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 remembering a million unique passwords.
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 looked at all of the options available and compared what Internet forums, social media, reviewers, and security experts had to say about the best options.
In short, we did the research so you don't have to!
We narrowed down the list to the five best options. Let’s dig in!
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for 2021.
Best Free Password Manager, Best Open Source Password Manager
Bitwarden is relatively new to the scene but has quickly risen through the ranks as one of the most trustworthy free services for password protection.
You can use it on practically any device with a web connection, either through browser extensions or by installing apps.
Since it's cloud-based, you'll have access to your passwords anywhere you have an Internet or mobile data connection.
On their free plan, you can share your passwords with one other person and store data in various templates, including notes, cards, identities, and passwords.
For additional perks, such as additional sharing slots, secure file storage, password health reports, and unlimited collections, you'll need to sign up for a paid plan. Options are affordable though and charged per user, so you can affordably share with the whole family if you prefer.
Best Password Manager for Families
LastPass is the veteran of this roundup. 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.
Until this year, they've been a consistent editor's pick here at The Informr.
However, they announced in early 2021 that they'd no longer allow you to use the free tier of their service on both your mobile devices and computers. And, well, that's just too restrictive for our liking.
That said, if you're willing to pay for a password manager, LastPass is still one of the best around. They 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.
LastPass includes password management, automatic form filling, an encrypted vault for file attachments, and comprehensive password auditing and dark web monitoring. All of this is priced very comparably to competing services for a single user.
But if you have a family (or a team you'd like to share your passwords with), pricing really shines. For this reason, we consider it an excellent option for anyone looking to secure the whole household.
Best Bundled Password Manager
While Dashlane offers a free service tier, we don't recommend it. Being limited to 50 passwords means you'll inevitably need to pay for a plan or switch providers. However, Dashlane adds some interesting perks on the paid tier level if you're looking for a more comprehensive security solution.
Standard features include automatic form filling, password generation, encrypted note storage, payment information storage, dark web monitor, breach notices, and fingerprint reader support.
Dashlane security one step further than most password managers, however, by adding a licensed version of Hotspot Shield's VPN service to the list of features.
You can use Dashlane on unlimited devices as well, making it a simple way to protect your tablet, phone, computer, or any other tech you might have with a single subscription.
Best Offline Password Manager
Another newcomer on this list -- MYKI Password Manager & Authenticator -- offers a user-friendly interface that allows you to store your passwords and sensitive data on your own devices -- not some cloud server you can't access.
The free version of the service works on Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android to cover most popular phones, tablets and computers. There are also browser extensions if you can't install full applications on the device you wish to use. Military-grade RSA-2018 and 256-bit AES encryption keep your private information secure.
To access your passwords, credit card information, secure memos and other items, set everything up on your phone and then link your other devices to the phone app. Then, whenever you need to access your passwords, payment methods, ID cards, or other sensitive information stored in your MYKI app, request access and then approve it in the app.
No cloud connections and no data stored anywhere but on your phone.
Other features include two-factor authentication code generation, a digital wallet, and sharing entries with other MYKI users.
Best Password Manager for Security Ratings
The final entry on our list is Keeper. You might have seen it on your mobile phone already, as they have partnerships with many carriers. They also support Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and more.
The service uses 256-bit AES encryption with PBKDF2 to keep your data secure. They promise a Zero-Knowledge configuration as well, meaning that no one but you can access your data even if cloud storage was somehow compromised.
Many top tech outlets consider Keeper a favorite thanks to this robust security rating and the easy-to-use app, so you'll commonly see it near the top of password manager lists.
Features include a digital vault for file storage, synching between unlimited devices, automatic password capture, form filling, and two-factor authentication.
You can also set up an emergency access system to allow a trusted person to access your password information should you be unable to do so for them.
In the end, we have to give Bitwarden the win for this roundup.
Their free tier offers everything the average user needs. Their paid tiers offer useful additions at some of the best prices in the password manager market. This combination of utility and value helps it stand out as the editor's choice.
It's also open source. So you can count on security experts across the web to scrutinize the code and be sure it's working as intended.
Most password managers work similarly, but the added tools to help you change passwords and manage your security make Bitwarden an effective option for resting a little easier knowing your accounts are secure and that you're not using the same password over and over again.
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
Previous Editor's Choice: LastPass (2018, 2019, 2020), Dashlane (2017)
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.
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