Top Hardware Wallets for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies

When the Bitcoin Genesis Block was mined, no one knew how valuable Bitcoin would be in the coming years. But eventually, the unprecedented growth of Bitcoin (and the crypto market as a whole) has established the need for secure storing of crypto assets.

Hardware wallets are the best medium for keeping crypto assets safe, as they combine the security of general cold storage with the convenience of spending with ease. However, with various options available from different hardware wallet manufacturers, it can be difficult to choose the device that best suits your requirement.

In this article, we have tried to make it easier for our readers to choose between the various options and select the right hardware wallet for them.

Factors to consider while selecting a hardware wallet

Below are some of the important factors that one might take into consideration before purchasing a hardware wallet.

Security

Security is one of the key aspects in this area The hardware wallet should be able to securely generate private keys and use them to sign transactions in such a way that they are never exposed under any circumstances.

Hardware wallets usually provide security through two different approaches or ideologies:

  • Open Source
  • Bank-grade Security (Security Through Obscurity)

Those who follow the open-source ideology tend to use fully open-source implementations, including the firmware and hardware components. On the other hand, some wallets tend to provide “Security Through Obscurity”. In this case, the wallet components are usually partially or fully closed source in order to implement a bank-grade Secure Element (SE) for storing the secrets.

Lately, we’ve also seen another type of wallet, which uses a Secure Element for protecting the secrets, but is also open source. The Secure Element in such wallets provides hardware-based data encryption using random elements such as TRNG and PIN.

But storing the secret securely is not the end of the story. A compromised hardware wallet might trick you into revealing sensitive information to a third-party or sending your assets to a different wallet address than the intended one.

An ideal hardware wallet should have built-in mechanisms to prevent (or at least detect) compromised hardware, firmware, or software. These mechanisms include automatic wiping of secrets after a certain number of failed PIN entries, device self-destructive sequence, firmware & bootloader authenticity checks, tamper-evident seals, secondary wallets or passphrase support, and more.

Another relatively new concept that we’ve seen in certain modern wallets, is Air-Gapping. Normally, a hardware wallet stores the secrets in an always-offline, secure memory. But the wallet usually needs to be connected via wired or wireless connection, to a device (computer or mobile device) that is directly connected to the Internet, for performing transactions, firmware upgrades, etc. This may leave a narrow window open for certain attack vectors.

An Air Gap mechanism relies on the fact that the user can execute transactions on the blockchain, without the wallet ever being connected to any other device which is connected to the Internet. The two common forms of air gapping we’ve seen so far include QR codes and PSBT.

Coin Support

Most hardware wallets usually do support Bitcoin by default. But, if you’re looking to store and spend more than just Bitcoin, coin support is yet another important factor.

Along with Bitcoin, support for Ethereum and ERC20 tokens are also pretty common these days. If you want to use a variety of ERC20 tokens, another factor to consider is how the additional tokens can be added.

Some wallets only allow you to add ERC20 tokens from a predefined list, while others allow you to add just about any ERC20 token by entering a few parameters.

As no hardware wallet supports all the available cryptocurrencies, it’s recommended that you verify whether your preferred assets are supported by the specific hardware wallet you’re interested in, from its official website or support channels.

Ease of use

Though the crypto market is currently booming, average consumers might still find the handling of these assets a little bit tricky. The nature of these assets, where you’re fully responsible for the security of your holdings, usually requires that you’ve to make a certain trade-off between securing your assets versus enhancing their ease of use. Thus, a good hardware wallet needs to provide a decent user experience without compromising on security.

Hardware wallets that have native companion apps usually provide the best experience. Even without a native app, it may still be possible to provide a decent user experience, if the device integrates well with popular wallet clients like Electrum, Wasabi, etc.

If you’re dealing with frequent crypto transactions instead of just holding your assets, mobility is another important factor to consider. A few hardware wallets are built with mobility in mind, letting you spend your assets on the go. These wallets usually have a companion smartphone app that usually communicates with the device wirelessly (e.g., via Bluetooth) or in some cases, via an air gap mechanism.

If you’re into DeFi, crypto trading, etc., and frequently swap assets, you might also want to look for hardware wallets with third-party app integrations, including DeFi DApps compatibility. WalletConnect and MetaMask are two of the most popular third-party integrations available in certain hardware wallets, which are also commonly adopted by most DApps in the current landscape.

Price

If you’re on a budget, the price could be a primary factor in your purchase decision. Even without a budget constraint, when it comes down to choosing between two hardware wallets providing similar offerings specific to your requirements, the price could well be the deciding factor that tips the scale in one’s favor.

Fortunately, the hardware wallet market has several decent options available at a starting price of $39.

Best Crypto Hardware Wallets

At 7labs, we’ve reviewed several hardware wallets, and have assessed them against the above-mentioned factors. While selecting hardware wallets in this list, we’ve considered only devices that are likely to be supported over the long term and get regular firmware updates that enhance the features and security of the hardware wallet.

We also realize that every hardware wallet has a unique offering. And so, we have segregated this top list into different categories, with a limited number of recommendations per category to avoid the dilemma of choices. The primary purpose of this list is to help you easily pick a hardware wallet that best serves your specific requirements.

Most secure Bitcoin hardware wallet

COLDCARD MK3

Security: 10/10

  • Secure Element – Open Source cryptographic coprocessor with H/W based key storage
  • Source Code Availability – Open Source
  • Air Gapping – Yes, via PSBT

Coin Support: N/A

  • Bitcoin-only wallet

Ease of Use: 6/10

  • Native Desktop Wallet App – No
  • Native Mobile App – No
  • Third-Party Wallet Integration – Yes, Wasabi / Electrum
  • DeFi DApps Compatibility – N/A

Price: 7/10

Most secure Bitcoin hardware wallet

If you’re looking for a security-first hardware wallet to HODL Bitcoin, COLDCARD is the one built specifically for that purpose. It has an open-source SE that uses a cryptographic coprocessor to encrypt and store the secrets. Its firmware implementation is also open source and available for peer review.

COLDCARD supports Bitcoin transactions in Air Gap mode. Optionally, it can also be connected to a computer via USB (wired mode).

COLDCARD makes a few compromises with usability to strengthen its security. As for wallet app compatibility, COLDCARD lacks a native wallet app but integrates well with third-party wallet apps like Electrum and Wasabi, and since it’s a Bitcoin-only wallet, it doesn’t have any support for third-party DApps.

The COLDCARD MK3, which is the latest iteration of the hardware wallet, is available for $119.97 as a single unit, though you can also purchase a combination of items (including one or multiple COLDCARD units, a set of industrial MicroSD cards, special power adapters, and more) as a bundle to get everything at a discounted rate.

You can read more about COLDCARD’s features in our dedicated review article.

Best hardware wallet with multi-currency support

Ledger Nano X

Security: 8/10

  • Secure Element – Bank-grade SE with CC EAL5+ Certification
  • Source Code Availability – Partially Open Source
  • Air Gapping – No

Coin Support: 9/10

Ease of Use: 9/10

  • Native Desktop Wallet App – Yes
  • Native Mobile App – Yes
  • Third-Party Wallet Integration – Yes
  • DeFi DApps Compatibility – WalletConnect, MetaMask

Price: 7/10

Best hardware wallet with multi-currency support

If you’re a crypto enthusiast who’s looking for a hardware wallet with maximum coin support, the Ledger Nano X may suit your requirement. At its core, the Ledger generates and stores the secrets in a closed source bank-grade SE, with a CC EAL5+ certification.

Ledger’s coin support is quite extensive. It supports Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Monero, and many more. Unlike the Ledger firmware, Ledger’s cryptocurrency apps are completely open-source, and asset developers can independently develop apps for the Ledger devices. This app store-like model makes it possible for the Ledger Nano to support perhaps the largest number of cryptocurrency assets for a hardware wallet.

Asset management in Ledger devices is primarily done via its native companion app called Ledger Live, which is available for all major desktop and smartphone platforms. With Ledger Live, you can add or remove any of the supported cryptocurrency apps; these apps allow you to manage the corresponding assets.

In addition to Ledger Live, you can integrate your Nano X with a variety of popular third-party wallet apps. Ledger devices are even compatible with DeFi DApps via popular integrations, such as WalletConnect and MetaMask.

The Nano X connects to the desktop companion app via a wired connection and has Bluetooth support for mobile connectivity. It’s available for a retail price of $119.

Note: If you’re looking for a fully open-source wallet with multi-currency support, Trezor Model T is your best option. But, it does lack in a few areas, such as wireless connectivity, support for integrations like WalletConnect, native mobile app, etc.

A Special Note on the recent Ledger “Hack”

Recently, Ledger has faced a lot of criticism from the crypto community due to a data breach on the company’s customer database. The breach has caused the customers’ personal details related to the shipping info, such as email, phone number, address, etc., to be leaked on the Internet.

While this is a serious breach, it’s also a pretty common occurrence these days. It happened to Ledger, but it could’ve been just any other company. This breach has nothing to do with the Ledger devices themselves, or their implementation. Sure, the hackers will likely exploit the data breach to target potential crypto users through spam emails, messages, or social engineering. But your crypto assets should be safe as long as you continue to handle your funds responsibly and carefully. We feel that this data breach incident does not impact our original assessment of the Ledger devices.

On a brighter note, now that the breach has happened, the crypto community may consider this as a potential attack vector, and look for possible solutions to circumvent the same.

Best hardware wallet for mobility

CoolWallet S

Security: 8/10

  • Secure Element – Bank-grade SE with CC EAL5+ Certification
  • Source Code Availability – Closed Source
  • Air Gapping – No

Coin Support: 7/10

Ease of Use: 8/10

  • Native Desktop Wallet App – No
  • Native Mobile App – Yes
  • Third-Party Wallet Integration – No
  • DeFi DApps Compatibility – WalletConnect

Price: 8/10

Best hardware wallet for mobility

In spite of being portable, most hardware wallets are not convenient to carry on the go, primarily because of the form factor. But if you’re looking for a wallet that’s accessible on the go, CoolWallet S might suit your requirement. It has a unique credit card-sized form-factor that easily fits in your regular wallet.

CoolWallet S comes with a durable design that can sustain bends and flexes to a certain extent. The thin plastic body makes it almost impossible to break it apart and then put it back together again, thus making it almost tamper-proof.

CoolWallet S is a mobile-first hardware wallet, and its companion apps are available for Android and iOS. Communications between the wallet and the smartphone app happen over Bluetooth. Only the mobile devices paired with the CoolWallet S can be used to manage the linked assets. There is no Air Gapping option available on the CoolWallet S.

CoolWallet’s firmware and apps are all closed source. As of now, the CoolWallet S officially supports around 12 coins, along with all ERC20 tokens. The wallet can also be integrated with DeFi DApps via WalletConnect protocol.

CoolWallet S is reasonably priced at $99 and offers a decent mix of security and convenience features. You can learn more about the CoolWallet S and how it holds up against different attack vectors in our dedicated review of the same.

The most budget friendly hardware wallet

SafePal S1

Security: 8.5/10

  • Secure Element – Bank-grade SE with CC EAL5+ Certification
  • Source Code Availability – Closed Source
  • Air Gapping – Yes

Coin Support: 7/10

Ease of Use: 8/10

  • Native Desktop Wallet App – No
  • Native Mobile App – Yes
  • Third-Party Wallet Integration – No
  • DeFi DApps Compatibility – WalletConnect, Built-in Trust DApp Browser

Price: 10/10

Cheapest hardware wallet

The SafePal S1 is a portable hardware wallet that manages to keep its price low without compromising on security. The wallet uses a bank-grade CC EAL5+ Certified SE to securely store the secrets. Internally, it features several sensors and tech to detect forced entry and automatically trigger remote wipe operation.

All of the firmware and application components of SafePal are closed source. It has a companion app for Android and iOS, where you manage your assets. The SafePal S1 is also one of the few wallets that operate exclusively in Air Gap mode.

The SafePal S1 supports most of the popular cryptocurrency assets and ERC20 tokens. The full list of supported coins can be found on the official SafePal website.

Like other popular hardware wallets, the SafePal also implements WalletConnect integration, but it goes a step further by integrating a built-in DApp browser that allows you to easily log into popular DApps or DeFi DApps, right from your smartphone within the SafePal app. It also has a dedicated interface for Binance Exchange integration.

If you’re new to the crypto space and looking for something cheap to start your journey, the Binance-backed SafePal S1 may just be the right hardware wallet for you. But SafePal does compromise on its build quality.

You can learn more about the SafePal S1 wallet and its features in our dedicated review.

Additional Considerations

Best Hardware Wallets for Monero-type coins (Electrum mnemonic compatibility)

Hardware wallets generally use a BIP39 mnemonic seed, from which all your wallet addresses are generated. Thus, for all BIP39 compatible assets, generating addresses and keys are rather straightforward. But, Monero uses Electrum mnemonic for seed generation and is not directly supported on BIP39 compatible wallets.

Some hardware wallets do support Monero and similar coins via indirect address generation from a BIP39 compatible seed. Currently, Ledger Nano X, Nano S, and Trezor Model T are the only popular hardware wallets that support Monero-type coins.

Budget-friendly hardware wallet with maximum Coin Support

The Ledger Nano S provides the same coin support that its successor, the Nano X, offers. However, due to some hardware limitations, it relinquishes a few optional features. For example, the Nano S lacks mobility due to missing Bluetooth connectivity. It also has a low app installation memory, allowing fewer apps to be installed simultaneously.

But, with the Ledger Nano S, you still get the same level of coin support and security, at almost half the price. The Nano X is available for $119, while the Nano S costs just $59.

Best Wallet for DeFi DApps Integration

The SafePal S1 is the best hardware wallet for DeFi DApps support. While other hardware wallets typically provide DApps integration via MetaMask or WalletConnect, SafePal has a built-in DApp browser within the companion smartphone app. With the DApp browser, you can select between multiple available blockchains to interact with specific DApps. Thus, it facilitates easy logging into DApps from smartphones without the dependency of deep linking.

Best Air Gapped Hardware Wallet

Among the hardware wallets that support air gapping, COLDCARD has the edge because it is open-source and provides a fully air gapped solution. All the wallet operations, including firmware upgrade, can be performed by simply plugging the device into a power source. It uses PSBT as the air gapping mechanism, using a microSD card. However, COLDCARD is a Bitcoin-only wallet.

On the other hand, SafePal supports air gapping via QR codes and works with multiple currencies. And although most of the wallet operations can be performed in air gap mode, you do have to connect the device to a computer via USB for firmware upgrade.

We hope this article has helped you to reach a decision on which one you wish to get. If you know about any unique hardware wallet that you believe deserves a mention here, let us know in the comments below.

All posts on 7labs, including this one, are compliant with our Content Disclosure policy.
Scroll to Top