TREZOR vs. LEDGER – Hands On Hardware Wallets Review

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After using TREZOR for a very long time I finally got my hands on a Ledger Wallet – TREZOR’s main competition.

It’s basically a device that allows you to store you private keys on it. If you follow this blog you probably know already that I’m a big TREZOR fan – the first widely spread Bitcoin hardware wallet. I’ve also reviewed the wallet in the past. But since up until today there was no real competition to TREZOR I jumped on the opportunity to review this cool new device and compare the two.

Ledger Nano S vs TREZOR

The Ledger wallet on the left and  the TREZOR on the right.

Ledger has style better style than TREZOR

When you open up Ledger’s package you immediately notice that it comes in style. Other than the Ledger flash drive itself you also get a PU leather wallet, a ledger security card which kind of looks like a credit card and a chain strap the ledger to your neck if you wish.

TREZOR’s device is kind of clunky compared to Ledger’s sleeker design. It’s also much easier to carry the Ledger around since it’s substantially smaller than TREZOR.

Setting up the wallets – Simple and to the point

Installing and setting up your Ledger requires the use of a Chrome application. Once you fire up the application from Ledger’s website you will be presented with a setup wizard. In the past Ledger wallets didn’t have a second screen like TREZOR, but the Nano S is fully equipped with its on screen.

my Ledger Nano S

By utilizing a small screen on both TREZOR and Ledger it’s possible to set up the device even from a compromised device which makes me feel much more at ease. Here’s an example of how this works with TREZOR:

Setting up your security – PIN code and recovery seed

The PIN code is an added layer of security to make sure that even if someone stole your Ledger from you they will still have a hard time logging into your account. Enter a wrong PIN code 3 times and the device wipes itself clean.

Once you’ve set up your PIN code it’s time to move on to the recovery seed. A recovery seed is a set of words that when put together in a certain order can help recover your private keys in case the device is broken or lost.

This means that even if you completely trash your Ledger you’ll still be able to recover all of your lost Bitcoins through this seed. It’s also why it’s very important to write it down in a safe place where no one can access it since if someone gets a hold of this – they can access your funds.

The process is pretty similar to in both devices. Both show the seed on the device itself and not on your computer screen so no hacker can remotely copy it.

Here’s a screenshot of my Ledger’s recovery seed. Once I post this it means I will have to reset this Ledger device since anyone can steal my funds at the moment.

ledger recovery seed

Using TREZOR and Ledger – short and sweet

Once the setup is complete you can start using your Ledger. Just replug the flash drive, enter your PIN code and you’re good to go. The interface is extremely intuitive and doesn’t require much explanations.

Most of the interface is done through buttons on the device itself. Buttons can be used to scroll between menu or pushed simultaneously to simulate “select”.Ledger Nano S buttons

TREZOR uses a similar interface of two buttons but they are built in a more subtle way into the device. Not a big deal but makes it easier to not push them accidentallytrezor pin code device.

Since there’s no way to access your wallet without the flash drive connect to your computer it creates a much safer environment to send and receive Bitcoins. This means that even if someone knows your PIN code he can’t access your coins because he doesn’t have the physical device.

It also means that even if the computer that you’re using to send Bitcoins from is compromised, since you’re using what’s known as two Factor Authentication (2FA) you’re still less likely to be exposed to any sort of threat (especially Man-In-The-Middle attacks).

Ledger interface

The verdict – who’s better? TREZOR or Ledger?

In all honesty, I can’t say a bad thing about the Ledger or TREZOR wallet. I’ve been using both TREZOR and Ledger for a long time now and they both are actually great products.

Both of these wallets will give you your money’s worth, only the Ledger Nano S does it in a cheaper manner. Currently it costs about $30 less than the TREZOR. In the end I guess it boils down to who you prefer better in terms of design and reputation.

Ledger is sleeker, but TREZOR had been around for a longer time. It’s your call.

 

Ofir Beigel

Owner at 99 Coins ltd.
Blogger and owner of 99Bitcoins. I've been dealing with Bitcoin since the beginning of 2013 and it taught me a lesson in finance that I couldn't get anywhere else on the planet. I'm not a techie, I don't understand "Hashes" and "Protocols", I designed this website with people like myself in mind. My expertise is online marketing and I've dedicated a large portion of 99Bitcoins to Bitcoin marketing.

TREZOR

89
TREZOR
8.6

Security

9/10

    Ease of use

    9/10

      Design

      8/10

        Pros

        • Easy to use
        • Low price tag
        • Great design

        Cons

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        35 Comments on "TREZOR vs. LEDGER – Hands On Hardware Wallets Review"

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        Sandy Quikens
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        Sandy Quikens

        You wrote a comparison article, and instead of identifying which one was better you said both are fine and inserted referral links. Why bother comparing them? Just say Ledger is better but Trezor gives you a larger commission.

        VARGHESE GEORGE
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        VARGHESE GEORGE

        Are all types of crypto seeds welcome on board these hardware wallets? Is it possible to convert one to another? Do the have any biometric password protection?

        Steven Hay
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        Member
        Steven Hay
        Hi George, Hardware wallets (HWs) will generate their own seed using the HD (Hierarchial Deterministic) protocol, which was merged into Bitcoin in the form of BIP (Bitcoin Improvement Proposal) 32. The generation process is quite specific and part of the hardware wallet circuitry, so I can’t see it being possible to convert seeds into different formats within the wallet itself. You could export the privkey from the HW wallet (most easily, by inputting the seed into any HD-compatible wallet and then recording the identical privkey the new wallet would generate) and convert it into other formats. However, doing so would… Read more »
        eddy
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        eddy

        its a SCAM. I have already put 0.002 btc, and I can not send it out, it say “not enough fund” . The wallet is store in their company’s web, once they close the web, u lose everyting

        Steven Hay
        Member
        Member
        Steven Hay
        Hey Eddy, Not sure which hardware wallet you’re referring to here but I can assure you that they’re both legitimate products with a long history of safe usage. Is it possible that you’re trying to send more funds than your hardware wallet contains, taking mining fees into account? Remember that *you* must pay the mining fees every time you spend. Even if you have 0.002 BTC you won’t be able to send that entire amount unless you pay a little to the miners. With both wallets, you’re able to use external wallets in addition to the company’s own online wallet.… Read more »
        Zsofia Elek
        Admin
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        Zsofia Elek

        Hi Eddy, I suggest reach out to support team so they can have a look at your issue if you haven’t already done so.

        Jerome Sanchez
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        Jerome Sanchez

        i send LTC from coinbase to a BIT address on Trezor by mistake , is there a way to get the LTC back?

        Zsofia Elek
        Admin
        Member
        Zsofia Elek

        Hi Jerome, LTC and BTC are on two different blockchains and the address format is not the same, your sent LTC will not be accepted by the BTC network, so eventually, it will be rejected and returned to your wallet. You can also try to contact Coinbase and Trezor support.

        Stephen
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        Stephen

        The address isn’t valid. Coinbase would have let you know the transaction can’t be made

        Martin Wallace
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        Martin Wallace
        Trezor is the gold standard in bitcoin hardware wallets, having been in production for two years now. It offers features that most other wallets lack (hidden wallets) and works very well with Mycelium on Android. You do need a connecting cable of course. 2016 is going to bring some more competition to Trezor. Ledger will be bringing out their credit card sized wallet that will communicate with your Android or iPhone by BLE. Bitlox already has their metal cased hardware wallet shipping and works via USB, and iPhone or Android using Bluetooth. Right now Bitlox is arguably the most advanced… Read more »
        Byoon
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        Byoon

        I used purse.io to get my Trezor for 50% off. Such an amazing website :)

        freddie
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        freddie

        When you are storing multiple private keys to the value of thousands of dollars, the price of the Trezor v Ledger is immaterial – If you are concerned about $80.00 then keep your money in a bank – the most important criteria has to be security – I am sure the Ledger is a very good device and I would be happy to experiment with one, however at the first step, and subsequent times when one is going to want to restore the wallet, the “trusted computer” scenario doesn’t sound like rock solid security to me.

        BitWorldCoin
        Guest
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        BitWorldCoin

        A device that adds additional security is always a plus. I had no idea hardware wallets were even in existence until reading this article. Sounds even more secure than software wallets.

        SEAN THOMAS
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        SEAN THOMAS

        What good will my Trezor be if the “mytrezor” site disappears?

        Kamil Brejcha
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        Kamil Brejcha

        You can use any 3rd party wallet with Trezor support. Electrum and Multibit, just released their beta version,more wallets are to to come. The beauty of Trezor is, that you basically cannot loose your funds, until you have your seed safely backed up!

        CoinCadence.com
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        CoinCadence.com

        Great review, I wanted to add what I consider to be a very important difference; the TREZOR’s screen and buttons. With the screen and buttons transactions are visually and physically confirmed on the device before signing, preventing an unauthorized transaction from being signed by the device.

        Eric Larchevêque
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        Eric Larchevêque

        Ledger has of course also a second factor confirmation allowing to check what the chip is signing:

        * solve a challenge based on a unique security card and the destination address (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFvHq8zEgd8 for a demo, at 2:25)

        * pair a smartphone (once, using the security card), and you confirm/reject on your mobile with a full visual confirmation of the transaction (see http://imgur.com/kgbGpUp)

        The second method will be available with the next firmware release, in the coming weeks.

        Eric Larchevêque
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        Eric Larchevêque
        I’m the CEO of Ledger. Thank you for this review! The “private or trusted computer” explanation is indeed maybe too abstract, we are going to make it better (basically it means that since we will print the seed on the screen, you need to make sure you are not in a cybercafe or that your computer does not have malware making random screenshots). When the Ledger has been set up with the seed, it is then as secure than the TREZOR (your seed will never be exposed again to the host computer). The USB stick is actually a smart card… Read more »
        Jordan S
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        Jordan S

        Looks like a neat product. Look forward to hearing/seeing the prototypes coming in March with the NFC/BLE feature set.

        @BitcoinEmbassy
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        @BitcoinEmbassy

        Can’t wait for the next prototype – great job guys!

        Ofir Beigel
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        Ofir Beigel

        Eric, thanks for explaining this in detail. I still feel that even though your product is great, it doesn’t put me at ease regarding the set up process (at its current version). I’m sure that once the next versions are out including the companion app it will put my mind more at ease.

        Eric Larchevêque
        Guest
        Member
        Eric Larchevêque

        That’s totally fair.
        We have an airgap installation procedure for maximum security: http://support.ledgerwallet.com/knowledge_base/topics/how-to-initialize-my-ledger-wallet-on-an-air-gap?from_search=true

        The idea is to boot on an USB key containing a new ChromeOS, so you are sure you can’t get your seed hacked at initialization. It is quite straightforward following our tutorial, but it still requires more efforts than the TREZOR, I agree on that.

        Gareth
        Guest
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        Gareth

        I wonder: “is it better that you need that Chrome application to set use Ledger or is it a potential security issue?” I’m not sure, but this doesn’t sound good – don’t know why exactly but it just doesn’t look like a secure device.

        Luke
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        Luke

        I’ve had a look at the new Ledger and honestly it doesn’t seem like much to me. I think the difference in pricing is because, well, TREZOR is 3 times better. I won’t go changing it anytime soon.

        Parker Bennett
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        Parker Bennett

        I’m a bit panicky and never use my TREZOR when I’m not at my home PC. I just don’t feel safe doing this someplace else.

        Ofir Beigel
        Guest
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        Ofir Beigel

        Well there’s no actual connection between what computer you use your TREZOR on and how safe it is. That’s kind of the idea of a hardware wallet. All of the transaction signing is done within the device.

        Liam Moore
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        Liam Moore

        Yeah, I also don’t understand what a “private or trusted computer” means? I’m not a techie by any means so they should explain this much better so anyone can get it.

        Victoria Garcia
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        Victoria Garcia

        I actually love the fact that TREZOR is chunkier because this way I’m pretty sure I won’t lose it! I tend to lose things so the bigger the better in my case :).

        Xavier Price
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        Xavier Price

        WOW! 3 times cheaper! I paid $119 for my TREZOR and the Ledger is just $40! Pretty huge difference in pricing although it seems TREZOR still has the upper hand (but I do like the look of this new device).

        Brian
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        Brian

        If they update the security issues, I might give this Ledger a try, but until I am certain it’s top notch I’m also sticking to my TREZOR.

        Dominic Kelly
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        Dominic Kelly

        The Ledger wallet is so much cheaper than TREZOR! And it looks pretty darn cool – thanks for talking about it!

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