Ledger Nano S vs TREZOR vs KeepKey

For a while, the TREZOR was the only hardware wallet on the market. Now there is much more competition in the space. TREZOR lost some market dominance to the Ledger Nano S and the KeepKey, which both offer great security, reliability and user experience.

Not only has competition lowered prices, but it makes choosing the right hardware wallet a tough decision.

In this guide, we will see how the three main competitors in the space fare in many areas like security, coin support and user experience. First, let’s start by having a quick look at all the three wallets.

Price

Wallet Price
Buy
Ledger Nano S $95
KeepKey $99
Trezor $99

TREZOR Summary

TREZOR is the oldest hardware wallet of the three. It’s been around since 2014 and was created by Satoshi Labs, the company that runs Slush Mining Pool.

Ledger Nano S

The Ledger Nano S is the cheapest wallet of the three by far. This is also the wallet that stole the TREZOR’s crown and now is the most popular hardware wallet (mostly due to its support for Ripple).

The Ledger also supports more coins than the other two. So, if you own many coins the Ledger is a no-brainer. On the other hand, the Ledger Nano S is the only one of the wallets on this list which has closed source firmware. This one is also the most discreet of the three and resembles a USB stick.

KeepKey

The KeepKey is the “premium” wallet. It has the nicest feel to it and feels solid in your hand. The main argument against KeepKey is that is lacks support for many coins. KeepKey also is the slowest of the three to add new features and support for Bitcoin forks.

Screen

trezor vs. ledger nano s vs. keepkey

As mentioned earlier, the TREZOR was the first hardware wallet to have a screen. A screen is a really important security feature for such a device. A screen lets you backup the recovery phrase without exposing it on a computer. A screen also allows you to review the addresses and amounts before confirming a transaction.

The biggest screen of the three devices is the one featured on KeepKey. The second biggest one is the one on the Trezor and the Ledger Nano S has the smallest screen. That being said, all three of them get the job done since a hardware wallet isn’t a device that you are supposed to watch movies on. The main difference is that a bigger screen makes more data visible at one time, without the need to click to see more daya.

Wallet Screen
Buy
Ledger Nano S 250×30 pixels OLED
KeepKey 256×64 pixels OLED
Trezor 128x64 pixels

Supported Coins

The amount of supported coins is where the Ledger Nano S is the clear winner. That being said, it needs to be considered that the Trezor also supports some less known cryptocurrencies and tokens (mostly ERC20) which are not included in the table below.

TREZOR Ledger Nano S KeepKey
Bitcoin (BTC)
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Bitcoin Gold (BTG)
Ethereum (ETH)
Ethereum Classic (ETC)
Litecoin (LTC)
Dogecoin (DOGE)
Zcash (ZEC)
Ripple (XRP)
Dash (DASH)
Stratis (STRAT)
Komodo (KMD)
Ark (ARK)
Expanse (EXP)
Ubiq (UBQ)
Vertcoin (VTC)
Viacoin (VIA)
Neo (NEO)
NEM (XEM)
Namecoin (NMC)
Stealth (XST)
Stellar (XLM)
Hcash (HSR)
Digibyte (DGB)
Qtum (QTUM)
Peercoin (PPC)
PivX (PIVX)
PosW (POSW)
Bitcoin Private (BTCP)
ZenCash (ZEN)

Size & Design

trezor vs. ledger nano s vs. keepkey

Each wallet does have some unique differences that are hard to see in the picture.

As seen in the image above, the TREZOR is by far the smallest of the three devices. The Nano S can be folded into about the same size as the TREZOR, but to use it you must unfold it. What’s good about the Nano is that it is the most discreet one and it can easily be mistaken for a USB stick.

The KeepKey, on the other hand, is the biggest one, but also the nicest looking one. This device seems to aim for a more “premium” look and feel, which isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing, but many would probably prefer a more low key device.

The TREZOR and Ledger Nano S both have two physical buttons, while the KeepKey has one.

The KeepKey’s screen is much bigger than the other two wallets.

The TREZOR is made out of plastic, while the Ledger Nano S and KeepKey are made out of aluminum. Although aluminum sounds like it’s nicer, the TREZOR’s plastic can actually prove to be more drop resistant.

Wallet Size
Buy
Ledger Nano S 98mm x 18mm x 9mm
KeepKey 38mm x 93.5mm x 12.2mm
Trezor 60mm x 30mm x 6mm

Security

All three wallets are a very safe way to store your cryptocurrencies. It is highly unlikely that you will be hacked no matter which one you use. Still, there are some differences, the main one being that the Ledger Nano S is based on a dual chip architecture featuring a secure element.

The TREZOR has a slightly different approach which isn’t necessarily worse. The TREZOR does not use the secure element chip since they couldn’t open source all of the parts of the secure element.

All three devices have screens which means you don’t need to expose the recovery phrase to your computer.

Software Compatibility

In order to use any hardware wallet you need software that helps you command and interact with the wallet. The table below shows the compatibility of Bitcoin wallet software with each hardware wallet.

TREZOR Ledger Nano S KeepKey
Electrum
Mycelium
Copay
MultiBit HD
GreenBits
GreenAddress
myTREZOR

Setup

All three wallets are very easy to setup and require a micro USB cable to use.

It is possible to set up all three in just a couple of minutes. All three wallets require very similar steps to setup, like writing down a backup of your recovery seed and setting a PIN code. Still, there are some minor differences, let’s look into it.

TREZOR

  1. Install the Trezor Bridge software (which is the one we’ll use in this guide) or the Trezor Chrome extension. If you prefer, you can also download the Android app Trezor Manager but you’ll need an OTG cable in order to use it, you can buy it in the Trezor Shop.
  2. After you have installed the software and connected the device to your Mac/PC you need to install the firmware, since the Trezor comes without the firmware installed. Simply confirm the installation and follow instructions on your screen.
  3. After the firmware is installed successfully, replug your TREZOR, and you will be greeted by a welcome page. Here you can choose to either Create a new wallet or Recover wallet.
  4. Simply click on “Create new” button, otherwise import a wallet by the means of a recovery phrase.
  5. Your Trezor is technically set, but it would be a good idea to use it without having backed up the recovery phrase. After you agree to the terms, you will see the backup phrase on your Trezor screen. You need to write it down on your recovery card. The whole process is described in the Trezor docs here.

Ledger Nano S

  1. Update the firmware. This can take up to 15 minutes and ledger offers a detailed guide on how to do it.
  2. Use the included USB cable to connect the Ledger to a computer and follow the instructions on the ledgers screen. Once again, you can create a new wallet or import one with the recovery phrase. In both cases, you’ll be guided by the on-screen instructions.
  3. Choose a pin. Be careful to remember it since 3 wrong consecutive pin entries will wipe the Nano S.
  4. If you choose to create a new wallet, write down the 24-word recovery phrase on your recovery sheet.
  5. Install the ledger apps you need after you see “Your device is now ready” appear on the screen. Download the Ledger Wallet Bitcoin Chrome app or the Ledger Wallet Ethereum Chrome app. Your Ledger is ready to use.

KeepKey

  1. Download the KeepKey Client App from the Chrome web store.
  2. Connect your KeepKey to your computer with the included USB cable and open the KeepKey Client App.
  3. Initialize the device and you’re ready to use it.

What is the right choice?

The Ledger Nano S is the best if you are looking for the widest coin support and a discrete device. The KeepKey is great if you are looking for a premium, nice looking, easy to use device or something that can be modded. As an added bonus it has the biggest screen that can accommodate more information at the same time.

The harder choice is between the TREZOR and the Ledger, but there are some reasons why one could prefer the one or the other. The Ledger has more coin support but isn’t completely Open Source. The Trezor is made out of plastic which gives it a cheaper feel but makes it more drop resistant, and the bigger screen means (as previously mentioned) that it’s less finicky to use.

All those are great devices and you can’t go wrong with any of them as long as you make sure the one you chose supports the coins that you wish to use. If you are not sure yet what kind of coins you’ll deal with then the Ledger is the safest bet, that’s all.