What is the best bitcoin miner in 2021? Well there is no straight answer. This past year’s top performing model is the Whatsminer M30S++ which hashes 112 TH/s. Yet, the most energy efficient bitcoin mining rigs are the Antminer S19 Pro, S19a Pro, and the S19j Pro, all of which are 29.5 watt per terahash (W/TH).
Although, more than 100 other SHA-256 ASICs exist. So how do bitcoin miners choose which rig to buy? Here we will fill you in.
In this article we compare the thirty most profitable bitcoin miners of 2021, and then discuss issues with popular models. We end this piece by taking a look at off-brand ASICs, as well as not yet released bitcoin miners.
How do Bitcoin Miners Choose a Rig?
The majority of bitcoin miners choose an ASIC based on:
- the model’s daily earnings or efficiency profile, shown in the Best Bitcoin Miner in 2021 table below
- an ASIC model’s reputation, discussed further on
- by what is readily available on the market
- and/or by the model’s $/TH price from a reseller
Read more about how to be a bitcoin miner in our previous article.
Best Bitcoin Miner in 2021
Here is a table of the 30 most profitable bitcoin mining rigs on the market in 2021. We rank these top ASICs by their net daily profit. Scroll down for variable information.
|Rank||Net Profit/Day||Electric % of Gross Profit||Manufacturer||Model||Terahash (TH/s)||Efficiency (W/TH)|
|3||$27.22||-14.7%||Bitmain||Antminer S19 Pro||110||29.5|
|4||$25.74||-14.6%||Bitmain||Antminer S19j Pro||104||29.5|
|5||$24.61||-15.1%||Bitmain||Antminer S19j Pro||100||30.5|
|7||$23.76||-14.6%||Bitmain||Antminer S19j Pro||96||29.5|
|14||$18.59||-20.8%||Canaan||AvalonMiner 1166 Pro||81||42.0|
|19||$14.80||-25.0%||Canaan||AvalonMiner 1126 Pro||68||50.3|
|23||$13.55||-25.8%||Canaan||AvalonMiner 1146 Pro||63||52.0|
|26||$12.35||-19.6%||Bitmain||Antminer S17 Pro||53||39.5|
|29||$11.66||-19.6%||Bitmain||Antminer S17 Pro||50||39.5|
In the chart above the net daily profit is based on the following live stats: BTC is $51k, miner earnings are $0.29/terahash, hash rate is 172 EH/s, and the difficulty is 22.34 trillion.
Electricity is is assumed to be 6¢/kWh and has already been deducted in the net profit/day column. The daily electricity cost is also represented by a percent of the gross profit. But note that the ratio of the electricity cost to the gross daily profit does change with $/TH profitability, as well as with different kWh prices.
Efficiency, shown to the right of the table, is a ratio of watts (joules) to terahash. The lower the efficiency ratio, the less electricity is required per terahash, and the better the machine’s profit margin is.
Read more about bitcoin miner equations here.
The Best Bitcoin ASIC Model?
Let’s discuss some pluses and minuses of top ASIC models that miners need to take into consideration when purchasing a machine. Models are sorted by manufacturer and popularity as follows: Antminer, Whatsminer, AvalonMiner, and Innosilicon. Other manufacturers including Ebang, StrongU, and Bitfury are discussed in the following section. New ASIC manufacturers like iPollo, Bee Computing, and others are discussed in the last section.
Be aware that the information here is based on personal experience, miner reviews, and hearsay. Bitcoin ASIC batches and models can vary widely in quality and performance. So we recommend that miners take this information with a grain of salt, and follow-up with their own research.
Antminer by Bitmain
Bitmain, founded in 2013, has strong working relations with the world’s top microchip fabricator TSMC. This allows Bitmain to mass produce Antminers with optimal efficiency ratings. However, Bitmain has been criticized for delays and inadequate quality controls.
Delivery delays and poor production were often blamed on bad blood within Bitmain’s management. Zuoxing Yang, who designed the S7 and S9, left Bitmain in 2016 over a compensation dispute to launch his own company called MicroBT. The following year Bitmain sued MicroBT for ASIC patent infringement. Ultimately Yang appealed and the court decided that the patent design was widely used in the industry. Bitmain’s co-founders Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan have also struggled for power for years which divided staff. The turmoil lead to Wu’s departure from Bitmain in early 2021.
As a result of management unrest and other factors, the quality of Bitmain’s miners have been variable in the past. So, let’s compare what miners have to say about their three most popular Antminer series: S19, S17, and S9.
S19 and T19 Series
The S19, S19 Pro, and T19 were released in 2020, and the S19j and S19a came out in 2021. So far the Antminer 19-series are known to be reliable and profitable. Institutional miners have ordered hundreds of thousands of units.
The 19-series have an amazing efficiency profile between 29-36 W/TH. These units hash between 84-110 TH/s, which is nearly 50% more hash power than the previous 2nd generation 7nm chip 17-series.
Take note that Antminer T-models are up to 40% less efficient than S-models. S-models are thought to use the best quality chips from a wafer, whereas the T-series use slightly less stable chips. The quality of the ASIC is reflected in the T-model’s lower price and efficiency.
Why is this? Well, when a wafer is created in a foundry some microchips have imperfections. The percent of good dies is referred to as the wafer fabrication yield, see the image below. Whilst mobile phone companies and other tech industries bin bad quality chips, bitcoin ASIC manufacturers deploy them in lesser efficient models like the Antminer T19.
A common complaint with the S19 and other Antminer models is that they automatically shutdown when the ambient temperature is too hot or cold. But this feature protects the hash boards and can be worked around with environmental controls.
S19s may also break after sudden power outages. This was experienced by some miners in China in the 2020 wet season when dams cut electricity to release water load after heavy rain.
Although Bitmain recommends to pull the power plug to shutdown a machine, other miners suggest shutting it down in steps to prevent chip damage from residual heat. One way is to SSH into the box, run the “poweroff” command to stop mining, and allow the fans to run for a few minutes before pulling the power plug so that the microchips have time to cool.
S17 and T17 Series
The S17, S17 Pro, and T17 were released in early 2019 for the Chinese wet season. The S17+, S17e, T17+, and T17e came out later in the year. The 17-series are 30% more energy efficient than the 1st gen. 7nm S15 model. Compared to the S15, the terahashing capability of the S17 doubled from 28 to 50-73 TH/s.
However, miners believe that the S17 and T17 reflect poorly on Bitmain. The main issue is that the microchips and heat sinks can loosen and detach. Also, temperature sensors can fail. These problems are attributed to bad quality lead-free soldering, and cheap thermal adhesive.
The knock on affect of this issue is that when a machine has poorly attached heat sinks the warm air does not dissipate away from the microchips. Chips can burn and hash boards can fail. Further, transporting S17s/T17s can dislodge the components.
As shown in the Best Bitcoin Miner in 2021 table above, the 17-series is still very profitable. Yet these models require frequent attention, and some mining farms refuse to host them.
Luckily specialists can rework bad soldering and glue. Further, replacement parts for the 17-series are available because many were produced. But keep in mind that hash boards are only interchangeable between the exact same model. For instance a S17 hash board is not compatible with S17 Pro.
Lastly, it is likely that a considerable amount of S17s and T17s suffered heat damage from previous owners who ran overclocking software, or who ran turbo mode on the S17 Pro. Thus secondhand units may break more easily due to harsh wear and tear.
The Antminer S9 series is not included in the table of the Best Bitcoin Miner in 2021, but would rank in at about 70th place. The S9 series hashes between 11-18 TH/s, has a daily profit of $2-$4 (at 6¢/kWh), and an efficiency rating of ~ 98 W/TH.
It is estimated that millions of S9s were produced between 2016-2019. For the most part these machines are sturdy and reliable, but after 5-6 years of running many are coming to the end of their existence. Additionally the S9k, released the same time as the S17, is reported to have trouble with bad soldering and glue.
Nowadays most data centers no longer accept S9s and units have been shipped to locations like Venezuela and Kazakhstan over the past few years where electricity is as low as $0.001/kWh.
On the other hand, home miners and hobbyists still appreciate the S9 model because the electricity draw is less than half of the newer S19. Home miners can also pick up S9s cheaply and use them to learn how to undertake repairs or autotune chips. So long as the electricity price is < 12¢/kWh the machine is profitable (calculation based on the breakeven with an S9 14 TH/s and $0.29/TH earnings).
Whatsminer by MicroBT
MicroBT produce the second most popular ASIC miners and were established in 2016. After a year of fundraising and R&D they released their first Whatsminers: M1, M2, and M3, followed by the M10 model in 2018. The M1-M3 used 28 nm chips, and the M10 machine employs Samsung 16nm microprocessor chips. Amazingly the M10 was nearly as efficient as Bitmain’s Antminer S15 which used 7nm TSMC chips. Thus it was clear from the get go that MicroBT was a serious player who challenged Bitmain’s market dominance.
Although, MicroBT’s sudden popularity was likely the catalyst to some legal and management problems for the company. Besides Bitmain’s lawsuit in 2017, MicroBT’s CEO Yang was arrested in 2019 for alleged IP theft and embezzlement. Suspiciously the arrest occurred at the same time as Bitmain’s co-founders were at odds, and just one month after Yang announced the successful shipment of 200,000 M20S Whatsminer in one quarter. In the end Yang was released without charge, and rumor has it that the two companies settled.
Between 2019-2021 MicroBT also experienced some delivery delays. These were contributed to Covid, increased bull run orders, and supply chain bottlenecks. Despite these minor setbacks, Whatsminer continues to make stable and powerful bitcoin mining ASICs. The M31S++ is currently the most profitable ASIC available for spot purchase, and the model is number one on our Best Bitcoin Miner in 2021 list.
M20/21, and M30/31/32 Series
In 2019 MicroBT released the Whatsminer M20S and M21S, and in 2020/2021 they released the M30, M31, and M32 series. The M20/M21 machines hash between 28-68 TH/s with efficiency profiles between 48-60 W/TH. The M30/M31/M32 series hash between 62-112 TH/s with an efficiency of 31-54 W/TH. Whatsminer cost less in $/TH terms to purchase than Antminer, due to their slightly inferior efficiency profiles.
Whilst some sources cite that the M20S and the M30S++ uses a 12nm, bitcoin miners and MicroBT infer that the 20 and 30 series Whatsminer use a Samsung 8nm microprocessor chip. Note that the M21, M31, and M32 are less energy efficient than the M20S and M30S models, presumably due to lesser quality dies, or the use of 10nm versus 8nm chips.
M20S, M21S, M30S, M31S, M32S Issues
Overall Whatsminer ASICs are very stable machines. They do not break down often, and they are very popular with miners. Institutional miners have placed years worth of orders.
Beside the occasional fan or PSU problem, the only real downside to a Whatsminer is that it consumes around 10% more electricity than an Antminer and therefore produces more heat.
Due to the higher electricity draw, miners sold off M21S models in the 2019-2020 bear market because they ran near breakeven. Earnings were down to 6¢/TH, compared to >30¢/TH this past year. But thanks to the current bull run, M21S models are profitable again. Over the past year their secondhand value has gone from $400 to over $3,000 USD.
Lastly, the other issue with Whatsminer is that hash boards are not widely available. So if a hash board fails, it may be impossible to replace. A machine with a failed hash board can still run, yet the power draw and hashing capacity drops by about 33% because 1 of 3 hash boards is down. Whatsminer do however have service centers in three locations worldwide, and have some components like replacement M30S chips for sale on their US website.
AvalonMiner by Canaan
Canaan Creative were the first company to transition from FGPAs to bitcoin ASICs back in 2013. For those who are unsure, FGPA stands for field-programmable gate arrays. In other words a FGPA’s integrated circuits can be designed post-manufatcuring ‘in the field’. ASICs on the other hand are custom made to order in foundries, and are not programmable. Thus ASIC stands for application-specific integrated circuit, and bitcoin ASICs can only perform a double SHA-256 hashing algorithm.
Canaan were also the first bitcoin mining manufacturer to be listed on NASDAQ as CAN in late-2019. Uniquely, Canaan has multiple chip suppliers which they claim speeds up production. Their machines are thought to use 7-16nm TSMC chips, are rumored to use SMIC 7nm chips, and have used 10nm Samsung chips in the past.
Overall AvalonMiner are very reliable and robust machines. Institutional miners have placed huge orders. However some miners complain about issues with the company’s newer models, and recently there has been rumors of long-time staff leaving their posts.
A1246, 1166 Pro, 1126 Pro, 1146 Pro
The A1246 is in the top ten of the Best Bitcoin Miner in 2021 list. The 1166 Pro, 1126 Pro, and the 1146 Pro are within the top 30 bitcoin mining ASICs of the year. AvalonMiner is about 22% less efficient than an Antminer, so the hash price is ~20% less per terahash. Avalons are also up to 10% less efficient than Whatsminer, so are slightly cheaper to purchase in $/TH terms.
Like Whatsminer, AvalonMiner takes more energy per terahash than an Antminer. Albeit Avalons are known to be a strong machine which can be started at lower ambient temperatures. In fact, miners report using Avalons to warm up a mining area/farm before booting up more sensitive Antminers or Whatsminers. Avalons are also known to use good quality cooling fans which may help them to perform better in climates which are humid, or which have high condensation due to cold weather. Further, they are reportedly easy to repair. And, Avalon’s firmware shows the temperature of each microchip which is helpful for troubleshooting.
Some miners report that manufacturer A1246 PSUs can fail, hash boards can fail, and some batches hash up to 5 TH/s lower than expected. Luckily, PSUs can be replaced. For hash board failures Canaan will send a replacement so that miners can install it themselves to minimize downtime. Also, Canaan supplies miners with updated firmware to autotune chips with high temperature readings. For the miners who report low hash readings, Canaan apparently stated that the hash difference was within an acceptable range.
On the contrary, many miners report no issues with the newer Avalon models and are pleased with their investment so far. Thus, problems seem to only pertain to certain batches. One review found that the A1246 ran in the hash range stated over a 24h period. The miner was impressed by the A1246’s Kanzhi K210 dual-core 64-bit AI chip in the controller. This built-in encryption algorithm in the main control chip helps to prevent viruses and theft.
The other issue with AvalonMiner is that spare parts may not be as readily available as they are for Antminer, as less are produced. But spare parts may be more available than Whatsminer, as Canaan have multiple chip suppliers. Lastly, as with most ASIC manufacturers, the main customer service center is located in China, so shipping for repairs can be timely and expensive. They also opened a service center in Kazakhstan this year.
This particular miner is not on the Best Bitcoin Miner in 2021 list but gets an honorable mention. The A1047 hashes up to 37 TH/s and makes about $7/day after electricity of 6¢/kWh is deducted. These machines are still profitable and sturdy, however they are coming to the end of the line as they are now three years old.
Interestingly whilst Antminer were downsizing chips, Canaan instead worked hard to improve its 16nm ASIC efficiency. Canaan were able to get the specifications of a 16nm down to the equivalent of Bitmain’s Antminer S15 which uses a 7nm chip. But this extended R&D on the A1047 may have lead Canaan to lose some of their market edge, as most industrial miners only want the most powerful machines available.
Innosilicon were established in 2006. They design mixed signal IPs and custom ASICs for a range of industries. They work together with top foundries like TSMC, Samsung, SMIC, and others, to test and produce microchip processes ranging from 130nm to 5nm.
Since 2017 Innosilicon have produced crypto mining machines for several coins including BTC, DCR, ETH, LTC, Sia, XMC, and Zcash. Yet the company has not released a new generation bitcoin miner since 2019. The past year they have instead focused on advancing their A11 miner for Ethereum’s Ethash, and their A6+ miner for Litecoin’s Scrypt algorithm. So, the efficiency of Innosilicon’s bitcoin mining machines is two generations older than their competitors. Regardless their machines are still considered reliable and sturdy.
Innosilicion use 10nm Samsung chips in their bitcoin miners. And, in 2018 they were the first manufacturer to reach a chip efficiency of less than 63 W/TH (75 W/TH at the wall). At the time their 10nm T2turbo-24T model had similar specs to Bitmain’s 7nm S15-28T model, which was quite the feat. Additionally, take note that the Halong Mining DragonMint T1 miner from 2018 is basically a rebranded Innosilicon.
T2T and T3+
This year Innosilicon released a few different versions of the older-gen T2 Turbo, but these were not efficient enough to make it to our list of the Best Bitcoin Miner in 2021. The T2T hashes around 32 TH/s, has an efficiency of 69 J/TH, and makes around $6/day at the time of writing this article. Other variations of the model exist, including: T2T+, T2TZ, T2TZS, T2TH, T2THS, T2THS, T2THU.
Despite manufacturing slow downs in recent years, the T3+ model from 2019 makes it to 28th place on our Best Bitcoin Miner in 2021 list. This model hashes 57 TH/s with an efficiency of 58 W/TH. It makes is just under $12/day after power at 6¢/kWh is paid. Notably, the model has anti-skid pads on the underside to reduce friction and secondary rust on rack equipment. The T3+ also has four operating modes compared to competitor’s two running modes. These modes include: e-mode: 40 TH/s at 2100 W; b-mode: 45 TH/s at 2600 W; f-mode: 50 TH/s at 3000 W; and p-mode: 57 TH/s at 3600 W. The T3+ model is still a profitable miner, though it is almost three years old and likely nearing the end of the line.
T2T, T3 Issues
Issues with this manufacturer are minor. For example, one miner found that the fans were mounted the wrong way around after delivery. This resulted in high internal temps and low hashing speed, but was easy to fix.
The company are known to have good customer support. However, like many other manufacturers, their service center is located far away in China. Thus spare parts may be hard to get ahold, and shipping costs are high.
The following miners are not included on the Best Bitcoin Miner in 2021 as most professional miners do not currently use this equipment.
Since 2018 Ebang have manufactured Ebit ASICs. They were the second miner company after Canaan to join NASDAQ in early 2020. In the tail end of the 2017-18 bull run, Ebit machines looked to be a real contender in the ASIC market. Their bitcoin mining machines use 10-14nm chips, hash between 9-50 TH/s, and have an efficiency of 50-144 W/TH.
However, Ebit miners are not considered a contender in the current market as they have not released a newer model. Although the company do advertise a next-gen Ebit-17 at 100 TH/s and 35 W/TH efficiency on their website, the model shows ‘sold out’ and no miner reviews exist.
Bitfury has been around since 2009, and they run their own mining farms. They also manufactured ASICs between 2017-2018, including the B8 and the Tardis model. They use their own 16-55nm chips, but their efficiency rating is 79-131 W/TH, and not up to par with the market.
Whilst the Tardis model is still profitable at 80 TH/s, it requires over 6,000 watts to run, and houses over 1,000 microchips per unit with six cooling fans. In comparison, current ASICs have a couple hundred chips per unit, and just two to four fans. This high kW draw puts a miner at risk of negative earnings in times of low profitability, thus Bitfury rigs are not widely used. The company have also taken flack for conducting chain analysis research for government agencies in the past.
StrongU have been around for a few years and make the Hornbill H8 and H8 Pro bitcoin miners which hash 74-84 TH/s, with and efficiency of 40-45 W/TH. In theory the H8 machine would be very profitable, yet no miner reviews are found and the model remains a mystery.
In all honesty seasoned miners have little trust for the brand after some serious snafus with their U6 Dash miners in 2019. The U6 was advertised to be the most efficient Dash ASIC on the market. Miners got excited and placed pre-orders, but to their dismay deliveries were delayed by several months. Further, the units were not up to the specs promised, hash boards failed, and units continually restarted when chip temps reached 75˚ C. To compensate StrongU sent out ‘free’ miners, but the quality was reported as poor, and miners were not impressed.
Not Yet Released ASICs
Several companies are said to be releasing SHA-256 bitcoin miners in the future. Here we review a handful of potential new contenders. None of these were included in our Best Bitcoin Miner in 2021 table above, but if released most of these mining rigs would make the list.
Again, be sure to do your own research. Always think twice about pre-ordering bitcoin mining machines from any supplier. Unfortunately this industry has a lot of ‘noise’, and delays, cancelled batches, and scams do happen.
In April of this year Bit Mining (formerly 500.com who acquired BTC.com and Bit Deer) announced a partnership with Bee Computing. They planned to mass produce next-gen. 7nm bitcoin ASICs, LTC, and ETH miners. They claimed to have close relations with MediaTek and TSMC chip suppliers.
Their two SHA-256 miners include the B2S with specs of 48-52 TH/s, and an efficiency of 54-58 W/TH. Also, the B2T which hashes at 21 TH/s, with an efficiency of 55 W/TH. Bit Mining declared that these machines would be available by the end of April 2021, but unfortunately we have yet to see a product or a review.
Bolonminer announced the release of their B11 machine with 68-72 TH/s and a max. efficiency of 47 W/TH in March of 2021. The company claim to have been in the industry since 2011. They also assert that they have been undergoing Samsung 8nm ASIC miner product development since 2019.
On their website the B11 is for sale, yet there is no price listed for the unit. Further, they say they are the “No.1 Exporter of Miners on Overseas Market”, and they ship 1,000x units per week. However, this seems doubtful as no miner reviews could be found for their B11 at the time of writing this piece.
iPollo claims to be a new manufacturer and announced that they would release bitcoin ASIC miners by the end of October 2021. ASICminervalue lists iPollo’s rigs as the B2 at 110 TH/s with an efficiency of 29.5 W/TH, and the B1 at 85 TH/s with an efficiency of 40 W/TH. Although, iPollo’s website shows that only the B1 BTC miner is ‘coming soon’, with spec of 85-100 TH/s, and an efficiency of 40-29.5 W/TH.
At this point we have not seen any miner reviews of iPollo’s SHA-256 products. In fact, we contacted them about the sale of their G1 mini Grin miners last month, and have not yet received a response.
Spondoolies-Tech are an Israeli company that manufactured bitcoin ASIC miners between 2014-2016. And, in 2018 they created a SP36 Dash miner. In 2014 Spondoolies bitcoin rigs were running about 5% of the global hash rate. The unique thing about the company is that they design their own chips, and PSUs are built-in.
Between 2014-2016 the company released three main products: the SP10, SP20, and the SP30. The SP10 Dawson runs at 1.4 TH/s, takes 1.25 kW, and houses 192 Spondoolies Tech Hammer ASICs. The SP20E Jackson miner hashes 1.7 TH/s and uses 8 Rockerbox 28nm ASICs on two hash boards. Lastly, the SP30 Yukon hashes 4.9 TH/s and uses 3 kW of power with under- and overclocking capacities. Whilst Spondoolies products are of good quality, the efficiency of their machines fell behind competitors like Bitmain.
In 2016 Bitmain began manufacturing the S9 which doubled the hashing capability of an ASIC from around 5 TH/s to 11.5 TH/s with a 16nm TSMC chip. That same year Spondoolies reportedly announced development of a SP50 miner, with 110 TH/s at 16 kW, for a sales price of $30-40k. But the SP50 never came to be.
Blockstream and Spondoolies
In August of 2021 a turn of events happened. Adam Back of Blockstream put out that he had raised $210 million as part of a Series B financing at a valuation of $3.2 billion. Investors include Baillie Gifford, iFInex, and the Bitfinex crypto exchange. At the same time as this announcement, Blockstream acquired the IP of Spondoolies for an undisclosed sum.
The Spondoolies team will join Blockstream to build the company’s ASIC arm. And, Blockstream hope to use the fundraising money to develop and release new-gen. bitcoin mining rigs by Q3 of 2022.
Shortly after Dr. Back’s announcement of the acquisition of Spondoolies, Jack, former CEO of Twitter, announced that his company Square are considering building a ‘Bitcoin mining system based on custom silicon’. He touted the project to be open-source so that mining could be accessible to all. He asked for tips and information from followers. We have not yet heard about further development of this project.
Lastly, Sino-Global Shipping America, Ltd., established 2001, announced plans in October 2021 to enter the bitcoin mining machine manufacturing industry. Their joint-venture is with Highsharp, a blockchain technology, hardware, software, and cloud computing company.
The two companies plan to collaborate on the development of a line of SHA-256 BTC Thor miners. Sino-Global pledge to invest $50 million into the project in coming years, as well as reach out for investors. At this time no further news about the Thor bitcoin miner is found.
Best Bitcoin Miner in 2021 Summary
That’s all for this time folks! Hope you enjoyed our review of the Best Bitcoin Miner in 2021. Happy mining, and may the luck of the block be with you.🍀