NordPass password manager review

NordPass offers most of the essential features, but at a rather high price

NordPass password manager logo
(Image: © NordPass)

Tom's Guide Verdict

NordPass is new to the password-management scene but already offers an easy-to-use platform. Yet it charges too much for a basic password manager.

Pros

  • +

    Solid free plan with full feature availability

  • +

    Clean, consistent design

Cons

  • -

    Web-based vault not fully featured

  • -

    Setup requires creation of two separate accounts

  • -

    Pricey unless you catch it on sale

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NordPass: Specs

Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome OS (web vault only)
Free version: Yes (can be logged into one device at a time)
2FA: Yes
Browser extensions: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, Brave and Opera
Form filling: Yes
Biometric login: Face ID & Touch ID on iOS and macOS, fingerprint reader on Android, Windows Hello
PIN code: No
Killer feature: Data Breach Scanner (covers all vault items)

NordPass is a password manager brought to you by the security-conscious folks behind NordVPN. It offers all the basic tools you'd need from the best password managers, with most features available even on its free tier, as well as a simple, consistent design. 

Parts of the NordPass experience are a little clunky. For example, the setup process requires you to create a global Nord account before you can log into NordPass. And while you can use an unlimited number of devices with NordPass Free, you can only be logged into on one device at a time; on the paid version, you can be logged into six devices at once.

That said, NordPass is busy catching up to its competitors, adding a web-based interface and biometric support for desktop apps in late 2021. 

However, NordPass' pricing is confusing. NordPass Premium is normally $60 per year for single users, much more than what LastPass, Keeper and 1Password charge for equivalent service. Frequent sales can knock the Premium plan down to as little as $18 per year. 

NordPass also has a Family plan that can be used by up to six users. That's $96 per year, twice as much as LastPass' six-user family plan, but you can also catch NordPass on sale sometimes. 

Read on for the rest of our NordPass review.

NordPass: Costs and what's covered

NordPass has two paid tiers and a free plan. NordPass Premium costs $59.88 per year, while NordPass Family (for up to six users) comes to $95.88 per year. As noted above, this is pricier than most premium password managers, which charge about $35 per year. 

The exception is Dashlane, which also charges $60 for a premium account. But Dashlane Premium bundles in dark-web monitoring and unlimited VPN service, whereas NordPass doesn't seem to offer any discount for NordVPN.

NordPass Free comes with all the basic functions of a good password manager, including unlimited password storage; autofill for passwords, forms, identities and payments; secure notes; 50 MB of online storage; and multifactor authentication.

The biggest limitation with the free tier is that you can stay logged in only on one device at a time. (If you plan to use NordPass on one device only, you don't need to create a Nord account at all.) 

So while you can use NordPass Free on a phone, tablet and computer — and your vaults will sync automatically — logging into your account on one device will log you out on all the others. While this may be slightly inconvenient, it's still more flexible than free plans that limit you to one or two devices in total, or to a certain number of passwords. 

With an upgrade to NordPass Premium ($59.88 per year), you get sharing capabilities and basic security monitoring for old, weak or reused passwords as well as data breaches. 

You can be logged onto up to six devices at a time. That should be enough for most users, although it's still rather unusual. We've never encountered device-login limits with any other unlimited password manager. 

NordPass Premium also includes 3 GB of secure online storage with NordLocker, a separate Nord product. NordPass has a 30-day free trial of the Premium tier that you can claim in the app, and there is a 30-day refund policy.

The Family plan simply bundles six Premium accounts. It's a decent value at $95.88 annually for households with older children or college students or even a group of friends, since the vaults are not linked together. But again, LastPass for Families costs half as much.

NordPass supports Windows 8 and up for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems, macOS 10.13 High Sierra and up and any Linux distribution that supports Snap package installers. There is no desktop app for Chrome OS, but you might be able to get something running with the Android app and you can always access the Web Vault.

Browser extensions are available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari (on machines running macOS 10.13 and up), Brave, Opera and Edge. NordPass mobile apps require iOS 13.0 or later and Android 8.0 Oreo and up. 

I reviewed NordPass using a 2020 MacBook Air running macOS 10.15.7 Catalina and an iPhone XR. I used Google Chrome for browser testing. 

NordPass: Setup

To get started with NordPass, you have to download the desktop application (or the mobile app). The company also recently launched a fully functional web interface for accessing your vault.

(Image credit: NordPass)

Once you download the app, you'll be prompted with a pop-up to create an account. This will take you back to the website to create a Nord account, which is a centralized login for all of Nord's services (VPN and secure document storage, for example).

(Image credit: NordPass)

It's a bit roundabout and unfortunately requires you to have two separate passwords. Once you have a Nord account, you can go back to the NordPass app and log in.

From there, you'll create a master password for NordPass. Make sure to save this somewhere secure. You should also go ahead and generate a recovery code (Settings > Reset Recovery Code), which you'll need to access your vault if you forget your master password.

(Image credit: NordPass)

NordPass does not have a detailed onboarding process, but you can tap the Get Started tab in the left-hand menu to view basic setup options, such as adding or importing passwords and enabling a browser extension.

(Image credit: NordPass)

To add an item to your vault, NordPass may detect if you already have login info saved in your browser that you could import. Otherwise, you can import from a handful of other browsers and password managers or upload a CSV. You can also add individual logins, payment methods or identities.

(Image credit: NordPass)

On mobile, you'll again need to log into your main Nord account to be redirected to entering your NordPass master password in the app. You can opt to use an emailed verification code instead of your Nord account credentials. Once you're logged in, though, you can go to Menu > Settings and enable biometrics if you want to skip entering your master password each time you access the app.

(Image credit: NordPass)

Both the browser extension and mobile app synced automatically from my desktop vault. Remember that with a free NordPass account, logging in on mobile will log you out of the desktop app and vice versa.

NordPass: Desktop

On the desktop, NordPass is available as a standalone app, a browser extension and a web-based vault. The design is consistent across the desktop, browser extension and mobile environments.

However, the browser extension will redirect you to the desktop app for most functions, such as manually adding logins, sharing items, changing your settings, and viewing your password health and data-breach reports, which means you really need both interfaces to optimize NordPass. 

(Image credit: NordPass)

Likewise, the Web Vault, as NordPass calls it, lacks the ability to autofill and autosave passwords and other items, so you'll want to have the desktop app installed on at least one of your machines.

The desktop app has a left-justified menu where you can select and view specific login types as well as notes and shared items. You can organize your data into folders or view your trash, which saves items until you permanently delete them. 

You can edit, copy or organize an item from the main vault list (tap the three dots next to the item name) or by clicking on and opening the individual item. There's also a recently added Dark Mode.

NordPass password manager tools

(Image credit: NordPass)

At the bottom of the menu is your Settings and Tools toggles. The latter takes you to your password generator and security reports. Password Health shows you old, weak and compromised passwords and links you out to the websites to change your them, while the Data Breach Scanner tells you if anything in your vault, including credit cards, has been leaked online. You can also see password strength within each item's listing.

(Image credit: NordPass)

The browser extension defaults to a screen showing all of your logins, though you can open the hamburger menu to select a specific category or folder.

To autofill your login or payment info, you must have the browser extension enabled. The NordPass icon will appear in the form field on any website for which you have a saved credential (or if it detects a payment or identity field). Simply tap the icon and select the correct login. There are no keyboard shortcuts for the extension.

When creating a new account, NordPass will automatically open the password generator and an autosave pop-up menu for adding your credentials to your vault, a process that worked smoothly for us.

(Image credit: NordPass)

To share an item, toggle the three dots next to the login and select Share. You can enter the email address of the recipient and select permission levels. View and manage this in the Shared Items tab on the main menu.

Finally, one handy feature of the extension and desktop app, especially if you share your machine, is manual locking. Click the lock icon to require your master password for access to your vault.

NordPass: Mobile apps

On mobile, NordPass looks similar to the browser extension, though it has full functionality for adding credentials, sharing items and accessing settings and security-monitoring tools. 

You'll find all the same menu options under the Browse tab and your main vault screen on the Home screen. Tools houses your security-monitoring options, and Menu directs you to your settings (including biometrics and 2FA setup). 

(Image credit: NordPass)

To use autofill on mobile, you'll have to enable NordPass as your primary password manager in your phone settings. If you have a saved login for a website or app, a NordPass menu will pop up and allow you to select the correct credential.

When creating a new account on a website, you'll have to go back to the NordPass app to generate a password, copy it and paste it in the app or on the website. You'll also have to manually create a login in the app, as it will not autosave from a mobile browser.

In November 2021, NordPass added emergency access for trusted contacts. This lets you designate certain other NordPass users (think friends or family members) who will gain viewing access to your NordPass account if you fail to respond to an access request for seven days. Other password managers let you adjust the waiting period, but this is a welcome addition nonetheless.

NordPass: Security

NordPass uses XChaCha20 encryption, which secures your password vault with 256-bit keys. Like most password managers, NordPass is zero-knowledge, so only you can see your data on your local device when you enter your master password. Your vault is never accessible to NordPass employees or hackers via the company's servers. The platform underwent its first security audit in early 2020. 

Two-factor authentication is available for both free and paid NordPass accounts with one-time password generators — Google Authenticator, Authy and Duo are currently supported. You can also set up 2FA to work with any U2F hardware key, such as YubiKey

Supported biometric login options on NordPass include FaceID and Touch ID on iOS and macOS devices, Windows Hello and fingerprint readers on Android.

(Image credit: NordPass)

NordPass does offer account recovery with a code you can generate in your settings, but you must do this prior to losing your master password, or you'll be locked out of your vault (since you need your password to create the code initially).

NordPass password manager review: Bottom line

NordPass isn't the smoothest or most feature-filled password manager on the market, but it offers most of what you'd need. Its free tier does have some sync limitations, but it comes with features similar to Bitwarden's no-cost plan. 

The main drawback is the price. After initial discounts, NordPass Premium costs nearly twice as much as 1Password, LastPass and Keeper, but lacks some extra bells and whistles those brands offer. If NordPass does someday offer a bundle that gives you NordVPN at a discount, then the high cost might be justified, but right now it's hard to recommend NordPass over better services that cost less.

Emily Long is a Utah-based freelance writer who covers consumer technology, privacy and personal finance for Tom's Guide. She has been reporting and writing for nearly 10 years, and her work has appeared in Wirecutter, Lifehacker, NBC BETTER and CN Traveler, among others. When she's not working, you can find her trail running, teaching and practicing yoga, or studying for grad school — all fueled by coffee, obviously.