Trezor Wallet Explained: What It Is & How To Use It

Published: June 6, 2023   |   Last Updated: February 15, 2024
Written By:
Eric Huffman
Eric Huffman
Staff Writer
Edited By:
Shannon Ullman
Shannon Ullman
Managing Editor

Our Take On Trezor Wallet

Pros

  • Open-source software and firmware
  • Support for major blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum
  • Passcode-protected hidden wallets
  • TOR support to protect your IP address

Cons

  • No support for Solana
  • Support for XRP and Cardano limited to Trezor Model T
  • Some supported assets (like NFTs) aren’t visible in Trezor Suite
  • No built-in DeFi apps
Via Trezor’s Website
3.9
Fees
5.5%
Cryptocurrencies
BTC, DOGE, ETH +More
Platforms
Mac, iOS, Android
Blockchains
Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin

Trezor hardware wallets have become iconic in the industry and pair well with popular wallet apps like MetaMask. The appeal is the open-source firmware and fine control you have over your device, including the ability to install modified firmware. Trezor’s suite itself seems limited if you’re accustomed to Ledger Live and its assortment of integrated apps, but Trezor provides the basics in a secure and transparent way.

Full Trezor Wallet Review

I took a Trezor Model One for a test drive in this Trezor wallet review, looking at the setup for newbies as well as pairing the Trezor with software wallets to connect with dApps. 

Spoiler alert: Setup involves a surprising number of steps for a device with just two buttons. But executing each step leaves you with a better understanding of why Trezor is a favorite amongst security-minded crypto holders. This is a well-designed hardware wallet.

Trezor Overview

PricePurchase FeesNumber Of CryptocurrenciesAvailabilityHacks/ExploitsReset & Custom FirmwareConnect With Wallet Apps
Trezor Model One: $69, Model T (touchscreen) $219About 4.5% to 6%, depending on the chosen provider and cryptocurrencyOver 1,000 coins and tokens from 12 Layer 1 blockchains, including BTC and ETH, as well as popular L2s (Arbitrum, Polygon), and ERC-20 tokensTrezor is available in the US, Canada, Europe, and dozens of other countriesTrezor wallets (and some other hardware wallets) can be hacked if an attacker has possession of the device but have not been hacked remotely. Also, beware of counterfeit devices.Reset your Trezor for a fresh start, or install customized firmware to make your device your own.Use your Trezor to secure your transactions on popular Bitcoin wallets like Electrum or DeFi wallets like MetaMask.

What Is Trezor Wallet?

Trezor was the first hardware crypto wallet on the market and remains one of the most trusted ways to safely store Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptos. Like other hardware wallets, Trezor wallets generate and store the private keys for your wallet offline. You can connect a Trezor to a computer via USB when needed to confirm transactions.

The company makes two models: the Model T touchscreen and the budget-friendly Model One. Both models share similar basic features, although the Model T supports additional cryptocurrencies such as XRP and Litecoin. 

We’ll explore the features, pros, and cons of the Model One in this Trezor review.

How Does It Work?

Hardware wallets like Trezor generate and store your private keys on the device itself rather than within a software application like hot (software) wallets. This lets you disconnect and hide your wallet when you don’t need it, all the while protecting your crypto from being stolen or used in transactions you didn’t authorize. 

You hold the private keys offline, safe from hackers.

The Model One features a small but clear text display and just two buttons used to approve or decline transactions and to navigate through various setup screens. Trezor wallets work with the Trezor Suite, available as a web app or software app, both with the same features.

You can also connect your Trezor to popular software wallets like MetaMask or Electrum to add an extra layer of security when navigating the crypto world. Your software wallet connects to applications like Aave, for example, but transactions require a button press on the physical device.

Key Features

Trezor is focused on security first, as evidenced by many of its features. 

  • Tamper-evident packaging: I made an absolute mess of the glued and hologram-stickered security box when opening it, leaving zero doubt that I was the first person to open this particular box.
  • No firmware installed: In trust-no-one crypto style, the Trezor ships without firmware. You install the firmware yourself rather than trusting that the firmware on the device is authentic.
  • Open-source firmware and software: Both the Trezor Suite and the firmware that powers the device itself are open-source and available to review or even modify for your own needs.
  • 24-word recovery phrase: Use a 24-word phrase to restore your device if you need to replace it.
  • Hidden wallets: By choosing a secret passphrase, you can create additional hidden wallets that no one can see unless they know your phrase (even if they have the recovery phrase).
  • TOR support: Toggle on support to send transactions through The Onion Router, a worldwide network of computers that help obscure your IP address.
  • Support for major chains like Bitcoin and Ethereum: If you’re a blue-chip crypto investor, Trezor makes it a breeze to store your coins securely.
  • Device reset: You can completely reset your Trezor if you suspect the keys have been compromised (transfer your crypto to another wallet first, though).
  • Buy, sell, swap, send, or spend: Experienced users will likely use an exchange or other wallets and services, but Trezor Suite offers a secure way to handle basic crypto transactions from within its interface.

Trezor Wallet Fees

Fee TypeFees
Purchase FeesUp to 6% on a $100 purchase, depending on the external vendor, payment method, and selected crypto
Swap FeesUp to 10% including spreads
Network FeesVariable by blockchain with user-selectable priority levels

Trezor wallets are a great way to store your crypto, but similar to other wallets it can be an expensive way to buy or swap crypto from within the Trezor Suite itself. Purchase fees, especially for smaller amounts, can be pricey.

For purchases, Trezor partners with several third-party providers, including Moonpay and Simplex. These providers charge a fee, but Trezor also adds a $0.95 fee.

Trezor partnership with Moonpay

To keep costs lower, you’ll probably want to buy and trade on an exchange like Coinbase and use your Trezor for secure storage. 

Expert Review Of Trezor Wallet

I’ve owned a Ledger wallet for a while, so I was anxious to see how the Trezor wallet stacks up and what its pros and cons were relative to the competition. Will this be the device that finally gets this degen to always practice safe crypto? Perhaps. 

But it does help to have a bit of crypto experience under your belt if you plan to use a Trezor for anything more than just storing ETH and BTC.

I put this popular hardware wallet through the paces in this Trezor Review of the Model One. Here’s how it worked out. First, let’s get this gizmo set up.

How To Set Up Trezor Wallet

1. Connect your Trezor to your computer. 

It’s best to use the included USB-A to Micro-USB cable. 

However, this might work better with laptops because the included cable is only eight inches long. I needed to connect to an iMac with USB ports on the back of the desk-bound monitor. Other cables will work, assuming the cable supports data over USB.

Connecting Trezor to your computer

Trezor box contents with aftermarket data cable

2. Start Setup

Visit trezor.io/start. Setup steps are the same whether you use the web app or the downloadable Trezor Suite app.

Setting up your Trezor screenshot

3. Complete security check

Verify that your Trezor appears new and hasn’t been tampered with.

Security check for Trezor

4. Install Trezor Firmware

Trezors ship without firmware installed. The setup script offers you the choice to install Bitcoin-only firmware or universal firmware, which supports Ethereum, Dogecoin, Litecoin, and other blockchains.

Installing firmware on Trezor

5. Create a new wallet

Trezor uses a 24-word seed phrase for wallets. By clicking on Create a new wallet, your Trezor will automatically create the seed phrase. You can use this seed phrase to restore a Trezor wallet if you lose your wallet or it breaks.

Creating a new wallet when setting up Trezor

6. Back up your wallet

Your Trezor will display your seed phrase words one by one on the device screen. Write down each word in order, clicking on next on your Trezor device after you copy down each word in the phrase. After the 24th word, your Trezor wallet will provide the words in order again, so you can be certain your backup is accurate.

Creating a backup for the Trezor wallet

7.Set a PIN

You can choose a pin of up to 50 digits, but be sure to choose a number you can remember and that can’t be easily guessed. So, don’t use your date of birth or a similar number that others might know. Your PIN can only use numbers 1-9; zero isn’t available.

Your connected Trezor device will show a “map” of the numbers, but you’ll use the Trezor Suite to select the PIN. This map changes each time you use your device to prevent someone from guessing the PIN by observing the pattern on your screen.

Enter your PIN, and then again to confirm. Save your PIN in a secure place.

Setting a pin for the Trezor wallet

8. Activate coins

If you’ll be using Ethereum, Dogecoin, or other supported networks, this is the time to add the settings for these networks to your Trezor. 

Activating coins on the Trezor wallet

Note: XRP and Cardano (ADA) are only supported on the Trezor Model T.

9. Complete setup

Click on complete setup. 

Completing the set up for a Trezor wallet

You’ll be prompted for your PIN and then offered the options of a standard wallet or hidden wallet. 

Hidden Wallets (optional)

Hidden wallets are secured by using a passphrase you choose. Someone who has the recovery phrase and PIN still can’t see these wallets without knowing the passphrase as well. Passphrases can contain spaces and punctuation.

For the best security, consider adding hidden wallets. This gives you the option to use your main accounts for small crypto amounts while securing larger amounts in your hidden wallets. 

But be sure to write down your passphrase for the hidden wallet(s) and store it securely. There is no way to access these funds without the passphrase.

If you choose to set up a hidden wallet, enter your passphrase and then confirm it on your Trezor

Trezor hidden wallets

Where To Buy A Trezor Wallet

You can buy a Trezor directly from Trezor. Retailers like Amazon also sell Trezor wallets through the Trezor store, but it’s safest to buy directly from the source. I had the test unit for this Trezor review in hand within a few days of buying directly from Trezor.

Avoid buying any hardware wallets off eBay or Craigslist, where you can’t verify the history of the device and whether it’s been modified. Kaspersky, a well-known security firm, recently discovered counterfeit Trezor devices out in the wild. These wallets already had firmware installed, meaning whoever made the wallets likely had the private keys already.

Trezor Supported Coins

Trezor wallets support a variety of coins, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, with just a few clicks. 

ModelModel OneModel T
Trezor supported blockchains (visible)Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum (including ERC-20 tokens, Dogecoin, Ethereum Classic, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Dash, DigiByte, Namecoin, Vertcoin, Zcash All above plus XRP and Cardano

In addition, you can add ERC-20 tokens manually. However, the wallet supports more coins and blockchains than you can see in the app. For example, I sent ETH to my wallet and made several transactions on the Arbitrum network, none of which appeared in Trezor Suite.

By connecting your Trezor to a DeFi wallet like MetaMask, you can secure your holdings on Arbitrum, Polygon, and other Ethereum-compatible networks even though you can’t see the assets in the Trezor Suite software. 

Trezor App

The Trezor app, called Trezor Suite, is available as a download for Mac, PC, and Linux. You can also download the Trezor app for mobile devices (iOS and Android). However, mobile devices are limited to ‘watch-only’ wallets. Currently, you can’t use your Trezor to authorize transactions on mobile wallets.

Features of the Trezor Suite can seem limited compared to its major competitor Ledger and its Ledger Live app, but Trezor puts more focus on unique security features like TOR support and hidden wallets.

  • Account overviews: See ETH or BTC balances at a glance.
  • Send/receive crypto: Use your Trezor to send or receive supported assets from within Trezor Suite.
  • Access hidden wallets: Use a passphrase to access wallets that aren’t visible. In effect, one seed phrase can enable dozens of wallets, each with a different passphrase.
How to use hidden wallets for Trezor

Trezor.io

  • TOR support: Trezor Suite supports transactions over The Onion Router network, a way to obscure the IP address for transactions.
Tor for Trezor wallet screenshot
  • Coinjoin: Send and receive Bitcoin with built-in Coinjoin support. Coinjoin splits transactions, mixing your sent or received Bitcoin with other transactions, making it difficult to follow the money.
  • Trezor device management: Reset your Trezor or install customized firmware from within Trezor Suite. You can also simulate a recovery by testing your seed phrase backup.

How To Use Trezor Wallet

Trezor wallets act much like two-factor authentication. If you need to sign a transaction from within Trezor Suite or in a connected software wallet, the transaction is sent to your physical Trezor wallet. A click on the right button approves the transaction.

To use your Trezor with a software wallet, look in the settings for the software wallet app. Popular wallets like MetaMask provide an easy way to connect your Trezor. This process imports the public addresses for your Trezor wallet and lets the software wallet connect to crypto apps. But nothing leaves your hardware wallet account addresses unless you explicitly authorize the transaction by clicking the proper button on your Trezor device. 

Trezor Bridge, which is built into the Trezor Suite or available as a standalone app, connects software wallets like MetaMask to your physical Trezor wallet. The bridge gives your Trezor a gentle wake-up nudge when there’s crypto work to do.

Trezor In DeFi Action

After setup, I took the Trezor Model One out for a romp in DeFi-land. Unlike Ledger’s software suite, Ledger Live, there’s no DeFi marketplace or built-in apps in Trezor Suite. Instead, you would connect your Trezor to a software wallet like MetaMask. Then, you can use MetaMask to navigate DeFi while passing transactions back to your Trezor for secure authorization.

This process is even easier than it sounds, but how well wallets pair with Trezor can vary. I did encounter a challenge with Rabby wallet in which I couldn’t transfer my entire ETH between two accounts, one being my Trezor wallet account. Switching to MetaMask solved that issue, still using the same accounts.

Outside of that one glitch, DeFi via Trezor was delightfully hassle-free. I went to visit my old stomping grounds on GMX to swap some ETH for GLP. MetaMask sent a confirmation request to the Trezor wallet. 

Confirmation from MetaMask to Trezor

GMX runs on Arbitrum, a popular Layer 2 network that uses Ethereum to secure transactions. My Abritrum balances show on Debank.

Wallet balance from Abritrum

Debank.com wallet overview

But throughout my use, Trezor Suite stubbornly showed zero balance. 

A Trezor wallet seemingly going incommunicado could be alarming for newer crypto users.

The ETH didn’t disappear into the, umm, ether. You’ll just have to refer to your software wallet for balance information on certain networks, such as Arbitrum, Polygon, or Optimism.

Ledger, a competing hardware wallet, has a slight edge here because Ledger Live can show Polygon balances, although Arbitrum balances remain a mystery on both devices.

Wiping And Restoring

Sometimes, bad things happen to good hardware wallets. Maybe Fido chewed your Trezor or maybe it disappeared after a New Year’s Eve bash at your home. Good news: You can restore your wallet to another Trezor (or the same one) if needed. Trezor even offers a test module that helps you confirm your seed phrase is correct before disaster strikes.

Trezor also offers a way to wipe the device, with two levels of data removal. In the first level, you can delete all data except the firmware. This means the keys are gone. But you have a backup, right? Right?

With the second level, you can wipe out the firmware as well. This process requires starting the Trezor in bootloader mode and then connecting to Trezor Suite, where you’ll have to option to nuke everything, including the firmware.

I did a full reset twice, for science. In both cases, the result was a gently used Trezor One that looked like a brand new Trezor to the Trezor Suite. Just follow the directions in the earlier section to set up the Trezor again or restore a previous wallet. In a past life, this Trezor was a multi-coin (universal firmware) wallet. Currently, it’s a Bitcoin-only wallet. Neat trick, Trezor.

Buying Crypto In Trezor Suite

Just don’t. Unless it’s a crypto emergency of some sort, use an exchange and then send the funds to your Trezor. Crypto purchases are costly from within Trezor Suite. This isn’t unusual, however. MetaMask, Ledger, and other wallets also charge a small fortune for the convenience of buying crypto within the app. 

Expect to pay ~5% and up, depending on the cryptocurrency you want to buy and the provider you choose.

Here’s the one possible exception: For privacy-minded crypto peeps, you can buy crypto through a built-in peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange powered by Invity. Be sure to check out Trezors safety tips and instructions before clicking buttons, though. As with other Trezor Suite features, there’s a help section on the right side of the app.

Buying crypto in Trezor suite

Swapping Crypto In Trezor Suite

There could be some use cases for swapping Crypto A for Crypto B within Trezor Suite, the most compelling of which is no Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements. Most of the exchange providers within the app don’t require an extensive signup process to comply with KYC regulations.

Trezor Suite lets you compare exchange offers provided through invity.io/ to choose the best deal. Fees and exchange rates vary, though. As always, do the math and be sure the deal makes sense. In many cases, a traditional exchange or DeFi exchange will still be more cost-effective.

Build Quality

My Trezor rattles. It works fine, but it makes grade-school music-class maraca noises. My suspicion is that I’ll misplace it long before it breaks. But any hardware wallet that sounds like a rattlesnake that woke up grumpy deserves mention. 

Aside from the confidence-shaking rattle, the buttons feel great and give a clicky response that won’t leave you wondering if the button press registered.

Support

If you have a question, Trezor’s extensive support section is the place to look first. If you can’t find an answer or have a device concern, you can reach out to a real person via a ticket system. If you’re feeling optimistic about AI, you can try the support chatbot first. Alternatively, asking for an agent gets you to the ticket system, where a real person will reply.

Trezor support chat screenshot

I received an immediate response by email indicating that support was extremely busy but my ticket is in the system. 

Later, I received an email assuring me that the rattling sound was no cause for concern and inviting me to reach out if the Trzezor failed during the two-year warranty period. Fair enough.

Who’s Trezor For?

  • People who value privacy: Trezor offers several ways to do your crypto thing without completing KYC, including P2P exchanges and swaps. You also have access to decentralized exchanges by pairing your Trezor with a DeFi wallet like MetaMask.
  • People who are tech-savvy: Trezor wallets aren’t difficult to use, but there’s a bit less handholding than you’ll find with competitors like Ledger. Expect a bit of DIY, including installing the firmware yourself.
  • People on a budget: You can spend hundreds of dollars on a hardware wallet, but a Trezor Model One (base model) offers a similar level of protection for less money. If you can spare about $70, you can protect your crypto with a simple yet time-tested Trezor wallet that’s proven reliable.
  • People who focus on blue-chip cryptos: Sure, you can add Dogecoin and Zcash, but Trezors are well-suited to storing BTC and ETH. ERC-20 tokens are also supported, letting you expand your portfolio to top-tier names like AAVE, CURVE, and more.

Trezor Alternatives

Trezor built the world’s first hardware wallet and has remained a top choice since its launch in 2014. But today, the company has plenty of competition, the most notable being Ledger.

Trezor vs. Ledger

Both Trezor and Ledger wallets serve the same goal (protecting your crypto), but each has a different approach and feel.

Trezor vs. Ledger side by side

Trezor feels more basic, with the cleanly designed Trezor Suite focusing on just a handful of cryptos (with ERC-20- support). By comparison, Ledger Live, the software suite used to manage your Ledger and accounts, is a busy place with built-in DeFi platforms, charts, and more.

Wallet/SuiteCostSupported Coins And NetworksNotable Features
TrezorModel One: $69, Model T: $2191,000+ coins and tokens, including BTC, ETH, DOGE, and moreOpen-source firmwareFull data wipe abilityHidden accountsP2P exchanges
LedgerLedger Nano S Plus: $79, Ledger Nano X: $149; Ledger Stax: $2795,000+ coins and tokens, including BTC, ETH, SOL, ADA, and moreOpen-source softwareBuilt-in DeFi AppsSecure Element chipBluetooth support (Nano X and Stax) 

Is Trezor Safe To Use?

Trezor is big on open-source code. The Trezor Suite is open-source, as is the device firmware itself, making the bits of code and its processes plain to see. Coders around the globe have checked every line of code over the years, effectively crowdsourcing security. 

Do open-source code and a global army of code analysts make a Trezor perfectly secure? No. Crypto security firm Unciphered demonstrated a way to hack a Trezor Model T and view the seed phrase. Expect nearly all hardware wallets to be vulnerable if the attacker has possession of the device, the right tools and knowledge, and enough time.

What If Your Trezor Is Stolen?

If you’ve stored your seed phrase securely, you can restore your accounts to a new Trezor device. However, you’ll probably want to take some steps to ensure the safety of the crypto protected by the device. As mentioned in the prior section, someone with the right skills may be able to access your seed phrase on the old device, thereby gaining access to your crypto.

Consider moving the crypto to new wallets temporarily, resetting your Trezor and setting up a new seed phrase, and then moving the crypto to your new Trezor with the new seed phrase.

To Sum It Up

Trezor cold wallets offer a cost-effective and time-tested way to protect your crypto stack. Where Trezor may not measure up is in its supported coins. Need to store SOL? You’ll have to look elsewhere. However, Trezor remains extremely popular with Bitcoin investors as well as people who hold ETH. Overall, Trezor wallets provide superior value and strong protection, but you’ll still need to exercise good security habits.

Could a Trezor Model T review be next? Stay tuned.

Frequently Asked Questions

Trezor wallets protect your crypto by storing the seed phrase and private keys on a device that’s not connected to the internet. You can connect your Trezor to popular software wallets like MetaMask or Electrum, which gives you more flexibility in how you navigate the crypto world while still protecting your crypto with a secure device. Transaction authorizations get passed back to your Trezor wallet, requiring you to push a button to accept the transaction.

With open-source software and firmware, Trezor is one of the most trusted hardware wallets available. But be sure to exercise caution with all crypto wallets and back up your seed phrase, storing it safely.

Trezor cold wallets can store over 1,000 coins and tokens. The Trezor Suite only shows top-level coins, like Bitcoin, Ether, and others. You can add well-known ERC-20 tokens such as AAVE or CURVE so they show in Trezor Suite.

Trezor wallets connect via USB port. The Model One uses a USB-A to Micro USB cable, whereas the Model T uses a USB-A to USB-C cable. The wallets interact with the blockchain through Trezor Suite, a desktop or web application.

In our review, we found the Trezor to be a capable device with several features that made it stand out compared to competitors. Hidden wallets add a way to safeguard larger balances, and the ability to wipe the entire device, including firmware, puts the user in control.

Both wallets offer advantages when it comes to safety. Ledger wallets use a Secure Element chip to protect against hackers, whereas Trezor makes its source code available for review, bringing safety in numbers as coders around the world check the code.

Trezor does not report transactions to the IRS. However, several independent crypto providers featured in the Trezor Suite app do require identification if you choose to buy crypto from within the app.

Eric Huffman
Eric Huffman
Staff Writer
Eric Huffman is a staff writer for MilkRoad.com. In addition to crypto and blockchain topics, Eric also writes extensively on insurance and personal finance matters that affect everyday households.
Shannon Ullman
Shannon Ullman
Managing Editor
Managing editor working to make crypto easier to understand. Pairing editorial integrity with crypto curiosity for content that makes readers feel like they finally “get it.”

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