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Best Password Managers for 2022

Yes, you need a password manager. These are the best.

by Irene Park

One of the best methods to keep your information private and your online accounts safe is to use unique passwords for different devices, platforms, programs, accounts, and apps.

Many people make the critical mistake of reusing the same password over and over again.

Let’s talk about the biggest password mistakes and a winning password strategy to implement right away.

 

Avoid the same password

Using the same password, no matter how complicated you make it, leaves you vulnerable.

If one account gets compromised then every other account using the same password is potentially in the hands of criminals who will take full advantage of you.

stickies on computer with computer passwords

Avoid writing down passwords

Others write down passwords in a notebook or post-it offline. While having an offline log of the passwords can be helpful if you ever get locked out of your autofill password functions or programs, it leaves you vulnerable to anyone who has access to your physical space.

Additionally, if that physical log of passwords gets destroyed there’s no way to recover it unless you go through the ‘forget password’ time-consuming process for each account.

 

Why you should use a password manager now

A password manager is a great solution to the conundrum that plagues most people: how to keep their privacy safe online while not getting overwhelmed by doing it yourself.

These are computer apps or services that enable you to create, store, fill, and manage passwords for everything you do online – accessing apps, logging into airlines, bank accounts, shopping sites, health records, and most all online accounts.

If you’re constantly using the same password or having to reset your password because you forgot your password, a password manager, free or paid, is a great way of creating and using unique, complex passwords without the struggle to keep track of them.

 

No one will guess your password

One of the many benefits of a password management program is that most of them offer end-to-end encrypted login and password storage, often referred to as zero-knowledge.

That means your password is not accessible even by the password manager company.

Another great feature that makes most password managers so much easier to use now is how they securely sync across your multiple devices, platforms, and browsers.

An area where ‘password fatigue’ commonly occurs is when you are on your phone and your passwords are on your desktop at home.

While some browsers such as Chrome allow you to sync and autofill passwords across devices, sometimes you just want to access logins and passwords when you want them and not have them sitting on your phone at all times.

 

Stronger, safer, and the reason you’ll never forget a password again

Below are top picks for either free or paid password managers with a list of pros and cons to help you sort through the options.

Any of these check the boxes for being secure, easy to use, and able to generate stronger passwords you will never need to remember.

 

BEST PASSWORD MANAGER


[WINNER] Lastpass
Lastpass desktop screen

Though LastPass does offer a free version of its program, the free version forces users to select one device type (desktop/laptop OR mobile/tablet) so it no longer fits the criteria of a comprehensive free option. It, however, does offer some great features in its paid version.

Its premium offering starts at $3 a month, billed annually, for a total of $36/year.  This is what I use across all of my devices.  It’s easy, secure, strong, and works on everything I own.

Pros

  • Free trial: You can test out the premium features for 30 days. You have the option of reverting to the free version if you do not want to upgrade to a Premium account at the end of the 30 days.
  • Unlimited password and note storage
  • Secure password generator
  • Automatic syncing: You can add your password to one device and it automatically gets synced across all browsers and apps.
  • One-to-many sharing: You can share usernames and passwords securely to multiple people
  • 1 GB of file storage of private/sensitive files such as passport or license information
  • Security Dashboard and Score: You can assess the strength of your passwords and monitors your password against any known data breaches
  • Dark Web Monitoring: This function monitors all your accounts saved with this manager and alerts you it is found in a data breach.
  • Emergency access: You can give one-time access to another LastPass user in the event of an emergency.
  • LastPass will now allow users to log into your master vault of passwords through the LastPass Authenticator app

Cons

For the free plan, you are limited to one device type, so you can either have LastPass installed on all of your computers OR all of your mobile devices, but you can’t mix between devices.  That’s why I chose to eventually pay for the full version that now works on every single computer, phone, and tablet of mine. It is by far, the best performing and easiest to use.

 


 

[BEST RUNNER UP] 1Password

With no known security breaches or vulnerabilities, 1Password is a solid option as a paid password manager. It utilizes a well-designed interface, which features core components that are expected from premium, paid password managers. It starts at $2.99 a month, billed annually, for a total of $35.88/year.

Pros

  • Unlimited password and note storage
  • Cross-platform & multiple extensions: 1Password works across multiple platforms such as Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS, Android, iPhone, and iPad and offers an extension for browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, and Opera.
  • 1Password Watchtower: Alerts you of weak passwords and discoveries in data breaches or compromised websites
  • 1 GB of file storage of private/sensitive files such as passport or license information
  • You can share your sensitive information securely with anyone
  • End-to-end encryption, which means your passwords are secure where it is generated and used.
  • Travel mode: 1Password has a feature that removes sensitive data from your device when you travel, which can then be restored with one click when you return. This way your device and all its information are not vulnerable at border checks.

Cons

  • No free version
  • Free trial of its paid services is only available for 14 days
  • In addition to the master password to log in to your 1Password account, you will need to type in a randomly-generated 34-character Secret Key to set up your account, which can be cumbersome.

Limited Time: Get 50% off 1Password Individual and Family Plans!
 

 


Bitwarden

Boasting the same encryption technology as many of its paid competitors, Bitwarden has risen as a top pick by critics and consumers alike as a competitive option for password management.

Though its free version may lack the bells and whistles of some of its premium offerings or those of its paid competitors, it has several core features that make it the perfect fit for those looking for secure, simple password management.

Pros

  • Completely free
  • Unlimited password and note storage
  • Unlimited devices for free plan
  • Secure password generator:
  • Open-source software: Because the source code is available publicly, it is more transparent than closed source software. This means the program’s errors or issues are readily apparent and open to more software ‘experts’ to get resolved quickly.

Cons

  • Not feature-rich nor intuitive – it won’t be as pretty and fancy to navigate and may take a minute or two to figure out how to use.
  • While you can utilize the auto-fill function of usernames and passwords via its browser extensions and mobile apps, only the desktop version allows auto-fill of identities and payment information with the free version.

 


 

KeePassXC

Similar to Bitwarden, KeePassXC offers the basic features of password management for free. Unlike Bitwarden, there are several features that it lacks such as apps for certain devices.

Pros

  • Completely free
  • Open-source software: Because the source code is available publicly, it is more transparent than closed source software. This means the program’s errors or issues are readily apparent and open to more software ‘experts’ to get resolved quickly.
  • Cross-platform & multiple extensions: KeePassXC works across multiple platforms such as Linux, Windows, and macOS and offers an extension for browsers including Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Brave, Vivaldi, and Tor. Safari, however, is not supported.
  • Strong password generator: This means you don’t have to do the legwork of having to come up with complex and unique passwords for each app or website. Instead, let KeePassXC create one and save it for you.
  • You can use the program to see if any of the saved accounts have been found in any data breaches.

Cons

  • No cloud storage or mobile apps, which means that each user must store these encrypted passwords on a third-party cloud service such as Dropbox or Google Drive then install them separately on different platforms.
  • While it does autofill passwords for you via their browser extensions, it does not autofill longer forms or payment information.
  • No feature that allows secure password sharing
  • No apps for Android or iOS devices

 


 

Dashlane

While Dashlane does offer a free version, that version is incredibly limited as it only allows 50 saved passwords for one device. At that rate, either of the free options presented in this article would be far more ideal.

If Dashlane interests you, the free trial of its Premium service might be a better bet.  You’ll get to test out features that are standard across most paid services as well as a couple of unique ‘upgrades’. You have the option of paying $6.49/monthly (which nets out to $77.88 for the year) or $59.88/year if billed yearly.

Pros

  • Free 30-day trial of its Premium service
  • Has monthly and annually payment options
  • Unlimited password storage
  • Dark Web Monitoring: up to 5 email addresses will be monitored against data breaches
  • VPN for Wifi protection: Your IP address will be disguised for safer browsing
  • 1 GB of file storage of private/sensitive files such as passport or license information
  • Automatic password changer: It automatically changes your weak, duplicate, or compromised passwords without leaving the Dashlane app
  • Unlimited, secure password sharing
  • Cross-platform & multiple extensions: Dashlane works across multiple platforms such as Windows, macOS, Android, iPhone, and iPad and offers an extension for browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Edge, and Opera.

Cons

  • More expensive than its competitors without offering better or more features

 


 

Keeper

In addition to offering similar premium features as most paid password managers, Keeper is lauded for its intuitive and comprehensive design. More competitively priced than Dashlane, Keeper’s premium tier called Keeper Unlimited starts at $34.99/year.

Pros

  • 30 day free trial of Keeper Unlimited
  • Unlimited subscription allows syncing passwords across multiple platforms
  • Cross-platform & multiple extensions: Keeper works across multiple platforms such as Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iPhone, and iPad and offers an extension for browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Edge and Opera.
  • Unlimited password storage
  • Unlimited identity and payment information
  • Secure end-to-end encryption messaging
  • BreachWatch: This function monitors all your accounts saved with this manager and alerts you it is found in a data breach.

Cons

  • Free version does give you unlimited password storage but only on one mobile device
  • Additional upgrade features per fee within the app can be distracting but it does not detract from the core features provided in the Unlimited subscription.

 


 

OVERALL

Bitwarden rises to the top as the best free password manager, although the user interface isn’t quite as intuitive as what you’ll find in Lastpass, my recommendation for the best-paid password manager.  No matter what password manager you choose, it is important to create the strongest password for that account (aka the master password) as it is the gateway to all your passwords and potentially other sensitive data.

 

More of Kurt’s security picks to keep you protected:

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