What is the BEST Password Manager for 2021Apr 27, 2021
What is the BEST password manager in 2021?
Welcome to the year 2021, welcome back to another review - and in this one, we are asking the question of what is the BEST Password Manager?
Yes - We're finally back with the much-requested review of the top password managers, following up from the last video I made in 2020 which had a tonne of comments and feedback - thanks to everyone who watched that one.
Now there have been some big announcements from the likes of LastPass and Dashlane earlier this year which significantly change the way their products work - so I've been genuinely looking forward to re-making this post as we take a look once again at all of the top password managers to see which one comes out best overall.
And no, Zoho - I didn't say you were one of the BEST password managers in the market. I said you were one of the best FREE password managers. Technically I didn't even say best, I think I just said 'fully featured'?
If you are looking for the best password manager in 2021, the best password manager for Mac, or the best password manager for PC, then read on!
First up and to those of you new around here, Hi my name is Pete, and on this blog you can find more tech reviews like this, including cloud storage, online backup, the odd Apple vs Android debate, and weirdly popular oculus quest videos! So if any of that interests you, and you prefer to watch YouTube videos instead, then please consider heading over to my channel and subscribing for more as it would be hugely appreciated.
Now there is a tonne of options when it comes to Password Managers, it can be completely overwhelming and hard to know where to start!
In this post I'm going to run through my top 5 picks, covering all their strengths and weaknesses to help you decide which is best for you! Make sure to stick around until the end because after we've looked at those top 5, I'll also briefly run through some of the other password manager options just to cover those off too.
FIRST UP - GROUND RULES!
We're going to be looking at:
LastPass, Bitwarden, 1Password, Dashlane, and Keeper
For each of those products, we're going to be covering off:
Security, Ease of Use, Support, any Major Frustrations, and of course, Pricing.
With that said, If you are looking specifically for a free product, then go watch THIS video instead as it specifically talks only about the freebie products, and I'll also be covering off some of the other password managers that people requested on my last video, at the end of this post.
AFTER I have completed this review I'll also head online to see if I can find any discounts available for each of these products. If there are any, I'll be sure to link to them in the description on the video so make sure to head over to my channel.
I always make a point of doing this AFTER I've made the video, as some of those discounts come as part of signing up as an affiliate which means I may earn a small commission by you using those links, which helps pay towards me making more of these videos and posts - but I don't want my review to be influenced by that.
To be clear, I will be signing up to each of these password managers myself. Literally, paying with my own money and signing up for the full product, no trial periods or anything. And I'm not being given anything or sponsored to say anything here. This is 100% independent.
Now LastPass has recently received a lot of press over its decision to change its free plan into something that basically makes it useless to most people, but - more on that in a moment.
In the security department, you do get 2FA as standard including more advanced biometrics and Yubikey security - all good stuff.
In the paid plans you get Dark web monitoring - which today is just a buzzword for, your passwords have leaked! It's not really monitoring the actual dark web.... change my mind.
You also get emergency access which lets you grant someone else access to your passwords in the event of death or injury, something which you can configure but kind of lowers the overall security since then LastPass must know the decryption keys to your data to be able to give other people access to it - again more on that later.
But lastly, a recent report from security researcher Mike Muketz, uncovered that there are 7 trackers embedded within the LastPass Android App, which shouldn't really be there. Now these trackers aren't doing anything malicious, BUT they shouldn't be there, especially considering you are storing sensitive information like passwords, bank information, and secure documents. 4 Trackers are from Google and one of them is a tracker which gathers information from, guess what - marketing! Gathering information like the type of device you're using and whether you are using biometric security.
This isn't unique to LastPass, specifically - but LastPass is definitely the worst affected.... sooo yeah.
Ease of Use
You do get the option of adding custom fields, though I felt it to be just, clunky. And they're not available in everything like when adding cards - which can be a pain on something like an Amex card where you have the 3 digits on the back plus 4 digits on the front or other related information you might want to save.
I like the Dark Web monitoring service being integrated, which scans through your passwords and picks up email addresses in use, and suggests monitoring those for any breaches - though they are just using the same method of a free website, haveibeenpwned.com where you can sign up and be notified if your email address is breached. Interestingly, it told me I had 0 compromised accounts. When I know most definitely my details have been leaked around 18 times in the various breaches in recent years... so not really sure how accurate this service is exactly?
It also has a feature I do quite like where it will automagically change passwords for you, without having to manually log in and change them - handy if your passwords been leaked and you need an easy way to change it.
Support wise - it's a little frustrating getting to the page where you actually raise a support request, but otherwise - The issue raised with them at 6 pm on Wednesday, they came back in under 3 hours - so that's a positive at least!
I did run into just a few issues when using LastPass.
Firstly, when I logged in, it kept logging me straight out again on Chrome. Apparently a known issue.
When I went to the Support section in the App, nothing happened. It also kept logging me out, even though it was saying I was logged in at the top.
It was really sluggish to update passwords using the browser and in general, I really struggled to get it to work properly. It failed to fill in my credit card information and even when going to copy it manually, involved lots of manual copy and pasting - there are no quick copy buttons like on other password managers.
On a minor note, when importing my passwords it seemed to randomly select passwords where it wouldn't have stored the email address? Literally, no reason for that to happen.
But it also failed to fill in random fields automatically, yet when I clicked on the icon it would tell me that it knows it has a password - it just wouldn't fill it.
Lastly, offline mode, you can't edit anything when you have no internet connection.
So in summary, not a great experience.
Pricing comes in at £2.60 or $3 per month, though I did notice when logged into a free account, it offered me an upgrade for only $2.25 per month.
Probably has nothing to do with the fact they just screwed all of the people who were using the free plan by restricting it to one device... Probably.
No really, that offer expires on the 6th of May, so yeah... exactly what I thought!
In summary for LastPass - Not one I would personally recommend. Again it just seems that they have the biggest marketing budget, and their recent genius marketing, because it is kinda genius, to market the heck out of LastPass with a really strong free product, get everyone invested into their software, but then pull the rug out from under by announcing those major changes, whilst genius, not really a nice way to treat your customers.
I get it, it's a free product. Developers gotta feed their families somehow. But there are ways to do it, and this wasn't it.
Combine that with the 7 built-in trackers, including that marketing tracker and all of the issues I ran into, and it all seems to become clear on what you should do next.
No spoilers, but go check out my review on the best free password manager right here, and you'll see what I thought of that because Bitwarden does have a great free product!
It also has a great paid for product! But for this section, I'm going to hand over to a friend of mine who knows Bitwarden inside out and is going to run you through his thoughts on this one...
Thank you Tom, and if you're not already subscribed to Toms channel - go do that.
The only thing I've got to add to that is something that I had commented on my last video a few times, is that just like LastPass, you can't edit passwords offline.
May or may not be an issue for some - but if you are typically out of internet access but need to edit passwords, then Bitwarden isn't for you. Otherwise - it is a great product, and for the value? Hot damn!
1Password has always been known as 'The' password manager to use on a Mac - it's how I was introduced to it so many years ago now, because I'm old. But it's now a very capable password manager across all platforms.
Getting straight into Security, it has all the usual 2FA features, including being able to use a YubiKey for additional security, which is great - and it also has something on their desktop app which I use regularly, which is the ability to unlock using Apple Watch, which is a really nice touch!
It has NO trackers. Not one. Are you listening LastPass? (They probably are with their 7 trackers! Quick, on with the review!)
1Password doesn't know your decryption keys so not even 1Password themselves can access your data. And this does mean that 1Password doesn't offer a 'emergency access' feature that automatically grants someone else access to your data when you are dead. You dead? Hah! YOU DEAD! Because if 1Password doesn't know your decryption keys, they can't give someone else access to see your data.
This is definitely one of those security vs convenience things. Yes, it may not be as convenient. But it's also definitely more secure.
1Password has their Watchtower feature which alerts you to password breaches, will only work in verified browsers and is fully compliant with the likes of GDPR and other industry standards.
And then finally - a feature that I've not been able to test myself as it's only available in the US, but they have a really nice feature fully built into 1Password itself called Privacy Virtual Cards. These act much like many other digital private bank card where you can create virtual 'burner' cards. This means you could create a card to sign up for a specific service, then if they ever get breached, it doesn't expose your actual bank details. You can also set spending limits so you never spend more than you want - all really nice features and I can't wait until those come to the UK.
1Password also regularly has their security and privacy audited, with the most recent at time of writing this in October 2020, and they share all of the findings on their website for all to view.
So from a security perspective, a massive checkbox.
Ease of Use
For ease of use and tackling the Offline access conumdrum first. Yes, 1Password works offline, by default with full access to everything. It just won't sync to other devices until you get an Internet connection back again.
Information fills in quickly and easily. It works across all device types and I genuinely don't have any issues using the product at all.
I guess the only thing if I really want to nit pick, would be when searching in the desktop app and I'm in the wrong 'Vault' which is basically a way of splitting your passwords into different categories, for example, if I was to sell my business again then I can just export all of those passwords and I'm done. But when I'm in one of the vaults, I search, then realise I'm in the wrong vault and click the right vault, the search box gets cleared, which means I have to go and type it back in again.
Like I said! Minor Niggle!
Lastly 1Password can also store and auto-fill the 2FA credentials on other websites, and I actually really like this - BUT, I do make a point of separating my more sensitive 2FA credentials to a separate app called Authy. Just in case someone did, for whatever reason, get into my password manager, they would still not be able to get into most of my prized posessions, like my email accounts, bank, credit cards - bitcoin wallet.
Over to support, I have to hand it to 1Password. Their team is very good. They respond within hours, sometimes less and not days like I've seen in other password managers. They have a good community forum and are active on twitter. Again - ticks in all the right places.
I don't have any major frustrations with 1Password - personally. It just works. On everything. And it's secure. If I wanted to criticise then I would say perhaps they are TOO security conscious at times, which just means that you won't get features like password sharing and emergency access - because there's no way to do that without sharing your encryption keys. But you can't really argue with security being up to scratch.
Pricing comes in at $2.99 per month and also, since I made a couple of video's around 1Password on their Families product, as well as in my last comparison video, I did reach out to ask for a discount and here is a code below for 25% off. You're welcome.
Overall - 1Password is definitely up there as one of my top picks. The way they focus on security, how good their support is and just the overall product works really well.
Dashlane is one of the others who made some major announcements to their password manager earlier this year, where they announced that they would be ditching the desktop version and going browser only around April to June this year.
Because, they say, it will give you more reliable performance and a simplified experience. (Shiver)
For me, I like having a desktop app so personally Dashlane is a no go for me. I don't want yet another tab permanently open 24x7 - but for those who don't care about having a browser based password app - then this could be an option still. But let's carry on anyway!
Over in security land - Dashlane has four trackers - again. Why do you need a tracker in there at all? But it's not as bad as LastPass, and then not as good as 1Password.
They do have options for 2FA including YubiKeys so that's great to see, though I wasn't able to find any information about independent audits unlike the likes of 1Password and Bitwarden.
Ease of Use
I'll be honest - this is a difficult one to review. Since they have end of life'd the desktop App, which you can still use today, for a short time until later this year BUT not all the features have been put into the web app yet. You have to use the desktop OR mobile app to get to them. Though there is no list of what these features are.
I don't want to review the desktop app - because they've already said that it's going, so that seems pointless. But equally, I wanted to look to find out what features are missing, so I did install it.
And then it crashed when I tried to import my passwords from 1Password.
So I tried to import my passwords in the web browser, but it only accepts CSV. And then it failed to even import that, even when using the template on their own website!
Overall in terms of ease of use, it's just not a good time to be reviewing Dashlane and comparing it against the other password managers.
Whilst it looks like it has great features, I'll be honest - I got a bit fed up of trying to get my data imported. I think it's probably best to come back to this one later this year, once they've had a chance to full convert to browser only as it looks like they're not quite there yet.
Now Pricing wise it is currently very, very reasonable. when I signed up for my full account, they gave me a link that gets anybody 6 months free, plus it will give me 6 months free.
But - Does anybody smell LastPass? I think we've been here before!?
To me this just sounds like a bit of desperation to get customers to sign up for free, get all their data in, which at that point, as I'm finding, can get quite tricky to move away from.
So overall thoughts - not quite ready.
Now keeper is one I blasted a little in my last review, since I was reviewing their free / free trial product which was very heavy in terms of spamming me with notifications, and trying to get you to upgrade to their fully paid for plans. But this time is different as I actually wanted to review the product as a paying customer, to make sure I'm getting the same experience and features that actual paying customers would get. Though it was interesting to see comments to say that Keeper had sent people to my video to leave positive comments on it.... very interesting!
For security, well keeper is the only other company, aside from 1Password, who has No Trackers in the software. So that's a great start.
There's an Emergency access feature for when you are, errr, incapacitated - and you can securely share records with other people. Again, for this convenience of being able to quickly give access to other people and share records, there's a certain risk of security, but it's always a trade off in convenience vs security here.
They publish a lot of security information online and have an active Bug Bounty program which are all really great positives.
Notable differences to the other apps are that Dark Web monitoring is additional at £1.50 per month, and they have secure file storage and sharing at an additional 70p
Ease of Use
Over with Ease of Use and Good new is that Offline mode IS supported with Keeper, where you can fully edit passwords whilst being offline - so that's a good thing!
Bad news, I have to say, and this is kind of a major frustration as well as falling in the ease of use section - but what I said earlier about the constant spamming to upgrade.
I thought by signing up and paying my own money this time, to buy a full license, that this would be solved.
But no. Because logging in to my web dashboard, I'm presented with this down the bottom.
I thought I would check my account to make sure I was in my paid for, premium account, so I go up to my account settings.
Bam. Another prompt to upgrade to a family account!
What about signing into the IOS App as a fully paid for user?
BAM - Another prompt to 'turn on secure file storage' for additional fees with a pretty unfair 'Stay Unprotected' button to opt out.
Login on another computer?
BAM - ANOTHER prompt to review the product. Jebus!
Personally, this kind of repeated prompting just kinda does my head in.
I signed up for what I need. So why they feel the need to continually hassle me to upgrade is just beyond me.
It just feels like they're either trying to get me to pay more, or try to get them more customers. Which in turn feels like they're less interesting in making a good experience for me - more interested in their bottom line.
If none of that puts you off - then there's also a prompt to refer a friend? Bam - they'll pay me £15 if you click on my link and sign up for Keeper.
Pricing for Keeper Unlimited comes in at £2.49 per month, however there does seem to be a huge number of discount codes available including this link for 40% off. But on price specifically, it's reasonable, and to be honest - I'm happy paying for a product that will secure my data. And though their practice of spamming me with essentially what are ads, whilst being a paying subscriber, I can't argue that they seem to be one of the more security conscious password tools that I've come across, along with 1Password and Bitwarden.
With that said and my overall thoughts on Keeper, well I actually prefer 1Password - given that you pay once, and you aren't continually bombarded with why you should upgrade and with security that is just as good as Keeper.
OK, Recommendation and summary time. Before we get into the quick rundown of all the other password managers that I've not touched on yet.
In my opinion, you kind of can't really go wrong with any of these, as ultimately the fact you are looking at a password manager WILL make a huge difference to those of you who aren't.
When it comes to security, I would weigh in and say 1Password, Bitwarden and Keeper are really strong contenders here. If you take price into account then Bitwarden really is a strong contendor, but I am still personally a fan of 1Password, particularly as it has that offline access where I just know I'll be in a situation where I have no web access but need to update something, which is something Bitwarden won't let you do. I also like the slick UI, how seamlessly it integrates with everything I used, cross device, cross platform and I like how they really are focusing on security and customer satisfaction, instead of throwing tonnes of money at marketing.... or trying to just constantly force you to upgrade.
LastPass - haha! More like Hard Pass. They seem to be focusing more on marketing than privacy - given that they sponsor pretty much every youtube video I watch lately, and that there's even a marketing tracker in their android app. Yeah, no thanks.
Keeper, it's a real shame. I actually like the product, it worked well for me, it has that offline mode, it has no trackers - minor frustrations with things like dark web monitoring being an additional cost kind of put me off - but the real kicker for me is just the fact it seems to still, even as a fully paid up customer, continually prompts me to upgrade and pay more.
When I want to log into something, I want to log in. Not fight my way past prompts which are effectively pop up ads for their own service.
So in short.
For me and my opinion - it's 1Password as the winner. Bitwarden SO close in second. Like, a hairline away. Then maybe Keeper, and a joint last place to Dashlane and LastPass - and if you want to sign up for any of those here are the links:
🛒 Get 40% off your First Year of 1Password - LIMITED TIME OFFER!: https://geni.us/e6gPkQ
🛒 Get 25% off your First Year of 1Password: https://geni.us/4QH1i2021
🛒 Sign up for LastPass: https://geni.us/msa3EM
🛒 Bitwarden: https://geni.us/pO3J
🛒 Get 6 Months Free with Dashlane: https://geni.us/F45BXHJ
There are my top 5 - but what about all the others? Well I could literally sit here all day and review all the others because there are just so many available - and to those of you asking me to review NordPass and Roboform, thank you - I see you, and yes - those reviews will be coming soon.
But for now let's take a quick look at the other password apps out there which you requested in the comments on my last video - after, of course, you hit that like button and subscribe, if any of this has been useful to you, as that really helps me out on this youtube algorithm thing. Spanks very much!
KeePass is a 100% free password manager. It's designed for more techie people - so if you want to share passwords with your co-workers in your office, or need a very good, very configurable, but simple password requirement. Then take a look at that one. Since it's installed locally then you have less to worry about in terms of security and uptime because it's all in your hands, though for some people that might be more of a liability than a benefit - but like I said, if you're semi-technical then this is a great option. Not too difficult, but for the majority of people reading, it's a lot of work when the other apps generally just work. The client apps themselves are also mostly written by third parties, and I'm never too keen on using third party applications when it comes to sensitive stuff like passwords and credit card information.
Roboform is a pretty inexpensive password manager. Is very, very good at filling out forms, and does work with M1 Macs, but right now the import function doesn't work. And for someone who is pretty much exclusively running M1 Macs right now - makes that a bit of an issue!
But otherwise it does include some of the usual features. Password Sharing and 2FA, but otherwise doesn't have those additional features of things like dark web monitoring, emergency access, file sharing and such that other apps do have. With that said, the price point is super low and cheaper than almost every other password manager out there.
If you are looking for a basic password manager at a budget price, then this could be the one for you. I'm also going to be making a separate video about this one soon once they've fixed their M1 Mac Import issue - so stick around for that one.
Stickypassword is fairly unique in it's offering as it has an option for a lifetime license, you can save a manatee when subscribing, but otherwise does also have a good featureset - though I couldn't find any reports of any independent audits. Correct me if I'm wrong though.
Nordpass seems like another strong offering, that actually looks like it almost just copied the 1Password Interface. Interesting! This one I'm actually going to look at covering in a separate video very soon. So also look out for that one.
And then finally, Enpass which I did briefly look into and whilst the product looks good, I came across a forum post from 2016, which is still being updated as of late 2020, with people commenting on how they won't commit to full audits, or penetration testing - stating that they are 'working on it' and with the only audit they did perform identifying them as Medium Risk with the possibility of recovering the master password from memory of both Windows and Android Apps - it's probably not one I would look at if I were looking.
Thanks for reading, and I'll see you soon!
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