There is no shortage of Bitcoin or cryptocurrency wallets out there that all claim to be the most secure. That’s why it often becomes difficult to choose the right one. What makes the situation even more complex is the fact that you can store Bitcoin in a number of ways such as hardware and software wallets. What’s common in all cryptocurrency wallets is that they allow you to store your digital currency, but the level of security they offer varies. Not everyone trusts third-parties to store their precious Bitcoin, that’s why companies came up with the idea of highly-secure hardware wallets.

Trezor vs Ledger Review

Trezor and Ledger Nano S are the two most popular hardware wallets, so this post would focus on these two and discuss what each has to offer and how they stack up against each other.

What is a Cryptocurrency Wallet?

A cryptocurrency wallet basically stores secure digital codes that provide access to the BlockChain. These digital codes determine ownership of a cryptocurrency, which is needed to access currency addresses. One can only gain access to their cryptocurrency if the private key they hold reconciles with the public key. This means that if you lose your secure digital codes, you won’t be able to access your digital money.

A wallet is a secure place to store your e-currency and access it when needed. People who want to store their cryptocurrency for a long time find offline wallets such as hardware or desktop wallets a better option. On the other hand, software wallets (discussed in detail in a dedicated post) that include online and mobile wallets offer convenience, are easier to use and more suitable for frequent transactions and storing small amounts of cryptocurrency.

Best Bitcoin Wallets

What is a Hardware Wallet?

As mentioned earlier, hardware wallets are suitable for people who are buying Bitcoin for long-term investment purposes and want to store a large sum of cryptocurrency. As the name suggests, hardware wallets are purpose-built hardware devices that provide extra security and contain a secure chip on which the private key is stored. When using online, mobile or desktop wallets, your private keys might get exposed to hackers if you use them on a compromised/infected system. But when using a hardware wallet, you just have to plug the device into a system without manually inputting the key as you just have to enter the PIN code.

But what happens if you lose or break your hardware wallet? That’s when the plan B comes into action. You can still restore access to your cryptocurrency on a new device using the secret code known as ‘seed words’ that come with hardware wallets. Seed Words are a string of random words you can use to restore access to your Bitcoin. Although hardware wallets are more secure than online and desktop storage methods, they come at a cost and are not suitable for everyone. Deciding to buy a hardware wallet depends on the amount of Bitcoin you want to hold (+ time period), and are suitable for people who are fully into the cryptocurrency business.

You would also need a software wallet that’s linked to the hardware wallet in order to store money or make transactions. But nothing to worry about here as most hardware wallets come with a built-in software wallet. Some hardware wallets even allow using other software wallets if you don’t plan to use the built-in software wallet.

Pros

  • Provide an additional layer of security
  • Suitable for long-term storage
  • Serve as saving wallets for cold-storage of bigger amounts of cryptocurrency
  • Safer to use on compromised systems
  • Allow restoring data to a new device if lost/broken

Cons

  • Costlier than other methods
  • Not suitable for casual investors or for frequent transactions such as retail purchases

Ledger Nano S vs Trezor

Trezor and Ledger Nano S are the most popular hardware Bitcoin wallets that not only allow securely storing the cryptocurrency, but also make it easier to carry out transactions when required. Another big advantage both these wallets have over other forms of Bitcoin wallets is the added layer of security they provide. A virus or malware might be able to steal your private keys on a compromised system. Phishing sites also try to do the same by making you believe you are visiting a legitimate site. Hardware wallets significantly reduce these risks by saving you from manually entering the private keys as you have to enter a pin to gain access to your wallet.

Hardware wallets can also help greatly when disaster strikes. In case you lose or break your h/w wallet, you can restore it using seed words, which are random words you can generate during the initial setup. But you need to make sure that the seed words are stored in a safe place (preferably at two separate locations). Both Trezor and Ledger Nano S make more sense for Bitcoiners who are serious about their cryptocurrency and are in it for the long term. Both wallets are especially useful for people who plan to store a large amount of cryptocurrency for a long time.

So how does the Ledger Nano S stack up against the Trezor?

Both are considered to be the most secure way of storing Bitcoin and help accomplish the same goal. But there are some differences between them people should consider before buying one. Let’s have a look at specifications of both the devices before going any deeper.

Visit Ledger Visit Trezor

Trezor

  • Price: €89
  • Size and weight: (60x30x6)mm, 12 grams
  • Screen: 128x64px OLED
  • CPU: 120 MHz Cortex M3 Embedded ARM processor
  • Temperature range: -20 to +60 °C or -4°F to +140°F
  • Connection: via Micro USB
  • Supported Operating Systems: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android
  • Certifications: CE and RoHS
  • Package details: Trezor, Strap, USB Cable, manual, x2 recovery Seed Cards

Ledger Nano S

  • Price: From €79
  • Size and weight: (98x18x9)mm, 16.2 grams
  • Screen: OLED display
  • CPU: Dual-chip solution, ST31H320 (secure) + STM32F042
  • Connection: via Micro USB
  • Supported Operating Systems: Windows 7+, Mac 10.8+, Linux/Chrome OS
  • Certifications: CC EAL5+ certified (security certification)
  • Package details: Ledger Nano S, USB Cable, key-chain, lanyard, manual, recovery Seed Card

Design

Although design might be the last thing many would consider when choosing the most secure Bitcoin hardware wallet, it’s still an important aspect to consider. Since you’d be keeping the wallet for a long time, it should be able to tolerate daily abuse.

Trezor

Trezor is mostly constructed out of plastic and feels more like a boxy device, which is available in white and black. But the plastic is not cheap and feels sturdy, while also making the device lighter. It fits easily into the palm and is water-resistant and tamper-proof. The OLED display allows checking transactions before confirmation, while two buttons ensure that everything gets your physical approval. Trezor’s screen is larger than Ledger Nano S, making it easier for users to read on-screen information. It’s also bigger than Nano S, but both are still quite handy and very portable.

Trezor

Ledger Nano S

Ledger Nano S uses brushed stainless steel and plastic as the main construction materials, which results in a more durable build and better damage-resistance. Nano S comes in style and looks more like a pen drive. If people had to make a decision based entirely on looks and feel of the device, most would probably choose Ledger Nano S. But that’s not what a Bitcoin hardware wallet is all about as we have to look under the hood to see which one is better.

Ledger Nano

  • Trezor is made out of plastic, Ledger Nano S uses brushed stainless steel and plastic
  • Trezor is bigger and lighter, Ledger Nano S is more compact and slightly heavier
  • Trezor offers a bigger, brighter OLED display than Ledger Nano S
  • Both offer connectivity using the Micro USB port
  • Both come with buttons for physical approval
  • Trezor is also compatible with Android

Cryptocurrency Support

Trezor

The device is compatible with most popular cryptocurrencies, obviously including Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum. Other supported cryptocurrencies include:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • DASH
  • Zcash
  • Bitcoin Cash / Bcash (BCH)
  • Bitcoin Gold (BTG)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Ethereum Classic (ETC)
  • ERC-20 Tokens
  • Expanse (EXP)
  • UBIQ (UBQ)
  • NEM (XEM)
  • Namecoin
  • Dogecoin

Ledger Nano S

Although both devices support major blockchain-based cryptocurrencies, Ledger Nano S scores better in this regard. In addition to full support for Bitcoins and Ethereum (through Google Chrome extensions), Ledger Nano S cryptocurrency support includes:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Bitcoin Gold (BTG)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Ethereum Classic (ETC)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Dogecoin (DOGE)
  • Zcash (ZEC)
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • Dash (DASH)
  • Stratis (STRAT)
  • Komodo (KMD)
  • Ark (ARK)
  • Expanse (EXP)
  • Ubiq (UBQ)
  • Vertcoin (VTC)
  • Viacoin (VIA)
  • Neo (NEO)
  • Stealthcoin (XST)
  • Stellar (XLM)
  • Hcash (HSR)
  • Digibyte (DGB)
  • Qtum (QTUM)
  • PivX (PIVX)

Since both devices can receive software updates that add new features and support for new cryptocurrencies, the lists above are also updated accordingly. The devices support most of the widely used cryptocurrencies and you can even use both if your demands are higher than the average Joe.

Setup and Device Usage

The process of setting up both devices is fairly similar. Both require you to configure a PIN code during the initial setup, which you can later use to authenticate transactions. The devices delete all the data if someone enters an incorrect PIN three times. Ledger Nano S requires installation of its Chrome app that presents users with a setup wizard for an easy and step-by-step setup. The physical buttons allow users to scroll through menus and select items. The buttons also serve as a security barrier and ensure that nothing gets approved without the physical approval of the user.

Both devices also require you to set up a recovery seed when first activating the device – this is a list of words that you write down on the cards provided and will allow you to restore your device should you ever need to. It’s important to store this card somewhere safe and not allow anyone else to access it as they could steal your funds. It should also be noted that there have been some scams where people sell the devices on marketplaces like eBay with the seed already setup so they can steal funds from the person buying. Make sure the boxes are unopened and the recovery seed hasn’t been set. We recommend only ever purchasing directly from the official websites.

Trezor scores more points in OS compatibility as it also supports Android, which is a big plus for some users. Although Ledger Nano OS works on Windows, Mac, Linux as well as Chrome OS, it requires Google Chrome to work properly as extensions are needed when using the device. Both devices offer nicely designed, well-polished and user-friendly interfaces that make it easier for users to access and understand information. The devices put all major cryptocurrencies in one place, which are accessible using a single interface.

Integrations

Trezor

The Trezor device can be used with a variety of wallets and online Bitcoin services (referred to as Trezor Apps), including:

Trezor App

  • ArcBit
  • Blockonomics
  • Copay
  • Chrome Extension
  • Electrum
  • Electrum-DASH
  • Electrum-LTC
  • Etherwall
  • Mycelium
  • Sentinel
  • Trezor Wallet
  • Bitex
  • Bitstamp
  • Bitwala
  • Coinmap
  • Coinpayments
  • Osclass
  • Strip4Bit
  • WordPress

Ledger Nano S

Referred to as Ledger apps (Google Chrome extensions), Ledger Nano S also supports a large variety of apps and services and supports the software wallets including:

Ledger App

  • Ledger Wallet Bitcoin
  • Ledger Wallet Ethereum
  • Ledger Wallet Ripple
  • Copay
  • Electrum
  • Mycelium
  • MyEtherWallet
  • GreenBits
  • BitGo

Conclusion

Since both devices offer similar features and functionality, you won’t be disappointed by either of them. If design and durability are of utmost importance, Ledger Nano S is a better option. Ledger also costs less and works well for people who want to save some money. Trezor offers a bigger display that makes it easier for users to read on-screen information, while Ledger is more compact and stylish. Trezor comes with somewhat better software, user interface and provides more options such as syncing with a DropBox account, but Ledger also fares well in this department and is not far behind.

Trezor scores some extra points by offering some advanced options such as an easily-accessible password directory, a more advanced integrated software and password admin function. Ledger Nano S also has a lot to offer and supports more cryptocurrencies.

In the end, it all comes down to which cryptocurrencies you want to store, the advanced options you actually need, preference of user interface and support for other apps. Considering these aspects, both the devices are worth the money and offer a similar level of security so you should choose deciding on the factors mentioned.

Visit Ledger Visit Trezor

Posted by Oliver Dale

Editor-in-Chief of Parameter and founder of Kooc Media, A UK-Based Online Media Company. Believer in Open-Source Software, Blockchain Technology & a Free and Fair Internet for all.


oliver@parameter.io
http://twitter.com/olidale
http://www.linkedin.com/in/oliverdale

One Comment

  1. My friend John Monero (XMR) Cryptocurrency Investor he asking me to suggest a Hardware wallet in Bith of them, I told him both wallets don’t accept Monero (XMR) Currency and I suggest him to Buy Ledger nano S for store Bitcoin, He also has Bitcoin So I think The Ledger nano S is best for Bitcoin.

    Reply

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