Best Miner for Zcash: a Complete Beginners Guide (2024)

Published: 30th June, 2023 | Last Updated: 4th February, 2024

Hudson Kisia

Hudson Kisia has been researching and writing content for ElementalCrypto since 2022. He has been writing about crypto, blockchains, and mining for more than 5 years now.

When it comes to the business of mining a new block of ZEC coins, choosing the right Zcash mining hardware is one of the most important investment decisions you can make. This article tells you which are the best Zcash miners to choose and what to consider when selecting a Zcash mining rig.

Let’s do this.

Zcash network is known for its native coin, ZEC, one of the most profitable cryptocurrencies on the market today.  Typically, Zcash miners receive 50 ZEC coins every 10 minutes as a block reward for mining Zcash.  

The Zcash network began as a Bitcoin fork. Thus, like Bitcoin, its blockchain is based on the proof of work consensus mechanism.

However, unlike Bitcoin which uses the sha-256 algorithm, the Zcash network employs a proof-of-work mining algorithm known as the Equihash algorithm.

This algorithm employs a Zero-Knowledge proofing methodology which means it demands relatively less computing power compared to Bitcoin mining.

While CPU mining is possible, Zcash miners are encouraged to carry out GPU mining as it is more profitable. However, to maximize profits, ASIC mining is preferred by the Zcash community.

Thus, we are going to focus on GPU and ASIC mining.

The best GPU Hardware for Zcash mining professionals

When it comes to GPUs, not all are efficient. Nvidia GPU performs far better than AMD Cards as far as Zcash GPU mining is concerned.

As a result, Nvidia graphic cards are considered the best option. For this reason, I am only going to review GPU mining hardware as they are the most efficient and profitable.

The following are the top 3 best GPU miners for Zcash:

1. GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

With an average hash rate of 700 hashes per second (H/s), GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is one of the extremely powerful GPU video cards for mining Zcash. It also has high power efficiency and greater ZEC coins mining profitability. All these make it an awesome miner for your Zcash coins.

GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Zcash Miner
GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Zcash Miner

Key specs:

  • Hashrate: 700 H/s
  • Power consumption: 250W
  • Power efficiency:0.25 H/W
  • Price efficiency: $1.25/H
  • Cost: $1000

2. GeForce GTX 1080

Having a relatively smaller price tag, GeForce GTX 1080 is a lighter version of the GTX 1080 series. It has a higher price efficiency ratio but a lower hash rate and thus lower Zcash mining profitability compared to the GTX 1080 Ti.

GeForce GTX 1080 Zcash Miner
GeForce GTX 1080 Zcash Miner

Key specs:

  • Hashrate: 600 H/s
  • Power consumption: 200W
  • Power efficiency: $0.35/H
  • Price efficiency: $1/H
  • Cost: $600

3. GeForce GTX 1070 Ti

As one of the oldest Equihash mining video cards of the GTX series on the list, GeForce GTX 1070 Ti is low on power consumption and price tag. While this GPU mining card may not register high on profitability, it still retains an impressive hash rate of 500 H/s thus having a reasonable power efficiency.

GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Zcash Miner
GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Zcash Miner

Key specs:

  • Hashrate: 500 H/s
  • Power consumption: 150 W
  • Power efficiency: $0.3/H
  • Price efficiency: $1.25/H
  • Cost: $400

The best ASIC hardware for Zcash mining professionals

ASIC mining requires the use of hardware based on ASIC chips to mine. ASIC mining has higher profitability compared to GPU mining. However, it requires a higher budget since the price for an ASIC Zcash miner is several times more expensive compared to the price of a GPU miner.

The following are the top 3 ASIC mining hardware for Zcash:

1. Bitmain Antminer Z15

With a hash rate of 420 ksol/s, Bitmain Antminer Z15 is the most powerful Equihash miner of all the Antminer Z series. It has a higher power efficiency compared to its predecessor – Bitmain Antminer Z11. Compared to other series, this is the most expensive, yet, the most price efficient. If you have a sufficient budget, this ranks first among the most profitable ASIC miners.  

Bitmain Antminer Z15 for Zcash mining
Bitmain Antminer Z15 for Zcash mining

Key specs:

  • Hashrate: 420 ksol/s
  • Algorithm: Equihash
  • Power consumption: 1510 W
  • Power efficiency: 3.6 J/Ksol ±5%
  • Voltage source: 12 V
  • Network connection type: RJ45 Ethernet 10/100M
  • Cost: $4,500

2. Bitmain Antminer Z11

Among the Antminer Z series, Bitmain Antminer Z11 is the most moderate in terms of profitability, efficiency, and affordability. Even though it is not powerful as its successor – Antminer Z11, nonetheless, it is more powerful than its predecessor – Antminer Z9.

Bitmain Antminer Z11 for Zcash mining
Bitmain Antminer Z11 for Zcash mining

Key specs:

  • Hashrate: 135 ksol/s
  • Algorithm: Equihash
  • Power consumption: 1418 W
  • Power efficiency: 10.5 J/Ksol ±10%
  • Voltage source: 12 V
  • Network connection type: RJ45 Ethernet 10/100M
  • Cost: $1,000

3. Bitmain Antminer Z9

Antminer Z9 is the oldest of the Equihash Atminer Z series. It is also the cheapest. However, it has the lowest profitability and power efficiency. You can only go for it if your budget can’t fit any of its successors.

Bitmain Antminer Z9 for Zcash mining
Bitmain Antminer Z9 for Zcash mining

Key specs:

  • Hashrate: 40.8 ksol/s
  • Algorithm: Equihash
  • Power consumption: 1150 W
  • Power efficiency: N/A
  • Voltage source: 12 V
  • Network connection type: RJ45 Ethernet 10/100M
  • Cost: $500

How to choose the best miner for Zcash

The best way to choose an Equihash miner for mining Zcash is to establish criteria for doing so. The following considerations should be part of your selection criteria:

1. Choose a miner that maximizes profitability

How much profit do you want? How do you maximize profit? Profitability is determined by many factors. These include the mining method, computing power, power efficiency, and the rate of block reward.

To estimate how much mining profits, you would make per mining equipment, you can use the ZEC coins Equihash mining calculator.

Some of the best Zcash mining calculators include Coinwarz and Whattomine. The profitability of Zcash cryptocurrency mining is determined by factoring in the electricity cost (KW/h), ZEC block reward, hash rate, hardware cost, and the ZEC mining difficulty factor, among other things. For pool mining, electricity cost depends on the geographic location of the mining pool hardware. Also, profitability is subject to the mining fee and the mining rewards sharing formula. 

2. Choose a miner that fits your budget

Can you afford the profit that you desire? Which mining method is the most affordable? And which mining hardware is the most profitable based on your budget? Answering this question will help you determine the right mining method and the right Zcash mining rig.

3. Choose the right mining method

Which mining method fits my budget and profitability needs? The mining method must meet your budgetary and profitability requirements.

You have three mining methods to choose from based on your budget, miner, and profitability requirements. These are solo mining, pool mining, and cloud mining.

Solo mining

The solo mining business model is that of a sole proprietorship. In this model, you assume all the crypto mining risks and gain all the crypto mining rewards. You also get to shoulder all the mining costs including the mining fees.

Since you are fully responsible for the entire hash rate output, to maximize profit, you need a Zcash mining rig with high computing power and a high power efficiency ratio.

You can also solo mine without paying for all the infrastructure. Check out my article on Bitcoin mining hosting solutions for more on this.

Pool mining

The pool mining business model is that of a joint venture. Several miners join a mining pool to contribute hashing power and share mining rewards based on their mining power contribution or agreed formula. Unlike solo mining, costs, risks, and rewards are shared among the pool contributors.

To join a ZEC mining pool, you need to make sure that your mining hardware meets the minimum requirements of that specific pool. Different Zcash mining pools have different minimum requirements.

Also, different Zcash mining pools have different formulas for sharing Zcash mining rewards. Nonetheless, this share depends on the size of the pool and the number of coins mined.

Apart from the general factors already considered, the unique factors affecting ZEC mining pool profitability include the pool fee, geographic location of the pool (in terms of electricity cost, taxes, administrative costs, etc.), and infrastructural efficiency.

The biggest benefit of pool mining is that you have a higher chance of acquiring a more steady income stream compared to the other methods. However, this steadiness also depends on the payout methods and the minimum payout policy employed by the respective Zcash mining pools. The best Zcash pool is that which provides flexible options in this regard.

Cloud mining

In case you find it not economical to either carry out solo mining or pool mining, the best option is to go for the Zcash cloud mining process. In this process, instead of buying a mining rig, you simply hire computing power from a cloud mining service provider.

Cloud mining service providers operate mining farms and data centers. All you need to focus on is budgeting for the cost of hiring the hash power. Electricity costs and mining hardware costs are none of your problems.

This is probably the most efficient business model. However, the cloud mining provider takes a significant chunk of your profits because the bill not only includes a portion of infrastructural costs but also administrative costs. Nonetheless, it is the most convenient way for beginners. It can also be a convenient way for those who come from locations where the power supply is unreliable or electricity cost is extremely high such that it makes the two other methods of mining Zcash coins uneconomical. Furthermore, in those jurisdictions, such as China, where crypto mining has been banned, it is safer to opt for cloud mining.

The biggest benefit of cloud mining is that you can achieve a higher hash rate at a relatively low investment cost compared to the other two methods.

4. Choose hardware with the most optimal mining power

How much mining power do I need to meet my budget and profitability target? Which hardware meets my mining power requirements? Which mining hardware is the most power efficient?

Now that you have your profitability, budgetary, and mining method requirements in mind, you can confidently decide on which Zcash mining hardware to choose.

In your choice of Zcash hardware, you need to consider the following important factors:

  • Hash rate
  • Power consumption
  • Power efficiency
  • Software compatibility

Hash rate

Computing power for mining Zcash is measured in hash rate. This hash rate is indicated in terms of the number of hashes per second (H/s) or solutions per second (sol/s). The hash rate for ASIC miners is measured in kilo sols per second (ksol/s). The higher the hash rate, the more mining power a given Zcash miner has.

Also, the higher the hash power, the easier it is to overcome the network difficulty and thus mine a new block of new coins.  Since block reward is based on mining a new block, this means a higher chance of making a profit.

Power consumption

Electricity cost is a big factor in the overall mining cost. Thus, the power consumption rating of a given mining hardware counts a lot. Other factors being constant, the lower the power consumption the better the Zcash miner.

Power efficiency

While power consumption is an important factor, power efficiency counts more. Power efficiency is determined by how much hash power is produced by one unit of electric power. Other factors being constant, higher power efficiency means higher profitability.

5. Choose hardware compatible with your mining software

Do I have a preferred Zcash mining software? Which hardware suits my preferred mining software?

One of the most popular Zcash mining software programs for mining new coins on the Zcash network is the EWBF miner for Nvidia cards. For those using AMD cards, Claymore’s Zcash AMD GPU miner is the best option.

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Hudson Kisia has been researching and writing content for ElementalCrypto since 2022. He has been writing about crypto, blockchains, and mining for more than 5 years now.

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