Not your keys, not your coins
Desktop wallets can sometimes offer more usability and often, a greater feature set when compared with their mobile counterparts. Most desktop wallets offer hardware wallet support, and more recently have shifted more towards easy multi-sig setup and usage. Desktop wallets make interacting with bitcoin held in cold storage on a hardware wallet much more simple, but they are not as well suited to more frequent daily use. Computers are inherently more at risk of being exposed to malicious software compared to phones, so always double check the download source before installing any desktop software and if you have the knowledge, verify the software signature.
Bitcoin Core is both a desktop wallet and a node. It is arguably the easiest way to get up and running in a fast yet private manner. Because of it’s simplicity and longevity, Core is the most widely used desktop wallet out there. Core provides an easy way to onboard and enables users to interact with Bitcoin in a matter of clicks.
Blockstream Green is one of the more basic desktop wallets. Green is cross platform, enabling you to have the same wallet on your phone and computer simultaneously. Sending a transaction is done through a 2-of-2 multi-sig setup but own node connection is not available.
Blue Wallet desktop is essentially a carbon copy of its mobile version. Lightning is custodial by default but allows users to connect to their own instance of LND Hub. Blue wallet and serves as a good option to use for daily transactions and simultaneously act as ‘watch only’ wallet for your cold storage devices. Connection to a users own node is done via an Electrum server. Full list of features here.
Electrum is widely adopted desktop wallet that comes with a vast feature set and extensive hardware wallet support. Electrum supports multi-sig, coin control, labelling, Lightning and own node connection via an Electrum Server. It is worth noting that by default Electrum connects to multiple third party servers which could leak your privacy.
Fully Noded is an extremely feature rich Mac OS Bitcoin and Lightning wallet that connects to your own node by easily by scanning a QR code. Fully Noded also allows you to interact with your node by running RPC commands so that you can do things like verify the total supply of Bitcoin. Users can import wallet files from various other applications such as Electrum, Specter and Sparrow.
Lily Wallet offers one of the simplest desktop user interfaces and makes single of multi-sig wallet creation simple. It may not be for the more privacy focused individual with the lack of own node connection and coin control however this is a relatively young wallet and these features are on the product roadmap.
Specter Desktop is fairly new to the scene but has already made a huge impact. It strikes a good balance of feature set, node connection and intuitive UX which has made it a very popular option in a very short space of time. Specter is compatible with every popular hardware wallet option and also offers automatic pairing with Bitcoin Core, resulting in the process of connecting your cold storage device to your own node very simple.
Sparrow Wallet is another densely packed desktop wallet. Sparrow is focused on privacy and also ensures the user can focus on the fine details. Sparrow offers extremely detailed transaction previews which can also double up as a personal blockchain explorer. Connection to your own node is mandatory and is done via an Electrum Server.
Finished looking for a desktop wallet? Check out the available hardware wallet options.