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To buy, sell or hold Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, you need a crypto wallet to protect your funds. There are two main options for your crypto wallet: “Hot” wallets connect to the internet on your computer or phone, and “cold” wallets are hardware-based devices that plug into your computer’s USB port, which you can use to access your account through an app and make transactions.
Though hot wallets can be more convenient for easy access and trading, cold wallets are a better option for secure, long-term crypto storage. Prices for these hardware devices range from around $50 to $250 and can come with features that connect your wallet to exchanges and other app integrations so you can move and back up your assets.
While cold wallets can’t be accessed online, they still require safety measures to keep them from getting damaged, lost or stolen. Here are NerdWallet’s top crypto hardware wallet picks.
» Learn more about hot wallets vs. cold wallets
Safepal: Most currencies
Cost: $49.99 for basic hardware.
Cryptocurrencies supported: More than 30,000.
Safepal’s affordable hardware wallet is the size of a credit card, making it a worthy partner to a traditional cash wallet. It has a small screen and camera on it, which allows it to display and scan QR codes to authenticate transactions offline. This type of connection is more secure than Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or USB plug-in connections, as those methods are still internet-accessible and could be hacked.
The wallet has the capacity to store over 30,000 different cryptocurrencies, and the app enables purchases, swaps and conversions, staking and NFT management. Customer support is available via ticket or chat. The wallet only connects to its mobile app, so there’s no desktop option.
Though some hardware wallets can be purchased through third-party stores, Safepal’s is only available to order from the company’s website.
Trezor: Advanced security features
Cost: $72 for Model One, $255 for Model T.
Cryptocurrencies supported: More than 1,000.
Trezor’s wallets are small, handheld devices that connect to a phone or computer via micro USB. The standard version can store over 1,000 different currencies and offers backup security protection through desktop or mobile, while the advanced touchscreen version runs entirely on the device itself and can store up to over 1,800 compatible coins.
The wallet has advanced security features that make crypto assets easier to recover in cases where the hardware wallet is lost, damaged or stolen. While standard crypto hardware wallets give you a recovery seed, a list of 12 to 24 words that you can use to restore all your private keys in case you lose access to your hardware device, Trezor takes this a step further by offering what it calls Shamir Backup recovery. This feature lets you generate and distribute up to 16 recovery shares for your device which can be stored in different places, allowing you to recover your assets even if you lose your wallet and some of the recovery shares.
Like Safepal, Trezor facilitates purchases, exchanges, spending and staking through its desktop app. It also offers NFT storage. The device can connect with Trezor’s open-source desktop application and integrate with other wallets and browser extensions. It does not have a mobile app, though customer support and data analysis tools are available online.
Ledger: Most popular
Cost: $79 for Nano S Plus, $149 for Nano X.
Cryptocurrencies supported: More than 5,500.
Ledger’s flash drive-shaped hardware wallet is the most mainstream, available for purchase from Best Buy, Walmart and Amazon, as well as the company website.
The device can store over 5,500 different currencies and can connect to other wallets. Like the other options here, you can participate in exchanges, staking — which rewards investors for using their coins to validate transactions on the blockchain — and NFT management with a Ledger device. The upgraded version connects to mobile devices via Bluetooth, which is convenient, though some users may consider this less secure than a USB or QR-code connection.
Ledger’s app works on both mobile and desktop, and the company offers customer support via online chat. Ledger has grown a robust library of crypto education resources and market analysis tools to accompany its devices.
» Looking for software options? Here are our top crypto wallet picks