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9 Best Crypto Hardware Wallets – Top Wallets to Store Bitcoin in 2021 (blockblog)

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@dmitry.leijkoDmitry Leiko

Entrepreneur, product owner, SEO specialist, cryptocurrency enthusiast. All you need to know;) dmitry@lej.me

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If there’s one thing we have learned about cryptocurrency in recent times, it’s that they are here to stay. What started as an uncertain currency over a decade ago is now looking more and more like the future of finance. Many people know this and have invested in crypto today. But it is one thing to buy crypto; it is another to store them.

One of the most hotly debated topics in the cryptocurrency world is the best way to store crypto tokens. Some say hardware, and others say software wallets. I am inclined towards hardware wallets, and you will soon find out why.

Then to the next issue – what hardware wallet to use? There aren’t tons of hardware wallets available today. However, users still need to choose one to use from those available. And not just anyone now, but one that will assure them of full security, accessibility, and of course, convenience. Choosing one that checks all these boxes isn’t exactly an easy task, but luckily for you, I’ve got you covered.

I have created a rich list of the best crypto hardware wallets you can use. This list is based on several years of experience and extensive research. And it will go a long way in guiding you on the right one for you. But before we get to that, let’s consider what crypto wallets are.

If you are too lazy to read the entire article, then immediately a spoiler about the most important:

Best Crypto Hardware Wallet 2021

  1. NGRAVE – I think best and most secure hardware wallet;
  2. Trezor – Best for several cryptocurrencies;
  3. Ledger – Most popular wallet ;
  4. BitBox02;
  5. KeepKey;
  6. Cobo Vault;
  7. Satochip;
  8. SafePal;
  9. OPOLO.

Crypto Wallets

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If you are reading this, chances are very high that you have a bank account. That’s one of the most basic needs for an adult. Now, think of a crypto wallet as a bank account but for cryptocurrency. Your bank account is like a store for the money you have. That’s the general idea of crypto wallets too. We’re oversimplifying it, but it should do the trick!

Crypto wallets make it possible to carry out crypto transactions with your cryptocurrency tokens. These transactions include storing, sending, and receiving crypto. It serves as a bank account for your crypto tokens. 

To be more technical, these wallets don’t actually store the cryptocurrency. Wallets store private and public keys. They also contain scripts, metadata, and generally all wallet transactions. 

To make a transaction from your wallet, you need a private key. Only you should know this key – it’s called private for a reason! You also need a public key, which is a code attached to a particular crypto token. With these two keys, you can unlock your funds and successfully transact cryptocurrency. 

There are several types of wallets, but the two most common ones are cold and hot wallets. The primary difference between the two is cold wallets are physical, while hot wallets are digital. In other words, cold wallets are not connected to the Internet at all, but hot wallets are. 

Cold wallets store crypto physically. They don’t rely on online platforms or companies to secure crypto tokens. Examples of cold wallets are hardware and paper wallets. With cold wallets, only the owner has access to the private keys used to unlock funds. Wallets that work this way are non-custodial wallets.

Hot wallets, on the other hand, store crypto tokens on online platforms. There are three categories of hot wallets, and they are desktop, mobile, and online wallets. Hot wallets can be custodial or non-custodial. Custodial wallets help wallet owners keep the private keys to unlock funds. 

Read my other article about the best bitcoin lendings.

Hardware Wallets

A hardware wallet is a form of a cold wallet. These wallets store cryptocurrency on a hardware device. You don’t need the Internet to store crypto with hardware wallets. It’s just like having your money in your hand with these devices. One of its greatest perks is its freedom from all internet connections. This completely removes the risk of online fraud. 

You still have to connect the hardware wallets to the Internet to access your crypto. But because of their overly simplistic nature, no one can hack or infect these devices with malware. 

With hardware wallets, users have total control over their funds. As I said, it’s just like having your funds in your hand. These devices are usually very portable. 

Software Wallets

Software wallets are the other main type of crypto wallets. They are hot wallets, and they also store cryptocurrency, but on the Internet. This doesn’t mean just anyone can access them as they are usually heavily guarded and encrypted. But they still don’t offer the level of security hardware wallets offer. 

There are different forms of software wallets. The first is the desktop wallet, and they store your cryptocurrency on a PC. This is one of the safest forms of software wallets as you are responsible for your private keys. In simpler terms, there isn’t third-party interference.

Another form of software wallet is the online wallet. This wallet stores your private key online. Unlike desktop wallets, there is third party interference with your private keys. This wallet is the most easily accessible wallet, and by a wide margin too. You can access your funds anywhere, anytime, and on any device. But this consequently makes them the least safe software wallet.

The last type of software wallet is the mobile wallet. Some prefer to use the term hybrid wallet. This is because they are very mobile, like cold wallets, despite their reliance on the Internet. These wallets usually provide access to your crypto tokens through a mobile app.

Differences Between Hardware and Software Wallets

First, you can check the simple video explained by Tron Foundation

The major difference between these two wallets is their reliance on the Internet to store cryptocurrency. Hardware wallets are independent of online platforms, storing private keys on hardware devices. Meanwhile, software wallets depend on online platforms to store private keys. 

The significance of their internet reliance is the security of the wallets. In terms of security, hardware wallets blow software wallets out of the waters. It’s not even remotely close. Because software wallets rely on the Internet to store crypto, they are liable to fraud and malware. 

Many software wallets require you to input a password or even multiple passcodes in some cases. But you are never 100% secure as long as you’re still connected to the Internet. Seriously, someone somewhere may be watching and tracking your online transactions. It may seem like we are reaching or blowing this out of proportion, but we’re not. Fraud from software wallets is real, and many have fallen victims. Our advocacy for hardware wallets is so you don’t also fall victim.

What makes hardware wallets so secure is your private keys are always on an external device not connected to the Internet. No internet connection eliminates the risk of internet fraud and malware attacks completely. Even when you have to make transactions and connect these devices to the Internet, the private keys never leave the device. And they are also so designed to be resistant to viruses and malware. 

Hardware wallets also have 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) aside from their independence from the Internet. The implication of this is you need to have the wallet and also know the PIN before you can use them. This makes them safe from theft as your cryptocurrency is inaccessible without the PIN. Also, hardware wallets usually require you to have a backup seed that makes it possible to regain full control over your cryptocurrency even after the device is gone.

Another difference between the two wallets is their cost. This is one of the arguments some make for software wallets over hardware wallets. Software wallets are usually free, and this contributes to their widespread use today. Hardware wallets aren’t free, with an average price of around $100. Some people don’t even have that much in crypto tokens and may see it ridiculous to spend that much on hardware wallets. But we’d rather pay $100 once and be 110% sure of our funds’ security than pay nothing and risk getting ripped off. That’s just us, though.

One of the key differences between these two wallets is their accessibility. Accessing your crypto tokens is easier with software wallets. You can easily connect to the Internet anytime and anywhere you want with no special requirement. None except an internet connection, of course! This is not the same with hardware wallets. 

For starters, your hardware device must always be with you. This is particularly tricky as many of these devices are small, and you can easily lose them. And despite their security from online fraud, they can still be stolen or damaged. Losing them to theft does not mean your crypto tokens are gone. Your funds are still safe, but you have to go through the stress of getting new devices and setting them up. 

Then you also still have to connect these devices to the Internet. All these seem may seem like too much stress for users with little crypto tokens. 

That said, if you asked us what type of wallets to go with, our answer would be hardware wallets. Why? We value security over anything else. What use is having a readily available and cheap wallet if your life savings can just ‘vanish?’ 

Best Crypto Hardware Wallets 

We have established just how important hardware wallets are. Now, we need to talk about choosing the right one for you. Remember, you will be entrusting all of your crypto assets to whichever device you choose. Therefore,  there is no room for error at all. You have to get it right.

Looking for the right one yourself amid hundreds of wallets out there will be a bother, but I have a list that can guide you. I have settled on these nine as the best crypto hardware wallets you can use after considering many factors. There is a detailed review of each company and some of its pros and cons. Let’s get started.

Disclaimer: All links in this article contain a referral code. I will get a small reward if you buy something. In addition, by following my links for some products, you will receive an additional discount.

1. NGRAVE Zero – Most secure hardware wallet

NGRAVE Zero, dubbed the coldest wallet, is the most secure hardware wallet you can find in 2021 because of its complete independence on the internet, or any other electronic devices at that. And that’s saying something, considering the high level of security in hardware wallets today.

The founding team for this wallet consists of Ruben Merre, Xavier Hendrickx, and Edouard Vanham. NGRAVE is notable for its partnership with IMEC, one of the top security firms on the planet. 

The NGRAVE Zero does not allow your device to connect to the Internet at all. It stays completely offline at all times. While many devices in the industry use Bluetooth or a USB port for connection to a computer, NGRAVE Zero relies on a one-way QR code. This ensures that your private keys are always fully offline. This, in turn, means there is no risk of online fraud.

This wallet is also very easy to use, with a five-star touch screen. The screen is large enough for users to see what’s on it clearly but small enough to be considered portable. 

They also have stainless steel sheets that store your backup seed phrase. The stainless-steel sheets are shock-proof, fire-resistant, and water-resistant. This essentially removes the need for paper as a backup, as commonly seen in the industry.

Pros

  • Most secure hardware in the industry;
  • Easy to use;
  • Water, fire, and shock-resistant stainless sheets for storing seed phrases.

Cons

  • NGRAVE is relatively new, and hence, not fully trusted in the industry;
  • Little expensive.

2. Trezor Model T – Best for Several Cryptocurrencies

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Trezor is also another company with a high pedigree in the industry. Trezor was founded in 2013 by Marek Palatinus and Pavol Rusnak, two big Bitcoin miners. This company makes some of the best hardware wallets today. They have two hardware wallets model – the TREZOR Model T and TREZOR One. Both of these wallets are excellent, but the Model T is an upgrade on the TREZOR One, the first hardware wallet to exist.

The primary advantage of the Model T over the TREZOR One is total independence from the Internet. When starting, TREZOR requires you to enter your seed phrase. The TREZOR One doesn’t have a touch screen, and you have to connect it to your computer to enter your seed phrase. This means thieves and fraudsters can still see the seed phrase. However, only you will know the right combination.

Trezor supports more than 1000 crypto assets. People with different crypto assets will find it perfect. Trezor hardware wallets are also very secure, with their multi-signature security feature. These models have an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. 

Pros

  • Supports more than 1000 cryptocurrencies;
  • Very trusted in the industry;

Cons

  • The screen may be difficult to type on for people with big fingers.

3. Ledger – Most popular choice

Ledger is a France-based company established in 2014. Their two main hardware wallets are the Ledger Nano X and Ledger Nano S, both of which are brilliant. The Nano X is an upgrade on the Nano S, which was also an industry beater when it debuted a few years ago.

Ledger is the most popular hardware wallet in the industry, and for good reasons too. They are very simple to use and contain an app that makes it possible for users to send, receive, and trade crypto. Ledger supports more than 1500 cryptocurrencies.

Nano X is the flagship wallet of the Ledger company. It can manage 100 cryptocurrencies simultaneously and is compatible with mobile devices. Ledger also ensures to release software updates from time to time to stay ahead in the industry. Users can connect this device to a computer or smartphone through Bluetooth or USB.

At $119 for Nano X and $59 for Nano S, Ledger offers one of the best value-for-money hardware wallets.

Despite Ledger’s pedigree in the industry, it was hacked last year. The hackers released the names, phone numbers, and emails of over 270,000 people online. However, the company was quick to squash the uproar, claiming that the email publications were merely an ‘online scam.’ One reassurance for Ledger wallet owners is the company improved on its security after the hack.

Pros

  • Very trusted in the industry;
  • Nano X is compatible with mobile devices;
  • Supports more than 1500 cryptocurrencies.

Cons

  • Bluetooth connectivity in the Nano X isn’t great;
  • Was hacked, but the problem has already been fixed according to the owner of the company.

BitBox02 by Shift Crypto is a Swiss-engineered hardware wallet. It reeks of class in design and function. This device is perfect for storing and transacting cryptocurrencies. 

BitBox02 supports over 1500 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and BAT. Setting up this hardware wallet is easy and fast. It’s intuitive interface also makes it very easy to use. BitBox02 allows for backing up of data on a microSD card for easy recovery in cases of loss or theft.

A BitBoxApp is available for this hardware wallet, and it serves as a reliable companion for users. This app is very user-friendly and allows for many advanced features. One of those features is managing the microSD card. There is also a bitcoin-only edition for users concerned only about storing bitcoin. 

Pros

  • Secure and simple
  • Allows users to store over 1500 cryptocurrencies

Cons

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KeepKey hardware wallet is one of the safest wallets in the industry because of its approach to storing your password. Its functionality is also first-rate. It has a beautiful design. This wallet is larger than most others in the industry, which means everything on the screen is clearer and easier to see. However, this also means the device isn’t as convenient to move around as other hardware wallets.

This wallet stores private keys offline. There is also a 12-word recovery phrase for retrieving the keys in cases of loss. These keys are usually generated when starting.

KeepKey supports the major cryptocurrencies in the world, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin. It supports more than 40 coins in total. An in-wallet exchange feature by the ShapeShift integration allows for easy exchanging of cryptocurrencies straight from your wallet.

Pros

  • Beautiful design
  • Allows for easy exchanging of crypto

Cons

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Cobo Vault is one of the costliest hardware wallets today. But it is also one of the best, in both security and physical protection for the device. In terms of structure, Cobo Vault is perhaps the best in the industry. Made from aerospace-grade aluminum, it is very strong and sturdy. There is also a fingerprint sensor on the device.

It is easy to set up this hardware wallet. All initialization processes usually only take a few minutes. Generating the vault itself takes less than 20 seconds. But before generating the vault, users first have to input a 24-word phrase. 

The device’s relatively hefty size means it is less portable than other hardware wallets. However, a large screen size usually means larger display. Users don’t need to connect to a computer to transact. Rather, there’s a camera on the wallet that can scan QR codes on the Cobo Vault app. There also isn’t Bluetooth or USB connectivity with this device. While all of these may seem inconvenient, Cobo Vault aims at providing the maximum security possible. 

Its lack of features may be discouraging, but it does the most important one well, which is securing your crypto.

Pros

  • Unlimited storage for supported cryptocurrencies
  • Sturdy and drop-resistant structure

Cons

  • The premium version is very expensive
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Satochip is a Belgian-based hardware wallet. At $25, it is one of the cheapest hardware wallets. Interestingly, its low price isn’t what is most remarkable about it, but its design. It has a different design to most other hardware wallets in that it looks like a credit card. 

This design is undoubtedly a futuristic one but has also proven to be very effective in storing cryptocurrencies today. It has a secured chip and operates on the JCOP operating system. There is also a PIN code and optional 2FA for added security.

Satochip supports the world’s leading cryptocurrencies. Some of which are Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and all ERC-20 tokens. 

Pros

  • Simple and sleek design
  • Multi-signature security

Cons

  • Unfamiliar design is not trusted in the industry
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Safepal is a China-based hardware wallet. Although relatively new, making its debut in 2018, it is one of the industry’s top hardware wallets. It is also cheap, at just $40, offering good value for money.

The device is always offline, with no Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, or USB connection. Instead, it uses an offline air-gapped signing mechanism. To transact cryptocurrency, users have to scan a QR code and at a short distance too. 

There’s more. Its emphasis on the security of funds is also on display with its multiple-layer security sensors. Amazingly, these sensors can cause the device to self-destruct. This is typically when it suspects malicious intentions. 

Users have full control of their crypto tokens and can add or delete as they like. It’s light structure also make it easy to carry about.

Pros

  • It’s 100% offline nature, security sensors, and self-destruct mechanism offers total protection against fraud
  • Cheap
  • Supports more than 1000 coins

Cons

  • Transactions may be burdensome 
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OPOLO is another relatively new face on the hardware wallet-scene. That takes nothing away from its brilliance, though. It is one of the most secure devices in the industry because of the strength of its password. It operates both a multi-signature and open-source feature. Its EAL 6+ chip is one of a kind in the industry, with most other wallets going for EAL 1-5 chips.

The device has a simple design with a 3.2-inch touch screen. OPOLO allows for coin exchange through its desktop app. Aside from exchanging coins, this app also allows users to send and receive cryptocurrencies. 

OPOLO has a password manager, which, as you may imagine, allows users to manage their passwords. Speaking of passwords, OPOLO allows for as much as 127 characters. This makes it virtually impossible for anyone to guess.

Pros

  • It’s EAL 6+ chip is the best in the industry
  • 127-character passphrase, making it undecipherable 

Cons

FAQ

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What Are Crypto Wallets?

Crypto, like any other currency in the world, can be stolen. Theft is one of the main reasons people never hold large cash quantities but store them in banks. The reasoning behind this is that the cash owner trusts the bank enough to deposit their money with them. The bank also provides owners with a bank account for accountability and convenience. 

This principle also applies to crypto, albeit with some slight differences. You cannot store your cryptocurrency in regular bank accounts. Your have to store them in specially designed wallets. These wallets don’t hold cryptocurrency themselves. They only hold the keys, both private and public, needed to unlock crypto funds. 

In short, crypto wallets allow crypto owners to store, send, and receive cryptocurrency.

What Are the Types of Crypto Wallets?

There are many types of crypto wallets, but the two most used ones are hot and cold wallets. The primary difference between the two is an internet connection. 

Hot wallets store crypto tokens on the Internet. Owners have to connect to the Internet to access their crypto tokens. Hot wallets may fall into three categories, namely desktop, online, and mobile wallets. Although there are slight variations with these different types of hot wallets, they all rely on the Internet to store cryptocurrency. 

On the other hand, cold wallets store crypto tokens offline in physical devices. It may sound strange at first, but you can actually have your cryptocurrency in the palm of your hands. Hardware and paper wallets are both cold wallets. To successfully make transactions, you still need to connect to the Internet, but your keys never leave the physical devices.

What Crypto Wallet Is the Most Secure?

Hardware or cold wallets are by far the most secure type of wallets. This is for no other reason than they don’t store cryptocurrency on the Internet. The Internet is very wide and extensive. It contains all sorts of bots and people, including criminals. Yes, there are also crypto thieves. These criminals usually use fraudulent means to take control of someone else’s crypto tokens. 

Because hot wallets store cryptocurrency on the Internet, the crypto tokens are never fully secure. Technology is improving every day and online platforms are becoming safer and more difficult to ‘rob.’ Notwithstanding, there’s still a risk of crypto theft on the Internet. 

Hardware wallets remove this risk completely. Your keys usually remain on these devices even when you connect them to the Internet. Because of their overly simple nature, you also don’t have to worry about hacking or malware attacks. Your funds are well and truly safe with these devices.

Are Hardware Wallets Worth the Price?

If what you are looking for is the security of your funds, then hardware wallets are absolutely worth the price. Many hardware wallets are available today and at varying prices, but they usually offer the highest security possible. This is particularly important for people looking to lock away an amount of crypto for a while. Because then you don’t have to worry about security.

However, hot wallets are typically free. This is certainly eye-catching to people with small crypto tokens. Because hot wallets are also more readily available, people that trade a lot may feel spending on hardware wallets is a waste. 

Summarily, it boils down to what you need. If you don’t mind the extra effort to connect your hardware wallets to the Internet to make a transaction, they are definitely worth the price. You can never be too safe.

Conclusion

Hardware wallets are the safest type of crypto wallets in the world. Their ability to store keys offline eliminates the risk of online crypto fraud. There aren’t tons of hardware wallets on the market today, but users still need to choose the best ones to use for maximum security. Our curated list contains some of the best you can use. 

Note that although these hardware wallets are very safe, they can still be stolen. Carelessness on the path of the owner may also lead to loss of crypto. So, always be on guard.

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Traduction de l’article de Dmitry Leiko : Article Original