Desktop Bitcoin Wallets

desktop wallets bitcoin

Desktop wallets are a great option for anyone sending frequent Bitcoin payments from their computer.

In this post we will cover some of the best bitcoin desktop wallets and help you decide which is right for you.

Heads Up!

Large amounts of bitcoins should not be stored on your computer! If you want the most secure Bitcoin wallet then you will need to use a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano X or TREZOR T.

You should always do research before downloading or installing any Bitcoin wallet.

SamouraiWasabi Get Wasabi

Wasabi wallet is a desktop (as well as mobile) wallet designed around maintaining privacy through advanced features such as coinjoin and tor routing.

Supported Platforms: MacOS, Linux, Windows

Pros
  • Open Source
  • Full Segwit suport
  • Coinjoin functionality
  • All traffic routed throug Tor
  • Connect to full node
  • Works with Ledger, Trezor and Coldcard hardware wallets
Cons
  • Advanced features make this not a beginner wallet

Blockstream GreenBlockstream Green Get BS Green Read Review

Blockstream Green is one of the most unqique and secure desktop wallets on the market. It uses a 2-of-2 style backup so if you ever lose your backup, you can use any two factor authentication to recover it. It's also super simple to set up and requires no registration other than an email address.

Supported Platforms: MacOS, Linux, Windows, iOS, Android, F-droid

Pros
  • Easy to set up
  • Excellent fee estimation
  • Two-Factor multi-sig
  • Multilingual
  • Great support
Cons
  • Some features are advanced for beginners
  • Using two-factor recovery can be confusing
  • Only Android version works with hardware wallets right now

Blockstream GreenLedger Live Get Ledger Live Read Review

Ledger Live is a little bit different than all the other desktop wallets on this list. That's because you actually need a Ledger hardware wallet for it to work. This makes it by far the most secure desktop wallet on this list, but it also means that using it isn't exactly 'free'.

Supported Platforms: Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux

Pros
  • Most secure
  • Great UI
  • Easy to use
  • All crypto in one dashboard
  • Compatible with Ledger Hardware Wallets
Cons
  • Must buy a Ledger hardware wallet to use
  • Confirming transactions can be confusing for new users


ArmoryBitcoin Armory Get Armory

is another old and tested Bitcoin wallet for all desktop platforms. It is definitely more for an advanced users, so beginners might find using the wallet a little confusing. However, the advanced features and security options make it a great choice for the more experienced Bitcoiner.

Supported Platforms: MacOS, Ubuntu, Windows, Rasberry Pie

Pros
  • Old and trusted
  • Advanced fee settings
  • No signup required
  • Open Source
  • Works with Ledger and Trezor
Cons
  • Ugly user interface
  • Advanced features can be difficult for beginners.

ElectrumElectrum Get Electrum Read Review

Electrum is one of the oldest and most trusted Bitcoin wallets on the market. It also sports advanced features for privacy and fee settings.

Supported Platforms: MacOS, Linux, Windows, Android, Python


WARNING

There are a lot of fake versions of Electrum out there. Make sure you verify you are installing the real Electrum by verifying electrums GPG signatures. See guides for how to do that on Windows and MacOS.


Pros
  • Connect to full node
  • Compatible with most hardware wallets
  • One of the oldest Bitcoin wallets
  • Works with Ledger, Trezor, Keepkey, Bitbox, Coldcard
  • Open Source
Cons
  • More advanced wallet not ideal for beginners
  • iOS version widely considered inferior to Android version
  • Traditional stock dashboard may distract from crypto-only holders

Jaxx LibertyBitcoin Core Get BTC Core

Bitcoin Core is a Bitcoin full node wallet, meaning it downloads the entire Bitcoin blockchain. It is the most private Bitcoin wallet although it takes patience and quite some time to setup. You also need a reliable internet connection, as well plenty of badwidth and hard drive space.

Supported Platforms: MacOS, Linux, Windows

Pros
  • Full node required
  • Great for Bitcoiners with no other coins
  • Compatible with most hardware wallets
  • Developed by some of the best devs in the crypto
  • Works with Ledger, Trezor, Keepkey, Bitbox, Coldcard
Cons
  • Bitcoin Only - no altocins supported
  • Basic wallet with limited features

How to Add Funds to Your Desktop Wallet

For you to add funds to your desktop wallet, you will need to buy some cryptocurrency from an exchange and transfer it to your desktop wallet. Most Desktop wallets do not have exchanges native to it.

You’ll need to choose an exchange that services your country and/or state. The best place to do that is to go to our exchange finder or you can see the most popular exchanges below:

  • Popular Exchanges
  • Coinbase
    • High liquidity and buying limits
    • Easy way for newcomers to get bitcoins
    • "Instant Buy" option available with debit card
  • Coinmama
    • Works in almost all countries
    • Highest limits for buying bitcoins with a credit card
    • Reliable and trusted broker

After you have bought your crypto, you’ll need to send it to your wallet. To do that, do the following:

1. Open you wallet and find an option to “receive”


2. Copy the address given


3. On your exchange where you bought your coins, select the “send” option.


4. There should be a field to input your wallet address copied in step 2. Paste it there.


5. Confirm you want to send your coins.

After that, you should receive a confirmation with a transaction ID of some kind. Here is what that might look like.

What a transcation ID looks like (the number starting with "804")

Hardware Wallets: a great addition to Desktop Wallets

Desktop wallets have the advantage of being free and easy to use. However, using a desktop wallet also poses many dangers to your coins.

Making sure your coins are not stolen through malware or ransomware is difficult to avoid on a desktop wallet.

Malware and Ransomware on your computer can result in stolen coins

This is where hardware wallets come in. Hardware wallets are never connected to the internet. They store the private keys and sign transactions you send to them. You verify the transaction on the screen of the hardware wallet, and hand off the signed transaction back to interface on your desktop or mobile phone.

Some of our favorite hardware wallets.

Hardware wallets are a great way, then, to keep your coins safe if you want to use a desktop wallet. Instead of housing the coins on the desktop computer, you store them on the hardware wallet and the desktop just acts as your UI to control the hardware wallet.

You can learn more about each of the hardware wallets we recommend below:

COMPARISON

Ledger Nano X

  • SCREEN:
  • RELEASED: 2019
  • PRICE: $119

Ledger Nano S

  • SCREEN:
  • RELEASED: 2016
  • PRICE: $59

TREZOR T

  • SCREEN:
  • RELEASED: 2018
  • PRICE: $159

TREZOR One

  • SCREEN:
  • RELEASED: 2013
  • PRICE: $59


Frequently Asked Questions


When should I use a desktop Bitcoin wallet?

If you’re on your computer a lot and don’t need super secure storage, a desktop wallet is a good choice.

Do desktop wallets work with hardware wallets?

Yes, many desktop wallets allow the user to utilize a hardware wallet as the signer of transactions. This means that the private key is not help on the computer the desktop wallet is isntalled on.

Instead, the private key is held on a hardware wallet, and the ddesktop wallet is used as an interface for the hardware wallet. The desktop wallets sends transaction data to the hardware wallet to sign off on. If you’ve ever used Ledger Live, this is essentially how it works as well.


Ledger's Desktop wallet manager application, Ledger Live

Can I store large amounts of bitcoins in a desktop wallet?

You can, but this isn’t recommended.

If you want to use a desktop wallet but need to store large amounts of Bitcoin, its best to utilize a hardware wallet to sign transactions for the desktop wallet (as mentioned above).

KeepKey, TREZOR, and Ledger Nano X all work with Electrum. TREZOR One and Model T and the Ledger Nano S and X all work with Copay.

The copay app settings for adding a hardware wallet for multisig

Setup is very easy and you can have your hardware wallet securely signing transactions via your desktop wallet in just a few minutes.

What’s the difference between a desktop wallet and a web wallet?

Web wallets are more like accounts. A web wallet makes you set a passwords which it uses to encrypt your wallet on the web wallet server.

Desktop wallets are actual apps that are installed on your computer.

Are desktop wallets free?


Yes, all desktop wallets are free. Hardware wallets are the only type of wallet that costs money.

If someone has access to my computer can they access my bitcoins?

It depends. Many desktop wallets encrypt your private keys and request a password to decrypt it every time you open the wallet. This means that you need to enter a password in order to send bitcoins from most desktop wallets.

How do I backup my desktop wallet?


Most wallets generate a seed on setup. You write this seed down on a piece of paper and it can be used to restore your wallet if you lose your computer of have it stolen.

Can I use more than one desktop wallet at a time?


Yes, of course. We suggest trying many different desktop wallets and then deciding which one has the features you need.

What happened to Multibit?

Multibit shutdown and is no longer updated.