Best password managers
A password manager app is an absolute must to keep your online digital identity and accounts safe. We've ranked the top 5 candidates you should be using.
Best password management apps for 2020, ranked
How did we pick this list?
We've assessed each password manager on its claims and looked over comparative reviews from authoritative sites as well as user reviews over time to come up with our rankings. Given the importance of security in a password manager, we've also considered whether these services themselves have had any security breaches as well when coming up with our definitive list.
All choices are independently made based on our combined 60+ years of reviewing experience and are not based on commercial relationships.
An excellent and affordable cloud-based password manager.
- Free version is quite capable
- Supports 2FA
- Simple cross-device syncing
- Has had security scares in the past
- Also some bugs
- Accounts are cloud stored
Price (RRP): Free/$4.53 a month (Premium)/$6.04 a month (Families)Download at LastPass
Why we chose it
LastPass is a LogMeIn-owned entity that a lot of reviewers love for the fact that its free tier offers up a lot of features typically locked behind a paid product, including syncing passwords across multiple devices for a single user. The paid tier for consumers starts at $4.53 a month and adds multi-factor authentication, online storage and one-to-many password sharing, with a family pack at $6.04 a month offering up a 6-licence pack. LastPass relies on a cloud-based storage model, rather than local or allowing you to pick, which could be problematic for some. It has had reported incidents in the past that could have led to password leakage, although it has been very rapid in patching those holes when they've been reported, which is encouraging.
A flexible password manager that's especially good for iPhone or Mac users.
- Lots of app support
- Good security management
- Authentication app capability
- Tricky to import from other apps
- No free version
- Only supports iCloud/Dropbox online storage
Price (RRP): US$2.99 a month (Personal)/US$4.99 a month (Families)Download at iTunes
Why we chose it
1Password's heritage is in the Mac space where it used to be a standalone paid app, but it's now more of a subscription password service, with support for Macs, PCs, Linux and mobile devices. That Apple heritage does make it a good match for iOS users, with a lot of support for autofill options on iOS apps that many other services tend to fall over on. Vaults can be stored locally or on iCloud or Dropbox, but sadly there's no support for alternative online cloud storage services for your encrypted vault. Reviewers also note that if you're coming from other apps that it can be tricky to get 1Password to fully import some password types.
Free and incredibly powerful, if you've got the technical nous to set it up.
- It's free-as-in-actually-free
- Runs across just about everything
- Massively configurable
- You have to do everything yourself
- UI isn't great
- Tricky to sort mobile apps
Price (RRP): FreeDownload at iTunes
Why we chose it
If you want password management but don't want to spend any money on it, KeePass has long been the go-to solution for storing all your passwords, because it's a totally free open source password management client. It has been ported to just about every operating system ever in a variety of forms. While that does give it a lot of configuration flexibility, it also means that there are lots of KeePass "clients" out there. It also means that it relies on you to do the configuration of how and where you store your encrypted vault and which features you want to bolt onto it. KeePass can be amazingly powerful with plentiful extensions to cover security needs, but that also means it can be baffling for the less technically adept, especially if you're trying to get it sorted on a mobile device.
Good monitoring and password management with solid security extras.
- Free for single device use
- Breach alerts
- Premium plan includes VPN
- Can't sync on the free plan
- Limited web interface
- Only 50 passwords on free version
Price (RRP): Free/US$3.33 a month (personal)/US$4.99 a month (family)Download at Dashlane
Why we chose it
Dashlane is well liked by many reviewers for its complex suite of features, most notably on the paid version which not only includes password management and two-factor authentication but also VPN access for additional online security and dark web monitoring to inform you if there are breaches involving your information. There's a free tier, but it's limited to a single device with no cross-syncing and you can only store a maximum of 50 credentials on it before you'd need to step up to the paid version.
- Includes dark web monitoring
- Paid version includes cloud storage
- Scales up for business use
- Limited free version
- Mobile apps are ordinary
- Add-on modules can raise the price
Price (RRP): Free/$2.91 a month (personal)/$4.87 a month (Plus Bundle)/$6.01 a month (Max Bundle)Download at Amazon
Why we chose it
Keeper provides a robust suite of tools for either personal or business use with a lot of scalability in terms of the features it can offer beyond simple password storage. These include features such as dark web monitoring, an optional paid encrypted communication platform and cloud-based storage. Keeper is well regarded for this, although the range of features does mean it's got an array of price points depending on whether you want a personal licence, a family group licence or a business set-up. The costs can rise pretty quickly if you want everything Keeper has to offer. There is a free version, but it's limited in the number of passwords it can store and pushes you heavily towards trialling the paid version.
Password management apps considered
Best password management apps ranked
- We've compared reviews from everyday consumers and professional technology writers to assess the best password managers.
- Our editorial team has a combined 60+ years of experience writing about tech and reviewing the latest devices.
- The password managers on this list are chosen by our editorial team and are not based on commercial relationships.
How to choose a password manager
Here's what you should consider when choosing a password management app:
Is the price right?
Most password management apps will offer a free tier and if your password needs are moderate that might be all you'd need.
Can I sync to multiple devices?
The days of having a single computing device that you use daily are way behind us, with many of us working not only on a laptop, but also our phones and tablets and potentially remotely over the web as well.
Is monitoring included?
The password management space has shifted from a "pay once for the software" model to a subscription basis, with most of the best management apps also offering real-time monitoring of included sites and sometimes the dark web to their suite of tools. That's an important inclusion, because if your strong password is leaked online or there's a known breach, having your password management app inform you of it makes it easier to change the password.
Does it support additional authentication steps?
Many password management apps will now support at least two-factor authentication and some step into areas of multi-factor authentication or providing their own authentication services within the apps.
Is the app provider trustworthy?
The whole point of a password management app is that your password vault is encrypted, but if you lack the technical nous to check the encryption level, you're trusting in the credentials of the app provider. Not everyone is flawless in this regard and software always has bugs. As such, the speed of reaction and patches is just as important as whether bugs existed in the first place.
For more information, check out our password manager comparison.
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