Author: changehero
March 31, 2021

Last week, the ChangeHero team covered the best software wallets in 2021. But software wallets can only be useful so far, advanced crypto users would want something more secure. In this article, we are going to present reviews of the best hardware wallets according to our team. Let’s help you pick the best hardware wallet […]

Best Hardware Wallets to Use in 2021

Last week, the ChangeHero team covered the best software wallets in 2021. But software wallets can only be useful so far, advanced crypto users would want something more secure. In this article, we are going to present reviews of the best hardware wallets according to our team. Let’s help you pick the best hardware wallet 2021!

Key Takeaways

  • A hardware wallet is a kind of cold storage device which stores private keys encrypted on a chip. The devices themselves let users interact with the keys and secure the chip;
  • Hardware wallets are recommended for advanced users because the devices can be pricey depending on the functionality.
  • What are the top 5 hardware wallets? According to our team, the best hardware wallets are Trezor Model One, Trezor Model S, Ledger Nano S, Ledged Nano X and CoolWallet S.

What is a Hardware Wallet?

Hardware wallets
Source: Medium | El Cripto Loco

These days, crypto enthusiasts prefer using hardware wallets to securely stash away their holdings. Why is it better than hot storage? Well, for one, in theory hackers can intercept messages sent by the wallets when signing a transaction.

Hardware wallets are devices that include chips which store and encrypt the private keys. The rest of the device either provides access to the chip (for example, screens and buttons) or prevents tampering. By that design, hardware wallets are a more secure alternative even to the safest of software wallets.

But why exactly hardware wallets are considered to be more safe and secure? Let’s see how they work to understand it.

How do Hardware Wallets Work?

Hardware wallets are non-custodial by definition, and the devices also act as a two-factor authentication tool. The wallets themselves do not connect to the Internet even when hooked to another device, only the companion software does.

When signing a transaction, the user gets prompted to confirm it. At the same time, your signature is generated from the key and communicated to the device connected to the blockchain. Since the private key cannot be reconstructed from the signature, it is impossible to compromise the funds by interception.

Can hardware wallets be hacked? There have been cases when hardware and software vulnerabilities were discovered but they are often quickly made public and fixed. All developers have bounty programs, so white hat hacking is more profitable and increasingly competitive.

The market leaders, Ledger and Trezor, have had such vulnerabilities identified by users and researchers. In Ledgers, it used to be possible to authorize a BTC transaction simultaneously with a LTC/BCH one. Later versions of the applications warn users if such a thing can occur.

Trezors and KeepKeys are known to be vulnerable against voltage glitching. Since this attack requires direct access to the wallet, Kraken Labs advice is not to lose the device itself. Unfortunately, some issues with hardware are not as easily fixed as with software so the developers provide full disclosure.

So, are hardware wallets really safe? Most of them are, they keep the private key intact and secure it. In addition, it is easier to keep funds in a dedicated device which often doesn’t even look like a wallet.

Top Hardware Wallets

Now that we know what hardware wallets are, we can have a look at some of the best hardware wallets. Since each of these devices costs money, it’s important to pick the best hardware wallet 2021 for your budget and needs.

Trezor

Trezor One and Trezor Model T
Source: Trezor

Trezor are cold storage, hardware wallets that encrypt the user’s private keys on the device. You can interact with the funds with the web interface at the official website or some third-party wallets and services. No worries: the encryption is so secure that even a malware-infected computer would not have access to your private keys.

Bear in mind that Trezor is hierarchical-deterministic (HD), so each private key for each currency is generated from a single seed.

Trezor One

Trezor One has a plastic frame resembling a car key, monochrome display and two buttons. The display shows the PIN matrix, and the wallet has mechanisms for brute-force and disassembly protection.

In addition to security, Trezor developers, SatoshiLabs, go the extra mile to introduce tons of features in the official app. Trezor One supports about a thousand coins and Ethereum tokens. We cannot help but mention that you can swap your currencies right in the companion app with ChangeHero!

The $69 price makes Trezor One one of the cheaper options in our list of the best hardware wallets. Despite the price, it’s as solid an option as its more expensive counterparts. Despite being developed in 2013, it still stands the competition for the best hardware wallet 2021.

Pros:

  • Has the reputation of the safest hardware wallet on the market;
  • Doubles as a password manager with 2FA;
  • Convenient companion app or web interface with in-app exchange;
  • One of the best options for a tighter budget.

Cons:

  • Some assets like XRP and TRON not supported.

Trezor Model T

Model T is the advanced version of Trezor hardware wallets. It comes with a color touchscreen which is used for PIN and passphrase entry and recovery. Model T also supports even more assets and has a backup mechanism called Shamir to solve seed phrase loss.

How does Shamir backup work? The wallet generates several seed phrases which can be distributed. To reconstruct the key, a certain number of these shares, set by the owner, is needed.

Model T also has an additional mode of two-factor authentication, FIDO2, in addition to U2F. Unsurprisingly, all these features make the Model T cost more than twice the Trezor One’s cost (159 USD vs. 69 USD). The price is well worth the value of the most secure hardware wallet on the market.

Pros:

  • All features of Trezor One plus extra security and coin options;
  • Authentication on the device prevents tampering;
  • Seed phrase loss is mitigated by Shamir backup;
  • One of the best hardware wallets for functionality.

Cons:

  • The wallet is on the more expensive side.

Ledger

Trezor One and Trezor Model T
Source: Ledger

A legit competition for Trezor wallets, Ledger offers a lineup of devices that are even more inconspicuous. Their hardware wallets resemble a simple USB flash drive rather than a special device. In addition, all Ledgers are HD wallets.

Further security is ensured by ANSSI (French cyber security agency) licence. Custom OS called BOLOS and custom technologies like Genuine Check, can detect whether a device has been tampered with.

The funds stored on the device can be managed with the help of companion app, Ledger Live. Ledger Live is available on mobile (iOS) and desktop (Windows, MacOS, Linux). Ledger wallets can also be connected with a number of third-party applications.

Ledger Nano S

Ledger Nano S comes in a sturdy, thumb flash drive-like frame with a monochrome display and two buttons. It can be connected to a desktop computer or an Android smartphone with a mini-USB cord. Users can use the official companion app Ledger Live as a bridge or connect it to some third-party software wallets.

Wallets for different currencies in Ledger come in the form of apps. Depending on the size of the app, Nano S has the space to store 3 to 20 apps. This somewhat limits the array of assets that can be stored on it.

Some reviews of the products claim that Ledger Nano S is not as user-friendly as some other entries in our list. We can recommend this option if you are willing to take your time and do your research. Purchasing it directly from Ledger will cost $59, which makes it the best hardware wallet in terms of price.

Pros:

  • Renowned for security;
  • Inconspicuous and mobile;
  • Companion app supports purchase and swaps;
  • One of the best options in terms of price.

Cons:

  • Limited number of types of assets on a device;
  • Less user-friendly.

Ledger Nano X

Released in 2019, Ledger Nano X is a newer and updated version of the previous wallet. In terms of size and usability, this device is larger, sturdier and has a larger screen and buttons.

In terms of security, it is essentially the same as Nano S. However, it is a vastly more convenient device to set up and use. Bluetooth connection lets you pair the wallet up with your smartphone and use it on the go.

Ledger Nano X costs twice as much as Nano S, 119 USD. This advanced option is cheaper than Trezor Model T but does not have a touchscreen or extra security features. Still, as far as advanced devices go, this pick has to be the best hardware wallet 2021.

Pros:

  • Supports more varied portfolios;
  • Mobile thanks to Bluetooth connection;
  • One of the best hardware wallets to upgrade from cheaper ones.

Cons:

  • A more expensive option in comparison to Nano S;
  • Not open-source.

CoolWallet S

CoolWallet S
Source: CoolWallet

Unlike the previous entries, CoolWallet S is a device developed specifically for mobiles. A CoolWallet S is the size of a credit card, so its main advantage is portability. Like Ledger Nano X, it uses Bluetooth connection to hang up with the mobile.

Transactions are signed and secured with 2FA which can be amped up with biometric authentication on your device.

The philosophy behind this wallet is to combine convenience of software wallets with the security of hardware. It has all the software wallet essentials like history and balance tracker, with extra features like exchange built in. Exchanging crypto is especially easy and convenient, as this function is provided by ChangeHero.

CoolWallet might be not as well-known as Ledger or long-established as Trezor, but we are sure that eventually it will become equally popular thanks to the product’s masterly balance of convenience and security. Its $99 base price puts it in the upper area of the middle price range.

Pros:

  • Versatile companion app;
  • Mobile and secure;
  • Balances convenience, security and price.

Cons:

  • Less established on the market.

Cobo Vault Pro

Cobo Vault Pro
Source: Cobo

Cobo Vault Pro wallet is a high-end hardware wallet which has by far the most built-in features. It comes in a form resembling a smartphone, with a large touchscreen and a camera for QR codes. While certainly larger than previous wallets, it is arguably more inconspicuous as it can pass off as a smartphone.

Cobo Vault encryption algorithms can be audited since it is open-source. The device is air gapped, meaning that it cannot be connected to any device physically or wirelessly. The transactions are broadcasted with QR codes on the wallet and in the mobile companion app.

For extra privacy and security, Cobo Vault Pro has a fingerprint sensor. It lets users create Hidden Vaults, which do not show up in the UI, and can self-destruct upon disassembling.

Essentially, Cobo Vault is a smartphone-like device dedicated to cold storage. Its price of $169 puts it into the high-end category of our list of best hardware wallets.

Pros:

  • Air gapped tamper-proof device;
  • Easier to use thanks to larger size;
  • Supports 750 coins and tokens.

Cons:

  • High-end price and long shipping.

BitBox02

BitBox2
Source: ShiftCrypto

Flash-drive-like BitBox02 is a follow-up model to the original BitBox01. The shape matters because the device can be plugged in to a computer without a cord. It also comes in the smallest frame out of all reviewed wallets.

BitBox02 comes in two variations: Bitcoin-only and multi. The difference concerns only software that comes with the device, and multi can be used as a physical authentication key. The Bitcoin-only version deliberately lacks the universal second-factor (U2F) authentication protocol to decrease the attack surface.

The wallets are compatible with most desktop OSs, and the Android version is in beta. The currencies supported by the multi version include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and ERC-20 tokens, which is far less than other reviewed devices. Surprisingly, it also costs on a par with more high-end wallets ($132).

Pros:

  • Protection from chain supply attacks and fake devices;
  • Convenient plug-in mode;
  • Multi and Bitcoin-only variations.

Cons:

  • Analogous devices (e.g. Ledger Nano X) are cheaper.

Conclusion

What is the best hardware wallet 2021? There is no definitive answer but these are the top five best hardware wallets according to our team. Let us know what you think or share your favorites!

Do give a look at our other guides and reviews in our blog! And for a stream of fresh crypto-related content, follow us on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Telegram.


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Author: changehero
September 19, 2019

Nowadays due to the rapid growth of crypto, a great number of digital wallets have emerged giving access to crypto world on-the-go but it has some pitfalls. While choosing the wallet we take into account its security, mobility, convenience, user-friendliness, and style. Hardware wallets are leveraging the cutting-edge technology to secure the private keys separate […]

Nowadays due to the rapid growth of crypto, a great number of digital wallets have emerged giving access to crypto world on-the-go but it has some pitfalls. While choosing the wallet we take into account its security, mobility, convenience, user-friendliness, and style.

Hardware wallets are leveraging the cutting-edge technology to secure the private keys separate from vulnerable internet-connected devices without trading off the portability and ease-of-use.

ChangeHero investigated the strengths and features of different cryptocurrency hardware wallets to provide you with information that will help you pick the one that suits your needs.

For the starters, a hardware wallet is a physical electronic device, which stores your private keys securely. They can be connected to your computer via USB or even Bluetooth in the latest ones. Most of the hardware wallets are secured robustly that you can even use them on a compromised device without worrying about the funds. Hardware wallets are the right choice if you’re concerned about the reliability and security of your crypto storage.

Trezor stands is arguably the most popular and the world’s first hardware wallet. Launched in 2013 by a Prague-based company, SatoshiLabs, the wallet grew in popularity and became the most accessible and convenient hardware wallet ever. Trezor Wallet offers the users with some unique features, such as coin management, high-level security, user-friendly design, multi-currency support, an in-wallet exchange and also has a password manager.

Trezor One and Trezor Model T
Source: Trezor

Satoshi Labs developed the Trezor One in 2014. The thumb-sized Trezor One became the first Bitcoin hardware wallet, offering secure crypto storage and the ability to spend with the convenience of a hot wallet. Four years later an upgraded version, Trezor Model T, was released with more advanced security features. Trezor One and Trezor Model T are priced at 69 EUR and 149 EUR respectively. Both the devices support more than 1000 coins and tokens that include popular cryptocurrencies like BTC, LTC, XRP, etc.

Trezor wallet stands among the top hardware wallets due to simplicity and minimalistic design. You can access the funds and manage them through the Trezor Bridge Application compatible with major operating systems such as Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. For more convenience, Trezor can be accessed on Android Smartphones with the Trezor Manager App and eliminates the need for using a computer to manage your crypto assets.

Trezor can be secured by setting a PIN for accessing the device and uses the Blind Matrix. All the transactions on Trezor must be confirmed manually by the user by verifying and clicking the button on the device. It builds an isolated environment shield for offline transaction signing and minimizes the risk of private key discovery, even if your PC is infected by the virus. In case of loss of your device, you can easily restore the wallet along with the funds with the seed phrase on a new device. Trezor also uses 2-factor authentication for an extra layer of security to keep your funds safe.

With the plethora of its features, Trezor remains one of the safest and secure wallets for holding and managing crypto. Trezor wallet provides its users with military-grade security and a sleek interface that can be accessed on various platforms.

For a while, the Trezor One was the only hardware wallet. Then, The Ledger Company launched the Ledger hardware wallet, which offers a secure way to store digital assets in a compact device. The wallet was developed in 2014 by a team of experts with aims to provide the utmost security for the crypto assets allowing the user to control, send and receive crypto assets in a safe environment. Ledger wallet features coin management, world-class security, user-friendly design, multi-currency support, and an in-wallet Exchange.

Ledger hardware wallets
Source: Ledger

The initial version of the hardware wallet is called Ledger Nano S and in 2019 they launched an advanced version, Ledger Nano X. Ledger Nano S can be set-up by connecting it with a computer and is USB only. The latest Ledger Nano X can be configured by using a smartphone connected via Bluetooth. They are priced $59 and $119 respectively and support more than 1000 coins and tokens. All the Ledger devices can be accessed with the help of the Ledger Live application, which is available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. The application is also available for smartphones of major operating systems like Android and IOS. There is also a premium version of the wallet with a touchscreen called Ledger Blue promises to provide an advanced user experience in managing the crypto.

The combination of Ledger Wallet’s sleek design with its advanced software features makes it powerful for managing crypto assets. Secure Element in the wallet stores the seed and private keys and performs the cryptographic operations within the wallet. Ledger is the first and only wallet to be independently certified for its security by the ANSSI, a French cybersecurity agency. Ledger also has its own Blockchain Open Ledger Operating System (BOLOS) to provide high-secure protection against attacks. Ledger also provides a recovery seed to restore the wallet in the event of loss of device or theft.

To sum it up, Ledger Nano S is the hardware wallet of choice for the freshmen in crypto and the latest Ledger Nano X is the go-to-choice for the crypto investors with its mobility and robust security for managing crypto assets. All in all, Ledger offers a small and compact hardware wallet that provides secured managing crypto on-the-go.

CoolWallet has been creating a buzz in recent times with its innovative design. Made by CoolBit X, this wallet is aimed to provide portability and convenience for users without sacrificing security. This credit-card sized hardware features coin management, highly secured transactions, multiple currency support, in-wallet exchange. Here are some peculiarities that make CoolWallet really “cool” — it’s waterproof, heat resistant and bendable up to 15 degrees.

CoolWallet S
Source: CoolWallet

CoolWallet offers cold storage for Bitcoin, Ether and other popular cryptocurrencies, packed in one portable device. The wallet was designed to pair with Android and iOS smartphones. Cool wallet has a compact size and easily fits into your pocket like a credit card. Inside the device, you’ll find a small secure chip that stores your private keys. CoolWallet also has a built-in display for viewing details of the transaction.

Being portable and convenient CoolWallet is simple for setting up and using. Moreover, it supports 2-factor authentication and a host of other security features. CoolWallet offers a number of security functions to help protect your crypto holdings, like secure element for keeping crypto private keys, encrypted Bluetooth allowing for quick and secure funds transfers and also manual confirmations to make a transaction. The Secure Element keeps your private key safely in a CC EAL5+ certified S.E. Chipset and won’t let them leave your CoolWallet. As CoolWallet S is an HD (Hierarchical Deterministic) wallet and creates a new address for every transaction. It is simple to recover the wallet if anything ever goes wrong simply by using the seed phrase.

There is no doubt, CoolWallet offers a user-friendly solution to cryptocurrency managing and storage with its promise on making crypto available for everybody. Its sleek design goes hand-in-hand with its brilliant functionality and convenient mobile integration.

Another popular hardware wallet is Keep Key. Launched in 2015, the wallet is famous for its advanced security against virtual theft. KeepKey is a miniature computer designed for storing private keys. The wallet offers its users the same security features as other hardware wallets, such as Trezor, Ledger, etc.

It Generates and manages private keys offline in cold storage, guarded against computer vulnerabilities and viruses, while utilizing wallet software for safe transactions. Keepkey provides access to leading cryptocurrency assets like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Dash and others. KeepKey Client App provides the user with easy management of accounts and multiple crypto assets on various operating systems like Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.

The wallet gives youPIN protection against unauthorized use, a passphrase for recovery of the device, customizable transaction speeds, and limitless wallet addresses in one device. The Keepkey wallet is quite comfortable to use and secure,

Cobo Vault stands out from the rest of the hardware wallets due to its cutting-edge technology and a new wave approach. The exclusive tablet for managing crypto assets was debuted in February 2018 to make it easy for people to store and secure their cryptocurrencies. The Wallet supports such cryptocurrencies as BTC, ETH, BCH, DASH, LTC, ETC, TRON, etc.

Cobo Vault
Source: Cobo

Cobo Vault features multiple layers of high-security, including 2-factor authentication, multiple layers of security to protect against attacks. It is air-gapped with no Wifi, Bluetooth NFC, or USB capabilities. There is also a companion app for Android and IOS smartphones to manage the wallet. In addition, Cobo Vault is designed with a detachable battery to prevent battery damage over long-term storage. For the additional secure the Cobo store and recover your assets with an included metal mnemonic tablet. It also has a built-in self-destruct mechanism to protect private keys and is water-resistant. Cobo Vault is technologically advanced and fuelled the race for innovation among the hardware wallets.

Which hardware wallet to choose?

The decision of which one to use depends on what features are most important to you — security, convenience, cost, or even style. But the good news is that ChangeHero is going to cooperate with popular hardware wallets in the near future. That means you can instantly exchange over 140 cryptocurrencies at the best fixed and float rates, without leaving the wallet. In addition, you will enjoy 24/7 customer support and will get the best crypto experience ever.

Bookmark ChangeHero Blog, and follow us on TwitterFacebookReddit, Telegram and Medium for more exciting news from the world of crypto.


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