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The best password managers in 2020

best password manager

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.

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.

Latest password threats and alerts

— Spoofed emails are spreading a fake version of the Folding@home coronavirus-research software that will steal your passwords and credit-card numbers.

— Five top password managers have or recently had serious security flaws, academic researchers say.

— A data breach at GE exposed names, addresses, birth dates, Social Security numbers, passports and bank accounts of the company's current and former employees and their family members.

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

best password manager: Dashlane

(Image credit: Dashlane)

1. Dashlane

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

Can change almost all passwords instantly
Intuitive interface across all platforms
Edge, Linux support included
Optional identity protection
Expensive

Dashlane supports for Linux, Chrome OS and the Microsoft Edge browser and has made its website interface truly interactive. It now 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 main drawback is its high price. When we first reviewed the service, it was $40 per year for the paid plan, already more than most of its rivals. But in 2018, Dashlane jacked its Premium plan to $60 per year and added a Premium Plus plan that run $120 per year. At the same time, it capped its free plan, which once offered unlimited password storage, to 50 sets of credentials.

To be fair, the Premium plan now comes with 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. Taken together, all these features may justify the higher prices.

Read our full Dashlane review.

Best password manager: LastPass

(Image credit: LastPass)

2. LastPass

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

Feature-rich free version
Extensive two-factor-authentication options
Good, consistent design throughout
Most versatile platform compatibility
Bare-bones stand-alone desktop apps 

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.

Best password manager: Keeper

(Image credit: Keeper)

3. Keeper

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

Intuitive design across platforms
Solid browser extension and web app
Very strong security
Weak form-filling capabilities
Some security-related inconveniences

Keeper ($25.49 per year for the premium service) 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. 

Read our full Keeper review.

Best password manager: Enpass

(Image credit: Enpass)

4. Enpass

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

Strong free desktop version
Easy to keep your data offline
Limited features and syncing options
No two-factor authentication

Enpass has strong, unlimited free applications for Windows, Mac and Linux, and free apps for Android and iOS limited to only 25 passwords. Unlimited coverage on all devices costs $1.49 a month, $17.99 a year or $53.99 for a one-time 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 password manager: 1Password

(Image credit: 1Password)

5. 1Password

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

Travel Mode keeps out prying eyes
Strong form filling
Non-subscription option keeps data offline
Stripped-down mobile experience
Stark, unintuitive design

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 now 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.

However, 1Password's new 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 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 finally added true two-factor authentication.

Read our full 1Password review.

Best password manager: Zoho Vault

(Image credit: Zoho)

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

Solid free offering
Inexpensive family plan
No form filling
Bare-bones mobile apps
Poor handling of Google login

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.

Best password manager: RoboForm

(Image credit: RoboForm)

7. RoboForm

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

Robust form filling
Relatively inexpensive
Supports wide range of platforms
Web interface is read-only
Limited functionality

RoboForm has been around since 1999 and, unfortunately, is starting to show its age. At $24 per year, its premium version isn't expensive, and 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.

  • Paul Wagenseil
    Archived comments are found here: http://www.tomsguide.com/forum/id-3366251/password-managers.html
    Reply
  • tslifkin
    Be aware that some of these tools do NOT store passwords on your device and so you CANNOT see them if you are not online. OK if you live at work or at home always connected. No so much if you travel or move around a lot. Keeper JUST CHANGED THEIR DESIGN. You can still see your passwords when not connected, but you CANNOT EDIT. so you cant add new data or do any editing if, for example, you are on long flight or a location without an inmediate link. This is a BAD THING and indicative of companies taking the easy way out to get your cash but reduce the meaningful feature sets! Just be careful!
    Reply
  • edwardmeijers
    Why is safe in cloud not compared?
    Reply
  • google02
    You are wrong to imply that 1Password is not available for Windows as of 2018. My hosting company uses 1Password internally. It should be included in your comparative review.
    Reply
  • merytsekhmet
    I had a premium account with LastPass for about 5 years. This week I unsubscribed after hearing they were killing off XMarks. I was particularly disgusted because the news was sent very shortly after they renewed the joint subscription. Happily though, I am far more satisfied with Dashlane and Eversynch so LastPass did me a favour in the end.
    Reply
  • jslezak57
    I purchased Dashlane only to find out that it doesn't have full functionality in MS Edge (default browser windows 10). It wanted to force me to use Chrome or IE. I tried to use the online chat, only to hear that "the software will improve with time". I requested a refund because when I purchase a software app, I want something fully functioning - not a "beta" that leaves me with partial functionality!
    Reply
  • merytsekhmet
    20951584 said:
    I purchased Dashlane only to find out that it doesn't have full functionality in MS Edge (default browser windows 10).

    I refuse to use Edge even though it is among the bloatware that came with Windows 10. I use Firefox and Chrome and have had no problems.

    Reply
  • hokfujow
    I'm amazed that Lastpass is still getting such high ratings. Go on their forum and read the thread in troubleshooting about not saving passwords. Lastpass does not reliably save new passwords entered for web accounts. People create new accounts, use LP to generate a new password, and then discover that it wasn't saved and they have no idea what the password for their new account is. It's been happening to me more often than not. I'm not going to renew my premium account, and switching to something else.
    Reply
  • vsneers
    20959340 said:
    I'm amazed that Lastpass is still getting such high ratings. Go on their forum and read the thread in troubleshooting about not saving passwords. Lastpass does not reliably save new passwords entered for web accounts. People create new accounts, use LP to generate a new password, and then discover that it wasn't saved and they have no idea what the password for their new account is. It's been happening to me more often than not. I'm not going to renew my premium account, and switching to something else.

    I 100% agree with this. I used LP for around 2 years with Chrome and found it would constantly not update any changed passwords in the vault properly and so seeing as I used LP to generate the password in the first place and it then didn't save it or saved a messed-up version of it that just contained a bunch of dots, I would end up generating a password, copying and pasting it to Notepad and then manually adding it to the vault at which point I thought what is the point of LP, I might as well do this myself and save me the money.

    Plus a recent major security breach causing all my passwords and banking details to be hacked by someone and the lack of support from LP, was the last straw for me. If someone does try to access your account with them then they don't actually stop the person, they just send you an email or notification on your phone telling you but do nothing about it to block them. This happened to me overnight while I was in bed and unable to respond to the notifications and despite the hacker using an entirely different IP address and location (their IP address even said it was from IPVanish.com), they did nothing to block their access and due to the hacker having access to my email account, they were then able to request a password and login email reset from LastPass who duly obliged. I spent the next couple of days desperately trying to get in contact with LastPass as I was locked out of my own account and all they did was send me links to articles about either changing your password or if your email address was compromised, suggesting to just set up a new account and start again changing passwords. Meanwhile the hacker still had full access to my account!

    As hokfujow says, their forum is full of people complaining about the service and they never seem to respond to the posts. I'm amazed how they still get to the top of most recommended password manager lists.
    Reply
  • redneck1st
    Mr Waenseil talks out of both sides of his mouth. He gives Roboform 5/5 then talks negatively about the program and all it's short comings. You cant have it both ways Paul. It's either a good product or it's not. It cant be both.
    Reply