Passwords are an essential element of online security. Still, people commit the mistake of making common passwords (like 123456, password, and qwerty), use a single password for all accounts, or forget the passwords they made.
The best password managers to help us not only in creating strong, unique passwords but also in remembering them all. A password manager can remember your login credentials by storing them in an encrypted form and providing the details when needed.
We took a look at five password managers that can create strong passwords, store them securely with encryption, and enter them easily through encrypted connections.
5 best password managers: Increased online security
Using strong passwords should be one of your top priorities. With a password manager, you’ll have no more excuses to slack on creating better passwords.
— Cobweb (@cobwebsolutions) January 30, 2019
Before we delve into each password manager, know the common characteristics shared by these tools:
- They can create strong passwords with their password generators.
- They can store passwords and other credentials in a local vault or in cloud servers.
- They use AES-256, a powerful encryption protocol, to encrypt your passwords.
- They can import credentials that are stored in your browsers.
- They use two-factor authentication (2FA) for increased security.
- They support multiple platforms like Windows, Mac, mobile OS, and browsers like Chrome.
- Except for True Key, all tools have an auto-fill function.
Beyond these essential features, each password manager has unique qualities. Proceed with our list so you can pick the one that is suited for you.
For many years, LastPass has been the first password manager choice of many users. It can generate new passwords that are very strong. It can store your passwords (old and new) in a cloud-based vault so you won’t need to remember them all. The master password is the only thing you must never forget.
LastPass offers free and Premium versions for individual users. The Premium plan is priced at $2 per month, billed upfront as $24 for a year. For groups with multiple users, LastPass offers Families, Teams, and Enterprise paid plans. Free and paid plans share the following features:
- Unlimited number of stored passwords
- Access the vault through the app, browser plug-in, or the LastPass’ website
- Access the vault from any device using the LastPass’ site or even when you’re offline
- Import stored credentials not only from browsers but also from your previous password manager
- Ability to go through your database to check old, duplicate, weak, or recently breached passwords
- A secure notes section where you can write down anything and have it protected in your vault
Whether you’re going for the free version or one of the paid plans, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy these fantastic features.
Paid plans have exclusive features like:
- 1GB file storage
- Priority tech support
- A more advanced multi-factor authentication
- Ability to share with many people your login access to selected sites
These extra features will give you more utility, especially if you’re working with a group or with other users.
However, if you’re planning to use LastPass for your sole purpose, you’re better off with the already powerful free plan, as the paid ones offer minimal improvements.
Dashlane has long been the closest rival of LastPass. It also has a secure note section and the ability to import data from your previous password managers. Combining the uncrackable AES-256 encryption with the ability to generate uncrackable passwords, Dashlane offers superb security for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and browsers.
Dashlane’s most innovative features include:
- A digital wallet for storing credit card numbers. You won’t be needing to enter payment details everytime you make an online purchase.
- Ability to change your passwords across multiple websites with just one click.
- Security alerts whenever a website has been breached.
- The option to store passwords in a local vault instead of putting them in Dashlane’s cloud servers.
Like LastPass, Dashlane has free and premium plans. Some differences between the two:
- Number of stored passwords: Free plan can save 50; for premium, it’s unlimited.
- Number of devices: Free plan supports just one device while the premium plan allows syncing across an unlimited number of devices.
- Password sharing: The free version allows five accounts. For premium, it’s unlimited.
- Exclusive features: Found only in the premium plan are features like secure file storage, a
VPNfor Wi-Fi protection, priority customer support, and web access (you don’t need your device to log in).
As you can see, the advantages of the premium plan over the free version are quite overwhelming. If you want the premium features, it will cost you $3.33 per month, billed one-time as $40 for a whole year. Not a bad deal if you want to enjoy more features.
Well, there is a headline that tells you a whole lot! True Key from McAfee requires a master password, but you can still access your account without it. Just use your face, fingerprint, or one of your devices as part of the two-factor authentication. Passwords are encrypted then stored in a local vault. Passwords can also be synced across multiple devices.
Like Dashlane, True Key also has a digital wallet feature. Interestingly, you can catch your credit card information, passport number, or driver’s license by just taking a picture. However, True Key won’t store the CVV codes of your credit cards—whether this is a good thing or not is up to you.
True Key supports Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. It’s also built to integrate perfectly with Intel’s RealSense technology, offering you a seamless, integrated digital security experience. With True Key’s extension for Edge, you can log in to your PC through Windows Hello.
True Key has free and premium versions, and both plans share the same features. The difference? The free version stores only 15 passwords. Beyond that, you have to get the premium plan for $19.99 per year. If you go premium, you can store up to 10,000 passwords.
True Key is not devoid of limitations. It lacks essential features found in other password managers, like an auto-fill function, password sharing, and the ability to give emergency access of your full credentials to someone you trust.
Due to so many features, the three options above are a bit complicated. If you want something that’s easy to use, try RoboForm. It’s one of the oldest password managers out there, and newcomers and senior users will surely appreciate its neat, clear interface.
The RoboForm Free version has these innovative features:
- Unlimited number of stored credentials (both for websites and apps)
- Ability to detect weak passwords and replace them with stronger ones
- Password sharing
RoboForm Free has the necessary characteristics you’ll expect from a password manager.
If you need more features, you have to spend $23.88 per year to enjoy the Roboform Everywhere premium account for individuals. This paid package adds:
- Syncing across devices and browsers
- Secure cloud backup
- Ability to give emergency access of your full credentials to a family member or someone you trust
- Web access to let you access your data wherever you are
These extra features make Roboform Everywhere a more appealing package than the Roboform Free.
1Password has proven itself to be a capable competitor to LastPass and other top password managers. It sports these special features:
- Unlimited storage of login credentials
- An unlimited number of devices
- The ability to store passwords in a local vault instead of putting them in 1Password’s servers
- 1GB file storage
- A digital wallet for storing credit card details, purchase receipts, sticky notes
- Travel Mode, which lets you remove sensitive passwords whenever you’re crossing a border
- Their ‘Watchtower Service’ that will alert you whenever there is a breached website
The above features easily make 1Password qualified to be part of our list of five best password managers.
Here’s the caveat: 1Password only offers paid plans as compared to the other listed tools which have lifetime free versions. The individual package has the smallest price point at $2.99 per month (billed one-time as $36 annually), which is more expensive than that of LastPass. If you need password sharing, additional file storage, and other advanced features, you will have to go to higher plans and pay more.
Still, with this array of features, you can expect 1Password to give sufficient value to your money. If you want to have a taste of 1Password’s services first, take the 30-day free trial of the paid plans. However, make sure to cancel your subscription on the last day or else you will be billed instantly.
The best password managers will protect you
Every step you take to improve your digital security makes you a more difficult target for hackers. Having a wide variety of strong passwords is a key factor in this area. If one of your passwords is compromised in some fashion, your other accounts with different passwords will remain safe.
Each of the five best password managers in this list will make managing passwords an easy task. Plus, the encryption protocol they all use is top-notch. Choose the right one for your needs, and you’ll be better protected online.
Also, know that the power of these password management tools will be boosted further with additional encryption. This is especially true if you’re using a public Wi-Fi network where your passwords can be stolen. Encryption can be easily achieved by using one of the five best VPN providers that we recommended.