Bitwarden is the most transparently secure password manager we tested; it’s built on open source code that’s subject to regular security audits. The app is also free, making it a good choice for the password-manager curious. Advanced users like the ability to study the code, and they can even host Bitwarden on their own server. The free account has no limitations, but premium accounts ($10 a year) offer extras like support for logging in with a YubiKey and advice on strengthening your passwords.
The most user-friendly service of this bunch, 1Password seamlessly integrates with login windows to autofill passwords across all your browsers and apps. This is especially true on iOS, where the procedure is smoother than it is on other platforms. Features like Travel Mode, which automatically deletes sensitive data from devices before you go on a trip, and Watchtower, which identifies weak or reused passwords, help justify the cost: $36 a year for one user, $60 for the whole family.
A comprehensive, step-by-step setup makes Dashlane the best choice for those new to password managers. The free tier securely stores your passwords on one device. Shelling out $5 a month syncs your encrypted info across multiple devices and earns you features like Site Breach Alerts—Dashlane monitors the web to make sure your personal info isn’t being sold on the black market. If it is, the app notifies you and helps you change any compromised passwords.
LastPass made its name by handing out free accounts, and those are fine. However, you should upgrade to the paid option ($36 a year for individuals, $48 for families) for the ability to securely share passwords and other sensitive information with your partner or workmates. Emergency Access, also a premium feature, allows someone you trust (like a family member) to get into your account in an urgent situation.
Why Not Just Use Your Browser?
Yes, your web browser can store and autofill passwords for you. So why not just do that? Because storing passwords in your browser is a terrible idea! If other people (like the system admin at the office) have access to your computer, they can open Chrome’s settings tab and see all of your passwords in plaintext. Also, dedicated apps can generate strong passwords for you and autofill any passwords outside the browser, like in your banking or shopping apps.
Styling by Audrey Taylor
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