Best Password Manager 2021
The need to find the best password manager has never been more important, especially because the recent growth in remote and hybrid work has increased the number of passwords people must juggle and the number of security vulnerabilities that individuals and businesses are exposed to.
Password managers can help create and store passwords securely and are an increasingly popular option for individuals and companies. In this review, we will examine what a password manager is and discuss how they work and their relative safety.
What's on This Page
What is a password manager?
Essentially a password manager does the heavy lifting for you when it comes to passwords providing a secure vault to store the myriad number of passwords you use at home and work. They are available as mobile and desktop apps, browser extensions or a Software as Service (SaaS) option.
While security experts consistently warn us not to make passwords too simple and not to use the same password for multiple sites, remembering numerous complicated passwords is too much work. Instead, many of us default to a few easy-to-remember passwords.
The best password manager helps users avoid these weak passwords, create individualized, hard-to-break logins and automatically log in to websites and apps, all without taxing our overworked memories. Many password managers will also analyze password strength, suggest passwords, automatically fill in web forms and even provide you with access to secure cloud storage.
Are password managers safe?
In a word, yes. You get far better security from a password manager than from reusing passwords or even storing them in an online document or on a stickie.
However, they offer much more in terms of security. Password managers use encryption, most with the AES 256-bit standard used by the military, to protect your passwords. Cracking this kind of encryption is nearly impossible.
Your passwords are also protected from the password manager company itself through something called zero-knowledge architecture. This means that your passwords are encrypted while still on your device before they reach the company’s server for storage.
To access most password managers, you will have to use a master password. Many password managers will also recommend two-factor or biometric authentication using a fingerprint or face scan.
Some password managers include additional security features, prompting you to change your passwords regularly or conducting regular evaluations of the strength of your password. Others include identity theft protections, including scans of the dark web to see if any of your credentials are posted online.
Why should you use a password manager?
With data breaches, accidental or otherwise, becoming more common and the increasingly active threats of identity theft and ransomware attacks, using a password manager is your strongest and most cost-effective defence. The best password manager can help keep your data and your company data safe.
Password managers also offer efficiency. They will manage website credentials and automatically save and fill in those credentials when you visit secure sites. With a password manager you won’t have to waste time coming up with unique secure passwords and you will never have to remember all of them.
They can also store personal information and auto-fill web forms with basic information. Some will also store payment or credit card information. Finally, you can leverage a password manager to securely share credentials or passwords with other users as needed.
Your data and privacy are important and protecting your passwords is essential to ensuring your online security. To help ensure you get the right password manager for your company, we assessed password managers based on their capacity for multi-device support and synching, credential capture and fill, level of security and password sharing.
We rated each rated criteria out of 5 points to help you in your decision process and provided an overall score for each password manager.
Top 5 Rated Password Managers
Best for Security
Four developers created LastPass in 2008 to solve their password problems and quickly realized it solved many similar problems for others. It boasts a robust free option that includes most features but recently made users choose between mobile or PC versions. Premium users have access to better security options and the opportunity to sync across computers and mobile devices. Other stand-out features include:
LastPass includes support for multi-factor authentication via an authenticator app, SMS codes, hardware keys and biometrics depending on your subscription level. But all options greatly enhance your security. You can apply multi-factor authentication to both the LastPass password vault and individual apps.
In addition to prompts to change or enhance your passwords, LastPass also monitors the Dark Web through its partnership with Enzoic. This option scans a security database of leaked credentials and will quickly let you know if your account is compromised, proactively protecting you from identity theft, account takeover, and financial loss.
Robust Business Option
LastPass makes it easy for businesses to generate, share, and manage passwords and usernames for itinerant employees such as freelancers or contractors. You can also set security controls and restrictions and safely store digital records, including software licenses, Wi-Fi logins, and employee IDs. The easy-to-use dashboard manager provides quick access to reports and oversight.
LastPass offers an excellent free option. The Premium plan is $3/month, and the Family option provides access for up to six users for only $4/month. Business plans include Teams for $5.50 per user/month and Business for $8.20 per user/month. All options offer a 14-day free trial.
Best for ease of use
Founded by two friends in 2005, 1Password now keeps passwords safe for millions of customers and over 80,000 businesses. Unlike many of its rivals, it does not have a free version, but it does offer the standard 14-day trial. Both personal and business versions offer apps and support for a wide variety of platforms and devices, as well as sync options. Other stand-out features include:
One of 1Password’s best features is its ease of use. It boasts a user-friendly interface and security recommendations provided in plain English. It’s simple to use, but support is also available.
1Password’s apps are all attractive and highly functional.
When you are out of the country, you can use travel mode to hide your vaults. The only ones that will be visible are the ones that you allow. This adds an extra layer of protection f you lose your device, or you are stopped for inspection in a less than reputable area. Team managers have the option to turn travel mode on and off for their team members.
With various plans and features to suit all personal or business needs, 1Password can scale right alongside you and your business. On the business side, it has team, business and even enterprise subscriptions.
Personal plans start at $2.99 per month for single-use and $4.99 per month for a family of five. Business plans range from $7.99 to $19.95 per month.
Best for user interface
Launched in 2019, NordPass is a newer addition to the password manager market. However, it is brought to you by the same people who created NordVPN, so they understand security and privacy. It offers an excellent free version, but the paid version provides additional features, including data breach monitoring for banking, credit, and login credentials. Some other features provided by NOrdPass include:
NordPass opted for XChaCha20 encryption over the standard AES-256 standard. While this type of encryption is newer, it is considerably faster and does not require additional hardware support. NordPass also boasts zero-knowledge architecture, which means no one at NordPass can see or access your passwords, logins, or other sensitive information.
LiveChat Customer Support
Included even with the free version, NordPass’ live chat customer support is an unusual feature for most password managers. It is one you will appreciate if you have a question and need a quick response.
Integrated Password Generator
Although password analysis and credential monitoring are limited to premium versions, even free users can access the handy password generator. This tool allows you to quickly generate and store passwords on the fly as you browse the web.
NordPass offers a free plan as well as a 30-day moneyback guarantee on all paid versions. Individual plans are $2.49/month and family plans, including up to five users, are $3.99/month. Business plans are $3.59/user/month, and the company offers individualized quotes for enterprise customers.
Best for business
Initially released in 1999, RoboForm is one of the oldest platform managers out there, but it continues to dominate. It does have a free version. However, the premium and business options provide some handy features. Here are a few of those additional features:
If you, or your business contact person, are incapacitated or if you forget your login information, Roboform offers a secure emergency access option that allows you to designate backup access to the app. A legacy option will automatically provide access to your designate in the event of your death.
Across its numerous deployment options, RoboForm maintains an easy-to-use management console. Administrators can efficiently onboard all new employees from this single screen, providing them with the permissions and login credentials they need to get started. The console also allows administrators to create and deploy security policies, review reports and revoke credentials quickly as required.
Again, this is an excellent feature for businesses as it allows administrators to tailor the product to existing company security policies. Customize reports and even the appearance and layout of the app. Even the personal editions of Roboform offer some great options for customization.
There is a robust free version of Roboform, an individual premium subscription for $25 per year, or a family subscription with up to five users for $50.
Best for Additional Features
Dashlane is a French American company that launched its first password manager product in 2012. Since then, the company has become known for offering additional security and other features bundled with its well-known password manager.
A virtual private network (VPN) can protect you when accessing social media accounts or other sites on a public or unsecured network. Dashlane includes VPN with premium and business subscriptions to Dashlane. Essentially it sets up a separate, protected network for you on that public network, so bad actors are unable to monitor, track or hack your accounts.
Separate Personal and Business Folders
You can keep your personal and work passwords and credentials separate in the same vault, helpful for juggling multiple accounts. It also provides an extra level of security for businesses. However, Dashlane also integrates home and family use, including a free family subscription with its business subscription.
One-Click Password Change
Dashlane’s real-time dark web monitoring keeps you informed about your security status, but the ability to act quickly on that information is equally critical. The unique one-button option to change all of your passwords ensures a quick response if security is breached on any of the sites where you have login credentials.
Dashlane offers various plans ranging from a standard free option to an Essentials option at $2.49/month or Premium at $3.99/month. Family membership includes up to six family members for $5.95/month.
Our Rating Process
We looked at the DNS servers on the market, and evaluated them based on speed, user experience, features and privacy. We scored them each out of 5 points to help you in your decision process.
A password manager is only helpful if you can leverage it for all your devices and platforms if, for example, you use a Mac at home and a PC at work. For this category, we considered each password manager’s support for multiple devices and its ability to facilitate cross-platform support. We also took a close look at the app’s ability to sync across devices, so you only have to change a password or update a field once.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Reputable password managers employ the most robust security encryption techniques, the same as those used by the military. Many will also keep your data and credentials even safer by offering two or multi-factor authentication, enforcing password strength protocols, monitoring the web for hacks, and other threats to your information and data.
Of course, it’s easier not to bother and just let your browser store your passwords. Password managers are also a potential single point of failure in your online security if you allow someone to access your master password or if a device is affected by malware. The best defence for this is to ensure two-factor authentication.
Yes, it is. Google password manager simply stores the various login credentials and passwords you use on the web in the cloud. This makes it easier to access these sites but not safer. If your Google account or Gmail are hacked, or your password to either is discovered, hackers have access to every password or login credential you have stored. LastPass encrypts these passwords and stores them safely in a protected vault. Not even LastPass can access your passwords. Essentially Google password manager is about convenience. LastPass is also convenient, but its focus is on ensuring your passwords are secure, and data is protected.
Most password managers allow for offline use, so if your Internet is down or you are on a public network, you can still safely access your data and login credentials.
Unfortunately, many people do this, and hackers are well aware of it. The problem is, many of the sites you access via a login do not adequately protect your data and are easily hacked. Once they are, and a hacker has the login you used to do a bit of online shopping, it doesn’t take much for them to begin to apply that password to banking and other sites.