This article is our detailed comparison of Trezor vs. Ledger Crypto Hardware Wallets from 2022
I am a Master of Computer Science and had my first contact with Cryptocurrencies 2013. I was using all four hardware wallets we are comparing here myself. In this review, I compare Trezor and Ledger in-depth for you.
Both companies offer great products with excellent security features, which is the best for needs depending on the use case and individual needs. My winner is the Trezor T because of its great display and additional security features.
I reviewed the two companies and their four wallets (Trezor One, Trezor Model T, Ledger Nano S, Ledger Nano X) of Trezor and Ledger based on
+ Optional Bluetooth + Mobile App + Durable steel case
- No touchscreen - Closed source firmware - Had a marketing database breached
At a Glance
Trezor vs. Ledger: Basics
We will have a look at the companies behind the hardware crypto wallets.
What is Ledger?
Ledger was founded in 2014 and had its headquarter in Paris. The founders are eight experts with backgrounds in embedded security, cryptocurrencies, and entrepreneurship. The company grew to 300 employees spread worldwide with offices in Paris, Vierzon, New York, Zurich, and Singapore.
The team developed its operating system called BOLOS, which is integrated into the secure chip Ledger Hardware wallets and various enterprise solutions. There are 3.000.000 ledger wallets sold by over a hundred resellers to clients in over 200 countries.
What is Trezor?
The Trezor Hardware Wallet project was started by Satoshi Labs in 2014 in Prague, Czech Republic. The founder and creator of Trezor is Marek Palatinus.
Trezor one was launched just four years after Bitcoin was introduced and therefore, the first available hardware wallet.
Marek Palatinus — the founder of SatoshiLabs and creator of Trezor — also founded Slushpool. which is a well-known mining pool.
Trezor vs. Ledger: Features and ease to use
The Trezor Model T has a larger display than the Ledger Nano X. The size and the integrated color touchscreen of the Trezor Model T make the device easier to use if you are making more trades. It just makes things easier to read, verify and confirm. If you use your cold wallet only as cold storage for your investments, this does not matter.
The Trezor One has a screen resolution of 128x64 pixels and an OLED screen, while the Nano S has a 128x32-pixel OLED display.
The premium models differences according to the display are more noticeable. The Trezor Model T has an LCD color touchscreen with a 240x240 pixel resolution onboard, while the Ledger Nano X has a 128x64 pixel OLED display built-in.
The Ledger Nano X has a Bluetooth chip on board, making it easier to connect to the app on your mobile phone without a cable. None of the Trezor models have Bluetooth connectivity, so you need a USB cable to connect to your device.
The lower-end and cheaper models Trezor One and the Ledger Nano S come with two physical buttons and small screens that can be tricky to navigate. Not a real problem with you not using the physical devices daily. The buttons on the Trezor models are easier to use.
The design of the Trezor models is a bit bulkier due to the larger screens. The case is also made out of hard plastic. Since the Ledger models look more like USB drives and are made of stainless steel, those hardware wallets are more durable and look more elegant. Due to the plastic case, the Trezor wallets are lighter than the Ledger wallets.
All four hardware devices can connect with Mac, Windows, and Linux computers. Only Ledger supports IOS and Android through their mobile application. Ledger has Bluetooth on board, making it easy to connect to your mobile phone.
The setup process is smooth and similar for all Ledger and Trezor models.
Both hardware wallets are among the best cold wallets for cryptocurrencies.
Ledger vs. Trezor: Security
Let's have a look at how secure the different crypto wallets are. Overall the security features are very similar.
Private Passphrase generation
All the models are generating the private key offline, without a connection to the internet. This is a key function of cold storage. The private key NEVER leaves the wallet.
Remember to store your passphrase (generated private key) in a safe offline way. Do not take a picture of it or keep it in any way online. If you forget or lose your passphrase and your hardware wallet breaks, gets lost or stolen, your tokens are gone. If you still have your secret passphrase, you can restore your wallet.
All four devices support BIP39 (Bitcoin Improvement Proposals) passphrases.
PIN Code and entering the password
Trezor and Ledger offer an additional layer of security with the possibility of setting a secret PIN to access the device. It would be best if you did that.
Using the cheaper Trezor One model requires a computer keyboard to enter your password. The use of a keyboard potentially can you make a target of an attack via a keylogger. Not very realistic, but a possibility; that's why it's worth mentioning. You enter the password directly on the device on the Trezor Model T and all the Ledger models.
Ledger uses a double chip strategy with a special SE (Secure Elements) Chip to prevent access via physical attacks. The same chips are used in passports, SIM cards, and credit cards.
Ledger wallets are EAL 5+ rated.
💡 EAL (Evaluation Assurance Level) is a security standard for software and hardware products. There are different degrees of EAL. The highest EAL level is 7. You can read more about it here.
Trezor does not use secure hardware elements because there is tech involved that is NOT open source. (closed source). According to the company, this is against the open, transparent nature of the crypto world.
Open Source Software
Since 2016 Ledger's Operating System has been open source. The open-source framework is called Blockchain Open Ledger Operating System or short BOLOS. Some parts of the Secure Elements Chip are closed source. This means parts of the software are not openly available for third parties to review or test for vulnerabilities.
Trezor has been open-source since day one.
In 2020 there was a security breach of the Ledger Marketing Database. Around 1 Million email addresses and personal details of about 272.000 were stolen. This breach does not affect the hardware wallet security. Ledger was fully transparent with the incident.
On the other hand, the Trezor wallet was hacked within 15 minutes by the Krakens security division. It seems there is a physical vulnerability, but still, the Trezor hardware wallet is safe from remote internet-based attacks.
To perform this kind of attack, one needs to get hold of the Trezor, open it up and directly extract information from the chip. This is quite a process, and according to Trezor, 94 % of the attacks are happening remotely.
Both devices are considered safe for the cases they promise.
Other Security Features
The Trezor Model T can also be used as a password manager and a hardware token that generates one-time passwords. This is called a U2F (universal second-factor) hardware token and is used as an extra layer of security for apps and websites.
Trezor T also offers a Shamir backup of your seed phrase, an additional security layer.
Ledger and Trezor both offer impressive security features. To stay safe, I prepared a list of things to consider.
Never enter your private recovery seed on a device connected to the internet. Do not enter on your computer or smartphone.
Keep your recovery seed safe. Also, think about protecting it from water, sunlight, or water.
Never take any pictures of your recovery seed.
Always set up your wallet yourself and do not use it second-hand.
Ledger vs. Trezor: Price
The price of the starter models of Trezor and Ledger is very similar. The Trezor one costs $70, and the Ledger Nano S costs $59.
For the high-end models, Trezor is more expensive. The Trezor Model T costs $187, and the Ledger Nano X comes to $119.
For starters and the average user, the starter model should be acceptable. If you plan to use your hardware wallet regularly, the Trezor Model T with the color Touchscreen may be the better choice.
You can use your digital assets and participate in Proof-of-Stake (PoS) networks. The process is called staking. Staking means that you lock your assets to secure the Blockchain network, validate transactions, and earn rewards in return.
For some tokens, you can also use your hardware wallet to participate in this process.
In short, you can not directly stake with your Trezor wallet, but there are workarounds. For example, you can connect your Trezor to the Exodus (hot) wallet and stake seven different assets. You can also link your Trezor to a staking service like AllNodes and stake your assets.
With your Ledger wallet, you can directly stake Trezor (XTZ), Tron (TRX), Cosmos (ATOM), Algorand (ALGO), Polkadot (DOT). As you can do with Trezor, you can also connect your Ledger with a software wallet and take it through the wallet. Exodus is not supporting Ledger at this moment.
Trezor vs. Ledger: Supported Cryptocurrencies
Trezor One supports over 1000 Coins and Tokens, while the premium model Trezor Model T supports over 1800 coins and Tokens. Many of them ERC20 Tokens. The cheaper Trezor supports fewer currencies than the model T. For example, Cardano (ADA), Ripple (XRP), Tezos (XTZ), Monero (XMR), EOS (EOS) are not supported by the Trezor One. Both Ledger Nano X and the Ledger Nano S support over 1500 Tokens and Coins. (mostly ERC-20 Tokens) Both Trezor and Ledger have access to a build-in crypto exchange to buy, sell and trade coins while using the hardware wallet. Here is a complete list of all supported coins.
Trezor vs. Ledger: Applications
Ledger works with the Ledger live application on your mobile phone or on a desktop app. You can connect via USB cable or via Bluetooth connection. With Ledger live, you can manage your accounts, check your crypto balances in real-time and send and receive funds.
Trezor does not have its own mobile app; you can only use your Trezor on your computer. Trezor offers a browser extension (Trezor crypto wallet) and a desktop application, the Trezor Suite. With the Trezor Suite, you can use the incorporated exchange to buy, sell and trade your crypto assets.
Both Hardware wallets support wallet applications like MyEtherWallet, MetaMask, and MyCrypto. The Exodus wallets support Trezor but not Ledger.
Here is a complete list of the supported Apps of Trezor.
Why are hardware wallets considered to be safe?
Hardware wallets or cold wallets are not connected to the internet, the private keys are encrypted on the hardware device and never leave the device. This gives an excellent projection against remote attacks over the internet. The keys are never exposed to a potentially compromised device connected to the internet.
With hot wallets like software wallets or exchanges, you often do not own your private keys, making them vulnerable to scams, account freezes, privacy breaches.
With a hardware wallet, you have complete control over your private keys and your assets.
Hardware wallets are considered to be the safest option when it comes to storing and keeping your cryptocurrency secure.
Which is better Trezor or Ledger?
Both brands are safe, considering remote attacks from outside. The private recovery seed creation for both works offline and is not connected to the internet. The private keys always remain on the device and are highly encrypted.
Both are very similar, and of course, each has positives and negatives.
If you are trading a lot out of your hardware crypto wallet, the Trezor Model T is probably the better choice due to the larger, colored touch display. If you use your hardware wallet to store your assets safely, the cheaper Trezor or Ledger Wallet will do its job.
Ledger had a security breach of their marketing database, with around 1.000.000 email addresses stolen. This data leak does not influence the Ledger Wallet security.
Trezor, on the other hand, was hacked in 15 mins by Kraken Security Labs. Around 95% of the attacks are remote and via the internet, where Trezor's protection is excellent.
Both companies take these events very seriously and are still considered as one of the best and most popular hardware wallets.
Ledger is slightly cheaper, but Trezor supports more cryptocurrencies.
Both are great wallets, and it is a case-by-case scenario which one is better for your needs.
Which wallet is more suitable for holding Bitcoin?
Trezor offers Bitcoin-only firmware, making it slightly better to store your Bitcoins.
How Do Trezor and Ledger Work?
After you ordered your Trezor or Ledger in the official store (do not buy second hand)
You have to follow the manual on setting up your device, and you can get ready in a couple of minutes before you can start sending your coins to your device.
During the setup process, you must store your phrase (private key) in a secure place that is not online and protected from sun, fire, and water.
After that, you can transfer your Crypto Assets to your hardware wallet and store them. They are safe till you sell, trade, or move them.
Trezor vs. Ledger: The Outcome
The winner is the Trezor T for my use case and frequent use due to the ease of use and additional security features.
Choosing the hardware wallet for you is an individual process and depends on your use case.
Suppose you are getting more serious about cryptocurrencies and start investing larger amounts of your hard-earned money. In that case, I highly recommend using a cold wallet instead of leaving your tokens and coins lying around on a central exchange or another hot wallet.
If you need offline storage for your coins and are not trading them very often, more affordable wallets like the Ledger Nano X or the Trezor One are the right choices.
Both hardware wallet-producing companies are excellent; each one has goods and bads. In the end, it comes down to your use case and in which philosophy you believe more. I hope this comparison helped to make your choice.
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