When you’re visiting this site you are likely to own Bitcoins or Altcoins and looking for a way to save your valuable coins safely. When searching for the best hardware wallet for your situation, we will help you out on this page! By category, we will see which hardware wallets score the best at the points examined.
Go directly to:
- Supported cryptocurrencies
- Integrations with other Bitcoin wallets
- Value for money
- Confidence in producer
In order to keep it somewhat clear, we’re gonna take a look in this comparison at the 4 most sold hardware wallets: Ledger Nano S, Trezor, KeepKey and Digital Bitbox.
Curious about the complete overview? Check out all hardware wallets and filter on features that are of interest to you to make a choice!
You can safely store your bitcoins on (almost) any hardware wallet. When that is your only criterion, you have a lot to choose from. Is support for altcoins also a requirement, and do you have a wide portfolio of coins? Then the Ledger Nano S and Trezor are the best choice. These hardware wallets support most cryptocurrencies and these producers also continuously add new support for new popular coins.
KeepKey is a good third and is quite similar to the Trezor.
At present, Digital Bitbox only supports native Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Ethereum Classic.
Comparison table: supported currencies
|Currency||Ledger Nano S||Trezor||KeepKey||Digital Bitbox|
The most important aspect when comparing hardware wallets is of course security. All four devices work as expected from a hardware wallet. They have PIN protection from the device, and you can easily work with your Bitcoins and Altcoins via an app on your computer. The Nano S, Trezor and KeepKey can be backed up and recovered through a recovery seed (24 words) for your wallet content. With the Digital Bitbox, your backup is generated in a PDF document on the supplied SD card. For all four, the wallet generates your private keys, and they never leave the wallet.
Where the Nano S, Trezor and KeepKey work with a Chrome extension, the Digital Bitbox works with a desktop application. In terms of safety, there is something to say for both. It is known that Chrome and its marketplace are extremely well-protected against hacking. If you’re a bit hesitant, you can also use the integration with known wallet software like MyCelium or Electrum at Ledger, Trezor and KeepKey.
Send and receive bitcoins
The Ledger Nano S, Trezor Wallet and KeepKey Wallet have the advantage of confirming transactions as two-factor authentication on the device. The Digital Bitbox wallet works with authentication via a smartphone app. Somewhat less safe and cumbersome.
An advantage of the Ledger Nano S relative to its competitors is that when you want to recover your wallet from the recovery seed, you can do this whole process from the device. So without connection to a computer.
Hidden wallet with BIP39 password encryption
The Ledger, Trezor and KeepKey provide password encryption with a hidden wallet. A so-called passphrase can be a word or phrase that you can consider the 25th word of your recovery seed. Important: This will never be saved on your hardware wallet. Therefore, never register your passphrases on the device.
Because the passphrase is never stored on your hardware wallet, it means there is no wrong passphrase. The device does not know what you have chosen, and therefore everything you enter is fine. For each letter combination used as a passphrase, other wallets are generated. If you turn on password protection, you must enter it every time you connect your hardware wallet after entering your PIN.
Why is this useful? This way you can generate some hidden wallets with a small number of Bitcoins. If you are under any pressure (for example, by an attacker) to log in to your hardware wallet, you can enter the password of your hidden wallet with your complete stash of crypto money.
On Ledger Nano S you can connect your passphrase to another PIN, so you can just sign in with the other PIN to access your hidden wallet.
Brute force attacks
Hardware wallets have an added feature so that the device is protected against the so-called brute force attack. If an x number of burglary attempts are made with an incorrect password, the device cleares the private keys. After this it is no longer possible to perform transactions. In other words, your wallet is no longer on the device. You can still recover your wallet from the backup on the SD card. The Digital Bitbox erases the wallet after 15 burglary attempts. The Ledger Nano S has similar functionality: By activating a setting, you need to restore your wallet after 3 incorrect PINs. With Trezor and KeepKey, a waiting time is built after each wrong PIN. For example, the delay between the 19th and 20th incorrect PIN is 35 hours.
This means giving more people permission to do a transaction. This feature allows you to use shared wallets. The Nano S can be integrated with Bitgo and Copay to perform multi-sig transactions. The Trezor and Digital Bitbox can be integrated with Copay. On the KeepKey you can activate multi-signing using the multi-sig functionality of Electrum.
Additionally, you can use Fido U2F on your Ledger, Trezor and Digital Bitbox, an industry standard for universal two-factor authentication, supported by the world’s largest companies such as Google, Microsoft, PayPal and Mastercard. As a result, your hardware wallet also works as a two-factor authenticator. A nice extra.
Secure Element and attestation
The Ledger Nano S is built for a so-called Secure Element; a super secure chip. It is the same technology found in PIN or SIM cards. On this chip is a private key that is linked to a public key known only to Ledger. In this way, Ledger tests during the initial setup if these two matches to check that the device has not been tampered with during shipping, the so-called “attestation”.
Comparison table: safety aspects
|Safety aspect||Ledger Nano S||Trezor||KeepKey||Digital Bitbox|
|Smartphone app 2FA|
User-friendliness and interface
The Ledger Nano S, Trezor and KeepKey are the most user-friendly. The interfaces (which work as a Chrome extension) are intuitive, though the Ledger app looks even lighter and feels a bit nicer to work with. The apps allow you to easily view your account details, manage settings, and send and receive Bitcoins. You confirm transactions through the device itself and that works very handy.
Digital Bitbox does not work through a Chrome extension but via a desktop application that is available to all operating systems. Creating the recovery seed works – unlike the other three tested hardware wallets – using a saved PDF document on the removable Micro SD card. Making a safe (paper) backup is a bit cumbersome compared to just reading the 24 words of the screen like the Nano S, Trezor and KeepKey. Furthermore, the interface is easy to use. Because there is no screen to confirm transactions, the Digital Bitbox uses a smartphone app in combination with physical touch (3 seconds) of the device. This process works fine, but it does make the whole process more complicated.
Integrations with other bitcoin wallets
There are various integrations available with existing Bitcoin wallet services. You can view your balance, manage transactions and / or restore your wallet.
Comparison table: Integrations
|Integration||Ledger Nano S||Trezor||KeepKey||Digital Bitbox|
Value for money
An opinion on the price / quality ratio is quite subjective. Nevertheless, we dare to score the Ledger Nano S and Trezor Wallet best in combination with the price you pay for the device. The Nano S is a bit cheaper than the Trezor Wallet, but has approximately the same functionalities. For this reason we put the Ledger on top, very briefly followed by the Trezor. Of course, there will always be nuances that are more important than the others. Generally, with both hardware wallets, you’ll get top-of-the-range devices for keeping your Bitcoins safe.
The Digital Bitbox is a cheap solution, but it’s a bit cumbersome in terms of functionality. For example, to confirm transactions using a mobile app. Also in terms of security, the Digital Bitbox does not meet the standards of Ledger and Trezor, but the device is still extremely secure. The lack of a screen and the minimum support for cryptocoins can be a reason to spend a little bit more so that you can get the Nano S. However, if you want to keep your Bitcoins safe for very little money, the Digital Bitbox is a great option.
The KeepKey is the most expensive of the four, and feels the most “high-class” due to its shape and construction. However, in the case of supported coins and integrations with other wallets, the KeepKey remains behind.
Confidence in producer
Out of the four comparable hardware wallets, SatoshiLabs, the company behind Trezor, is the oldest company. Trezor was known as the first hardware wallet to store your cryptocurrencies. SatoshiLabs is highly regarded in the crypto community.
Ledger also has a very good reputation. The company is a bit younger, but has a active community and is continuously and -amazingly fast- developing new functionalities. Ledger entered millions of investments, so you can expect a lot of action from this corner.
Digital Bitbox was created by Shift Devices, a Swiss company co-founded by Jonas Schnelli, a Bitcoin core developer.
The KeepKey is built based on Trezor’s Open Source firmware; a fork of the Trezor. The main difference is the larger display. KeepKey is part of ShapeShift, one of the most well-known trading platforms for trading digital currency.
Conclusion: If you’re serious about cryptocurrencies, get a hardware wallet.
Is there a winner?
If you’ve read this whole comparison, the Ledger Nano S scores the best in most cases. The Trezor follows at very short distance. It is clear that your Bitcoins are safe in all hardware wallets mentioned in this comparison. We have tried to map the nuances in this hardware wallet comparison, but tastes differ, of course. Therefore, based on our findings, choose the best hardware wallet for your situation and crypto portfolio.
Protect your Bitcoins and Altcoins
Of course, hardware wallets cost money, and there are also plenty of free alternatives to save your bitcoins. However, the enormously increased security you get when purchasing a hardware wallet is worth much more than the relatively low amount of money you lose to get a hardware wallet. Now that Bitcoin is becoming more and more mainstream, it becomes increasingly sensitive to theft and hacking. Be prepared and choose “peace of mind” by safely storing your Bitcoins and Altcoins on a hardware wallet!