Best Bitcoin Hardware Wallets (2024)

Best Bitcoin Hardware Wallets (2024)
Best HWWs (Signing-Devices) For Cold Storage

"Not your keys, not your coins" is a rallying cry for self-custody in Bitcoin. While there are convenient mobile 'hot wallets,' cold storage via a hardware wallet offers much greater security and peace of mind.

What Is A Hardware Wallet?

A hardware wallet, or 'signing device,' is a physical piece of hardware that exists offline. It allows the user to control the private keys that control their Bitcoin. When moving self-custodied Bitcoin, these devices sign and authorize transactions.

Hardware wallets represent the pinnacle of safeguarding Bitcoin holdings, providing a fortress against potential threats. By storing private keys offline, away from the prying eyes of cybercriminals, malware, and hackers, these devices ensure the integrity of your Bitcoin. With stringent security measures, hardware wallets offer peace of mind, allowing you to rest assured that your Bitcoin is safe and under your exclusive control.

Superior to Exchanges and Online Hot Wallets

While some may entrust their Bitcoin to exchanges like Coinbase or FTX or even opt for online hot wallets on a PC or iPhone, it is essential to recognize the inherent risks associated with these methods. Exchanges can fall prey to hacking attempts, compromising the security of users' funds. Online hot wallets also subject your Bitcoin to many attack vectors, making them a suboptimal choice for those seeking robust protection.

Multisig: No Single Point of Failure With Theya

Single-signature wallets offer a notable improvement in security compared to hot wallets and crypto exchange IOUs. Still, they introduce a potential single point of failure—the hardware wallet manufacturer and its firmware.

To address this concern, Theya introduces multi-key vaults as a viable solution. By employing multiple keys and potentially utilizing different software and hardware wallets for storing and signing transactions, the inherent risk associated with a single point of failure can be eliminated. Implementing a 2-of-3 multi-key vault significantly enhances both security and resiliency. Even if a hardware wallet manufacturer were to experience a compromise unknowingly, users would have no cause for alarm. Furthermore, the accidental loss of one of the keys would not result in irreparable consequences.

Utilizing hardware wallets within multi-key vaults represents a paradigm shift in Bitcoin security. While hardware wallets alone offer robust protection, integrating them into multi-key vaults empowers Bitcoin users to elevate their security measures to an unprecedented level. By mitigating the risks associated with single points of failure and enabling greater flexibility in key management, multi-key vaults provide a comprehensive solution for individuals seeking to safeguard their Bitcoin holdings with utmost confidence.

Which Hardware Wallet Is Best For You?

To assist you in making an informed decision, we have meticulously evaluated the leading hardware wallets available in the market. Our selection comprises devices that have demonstrated unparalleled security, user-friendly interfaces, and a track record of trustworthiness.

These hardware wallets are not merely an accessory; they are indispensable tools for anyone serious about the security of their Bitcoin.

Things To Consider

  • Theya Multisig Compatible: Consider whether you plan to use Theya as your multisig vault solution now or potentially in the future.
  • Price: An entry-level device for single sig is ideal for beginning your self-custody journey; however, if you have substantial holdings, the advanced features of higher-priced models might be preferable. Mixing two devices for 2-3 multisig with Theya can reduce a single point of failure and fit within your budget.
  • Bitcoin Only: A Bitcoin-only device reduces your attack surface by limiting the firmware needed to support other cryptocurrencies and NFTs.
  • Open Source Verifiability: Choose HWW providers that offer verifiable open-source firmware for greater transparency and trust.
  • Air-Gap: Opt for a device with air-gapping capabilities to minimize the risk of online attacks.
  • Secure Element: Give priority to wallets with a secure element for enhanced protection of your seed.
  • Communication Method: While USB remains standard, wallets with additional methods like QR readers and microSD offer air-gapped transaction options; Bluetooth and NFC provide convenience, with NFC offering an extra layer of security."
Bitcoin Hardware Wallet Comparison Table
Bitcoin Hardware Wallet Comparison

CoinKite Hardware Wallets

ColdCare HWWs

ColdCard MK4 (Theya Compatible) Key Features:

  • Dual Secure Element for enhanced physical security, ensuring private keys are stored on specialized chips.
  • Verifiable Source Code for transparency and trust in security measures.
  • True Air-gap operation allows the device to function without needing to connect to a computer, enhancing security against online attacks.
  • PSBT (Partially Signed Bitcoin Transactions) native support for flexible and secure transaction signing.
  • A full-sized numeric keypad and a bright OLED screen for easy operation and clear transaction verification.

ColdCard Q Key Features:

  • QWERTY Keyboard and a large 3.2" LCD screen, enhancing usability for entering BIP-39 passphrases and reviewing transactions.
  • Dual MicroSD slots for expanded storage and ease of transaction signing.
  • Advanced QR Code scanning capabilities with LED illumination, ensuring efficient and secure air-gapped transactions.
  • NFC communication allows for contactless data transfer and the ability to disable it permanently.
  • Enhanced duress PIN options and multi-vendor dual Secure Elements, offering a robust security framework against physical and digital threats.

Trezor Hardware Wallets

Trezor HWWs

Trezor Model One (Theya Compatible) Key Features:

  • The pioneering hardware wallet has been offering proven security for over 10 years.
  • Simple two-button operation and a monochromatic OLED screen for straightforward usability.
  • PIN and passphrase protection, ensuring device security even if lost or stolen.
  • Open-source and transparent software allow users to verify the integrity and security of their devices.

Trezor Safe 3 (Theya Compatible) Key Features:

  • Secure Element chip (EAL6+) for an additional layer of security to protect private keys.
  • Shamir Backup provides a more advanced and secure method of recovery phrase backup.
  • USB-C connectivity and a sleek design maintain the balance between security and user-friendliness.

Trezor Model T (Theya Compatible) Key Features:

  • Color touchscreen for improved usability and on-device transaction verification.
  • Shamir Backup for enhanced security and flexibility in recovery phrase management.
  • Expanded cryptocurrency support, making it a versatile choice for users holding various assets.

Ledger Hardware Wallets

Ledger HWWs

Ledger Nano S Plus (Theya Compatible) Key Features:

  • Certified Secure Element (CC EAL6+ ) chip, providing top-tier security for private keys.
  • Ledger Live compatibility allows for seamless management of cryptocurrency assets (outside of Bitcoin).

Ledger Nano X (Theya Compatible) Key Features:

  • Bluetooth® connectivity for wireless management of crypto assets via the Ledger Live mobile app.
  • Built-in battery, enhancing portability and ease of use on the go.

Blockstream Jade Hardware Wallet

Jade HWWs
  • Fully open-source, ensuring transparency and the ability for community review and improvement.
  • Camera for air-gapped QR code transactions, offering a secure way to sign transactions without direct device connectivity.
  • Virtual secure element, providing a unique security model without compromising on openness.

Bitbox02 Hardware Wallet

BitBox02 HWWs
  • USB-C and touch sensors for intuitive operation.
  • A dual option for Bitcoin-only or multi-crypto allows users to minimize their attack surface or diversify their holdings.
  • Invisible touch sensors and a high-resolution OLED display for enhanced user interaction and security verification.

Foundation Passport Hardware Wallet

Foundation Passport HWWsBestHSes
  • Air-gapped security with QR codes and camera, eliminating the risk of online attacks.
  • Fully open-source software and hardware for complete transparency.
  • Premium build quality with a large color display and metal chassis, offering a superior user experience in a robust package.

Hardware Wallet FAQs

How Do Hardware Wallets Work?

Hardware wallets (signing devices), for the most part, work by generating and storing private keys offline, allowing users to hold their Bitcoin in cold storage with a high level of security against digital threats. When users wish to move their self-custodied Bitcoin, hardware wallets come into play by signing and authorizing transactions. This process ensures the user maintains exclusive control over their Bitcoin, as the transaction cannot be completed without this cryptographic proof of ownership.

What Is The Most Secure Bitcoin Hardware Wallet?

All Bitcoin hardware wallets are secure when set up correctly, and appropriate security measures are taken. It's less about the device and more about user preference and risk tolerance. For example, the ColdCard from CoinKite is celebrated as "the hardware wallet of choice by Bitcoiners" due to its extra security features, but an entry-level Trezor might be all one needs. Combining the two using Theya's multisig vault solution would be the most secure option in this scenario.

What Does Air-Gapped Mean? Do I Need It?

Air-gapped refers to the ability of a hardware wallet to operate without ever needing a direct connection to the internet or other devices. This is accomplished through various means, such as QR codes, microSD cards, or other forms of data transfer that don't require an online connection. Air gapping is a security feature significantly reducing the risk of remote digital attacks. Whether you need an air-gapped device depends on your security requirements; it is highly recommended for high-value holdings or a heightened threat model.

What Are Secure Elements?

Secure Elements are tamper-resistant chips embedded within the physical hardware wallet. They are designed to securely generate, store, and manage the cryptographic keys representing digital asset ownership. These chips are engineered to resist high levels of physical and logical attacks, safeguarding the keys even if the wallet is subjected to harsh conditions. Their inclusion in a hardware wallet is a critical factor for those who prioritize the physical security of their device and the digital assets it protects.

Is Ledger Or Trezor Better?

Both Ledger and Trezor hardware devices are considered secure. When researching which to choose, you will find a difference of opinion regarding Ledger's recovery firmware. Regardless, to best minimize risk, use two manufacturers in a 2-of-3 multisig vault with Theya and eliminate any single point of failure.

Best Hardware Wallet For Multisig?

The ColdCard from CoinKite, Trezor, and Ledger hardware wallets are all compatible with collaborative multisig with Theya, the simplest way for users to enhance their self-custody.