The Best Password Managers 2018
Passwords are essential to our lives. Most of have several of them: we use them to sign into our online accounts, social media, and to access various goods and services around the web. But if you are one of those people who use the same password for all of your accounts, or if you keep post-it notes stuck all over your desk just so you can remember them, you are putting yourself, and your identity, at risk.
If this sounds like you, installing a password manager might be a good idea. As our digital lives continue to become more and more complex, having a tool that makes life a little bit simpler is always welcome.
Some of the accounts a password manager can protect include:
- Webmail accounts
- Online banking
- Social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and so on
- Shopping sites
- Music services accounts like Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music
- iTunes App Store and Google Play Store
- Subscription services like Microsoft Office 365, Dropbox, and iCloud
- Job boards
- News sites and magazines for which you have sign-in credentials
- … virtually any site you use a password to access
While some of these sites may not hold that much information in your profile, others contain payment data, credit cards, and a range of personal data that can be used for nefarious purposes. At the very least, your email might be used to spam everybody in your contacts. At worst, you could stand to have your bank accounts drained, your credit card fraudulently maxed out, or worst of all, have your identity stolen completely.
What is a password manager and why do I need one?
Password managers are applications that are deployed on your computer and your devices. Deployed as a browser plugin or as a stand-alone app, they help you manage all of your account passwords, create new ones, and generally help to protect your accounts from unauthorized access. All you will need to do is manage one password, and that’s it. Sounds pretty simple, right?
The most complicated thing about password managers is choosing the one you want to use. There are plenty of choices, both free and paid, and depending on the features you like best, one of them will no doubt be right for you.
Which password manager is right for me?
Here are some of the most popular password managers along with a little bit about what we think about them. Note that our comments are focused on consumer use cases as opposed to business uses, which can be a little more complex.
Dashlane is currently the hands-down most popular and highly regarded password manager on the market today. It offers a free version that is good for one device only. If you need to protect several devices, you would need a Premium Plan for $3.33 per month (billed yearly) or a Business Plan for $4 per user/per month (also billed yearly).
- Free version gives you 30-days of premium service free to try it out
- Real-time breach alerts sent to your device
- Instant password changes
- Password generator – better, stronger passwords
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- You can grant access to up to 5 accounts
- Emergency contact access in case of emergency
- Instant form fill saves lots of time
- Premium features include password backups
- Supports two-factor authentication (2FA)
- Passwords are synced across all devices (premium feature)
- Stores payment info so you can pay with one click – saves a lot of time
- Captures online shopping receipts
- Supports iOS, Android, Windows, Apple
- Android users will only be able to access some features through Dashlane’s browser
- Does not support Internet Explorer
- Does not manage application passwords
Keeper is another popular password manager app that offers unlimited devices and passwords for one user at a cost of just $2.50 per month (billed yearly). Their family plan provides access for up to five users and includes 10Gb of cloud storage for $5 per month (billed yearly). The business plan offers some extra functionality to facilitate provisioning, identity management, and other admin features.
- Supports all platforms and devices
- Optional secure cloud file storage
- Keeps a full history of all your passwords
- Auto form-fill
- Automated password updates
- Bio-marker login (fingerprints)
- 24/7 support
- Real-time breach notifications
- Extra setup steps required to activate some features
- Business plan is pricier than some others ($30 per user/per year)
3. Last Pass
Last Pass is a reasonably priced password manager that offers a Premium and a Family version for consumers, and Teams and Enterprise versions for business. It has a free version, though the Premium version is very inexpensive – it covers one user and unlimited devices for $2 per month, and the family plan covers six users for $4 per month. It also offers a free browser plugin. Business plans are also available at what is by far the least expensive option in business-grade password managers.
- Value pricing
- Mobile and browser
- Password generator
- Multi-platform for all your devices
- 1 Gb of secure cloud storage included
- Free version available
- Emergency access
- Several multi-factor options
- Auto fill is glitchy
- User interface is not very user-friendly for non-techies
- Browser integration does not work with some websites
- Some users have reported getting refunds was difficult
- Past security issues
- Not enough premium features over and above the free version
Password manager roundup
These three password managers are among the most popular choices available today and all are solid producers with a good reputation.
In most consumer comparisons,
Dashlane comes up as number one for service, ease of use, and flexibility. The price is pretty good too, but there are some issues with wider connectivity if you are using an older browser, if you access a lot of web apps, or if you are an Android user.
Keeper gives you a bunch of cloud storage (10Gb!) included in your account and it makes life easier and faster by supporting biometric sign-in. Though it’s a little more expensive than some other solutions, it’s a great all-around password manager with a lot of useful features.
LastPass is the best password manager for value, as it has a free version. Even the Premium version is quite inexpensive, but some users report that features can be glitchy – and they have an unfortunate history with past security issues and not-so-stellar stellar customer service. Try the free version first and see how it goes – at least, you’ve got nothing to lose.
Watch this space to learn more about password managers.