A Review of the Ledger Nano S – A Popular Wallet Choice
At a glance
|Size||98mm x 18mm x 9mm (About the size of a keychain)|
|Best place to buy||Ledger (we don't recommend buying from third parties like Amazon)|
|Ease of use|
Because it is offline, hardware wallets are considered one of the most secure ways to store the keys for your crypto coins. It’s very difficult for hackers to get into your wallet if it’s not connected to the internet.
Think of a hardware wallet as a safety deposit box that you keep money in. There’s only one key and only you can access it. The only drawback to this is that it takes a little more work and time to access your coins. A software wallet, which is connected to the internet, is more like the wallet you carry in your pocket. It’s less secure but great if you’re using coins every day.
The Ledger Nano S is known as a “cold wallet”, meaning it is not connected to the internet. While a software wallet is considered a “hot wallet” which means it’s connected to the internet.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the Ledger Nano S and how it compares to your other choices.
This wallet is best for
Power Users (Advanced)
Who makes it
It is made by Ledger, a company founded in France back in 2014. They are rapidly growing company and have quickly become one of the largest hardware wallet providers in the world. Their headquarters are in Paris.
They have sold more than 1 million units in 165 countries.
Design & Appearance
The Ledger Nano S looks like a fancy thumbdrive. It’s small and can easily fit on a keychain, although we don’t recommend carrying it with your keys. Right when we took it out of the box we could tell the build quality was good.
It features a built-in OLED screen that is easy to read. You can use this screen to display and confirm transactions, check balances and create new wallets. The screen is protected by a cover that can be rotated to the open and closed position.
It comes with a micro USB cable to connect to your computer.
There are 2 simple buttons on its side to make selections in the user interface. These buttons are used to navigate the settings and confirm cryptocurrency transactions. We found the buttons very simple and intuitive to use.
How secure is it
The Ledger Nano S puts a high emphasis on security. It is built on dual chip technology and protected by strong encryption. Because it is not connected to the internet, your data can never be exposed to hackers.
You are required to enter a 4-digit pin code to physically access the wallet. If we had to be picky, we’d prefer a 5 or 6 digit pin code to ensure maximum security. But the 4 digits is enough.
Your private keys are also stored on the Ledger and never exposed to an internet connection, meaning outside hackers can never access them.
When first setting up the hardware wallet, you’ll be required to write down and save 24 words. This is what is known as a recovery sheet and as long as you keep these 24 words in a safe and secure place (I keep mine in a physical safe), you can access or restore your crypto assets to another Ledger wallet.
So if you lose your wallet or are unable to access it for some reason, this recovery sheet will allow you to access your cryptocurrencies at any time.
We highly recommend writing this down and not saving it on a computer, or a cloud account. We also don’t recommend taking a photo of this sheet. You should keep it on a piece of paper in a secure place protected from fire. We’ve even heard of people engraving the words into a piece of metal to ensure it can never be lost!
Overall, the Ledger Nano S is one of the most secure methods to store cryptocurrency and we highly recommend it for that reason.
Ease of Use
After reading the instructions thoroughly, we found it fairly easy to use. A Chrome browser is required which can be annoying for Mac users.
It’s important to understand that the Ledger Nano S is simply used to authenticate transactions. Your cryptocurrencies are not actually stored on the Ledger wallet, they are stored on the blockchain network. Check out our “What is cryptocurrency” guide to better understand this concept.
Ledger users are required to install a Chrome extension called Ledger Manager. Once installed, you connect the Ledger wallet to your computer via the USB cable. It will automatically connect to the Ledger Manager software.
The main function that will require you to connect your wallet is when you wish to send cryptocurrency to another address. This will require confirmation by you by using your wallet. The wallet does not need to be connected in order to receive crypto since it is being sent to an address on the blockchain. The wallet only needs to be connected when sending.
Once we got used to using Ledger Manager, the process was quite simple to do. The setup was the most tedious part, especially if you wish to store multiple currencies.
There are also several other compatible software wallets you can use including:
But we recommend using Ledger Manager to get started.
What coins can it store
One of the coolest features of the Ledger Nano S is its ability to store many different cryptocurrencies. You can find a list of supported currencies here. As of the writing of this article, Ledger wallets support:
- 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
- Stealthcoin – XST
- Stellar – XLM
- Hcash – HSR
- Digibyte – DGB
- Qtum – QTUM
- PivX – PIVX
- PosW – POSW
Very few hardware wallets support so many cryptocurrencies.
Who uses it
The Ledger Nano S is great for crypto enthusiasts who own multiple cryptocurrencies and wish to keep their holdings safe from tampering. We recommend this wallet to all cryptocurrency holders, from newbies to advanced users.
It’s important to understand the fundamentals of cryptocurrency while also learning about security, and using the Ledger Nano S will teach you all about that.
All of Ledger’s documents are well documented and their customer support portal is easy to navigate. There is also a great deal of community support so if you can’t find an answer on Ledger’s website, you’ll probably find it with a simple Google search.
Their customer service isn’t bad. They respond within 24 hours and their staff are knowledgeable and thorough in their explanations. We give them a thumbs up.
There are several competitors when it comes to hardware wallets. The two largest being:
The Ledger Nano S supports more coins than its competitors. It also supports Ripple, which is not supported by many hardware wallets.
As far as price goes, the Ledger Nano S is the lowest price coming in at $93 while the Trezor costs around $105 and KeepKey costs $129.
The build quality of all three is about the same but we’d have to give Trezor the top spot in this category.
All in all, the all three competitors are great products and hold small advantages and disadvantages over each other. The fact that the Ledger Nano S supports so many cryptocurrencies is what makes it our favorite hardware wallet.
Pros and cons
- Can I store more than just Bitcoin with this wallet? The Ledger Nano S supports many coins. You can find a full list of coins supported by trezor here.
- How much does the wallet cost in US Dollars? The Ledger Nano S currently costs around $93 and includes free shipping if you buy from their site directly.
- What if I lose the wallet? Many believe that if they lose their hardware wallets, they lose their cryptocurrency. But that’s not true! That’s the beauty of having a hardware wallet. By using the 24 word recovery sheet, you can restore your wallet onto any new device.
Where to buy
We highly recommend you buy Ledger products directly from Ledger’s website. Buying hardware wallets from unknown third parties can be risky as they may have tapered with the wallet. We would never buy a hardware wallet from a place like ebay or an online classifieds site.
While we don’t think you can go wrong with a Trezor or Keepkey wallet either, we find ourselves gravitating towards the Ledger.
So if you want to sleep well at night knowing your cryptocurrencies are safe and secure, buy a hardware wallet. If you’d like to purchase the Ledger Nano S directly from their site, you can do so here.
Ledger Nano S Review
- Ease of use
- Customer Service
We really like the Ledger Nano S and what it has to offer. It’s low cost and multi-coin support were the biggest selling points for us. We also really like the security a hardware wallet provides.