Crypto wallets allow you to securely store Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Wallets are different than crytpo exchanges, which are platforms for buying, selling and transferring cryptocurrencies. There are dozens of wallets to choose from, so the best crypto wallet for you will come down to how you intend to use your crypto and the features you need. Some wallets, for example, can only store Bitcoin, while others support multiple currencies. Crytpo wallets also come in two primary types: hot wallets (online) and cold wallets (offline).
To help you choose the right wallet for you, we’ve researched the most widely-adopted wallets and chosen the best crypto wallets for a variety of needs. We do not have any relationship with, nor earn any money from, any of the following recommendations.
Best hot wallets
- Best for beginners: Coinbase Wallet
- Best for cross-platform accessibility: Exodus
- Best open-source wallet (Bitcoin only): Electrum
Best cold wallets
For crypto novices, Coinbase Wallet is an ideal choice. Although you can store crypto on the Coinbase exchange, using a wallet is more secure because you have possession of the crypto, not Coinbase. (Consider what happened to everybody who stored crypto with FTX.)
Coinbase says it supports “hundreds of thousands” of cryptocurrencies (are there really that many!?) But it’s important to note that Coinbase Wallet’s mobile app only supports Bitcoin.
The Coinbase Wallet can connect not only to the Coinbase exchange but also decentralized crypto exchanges like 1inch, TraderJoe and Uniswap. Coinbase Wallet is a hot wallet but offers the option for cold storage via a partnership with Ledger.
Coinbase Wallet is free to use, but Coinbase charges fees for transfers.
Exodus is a sophisticated crypto wallet that’s still approachable for beginners thanks to abundant educational resources and videos to help you learn about crypto. Exodus supports more than 200 cryptocurrencies and its wallet is accessible via multiple platforms: desktop, browser extensions, and mobile app.
With Exodus, you can trade crypto on their own decentralized exchange. Exodus also offers an offline or cold storage option through a partnership with Trezor.
Advanced cryptocurrency users may not like that Exodus is a closed-source wallet. This means that the user must trust the Exodus team for security. Additionally, security relies on a password only and doesn’t include an option for two-factor authentication support or a multi-signature address.
One of the oldest open-source Bitcoin wallets, Electrum, started operating in 2011. The user interface hasn’t changed much since, which means that this is a very basic, Bitcoin-only wallet with a simple layout. However, it’s an excellent option for users who are only interested in Bitcoin and want essential features with a maximum level of security.
Electrum is compatible with all standard desktop operating systems, such as Windows, Linux, and macOS. It also works with Android but is currently unavailable for iOS.
Electrum has robust security features but allows you to customize your security level including choosing between two-factor or multi-signature authentication.
Apart from being limited to Bitcoin only, Electrum’s main disadvantage is its lack of customer support. This can inconvenience new Bitcoin users who are figuring out how to use their wallets. Once you have your initial setup complete, Electrum’s fund transfer and management functions are relatively easy to use, though.
SafePal is a popular crypto wallet that supports all major cryptocurrencies and integrates with the leading crypto exchange Binance. So you can securely store your crypto in your SafePal wallet but just as easily buy and sell crypto via the Binance exchange.
SafePal is a hot wallet but offers an affordable cold storage wallet for about $50.
The biggest drawback to SafePal is the lack of robust customer service. You’ll need to fill out a “support request form” to get any help, which rarely leads to a positive customer service experience.
Crypto.com DeFi Wallet
Crypto.com is a large crypto exchange similar to Coinbase and Binance. Their DeFi Wallet offers a hot wallet solution with the convenience of being connected to the Crypto.com exchange for buying and selling.
Crypto.com has robust security features including two-factor authentication, password encryption and even biometrics. Like many crypto exchanges, Crypto.com was hacked in 2022 but no funds were compromised. The hack only affected the exchange, not DeFi Wallets.
Ledger Nano X
The Ledger Nano X hardware Bitcoin wallet ($149) is top-of-the-line cold wallet by Ledger. Long-time Bitcoin users may remember the launch of its predecessor, the Ledger Nano S, a 2014 product of the same French company. Back in the early days of Bitcoin, the Ledger Nano S was one of the dominant cold wallets on the market. This wallet supports virtually every existing cryptocurrency.
The Nano X Bitcoin wallet is similar to a USB drive. It can connect to your device – desktop, iOS, or Android – either via USB or through Bluetooth, which allows the user to manage their portfolio through a handy smartphone app.
Ledger’s hardware wallet is highly resilient, with a custom-built OS and a SE (Secure Element) chip. The device has a security approval seal from ANSSI, the national French cybersecurity agency. It also features a substantial 100mAh battery, making it possible to use this cold storage wallet for hours before you need to recharge it.
Although the Nano X is a cold storage device, its users can enjoy the convenient Ledger Live software, which stores up to 100 apps and provides a handy interface for viewing all your cryptocurrency holdings. The user can manage their portfolio and separate wallets for various cryptocurrencies. The convenience of Ledger hardware Bitcoin wallets joined with comprehensive customer support, has made the company an industry leader.
Violent hacks into Ledger’s system in July 2020 created significant concerns among the company’s customers, though. The hacks exposed private customer information, such as names, email addresses, and phone numbers.
Although the hackers gained no access to private cryptocurrency keys, the event caused many people to doubt the efficacy of Ledger’s security procedures. In particular, they fear that the wallet’s Bluetooth integration could become a vector of a cyber-attack. People who are concerned about this possibility can opt to use USB exclusively.
Like Ledger, Trezor is one of the first names in cold crypto storage. The Trezor Model T ($219) is its second-generation hardware wallet.
The Trezor Model T works with all major desktop operating systems, including Windows (versions 10 and up), Linux, and macOS (10.11 and higher). It is also compatible with Android but not with iOS or Windows Phone.
Trezor Model T users can utilize MicroSD cards for PIN encryption to increase their device’s security. It also features the Shamir Backup, a backup method that involves splitting the seed into multiple shares that the Bitcoin owner can use to recover funds in case of device damage or loss.
The model supports over 1,600 cryptocurrencies, but you can switch to a Bitcoin-exclusive mode if you are interested in Bitcoin only.
Like the Ledger Nano X, this is an open-source software wallet with customer and community support. However, Trezor Model T offers unlimited storage, which gives it an edge over the Nano X. That perk comes with a significant price difference, however: The Model T costs $219 vs $149 for the Ledger Nano X.
Do the advantages of the Trezor Model T justify the price? Some user reviews respond with a resolute yes. Others complain of the touchscreen’s small size and the relatively complicated interface, which can be counter-intuitive for beginners. Overall, the Trezor Model T is an attractive option for advanced crypto users who are willing to pay extra.
What’s the difference between a crypto wallet and an exchange?
Crypto exchanges like Coinbase, Binance, and Crypto.com make it easy to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, but any crypto you hold with the exchange is stored on the exchange itself. Having your own crypto wallet allows you to “own” your cryptocurrencies.
The difference is a bit like having cash in your wallet compared to depositing it in the bank. Unlike banks, which are highly regulated and provide deposit insurance, crypto exchanges are neither regulated nor insured. When the giant crypto exchange FTX collapsed, users lost billions of dollars in crypto assets that were stored on FTX’s exchange.
Although crypto exchanges feature robust security, many have been hacked. A crypto wallet is arguably more secure not only because of the robust security features you can enable but also because your individual wallet is less of a target for hackers than a widely-known exchange.
How does a crypto wallet work?
Crypto wallets are used to protect and manage a user’s public and private keys. These allow users to execute cryptocurrency transactions securely as well as monitor ownership of their tokens along with the total balance. Individuals can also make use of backup recovery phrases that serve extra security for the wallet. They enable buyers to buy crypto-assets plus generate addresses to receive crypto from others.
Should I use a hot wallet or a cold wallet?
Hot wallets live online and can be accessed from anywhere via browser or mobile app. Cold wallets are physical devices (basically fancy USB drives) that are not connected to the internet.
If security is of utmost importance, a cold wallet is the way to go. With the right security precautions in place, hacking even a hot wallet is difficult (but not impossible). With a cold wallet, however, a hacker would not only need to breach your password and additional authenication methods, they would also need to be in physical possession of your wallet.
The downside of a cold wallet is that you have to keep track of it! According to The Wall Street Journal, about 20% of all bitcoin in circulation is missing or inaccessible. How heartbreaking would it be to go to great lengths to protect your crypto from theives only to misplace it yourself!
What is the safest type of crypto wallet?
Cold wallets are deemed the safest type of crypto wallet since they keep private keys offline, reducing risks associated with online theft and hacking. Storing these secure pieces of data outside a network ensures maximum protection for users’ assets.