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Keeper password manager review

Keeper is a solid, dependable, inexpensive password manager that's very secure

Keeper review
(Image: © Keeper)

Our Verdict

Keeper is not the flashiest password manager, but it works well, has excellent security features and is not expensive.

For

  • Solid, no-nonsense apps, browser extension and website
  • Very strong security
  • Clean, streamlined look
  • Reasonably priced

Against

  • Lacks identity form filling
  • Mobile apps need a design refresh
Keeper specs

Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome OS
Free version: Single device
2FA: Yes
Browser plugins: Chrome, Edge, Firefox, IE, Opera, Safari
Form filling: Yes
Mobile PIN unlock: No
Biometric login: Face ID, Touch ID on iOS & macOS, Windows Hello, Pixel Face Unlock, most Android fingerprint readers

The Keeper password manager took a major step forward with a redesign and feature boost a couple of years ago, placing itself among market leaders LastPass, 1Password and Dashlane. 

Since then, Keeper has kept pushing the desktop experience forward, with a number of new add-ons that will appeal to many users.

As you’ll see in our Keeper password-manager review, the service could be smoother at handling identity documents, which are clunky to create. However, until recently Keeper kept its pricing unchanged while other password managers raised theirs. 

Keeper is our runner-up, second only to LastPass, among the best password managers.

UPDATED to reflect price changes. This review was originally published June 22, 2020.

Keeper: Costs and what's covered

After years of not raising prices, parent company Keeper Security finally hiked rates in the summer of 2020, although not unreasonably. The password manager has gone from $29.99 to $34.99 per year for a single user ($27.99 for Tom's Guide readers) and from $59.99 to $74.99 for a family plan that can include up to five users.

Despite this, Keeper is still one of the most reasonably priced password managers, as its chief competitors Dashlane, LastPass and 1Password had previously raised their annual subscription prices for single premium users to $59.99, $36 and $35.88, respectively.

Keeper's free tier includes unlimited password storage, a password generator, automatic form filling and unlimited storage of payment and identity information. But you can't sync items among your various devices, so it will be a no-go for most users. Fortunately, you do get a 30-day free trial of the premium service to see whether it's right for you.

Keeper's individual paid plan includes everything in the free plan plus syncing across unlimited devices on all platforms, secure record-sharing, priority 24/7 support and emergency access for family members in case you are ever incapacitated.

The family plan for Keeper adds 10GB of secure storage to your account, which premium personal subscribers can also get for an extra $9.99 per year.

(Image credit: Keeper)

Other potential add-ons for Keeper include BreachWatch ($19.99 a year), which monitors the dark web for your personal information. The Keeper Chat secure private-messaging service is also $20 a year. 

An all-in-one bundle that includes the password manager, BreachWatch, the 10GB of online storage and the Chat service costs $85 a year; the corresponding family bundle is $175.

Keeper supports macOS 10.12.2 and later, Windows 7 and up and some of the more widely used Linux distributions (Fedora, Red Hat, Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS and Linux Mint). The Keeper browser extension is compatible with Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari and Opera.

On mobile devices, Keeper supports iOS 9.0 and up, although you need iOS 12 to take full advantage of the form-filling capabilities. Android support goes back to 5.0 Lollipop, but similarly, you must be on Android 8.0 or above for full functionality.

For this review, I used Keeper on a 2017 MacBook Pro 15 running Windows 10 and macOS 10.14 Mojave, an iPhone 7 Plus, and a Google Pixel 3 running Android 9 Pie. Google Chrome was my primary browser across all platforms but testing on macOS and iOS was also done with Safari.

Keeper on the desktop

Since our last review, Keeper has had a user-interface overhaul refresh that brings it much more in line with other top password managers. The standalone desktop application and the Keeper website interface have the same interface and nearly the same functions, so switching back and forth between the two is seamless.

The KeeperFill browser extensions are still pretty basic experiences, providing only access to your login credentials and a link to your password vault. The settings for the extensions are pretty deep, though, giving you granular control over where and how the form-filling prompts show up.

While it might be nice to have a couple of more features in the browser extensions, it's easy enough to jump into the web interface if you need to do anything more complex than tracking down a set of credentials.

Many users should be fine just using the Keeper web interface instead of the Keeper desktop application. The one thing you gain with the desktop application is the ability to use biometric login methods, such as Touch ID on macOS and Windows Hello authentication on Windows.

The Keeper desktop application uses a left-column layout that has been dramatically streamlined — and the extra menu options that once were across the top of the page are thankfully gone. It's a much cleaner look, and it saves you from parsing through a bunch of features that you won't use on a daily basis.

(Image credit: Keeper)

My Vault is the default starting point and displays all your records in a grid layout that now features website logos, a huge visual upgrade. The text-only list view remains an option for those who prefer it.

(Image credit: Keeper)

Hovering your mouse over an item lets you launch it and go directly to the relevant website, but it doesn't automatically sign you in. Clicking the overflow menu in the upper-right corner of any item entry lets you edit, launch, or share the item, add it to favorites, view record history, create a shortcut, create a duplicate or delete the record.

In the edit menu, you will find the password generator, which is represented by a six-sided die. Password options appear once you click the die. The edit menu is also where you can add custom fields, files, photos or notes to your records.

Sharing records is quick and easy. You simply enter the email address of the individual with whom you wish to share the record and it will notify them via email.

You can choose whether to give the recipient read-only access, read and edit access, read and share access or full edit and share access. Recipients will need a Keeper account, free or paid, to access the record.

View record history lets you view any changes made to a record back to May 2017. The necessity for this comes up occasionally with passwords if you are trying to recover an account, so while it isn't the sort of thing you would use regularly, it could be incredibly valuable should you need it someday.

Keeper has made organizing passwords easy. You can create a folder from the "Create New" button in the top left corner of the interface. You then have a number of options: you can drag and drop records, you can click the options menu in the item and select "Move to" the folder and, finally, you can open the folder and search or scroll through your records and add them from there.

(Image credit: Keeper)

The Identity and Payments section, where you can store personal information or payment cards, is underdeveloped compared to some other password managers. 

Keeper's version only has space for minimal personal info such as your name, address and phone number, as well as a payment card's number, expiration date, security code and billing address.

If you want to save the information on an identity document like a driver's license or a passport, though, you have to create custom fields in a new standard record instead. 

This solution works, but it feels out of place to have a section labeled as "identity" that accepts virtually no identity information, and when other leading password managers have dedicated templates for common ID documents.

Keeper's Security Audit gives you an overall security score based on all your passwords and color-codes each one red, yellow or green. You can view all your reused passwords and weak passwords. You can also sort your passwords by strength or age.

Unfortunately, correcting your questionable password habits will be a lengthy fix the first time around. It requires a minimum of five clicks per password, and that doesn't include navigating to the site in question and actually making the change. 

The good news is that this should be a one-time event as going forward you'll be using Keeper to craft virtually uncrackable passwords.

Keeper lacks one feature rival password managers LastPass and Dashlane boast of. Dashlane can change dozens or even hundreds of website passwords simultaneously, and LastPass can change individual passwords for several dozen websites with a single click. 

The catch is that each participating website has to give Dashlane or LastPass a certain degree of access to its interface.  Keeper's developers feel that creates an unnecessary security risk and have no intention of introducing such a feature.

Keeper's interface incorporates the company's BreachWatch dark-web-monitoring service. If you haven't paid extra for this service, then it's useless as it will perpetually indicate that your records are at risk. (You can get similar information for free at haveibeenpwned.com.)

At the top of the interface are a search box, a discreet list of potential add-ons to buy, and your email address. Clicking on the latter will let you view your account information and settings, which is where you can set up the Emergency Access feature.

Emergency Access lets you designate up to five trusted individuals who can access your Keeper account in case you lose your master password, die or are otherwise incapacitated. 

Access is given only after a period of account inactivity, which can range from no time to three months. (In previous versions of Keeper, the maximum period was a week.)

Trusted individuals will need a free or paid Keeper account to access your records. Naturally, you can stop the inactivity countdown clock if you are able to access your account again.

Keeper mobile apps

The Keeper Mobile Apps seem slightly cluttered due to the number of features. The main menu, accessed via the hamburger icon in the upper-left corner, has 16 items compared to only five in the desktop interface, including irrelevant sections such as the paid Chats and BreachWatch add-ons. 

The Import feature isn't actually supported in the mobile app — it just redirects you to the desktop software.

(Image credit: Keeper)

Despite the outdated user interface, the mobile apps do an excellent job of bringing over most of the functionality from the desktop and web interfaces.

You can view, edit and create new records in your vault. The full password generator is available. Sharing gets a prominent role on mobile, with an action button at the bottom right corner when viewing records to share with a user, create a shared folder or add to an existing shared folder.

Identity and payment data is available to view, edit and create as well. Credit cards are easier to import on mobile than on desktop, as you can use your phone or tablet's camera to scan them in.

Security Audit is also available. Oddly, the mobile version was considerably more critical than the desktop one, giving me a lower overall password score despite being presented with the same information.

Unlike most other password managers, Keeper does not let you set up a PIN to unlock its mobile apps instead of typing in the master password. 

That's no oversight; Keeper sees mobile-app PINs as inherently insecure. But it does let you log in with Touch ID or Face ID on iOS, with Face Unlock on Pixel 4 phones, and with your fingerprint on many Android phones.

Keeper takes good advantage of the support for third-party form filling that Apple introduced with iOS 12 and Google did with Android 8.0 Oreo. As long as your device runs a recent version of either operating system, you won't need to worry about share sheets or separate keyboards anymore.

While the Keeper mobile apps are in desperate need of an interface-design update to match what's been done on the desktop side of things, the apps remain completely functional and handle the primary task of filling your username and passwords perfectly and offer you full access to the features from the desktop app.

Keeper: Setup

The first step is to create a Keeper account by entering an email address and a master password. Unusually for a password manager, you also have to create a security question and its answer. (More on that in the Security section below.)

(Image credit: Keeper)

Keeper will then prompt you to import existing passwords by downloading and using the Keeper Import tool. By default, the tool imported some passwords I had saved in the Chrome browser's password manager, and it then asked if I would like to import more.

Keeper remains a front-runner with its password-import options, supporting imports from more than 20 password managers and browsers. It also has a simple CSV import option.

(Image credit: Keeper)

The browser-based web app looks basically identical to the desktop app, but you should go to Keeper's download page for both the relevant desktop app for your device and the KeeperFill extension for any supported browsers that you use.

The Keeper mobile apps are available in the iOS and Android app stores. Setup was quick and easy, with all my data syncing immediately after I entered my email address and master password. 

Setting up KeeperFill took about another 30 seconds of granting permissions, and then I was ready to go.

Keeper: Security

Like the other password managers that I tested, Keeper relies on AES 256-bit encryption to secure data on its servers and on your computers and smartphones. Your data is only ever unencrypted on your device after you enter your master password, so even if Keeper's servers were hacked, your data would remain secure.

(Image credit: Keeper)

Keeper is one of a handful of password managers that are Service Organization Controls (SOC 2) compliant. Compliance is a make-or-break issue for some businesses or government agencies, but to consumers it means a company that handles customer data online has to undergo security audits and thoroughly document its security policies and procedures.

Keeper offers strong two-factor authentication support. Available options include SMS text message (which we don't recommend if another option is available), Google and Microsoft Authenticator apps, RSA SecurID, Duo Security, KeeperDNA (which lets you use Apple Watch and Android Wear devices as second factors) and FIDO-compatible U2F hardware security keys like YubiKey and Google Titan

Your security question and answer can be used to recover your Keeper account in the event you forget your master password. You create both the question and the answer rather than selecting from a precompiled list of questions. 

Even if you respond correctly to the security question, you will still have to enter a verification code sent to your registered email address.

But this still feels like a security shortcoming. With many other password managers, once you forget your master password, that's it. LastPass also offers account recovery, but it's more complex than this, and Keeper is the only one we've worked with that uses a security question.

If you do want to create a Keeper account-recovery security question, make sure you pick something to which only you would know the answer, such a secret you've never told anyone. 

Avoid standard security questions such as "What's your mother's maiden name?" or "What year did you graduate from high school?", because the answers to those can be easily found on social media.

Keeper password manager review: Bottom line

Keeper still has a slight feature deficit compared to LastPass and Dashlane, but its price advantage coupled with its excellent desktop experience puts Keeper ahead of Dashlane for most users' needs.

For now, however, LastPass holds an edge over Keeper, due to LastPass' amazing free tier, its superior mobile experience and its more varied features. But anyone considering a password manager should take a serious look at Keeper.