Best Hardware Wallets

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

23 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
310 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best hardware wallets

Last Updated October 2019

The standard wallet comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, but the basic function has always been the same: to store your various forms of money. Until the last decade or so, that money took the form of paper currency, coins, and plastic credit or debit cards. But when cryptocurrency arrived, no traditional wallet was able to hold it, because cryptocurrency isn’t a tangible thing.

Enter hardware wallets, which are physical, electronic, handheld storage devices that contain a user’s personal cryptocurrency private key. Also known as cold storage, hardware wallets resemble external hard drives or thumb drives. The information on the device is the private key that allows a user access to their funds, and that key is often protected by a pin or passcode.

When your cryptocurrency is in your hardware wallet, it’s no longer in the online realm, which means it’s safe from being stolen or tampered with. In fact, hardware wallets are the most secure way to store cryptocurrency. Hardware wallets do have some drawbacks and understanding precisely how they work and the differences among them can be complicated. Our buying guide can help you through the new and changing world of cryptocurrency storage.

Digital wallets for cryptocurrency contain two keys. A private key that allows only the user to securely make payments, and a public key that is used for others to send funds into the account.

Key considerations

Benefits

Hardware wallets are removed from online storage and the interconnected web, meaning they are not susceptible to hackers or malware. They cannot be infiltrated, as they are not logged onto any network. Hardware wallets are offline storage; they have to be physically stolen to be compromised. And even in that case, a code would likely be needed to access the information stored within. In case of theft, most models have effective backup protocols to restore the personal data to another device.

Risks

While hardware wallets are relatively new and are the most secure devices to date for handling Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, they are not without their drawbacks and risks. It’s important to purchase hardware wallets from reputable, tested, and trusted companies. Any software or hardware bugs in the wallet can make it susceptible to hackers. Similarly, a flawed random number generator, which creates the private key, will allow hackers to spot patterns and break through the security. There is always a concern that a less-trustworthy company or individual could create a flaw in the security to give them access to your cryptocurrency. Still, there have been no major breaches of hardware wallets reported.

Cryptocurrencies

Hardware wallets work well for those who navigate many different cryptocurrencies. Most wallets can store the most popular currencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. However, not all wallets can interact with lesser-known or lesser-used currencies. Some use only a handful of the hundreds of cryptocurrencies active in the world, while others enable the use of dozens. Make sure the currencies you use are congruent with the wallet you want to store them in.

Amount of currency

Hardware wallets are most often used by those who manage large sums. Those who use only a small amount may not need the security of a hardware wallet. If you don’t have a lot of cryptocurrency, you may also find that you don’t want or need to take the currencies offline.

EXPERT TIP

To minimize the chances of anyone stealing your hardware wallet and accessing your funds, it’s best to never let anyone know that you own cryptocurrencies in the first place.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Recovery and restoration

In case of theft, many companies provide opportunities to send your cryptocurrency information and balances to a new device, where it can be safely restored and returned to its rightful owner. The old device is made useless while the new one takes its place. These contingency processes are usually set up when you acquire your device; it’s important to have a backup plan in case the wallet is lost or stolen.

PIN protection

We all often cover up when entering a pin on a machine while using a debit or credit card. There may be a similar fear that people are watching or recording you when unlocking your hardware wallet, as that is the only way to gain access. However, some higher end models come with a sophisticated input system that obscures prying eyes, scrambles signals, and alters how the code is input.

Two-factor authentication

Even if you're primarily using cryptocurrencies online, hardware wallets can still be useful. Some of them provide two-factor authentication, in which a secondary device, such as a cellphone, is used to verify authenticity when logging in to online accounts. Hardware wallets may provide this extra level of security to ensure that the person interacting with coins online is also the one who has access offline.

Bluetooth

While most hardware wallets will connect to your computer via a USB outlet, some are Bluetooth enabled, so as to pair them with your smartphone or tablet. This connection feature will come with an app that has to be downloaded, and the interface will enable secure and convenient transactions.

Display screen

While some wallets are simple USB drives, others feature displays that give the user necessary information. The displays may be used to input your PIN or passphrase, and they may allow confirmation of any transactions taking place. Others may have a touchscreen with a keyboard for greater interaction options. A display screen may offer more convenience for transactions. There will be added security measures with a display as well, such as a fingerprint scanner or a separate confirmation process.

Software wallets exist to store cryptocurrency online and are essentially the opposite of hardware wallets. Software wallets are also referred to as “hot wallets.”

Hardware wallet prices

Hardware wallets vary widely in price, depending in part on brand names. Spending more money doesn’t necessarily mean you’re buying a more secure, superior wallet, but you may have greater peace of mind when investing in a company with a proven track record.

Inexpensive: For under $50, you can find a selection of hardware wallets from less popular companies. They may interact with a wide variety of currencies and have Bluetooth compatibility.

Mid-range: You’ll find a great many options between $50 and $100. These will come from trusted companies as well as up-and-coming hardware wallet manufacturers. The devices in this range should be compatible with most of the commonly used cryptocurrencies.

Expensive: Above $100, you will find the top devices from the most popular companies. These will have all the features you need and will regularly be updated to include any new currencies. At this price level, however, you may also find lesser-regarded companies hoping that a higher price implies better quality to an unaware consumer.

EXPERT TIP

While cryptocurrencies had been in development for some time, the first one, Bitcoin, didn’t appear until 2009.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Buy from reputable vendors. This bears repeating. Aside from being physically stolen, the only way to breach a hardware wallet is to essentially get ahold of it before the user does. Don’t use a device that isn’t sealed securely or backed by a trusted brand.
  • Check the latest updates. Due to the ever-changing world of cryptocurrencies, companies may regularly add new currencies to their wallet collection. Be sure to check what’s new and available before purchase.
  • All EALS aren’t equal. Evaluation Assurance Level, or EAL, is the measure of the testing that devices undergo. A higher rating doesn’t guarantee that a wallet is more secure. It simply means the device went through more extensive testing and passed that specifically designed test.
  • Be patient when shopping. Cryptocurrencies can be arcane and complex, as can the hardware and software around it. Invest the time needed to research your hardware-wallet options thoroughly.

Other products we considered

Beyond our favorite hardware wallets highlighted in this buying guide, there are countless other worthy models. For a super secure high-end model, consider the ELLIPAL Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet, an isolated hardware wallet that is operated through an app and has no Bluetooth, WiFi, or even a USB port in order to keep it completely removed from online networks. Also of note, at a considerably lower price point, is the Temexe X Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet. It features password protection, hardware encryption, and has an app for both Macs and Android systems. Lastly, if you’re keen on the Trezor One, check out this bundled version that comes with an RFID protected pouch, adapter, and pen.

“Fiat money” is the term for the everyday money we use as a society, which is issued and controlled by the government.

FAQ

Q. How do I know my new hardware wallet hasn’t been tampered with?
A.
Make sure you’re buying directly from the company or a verified seller. You can always check where the company ships from against where the seller will ship from to make sure it’s the same. Always buy brand new hardware wallets. Upon arrival, make sure your device is completely sealed.


Q. Which devices and programs is the hardware wallet compatible with?
A.
Most wallets work with both Apple and Android phone systems, as well as Mac and Windows computers. Still, it’s important to make sure the wallet you’re buying is compatible with the devices you regularly use.


Q. Is Bluetooth safe on a hardware wallet?
A.
There are some users who may be nervous using Bluetooth to make transactions on their hardware wallet when it’s meant to store coins offline and not interact with anything digitally. Reputable companies have worked to protect against any Bluetooth tampering and provide several layers of security.

The team that worked on this review
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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