The Best Exchanges and Sites to Buy Ethereum
If you’re new to the world of “cryptocurrency”, it can seem very overwhelming figuring out how to buy Ethereum (a.k.a. Ether, ETH).
With this list of sites and Ethereum exchanges, we’ve chosen the best places to buy Ethereum, particularly for beginners. Our goal when rating these sites was to show you the easiest ways to purchase ETH, from trustworthy and solvent companies.
For more information, as to how we reached these ratings, please see the information below this table. We’ve also provided more details on exactly how to use these sites to buy Ethereum, throughout this page and this website. If you wish to find more information specifically about the sites we recommend, we’ve made reviews of our top-rated options.
|Site||Location||Beginner Friendly||Trust Grade||Rating|
|San Francisco, CA, USA||A+||4.8|
|San Francisco, CA, USA||A||4.4|
|San Francisco, CA, USA||A+||4|
|Wilmington, DE, USA||B||4|
|Seattle, WA, USA||B+||4|
|New York, USA||A||3.8|
|Prague, Czech Republic||B||3.6|
- 1 The Best Exchanges and Sites to Buy Ethereum
- 2 How to Buy Ethereum
- 3 How to Use These Sites
- 4 Keeping Your Ethereum Safe
How These Sites Were Rated
The primary goal of this site is to create a resource capable of helping anyone easily and safely buy Ether.
There are many factors we considered when rating these sites. The most important factors in our ratings are the trustworthiness, solvency, customer service, and legitimacy of the companies. Of the companies we rated highly in these factors, we then chose the most simple and beginner friendly options.
Here’s the full list of factors considered when rating these ETH buying methods.
- Site Legitimacy and Transparency
- Company’s Solvency.
- Beginner Friendliness
- Community Sentiment
- Customer Service.
- Payment Methods and/or Trade Pairings
- Purchasing Limits.
- Fees associated with using the services.
- Location of the Company and its Governing Bodies
- Locations Served
How to Buy Ethereum
The easiest way to obtain Ether is to buy it from a cryptocurrency exchange or a site like Coinbase. Sites like Coinbase and CEX.IO (who also offers a traditional exchange) offer simple methods of buying Ethereum without the hassle of traditional exchanges.
Sites That Simplify Purchasing Ethereum
While these sites are sometimes referred to as exchanges, they’re more like cryptocurrency stores. While the price of cryptocurrencies sold on them are still based off the exchange market prices, users are buying cryptocurrencies at an agreed upon price from these sites. This means that when you buy Ethereum from one of these sites, your order is immediately executed at the agreed upon advertised price.
These sites often allow users to use credit and debit cards, and in some cases even PayPal.
For the easy purchase of cryptocurrencies that these sites offer, they charge a small fee added to your purchase.
With over 7 million customers served, Coinbase is our top recommended option for easily purchasing Ether (as well as Bitcoin and Litecoin). With Coinbase, you can make purchases instantly using your bank account or credit/debit card. If the time comes where you want to sell your crypto, you can also sell it via their site. Selling through Coinbase is just as easy as buying.
Coinbase is based out of San Francisco, California and has received over $100M of investments from some of the world’s leading investors. With Coinbase being a regulated financial service company operating in the United States, users may need to verify their identity when using their services. This typically just means uploading a copy or picture of your ID.
Coinbase also includes a secure wallet where ETH, BTC, and LTC can be stored. They keep 98% of customer funds in secure offline storage, while the remaining 2% is insured. The offline wallets are held in safe deposit boxes and vaults across the world. This ensures that even if Coinbase was hacked, the funds they hold would remain secure/insured.
Coinbase also offers security features for keeping your personal wallet on their site safe. For logins and transfers, there’s multiple 2-Factor Verification methods available:
- Email confirmation when logging into your account.
- SMS text verification when logging in and transferring funds from your wallet.
- Authy 2-Factor Verification
- Google Authenticator 2-Factor Verification
Dealing with customer service on Coinbase is relatively painless. While they do not offer phone support, they do offer online support through email and twitter. Most customers are satisfied with their support, which has given Coinbase many longtime customers.
Coinbase also offers a FREE $10 worth of Bitcoin when you purchase or sell $100 worth of cryptocurrency on their site.
- The easiest method of buying Ethereum.
- Trustworthy with a long track record.
- One of the most popular crypto sites.
- Credit/Debit cards and bank transfers can be used to make purchases.
- Online Wallet.
- FREE $10 of Bitcoin when you purchase or sell $100 or more cryptocurrency on their site.
- Due to being a regulated U.S. company, their verification process may be slightly more intense than competitors.
In addition to traditional exchange services, CEX.IO offers simple buy and sell options. If you’re in a location where you’re unable to use Coinbase, CEX.IO is another good option you should look into. They serve many of the same locations as Coinbase and some that Coinbase does not serve. Do note, that they do not serve all of the United States.
Based out of London, CEX.IO was initially established in 2013 to be the first cloud minding provider. Since this time, they have become a cryptocurrency exchange, used by over half a million users.
Users are able to buy Ethereum and Bitcoin instantly using a credit card or bank transfer.
Like Coinbase, CEX.IO offers an online wallet for storing ETH and BTC. They offer 2-factor verification security features, similar to Coinbase. They also claim to keep cryptocurrency in secure offline cold storage, however they give less specifics than Coinbase on their approach.
- Easy method of buying cryptocurrency.
- Trustworthy with a long track record.
- Offer services to some locations that Coinbase does not.
- Credit/Debit cards and bank transfers can be used for purchases.
- Online Wallet.
- Strict verification required before you purchase Crypto.
- They don’t serve customers located in a good portion of the United States.
- Less popular than Coinbase.
3) Other Options
We strongly recommend using one of the above two options, as simple cryptocurrency purchasing methods. These are by far the most trustworthy options that have served a great number of customers.
If these sites are unavailable in your location, check out this list of sites for simple ETH buying:
The Best Ethereum Exchange Options
Cryptocurrency exchanges operate similarly to a traditional stock or forex exchange. Users on these exchanges create accounts and trade pairings with other users on that exchange.
On these exchanges, you can trade fiat currency (like USD, EUR, GBP, or AUD) and/or other cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ripple, etc) in exchange for Ether. Some exchanges do not offer trades with fiat currency.
You can set the amount of ETH you want to purchase, as well as the price you want to buy it at. Your order is executed when another exchange user places a sell order at or below your buy price.
Some of these exchanges offer the ability to make limit orders and some even offer margin trading.
This method of buying Ethereum can require more technical knowledge than using a site like Coinbase. This has led to us excluding these sites from our simple and beginner friendly rated options.
As mentioned above, CEX.IO offers an exchange in addition to their simple purchasing options.
Focusing on BTC and ETH, they offer less pairings than many of the other exchange options. Aside from trading these two crypto pairs for each other, you can also trade them for USD, EUR, GBP, and some other fiat currencies.
Funding your exchange account requires the same verification process as simple buy methods. You can fund your account by bank transfer and credit card.
Kraken is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges based out of the United States (San Francisco, California).
You can fund your account with fiat currency through bank transfers or with cryptocurrency. The exchange allows you to trade over 15 different cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies.
Kraken has multiple 2-factor authentication security features available for securing your account. They also keep the vast majority of the cryptocurrency they store in cold storage. Customer funds are stored separately from the company’s operational funds.
- Trustworthy with a long track record.
- Popular in the crypto community.
- Online Wallet.
- More pairings than some competitor exchanges.
- Can’t use credit/debit cards.
- More complex and less suited for beginners.
Based out of Hong Kong, Bitfinex is a great method of buying Ether, especially for those of you who already own another cryptocurrency. For users trading crypto for crypto, there’s no verification required. United States customers wishing to fund their accounts with USD, will have to go through a verification process, similar to all of the other sites mentioned above. This because the exchange must still comply with U.S. laws and financial regulations.
In August of 2016, the exchange was hacked and 119,756 Bitcoins were stolen. This of course initially led users to not trust the exchange. Since this time, Bitfinex has paid back all of users’ funds. They’ve also changed their security procedures, to now keep 95.5% of their funds in secure offline wallets. With Bitfinex handling the hack so well and changing their security methods, this had brought many users back to the platform. According to SimilarWeb, the traffic has nearly quadrupled over the last 6 months (as of May).
The site offers 2-factor authentication account security features as well as other new account security measures.
- Building strong trust in the community.
- No verification required for crypto to crypto trading.
- A very large number of pairings.
- While the site repaid funds and improved their security, the site was hacked in August 2016.
- Credit and Debit cards can’t be used.
- More complex than other methods.
3) Other Top Exchanges
Polonoiex often has the most trade volume of any exchange, but we’ve rated it lower than others, due to poor customer support. Poloniex has rapidly grown and their support seems unable to keep up with the expansion. There’s a large number of complaints from users through out forums, reddit, and user review ratings.
While there’s always going to be complaints online for all business, some examples of Poloniex issues took far too long to resolve, in our opinion. If Poloniex is able to improve their customer support, we’ll revisit this rating.
GDAX and Coinbase are owned by the same company, with GDAX being their exchange offering. GDAX is certainly one of our most trusted exchanges, although they don’t offer many trade pairing. For those of you looking to trade your ETH, for something other than Fiat or BTC, you’ll need to choose a different exchange.
Bittrex has recently been gaining customers from Poloniex, as Poloniex is becoming known for poor customer service. Like Poloniex, Bittrex offers a very large number of trade pairings. You can trade hundreds of different cryptocurrencies on their exchange.
How to Use These Sites
All of our top recommended exchanges should have detailed instructions on exactly how to use them to purchase cryptocurrency.
If your using our top recommended option, Coinbase, you can buy ethereum in just a few steps.
Step 1) Create an account.
Step 2) Connect your bank account, credit card, or debit card.
Step 3) Buy Ether at the current set rate.
(You may be asked to verify your account when using Coinbase, including proof of ID).
Keeping Your Ethereum Safe
Whenever purchasing or holding cryptocurrencies, it’s very important to keep your accounts and wallets safe. While Ethereum itself has never been hacked, companies and users have had various cryptocurrencies stolen from them, due to poor security in their storage.
This does not mean you should avoid investing in cryptocurrency, but that you should make sure to do everything in the safest possible way. Many very smart investors have large positions in cryptocurrency, like this billionaire with 10% of his net worth in Bitcoin and Ethereum. The important thing is to follow all of the recommended guidelines for security.
When using an exchange or online wallet, make sure to do the following:
- Make sure to use a safe email address that has never been hacked.
- Use a unique, long password with various letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Store your passwords in a safe location.
- Always enable any 2-factor security measures available.
- Use the strictest security
- Measures offered by your exchange or wallet.
For long term holding of Ethereum, you should consider storing your Ether on a secure offline wallet. While you may be comfortable keeping small amounts in exchange wallets for prolonged periods of times, you should strongly consider using a safer alternative for large sums.
The general consensus among the Ethereum community, is that you safest bet is storing your ETH in a hardware wallet. The best brands for hardware wallets are Ledger and Trezor. You can find more information about how these wallets work on their sites.
*Do NOT use “brainwallets”. You can find more information here, as to why you should avoid them.