If you're looking for an easy way to manage your online logins, using one of the best password manager options in this article can help. As an extra level of safety, consider using a physical security key and an online security suite for a full suite of digital defenses.
We all have many online accounts, but it's often easy to fall into the habit of reusing the same password for multiple sites and services. It might be convenient, but it also leaves you in danger of a very real cybersecurity issue that could affect work and personal files alike.
Getting one of the best password manager choices has never been more important, especially as more and more of us are embracing a remote working life that splits time between the home and office.
In a hurry? The best password manager of 2022 is Dashlane (opens in new tab)
(opens in new tab)Dashlane is an advanced password manager with all the functionality you would expect from a market-leading brand: an award-winning VPN, a one-click password importer and charger, dark web monitoring and encrypted cloud storage. Get 20% off when you sign up for an annual plan. (opens in new tab)
Why do we need password managers anyway?
Surprisingly, a lot of people do ask this simple question. A TechRadar Pro survey carried out in April 2022 found out that more than a quarter of the respondents didn't see the point of a password manager with a further 26% preferring to store their passwords elsewhere.
And yet, password managers are the tool of choice to manage our every increasing number of passwords. Every computer or phone user has hundreds of logins and password combinations and attempting to remember all of them is near impossible, especially when for services you registered for a while back and hardly used ever since.
Password managers also remove the mental challenge usually associated with creating near-uncrackable passwords by generating and storing them for you. They then simply store these passwords in a "vault" for access using a "master password" - so basically one password to rule them all.
How does a password manager work?
At their simplest, consumer-grade password managers store user passwords in an encrypted digital vault that is protected by one master password, the only password the user will ever have to remember again. Using their master password, users can access their stored passwords on any device, and the password manager will autofill them on all their sites and apps. As mentioned above, password managers will also automatically generate strong, unique passwords and warn users if their passwords are weak or if they’re reusing passwords across accounts.
What experts contributed to this guide?
- Craig Lurey, CTO and Co-founder of KeeperSecurity
- Dr. Sid Potbhare, CEO at Untethered Labs
- Kevin Mitnick (yes, THAT Kevin Mitnick), Chief Hacking Officer at KnowBe4
How did we test?
Given the sheer number of options for the best password managers now available, narrowing down the ones to include in this review was no easy task.
First of all, we researched the market for all major password managers and reviewed them all 24 (there's a list of them at the bottom of this page). We shortlisted a list of paid and free options that we felt covered a broad number of use cases - including solutions that are tailored to business users and others that would work well for families.
Any apps that included less run-of-the-mill features, like biometric authentication were also considered. We’ve also come up with a list of the best free password managers. These may have a few limitations when compared to the paid software listed below, but they still hold up as very capable password managers.
Should you use your browser to manage your passwords?
Storing your password in a browser is one method to track your passwords, but there are more secure methods such as using a password manager. Using a central tool to track your credentials provides different security levels not offered by browsers. Having a master password is one main reason.
Browsers store the login information, the credentials within its application, and are readily available to be used when the user visits a website. However, so can cybercriminals or anyone who gains access to your computer, either physically or remotely.
By using a password vault, everything is synced in one location and across multiple browsers. Password vault developers have no access to your vault data, as the user is the only one with the decryption key.
The password vault developers encrypt the vaults if and when they store it in the developer's cloud servers. You, as the user, are the only person with the decryption key. In this case, it's your strong password that secures the password vault and is unlocked when you type in the password to access all of the credentials.
Using multiple browsers like Chrome, Firefox, or Edge presents a challenge to access passwords across various platforms. While the browsers can generate passwords, the security of all your passwords and sensitive information is crucial. Unfortunately, the browsers do not provide any multi-factor authentication when accessing the password vault for the first time when using another computer.
Another misconception is that people try to keep their credentials safe by keeping them in a spreadsheet or document and saving it with a password, but this is by-passable as there are many tools available online that can be downloaded and used to crack the password.
Best Password Managers of 2022
As one of the most popular password managers in the world, Dashlane (opens in new tab) is a capable password manager for a single device, capable of storing unlimited passwords (50 for a free account) in a secure vault with multi-factor authentication, Like LastPass, it can do much more than just fill in passwords for you; it can also store all kinds of information and fill out forms with delivery addresses and contact details automatically.
So far so good, but Dashlane's premium service is even more impressive. Not only does it let you synchronize all your passwords across all your devices (both desktop and mobile), it also monitors the dark web for data breaches and sends you personalized alerts if any of your stored details appear in a batch of stolen data.
There's secure file storage too (ideal for scanned ID documents, insurance policies and receipts) and even a VPN (opens in new tab) for browsing the web more securely via Wi-Fi hotspots.
Unsurprisingly, all of this comes at a price, and Dashlane's premium plan is one of the most expensive options around, but the extra services (plus remote account access and priority support) do justify the cost.
LastPass password manager (opens in new tab) is easy to use, super-secure, packed with features, and offers both free and premium tiers so you can choose the option that suits you best. No wonder it's one of the most searched for and popular password managers available!
All data is stored using AES-256 bit encryption with PBKDF2 SHA-256 and salted hashes to keep it secure - and this isn't limited to passwords either. You can also store credit card details and delivery addresses so they can be entered automatically when you're shopping online, plus encrypted notes, details of insurance policies and much more besides.
The free version of LastPass is superb, but premium accounts are very reasonably priced and offer an extremely useful extra feature: the ability to log into apps on your phone. Very few password managers offer this, and it could prove invaluable if you ever lose your phone, preventing people from accessing your emails and social media.
One of our favorite LastPass features is its support for multi-factor authentication, which helps protect you from phishing attempts by requiring an additional form of authorization to log into your accounts, such as a code generated by a mobile app or a fingerprint scan. Although it's becoming more widespread, not all sites and services offer this yet, so having all your logins secured in a vault that's protected this way is a real boon.
Do note, though, that LastPass Free users will have to choose whether they want their accounts on mobile or desktop, with the company saying it will only include access on unlimited devices of one type.
Newcomer NordPass (opens in new tab) is part of NordSec suite of products that also includes NordVPN (opens in new tab). Nordpass offers a very capable password manager with browser plugins for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, Brave, and Safari, as well as desktop apps for Windows, macOS, and Linux, plus iOs and Android mobile devices. In addition, NodPass has a web vault that allows accessing all of the data on any desktop device via a browser.
As well as storing encrypted passwords, NordPass can also suggest strong passwords as well as offer to safely and securely store credit card and banking details for faster checkouts on ecommerce websites.
With the premium edition, you can then sync this information across up to 6 devices per licence. The free version only allows one, but you get to try out other premium features for 30-days.
Another positive is that there is no limitation to the number of passwords you can save, unlike some others that have restrictions. The software is also constantly updated (as it should be) with some new features, either big or small. For instance, the desktop app recently got a nice quality of life change - a 'switch account' feature, which allows you to switch accounts with just one click, provided you have more accounts, like personal and business.
Overall, though, NordPass is a highly capable password manager that does a little more than would be expected.
There's no free version of Keeper password manager (opens in new tab), but you can try it for 30 days before deciding whether to commit to a subscription. Keeper Security scores highly for offering support for unlimited devices.
As you'd expect from a purely premium product, Keeper is one of the most sophisticated password managers around. Not only does it offer plugins for every major browser, plus mobile apps for iOS and Android, it's also available as a desktop app for Windows, macOS and Linux. There's support for biometric authentication on mobile devices too, and syncs your data across an unlimited number of devices.
Like the paid-for version of Dashlane, Keeper will warn you if any of your passwords appear in a data breach. It will also alert you if any of your passwords are particularly weak, or have been re-used, and help you create strong replacements.
There's an excellent family plan as well. This not only protects the login details of everyone in your household, it also lets you share files securely between one another and offers an encrypted messaging tool that's a solid alternative to WhatsApp if you'd prefer to avoid Facebook products.
1Password (opens in new tab) is a password manager that aims to deliver protection not just for individuals or organizations, but also provides a shared password protection system for families. 1Password pitches itself as the world's most loved password manager.
There are two main service provisions, with one being for individuals and their families, allowing either a single user or a family of up to five people to use the 1Password service for protected logins. There's also a business service that offers protection for those working from home, as well as teams and enterprises in general.
As well as providing all of the above, 1Password protects you from breaches and other threats, such as keyloggers and phishing attempts, and will only work in verified browsers.
The result is a very secure and competent password manager that covers both personal use as well as corporate use, including working from home, without compromising your security.
LogMeOnce (opens in new tab) is a password management solution that offers cross-platform support, so it doesn't matter what device you use, whether desktop or mobile, your passwords and logins are still accessible as required.
Unusually, LogMeOnce gets rid of the need for a master password by putting in place additional security settings, so that you can't get locked out of your account simply by forgetting your master password.
It's also a service that offers additional security features, which includes the ability to encrypt and store your logins online to help with accessibility.
However, rather than just rely on passwords, LogMeOnce also offers biometric options, such as a selfie, fingerprint, face ID, as well as a PIN or password. The increased number of options means you can apply different levels of security to different logins.
As with other password managers, LogMeOnce is built to provide Single Sign On functionality, so once you're logged in with a service you shouldn't expect to need to keep signing into the self-same service.
Roboform (opens in new tab) is another versatile password manager, with plugins for all the major browsers and mobile apps for both iOS and Android.
The free version is superb, providing you with a secure vault for your logins (though you also have the option of only storing your data on your device if you prefer), an auditing tool to help you identify weak or duplicated passwords, and a password generator for replacing them with strong, unguessable combinations of numbers, letters and special characters.
Unlike LastPass, the free version of RoboForm doesn't sync your passwords across multiple devices. For that you'll need a premium subscription, but prices are very reasonable. You'll also get a host of other useful features, including the ability to share logins securely, multi-factor authentication, and priority 24/7 support.
Bitwarden (opens in new tab) is open source software that is user-friendly and highly secure, and includes almost everything individuals, teams, and businesses require in a password manager.
Bitwarden’s basic plans focus on the meat of password management, but even the free plans include multi-device sync, optional self-hosting, and unlimited online storage (opens in new tab). Premium plans include reports on your passwords that highlight things like weak passwords and unsecured websites.
The pad-for plans include features for managing the passwords of a larger workforce, with password sharing, fine-grained access control, user groups, two-step login, and multi-factor authentication.
Bitwarden is not just one of the best free password managers (opens in new tab) available, it’s so usable and feature-packed it could put some paid password managers out of business.
mSecure password manager (opens in new tab) covers all the essentials you need from password management software. There's no limit on how many entries you can keep and the built-in categories enable you to store much more than passwords. All entries support custom fields and you can also separate entries into groups in lieu of simple tags.
The password generator included in mSecure works well, but it wasn’t our favorite. There's no option to force it to produce human-readable words. As a result, every password is a truly random string that’s hard to type if you don’t have auto-fill enabled. Notably, you also can’t access the password generator without creating a new record in mSecure.
mSecure is a quality password manager for individuals, with customizable templates and syncing across devices. It's also very affordable and capable enough for most individual users. The only major thing missing is secure password sharing for families and teams.
If you need to share passwords between members of a team, Zoho Vault (opens in new tab) offers the granular control necessary. Zoho Vault’s user management, permissions, and password policy features set it apart from personal password managers and you can make batch changes to passwords with ease.
Zoho Vault can integrate with third-party enterprise apps like Gmail (opens in new tab), Dropbox (opens in new tab), Microsoft Active Directory, and Microsoft 365 (opens in new tab). Enterprise users can use Single Sign On (SSO) (opens in new tab) with cloud apps like Salesforce and Slack, and as Zoho Vault has an API, it’s possible to integrate it with any of your own apps.
Zoho Vault has excellent security, fine control over users and passwords, and superb third-party integrations. It’s also inexpensive, and customer support is one of the best we’ve seen in a password manager service.
We don’t particularly recommend it for personal use as most of the features are geared towards teams, making the interface somewhat complex, but it’s an outstanding password manager for organizations and corporates.
Which password managers have we reviewed?
There are dozens of password managing services and even more applications that offer password manager features. Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge or even Bitdefender Total Security, a popular antivirus solution offer a password manager feature. To make things even more complicated, you have mobile-only password managers that focused primarily on smartphone users, literally dozens of them. At present, we have reviewed more than 20 password managers:
- 1Password password manager
- RememBear password manager
- LogMeOnce password manager
- Keepsolid Passwarden password manager
- KeePassXC password manager
- Keeper Password Manager
- PassCamp password manager
- Bitwarden password manager
- Zoho Vault password manager
- Enpass password manager
- mSecure password manager
- SafeInCloud password manager
- Kaspersky Password Manager
- RoboForm password manager
- LastPass password manager
- Dashlane password manager
- Norton Password Manager
- NordPass password manager
- Stick Password
- Password Boss
- Intuitive Password
- McAfee True Key
- Solarwinds Passportal