Cardano ADA Wallet Comparison

Cardano (ADA) is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies, largely because of its rewards model. One of the first things that new ADA buyers do is figure out how to stake ADA, and this process largely determines which Cardano wallet holders are most likely to choose. Of course, this isn’t a totally trivial matter, as some Cardano crypto wallets are better than others, and only a few of them allow users to actually delegate their coins to ADA pools such as one of our ADAStrong stakepools.

Because ADA staking is one of the best ways to invest your holdings, it’s important that you stick with a Shelley-compatible product that allows you to earn passive income with your ADA. Our Cardano ADA wallet comparison is designed to make this as simple and painless as possible, emphasizing security and ease-of-use over any other considerations. If you’re wondering what wallet supports Cardano and ADA staking options, you’ve come to the right place.

ADA Wallet

What Is The Best ADA Wallet?

Honestly, there is no single “best” Cardano wallet, and we’d be doing you a disservice claiming otherwise. That said, there’s a caveat, because there are ADA wallets you should absolutely ignore. That’s because not all ADA wallets allow for active staking.

Sure, some holders don’t care about Cardano staking, especially day traders and swing traders. But if you’re storing your ADA off-exchange in an actual wallet, chances are you’re in it for the long haul, and you won’t be maximizing your holdings if you’re not actively delegating your ADA to stake pools.

Thus, the best ADA wallets are those that support Cardano rewards through the staking process, and we’re going to limit our suggestions to these.

The following Cardano wallet reviews are brief and to-the-point. We’re not going to clutter their descriptions with convoluted technical data that most holders neither want nor need to know. Instead, we’re going to focus on how secure these wallets are and how usable they are for the average ADA investor.

Warning: Please only download the following ADA wallets from their official developer pages. There are many fake ADA wallet sites out there. These use phishing techniques to steal your ADA/crypto and are to be avoided at all costs.

Daedalus Wallet

Daedalus WalletThe Daedalus Wallet is the “official” Cardano wallet, developed in-house by Cardano founder IOHK. This is considered by most to be the best Cardano wallet, but it comes with some usability issues to be aware of.

While the feature-set is robust and dedicated to all things ADA (including Cardano Catalyst compatibility), the software actually runs a full Cardano node on your end. This means it stores its own copy of the Cardano blockchain and must synchronize with the network upon launch.

Daedalus also requires about 10 GB of disk space, which is something not all users can afford to dedicate. Between that and the fact that it often takes 2-3 hours (or more) to sync with the ADA network on initialization, it’s simply not right for most users. One final knock against Daedalus is that there’s no iPhone or Android app. You can only use the Daedalus wallet on your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer.

The biggest advantage of Daedalus, of course, is that it’s the most secure option going, with an added bonus that ADA rewards can be redeemed without paying the minimal ADA transfer fees that other Cardano wallets require.

*Supports Ledger Nano S, Ledger Nano X, and Trezor Model T devices

Yoroi Wallet

Yoroi walletIf you’re searching for a Cardano wallet that offers a much lighter-weight take on asset management while featuring all the bells and whistles you expect with dedicated ADA delegation and Catalyst voting (aka governance), the Yoroi Wallet is probably the best choice.

Yoroi is developed by Emurgo, one of the Cardano Foundation’s biggest partners, and it requires no blockchain synchronization. You can be up and running on Yoroi in just a few minutes, and the software is available as a simple browser extension for Chrome, Edge, and Firefox.

You can also install a native Yoroi iPhone app and Android app to access your wallet on the go. Compared to Daedalus, Yoroi is slightly less secure, though that doesn’t mean much for the average user, especially since your ADA wallet can be restored on Daedalus (or another dedicated ADA wallet like ADALite or Medusa).

*Supports Ledger Nano S, Ledger Nano X, and Trezor Model T devices

 

ADALite Wallet

ada lite walletADALite is an open-source ADA wallet developed by VacuumLabs, and while it runs more or less like Yoroi (i.e. no blockchain synchronization necessary), it’s a browser application, not a browser extension. This means that every time you launch ADALite, you have to restore your ADA wallet with its recovery phrase.

There are some interesting benefits that ADALite offers compared to other Cardano wallets that make up for this small nuisance, however. These include options for delegating ADA to multiple stake pools from a single wallet, as well as allowing stake pool operators to pledge ADA without any developer-intensive coding.

At this time, ADALite does not support Cardano Catalyst voting, which might be a significant negative for some users. Unfortunately, there is no ADALite mobile app available, either.

*Supports Ledger Nano S, Ledger Nano X, and Trezor Model T devices

Medusa Wallet

Medusa WalletThe Medusa Wallet (aka the Medusa AdaWallet) is a community-built Cardano wallet that runs as a web application like ADALite. However, instead of requiring users to enter their recovery phrases each time they want to access their funds, Medusa employs OTP (one-time passwords) for account verification.

The Medusa project is still in early development, but its main features – like ADA delegation – are already rolled out, and new updates promise to add support for more cryptocurrencies.

Right now, Medusa AdaWallet does not support ADA Catalyst voting, and there are also no iPhone or Android apps available as of Q2 2021.

*Does not support hardware wallets

Atomic Wallet

Atomic WalletAtomic is perhaps the best known and most widely used crypto wallet in existence. It is a decentralized wallet and exchange platform, which means holders can trade different assets quickly and easily. With support for over 500 popular cryptocurrencies and native iPhone and Android apps available (in addition to support for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers), Atomic is the easiest crypto wallet to use.

That said, it’s a proprietary wallet, meaning you can only recover your Atomic ADA wallet on the Atomic network. While Daedalus, Yoroi, AdaLite, and Medusa all use Cardano seeds to make them cross-compatible (that is, they allow users to enter their recovery passphrase into any of these wallets to gain access to their holdings), Atomic has no such inbuilt safety net.

That’s a big negative in the grand scheme, which is why we recommend using Atomic only if you’re actively trading. That said, Atomic does support ADA delegation, although Catalyst voting is not yet offered.

*Does not support hardware wallets

Exodus Wallet

Exodus WalletAfter Atomic, Exodus is the most popular wallet option in the crypto marketplace. Exodus runs via a dedicated software installation on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and you can also download the iPhone and Android Exodus apps from these devices’ respective storefronts. This ubiquity is why it’s so popular, but there’s one tremendous drawback for ADA delegators: Exodus does not let you choose your stake pool.

This is a major shortcoming that almost totally disqualifies Exodus from serious consideration. Remember, not all stake pools have the same earning potential when it comes to ADA rewards, and delegators need to have the option to pledge to the pools of their choice based on live performance metrics.

As such, we only recommend Exodus for active ADA/crypto traders. One final point of consideration re Exodus is that like Atomic, it supports proprietary Cardano seeds, so you can only recover your Exodus wallet on Exodus itself.

*Supports Trezor Model T devices

Other Cardano Wallets

The above ADA wallets are all considered web wallets, software wallets, mobile wallets, etc. These, as a class, are called crypto “hot wallets.” This is a nod to the fact that they can be up and running and ready to transfer assets comparatively quickly.

However, hot wallets aren’t the most secure options for those looking for the most locked-down, hacker-resistant solutions. If that’s you, what you’ll want to use is a “cold wallet.” Crypto cold wallets typically include physical hardware wallets in addition to software applications to access your holdings on those dedicated devices.

Most of these are tailor-made USB drives with extremely strong encryption profiles. However, the ultimate in ADA storage security bypasses hardware altogether. These are called paper wallets. Below, both options are outlined in more detail.

Hardware ADA Wallets

Hardware ADA wallets are the best option for users looking to hold their Cardano for the medium and long term. There are four primary hardware wallets that support ADA (as well as a host of other cryptocurrencies), including ADA delegation when used in tandem with several of the above software wallets.

The manufacturers and developers behind these products – Ledger and Trezor – are the best and most trusted in the industry, and you can’t go wrong with any of them.

Note: Hardware wallets all cost money, as they are physical retail products. In contrast, the above software wallets are always completely free, which will be a deciding factor for many users. 

Ledger Nano S – $59

The Ledger Nano S is the top-selling crypto hardware wallet on the market, as it’s affordably priced and user-friendly for beginners. However, it is limited to installing three crypto management “apps” at any one time, which means that those with more diverse crypto portfolios should upgrade to the Nano X. You can see all the 1000+ different cryptocurrencies supported by the Ledger family of devices here.

Ledger Nano X - $119

The Ledger Nano X is twice the price of the Nano S, but it comes with an enhanced feature set that makes it much easier – and much more powerful – to use. The Nano X has a larger on-unit OLED screen and supports wireless Bluetooth connections, and you aren’t nearly as limited in the number of different apps that can be stored at any one time. The Nano X supports up to 100 apps compared to the mere three supported by the Nano S.

Trezor One - $60

Like Ledger’s products, the Trezor One supports over 1000 different cryptocurrencies. However, the Trezor One does not support ADA. We’re including it here merely to confirm that you should not buy this wallet for ADA storage or delegation. The Trezor One is the brand’s entry-level model, and it’s a great choice for most crypto holders, just not Cardano holders.

Trezor Model T - $194

The Trezor Model T is the brand’s flagship, but it’s also the most expensive reputable hardware wallet in the industry. Of course, for all that money, you get an exceptionally capable device. All keys are stored on-device, and all industry-standard recovery seeds are supported. The Model T supports Cardano and over 1200 cryptocurrencies as of mid-2021. The full list of Trezor-compatible crypto assets is available here.

Warning: Never purchase a hardware ADA wallet from a third-party vendor (Amazon, Walmart, etc.) or an online auction site (eBay et al.), and never buy or use a preowned hardware wallet. You should only buy Ledger and Trezor wallets from the official manufacturer websites using the links above.

Paper ADA Wallets

The final option for hard-core hodlers is to use crypto paper wallets. And while it is possible to generate paper wallets for Cardano, it’s also an enormous headache and a relatively non-user-friendly process. You can learn all about this approach at your leisure using any number of online resources, but we advise against paper wallets.

Hardware wallets offer a similar level of offline security, but these can easily be recovered. On the other hand, if you lose your paper wallet, you lose your investment.

Further, you cannot delegate ADA with paper wallets. You should certainly use a wallet for Cardano, but paper wallets are – for the vast majority of people – a total nonstarter. We do not recommend them under any but the most extreme and particular circumstances.