There was a time when most people could get by with a handful of easy-to-remember passwords. But with more and more personal and financial data being stored online, the need for complicated passwords and secure ways to store them has given rise to the password manager.
According to Keeper Security, 81% of data breaches are due to weak password security with the average cost of a data breach to a company coming in at $7 million. Password managers let users create hard-to-break passwords and automatically log in to websites without having to remember those passwords. Many also analyze the strength of passwords, monitor accounts for data breaches, and provide secure private browsing networks.
We looked at over a dozen password managers and chose the best based on reputation, ease of use, additional security features, quality of free plans, cost, and more. Here are our top seven picks.
Best Overall : LastPass
We chose LastPass as the best overall because it offers a rich set of free features allowing most users to get everything they need without paying anything. It can be accessed on most browsers and virtually all smart devices and also offers more robust sharing features through its paid versions.
Easy to use
Feature-rich free version
Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
Outdated desktop apps
Can’t auto-fill some personal data types
Website hacked in 2015
LastPass was created in 2008 by four developers tired of having to encrypt and decrypt their password document every time they updated it. By the time it was bought by SaaS company LogMeIn in 2015, it had grown to seven million users supported by just 30 employees.
LastPass is a browser-based password manager with extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Edge as well as Android, iOS, and Windows phone apps. It uses the industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption and also offers multi-factor authentication (MFA) which lets users access their account using a smartphone or fingerprint.
LastPass’s free plan offers unlimited passwords, multiple device syncing, one-to-one encrypted password and information sharing, and a digital wallet that stores and automatically fills in credit card information. All of this makes it a robust option and our choice as the best overall password manager.
Users can choose a Personal plan for $3 per month, which includes password sharing on multiple devices and 1GB of encrypted file storage, or a Family plan for $4 per month that adds six additional sharing licenses. Both offer a 30-day free trial.
Best for Extra Security Features : Dashlane
We chose Dashlane as the best for extra security features because it offers dark web scanning for data leaks, a secure virtual private network (VPN), and a password changer option.
Easy syncing between devices
Dark web monitoring
50 password limit on free plan
Free plan limited to use on one device
Limited cloud storage
French-based company Dashlane launched its password manager in 2009 which has quickly risen to become a major player in the marketplace. It offers both a robust free plan and paid plans with additional security support for its customers.
Dashlane’s free plan is limited to 50 passwords and one device and offers the standard form and payment autofill as well as two-factor authentication and the ability to share up to five accounts. Dashlane offers apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS as well as access on Linux-based platforms and Chromebooks via browser extensions.
A personal Premium Dashlane account costs $59 for one year and offers unlimited passwords, unlimited devices, dark web monitoring that scans the web and alerts customers of leaked personal data, and a built-in VPN, giving this product the edge over other password managers when it comes to extra features.
Customers can also choose a Premium Family account for $89 per year which includes all of the features of the personal Premium account for five people with private accounts for each member and the ability to share an unlimited number of logins.
One fancy feature we liked about Dashlane that few other services offer is a password changer that replaces hundreds of passwords with a single click.
Best Multi-Device Platform : LogMeOnce
We chose LogMeOnce as the best for cross-platform support since it allows users to access their passwords and log in on just about any browser, computer, or mobile device with a photo, fingerprint, or PIN.
Can be overwhelming to new users
Add-ons can get expensive
LogMeOnce has launched multiple security, network management, CRM, and security management companies and products since 1986. Its password manager offers cross-platform support, making it easy for users to access their passwords and logins on any desktop or mobile device and making this the top choice for multi-device platforms.
LogMeOnce offers a free ad-supported plan that includes unlimited passwords and devices, two-factor authentication, and 1MB of encrypted file storage. Users are limited in the number of secure notes, credit cards, and shared passwords and can expand each limit with add-on costs. Three paid plans ranging from $2.50 to $4.99 per month add additional storage and sharing as well as the ability to add up to six family members.
LogMeOnce boasts an impressive list of over 50 features, many of which are unique to their platform and allow for deep customization. Users can get a customizable dashboard, a snapshot of anyone who tries to hack their account or device, scheduled logins, photo logins, and more.
Best Free Option : Bitwarden
We chose Bitwarden as the best free option because it beats out even LastPass’s free plan by offering all of the same features plus unlimited devices and sharing.
Unlimited passwords and sync in free version
Secure password generator
Some issues with Edge browser extension
Limited iOS support
Secure sharing costs extra
Bitwarden was originally launched as a password manager iOS and Android app in 2015. It is the only open-source password manager we reviewed and offers an impressive range of features in its free plan, giving it the edge over comparable password programs.
Bitwarden’s free plan includes syncing across devices, secure note and credit card storage, two-factor authentication, and the option to store passwords offline rather than in the cloud.
Bitwarden’s Premium plan costs only $10 for one year and includes 1GB of encrypted file storage, additional authentication options, password generator, and advanced support. Upgrading to the Family Sharing plan costs $40 and adds up to six users with unlimited collections and sharing as well as an extra 1GB of personal storage.
As an open-source platform, Bitwarden’s code is freely available for anyone to inspect, test, and fix, making it potentially more resilient than many other password managers that have to wait for developer updates. Bitwarden also regularly uses third parties to audit its platform for security.
Bitwarden is available as an app for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux, and offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, Safari, and more. However, some users have reported problems with the Edge extension.
Best for New Users : RememBear
We chose RememBear as the best for new users because it offers a game-like interface, cute bear jokes, and a playful walkthrough to help non-technical users manage their passwords for a very affordable price.
Fun and easy to use
Good free plan
Simple master password recovery
Limited import options
No advanced security or encryption features
No password strength checker
RememBear was launched in 2017 by TunnelBear, which had previously created an intuitive VPN service for people with no technical knowledge. The company’s commitment to fun and simplicity resulted in it tackling the password management space with RememBear as the best for those who are new to password managers and just need the basics.
While most password managers focus on users looking for advanced security, RememBear caters to those who are brand new to password management with a fun, lighthearted, and easy-to-use interface. It’s available as an app for Windows and Mac computers, iOS and Android phones, and also offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
RememBear’s free plan is considerably less robust than free versions of other password managers, offering unlimited password, note, and credit card data storage on only one device. Users can also import data from 1Password and Chrome and enjoy two-factor authentication with fingerprint and face recognition.
RememBear Premium gives password managers 1Password or Dashlane a run for their money with highly-rated apps, secure backups, and priority customer service, all for just $6 per month.
Best for Families : 1Password
We chose 1Password as the best for families because it offers a deep level of protection beyond simple password security that extends to the whole family and also makes it easy to manage and add individual users.
14-day free trial
No free version
Sharing limited to family plans
Originally developed as a password manager for Mac computers in 2005, 1Password currently offers apps for Windows, Android, and iOS as well as extensions for all major browsers and boasts over 15 million users worldwide.
Although 1Password doesn’t offer a free plan, users do get a 30-day free trial with any paid plan.
The 1Password plan costs $2.99 per month billed annually and includes unlimited passwords and device syncing, 1GB of secure document storage, a digital wallet, and 24/7 email support.
The 1Password Family plan costs $4.99 per month billed annually and adds the ability to share passwords and data with five family members and easy account recovery. Users can also set different permissions for each family member, and add more users for $1 each, making it the most cost-effective solution for big family needs.
Additional features for both plans include 1Password Watchtower, which scans the web for potential security breaches, and a travel mode that lets users delete sensitive data from their devices before they travel and restore it later with just a click.
Best Enterprise-Level Manager : Keeper
We chose Keeper as the best enterprise-level password manager because it offers advanced levels of security for teams of all sizes with additional security add-ons that allow businesses to customize their security based on their needs.
Secure password sharing and inheritance
Full password and file history
No free version
No quick access PIN
Keeper was created in 2008 by two developers who were frustrated by the lack of password managers for mobile devices at the time. Today, the company offers advanced password management and security for individuals, families, and businesses.
Although Keeper doesn’t offer any free plans, a 14-day free trial is available for its Business level service. Keeper Business costs $45 per user per year and includes an encrypted vault for every user, shared team folders, unlimited device access, security auditing, activity reporting, and team management. It's big business solutions are more robust compared to other password managers, helping it win the enterprise-level category.
Keeper Enterprise has a single sign-on (SAML 2.0) authentication, automated team management, and advanced two-factor authentication. Both plans also include an admin console, role-based access, version control and record history, and secure file storage.
Keeper offers plugins for every major browser, plus apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. Users can also pay for add ons, including an encrypted chat messenger, advanced reporting and alerts, dedicated onboarding and training, and dark web and security breach monitoring.
What Is a Password Manager?
A password manager simply allows users to generate complex passwords for online accounts on the spot and store them securely for later use. Most are zero-knowledge platforms that store passwords and personal information locally on a device encrypted with 256-bit AES encryption keys, the same used by the U.S. military and government.
Password managers exist as either a smartphone or desktop app or as a browser extension that automatically fills in the username and password on saved sites. Nearly every password manager uses two-factor authentication, which requires users to confirm their login using two different methods, such as a password and code sent to a device.
Since many large corporations have suffered crippling data breaches that compromised the security of their customers, many password managers also offer additional security features. These include scanning both data breach records and the dark web where many cyber hackers roam looking for evidence of user data.
How Safe Are Password Managers?
In many ways, password managers are safer than the companies that actually store their customers’ data and passwords. Since each password is encrypted on a user’s device, password manager providers don’t actually keep any lists of passwords. This means that if they get hacked, while some customer data may be compromised, no passwords will be stolen.
From a personal standpoint, password managers allow users to come up with as many complicated passwords as they want and lock them all behind one master password. Users can often bypass the need to remember that one by activating multiple authentication features like fingerprint or facial recognition.
Why Do Hackers Target Password Managers?
Because password managers don’t actually store passwords, hackers can’t access them by breaching their databases. Instead, most try to access customer emails to try and trick them into revealing their master password.
With that said, some major password managers have suffered data breaches in the last five years, including LastPass, Dashlane, 1Password, and Keeper. Hackers were unable to break each company’s encryption keys, and instead targeted vulnerabilities in browser extensions and apps to access customer data to get users to enter their password. All vulnerabilities were quickly fixed by each company.
How Much Do Password Managers Cost?
Most of the top password managers offer free plans that are perfectly adequate for the average user. All offer tiered pricing that offers syncing across multiple devices and more advanced security features.
Most of the password managers we reviewed cost around $3 per month for a personal plan and around $5 for a family plan that allows multiple users to share passwords and data. Many offer annual pricing models with the lowest at $10 per year and the highest at $179.99.
How We Chose the Password Managers
We looked at over a dozen password managers for this review. At the top of our list were providers who were widely used and trusted with no critical security issues. Ease of use was also important as was the ability to share data across multiple devices and platforms.
We also looked for password managers with a good set of features in their free plans. We only included a few that didn’t offer a free plan because of the quality of features in their tiered paid plans.
Finally, we looked at cost. Although most offered strong free plans, we made sure to include options that provided additional security features, accessibility, and users (like families) for a reasonable price. In the end, paying for a password manager is an investment in a company dedicated to protecting sensitive customer data from the onslaught of cyberattacks and a small price for peace of mind.