Trezor vs. Keepkey – Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet Review

tldr: Both wallets are solid; Trezor has a slight lead

I’m a big fan of the mantra “not your keys, not your coin” pioneered by @aantonop. Hardware wallets like Trezor, Keepkey, and Ledger store your keys in the safest way possible (outside of a beefy vault safe). Which means your coins are also the safest.

I started using a hardware wallet a couple years ago. I used paper wallets before that. But I always worried about creating them. If I had a virus or trojan horse on my computer, a hacker could steal all my keys. That’s not a concern with hardware wallets since the private keys are effectively “air gapped”. I recently noticed that Amazon Prime had Trezors in stock. So I was tempted to buy one and compare it to my Keepkey (that I also bought on Amazon a few years ago).

Net net, I like both Trezor and Keepkey and will keep both. But neither support mobile devices and without that the rest of the criteria are much less important. If I could only have one, I’d stick to Trezor. Why? Trezor feels much more alive and modern. I came to this conclusion by evaluating a number of criteria and labeled each winner below.

Form factor: Trezor

The trezor is smaller and lighter. Much more portable. Keepkey is bulkier because it fits a much larger LCD, but too big for a keychain or “always in my jeans pocket” device.

Confidence: Keepkey

I love that keepkey shows me the address / QR code when I’m receiving, and requires me to hold the button to confirm a transaction. Sending / receiving crypto is still such a nerve-racking process that the more insight a device gives me, the better.

OS support: Trezor

Trezor supports more platforms: Windows, Linux, Mac, Chrome. Keepkey requires Chrome extensions. Chrome extensions carry a ton of app weight due to requiring the Chrome browser. I’m a Safari user so the Trezor Bridge natively running via any web browser is ideal

Bells and Whistles: Trezor

Trezor has a stronger ecosystem focus. For example, Trezor Works as a 2FA device! Great for those who otherwise relied on SMS for 2FA or don’t want a Yubikey. I can label transactions via Dropbox. I never remember why I made transactions – this leaves a secure paper trail in the cloud. I can sign transactions vs. just send / receive with Keepkey.

Trezor’s manual is very clear and has a nice, nested help center. Hardware wallets are generally intuitive and don’t require heavy documentation but this makes me feel safer. Trezor also lets me view Xpub addresses: sure, you can do this on the command line with Keepkey too.

I also love the passphrase option that Trezor has to prevent against wrench attacks. Though when wrench attackers figure this out, they will counter attack.

Integration support: Keepkey

Keepkey’s Shapeshift integration has been rad and will only get better due to the merger. This vertical integration is what keeps me most optimistic for Keepkey’s development. Trezor’s integration with Myetherwallet is cool but it makes the whole Trezor experience feel a lot less native and trusted.

Currency support: Trezor

Trezor launched Bitcoin Cash 27 days before Keepkey. With 2x coming up, this might be important yet again. Aside from forks, DOGE (Keepkey) vs Zcash (Trezor) aren’t meaningful differences.

Mobile: Neither!

The biggest feature holding all of these wallets back is mobile support. Being chained to a laptop in a mobile-first world is silly. A real hardware wallet needs to work with a mobile device, even if it’s a sideloaded Android (edit: a few readers noted that Mycelium offers some mobile capabilities if you wire up via USB cable, but it’s not the same experience as desktop).

Keepkey + Trezor

I need to figure out how to use these wallets together. I really like both! But without mobile support, they’re so muted. It’s like remembering to use my SLR camera – I’ll take it on safari and to weddings but otherwise it’s on a shelf. I’m using my mobile phone camera regardless of the difference in quality. So my daily drivers will continue being software and cloud wallets like Bread, Loaf, Mycelium, and Coinbase. Whoever cracks mobile will win the hardware wallet game.

 

Scott Shapiro

Product Marketing Director, Facebook Ads. Cryptocurrency enthusiast. Berkeley MBA. Paleo. Aspiring Mountaineer.