Cryptocurrency security and safekeeping of your assets is of the utmost importance and Hardware Wallets are one of the best ways to protect your assets.
The two main hardware wallet manufacturers we are comparing today are Trezor and Ledger. We will cover the differences between their capabilities, support and security, and help you reach an informed decision on which product will be best suited to you.
Just like when you pick the cryptocurrencies you invest in, it is best to do your research and stay informed before making an important purchase.
If you found yourself here, then you must be fairly familiar with hardware wallets and want to make a decision between the two. Here’s a quick recap for those who are vaguely familiar with the idea but need some refreshing.
A Quick Recap On Hardware Wallets
For the uninitiated, Hardware wallets are physical devices such as USB sticks or micro computers that store your cryptocurrencies in an offline state.
Because the devices are not connected to the internet and are safe from intrusion they are considered to be in “cold storage”, hence the name.
This is the safest and most secure means of storing your cryptos and as long as you maintain ownership of your seed phrase and passwords, you are as protected as can be.
Many hardware wallets are able to connect with third-party wallets to provide an interface to manage your cryptocurrencies and are also compatible with several other interfaces and applications. Be sure to stick to the recommended list of apps to be as protected as possible.
How Do They Work?
In simple terms, Hardware wallets can only write transactions and require the use of another device to connect to the internet and complete any transaction.
The connected device will usually also require you to have particular software or app installed in order to receive and decode the transaction data. Once complete, unplug your hardware wallet and your assets are once again in cold storage and safely tucked away.
Our Competitors: Ledger and Trezor
Ledger is a fast-paced and growing company focused on developing security and infrastructure solutions for cryptocurrency and blockchain.
Founded in 2014, Ledger's mission is to secure the new disruptive class of crypto assets and digital identities such as second factor authentication and passwordless logins.
Ledger offers two models of hardware wallets, the most popular Ledger Nano S and the more sophisticated Ledger Nano X.
Satoshi Labs was founded in 2013 out of Prague, Czech Rep. Trezor is created by Satoshi Labs and is the original creator of the open source Bitcoin hardware wallet and has been innovating security solutions since.
Trezor offers 2 models of hardware wallets as well, the reliable Trezor One and the more powerful and capable Trezor Model T.
Physical And Hardware Difference Between Ledger And Trezor
Ledger Nano S
Ledger Nano X
Trezor Model One
Trezor Model T
Supported Cryptocurrency And Wallets
One of the more important parts of getting yourself a hardware wallet is of course being able to make use of it.
It would be silly to purchase a hardware wallet only to be not able to use it due to compatibility issues.
Both Ledger and Trezor support a large variety of coins and the Apps offer even more support but be sure to check out the Ledger and Trezor coin and token compatibility page to make sure your investment of choice is supported.
To be clear both Ledger and Trezor use applications to expand the range of coin and token support from juist their hardware wallets.
This means some of the more exotic coins and tokens will be limited to use and transfer through only applications until compatibility can be added to the devices themselves.
Ledger Devices are compatible with over 1800+ coins and tokens with the use of their Ledger Live App, which is accessible from your PC or smartphone when connected to a Ledger device. The hardware wallets are also compatible with over 50 3rd-party wallets allowing you full control of your funds.
Trezor Devices have differing compatibility depending on the model of hardware wallet. The Model One is compatible with over 1000 coins and tokens while the Model T is compatible with over 1200.
With the use of the Trezor Suite App, the number of compatible coins and tokens rises to 1649, putting it right on part with Ledger.
Security Differences Between Hardware Wallets
This of course is the main reason why anybody would want to get a Hardware Wallet. The safety and security they provide can’t be beat, however there are some differences between these two hardware wallets that can make a difference to some users.
One of the most immediate differences that come to mind between the two devices is that only the Trezor wallets are open-source. This just means that you cannot see the coding that goes into the Ledger device and firmware.
While this is a minor issue, the idea that there is a small chance that there could be malicious coding that we don’t know of can be concerning.
On the flip side the open-source nature of the Trezor allows for the bugs and issues to be fixed significantly faster but may leave the device open to more security issues.
So far, neither wallet has been the victim of a hack in which there was no user error involved. An example of this would be storing your seed phrase digitally and having your computer hacked and subsequently your seed phrase and passwords accessible to thieves and hackers.
Both devices have been hacked by professional teams of security researchers but required extensive knowledge, ideal conditions, and the actual physical devices while at a dedicated conference.
With proper care and use of the hardware wallets, thieves and hackers stand no chance of accessing your assets in either the Ledger or Trezor devices.
Price and Where to Buy
Overall I would say that the pricing for all the models from both companies seems reasonable and fair considering the level and security and peace of mind they can provide for you.
Many people are seriously concerned about hackers and thieves and have trouble relaxing knowing their assets are at risk. These devices are enormously stress-relieving for those individuals and have the added bonus of being simple and easy to use.
The Nano S comes in at $59, and the Trezor Model One at $55. Both are comparable and fairly priced, especially for the security being bought.
The more advanced models of hardware wallets are a bit more pricey and are a little farther apart in price. The Nano X costs $119 and the Trezor Model T comes in a little higher at $169.99.
Which One is Right For Me?
Now that you have some more information about all the products you can make a more informed decision on what will suit your needs better.
I personally find both hardware wallets excel in different areas and both have a specific niche of customer they are targeting.
That being said, Security, which is the number one issue when it comes to storing your cryptocurrency, is taken extremely seriously by both companies.
Although I would say Trezor beats out Ledger by a small margin in the security department, both devices provide the required level of security expected of them.
Ledger overall has better asset support, cleaner build, design, size and better pricing.
Trezor on the other hand excels at providing a simpler use experience, a bigger screen, and slightly takes the edge on security.
I can see the appeal of the sleek, and compact hardware wallets that Ledger offers and can see why they have over 2 million Nano S devices already sold.
Appealing to the younger and more tech savvy generations, Nano devices are more difficult to use than Trezor devices and offer more connectivity and application options.
If you are feeling comfortable with cryptocurrencies, and have some more exotic coins and tokens then Nano devices are a great choice considering their expanded support range.
Trezor devices are perfect for those who are not interested in bells and whistles and are primarily concerned with function. Nobody does security of crypto better than Trezor and you can rest easy buying and using either of their hardware wallets.
The model One is only slightly less powerful than the Model T but comes in at ⅓ of the price. The Model T however is a bit more expensive than I would feel comfortable recommending at $169.99.
Because the Model One is actually not significantly weaker than the Model T my recommendation would be to use the Model One, and if you end up not having the compatibility for the coins and assets you own you can expand your Model One’s support by using it in conjunction with the Trezor Suite.
This offers the most inexpensive, but most secure solution to storing your cryptocurrencies.
While there's no way to call either a definitive winner over the other, there are certainly notable differences in how the Trezor and the Ledger wallets compare.
Price comes to mind, along with types of crypto you can store on them, but at the end of the day, they're both formidable wallets to help store your crypto.