This is not the first time we’ve discussed this, but cybersecurity is important. And for most of us, we don’t put as much effort into our online passwords as we should. We equip our homes with outdoor home security cameras, we lock our cars at night to keep our belongings safe and many of us use webcam covers to protect ourselves from hackers. A good password manager should be incorporated into our lives just the same, as our passwords protect extremely personal information online.
The same password for multiple accounts? Not frequently changing passwords? Not using numbers, caps and special characters in your password? Two-factor authentication turned off? The vast majority of us are guilty of at least one of these things, because who wants to do all of this for dozens of different accounts?
But what if you don’t have to? For no more than a few dollars a month, the best password managers will handle all of that for you. All you have to do is enter your info for your different accounts once (which should be unseeable to human eyes), and let the algorithms go to work. And not only will it manage your passwords for you, but it will automatically log you into all your services as well, which means your days of 2FA verification are over.
Features to Look For in the Best Password Managers
In case you’re curious, here’s the full rundown of all the benefits that the best password managers offer:
- Unlimited password storage: At minimum, the best password managers let you store as many passwords as you like in your vault once you hit the premium tiers.
- AES-256 encryption: Considering that every password manager on this list offers 256-bit encryption at an affordable price, there’s no excuse to be considering any password manager that isn’t up to this standard.
- Secure password generation: If you think that creating a password with the name of your dog and the year you were born is secure, you are sorely mistaken. In fact, the ideal password is the one you could never think of, or remember yourself in a million years. This is why the best password managers have password generators that let you establish the length and level of complexity you want for your password, and then quickly goes to work generating that password.
- Encrypted password auto-fill: If you use your password manager correctly, you’ll be generating incomprehensible strings of characters that are unique for every account. As a result, password managers will automatically, and securely, enter your credentials for you once you hit a login screen.
- Wide device compatibility: Password managers aren’t just for your Mac or Windows PC. You find many of these password managers on a wide array of platforms including Linux, iOS, Android and Chrome OS. And in terms of browser support, Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge are universally supported by these services.
- Secure Online Payments: While not offered by every service, many of the best password managers can also store your credit card data and ensure that every online transaction is carried out securely. In an age where it’s easier to have your credit card stolen than ever before, this is a nice feature to have.
We could go over key features for days, but we know what you’re really here for: You want to know which password manager is the best. So without further delay, here are the six best password managers you can sign up for.
BEST PASSWORD MANAGER OVERALL
When it comes to the best password managers 1Password checks more boxes than any other service. It supports the latest AES-256 encryption standards, works with a wide range of websites, services, multiple devices, and offers an easy-to-use interface. Available on every major computer and mobile platform, 1Password also has plugins for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge that can automatically (and securely) pull your various logins from the 1Password vault and sign you in without you having to memorize a million different passwords.
On top of all that, there’s even a travel mode that will automatically remove designated logins when you cross a border into a new country. And at just $2.99 a month, 1Password is very affordable considering this app will help keep some of your most critical online accounts more secure than ever before.
LastPass offers many of the same features as 1Password which also includes an automatic password generator, secure cloud storage, and dark web monitoring. The full-featured premium tier for individuals is also the same price as 1Password’s at $2.99 a month. And while LastPass may lack a few features such as travel mode, it does offer a free version that offers the most important aspects of LastPass at no cost. The big catch with this is that you can’t use the mobile app across multiple devices.
If 1Password and LastPass were closely matched, then LastPass and DashLane could be mistaken for clones. But there are some small differences. For starters, Dashlane has a more robust password generator tool that lets you adjust the length and complexity of your password to fit the requirements of different websites. Another powerful feature Dashlane offers is the ability to change every password in your vault with a single click.
But the most significant difference between Dashlane and other services comes down to its privacy practices. While Dashlane does collect some data on you, it’s significantly less information than what other services might gather. And while that extra layer of online anonymity is nice, it will cost you: Dashlane costs $3.99 a month instead of $2.99, but it does offer a single-device free version if you want to get a feel for it first.
Like LastPass and Dashlane, Keeper goes toe-to-toe with 1Password in most of the important areas, and is even more secure than 1Password in some regards (Keeper won’t let you use a PIN to login into the mobile app. Even better, it offers the cheapest paid tier around, only costing $2.91 a month for an individual plan. However, this is balanced out by the fact that Keeper does not include as many secondary perks for free. Features like secure cloud storage and dark web monitoring are only available for an additional fee, while a one-click password change feature is non-existent.
Still, if you’re primarily concerned with having a super secure way to manage your password protected personal information and want to save a few bucks every year, this is the best password manager you can go for.
BEST FREE OPTION
Bitwarden offers two big value propositions when it comes to the best password managers: the source code is open source, and the standard tier for individuals is completely free. In terms of security, this not only means that the source code is completely transparent, but anyone can inspect the code for exploits, glitches or vulnerabilities whenever they want, meaning that Bitwarden is one of the most battle-tested password managers you can opt for.
As far as this being the cheapest offering on the list, you can sync as many devices and store as many passwords as you desire, so it works perfectly as a family plan. But you will miss out on some more premium features like encrypted cloud storage, sharing passwords with multiple people and the ability to check the strength of your passwords. It’s also a little less user friendly. But did we mention that it’s free?
BEST FOR PRIVACY
If you want the ultimate level of privacy when dealing with your sensitive data, look no further than Blur. This password manager will let you generate a one-time credit card number whenever you want if you think you might be purchasing from a sketchy website. It will also let you as well as create as many disposable phone numbers and emails as you want to keep your identity secret. The trade off is price: At $39 the premium tier isn’t wildly more expensive, but in order to take full advantage of the credit card burners, you’ll want to upgrade to the premium plus plan, which costs $99 a year.