5 Best Password Managers That Make Digital Security Easy
Best Overall Password Manager
- Easily shared
- Security breach alerts
Best Free Password Manager
- Sync devices
- Export option
Free or $10/yr
Best Business Password Manager
- Good for work & home
- Single sign-on
Free or $3/mo
Finding the best password managers can appear challenging due to the various options available on the market—1Password, Dashlane, Keeper, and so many others.
Our research and in-depth testing have highlighted five different password manager options, but which is the perfect choice for your digital lifestyle? We’ll take a closer look at what each password manager has to offer so that we can find you the best option.
What Is a Password Manager?
A password manager is a piece of software that stores all your passwords for signing into your digital services, such as your bank or Netflix account.
The best aspect of a password manager is that you only need to remember a single master password to unlock your ‘password vault.’ All the actual passwords for your digital services can be complex yet secure, combinations of numbers, letters, and symbols as you don’t need to remember them—phew!
If you need assistance with creating a secure password for your vault, you won’t need to fret as a password generator is typically included with most password managers. With the use of a password generator, your secure password manager can automatically create a password for you that is more likely to stand up to malicious attacks.
When it’s time to sign in to your financial institution, favorite streaming video service or that fantastic cat blog you love, your password manager will ask you for the password for your vault, then automatically fill in the needed login information from right within your web browser or via a desktop app. Staying secure has never been easier with a password manager.
Best Password Managers for 2022
What Are the Best Password Managers?
While all of the password managers we will be talking about are solid options, each offers a few different features that make them stand out. Keep reading to learn about our top picks for the best password managers and find out which solution is the best for you.
1Password – Best Overall Password Manager
- Desktop App available for Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux and Chrome OS
- Easily share password information with others whether or not they have 1Password installed
- Watchtower features alert to you to any security breaches that may occur involving your accounts
- While a free trial is available, 1Password doesn’t offer a free version tier for its users
Pricing: Starts at $2.99/mo.
1Password is our top pick for the best overall password manager. If you are looking for the best solution to secure your passwords and manage your security online with ease, 1Password is an option you can jump into without much doubt.
You can install the 1Password password manager onto a wide breadth of platforms, including Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux and Chrome OS. This means that no matter what platform or devices you use — smartphone, tablet, or computer — you’ll always have access to your passwords.
One feature we love: in addition to storing unlimited passwords, you can also store up to 1GB of documents. With 1Password, you can store sensitive notes or documents such as tax documents or notes that include sensitive information such as Social Security numbers.
Do you need to share information with others, such as your HBO Max or Disney+ login? With a few clicks or taps, you can share a password to a fellow 1Password user’s vault or create a secure web link to the password that expires within a set period.
Another excellent feature that highlights 1Password’s commitment to keeping its users secure is its Watchtower feature, which allows you to keep an eye on your accounts and receive an alert if there are any security issues. 1Password will then walk you through resetting your password to restrengthen your account security.
The primary downside to 1Password is the lack of a free version, which most password managers do offer. If you want to use 1Password, you’ll need to pony up at least $2.99 a month. for a personal account, or $4.99 a month for a family account that supports up to five people. Business and enterprise offerings are also available, starting at $7.99 a month per user.
Bitwarden – Best Free Password Manager
- Excellent free version that allows users to store unlimited passwords
- Unlimited ability to connect with and sync multiple devices
- Encrypted export if you choose to switch password managers
- Free version doesn’t offer encrypted file storage or advanced security features
Pricing: Free or starting at $10/yr
If you are looking for a password manager but aren’t sure you want to shell out the dough for a subscription, you’ll want to try out Bitwarden. We found the Bitwarden password manager to be well designed while supporting various platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and Linux.
The Bitwarden free tier offers the majority of the platform’s features, including unlimited device syncing, mobile device and browser apps, unlimited vault items, and the ability to generate secure passwords. This all means that you can store your valuable password data without worrying about hitting an arbitrary limit.
The free tier supports only a single user, and there’s no option to store encrypted files in your vault; if you want to keep a few sensitive documents secure, you’ll need to look into the paid plan.
Like many other password managers, Bitwarden allows you to export your vault if you wish to make a backup or decide to move to a different password manager. In particular, we praise Bitwarden for allowing users to export their vault as an encrypted JSON file to keep it more secure.
If you decide that you want a bit more than what the free version offers, you can upgrade to the Premium tier for an impressive $10 a year. At that level, you’ll gain the ability to share encrypted files, store up to 1GB of secure files, gain access to additional security features and be able to contact Bitwarden’s priority support if the need arises.
LastPass – Best Password Manager for Business (Enterprise)
- Supports Single Sign-on (SSO) apps with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
- Employees gain access to LastPass Families for at-home security
- Customizable security policies
- Best features are on the more expensive Business plan, rather than the more affordable Teams plan
Pricing: Free or starting at $3/mo.
Let’s start by saying that while LastPass is the best password manager for business and enterprise organizations, it makes a fantastic choice for personal users too. However, for this guide, we’re going to dive deeper into what makes LastPass an excellent option for business users.
For those looking into a password manager for business, you’ll need to ensure that the monthly price per user isn’t too prohibitive and that an internal system, such as Single Sign-on (SSO), is supported. LastPass has grown a reputation for being a platform that is secure within the workplace and adaptable.
The less expensive Teams plan for businesses starts at $4/mo. per user and provides a vault for up to 50 people. Shared folders, standard security policies, and basic reporting are all included with the plan. This option allows small to medium-sized businesses to manage their security better and handle passwords in the workplace.
However, most enterprise users will want to step up to the slightly more expensive Business plan at $6 a month per user. The Business plan allows for unlimited users, Single Sign-on (SSO) support with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), and access to 100+ customizable security policies. An admin dashboard is also provided for keeping an eye on everything.
One interesting part of the Business plan that we particularly like is that every employee is given a LastPass Families account to continue positive security habits outside the workplace. While this is an excellent perk for workers, it also allows IT to take a breath, knowing that even work data can be secure on home machines.
To throw in one mention of the personal plans, LastPass offers a free version that is a decent competitor to Bitwarden’s free offering. However, in the end, we still prefer Bitwarden’s free plan as it allows you to use multiple devices.
Other Excellent Password Managers
While we’ve shared our top picks for the best password managers, there are still a few other options that you may want to consider. Sometimes, you’ll find an aspect of a password manager that simply doesn’t work for your digital life; these are some excellent alternatives in those scenarios.
- Emergency Access feature in case of an emergency or death
- Save and restore your vault to past points in time
- Offers a free 30-day trial of its Unlimited tier before defaulting to the free version
- Secure file storage is limited without paying for the “Secure File Storage” add-on plan
- Dark web monitoring is also an add-on and will cost you extra
Pricing: Free or starting at $2.91/mo.
While Keeper didn’t make it into our top three choices for the best password managers, that doesn’t mean you should avoid it. Keeper is a highly competent option.
Keeper offers many of the same benefits as other password managers on our list, such as login autofill, the ability to store credit card information and other sensitive data, as well as secure file storage. However, Keeper limits the number of files you can store unless you add its “Secure File Storage” feature to your subscription.
One feature that we love from Keeper is the ability to save and restore your vault to a previous point in time. Let’s say there’s an issue and your password vault gets scrambled; with only a few clicks, you can restore everything how it was a few days, weeks or months ago.
Keeper also implements a smart Emergency Access feature that allows up to five emergency contacts to access your vault in the case of an emergency or death. Perhaps you are in the hospital, and a secure insurance file needs to be accessed within your vault; if your spouse has been granted access, they would be able to retrieve the file.
Keeper does offer a free version of its password manager, but we find it quite limited without web access and multi-device syncing. Luckily, you can enjoy a 30-day trial of Keeper Unlimited before deciding if it’s the right choice for you. Just note that if you want Secure File Storage or BreachWatch Dark Web Monitoring, you’ll need to pay extra.
- Includes a VPN for better protection when using public WiFi
- Automatic Password Changer feature to change potentially compromised passwords
- Dark web monitoring for up to five email addresses
- More expensive than the competition
Pricing: Free or starting at $4.99/mo.
If you watch YouTube, it’s unlikely that you haven’t heard of Dashlane, as the company has been sponsoring many YouTuber’s channels. Dashlane is yet another solid password management option, and it includes a few excellent features, such as a VPN with all non-free account subscriptions.
A VPN allows you to browse the web while disguising your IP address; the result is a more secure experience that is perfect for banking or accessing other sensitive online accounts. We highly recommend using a VPN when using public WiFi (such as at a hotel) for such tasks, and we’re thrilled to see that Dashlane includes one with its services.
Dashlane has another great way to look out for your security—Dark Web Monitoring. You can register up to five email addresses and receive an alert if one is seen on the dark web, a place on the internet where hackers may be attempting to sell your data.
Suppose any of your data does happen to be compromised. In that case, Dashlane’s Automatic Password Changer will automatically log in to and change your password on affected sites. However, the feature only works with supported websites.
The biggest downside to Dashlane would have to be its pricing. While many other password managers offer premium services as low as a few bucks a month, Dashlane Premium will cost you at least $4.99 a month. That’s if you plan to pay yearly; if you opt to pay monthly, Dashlane Premium will run you $6.49 a month for a personal account or $8.99 a month for a family account.
Frequently Asked Questions
Unfortunately, hacking and security vulnerabilities are something that every password manager on our last has had to deal with in the past. But the rating of a password manager’s security is also based on how well the company can patch the problem or alert its users. We feel confident recommending any of the password managers on our list for use and have found that the companies have responded well to security vulnerabilities.
It’s challenging to determine which password manager is the strongest, but each option in our guide has proven effective in managing customer passwords. The password managers we recommend use strong encryption standards and two-factor authentication (2FA) to keep users safe.
The biggest reason you wouldn’t want to use one of our best password managers is that forgetting your master password would mean losing access to your entire vault. However, utilizing a password manager is the best way to manage your online account security. Some password managers even offer to have family members unlock your vault if you forget your password or the need arises.
All of the password managers we recommended can auto-fill passwords, making the process of using a password manager a cinch. Our top-rated password manager is 1Password, and it offers an elegant and easy interface to navigate across multiple device types.
While LastPass and 1Password are both exceptional password managers, 1Password took the award for our top recommended option. However, we still encourage the use of LastPass and feel it excels, particularly in business and enterprise environments.
Michael Archambault is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder specializing in technology.