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Unlike the early 2000s where you only needed to remember login credentials for your email, maybe myspace or facebook, and your computer, nowadays everything needs some kind of login info.
Your music, video and book streaming apps each have one, your shopping platform (or many of them), your banking, your two to three social media platforms, and that’s not even counting the work related ones.
Basically, we have to remember so many passwords these days that it becomes incredibly hard to keep track of, and we end up just reusing the same passwords over and over again, which is a big no no.
Thankfully, password managers have come to our rescue, allowing us not only to store a large amount of passwords, but also allowing us to sync them across devices. Of course, they’ve also expanded beyond that in the past few years, and some have started to offer things like Dark Web tracking, encrypted cloud storage, two-factor authentication, and a host of other features that you’ll find really useful and convenient.
Below we’ll go over some of the best password managers, the different features they have and their pricing, so you can decide which is the best one that works for you
If you’ve been an Apple user for a long time, you might actually already be familiar with 1Password, considering that it started its life on the iOS.
Since then, it’s gone on to pretty much integrate with anything, whether it’s Android, ChromeOS, Firefox, or any sort of website extension you can think of.
It’s also available for Windows and Linux, as well as Mac, although the last one is no surprise considering it 1Password was born on iOS.
1Password Extra Features
Given it’s rapid rise to be one of the top password managers out there, 1Password has managed to collect a few extra features on its way.
First of all is the 1Password’s travel mode, which essentially allows you to completely hide files or applications on your phone while you’re traveling only to reveal them later.
This works great if you happen to be going to a country with poor privacy regulations, such as the US. Given how common smartphone searches are now when you pass the border, travel mode is a handy little trick to help you get over that issue.
Another great feature is how 1Password can function like a two-factor authenticator, sort of like Google authenticator. That means you don’t have to grab a whole other app to do the authentication for you, which is very convenient with the increasing number of sites that require it.
Family Plan & The Watchtower
Probably the best of all though is the pricing scheme that they have for the ‘family’ plan, although it’s not like they’re gonna check your IDs, so a few friends can get it as well.
Basically, the family plan allows up to 5 people to use 1Password at the cost of $4.99/month, in stark contrast to the individual subscription plan that goes for $2.99/month. The family plan also gives you a shared vault that you can all share passwords with, as well as a handy sharing limit function, which allows some members of the family to have access to the password, but not be able to actually change it, so it’s a form of parental control.
Finally, it does have most of the features you’d expect from a top-class password manager, such as an auto-fill feature, and the ability to take information from input boxes. The Watchtower feature lets you know if any password has been breached and how strong they are generally.
There’s also a handy local sync option which allows you to locally sync your computer to iOS or Android, which can be handy if you’re security conscious.
Overall, 1Password is one of the best password managers because firstly it has a robust feature set and secondly it has some pretty great pricing.
Dashlane is one of the top fighters in 2020 when it comes to password managers, and it’s not surprising considering how feature rich it is, even more so than 1Password in some circumstances.
For starters, and one of our favorite features, Dashlane actually monitors the Dark Web and other places where hacked passwords can be used or sold.
This isn’t just an idle interest, but instead it is used to inform you if any of your passwords have been hacked. In fact, it also tracks things like financial and identification data as well, so it can inform you if somebody could potentially breach your privacy and security.
All about VPNs and Logging
Another excellent feature which you won’t find in most password managers is their included VPN. We seriously can’t understate how out of the norm it is for a password manager to include not only a VPN, but a pretty good one too and is really only beat out in value by the best free VPNs. Dashlanes VPN is great at unlocking geo-restricted content, and they have a no-log policy, so you don’t have to worry about having your activity tracked.
Speaking of tracking and logging, you can choose to not sync your passwords with Dashlanes servers, but instead deal with all that manually between devices. We know that’s not very convenient, especially in the age we live in, but it's much more secure that way, especially since you can keep track of what should go where.
Otherwise, the generally quality of life features provided with Dashlane are excellent, such as their form capturing and filling technology. Not only that, but you can actually replace hundreds of passwords with a click of a button if you so wish, and you only really need to remember the master key to get in.
They also have an encrypted key you can use instead, although be aware that if you forget your master pass and don’t remember the encrypted key, you’ll lose access to all the passwords in your manager.
In terms of pricing it's slightly more expensive than 1Password, although it does have an extra couple of features. Thankfully it does come with a free version which you can try out, although you’re only allowed to store up to 50 passwords and use it on one device. If you go for the individual premium version instead at $3.99/month, you get unlimited passwords, unlimited devices, as well as the dark web monitoring and their VPN, so it’s well worth the price.
They also have a family plan at $5.99/month which gives up to 5 people access. Similar to 1Password, there’s a shared vault as well, and you can even share passwords and access with limited rights, which is very useful.
Dashlane is probably one of the best all-around password managers, not least because you also get a VPN in the bargain, although Dashlane isn’t the only company that has a stake in both VPNs and Password Managers.
If you think the name rings a bell, the Nord company also owns NordVPN, one of the best VPNs out there, so they’re pretty well established in the VPN sphere.
They bring that experience with them to NordPass for a sleek and straightforward experience that even new and non-tech-savvy users can get up to speed with.
The interface is minimalist and doesn’t bombard users with information, which can be a problem for those who can’t deal with tech information overload. Generating passwords is simplicity itself, as is importing passwords or creating passwords through their browser plug-in.
There’s also a built-in 2FA, which is absolutely great, and it works with fingerprint, email or a USB drive, and on top of that there’s the required Master Password, so all your information is secure as can be.
Actually, that brings us to their encryption methodology, which is zero-knowledge, and yes that does mean they don’t know anything. More specifically, NordPass uses XChaCha20, the same thing google uses, and encrypts your password and other log-in information before it even gets to their servers. Essentially, they can’t even look at your information even if they wanted to, which they don’t.
NordPass is available on most platforms thankfully, including some less usual ones like Kindle. You will find it for Windows, Linux and Mac, as well as Android and iOS, so regardless of the device you use, you’ll have access to it. Of course, if you end up going with the free option, you only get to use it on one device, although you do get to store an unlimited amount of passwords.
If instead you opt for the $2.49/month premium subscription, you can have 6 active devices, secure item sharing between them and trust contacts, who you can share passwords with if you want to as well (within limits). There’s also a family plan that gives you 5 accounts to use, each with up to 6 devices, although you will have to go in for the full year at $3.99/month, which is just a dollar and a half more than the individual premium subscription.
Ultimately, the big positive about NordPass is that there’s no fuss, no muss, and you get a good price for it. True, it might not have all the frills of something like Dashlane, but if you don’t need all those extra features, then NordPass’ price is unbeatable, especially if you go with the family plan.
Of course, you might not even need to pay any money, with LastPass, considering that it’s one of the most popular password managers due to its free offering.
Unlike other password managers, with LastPass not only do you get an unlimited number of passwords to save, you can also use it on an unlimited number of devices.
That’s right, you only need one account and you can use it on everything, which isn’t something you see a lot of other top tier password managers out there.
Great for any application
Given that you have access to an unlimited number of devices, you’ll be happy to hear that you can find LastPass on all the main platforms, from Windows, Linux and Mac, to Android and iOS. In fact, speaking of the mobile platform, LastPass is one of the few password managers that allows you to auto-fill login credentials on applications, so it’s incredibly handy if you use your mobile for most of your privacy and security usage.
Of course, the app also functions as 2FA, and it even has support for Yubikey, Sesame and fingerprint scanners if you chose to go with the more complex MFA option.
In terms of features you get some pretty good ones, and that revolves around LastPass’ vault. Not only can you save login credentials, you can even save things like credit card information and addresses, which is great if you shop often. Their encrypted note feature in general is pretty useful, since you can store any kind of information on top of all that, like insurance info and so on, that you worry about being stolen or seen.
While you get a ton of features with the free version, the paid version is reasonably priced at $3/month that gives you 1GB of encrypted storage. They also have a family plan for $4/month, which is actually a pretty great price, as you get 6 premium licenses for family members or friends to use.
So why go for the premium when the free version is so great? Well, the premium version adds a bunch of nifty features, such as being able to share items with several users and dark web monitoring, which is a must these days. On top of that you get priority tech support and the application auto-fill function we mentioned above.
LastPass is a perfect password manager if you’re on a budget of $0 and are happy with something relatively simple. Don’t get us wrong, their premium offer is great, but LastPass free is one of the best free offerings out there.
Another great password manager, especially if you’re tech-savvy, is BitWarden.
The biggest positive about BitWarden is that it’s completely open source. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what that means, well basically the whole code is freely available.
This allows pretty much anybody to go through every single line of the code with a fine tooth comb to make sure that no shenanigans are going on. Not only that, but it's already been audited by a 3rd party company and found to be secure, so you’re doubly sure that all your information is safe.
One of the best free solutions
Speaking of information, BitWarden is at the top when it comes to free solutions for password managers, along with LastPass free. Probably the best thing offered is the unlimited passwords along with multi-device syncing, which isn’t the same as other pass managers that only offer one device on the free option. You also get a lot of the same functionality as LastPass in terms of encrypted storage for notes, financial data, credit cards, the works.
One thing that does make it differ from LastPass is that you can store your data offline and sync it all manually whenever you please. On top of that, there is actually a self-hosting option, so if you run your own quality secure dedicated server or have your own top VPS hosting solution, this is a great option for you. BitWarden is one of the few of the cheap password managers that give you both features, and we definitely appreciate that.
Of course, you can choose to pay for Premium, and it’s shockingly cheap at $10/year. That’s right, it’s less than a dollar to get the Premium features, which expands two-step logins to include Duo,YubiKey, and U2F. You also get 1GB storage, and arguably more important, vault health reports, which are great at letting you know how secure your stuff is. There’s also a family plan if you’d like to go for that, costing only $1/month for 5 users. It’s gonna be hard to find cheaper than that.
Granted, BitWarden might not have all the frills of a more robust password manager, but for something that is great when free, and excellent when asking you to pay a poultry sum, I’d give it a pass and say it’s one of the best password managers out there.
RoboForm has been around for a while actually, and it did very much sit a bit idly for a while before receiving a major update recently which really spruced it up.
This may sound shocking to you, but RoboForm is probably one of the best password managers when it comes to form filling (the name might have tipped you off).
It has one of the most advanced form filling features, allowing you to not only create many different ‘profiles’ for each webpage, but it also does so for 8 different categories, such as credit card and address information, along with the usually login credentials.
This is a great feature if you regularly share this type of information with others, since you won’t have to manually login and fill that information.
Easy to use
What’s even better is that organization is relatively easy here, and while the interface isn’t the cleanest, it is one of the easiest to use for arranging your information. Actually, the best part is that RoboForm manages to handle even the weirdest and multiple page forms that need filling, so it’s also excellent if you run into the problem of password managers not being able to fill certain forms.
Aside from it’s excellent form filling, RoboForm has the standard array of features you’d expect from a password manager. For example it has a reasonably strong password generator that uses an open-source password strength tester called ‘zxcvbn’, as well as pretty nice 2FA, although no MFA sadly. It does have a nice bookmarking feature that you can then sync on to other devices with RoboForm, which adds a lot of convenience.
RoboForm is offered in a free and premium version, with the premium costing you $23.88/year but giving you access to syncing across devices, cloud backup, 2FA and of course priority support. The pricing is pretty good and if you’d like to go with the family plan it will cost you $47.75/year and give you 5 accounts for your family or friends to use.
While Keeper may be at the end of the list, it's certainly not the least, considering that it’s one of the best for encrypted file sharing.
Sadly, Keeper doesn’t come with a free option like other password managers on this list, but the fact that it's a premium only product means that you are getting premium only features.
For starters, one of the most unique things about Keeper is KeeperChat, a completely isolated and encrypted messaging system that you can use with other Keeper users. Not only that, but it boasts self-destruct messages, message retraction and private galleries. If you don’t know much about encrypted messaging, those are some really great features to have.
Then there’s the whopping 10GB of encrypted cloud storage that you get, plus the option to upgrade it to 50GB. That’s on-par with something like pCloud, which we consider one of the best cloud storage services.
Encryption and security doesn’t stop there though, with KeeperDNA, a unique form of biometric 2FA which can also work with the fingerprint scanner on your phone. On top of that there’s BreachWatch, which keeps an eye out on the Dark Web to make sure none of your login credentials have been cracked.
Then there’s the secret audit, which audits all your passwords for strength and can generate new passwords for you to use (although sadly, there’s no function to replace the old passwords with the new generated ones).
In terms of pricing, you can get the Keeper Password Manager bundle which is $2.91/month, the Keeper Plus Bundle for $4.87/month which adds the dark web monitoring and secure file storage, or you can go for the Keeper Max Bundle for $6.01/month which also adds keeper chat. The system is slightly convoluted, but we do like that it breaks up the different features so you only have to pay for the stuff you want.
Also, Keeper tends to run discounts often, so you won’t necessarily be paying full price anyway.
Overall, Keeper is probably the best when it comes to security and encryption, with the one downside being that it is a premium product and you will have to pay. If you’re ok with that, and you need the additional encryption features like the encrypted chat and storage, you won’t easily beat Keeper.
As you can see, the pricing and feature packages of password managers vary widely, and allow you to really pick the best fit for your needs. We know that sometimes people want to buy the best thing because of the premium feel, but that might not be what works best for you. Thankfully, most of these offer a free version, so you should definitely try that out if you aren’t 100% sure before diving in.
We’ll also say that there’s a few more good password managers that just barely didn’t make the cut, such as LogMeOnce, Zoho Vault and Enpass. While we suggest going with one of the pass managers we listed above, if you see one of these three around, they are worth checking out.