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Compare the best Bitcoin wallets
This beginner’s guide takes you through everything you need to know about wallets. Learn about the different types and their unique features, and then get all your questions answered before you pick out which one works for you.
What are the best Bitcoin wallets?
The answer depends on exactly what you want from your wallet. There are lots of different types available, from ones that prioritise security, to platforms with integrated exchanges, to mobile versions that you can use on the go. Below is a list of the best wallets overall, followed by a breakdown of the best in each category.
Top hardware wallets
Hardware wallets are the go-to option for maximum security. They’re USB-like devices that store the private key you need to access your coins. By keeping the key in ‘cold storage’ (offline) they minimise the risk of it being hacked or compromised.
Here are two of the best hardware wallets:
- Ledger Nano S: The Ledger Nano S is a mini-USB stick with a tiny screen and keeps your coins safe even if you plug it into a computer infected with malware. It supports all the leading cryptocurrencies. Get it today >
- Trezor: A Trezor wallet is a small device that connects to the computer with a cable. It keeps coins completely offline, and a more advanced version of the wallet comes with a colour touchscreen to make it easier to use. Sign up for Trezor now >
Top online or desktop wallets
These wallets let you access your coins through a piece of software on your computer, or simply via your web browser. From that application you can send and receive money, but the trade off for that ease of use is a bit less security, so you should be sure to pick a platform you can trust.
Here are a couple of the best online wallets:
- FreeWallet: FreeWallet supports more than 100 cryptocurrencies so that you can store as many different coins as you want. Along with a web browser, you can access the wallet via an app. Sign up with FreeWallet >
- Guarda Wallet: Guarda is an online wallet with its own integrated exchange platform, so you can trade and store thousands of cryptocurrencies all in one place.It has a desktop app you can download, and is compatible with hardware wallets too. Get Guarda Wallet now >
Top mobile wallets
Mobile wallets work in much the same way as web wallets, but the main difference is that you can access the coins through an app on your phone. As well as the freedom to manage your money from anywhere, some apps offer the opportunity to spend it as well, through tap-to-pay or scanning a QR code.
Here are two top mobile wallets:
- Coinbase: Best known as one of the leading exchange platforms, Coinbase has its own mobile wallet app as well. You don’t have to have an exchange account and it lets you store a wide range of coins, and even NFTs, securely. Join Coinbase today >
- Infinito Wallet: Infinito is a mobile-only wallet that’s compatible with iOS and Android devices. It supports more than 2,000 different crypto coins and tokens, so you can store almost anything you’ll ever need. Sign up with Infinito Wallet >
What is a Bitcoin wallet?
A piece of software or hardware that stores your cryptocurrency. While the word ‘wallet’ inspires an image of literal coins in your pocket, it’s best to think of it like an online banking platform instead. You log in with a password and are taken to an interface where you can manage your money.
In practical terms, your wallet stores two unique numbers: the wallet address (essentially an account number), and a private key (like a pin code). To make any transaction on the blockchain you need to supply both numbers, so using a wallet just makes this process a lot simpler and adds an extra layer of security.
What should I look for in a wallet?
Like when it comes to choosing a bank, there are lots of factors to think about as you choose which platform to use. Here we have listed the most important ones, with some advice on how to use the information.
This is the most important factor, as extra security is the whole point of using a wallet rather than leaving your coins in your exchange or broker account. Choose a platform that offers additional security features, such as two-factor authentication (2FA), and make sure to use a strong password.
Number of cryptos
If you plan on holding other coins alongside Bitcoin, then you want to be able to keep it all in one place. Nowadays, most leading wallets have the capability to store multiple coins, and some can hold thousands of different ones. Check that the platform you choose can store all the coins you want to own.
Security might be the first consideration when you look for a wallet, but many platforms now offer extra features that can make your life a lot easier. Most notably, these can save you money by reducing transaction fees, or help you earn more by putting the coins to work. Some platforms offer built-in exchanges so that you can buy or sell coins directly from the wallet. Others offer rewards in the form of interest payments for holding certain coins
Usually there aren’t any fees for using an online or mobile wallet, but you will be charged for any additional features. Sending or receiving Bitcoin can come with a transaction fee, while an integrated exchange will charge some form of commission – either as a percentage of the total value or a flat fixed fee – on every trade. If you’re going to use a hardware wallet, you will have to pay a one-off amount to buy it first.
Quick answers to key questions
Do I have to pay for a crypto wallet?
No, for most wallets. Online, desktop, and mobile wallets are generally free, and you should be wary of any platform that tries to charge you. Hardware wallets normally cost between $50-200, but that’s just a one off cost for the device. There are no recurring fees just for storing your coins.
Will I be charged blockchain fees for transfering Bitcoin to and from my wallet?
Yes. Whenever you move coins around you are adding a transaction to the blockchain. There is a fee for every transaction, which is paid to the miners as a reward for creating new blocks. Usually the transaction fee is around $1, but it can be much higher – $50 or more – during busy periods. It’s like using an Uber: when everyone’s trying to book one, you have to pay more to get home.
Can I spend Bitcoin straight from my wallet?
Not with most platforms, but nowadays some wallets have the capacity to do this. The most popular is Wirex, a wallet that lets you spend your cryptocurrency through a crypto debit card. It exchanges your crypto for fiat currency at the point of purchase, but otherwise works just like a regular bank card.
Why should I use a wallet rather than holding coins on an exchange?
The most common reason is to keep large amounts of Bitcoin that you want to hold for the long term secure. By moving coins to a wallet you remove the risk of anything happening to the exchange and have total control over your money.
There are times when leaving them on the exchange is better, however. If you’re trading regularly, then it makes sense to keep coins in your exchange account rather than constantly transferring them back and forth. Just remember that you can find a wallet with an in-built exchange and use that instead.
Should I use a wallet to store my Bitcoin?
Ultimately, it depends on your trading style and how privacy or security-conscious you are. We generally recommend it as wallets are often free, more secure than leaving coins on an exchange, and there are lots of different options available so you can easily find one that suits you.
It’s always worth taking a bit of extra time to make decisions about money, and especially with cryptocurrency. To help you, here is a summary of the pros and cons to help you choose whether or not to use a Bitcoin wallet.
- More secure than an exchange and you can choose one with a level of security that suits you
- Virtually all wallets are free, hardware wallets are available for a one-off cost
- Many platforms now offer additional features, like their own in-built exchange
Where do I go now?
If you’re ready to get one now, then choose a wallet from our list of leading options. Otherwise, you can use our course pages to learn more about how Bitcoin wallets work, or head to our reviews for more help choosing a platform.
Yes, there is no limit to the number you can use. So you can divide your money between platforms with different features, or as a way to add even more layers of privacy and security.
No. There is no regulatory body that oversees wallets.
Yes, most ‘hot’ (online) wallets or mobile apps have a ‘reset password’ function. For hardware wallets it’s more difficult, and might mean you have to recite a list of random words you were given when you set up the device to be able to reset it.
No, but your private key is stored within your wallet. If you have the password to access your wallet, then you will be able to get the private key. If you don’t, then you can try to reset it. If you lose your private key, password, and the means to reset it: you’re in trouble.
It’s very difficult to ‘hack’ them, but malevolent actors can gain access to your wallet if they find out your password or private key. Keep those details secure, and beware if any other program or person asks you for them.
No. Like any mobile banking app, the mobile wallet is just a means to access what’s inside. So long as your account still exists and you know your login details, your coins are safe.
Yes, in some countries and for some coins, like Bitcoin and a couple of other leading cryptocurrencies. You can actually hold your Bitcoin in a PayPal account now, or use it to send and receive coins.
No, because the coins don’t actually live in your wallet. The wallet is just a means to access coins that exist on the blockchain. There might be limits to how much you can send to someone else (minimum trade limits, usually) but you can hold as much as you like.
Yes, if you want. A paper wallet is low-tech and, arguably, one of the most secure types of wallet available. It’s just your wallet address and private key printed on a piece of paper. You can go to a wallet generator website to create them, along with a QR code, and print it out. Just don’t lose the piece of paper.
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