Trezor vs Ledger: Which is the Best Crypto Hardware Wallet?
Hardware wallets are some of the best tools you can have as a crypto investor, but how do the best ones stack up?
Updated Jun 23, 2022
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The deeper you get into crypto, the higher your need for crypto security will be. Most investors with assets on the blockchain use a DeFi wallet, but some accounts are safer than others. Holding crypto on an exchange wallet has different security implications than using an external crypto wallet that lets you hold your private keys. You can lose your funds on the former if the exchange gets hacked, but the latter can be just as dangerous if your seed phrase gets leaked or if your hot wallet gets exploited.
Purchasing a hardware wallet is an investment in the security of your cryptocurrencies and NFTs, so how much you're willing to spend depends on the amount of crypto you're holding and how much you value keeping it secure.
Hot wallets are crypto accounts that maintain a blockchain connection while cold wallets are kept offline, which makes them more secure but less convenient to use. The middle option is a hardware wallet because it offers a balance between security and convenience for sending and receiving crypto and interacting with DeFi. Here's what to look out for if you're in the market for a hardware crypto wallet and are deciding between Trezor vs Ledger.
What is a hardware wallet?
What is a hardware wallet?
A hardware wallet is a type of crypto wallet that lets you send and receive cryptocurrencies while keeping your private keys secure. It's a sort of cold storage device that connects to a computer or phone to broadcast transactions and interact with decentralized applications (dApps). Hardware wallets are a crucial tool for DeFi investors to keep their crypto assets safe.
The Trezor and Ledger wallets are the two most popular hardware wallets. Both devices are compatible with hundreds of cryptocurrencies, have their own desktop application, and keep your private keys extremely secure. But, choosing Trezor or Ledger depends on what features you desire in a hardware wallet and what you're going to use it for since there are some notable disparities between the devices they offer.
Ledger is a French company that offers three hardware wallets: Ledger Nano S, Ledger Nano S Plus, and Ledger Nano X. Ledger's three hardware wallets function basically the same and are meant to be used alongside the Ledger Live desktop app on Windows and macOS or the mobile app on iOS or Android. Ledger hardware wallets can also connect to popular DeFi apps and browser extension wallets like Metamask.
All Ledger devices feature a small screen, two buttons that are used to navigate between apps—blockchain-specific applications that must be installed to Ledger wallets to access the private keys stored inside it—and use a highly secure chip. The main differences between the three Ledger wallets are their storage capacity, mobile compatibility, and price.
Nano S Plus
Ledger Nano X
The newest and most advanced of Ledger's hardware wallets is the Nano X. It has a 128x64-pixel OLED display and can store up to 100 apps. The Nano X can connect to computers with a USB-C cable but can also hook up to devices via Bluetooth. Nano X's Bluetooth capability allows for on-the-go crypto transactions, which makes it the most secure mobile-friendly DeFi wallet.
Ledger Nano S
Despite being an older model, the Ledger Nano S offers a sufficient level of convenience and security. The Nano S's screen is 128x32 pixels, which is half the size of the Nano X, but it uses the same operating system so it's functionally almost identical. Another difference is that it can only connect to computers using a micro-USB cable.
The biggest drawback of the Nano S is its much lower storage capacity that holds only three apps at once—which limits the number of blockchains you can interact with simultaneously. The Nano S is definitely the most colorful hardware wallet, coming in black, yellow, pink, green, blue, and transparent. While the need to uninstall and reinstall applications to use different cryptos is inconvenient, the Nano S offers the same level of security at less than half of Nano X's price.
Ledger Nano S Plus
If the Ledger Nano S is the budget option, then the Nano S Plus is the reasonably-priced midrange option that addresses the Nano S's biggest issues. In addition to featuring a larger display, the Nano S Plus has a greatly expanded storage capacity that can hold up to 100 apps—which is a major convenience factor for those who regularly use multiple different blockchains. The Nano S arguably offers the best value for a Ledger wallet.
Trezor wallets are hardware wallets made by the Czech company SatoshiLabs and they come in two varieties: Model One and Model T. Both Trezor wallet models have a similar form factor and the same storage capacity and security capabilities. The main things that set Trezor apart from Ledger are their open-source firmware and their cryptographic key sharing algorithm for extra security.
The Trezor Suite desktop application is used to manage the Trezor wallet, but it can also connect to DeFi apps using the Trezor Bridge chrome extension or some third-party browser wallets like Metamask. The main thing Trezor hardware wallets lacks is a mobile application, though they may release one in the future. Trezor wallets rely more on third-party wallet applications than Ledger due to compatibility issues.
Trezor Model T
The Trezor Model T is their flagship hardware wallet and it features two navigational buttons, a 240x240 pixel color LCD touchscreen, and a USB-C connection. A unique feature of the Trezor Model T is having a Micro-SD card slot that can encrypt access to provide an additional layer of security. Despite being more expensive than the Nano X, the Trezor Model T doesn't feature the added convenience of Bluetooth connectivity.
Trezor Model One
Although it's Trezor's budget offering, the Model One is a great hardware wallet for crypto beginners. It has two buttons, as the Trezor Model T does, but its display is a fraction of the size at 128x64 and isn't a touchscreen. The Model One doesn't compromise on security, but it does have a scaled-down CPU and connects using the older Micro-USB type cable. Also, the Trezor Model One comes in a smaller size but can be colored black or white as opposed to just black for the Tezor Model T.
Ledger vs Trezor
Ledger vs Trezor
If you're looking for the best way to secure your crypto assets, both Ledger and Trezor are excellent choices. Crypto investors can rest assured that their funds are as secure and safe as possible when trading or using DeFi with either the Ledger or Trezor hardware wallets. But, if you're still having trouble deciding which one is best for you, let's consider some other things before choosing a hardware wallet.
Trezor Model T
Ledger Nano X
Hardware wallet price
Purchasing a hardware wallet is an investment in the security of your cryptocurrencies and NFTs, so how much you're willing to spend depends on the amount of crypto you're holding and how much you value keeping it secure. For Trezor, prices range significantly from about $318 for the Model T and about $88 for the Model One. In contrast, Ledger devices are more reasonably priced, starting at $59 for the Nano S, $79 for the Nano S Plus, and $149 for the Nano X.
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When comparing the prices of Trezor vs Ledger, the Ledger wallets are the clear winners. The most premium Ledger hardware wallet is less than half the price of the Model T, which is the most advanced Trezor wallet. The Ledger Nano S gives you more bang for your buck since it does practically all the same things the Model T does and more, like connecting over Bluetooth. Trezor wallets and Ledger wallets function practically the same, but crypto investors may choose hardware wallets made by Ledger for their lower prices and similar features.
Hardware wallet compatibility
Hardware wallet compatibility
Another major consideration is which crypto wallets you'll be using the most. If you're only interacting with major blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum, it'll probably matter less to you which hardware crypto wallets support your favorite altcoin. Generally, hardware wallets can store private keys for nearly all coins, tokens, and blockchains even if they aren't necessarily supported by their respective desktop or mobile application. Both Trezor and Ledger have built-in fiat onramps, but you'll probably get better exchange rates on Kraken or Robinhood.
The worst choice when it comes to compatibility is the Trezor Model One since it lacks support for major blockchain networks like Cardano, Ripple, Tezos, Monero, and others. The Model T addresses some of the Model One's shortcomings, however, some cryptocurrencies can only be transacted using third-party applications since they're not supported by Tezor Suite. The Trezor Suite will display most of your ERC-20 tokens but isn't capable of showing you your NFTs yet.
For Trezor devices, some major cryptos and blockchains like Tezos and Stellar can only be used in conjunction with open-source wallets. Trezor Suite also doesn't support layer-2 networks like Avalanche or Polygon as well as interchain networks like Polkadot or Cosmos. The limited features of Trezor Suite put Trezor hardware wallets at a severe disadvantage when it comes to compatibility.
The Ledger Live companion application supports more cryptocurrencies and blockchains in general, but it isn't perfect, either. While it works with most major blockchain networks, Ledger Live lacks certain functionalities like interacting with Solana-based tokens or managing assets on layer-2 scaling solutions like Avalanche and Optimism. Ledger Live works with all Ledger hardware wallets, but only the Nano X can connect to the Ledger Live mobile app.
One of the coolest things about Ledger Live is that it supports staking for certain coins like ATOM and XTZ as well as lets you view your Ethereum and Polygon NFTs. Some major blockchains that Ledger Live currently doesn't natively support are Near Protocol and Zilliqa, but Ledger is continuously implementing support for additional networks and coins. Based on the number of assets and blockchains they support, Ledger wallets have an advantage.
Investors choosing between the Trezor and Ledger wallets might be more satisfied with Ledger wallets due to their superior compatibility, lower price point, and the convenience of features like the Ledger Live mobile wallet app. A Trezor wallet may be preferred by hardware snobs who desire touch screens and an SD card slot, but those are premium features for a hardware wallet. Ledger wallets come with all the comprehensive features a crypto investor will need without the bells and whistles that come with Trezor's Model T.