Ledger Nano S Review 2020: Best Wallet for Beginners?

The Ledger Nano S is one of the most popular hardware wallets for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the world. It’s also one of the best entry-level cold wallets for people just getting into Bitcoin. Ledger itself is a French company that helped pioneer the hardware wallet space when it launched in 2014. The Ledger Nano S, its first product, quickly took off as the de facto wallet of choice for crypto enthusiasts thanks to its ease-of-use, security, small device size, and affordability.

The Ledger team regularly updates the Nano S and it now supports over 1,100 different digital assets. It also connects with Ledger’s proprietary desktop software called Ledger Live, which makes checking your balance incredibly easy. To date, Ledger has sold millions of wallets in over 165 countries with 100+ resellers spread around the globe.

Ledger Nano S Overview

Ledger Nano S

  • Excellent value at price point
  • Easy to use
  • Supports 1000+ digital assets
  • Very secure

Pros of Cons of the Ledger Nano S

The Benefits PRO's
  • Amazing price point
  • Easy to use
  • Certified by ANSSI
  • Supports 1000+ cryptocurrencies
The Downside CON's
  • No Bluetooth support for mobile phones
  • No touchscreen
  • Requires micro-USB cord to connect to device
  • Can only hold a limited amount of different cryptos at the same time

Ledger Nano S at a Glance

Wallet type: Hardware
Platforms supported: Windows, MacOS, Linux
Cryptocurrency supported: Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum (1,100 others)
Cost: $60-$80
Device size: Small
Trust rating: High
Year released: 2016
Pin Code Supported: Yes
Mobile support: No
Built-in display Yes

Beginner Perspective of Ledger Nano S

Hardware wallets can seem a little confusing to new crypto users but you can think of them as keys. Once you slide your Nano S into your computer it essentially unlocks your cryptocurrency so that you can see your balance or make a transaction. You never have to worry about your device getting hacked because it’s not connected to the internet. Every crypto transaction needs to be confirmed by physically pressing buttons on the Ledger Nano S.

The Ledger Nano S is a fantastic choice for anyone just getting into cryptocurrency because of it’s bargain-basement price and the superb features that come along with it.

Best Features

The Ledger Nano S offers an excellent value in the crypto world.

Starting at just $59 the Ledger Nano S provides one of the most secure ways in the world to store Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and other cryptocurrencies.

Because the Nano S is not connected to the internet it’s essentially impervious to getting hacked. There’s a reason that cryptocurrency experts always tend to recommend “cold storage” for storing crypto.

The wallet requires you to add a 4 digit pin code that you must enter every time you access it. Your funds are still safe even if your device gets physically stolen, so long as the 4 digit pin is not known. Upon 3 incorrect pin tries, funds on the Ledger Nano S get wiped automatically. Don’t worry! Your funds are still accessible to you even if they get wiped on the device, thanks to a 24 word phrase.

The Nano S also gives you a “back-up plan” in the form of its 24-word recovery phrase. So long as you have a piece of paper with the 24-words that make up your recovery phrase, you can always recover your crypto.

The device is also relatively easy to use. It comes with a built-in display, which helps functionality immensely. The Ledger Nano S is simply one of the best hardware wallets in the world for anyone new to cryptocurrency.

What Cryptocurrencies Are Supported

The Ledger Nano S was built primarily with Bitcoin in mind but the Ledger team has rolled out a number of updates that provide support for a staggering number of cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin work best with the Nano S because there’s built-in support for Ledger Live (Ledger’s desktop interface) but that doesn’t mean you’re limited to just those cryptos. You can install compatible wallets on your Nano S allowing you to choose from over 1,100 different digital assets.

Here’s a list of the top 10 major cryptocurrencies supported by the Nano S:

 

Security Features

In terms of security, just moving away from online wallets to hardware-based wallets is one of the best decisions you can make and Ledger goes above and beyond.

The Nano S has been fully certified by French cybersecurity agency ANSSI. It has a special chip onboard that stores your private key and signs transactions.

So long as you keep your Nano S safe, your cryptocurrencies will also be safe. Even if you lose the device, funds can be accessed from your 24-word recovery phrase.

It is extremely important that you purchase your Nano S from a legitimate reseller or the company’s website. Purchasing a counterfeit hardware wallet could be the equivalent of giving thieves a key to your house. The counterfeit wallet could have malicious modifications that allow hackers to access all the funds stored on your hard wallet.

That’s why all Nano S boxes are sold with a special seal sticker that shows they’ve never been modified.

Supported Operating Systems

The Nano S offers support for Windows, MacOS and Linux.

It should be noted that Nano S does not have built-in support for Android or iOS mobile devices because it still runs on a micro-USB cord.

You can buy a kit from Ledger that converts the device to USB-C so that you can use Android but you’re out of luck if you have an iPhone.

Potential Dealbreakers

The limited capacity to store a diverse portfolio of cryptocurrencies is perhaps the most glaring omission of the Nano S. You won’t be able to store more than 5 or 6 cryptocurrencies on the Nano s, due to its small storage capacity.

Other missing features are the lack of Bluetooth connectivity and an in-built battery.

To get Bluetooth you’ll have to upgrade to the more expensive Ledger Nano X. The Nano X has even more features than the Nano S but it’s also twice as expensive. The absence of a built-in battery means you have to plug the Nano S into your computer to get it to do anything.

Some of the newer, more fully features crypto wallets include built-in batteries and Bluetooth for a completely wireless experience.

Ledger Nano S Frequently Asked Questions

About the Author

Arthur Crowson

Arthur Crowson is an award-winning writer and editor who hails from the Pacific Northwest. His career began in traditional news media but he transitioned to the online arena in the mid-2000s and has written extensively about the online poker boom and the rise of cryptocurrency.