If you've been investing in cryptocurrency for a while now, you've most likely heard of cryptocurrency wallets. Pretty much all experts in the field agree that hardware wallets are the very best type of wallet for security, and that all long-term-oriented investors should utilize them. However, the community is often split on which company puts out the best crypto hardware wallets.
Hardware wallets are physical devices that store your cryptocurrency's private keys offline, which grant access to your digital assets. An investment of $60-$100 for a hardware wallet may end up saving you your entire crypto portfolio; think of it like insurance on your digital assets. Here is Benzinga's guide to the best crypto hardware wallets.
A free alternative is using a software wallet. These are generally easier and quicker to use but they also subject you to more vulnerabilities. Using a software wallet cuts out (usually) only one step of the process of sending a transaction, so it isn't a massive advantage over hardware wallets. This makes them slightly better for easily interacting with DeFi programs, but the diminished security should always be considered.
Most of the best hardware wallets (including all of the below wallets) are supported by most DeFi apps through Wallet Connect (or other connections like Ledger's integration with Metamask) but they are still a bit clunkier than software wallets. The crypto community agrees that it is significantly safer to use a hardware wallet than storing cryptos on an exchange. If the exchange goes bankrupt, many of its users may never see their funds again.
What is a Crypto Hardware Wallet?
Instead of storing precious, intangible coins on the servers of your favorite exchange, it makes much more sense to control your crypto from a hardware wallet, a device that can't be accessed from the internet. If the wallet isn't accessible from the internet, it is essentially invulnerable to cyberattacks.
Exchanges are obvious targets of altcoin heists as they often carry millions of U.S. dollars worth in coins as a part of their daily business operations. A crypto hardware wallet, unlike the assets it carries, is tangible. It is still possible to lose coins to convincing phishing and social engineering scams, however, so you still need to stay vigilant and only connect your wallet to trusted platforms. The best hardware wallets have smooth operating systems and easy-to-use interfaces. They require a PIN to access and can only be connected to the internet by utilizing your computer's USB port or Bluetooth.
Some wallets are even available in different languages. The most notable features of using hardware wallets are that they provide security using cryptography and present the option to back up your coins using your private keys. Your private key is what grants access to your cryptocurrency, which is technically stored on the digital asset's ledger. This way, you'll be able to access your funds with your private keys in the event that your hardware wallet is lost or stolen.
What to Look for in the Best Hardware Crypto Wallets
Here are a few things you should be looking out for when determining the best hardware crypto wallet for you:
- PIN to Access
- impeccable security
- 2-factor authentication
- Easy-to-use interface
- Variety of supported coins
- Compatibility with other online and hardware wallets
- Easy to restore the back-up
Hardware vs. Software Cryptocurrency Wallets
While hardware wallets are the best way to secure cryptocurrency, software wallets provide their own unique benefits for cryptocurrency investors. Most crypto investors use both hardware and software wallets; you can think of hardware wallets like your bank's vault, and software wallets like the wallet you keep in your pocket. This makes it easier to understand why you probably shouldn't keep a huge amount of money in a software wallet. If you are pick-pocketed, you only lose the $100 in your wallet and not your entire savings account. It's the same way with software wallets.
One tiny mistake or accidental leak could lead to your entire wallet being drained. Hardware wallets are nearly invulnerable to cyberattacks because they are kept entirely offline.
Software wallets encrypt access to your digital assets on a computer or smartphone, making it easy to send and receive cryptocurrency from an exchange or other platform. While software wallets are free and easy to use, they're generally regarded as less secure than hardware wallets.
Best Hardware Crypto Wallets
1. Ledger Nano X
The Ledger company has made big strides since its inception in 2014. That is especially impressive because it has been the most popular hardware wallet for years. It's perfect for anyone serious about storing cryptocurrency. With an LED display for payment validation and a PIN to confirm, the handheld device is convenient and secure. As another method of security, Ledger Nano X also features 2-factor authentication. The device has its own operating system, BOLOS, supporting Windows (7+), Mac (10.8+), and Linux. It's also easy to restore your wallet if lost or broken by plugging your secret 12-24 word seed phrase into a new Ledger.
The hardware wallet supports more than 1,800 different cryptocurrencies including Ethereum, Bitcoin, Ripple, Shiba Inu, Dogecoin and all ERC-20 tokens on a multitude of networks and is easy to connect to your laptop via USB compatibility. It can also be integrated with the popular software wallet, MetaMask, for a much smoother experience. Ledger’s website boasts over 1,000,000 devices sold globally. Ledgers are easily some of the best cryptocurrency hardware wallets because they are extremely secure, easy-to-use, and sell for a great price.
Tangem is an exciting new hardware wallet brand offering the most convenient and simple hardware wallets on the market right now. Instead of building extremely complicated wallet devices with tons of potential points of failure, Tangem makes simple hardware wallets with smart-card technology. Tangem wallets look more like credit cards than traditional hardware wallets and use NFC technology (which enables "tap-to-pay" cards).
Setting up the wallet is a breeze and it doesn't make you create and write down an incredibly long seed phrase. Once your wallet is set up, all you have to do to use it is open the open-source Tangem app (available on both iOS and Android) and tap your card to your phone. You may expect that Tangem, the most convenient crypto hardware wallet, falls short on security but that is far from the truth. It offers even better security than most hardware wallets. The microcomputer chip that drives the wallet is certified by Common Criteria at EAL6+ level, the same level of certification required for diplomatic passports. If you are looking for an incredibly secure, easy-to-use, well-priced hardware wallet, Tangem is likely the wallet for you.
3. Trezor One
The Trezor One, by SatoshiLabs was designed and crafted in the Czech Republic by cryptocurrency advocates and a stellar cyber security team. In Czech, trezor literally translates to “vault." The Trezor team is credited with developing the 1st hardware wallet for cryptocurrencies using modern cryptography. It also boasts one of the best back-up recovery methods in the industry, the Shamir backup.
It provides an LED display for an easy-to-use interface, as well as a PIN to access the wallet. Providing even more security, the devices prompts you to use 2-factor authentication when verifying your purchase. The unique piece of hardware is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux and offers over 500 possible altcoins to hold and trade. Much like every other hardware wallet, the device requires your computer to be connected to the internet and connected via USB.
4. Trezor Model T
Searching for the best hardware wallet with the most comprehensive features? Look no further than Trezor's Model T. The innovative second edition hardware crypto wallet by Satoshi Labs was redesigned for better ease-of-use and security measures. The largest difference from the original is in the easy-to-use touchscreen interface. The only downside to this is that it is the sole way to interact with the device.
The Model T features the same availability of about 500 different coins while adding more layers of security. To even connect your device via USB, you must enter a PIN. You only get one shot an inputting a PIN, as every time you input it incorrectly you are locked out for some time period to the power of 2. In addition to its mainstream security, the Model T comes with a 12-word seed recovery card that allows you to back up your coins in the event of you forgetting your password. All in all, Satoshi Lab’s Model T seems to be the favorite, other than its higher price tag.
KeepKey is another contender for one of the best hardware wallets. Created by a subsidiary of the Shaftshift exchange, KeepKey highlights the notable differences its device holds over its competitors. Launched in 2015, KeepKey noted that its security measures were far stronger than Trezor or Ledger.
We have yet to view anyone brave enough to confirm this notion; however, KeepKey does not have an operating system. Not having an operating system essentially makes a device malware proof. It’s nearly impossible to infect a device with complicated instructions if that device does not have an operating system. While security remains an advantage in using KeepKey, a major drawback is the availability of only 35 cryptocurrencies. Still, the device couldn’t be more easy to use by plugging it in one of the USB ports of your computer. If you don't need to store a bunch of the more obscure altcoins, this may be your best choice.
6. BitBox02 by Shift Crypto
Keep your coins secure with the BitBox02 hardware wallet. Even better, you can set up your BitBox02 in minutes. The intuitive interface makes it easier than ever to stay in control of your crypto assets. BitBox02 features a secure dual-chip design and the source code has been independently audited by security researchers. It remains fully open source. It has one of the easiest backup mechanics too. Instead of slowly entering a 12 or more-word seed phrase, all you need to do is insert a microSD card with your wallet's backup info into the device.
You can get Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Chainlink, BAT and 1,500+ more. You can also choose from a different BitBox02 option, just for Bitcoin buyers.
7. SafePal S1
Looking for a quick and portable option to track and manage your cryptocurrency on-the-go? Be sure to consider the comprehensive SafePal S1 wallet. The size of a credit card, you can easily take your SafePal wallet with you no matter where you travel. It is the first hardware wallet that has received funding from the monolithic Binance Labs fund. The Safepal S1 is also one of the best-priced hardware wallets on the market right now.
To transfer your coins and tokens, connect to the SafePal app using a local QR connection — no need to risk your coins by connecting to public Wi-Fi or using a Bluetooth device.
Best of all, SafePal offers support for over 10,000 individual cryptocurrency tokens and coins, which means that you’ll enjoy a single wallet for all of your investments.
Best Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet For DeFi
If you're looking to participate in decentralized finance apps like Aave, Uniswap, or PancakeSwap, you'll need to use a software wallet that can connect to these applications. The best crypto wallet for DeFi is Ledger combined with MetaMask (available on the Chrome Store). The wallet can be added as a browser extension to Google Chrome, making it extremely simple to use on websites that support Web3 crypto wallets. MetaMask is supported by essentially every DeFi application in existence. The wallet's integration with Ledger is yet another massive benefit, making it the obvious choice for DeFi users.
What Crypto Hardware Wallet Should You Choose?
While the emerging cryptocurrency market still has lots to prove in terms of practicality, adoption must be taken with caution. Hackers will continue to enter the market with the growing popularity of secured coin offerings and the beginning of adopting the international currency. Depending on how many coins you have, it may be smart to think about utilizing hardware wallets as they offer heightened security for your cryptocurrency investments. The cost of a hardware wallet is usually far less than the potential losses from a hack. There is no single best hardware wallet for every cryptocurrency investor, so you should choose whatever hardware wallet is best for your particular needs.
Is a hardware wallet worth it?
Hardware wallets are worth it because they protect your keys and give you the peace of mind knowing that your crypto is safe.
Can someone hack my hardware wallet?
A hardware wallet cannot be hacked unless the theif has physical access to the wallet.
What happens if my hardware wallet dies?
If you hardware wallet dies and you still have your seed phrase, you can recover your wallet. But if you lose the wallet and seed phrase, you may not be able to recover your crypto.
Related link: COOLWALLET S REVIEW
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