Using one of the best password managers will make your life more secure quickly and easily. After you set one up, you won't need to remember a unique, long, complex password for every one of your online accounts.
The password manager remembers your passwords for you, cutting down your risk next time there's a massive data breach. The only password you'll need to remember is the single "master" password to the password manager itself.
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All seven of these password managers secure your data, on your machine and in the cloud, with the toughest form of encryption in wide usage today. All have software for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. All have free options, but none of them are entirely free.
All can be installed on an unlimited number of devices for a single (usually paid) account, store an unlimited number of passwords and generate new, strong passwords for you, though not always on the mobile version.
All but one offer a two-factor authentication option for master passwords. But none can recover your master password for you if you forget it, although some let you reset that password to something else.
What are the best password managers?
Based on our extensive testing of seven services — we focused on user experience, platform support, security and overall performance — the best password managers are Dashlane and LastPass, which offer the best combinations of ease of use, convenience and security.
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Dashlane has a well-designed desktop application and a tool that can change your passwords on hundreds of websites at once, as well as fully interactive website interface and support for Linux and Chrome OS.
But Dashlane's paid plans cost quite a bit, giving LastPass and especially Keeper, our second runner-up, a price advantage.
LastPass' free version is unlimited and versatile. It has also raised the price of its paid versions, but they're still the most full-featured of any password manager.
We also liked Keeper's strong security and Enpass' flexibility, although each lacked certain conveniences.
The best password managers you can buy today
The best overall password manager
Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome OS, watchOS | Free-version limitations: Single device; 50 passwords max | Two-factor authentication: Yes | Browser plugins: Chrome, Firefox, IE, Safari, Edge | Form filling: Yes | Mobile app PIN unlock: Yes | Biometric login: Face ID, Touch ID on iOS, most Android fingerprint readers
Dashlane supports for Linux, Chrome OS and the Microsoft Edge browser and has made its website interface truly interactive. It matches LastPass in platform support and, with its excellent desktop software, surpasses its chief rival in interface flexibility as the best password manager overall.
Dashlane's killer feature remains its bulk password changer, which can reset hundreds of your passwords at once, saving you time and worry in the event of a major data breach.
There's also a scanner that goes through your email inbox on iOS or Android to find online accounts you may have forgotten about. The password manager is well designed, easy to use and possibly the best at filling out your personal information in online forms.
Dashlane's drawback is its high price. Its paid plans are quite a bit more than its main rivals, with a Premium plan that lists at $60 per year and a Premium Plus plan that runs $120 per year. Dashlane's free plan is now limited to 50 sets of credentials.
On the upside, the Premium plan has a dark-web monitoring service and an unlimited VPN service. To that, the Premium Plus plan adds credit monitoring, identity-restoration assistance and identity-theft insurance, which are a bargain at a net price of $50 per year. Taken together, all these features may justify the higher costs.
Tom's Guide readers may pay a bit less for Dashlane, and for the duration of the coronavirus crisis, Dashlane is offering 90 days of free Premium service for new customers.
Read our full Dashlane review.
Best free password manager
Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome OS, Windows Phone, watchOS | Free-version limitations: Limited password sharing, limited 2FA | Two-factor authentication: Yes | Browser plugins: Chrome, Firefox, IE, Safari, Edge, Maxthon, Opera | Form filling: Yes | Mobile app PIN unlock: Yes | Biometric login: Face ID, Touch ID on iOS & macOS, most Android & Windows fingerprint readers
LastPass shares our Editor's Choice award with Dashlane for best password manager because of its ease of use, its support for all major platforms, its wide range of features and its variety of configurations.
The free version of LastPass syncs across an unlimited number of devices and has nearly as many features as the paid version, such as a password generator, unlimited passwords and secure storage. It may be all that you need.
The paid version adds support for USB two-factor-authentication keys, stores passwords for desktop applications, provides 1GB of online file storage and gives you access to premium tech support. The paid version's price has tripled in the past few years, going from $12 per year to $36 per year, but it's still fairly inexpensive.
You don't need to install an application on your computer to use LastPass. Instead, the software can live entirely in browser extensions and in a full-featured web interface. If you want to keep your data entirely local, there's the LastPass Pocket option for Windows and Linux.
Read our full LastPass review.
A password manager with top-notch security
Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome OS, Windows Phone, Kindle, BlackBerry | Free-version limitations: Single device | Two-factor authentication: Yes | Browser plugins: Chrome, Firefox, IE, Safari, Edge | Form filling: Yes | Mobile app PIN unlock: No | Biometric login: Face ID, Touch ID on iOS & macOS, Windows Hello, most Android fingerprint readers
Keeper ($23.99 per year for the premium service for Tom's Guide readers) is fast and full-featured, has a robust web interface, stores files and documents of any kind, offers perhaps the best security of any password manager and has a premium service that is now cheaper than those of both Dashlane and LastPass.
The trade-off for that enhanced security is a bit of inconvenience. Keeper chooses not to have a bulk password changer (for security reasons), and it won't let you create a PIN to quickly access the mobile app (ditto). If you have an older phone that can't read your fingerprint or your face, you'll have to enter the full master password every time.
For an extra $20 per year, Keeper will monitor the internet for unauthorized user of your personal data, and it also offers a secure messaging service; you can get both plus the premium password manager for $60 per year.
Read our full Keeper review.
Best password manager value
Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome OS | Free-version limitations: 25 items on mobile; no biometric login on desktop | Two-factor authentication: No | Browser plugins: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera, Vivaldi | Form filling: Yes | Mobile app PIN unlock: Yes | Biometric login: Touch ID on iOS & macOS, Windows Hello, most Android fingerprint readers
Enpass has strong, unlimited free desktop applications for Windows, Mac and Linux, and free mobile apps for Android and iOS that are limited to 25 passwords. Unlimited coverage on all devices costs $7.49 for 6 months, $11.99 for a year or $59.99 (marked down to $39.99 at the time of this writing) for a one-time lifetime purchase.
Enpass handles all the basics quite well, but you'll have to sync your own devices via Dropbox or a similar service, as Enpass doesn't offer any cloud-syncing of its own. (Some users might see that as a security advantage.)
The Enpass desktop interface is a bit spare, but functional; the mobile apps are sleek. All handle biometric logins to some extent.
Enpass doesn't advertise a local-sync feature, but you could create one with USB drives or a bit of network sharing. That might make the service ideal for users who are wary of putting their data online. Overall, Enpass belongs on our best password managers list but it's not our top pick.
Read our full Enpass review.
Best for Mac and iOS users -- 3 out of 5 stars
Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android. Linux, Chrome OS | Free-version limitations: Single mobile device | Two-factor authentication: Yes | Browser plugins: Chrome, Firefox, IE, Safari, Edge | Form filling: Yes | Mobile app PIN unlock: Yes | Biometric login: Face ID, Touch ID on iOS & macOS, most Android fingerprint readers
1Password's Windows and Android versions have finally reached rough parity with their Mac and iOS equivalents, but many functions still feel clunkier than they are on the very best password managers.
1Password asks new users to sign up for a $36 yearly cloud subscription, although for $65, Mac users can buy the older stand-alone application that lets them sync devices locally. (At the time of this writing, 1Password Families, which covers 5 users, was marked down to $30 per year.)
However, 1Password's browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, dubbed 1Password X, mostly replicate the desktop experience and work directly with web browsers instead of operating systems. Better yet, they extend 1Password to previously unreachable Chromebook and Linux users.
Only cloud subscribers can use 1Password's killer feature, a Travel Mode that deletes sensitive data from your devices (you'll get it back later) so that snooping border-control agents can't find it. 1Password also has great form-filling abilities, and it has added true two-factor authentication.
Read our full 1Password review.
6. Zoho Vault
A solid password manager for families
Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Windows Phone | Free-version limitations: No sharing | Two-factor authentication: Yes | Browser plugins: Chrome, Firefox, Safari | Form filling: No | Mobile app PIN unlock: Yes | Biometric login: Touch ID on iOS, most Android fingerprint readers
Zoho Vault is part of a larger suite of paid enterprise tools, but the company makes the password manager free for individual personal use. Group plans that can be used by families start at $12 per user per year.
You won't get consumer-friendly features such as personal-data form filling or a bulk password changer with Zoho Vault, but all of the password-manager essentials are in place and work smoothly.
Unlke EnPass, Zoho Vault will do the password syncing for you using its own servers, and there's no fee to sync all your desktop, laptop and mobile devices. The only drawbacks are that Zoho Vault sometimes tripped over Google's two-page logins in our testing (Zoho representatives tell us that's been fixed) and that the zero-cost version of LastPass does even more for you for free.
Read our full Zoho Vault review.
A decent password manager for form filling
Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome OS | Free-version limitations: Single device | Two-factor authentication: Yes | Browser plugins: Chrome, Firefox, IE, Safari, Edge, Opera | Form filling: Yes | Mobile app PIN unlock: Yes | Biometric login: Face ID, Touch ID on iOS & macOS, most Android & Windows fingerprint readers
RoboForm has been around since 1999 and, unfortunately, is starting to show its age. At a list price $24 per year (and discounted for Tom's Guide readers), its premium version isn't expensive. RoboForm has excellent form filling -- it began as a form-filling application -- and runs on a wide variety of platforms and browsers.
But the RoboForm website interface is still read-only and its desktop software can be confusing, although the mobile apps are a more user-friendly and have good support for fingerprint readers. RoboForm offers quite a few features, such as password sharing, two-factor authentication and a password generator, but their functionality tends to be limited.
In general, RoboForm's password-manager functions need an overhaul to compete with the best password managers. Even the free version of LastPass has just as many features and works more smoothly.
Read our full RoboForm review.
How to choose the best password manager for you
As noted earlier, most of these password have the same essential functions. But things differ when you get to the non-password extra features. Some of these password managers, such as Dashlane, 1Password and Keeper, alert you to the latest data breaches, sometimes for an extra price.
Many offer to save your personal details, credit-card numbers and other frequently used information so that they can quickly fill out online forms for you. (You don't have to do this, but it's safer than letting the retail website save your credit-card information.)
1Password started out on Mac, and its Mac and iOS apps have generally been more up-to-date than in its Android and Windows applications. It may be the best choice if you're entirely dependent on Apple products, but the other password managers work just fine on Mac and iOS.
The biggest decision to make is whether you want your passwords to be stored locally on your own computers and mobile devices, or in the cloud on someone else's servers. There are pros and cons to each approach.
Cloud vs. local management
1Password gives you an option to store and sync your "vault" of passwords and other sensitive information locally (in other words, only on your own devices) without using the service's cloud servers.
LastPass Pocket lets you do the same thing, but only on Windows and Linux. And it's the only way you can store passwords with the open-source KeePass, which we've reviewed in the past. (Enpass plans to add a similar local-sync feature, but for now, you'll have to sync your devices using a third-party file-sharing service such as Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive or OneDrive.)
There's a security advantage to syncing your passwords locally because none of the data will ever need to reach the internet. If you want to maintain total control, this is the way to go.
The downside is that it can be a hassle to synchronize the passwords on all of your devices. Some services let you do so over a local network, such as a Wi-Fi network. You could also put the password vault on a USB stick and walk it from one computer to another.
Far more convenient are cloud-based password managers, which include Dashlane, Keeper and Zoho Vault, plus LastPass and 1Password's default modes. These services keep encrypted copies of your vault on their own servers, ensure that all your devices are always synced and encrypt the transmissions between your devices and their servers.
The risk, though small, is that one of the cloud-based services could be breached and your passwords released out into the wild. (LastPass has had a few documented security issues, all of which were quickly fixed, without losing any passwords.)
If a password manager is doing its job right, it's storing all your passwords in encrypted format, and storing your master password only as a "hash" that's the result of an irreversible mathematical process.
Whether it's local or cloud-synced, a password manager puts all your eggs in one basket, so to speak, unless you use more than one password manager. But for most people, the demonstrable security benefits of using a password manager far outweigh the disadvantages.