With cryptocurrency scams and theft becoming a growing concern, people are turning to solutions that help them safeguard their coins. While decentralised hot wallets are a good option, crypto cold wallets are the way to go if you want the best security possible.
These wallets keep your private keys offline on secure chips so that attackers cannot get a hold of them to spend your funds. But with so many wallets out there, how do you know which one to trust?
Our guide covers the best crypto cold wallets we found in the industry. After testing several wallets, we have put together this list to guide you through selecting a suitable hardware wallet.
1. Ledger Nano X - Best Overall Wallet
2. Trezor Model T - Best Touchscreen Wallet
3. SafePal S1 - Most Affordable Wallet
4. Ledger Nano S Plus - Best Offline Storage
5. KeepKey - Best Inbuilt Exchange
Ledger Nano X
Bluetooth, Secure chip, Cross platform, NFT support
Trezor Model T
Touchscreen, Cross-platform, NFT support
Secure chip, slim and light, in-built camera
Ledger Nano S Plus
Cross platform, NFT support
Large screen, Ergonomic design
Ledger stands as industry leaders in crypto hardware technology and their flagship device, the Nano X, is possibly the most secure wallet on the market. It is equipped with a secure offline chip, often called a secure element, and support for over 5000 crypto assets, including NFTs.
The wallet is accompanied by an application, called Ledger Live, that serves as a user interface. This application has desktop and mobile versions that are quite intuitive. With the app, you can track your portfolio, swap between coins, and use third-party services like a crypto-backed debit card.
The Ledger Nano X also comes with bluetooth functionality that allows you to connect to your phone or computer wirelessly, although if you are big on security, you may want to stick with a non-wireless version (the Nano S Plus).
To begin using the Ledger Nano X, install the Ledger Live application on your phone or computer and load it. Click on “New Wallet and connect your hardware wallet to your device. Follow the prompts to create a new seed phrase and pin.
To store cryptos, you need to install the blockchain applications on your wallet. Do this by going to the “Apps” section of the interface and installing the application for your chosen blockchain.
For example, if you want to deposit Bitcoin, you’ll need to first install the Bitcoin application. You will then be able to receive, send, store, and trade Bitcoin. You can also save NFTs, provided they are on blockchains supported by Ledger.
Top-notch security, even among hardware wallets
Wide crypto asset support
High exchange fees
The Ledger Nano X comes bluetooth enabled for wireless connectivity with phones and laptops, provided the Ledger Live application is installed. This feature allows you to take the Nano X out with you.
The wallet also supports third-party services, from a crypto tax tool to a crypto-backed debit card, to a service that lets you use crypto to recharge vouchers, to centralised markets like Binance. All this is accessible from the Ledger Live app.
Lastly, the desktop application features an in-built exchange that lets you swap between popular coins instantly.
The Trezor Model T is a high-end hardware wallet that comes with a 1.5” colour touchscreen LCD. It is a great option for investors who wish to maintain an extensive portfolio of cryptos and NFTs as well as enthusiasts who wish to explore web3 in a secure way.
The wallet supports 1,456 crypto assets and comes with an in-built exchange to swap between coins. However, note that not all coins are eligible for swaps. Furthermore, you cannot store NFTs natively on Trezor. You can, however, use a third-party app to store and manage your NFTs from the Trezor interface.
You can create an unlimited number of wallets within the device (theoretically, of course) and manage your coins in the Trezor Suite application.
Trezor takes precautions against accidental touches on the touchscreen panel by requiring a deliberation touch-and-hold action for transaction confirmation. The device is not connected to the internet, so all private keys stay offline.
To begin using the Trezor Model T, you’ll need to first update the firmware. Do this by connecting your device to your computer and navigate to the Trezor website on your browser. Click on “App” and select “Trezor Suite for Web”. Alternatively, you can download a Windows, Linux, or IOS client.
The website should give you instructions on how to update your Trezor firmware and create a new wallet. If you are a new user, you may want to stick with the Single-backup phrase option when creating a wallet.
Be careful when creating a new wallet. Trezor will only show you the backup recovery phrase once. Write them down on the recovery sheets of paper and keep them safe. To learn more, read our Trezor review.
Secure offline storage
Extensive crypto asset support
Reports of USB-C port being sensitive
Form is not ergonomic
The Trezor Model T comes with a touchscreen that allows for easy navigation between applications. It also supports a wide range of crypto coins and tokens.
Lastly, the Trezor Suite App has MacOS, Windows, and Linux versions as well as a browser version.
The Safepal S1 wallet is a slim and light hardware wallet that is shaped like a credit card. It comes with an inbuilt camera, a screen, and navigation buttons to help select blockchains, accept deposits, and authorise transactions.
While not as established as some other hardware wallets, SafePal has made a name for itself by creating a wallet that is completely offline. Unlike the Ledger Nano X that supports bluetooth connectivity, there is no way to wirelessly connect to the SafePal hardware wallet.
When setting up your wallet for the first time, you’ll be able to choose between a 24, 18, or 12-phrase mnemonic phrase. The wallet comes with a small card to write down your phrase. Once you have done that, set a password that will unlock your wallet whenever you wish to use it, like a password for your mobile phone.
Next, download the SafePal mobile app and link it with the hardware device by scanning the QR code on the app with your wallet and vice versa. You can now use the wallet.
Safe from online attacks
Navigation keys for easy use and analog authorisation
Easy to configure
Portable and lightweight
Does not work as a standalone wallet
The SafePal wallet features a secure element, which is an operating system on a tamper-proof microchip. It s used to guard against software and hardware attacks. The wallet is also battery-powered, making it a mobile-friendly wallet.
Lastly, the SafePal S1 comes with a camera that you can use to scan QR codes when sending money or making payments.
The Ledger Nano S Plus is a more toned-down wallet in Ledger’s line-up. It is very similar to the Nano X in many ways, except for wireless connection. The Nano S Plus does not have bluetooth functionality.
Similar to the Nano X, the S Plus comes in a rectangular form factor and is the size of a thumb drive. It has two buttons on the side, like volume keys, for navigation and manual authorisation.
It also comes with a USB C adapter to connect to a computer or mobile phone. If your phone uses the micro USB port, you can get an additional adapter at an extra charge.
Setting up the Nano S Plus is similar to the Nano X. Download the Ledger Live app, connect the device to your computer or phone, and follow the instructions to create a new wallet. Ensure you write your seed phrase on the cards provided and keep them safe.
Extensive crypto support
No support for Layer 2 assets
The Ledger Nano S Plus comes with portfolio management features that allow you view your entire portfolio, track them across time frames, and buy and swap between them easily thanks to the in-built exchange.
Thanks to the Ledger Live application, you also have access to third-party applications that provide a range of services like on-ramps, coin migrators, and even automated investment services.
KeepKey wallet is a rectangular shaped hardware wallet with a larger screen area than other wallets on our list. The company was acquired by crypto exchange, ShapeShift, in 2017 and is a trusted choice for cold storage for many users.
KeepKey is a budget-friendly wallet at around $52 and is great for new investors who do not intend to maintain an extensive portfolio of coins. This is because the wallet makers made certain functionality cuts when developing this storage solution. One is coin support. KeepKey supports about 100 cryptos, staggeringly less than some of the others on our list.
The wallet connects with popular web3 applications like Uniswap, Compound, OpenSea, Rarible, and even Unstoppable Domains using Wallet Connect feature. Unfortunately, it does not connect to popular hot wallets like MetaMask which is the most widely used software wallet in the industry.
Setting up your wallet also involves more steps than some competitors as you’ll have to update your device’s firmware before being able to set up a wallet.
However, once your wallet is up, you have access to ShapeShift’s exchange interface from the wallet’s dapp. To learn more, read our KeepKey review.
Easy coin swap capabilities
Ergonomic form factor
Limited crypto support
Limited web3 integrations
KeepKey is a cross-platform wallet that works with the MacOS, Windows, and Linux operating systems. It also has the wallet connect feature that allows you to connect with most decentralised applications.
Lastly, the wallet interface has a built in exchange, thanks to its acquisition by ShapeShift. You get direct access to exchange's swap services as a native feature.
A cold wallet is a cryptocurrency wallet that stores your private keys offline, effectively keeping them safe from the clutches of would-be attackers. And because your private key is needed to spend crypto, your coins are out of reach.
Cold wallets are currently the safest crypto storage solutions on the market. They come as hardware devices, usually like a flash drive, small phone-like gadget, or a portable mifi-shaped device that can either be self-powered, like the Nano X, or powered by your computer, like the Ledger Nano S.
These wallets integrate with software to help deposit and withdraw coins as well as manage your portfolio. Their software can be native, like the Ledger Live, or third-party, like the MetaMask wallet.
Cold wallets and cold storage go hand in hand. It is ideal for people who wish to hold coins for a long period.
Cold wallets work on the principle of keeping private keys away from any device that has access to the internet and, as such, is vulnerable to online attackers.
Regular crypto wallets usually store their private keys on the device harddrive or browser memory. These places aren’t the safest locations to store private keys as well-designed scripts could access the private keys on the browser tab, and a malware could scan your computer or phone harddrive for private keys.
Cold wallets, on the other hand, combine hardware and software to create a wallet that stores your private key on a device that is always offline. They work just like a regular wallet, but with additional security.
When setting up your cold wallet, you’ll generate a mnemonic phrase. Write down and keep it safe because it will be useful in recovering your wallet if you ever lose your device.
Once set up, you’ll have a public address, just like hot wallets, that you can use to receive crypto. Some wallets change this public address from time to time, like the Ledger Nano S, so ensure that you confirm the address each time you wish to deposit.
When you send crypto to your cold wallet address, the funds are kept safe as anyone trying to hack your wallet will need your private keys which are not online, but are instead on a secure microchip in your cold wallet.
No keys, no coins to steal.
The whole point of cold wallets is its added security benefits. Hence, cold wallets with security issues are a huge red flag.
Usually, security depends largely on the chip used which might make it tough for non tech-savvy people to decipher who has the best chips. A way around this is to stick with wallets that have a track record of providing tight security.
For example, we haven’t heard of a scenario where a Ledger wallet was hacked, and they are leaders in the cold wallet space, so they are a good choice.
The user interface and resulting experience is important. While we expect a few extra steps which could create friction, at least when compared to hot wallets, these should not be extreme.
For example, when using the Trezor wallet, you’ll need to approve transactions from the wallet by pressing and holding the digital buttons, which could take a while to get used to especially for those acclimated with one-click hot wallets.
Coin support is important because the more coins a cold wallet supports, the better it can serve as your primary storage solution. Naturally, cold wallets have limited support compared to some hot wallets, due to security considerations. However, the major providers are constantly expanding their list of supported coins and networks.
If you wish to carry out transactions directly from your hardware device, then integration is an important factor to consider. For example, if you want to swap your coins on an Ethereum DEX, you’ll need to use another wallet interface.
A wallet like MetaMask supports Ledger and Trezor integration. You can connect your cold wallet to MetaMask and then swap coins on a DEX all while keeping your private keys offline. You can also stake, lend, and engage in yield farming strategies while keeping your private keys safe.
The more crypto applications your cold wallet can securely integrate with, the more freedom you have to explore web3 while keeping your coins safe.
Hot and cold wallets are similar in various ways. They both store cryptocurrency, have public and private keys, and use mnemonic phrases.
The only true way hot and cold wallets differ is where they store private keys. Hot wallets store private keys somewhere on your device or with a custodian. It could be your harddrive or browser memory, while cold wallets store your private keys on a secure chip.
Because your device (phone or laptop) is generally connected to the internet, there is a risk of it being compromised and your private key being accessed. The secure chips that cold wallets use, however, are not connected to the internet and therefore cannot be breached by an online hacker.
The main benefit of using a cold wallet is the security and the peace of mind that it brings. You can use your cold wallet with confidence that it is not vulnerable to online hackers.
Another benefit is the freedom to spend your coins as you like. Custodial wallets, especially those associated with crypto exchanges, are beholden to rules that may not always be in your favour.
The companies that maintain these wallets can be subpoenaed or even sued by government agencies in countries they operate. For example, crypto exchange, Kraken, was forced to shut down its staking program, essentially erasing a source of passive income for thousands, if not millions, of users.
With a cold wallet and a decentralised hot wallet like MetaMask, you can stake on decentralised platforms that cannot be shut down due to government regulation. You are also not affected by withdrawal suspensions and losses due to bankruptcies.
Cold wallets allow you to invest in crypto just like you would with a hot wallet or even a custodial wallet. Some wallet applications, like the Ledger Live can connect to some of the best crypto exchanges, like Binance to trade securely.
We explored the best cold crypto wallets on the market and picked Ledger Nano X as our top choice because of its industry-leading technology, bluetooth connectivity, crypto asset support, and integration with popular crypto software.
However, all wallets on our list are viable options for secure cold storage and will serve you well, depending on the features that are most important to you.
For example, if security is of the essence and portability is not a consideration, then the Ledger Nano S Plus will serve you well. If you’d like to carry around your device, although ill-advised, then the SafePal S1 will serve you well.
If you’d like to manage your crypto from a mobile phone, then the Ledger Nano X will best serve your needs, thanks to its bluetooth connectivity.
Whichever wallet you choose, ensure that you backup your wallet by writing down your mnemonic phrase immediately you set up the wallet. Keep this phrase offline at all times as storing it online defeats the purpose of using offline storage.
Also, maintain more than one copy of your seed phrase in different locations to increase redundancy.
The wallets covered in this guide were chosen through rigorous research and reviews. We paid attention to security, reputation, user experience, asset support, and competitive edge.
The wallets listed are the best we found in the various categories we listed them. For example, we listed Ledger as the best overall wallet because of the balance of security, asset support, interface, and integration.
Check out our why trust us and how we test pages for more information on our testing process.
The safest wallet on our list is the Ledger Nano S Plus because it has industry-leading technology from Ledger, but is completely offline. It does not have any wireless functionality that can be exploited.
Buying a cold wallet could be worth the money if you own a substantial amount in crypto. Ideally, anything above $1,000 that you intend to hold for a long period should be stored in a cold wallet.
This depends on the tech that wallet makers use. There have been reports of some wallets being exploited when experienced attackers got their hands on them. An example is when a tech-savvy team was able to extract the pin code for a KeepKey wallet when they got their hands on a wallet.
However, the weakness has since been fixed while the other wallets listed have not been hacked.
You need a cold wallet if you wish to keep sizable funds safe from possible attackers.
Speed and flexibility. With cold wallets, you cannot easily buy and sell cryptos. Although many cold wallets have in-built exchanges, if you are not with your device, you may not be able to access and trade your funds when an opportunity arises.
Binance does not own a Binance-branded cold wallet. However, they invested in NGRAVE, a cold wallet solution, in 2021. Binance also provides cold storage custody services to institutions.
People that use cold wallets are usually security conscious, intend to hold their crypto for a long period, and usually own substantial amounts. However, you can use a cold wallet regardless of amount.