Best Crypto Wallets

These devices from CoolWallet, Ledger, ShapeShift, and Trezor can help you securely manage your portfolio

multiple cryptowallets lying on a laptop
Left to right: Trezor Model One, Ledger Nano X, CoolWallet S, ShapeShift KeepKey, and Ledger Nano S crypto wallets.
Photo: Nicholas De Leon/Consumer Reports

If you buy and sell cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum, you might appreciate the privacy and security afforded by a good crypto wallet.

While there are plenty of free software tools to help you manage your portfolio, a physical device (known as a hardware wallet or “cold storage”) offers certain advantages.

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With a hardware wallet, you and only you are in control of your portfolio.

To send and receive crypto, you simply connect the device, which often resembles a thumb drive, to a computer or laptop using USB or Bluetooth. And when you’re finished, you promptly disconnect it, preventing a cybercriminal from, say, accessing a browser-based wallet simply by hacking your laptop.

Yes, the exchanges that handle transactions can and do get hacked. Does this happen every day? No, but it happens often enough that there’s a Wikipedia entry dedicated to tracking high-profile incidents. Recent examples include the January 2022 theft of cryptocurrency worth $30 million from Crypto.com; the reported December 2021 theft of $150 million worth of crypto from BitMart; and the reported September 2020 theft of $275 million worth of crypto from KuCoin.

Heck, people are still trying to claw back losses from the 2014 attack on the vaunted Mt. Gox exchange, which resulted in the loss of some 744,000 bitcoins, worth nearly $30 billion today. Yes, that’s billion with a B.

Many reputable cryptocurrency exchanges do offer some insurance to protect consumers from such hacks, but it’s not backed by the FDIC like a bank account.

For some people, a hardware wallet offers yet another layer of protection, sheltering your currency from being frozen or seized by others. As the saying goes, "not your keys, not your coins."   

And so, a hardware wallet is a simple, effective way to safeguard your crypto. But when you do a Google search for “hardware wallet,” you end up with millions of results (125 million, to be precise), making it hard to find the model that best meets your needs and budget. With so many options, where do you even begin?

Well, start here.

To help the crypto curious make a more informed decision, we purchased a handful of popular wallets, reviewing what they do and how they work. You can scroll down for detailed directions on how to use a crypto wallet.

We selected five crypto wallets, ranging in price from roughly $50 to $150: the CoolWallet S, the Ledger Nano S, the Ledger Nano X, the ShapeShiftKeepKey, and the Trezor Model One. 

Those are the options frequently mentioned in online discussions. They generally receive favorable reviews on retailer websites, too. They all get the job done, more or less, but I found the Ledger Nano X to be the best of the bunch, offering the strongest combination of features and ease-of-use. Conversely, the CoolWallet S is the hardest to recommend, owing mostly to an unpolished user experience and its unique method of charging.

Editor's Choice: Ledger Nano X

Ledger Nano X cryptowallet

Photo: Ledger Photo: Ledger

The Value Pick: ShapeShift KeepKey

KeepKey crypto wallet

Photo: Nicholas De Leon/Consumer Reports Photo: Nicholas De Leon/Consumer Reports

Compact Pick: Trezor Model One

Trezor One cryptowallet

Photo: SatoshiLabs Photo: SatoshiLabs

Ledger Value Pick: Ledger Nano S

Ledger Nano S cryptowallet

Photo: Ledger Photo: Ledger

The Thin Pick: Cool Wallet S

CoolWallet S cryptowallet

Photo: Nicholas De Leon/Consumer Reports Photo: Nicholas De Leon/Consumer Reports

How Crypto Wallets Work

When you use a crypto wallet, the currency is stored on the blockchain, not the device itself. That means you don’t lose your crypto if you misplace your wallet. More on that in a minute.

Think of it like using a multifactor authenticator to log in to a bank account. You initiate a transaction via an app on your computer or smartphone and then authorize the transaction with the wallet.

To illustrate further, let’s use the Ledger Nano X, our Editor’s Choice.


Headshot image of Electronics editor Nicholas Deleon

Nicholas De Leon

I've been covering consumer electronics for more than 10 years for publications like TechCrunch, The Daily (R.I.P.), and Motherboard. When I'm not researching or writing about laptops or headphones I can likely be found obsessively consuming news about FC Barcelona, replaying old Super Nintendo games for the hundredth time, or chasing my pet corgi Winston to put his harness on so we can go for a walk. Follow me on Twitter (@nicholasadeleon).