledger has supported past bitcoin forks, so anyone who had bitcoin on a Ledger hardware wallet when the forks occurred got free bitcoin cash and bitcoin gold onto their Ledger devices. For this reason, we believe it is likely that Ledger will support future forks.

 

Security

Like the Trezor hardware wallets, the Ledger wallets are protected even if you connect them to virus-infected computers. If your Ledger device gets stolen the thieves can’t access your bitcoin/cryptocurrencies as they are pin-protected. But once you have a new Ledger hardware wallet shipped to you, you will be able to regain access to your cryptocurrencies.

It is also possible to back up the bitcoin/cryptocurrencies on your Ledger Nano S on paper wallets, which makes it easy to recover them on another Ledger device, or simply use as an extra backup. 

The one thing a Ledger Nano S can’t protect from is phishing attacks (because the Ledger Nano S is offline and the phishing happens on your computer). So make sure to double-check the addresses when you transfer funds.

More details about the Ledger Nano S security is available on this post.

 

User Interface

All the information you may want, such as transfer history and balance can’t be displayed on the tiny Ledger Nano S display. For this reason, it is designed to connect to an interface on your computer via a USB-cable (so you can’t use it on your mobile phone). To be able to see your Ledger Nano S balance and make transactions you need to install Ledger’s Google Chrome App on your computer, which allows you to do everything securely off-line.

 

Customer Support

Ledger has customer support via a contact form on their website. Our experience is that the service is ok for the industry; it can take some time before the company’s representatives reply.

 

Special Features

Ledger offers paper wallets that can be used for back-ups.

 

Drawbacks

The screen is very small compared to other hardware wallets.


Ledger Blue

Ledger-Blue,-140px

€274.8 incl. VAT
The Ledger Blue is arguably the most technically advanced hardware wallet on the market. It has a big color touch screen, can be use with a variety of devices, and it can hold a very large number of altcoins.

Cryptocurrencies Supported

Ledger Blue supports this impressive list of cryptos: ark, bitcoin, bitcoin cash, dash, dogecoin, ether/ethereum, ethereum classic, expanse, komodo, litecoin, PivX, PoSW, Ripple, stratis, ubiq, vertcoin, viacoin and Zcash.

Ledger has supported past bitcoin forks, so anyone who had bitcoin on a Ledger hardware wallet when the forks occurred got free bitcoin cash and bitcoin gold. For this reason, we believe it is likely that Ledger will support future forks. By supporting forks customers don’t have to transfer their funds to less secure wallets in order to claim free cryptocurrencies/assets at forks.

 

Security

Like the Trezor hardware wallets, the Ledger wallets are protected even if you connect them to virus-infected computers. If your Ledger device gets stolen the thieves can’t access your bitcoin/cryptocurrencies as they are pin-protected, but you can regain access to them once you have a new Ledger hardware wallet shipped to you.

It is also possible to back up the bitcoin/cryptocurrencies on your Ledger Blue on paper wallets, which also makes it easy to recover them on another Ledger device. 

The one thing a Ledger Blue can’t protect from is phising attacks (because the Ledger Blue is offline and the phising happens on your computer). So make sure to double-check the addresses when you transfer funds.

More details about the Ledger Blue security is available on this post.

 

User Interface

Like most other hardware wallets, the device’s display can’t show all the information you may want, such as transfer history and balance. In the case of Ledger Blue, this information is shown on a desktop computer or smartphone. The hardware wallet connects to a computer/smartphone via a USB cable. In the future it will also be possible to connect it via Bluetooth.

To be able to see the Ledger Blue balance and make transactions on your computer/smartphone, you need to install Ledger’s Google Chrome App on your desktop computer (or another app which supports Ledger). Ledger’s Google Chrome app allows you to do everything securely off-line. 

The Ledger Blue itself already has Bluetooth functionality, but at the moment (December 2017) there are no wallet-apps that support both Bluetooth and Ledger.

 

Customer Support

Ledger has customer support via contact form on their website. Our experience is that the service is ok for the industry; it can take some time before their company-representatives reply.

 

Special Features

The Ledger Blue has a large beautiful color touch-screen which makes it easy to use. Ledger also offers paper wallets that can be used to back up the cryptocurrencies that are on the device.

 

Drawbacks

Although all the advanced features of the Ledger Blue are nice, it is not a very beginner friendly hardware wallet.


KeepKey

Keep-Key-180px

$129
This beautiful hardware wallet is compatible with all kinds of operating systems and aims at being the simplest hardware wallet on the market. The KeepKey company also has good customer support. 

Cryptocurrencies Supported

Bitcoin, litecoin, ether/ethereum, dogecoin, dash, namecoin and Testnet coins. The company also states that they have plans to add more.

Although they didn’t support the 2017 bitcoin forks, KeepKey states that they intend to support viable future forks. By supporting forks customers don’t have to transfer their funds to less secure wallets in order to claim free cryptocurrencies/assets at forks. 

 

Security

KeepKey has high security and shares the main security-features with the other big-brand hardware wallets.

KeepKey is a newer company than Trezor and Ledger, so they haven’t been tested long enough to earn as solid a reputation. That said, we have not come across any expert pointing out any major security compromises.

More about the security of KeepKey here.

 

User Interface

Like most other hardware wallets, KeepKey’s display can’t show all information you may want, such as transfer history and balance. So, the KeepKey devices connect via USB-cable to computers (so you can’t use it with mobile phones). Like Ledger Nano S you use a Google Chrome App on your computer to see your balance, make transactions and more.

 

Customer Support

You contact KeepKey via an online form. In our test they replied fast and in a friendly and helpful way.

 

Special Features

The design is amazing, the screen is big and beautiful, and the device comes in silver or gold. We like the idea that the appearance of the KeepKey hardware wallet matches the value stored on it.

You can also use KeepKey to generate paper wallets which can be used as backups.

 

Drawbacks

The KeepKey device is slightly larger than hardware wallets with similar features (Trezor Black and Ledger Nano S).


CoolWallet

CoolWallet,-180px

$119
This bitcoin-only hardware wallet has the coolest design on the market. It’s credit card sized and connects wirelessly to your cell-phone, so it’s ideal for people who want to store bitcoin safely but also want to be able to spend them on the go. It is also waterproof and you can bend it without destroying it. 

Cryptocurrencies Supported

CoolWallet only supports bitcoin, so forks are not supported. This means that if you want to claim the free give-away cryptocurrencies if there are more bitcoin forks in the future, you will have to make sure you have transferred your bitcoin from the CoolWallet to another wallet at the time the fork happens. This, of course, is a disadvantage, but the CoolWallet company has expressed ambitions to support forks in the future.

 

Security

CoolWallet is very secure. Although many experts believe offline is the safest way to go, CoolWallet has anti-malware protection and uses a one-time password generator, which does make it very safe. It is also water-proof and comes with a 1-year warranty.

The source code for the CoolWallet device is not open-source, but the company says they have plans to let some trusted players in the bitcoin community see it. Most other devices in this space make their source-code open for everyone to review. By doing this, users can check the code and make sure that the device does only just what it is told to do.

More about the security of CoolWallet here.

 

User Interface

Like most other hardware wallets, CoolWallet’s display can’t show all the information you may want, such as transfer history and balance. Instead this information is displayed on an app in your mobile phone.

The CoolWallet hardware wallet uses Bluetooth to wirelessly connect to your phone and can’t connect to desktop computers.

 

Customer Support

The company’s representatives can be reached via email. In our test they answered quickly.

 

Special Features

The design is really unique! It’s not only very small and waterproof, it is also bendable. Combine this with the fact that you don’t lose your bitcoin if you break your CoolWallet and you have a very functional, portable and safe bitcoin wallet. The Bluetooth connection to mobile phones also makes it truly portable and practical. 

 

Drawbacks

The CoolWallet is a bit more complicated to set up and use than some of the other hardware wallets on the market.

Although the creators have added a lot of smart security features and a back-up function, there are more potential points of technical failure in this device than other hardware wallets on the market.

Because the source code has not been disclosed, you need to trust the CoolWallet company more than their competitors who have publicly disclosed their source code so that it has been checked by several users.


CyroBit Cyro Card

CyroCard-180px

$55 incl. VAT
This is the most durable hardware wallet on the market. It is not a high-tech device but a metal card with your wallet information etched into it. It is designed to resist fire, flooding (including salt water) and organic solvents. You choose your own private keys, so you can be assured they are not known by anyone but you. 

Cryptocurrencies Supported

The following cryptocurrencies/assets are supported by the CyroBit Cyro Card: bitcoin, litecoin, dogecoin, stealthcoin or any other coin for a 15 USD surcharge.

 

Security

When it comes to creating the private keys, the creators of the Cyro Card have taken a different approach than most others in the hardware wallet industry. The keys are chosen by the customer and encrypted inside the customers browsers. In this way the CyroBit’s servers have never seen the passphrases. In this way you can be sure that no one but you know the private keys.

All Cyro Cards are custom made in-house which adds an extra layer of security as no (potentially ill-willing) outside manufacturer has had access to the cards. 

Here is more detail about the security of the Cyro Card. 

 

User Interface

The Cyro Card doesn’t have a display and it doesn’t connect to any computer. Put simply, the Cyro Card is a slick looking card made of extremely durable materials that has your wallet information etched onto it. For this reason, it is a bit more complicated to move bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies onto it, and to keep track of your balance.

To set everything up you need to encrypt and download the information about your private keys from the Internet. 

 

Customer Support

Although there is very little information on the website that answers questions people might have, they are the only company in the hardware wallet industry that lists a phone number on which you can reach them. They are also reachable via email and an Internet form on their website. 

 

Special Features

The Cryo Card is made of materials (ceramic glass and stainless steel) that can resist pretty much anything, even temperatures up to 1370°C (2500°F).

Every Cryo Card is custom made and you have the option to not only choose security features as per your preference, but even the text and/or logo of your choice for a 10 USD surcharge.

 

Drawbacks

It’s not beginner friendly as one must have some knowledge of cybersecurity, for instance how to encrypt in off-line mode.


Digital BitBox

Digital-BitBox-140px

€54
This hardware wallet has a good price and has a very unsuspicious look as it could double for a random USB-device. Apart from being secure, the Digital BitBox has several additional features that make it a great buy for the tech-savvy person. 

Cryptocurrencies Supported

The following cryptocurrencies/assets are supported: bitcoin, ether/ethereum, ether classic and ERC20 tokens.

 

Security

The Digital BitBox uses secure log-ins and encryption (as does its competition). The BitBox hardware wallet also has a very smart design with a detachable SD card. The private keys are backed up on an SD card. Most competitors store private key backups on paper instead (paper wallets).

Digital Bitbox offers an additional type of protection that most competitors don’t:  protection from phishing attacks. Although it is good practice to manually double-check the addresses you are sending bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to and from, this can be done automatically by the Digital BitBox device.

The Digital BitBox design in itself has got to be described as a security feature. The device looks like a random USB-device, so it doesn’t draw attention to it.

Like KeepKey, Digital BitBox is a newer company than Trezor and Ledger, so it has not yet built up a long-standing reputation. That said, we haven’t come across any expert pointing out any major security compromises.

More about the security of Digital BitBox here.

 

User Interface

Like most other hardware wallets, the Digital BitBox display can’t show all information you may want, such as transfer history and balance. This information is displayed on an app on your desktop computer, and you connect the devices using a USB-cable (so you can’t use your Digital BitBox with a mobile phone).

To get started you need to download, install and run an app on your desktop computer. After the set-up the hardware wallet will connect to the app in which you can see your bitcoin/cryptocurrency balances and make transactions.  

If you don’t want to manually double-check your sending/receiving addresses and want to take advantage of Digital BitBox’s phishing protection, you need to download and familiarize with one more application, their mobile phone app.

 

Customer Support

They are available via email and replied fairly quickly when we contacted them.

 

Special Features

Digital BitBox is compatible with Tails OS and Tor (software that enables anonymous communication on the Internet).

With the Digital BitBox you can also create a hidden wallet with a second password.

The device comes with a portable case made of durable materials, so you can easily bring it with you.

 

Drawbacks

Although the device has many smart features, the Digital BitBox is not beginner-friendly and has more potential points of technical failure than some other hardware wallets on the market.


What is a Hardware Wallet?

Hardware wallets have been developed for one reason only, to keep your bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as safe as possible. Hardware wallet are small devise that connects to computers or cell-phones and are widely regarded as the safest kind of wallet available.

Although hardware wallets are very safe, there is no guarantee that your funds can’t be stolen. The thieves seem to constantly be one step ahead. So, in addition to buying a hardware wallet it is advised to take precaution in other ways as well, for example by choosing strong passwords that are not used for multiple devices/sites, and to not tell the entire world about the value of your bitcoin/cryptocurrency assets.

How do Hardware Wallets Protect Cryptocurrencies?

As you can imagine, many hackers have tried to steal people’s bitcoin. There are several ways that bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies/assets can be stolen. One way is to steal the coin’s private keys. Bitcoin (and most other cryptocurrencies/assets) are always on the blockchain, but the ownership of them is determined by who has access to each bitcoin’s private keys. Whoever has access to the private keys has access to the bitcoin and can move/send them as they wish. To protect the private keys form hackers, hardware wallets store the private keys off-line, and the devices should only be connected to Internet-accessed computers or cell-phones for the few moments it takes to send bitcoin/cryptocurrencies to and from them. Hardware wallets are encrypted to also protect the cryptocurrencies during the moments they are connected to the Internet.

Another way hackers have been known to steal people’s bitcoin is by infesting computers with malware that tracks what keyboard keys are stroked. In this way hackers have been able to steal passwords to people’s online wallets. When logged into someone’s accounts the hackers then transfer bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to their own wallets. For this reason, most hardware wallets use a very smart system where you never strike the same keys on your keyboard when entering the password to log into your wallet.

As in many other fields, the science is not clear in cybersecurity. The experts are not in agreement of which techniques are best and which are redundant in terms of protecting people’s computers and cryptocurrencies. Add to this that cybersecurity is constantly changing as hackers invent new techniques for their criminal pursuits. Hardware wallets are developed by different companies who have slightly different views of what is the best way to safeguard bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, so they can have quite different safety features, functionality and appearance in general.

There is a lot more to be said about the technical ways that hardware wallets strive to protect people’s bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, these are just the main ways. Trezor does a great job in explaining cyber-threats and how their company’s hardware wallets protect from them.

About this Review

Let’s be frank. If you are no cybersecurity expert (which everyone can’t and shouldn’t have to be), it can be very difficult to decide which hardware wallet to choose. Reading lists of specification including features such as SSH, CC EAL 5+ authentication is not very helpful if you don’t know what all these things mean and if you don’t have the time to read up about it.

BlockBull Review is a website for investors in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies/assets who are not necessarily tech-experts. For this reason, we have taken in the opinions of numerous cyber-experts and aim at giving a condensed and simply explained overview of the security features. For the more tech-savvy readers we have provided links with more detailed security specifications.

We have included information on whether forks are supported or not because there may be a considerable security risk associated with forks. When cryptocurrencies fork, free cryptocurrency give-aways occur (you essentially get free money). If you want to take advantage of that and you store your cryptocurrencies on a hardware wallet that doesn’t support forks, you need to transfer your funds from that hardware wallet to another wallet that does supports forks. The transfer will incur transaction fees and could come with considerable risk if the fork-supporting wallet is less secure than your hardware wallet.

2017-12-16

Disclaimer: The information in this article, as all content on BlockBull Review, is not and should not be seen as investment advice. The information is for educational and/or entertainment purposes only, so use it at your own risk. It is possible to lose money when engaging in any investment including cryptocurrencies and past performance does not indicate future performance. Any opinions expressed are those of BlockBull Review's writers who are not broker-dealers or advisors of any kind.


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