The best bitcoin wallet is of course different for each situation. Do you have many bitcoins, or little? In all cases, it is important to store your bitcoins safely. Let us guide you through all the different options in this article!
Despite the fact that we have selected the best bitcoin wallet for each wallet category, our best advice is to place your bitcoins on a hardware wallet, such as the Ledger Nano S or the Trezor wallet. This is honestly the most safe and easy-to-use method and the money is absolutely worth it. Are you looking for free bitcoin wallets? Then you’ve come to the right page too, so read on!
We distinguish 5 types of bitcoin wallets in this review:
- Hardware wallets (the best combination of security and ease of use)
- Mobile bitcoin wallets (especially iOS is extremely safe!)
- Cold storage wallets (super safe, less convenient to work with)
- Online bitcoin wallets (turn on 2FA and secondary passwords and you’re safe)
- Desktop bitcoin wallets (provided you’re using it offline, it’s a good alternative)
In this review we pay particular attention to security and ease of use. We put each of these categories into our top 3, and by category we look at the pros and cons. After reading this article you can make a well-founded choice to see what’s the best bitcoin wallet for your situation. Let’s start!
Best hardware wallets
If you’re looking for the best bitcoin wallet, a hardware wallet is by far the safest way to store bitcoins and send and receive at the same time. You connect the small device to your computer via a USB connection. Your private key never leaves the hardware wallet and never comes into contact with the Internet. In addition, each bitcoin transaction must be confirmed by using the physical buttons on the device. And if you lose your hardware wallet, you can always restore your wallet through built-in technology and get access to your bitcoins. There are currently multiple hardware wallets available, but for this article we are highlighting the most popular of the moment.
Tip: check out our hardware wallet comparison for a full overview of the most popular hardware wallets and their specs.
+ All your bitcoins completely offline, but at-the-ready when you need them
+ Super safe and not susceptible to hacks
+ Offline backup using the recovery seed
– It’s not free
Ledger Nano S
The Ledger Nano S is a hardware wallet where you can store both Bitcoin, Ethereum and many other cryptocurrencies. The Nano S is considered to be one of the best bitcoin wallets currently available. The robust built-in security features ensure that your bitcoins are securely stored and that you can send and receive your bitcoins safely. The Nano S is a chic device and super handy in use. The Ledger Nano S wallet costs approximately $65 (excl. shipping).
Trezor was there from the first hour to launch the Trezor hardware wallet. The Trezor wallet is one of the most reliable and safe ways to safeguard your bitcoins and altcoins. Except for some small functional details and the price, there’s not a big difference with the Ledger Nano S. The Trezor wallet costs € 89 (excl. shipping).
Digital Bitbox wallet
The Digital Bitbox wallet works basically the same as the above hardware wallets, but does bring some interesting differences. The Digital Bitbox works based on its own native software client. To use the Ledger and Trezor wallet, a Chrome plugin is required. The disadvantage is that the Digital Bitbox has no screen for confirming your transactions. It’s still a very interesting device, especially because of its relatively low price of $59 (excl. shipping).
Best mobile app bitcoin wallets
After a hardware wallet and other cold storage wallets, a mobile wallet (and especially iOS) is the best balance between security and ease of use. With the selected mobile bitcoin wallets, also called smartphone wallets, your bitcoins can always be restored if these services disappear for any reason. This can be done using the recovery seed, the 12 or 24 words you write down at the time you set up the wallet. These companies do not have any information about your bitcoins; they only provide you with the software you connect to the bitcoin network.
+ Your wallet’s always there, because it’s on your phone, secured with your PIN or fingerprint
+ Between the online options it’s the most secure, due to smartphone processor architecture (definitely iOS)
+ Offline backup based on the recovery seed
– Use a mobile wallet for small to medium sized amounts, it’s safe, but not the most safe solution
BreadWallet is one of the most used mobile bitcoin wallets available for iOS and Android. The code behind the wallet is Open Source. Your private keys are not stored on a server, so nobody can add and you can always join your bitcoins. Search BreadWallet in the iOS or Android Play store!
MyCelium is compatible with hardware wallets like Ledger Nano S, Trezor, or KeepKey. MyCelium is available for iOS and Android and is easy to back up. In the bitcoin community, the MyCelium is also called the “Rolls Royce” under the bitcoin wallets, and that has a reason. By protecting your MyCelium app with your fingerprint, you’re sure nobody can access your bitcoins.
When you check out the best bitcoin wallets online, Lykke will not likely show up directly. However, we added this relatively new service because we are very excited about the user-friendly app and future plans. Lykke is an online trading platform that is free for everyone. That might not sound that special, but you also pay 0.0 transaction fees! With Lykke, you can trade directly on your smartphone at no additional costs. The Lykke wallet is also great to use purely as a mobile bitcoin wallet, you can create as many wallets as you like.
Best cold storage wallets
With cold storage, the first thing that comes to mind is a paper wallet. You print your private key and store it in a safe. You can’t go safer, right? Well, that might be true, however, it’s extremely unhandy to work with your bitcoins. Hence, this method is recommended if you want to keep bitcoins for long-time storage. In addition to a paper wallet we have some other nice cold storage options! A hardware wallet is a form of cold storage as well, but – as you can read above – it has its own category.
+ Nobody can access this
+ With BIP38 wallet encryption you import your private keys in other wallets
– Doesn’t win the usability award
– Even printing your private key isn’t 100% fool-proof: modern printers can leave fingerprints in your computer’s cache
– Paper gone, wet, or burned: bye bye bitcoins
Still one of the most popular ways to store bitcoins is a paper wallet. On a paper wallet – usually a printed paper – you keep the public key (your bitcoin address), the private key and possibly a QR code to easily scan your wallet address if someone wants to send bitcoins to you. A paper wallet can be easily generated online with a tool like BitAddress.org. If you want to safely generate your paper wallet, download this tool as a ZIP file, turn off the Internet and then generate your wallet. Then you will prevent that your private key is visible in your browser! Lastly, store your printed paper in a safe and in several other safe places.
At BitcoinPaperWallet you can order holographic stickers with serial numbers and zip-seal packaging. In addition, it is possible to order a Ubuntu 14.04 LiveCD. This is all meant to safely store your private keys offline. Generate your bitcoin wallet address through this site, print the chic “receipt” and cut out the paper according to the instructions. With the holographic stickers, you seal your paper wallet. Useful to use if you want to save bitcoins for a long time, or use it as a gift.
Cryptosteel is a steel plate in which you save your private keys using 250 letters. Quite a revolutionary idea, isn’t it? The big advantage is that the steel even survives a fire. As long as you save your bitcoin private key in BIP39 format, you can always access your bitcoins. Combine the Cryptosteel with a hardware wallet and you’re really on top of your game. Tip: you can order a Cryptosteel with every Trezor you buy.
Best online bitcoin wallets
Online bitcoin wallets are popular and shine especially for ease of use. Be careful, however, that you always have the private keys of your wallet.
+ Often in conjunction with a mobile app
+ Handy and quick to send and receive bitcoins
+ Offline backup and ability to use 2FA (two-factor authentication) and secondary passwords
– You don’t have the private key solely in your own hands; it’s stored encrypted on a server as well
The Wirex bitcoin wallet is an online wallet, but it’s handy that you can also connect a Wirex VISA credit card. The Wirex credit card can be used just like any other credit card. You can deposit both fiat (the regular currency) and the cryptogeld on the Wirex card. The online wallet software runs on BitGo, one of the safest wallet services of the moment. If you create an account via this link you will receive a 25% discount on your credit card. The bitcoin credit card costs € 11.25. Please note that you will pay another monthly fee of € 1, if there is money on your card. However, normal credit cards are also not free and you can also lose bitcoins!
Blockchain.info is one of the most used online wallets in our list of best bitcoin wallets. The amount of wallets is 8 million and growing. The Blockchain.info wallet is a so-called HD wallet, a hierarchical deterministic wallet. With each transaction, you get a new wallet address – to ensure your privacy – and it’s not possible to find your identity and location using your wallet address. The interface of the web application looks well designed and easy to use. Blockchain.info also has an iOS and Android app, so you always have insight into the bitcoins you receive and send on your smartphone.
There are a lot of investors behind Coinbase, which pays off in a chic platform with both an online wallet and a mobile wallet. Functionality-wise, it’s one of the best bitcoin wallets. An interesting feature is the Coinbase Vault; this allows you to keep your bitcoins extremely safe because transfers from this wallet must be approved by an additional person. In addition, the Coinbase bitcoin wallet also offers 2FA (two-factor authentication) via SMS or the Google Authenticator app. But, as with all other online wallets, if you own many bitcoins, put them on a hardware wallet or other cold storage.
Best desktop bitcoin wallets
A desktop wallet is downloaded and installed on your PC. This can be a safe solution, provided you do not connect that PC to the Internet. Do you have a spare PC that you do not use? Then set up your internet connection only to download the software. That way, a desktop wallet is a fairly safe way to keep your bitcoins, but once you connect your computer to the Internet, your bitcoins are prone to malware and, therefore, less secure.
+ If used offline, a good alternative
+ Super safe and not susceptible to hacks (if used on offline computer)
+ Offline backup by using a recovery seed
– The private key is on your computer
– You may need to download the entire blockchain, which may take quite some time
– In offline use, it’s quite cumbersome to send and receive bitcoins
The user interface and user-friendliness of this desktop wallet is unmatched! In addition to bitcoin, you can also store Litecoin, Dash, Ether and Dogecoins. Exodus is a so-called litewallet, so you do not have to download all of the Blockchain on your computer. Exodus also offers a trading platform for buying and selling cryptogeld.
Armory is the most mature and safe bitcoin wallet. There is a disadvantage: the wallet can be quite intimidating for the somewhat less technical user. Plus, this desktop wallet has the disadvantage of having to download the entire blockchain. It’s still one of our recommendations; if you’re a bit more technical and you’re able to work with a slightly higher learning curve!