With one of the best password managers, you can easily store all of your passwords securely in one place for easy access. Instead of having to remember dozens of long, complex passwords or even worse, relying on a few passwords you reuse across multiple sites (certainly not recommended), you have a single master password which can unlock the credentials for all of your online accounts.
The best password managers also allow you to quickly and easily generate strong, complex passwords so you don’t have to come up with them on your own while minimizing password reuse. If you do reuse passwords, once a hacker gets one of them, they can then easily access your other accounts.
With one of the best password managers installed on your devices, your passwords and other sensitive data are encrypted and securely stored on the password manager’s servers. Meanwhile, two-factor authentication (2FA) makes it more difficult to break into your account, especially if someone else learns your master password.
If you don’t want to have to bother coming up with new passwords and remembering your existing passwords while also improving your overall security, then a password manager is the perfect solution. We’ve rounded up the best password managers available today and highlighted their unique features so you can find the right one for your needs.
The best password managers you can buy today
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1Password no longer leaves its non-Apple users lagging behind. Its Windows app has reached feature parity with its Mac app, and 1Password now even has a Linux app. The Android and iOS mobile apps aren't quite as versatile as the various desktop interfaces, but they are easy to use and support autofill on both platforms.
It also has excellent stand-alone browser extensions for Brave, Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari. They work directly with web browsers and now support biometric logins. The Chrome extension brings 1Password to Chromebook users, and you can also access your 1Password account through the company website.
1Password's killer feature is Travel Mode which 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 true two-factor authentication.
1Password even offers "masked" email addresses (opens in new tab) for greater privacy through a deal with email provider Fastmail. The catch is that you have to subscribe to both services. It also has a secure data-sharing service called Psst! (opens in new tab) that lets 1Password users send a temporary link to anyone to share information, such as a password, that has already been saved in 1Password. The best part, the recipient does not need to be a 1Password subscriber.
1Password asks new users to sign up for a $36 annual cloud subscription. The older stand-alone application that let Mac users sync devices locally has been discontinued, and so has the free version of 1Password.
Read our full 1Password review.(opens in new tab)
Dashlane matches LastPass, 1Password and Keeper in platform support and has very intuitive desktop software. Its killer feature remains a bulk password changer that can reset hundreds of passwords at once.
The password manager is well designed, easy to use and excellent at filling out your personal information in online forms. A scanner also goes through your email inbox to find online accounts you may have forgotten about.
Dashlane's drawback is its high price. Its Premium plan is $60 per year, or $78 per year if you pay monthly. Dashlane's free plan is limited to one device but it does let you store an unlimited number of passwords.
On the upside, the Dashlane Premium plan offers dark-web monitoring and unlimited VPN service, the latter courtesy of Hotspot Shield. By itself, the VPN costs $96 yearly, so it's a huge bargain when bundled with Dashlane. That makes Dashlane Premium's $60 price tag well worth it if you need these extra services.
Read our full Dashlane review.(opens in new tab)
Keeper ($20.98 per year for Tom's Guide readers (opens in new tab)) is fast and full-featured, stores files and documents of any kind and has perhaps the best security of any password manager.
It offers a consistent, if not flashy, user interface no matter which platform you're using, and 20 templates to fill in personal documents such as passports and driver's licenses. Keeper's free tier gives you everything except syncing across devices.
For an extra $25 per year, Keeper will also monitor the internet for unauthorized use of your personal data and give you 10GB of secure cloud storage, or you can add those services individually for $20 and $10 per year, respectively. It also offers a free secure messaging service.
To make it easier to securely share confidential information with friends, family and co-workers, Keeper has added One-Time Share to its password manager. This feature lets users share links that can only be used on one device and automatically expire at a time of your choosing. Even if you forget to un-share something, it expires automatically and the recipient's access is removed.
Read our full Keeper review.(opens in new tab)
Launched in 2016, Bitwarden has soared into ranks of the top password managers with its low prices, attractive design and full-featured free tier. Now that LastPass has hobbled its own free service, Bitwarden is the best option for anyone who wants to sync all their logins across all their devices without paying a dime.
Meanwhile, Bitwarden's $10-per-year paid version has most of the features you'd find with LastPass, Keeper or 1Password, though it can be a bit counter-intuitive to use. The plan for families is also a steal at $40 per year for up to six people. Privacy geeks will appreciate that Bitwarden gives you the option of setting up your own server to sync your passwords.
Other key features are an innovative secure information-sharing service called Send, a "portable" Windows version that you can install on a flash drive and extensions for eight different browsers. The only major downsides to Bitwarden are a somewhat limited desktop app and the fact that the mobile apps can't auto-fill credit-card numbers or other non-login information.
Read our full Bitwarden review.
LastPass remains on our list of the best password managers despite its recent security issues due to its ease of use, support for all major platforms and its wide range of features, even though its once-excellent free tier has been greatly diminished.
The free version of LastPass no longer syncs across all your devices, but instead only on your computers or on your mobile devices — not both. Otherwise, it still has nearly as many features as the paid version, like a password generator, unlimited passwords and secure storage.
The paid version adds unlimited syncing among all devices, support for physical two-factor-authentication keys, 1GB of online file storage, dark-web monitoring of your accounts and access to premium tech support.
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 the full-featured web interface.
There are legacy desktop applications for Windows and Mac still available, with some limits.
Read our full LastPass review.
NordPass comes from the security-conscious folks at NordVPN and offers all the password-manager basics, even on its free tier. It's also got a simple, consistent design that's easy to navigate and use and biometric login support for desktop apps.
We thought it was a bit strange that during setup we first had to create a Nord company-wide account, then a specific NordPass account, but that's over with quickly. Another oddity is that you can stay logged into only six devices at a time with the Premium plan, yet that will inconvenience relatively few users.
The bigger downside is that NordPass Premium costs $60 per year for a single user, nearly twice as much as what better-known password managers charge, even though NordPass still lacks some extra bells and whistles those brands offer. You'll want to keep an eye out for frequent NordPass sales, which can knock the Premium plan down to just $18 per year.
Read our full NordPass review.(opens in new tab)
Enpass has strong, unlimited free desktop applications for Windows, Mac and Linux, but its free mobile apps for Android and iOS are limited to 25 passwords.
Unlimited coverage on all devices costs $23.99 for a year or $79.99 for a one-time lifetime license.
Enpass handles the basics well, but you'll have to sync your own devices though the company has made this simple to do. The easiest way is via Dropbox, OneDrive or a similar cloud-based service, as Enpass doesn't offer any cloud-syncing of its own. (Some users might see that as a security advantage.)
The other option is to sync locally, which Enpass now makes easy(ish) by building a mini-file server into its desktop app. Other devices on the same local Wi-Fi network can sync with it. This is ideal for users who are wary of putting their data online.
The Enpass desktop interface is a bit spare, but functional; the mobile apps are sleek. All handle biometric logins to some extent. Overall, Enpass belongs on our best password managers list, but it's not our top pick. There's also a business version available as well.
Read our full Enpass review.
How to choose the best password manager for you
Most of the best password managers have the same essential functions but things differ when you get to their extra features.
Some of them, such as Dashlane, 1Password and Keeper, alert you about the latest data breaches, sometimes for an extra price. Many password managers can also 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. (This is much safer than letting retail websites save your credit card information.)
LastPass once offered an excellent, unlimited free service tier but that baton has since been passed to Bitwarden which also has a $10 annual premium plan that covers most of the basics.
1Password’s Mac and iOS apps have generally been kept more up-to-date than the company’s Android and Windows applications. It may be the best choice if you exclusively use Apple devices, but the other password managers work just fine across all platforms.
We also tested and reviewed a number of other password managers that didn't quite make the cut for this guide but are certainly worth considering if you want even more options. They include Zoho Vault, True Key, Myki, RoboForm, Blur and KeePass.
The biggest decision though 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 though.
Cloud vs. local management
When it comes to picking the right password manager for you, it’s worth considering whether you want your saved passwords to be stored in the cloud or locally on your devices.
For instance, 1Password still gives you the option to store and sync your “vault” of passwords and other sensitive information locally (opens in new tab). However, the company still prefers that you use its cloud servers instead.
For KeePass though, local sync is the default option but setting up your Dropbox, iCloud or other cloud storage accounts to sync online isn’t difficult. Meanwhile, the third-party cloud-account option is standard for Enpass but the service has also added a local Wi-Fi syncing feature (opens in new tab).
By default, Bitwarden syncs passwords on its own servers but it does provide very detailed instructions (opens in new tab) on how to shift this function to servers you control instead.
Syncing your passwords locally does provide a security advantage as none of this data needs to reach the internet. For those who want to maintain total control over their passwords, this is the way to go.
The downside here is that it can be a hassle to synchronize these passwords on all of your devices. Some services will allow you to do so over a local network such as a Wi-Fi network or on your own server. Alternatively, you could also put your password vault on a USB flash drive and physically move it from one computer to another.
Cloud-based password managers are far more convenient as these services keep encrypted copies of your vault on their own servers. This ensures that all of your devices will be synced and transmissions between your devices and a company’s servers are encrypted.
Although small, the risk is that one of the cloud servers – even one that you control using Bitwarden or use with Enpass – could be breached and your passwords could be leaked into the wild. For instance, LastPass has had a few documented security issues though all were quickly fixed without any passwords being lost.
If a password manager is doing its job correctly, it’s storing all of your passwords in an encrypted format and only storing your master password as a “hash” that is the result of an irreversible mathematical process.
Whether it’s local or cloud-synced, a password manager puts all of your eggs in one basket, so to speak unless you use more than one password manager. For most people though, the demonstrable benefits of using a password manager far outweigh the disadvantages.
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.
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.