Bitwarden password manager review

A powerful, feature-packed open source option with a free option and decent pricing

Website screenshot for Bitwarden
(Image: © Bitwarden)

TechRadar Verdict

One of the top password managers around, Bitwarden is secure, feature-packed, open-source, and has support for mobile devices.

Pros

  • +

    Lots of features

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    Open-source design

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    Includes a free product

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    Multi-platform support

Cons

  • -

    Support could be better

  • -

    Web app is better than desktop software

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Bitwarden (opens in new tab) takes a different approach to most password manager tools – because it’s released under the open source license.

Its open source (opens in new tab) status doesn’t just mean that, either. That designation means that people can view, access and contribute to the app’s development. When you want an app to be secure and transparent about the way it works, that can only bode well for Bitwarden’s effectiveness.

There’s more to like about this app beyond it being open source. Bitwarden promises easy, powerful security within minutes, unlimited password and devices support, and secure, encrypted sharing.

Need more advice on passwords? Then look no further than our reviews of the best password managers (opens in new tab). And if you need some help with images, take a look at our coverage of best password recovery software (opens in new tab).

Bitwarden features

Bitwarden’s business plans are packed with useful features for larger companies. (Image credit: Bitwarden )

Bitwarden: Plans and pricing

There’s plenty of variety when it comes to Bitwarden’s products. On the personal side of things the firm offers a free version, a premium individual plan that costs just $10 / £10 / AUD$15 per year and a family package for six users with a $40 / £40 / AUD$60 annual price.

The free personal plan includes all the core features of Bitwarden, including multi-device sync and unlimited items in your vault. Upgrading to the $10 / £10 / AUD$15 per year Premium plan adds emergency access, advanced 2FA, an authentication module and security reporting alongside priority customer support.

The family plan includes six accounts, unlimited sharing and collections and improved storage organization, which makes it easier to manage all of the passwords associated with business households. It also includes all of the features you’ll get with the individual Premium account.

The Team Organization plan costs $3 / £3 / AUD$5 per user per month. It includes a wealth of added features such as user groups and API access – and you get better logging and unlimited sharing, too. You’ll get all of this with the Enterprise plan, which costs $5 / £5 / AUD$8 per user per month, alongside custom roles, SSO integration, in-depth admin options and self-host settings. 

Bitwarden installation

Bitwarden’s installation process is one of the simplest you’ll find. (Image credit: Bitwarden )

Bitwarden: Setup

Don’t worry when confronted with Bitwarden’s open-source status – installation couldn’t be easier. Download the app, create an account with your master password, and you’ll be ready to go.

Bitwarden has superb platform support, too. It works on Windows, macOS and Linux. Extensions are built for every major browser like Chrome (opens in new tab), Safari, Firefox (opens in new tab) and Edge (opens in new tab) – alongside more obscure options like Vivaldi, Brave, Tor and Opera. Apple and Android apps are available. Bitwarden supports command line usage and can also be accessed directly on the web.

Bitwarden web application

All of Bitwarden’s features can be administered in the web application (Image credit: Bitwarden )

Bitwarden: Interface and performance

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 cloud storage (opens in new tab).

Premium plans include reports on your passwords highlighting weak passwords and unsecured websites. Also, advanced features are added, such as Two Factor Authentication (opens in new tab) (2FA) and emergency access. A Data Breach Report can tell you whether an email address has been compromised in a known data breach.

Bitwarden has a sleek, straightforward interface that allows users to easily search and access their passwords and secure data. And while it’s not as slick-looking as some other tools, that doesn’t really matter when the app’s functionality is more important.

Adding a new item is as easy as filling in a simple form, and you can attach notes and custom fields to each entry for total personalization.

We prefer using the web app, as it still includes complex authentication options and access to reports. The browser extension resembles the web app and includes a password generator (opens in new tab), which makes using the password manager on the fly even easier.

Bitwarden includes plenty of features to make life easier. It automatically fills forms, quickly syncs passwords and data across devices, and tests your passwords for strength levels. Like many other apps, it monitors your password vault and lets you know if your information has been exposed in a security breach.

Bitwarden source code available on GitHub

Bitwarden’s entire source code is available on GitHub and the developers invite security researchers to test for security breaches. (Image credit: Bitwarden )

Bitwarden: Security

It’s got a robust slate of security features, too. Your Bitwarden vault is secured with AES-256 encryption and your master password is never sent to Bitwarden – so there’s no chance of a breach from Bitwarden’s side of things.

You’re able to host your passwords on your own server if you’d like to add that layer of security, which is handy for businesses.

Bitwarden’s security measures go beyond zero-knowledge encryption (opens in new tab), too. The app’s open source status means its source code is available online, resulting in more scrutiny from security experts – so problems get sorted in a timely fashion.

Bitwarden: Customer support

Bitwarden help center

Bitwarden has a useful help center and you can email the developers for support (Image credit: Bitwarden )

Bitwarden is an active open source project, so there’s plenty of support in the form of an online community, tutorials, a knowledge base and forums. Every common feature has a well-written tutorial and the user forums, while basic, are active and helpful.

You can even email the developers for support via an online support portal, with Premium subscribers getting priority. It’s impressive for an open-source project like Bitwarden to have the level of customer support that rivals commercial products. The only thing missing is phone support – that would have been a welcome addition, especially for business customers.

Bitwarden: The competition

If you’re willing to spend a little more, Dashlane (opens in new tab) adds identity theft protection to the mix. This adds credit monitoring, identity restoration support, and identity theft insurance that covers you up to $1 million should the occasion occur. Another paid password manager with more features than Bitwarden is LastPass (opens in new tab)

Bitwarden: Final verdict

There’s lots to like about Bitwarden. It’s got rock-solid security options bolstered by the app’s open source status. It works with virtually every device and browser you could think of – so it’s impressively versatile too.

When it comes to features this app ticks every mainstream box and it’s easy to use, even if it’s missing out on some of the slick design and high-end ability you’ll find elsewhere. But that's not a big issue when it’s got a tempting free product, good pricing on all of its paid options, and solid open-source security.

We've also featured the best business password managers.

Mike has worked as a technology journalist for more than a decade and has written for most of the UK’s big technology titles alongside numerous global outlets. He loves PCs, laptops and any new hardware, and covers everything from the latest business trends to high-end gaming gear.

With contributions from