You know it’s important to use unique, strong passwords for every account, service or site you use. But let’s be honest--remembering all those passwords is a pain.
Password managers are a simple way to keep your accounts secure without having to remember a million unique passwords.
We went looking at all of the options available for the average person--we’re not including enterprise level or power user stuff here--and compared them. Things we looked for when comparing services and apps included:
- Easy to use interface
- Compatibility with a range of devices and OSes
- Reliable security history
- Affordable pricing
- Mature, proven history to ensure the service will be around a while
We narrowed down the list to the five best options. Let’s dig in!
Dashlane Editor's Pick
Dashlane has a successful record and one of the most intuitive interfaces available on both mobile and desktop. Standard features include AES-256 bit encryption with PBKDF2 SHA-256 and salted hashes, cloud storage using Amazon’s AWS data centers and some of the best support in the industry. Like other entries on this list, Dashlane will allow you store more than just passwords. You can also store, receipts, invoices, address, credit card information and private memos.
The service supports Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android. One of the neat features of the service is auto-login. Once you have stored account information, you can tick a box and the next time you visit the site, Dashlane will automatically put in the information and hit go. It’s all the convenience of leaving your accounts logged in 24/7 without the security worries or your kids posting weird things on your Facebook.
Another interesting feature that helps Dashlane stand out is it’s security dashboard. One page gives you a look at how many duplicate passwords you might have, reports on any recent data breaches that might involve your accounts and offers quick one-click password changes for a wide range of websites. No logging in, changing passwords, checking emails and saving the information again. Click the update password button, Dashlane generates a secure password and handles the rest. It’s pretty cool.
Like Last Pass, Dashlane also supports credential sharing as well as designating an emergency contact that you can activate in just a few taps that will share your entire account with a friend or family member. You can revoke access with another tap when the situation is resolved.
Accessing these advanced features requires upgrading to the paid tier. While the price is one of the highest on the list--$39.99/yr--the service provided backs up the cost.
While this app is one of the lesser-known entries on this list, it offers flexibility and security on par with the big names at a fraction of the price. The service supports Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone and Linux ensuring that you can access your private information regardless of the device or platform you’re using. You’re not just limited to passwords either--you can store travel itineraries, receipts, credit card information, private notes and more.
Instead of hosting your information on a central server, the service lets you use your existing cloud storage provider for syncing information between devices. All information is encrypted using 256-bit AES algorithms powered by SQLCypher--an Open Source encryption standard. Using the desktop client, you can easily import existing password entries from your web browser or another password manager.
The desktop service is free, but to sync with your mobile devices it’ll set you back a one-time fee of $9.99 per platform. Even if you use both Android and iOS devices, this is still cheaper than the average annual fee of other leading options. You can secure the mobile app using a master password, PIN or fingerprint if your device has a scanner.
If you’re looking for a simple option, the price and features of this one make it hard to beat.
Sticky Password Premium
The other newcomer on this list--Sticky Password--offers a user-friendly interface with an emphasis on flexibility. The free version of the service works on Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android to cover most popular phones, tablets and computers. Military-grade 256-bit AES encryption keeps your private information secure.
To access your passwords, credit card information, secure memos and other items, simply enter your password, PIN or scan your fingerprint. The service will auto-fill web forms and also serves as a secure storage for receipts, invoices and other sensitive materials.
If you want to sync between multiple devices, you’ll need to upgrade to the paid plan. Stick Password Premium is $29.99 per year or $149.99 for a lifetime license. Upgrading unlocks the ability to sync through the cloud, provides priority access to support and even donates a small portion to help save the manatees!
Two unique features of this app are the local Wi-Fi sync and portable desktop app design. The first allows you to keep your entries up-to-date between devices without worrying about the security of cloud storage or servers. The second makes it simple to keep a copy of your database on a thumb drive for easy access anywhere you have a computer!
Last Pass Premium
Last Pass is the veteran of the this round up. They’ve been around for years and have created a product that is extremely easy to use and dependable. They support Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and Windows RT as well as offering portable options for most major desktop operating systems.
They do have a tiny mark on their record--a 2015 security breach--but they handled it well and there seems to be minimal impact on anyone using the service.
Last Pass stores your data in the cloud, using AES-256 bit encryption with PBKDF2 SHA-256 and salted hashes to keep things secure. Data is only decrypted on the device level to add peace of mind.
Last Pass was also one of the first providers to implement two-factor authentication and this added layer of security is well worth the cost of admission. Basic two-factor is available on the free tier as well as tools to help you audit your password database and find weak or duplicate passwords.
To access syncing between devices, advanced two-factor authentication and the ability to store desktop app sign-ins, you’ll need to upgrade to the paid tier. This also unlocks password sharing. This feature makes it easy to share passwords to common accounts--such as NetFlix or Steam--with roommates or family members. Service is $12.99/yr making it one of the more affordable options on the list.
The final entry on our list is Keeper. You might have seen it on your mobile phone already as they have partnerships with a number of carriers. Like the previous entries, the service uses 256-bit AES encryption with PBKDF2 to keep your data secure. They support Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
The free tier of the service offers local storage on a single device and limited support. However, upgrading to the paid tier at $29.99/yr unlocks unlimited devices, syncing between devices, cloud backups on Amazon’s AWS servers, sharing of entries with friends and family and 24/7 support.
The service uses a master password to keep your data secure. Additional options include two-factor authentication and fingerprint verification.
Like other services, Keeper will keep receipts, addresses, credit card information and other private data secure. However, they go a step further, providing encryption for files, images and video too. If you’re looking for a bit more flexibility in the type of information you can store, Keeper is leading the pack at the moment.
In the end, we have to give Dashlane the win for this round up. It might not be the cheapest option on the list, but for the extra price you get a ton of benefit.
Most password managers work in a similar fashion, but the added tools to help you change passwords, manage your security and the ability to auto-login on websites make Dashlane a cut above what other service providers are offering. It might sound minor, but once you turn on the auto-login feature, you’ll wonder why other providers don’t use it. The mobile interface for filling in passwords is also one of the most intuitive on the list.
Just remember: Even with a password manager, your accounts are only as secure as your master password. Make it a good one and don’t use something you’ve used before. More importantly, don’t go putting on a sticky note on your monitor to remember it.
Previous picks: Safe in Cloud Password Manager, Securesafe, mSecure, DataVault
How do you keep track of all of your passwords? Have any tips for remembering them? Did we help you find a service you love? We want to hear about it! Leave us a comment in the box below or reach out on our Mobile Tech Facebook page.