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The bottom line: Ledger is one of the most popular hardware crypto wallet providers on the market, and for good reason. The company offers two versions of its flash drive-shaped device — one with Bluetooth connectivity and one without — at a reasonable price.
Both versions of the Ledger wallet can support more than 5,500 cryptocurrencies. They also provide access to decentralized finance applications, or dapps, and non-fungible token, or NFT, management. With Ledger’s connected desktop and mobile apps, you can buy, stake and swap coins.
Pros & Cons
Native staking and NFT management.
Mobile app with Bluetooth connection.
Robust crypto education library.
Software isn’t fully open source.
Table of Contents
Where Ledger shines
The mobile app is compatible with iOS and Android devices, while Trezor is compatible with only Android.
Ledger is compatible with several coins that others don’t offer: Both Ledger models can store Ripple (XRP), Monero (XMR) and Cardano (ADA), unlike competitor Trezor, which supports these cryptocurrencies on only its advanced model.
NFT management and DeFi access are built in to the Ledger Live software. Ledger makes it easy to connect to exchanges and dapps without sacrificing cold storage.
Bluetooth connection is available with the Nano X model to connect to the Ledger Live mobile app.
Where Ledger falls short
Ledger isn’t fully open source, unlike competitor Trezor. Ledger has closed-source firmware on its physical devices, though the rest of its software, including the desktop and mobile applications, is open source and can be tested by third parties.
Ledger devices don’t have a touch screen, which some users may prefer. Competitor Trezor’s advanced model has a touch screen, but its standard version does not.
Other hardware wallets offer more advanced security features such as Trezor’s Shamir Backup recovery, which lets you generate and distribute up to 16 recovery shares for your device that can be stored in different places.
In July 2020, Ledger had a marketing database breach in which a phishing scam enabled unauthorized access to customer data, including email addresses, names, mailing addresses and phone numbers. Ledger changed its data storage practices in response to the hack.
» Want more options? Here are our top hardware wallet picks
What Ledger is best for
Access to DeFi and easy transfers between hot and cold storage.
Mobile application with Bluetooth connection to the device (available with only the Nano X model).
Ledger at a glance
Ledger devices use two-factor authentication and offer multisignature security through Coinkite integration. Ledger Live software is open source, though the device firmware is not.
Ledger supports more than 5,500 assets.
Ledger supports more than 5,500 cryptocurrencies. Purchases, swaps, staking and NFTs are available with Ledger Live.
Ledger is a cold storage wallet that can connect to desktop and browser wallets for online storage.
Ledger has mobile and desktop applications. Customer support is offered through chat, email and social media.
Ledger offers a robust library of crypto education resources on Ledger Academy. Ledger Live includes market analysis tools and a crypto tax calculation tool.
Full details about Ledger's ratings
Security: 4 out of 5 stars
Ledger devices, like most cryptocurrency wallets, generate a seed phrase that you can store and input to recover your crypto if you lose your device. Ledger uses a 24-word phrase, plus the option of a 25th word called a “passphrase” of your choosing.
Hardware wallets in general are viewed as more secure than software wallets because they can’t be accessed online by hackers, but they do need to be kept safe from damage and theft. On the other hand, they can’t be accessed from multiple devices, so it’s important to hold on to your seed phrase in case you lose your device.
Ledger devices also use two-factor authentication and can support multisignature security through integration with Coinkite software. Ledger Live software is open source, though the firmware on the physical devices is not, so you’ll have to trust the security of the device code without testing it yourself.
» Learn more: Hot wallet vs. cold wallet
Selection: 5 out of 5 stars
Ledger's wallet supports more than 5,500 assets.
Integration: 5 out of 5 stars
With a Ledger device and accompanying Ledger Live software, users can buy, sell and swap more than 5,500 currencies, stake coins on exchanges and access dapps and NFT marketplaces.
To manage cryptocurrencies that aren’t included with Ledger Live, the hardware devices can integrate with third-party software like MyEtherWallet and MetaMask to connect to alternative blockchains.
Storage: 5 out of 5 stars
Ledger is a cold storage wallet, which means it stores the keys to your cryptocurrency offline on a hardware device, giving you sole ownership of the information needed to transfer your crypto.
If you’d rather keep your keys stored online and accessible from multiple devices, you can consider a hot wallet, which stores your crypto using software on a device that can connect to the internet. Ledger connects to several hot wallets, including MetaMask and Guarda, for easy transfer between hot and cold storage.
» Looking for a software wallet instead? Here are our top picks
Functionality: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Ledger Live is available on desktop and mobile, and the browser extension is in beta testing.
Tools: 5 out of 5 stars
Ledger has a robust library of crypto educational content called Ledger Academy.
Other details you should know about Ledger
Pricing: The Ledger Nano S Plus costs $79 and connects to your devices with USB-C. The Ledger Nano X costs $149 and is Bluetooth compatible with the Ledger Live mobile app. (Competitor Trezor doesn’t have Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection available, though according to the Trezor website, this is for security reasons.)
Ledger’s older model, the Nano S, can still be bought from third-party companies such as Best Buy for $59. The device has a lower storage capacity (up to six applications).
Is Ledger right for you?
If you’re looking to hold a variety of currencies offline and easily integrate with dapps and exchanges, Ledger is a top choice.
How we review crypto wallets
NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks products that allow U.S. customers to store, send and receive cryptocurrency. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgments on which ones will best meet your needs. We adhere to strict guidelines for editorial integrity.
We conduct firsthand testing and observation, and the results fuel our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance across more than 15 factors. The final output produces star ratings from poor (1 star) to excellent (5 stars).
For more details about the categories considered when rating wallets and our process, read our full methodology.