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The 5 Best Password Managers in 2021 (Based on Usability, Features & Security)

UPDATED
October 21, 2021

 

best password managers

A password manager is a powerful tool to organize and securely store your passwords. We’ve tested the top-rated password managers to find the best one for you - whether for business or personal use.

 

After a whole load of testing over many months, we think the best password manager is 1Password, thanks to its usability, convenience and robust security!

 

Honestly, with global cybersecurity crimes skyrocketing in recent years, it’s about time we start taking our passwords seriously. A password manager is an essential tool that more people are turning to organize and protect their log-ins. I know I’ll never be going back.

 

Top 5 Best Password Managers

 

  1. 1Password – Best overall value password manager
  2. LastPass – Best secured password manager
  3. NordPass – Best no-frills password manager
  4. Dashlane – Most feature-rich password manager
  5. Sticky Password – Best password manager with lifetime plan

 

best password manager

 

Note

All prices shown are based on a 12-month subscription rate.

 

To write this article, we tested dozens of password managers and compared them on the grounds of digital security, convenience, user-experience, and more. You can’t go wrong with the 5 brands that made it to this list.

 

To pick the best one for you, read on and choose the one whose features you like most!

 

1. 1Password

https://1password.com/
1Password

Usability

Excellent

Overall Rating

rated 5 out of 5rated 5 out of 5rated 5 out of 5rated 5 out of 5rated 5 out of 5

Price (USD)

$2.99 /mo

Key Features

  • User-friendly
  • Manage permissions
  • Watchtower feature
  • Password categories
  • Multiple devices

"Feature-rich, user-friendly & reliable, 1Password is the password manager we can’t live without."

 

Coming in first on our list is the OG of password security – 1Password. They’ve been around since 2006, making them one of the most experienced industry players. They’re used and trusted by over 80,000 businesses, including IBM, Slack, and our Bitcatcha team!

 

Something we love to see is how 1Password is constantly evolving. They’re always rolling out improvements (which they write about in their active blog), and they’ve just launched the 8th version of their app. They’ve also just secured a second investment round of $100 million from various tech leaders – so we’re dead excited to see what cool stuff they come up with next.

 

The 1Password tool itself is robust and very easy to use. Whilst writing this review, I ended up liking it so much that I’ve adopted it for my personal use.

 

Why we love 1Password

 

  • Fantastic usability
    Using 1Password is so beautifully easy. Onboarding and set-up is easy. You can then start logging in to sites and fill forms securely with a single click. Easy, easy, easy.
  • Top-notch security
    1Password has been audited by multiple independent security firms and is one of the only password managers we’ve found that have NEVER had their data breached before! Your vault is protected with auto-lock, biometric authentication, and AES-256 encryption. They also use PBKDF2 key strengthening, which combines the master password with a secret, locally-stored key for an extra layer of security.
  • Receive alerts for weak or compromised passwords
    Their Watchtower feature helps scan the web for any password breaches or security problems so you can keep your accounts safe. They’ll also warn you if your passwords are weak or duplicated.
  • Great For businesses
    Like most password managers, 1Password offers business and family plans that you can share with others at a discounted rate. But more than that, 1Password does a great job in helping you clearly manage permissions. It’s very clear to see exactly who sees what – especially when you’re moving things around.

 

team management in 1password

A taste of v8 for Mac – it’s now even easier to manage permissions.

 

In May 2021, 1Password also launched the ‘Secrets Automation’ feature to make it even easier for businesses to secure hardware, code, and other development secrets. They’ve got a whole slew of features that businesses are sure to find useful (though bear in mind some cost extra).

 

What 1Password could do better

 

My only real gripe is I’ve noticed that their browser extension can sometimes glitch a bit. There have been a few cases where autofill hasn’t kicked in, and I’ve had to refresh the page. However, these hiccups are occasional.

 

I also wish they had a free version. You can, however, try their free 14-day trial to see if you like it.

 

Learn more about 1Password

 

 

 

Usability

Very Good

Overall Rating

rated 5 out of 5rated 5 out of 5rated 5 out of 5rated 5 out of 5rated 5 out of 5

Price (USD)

$3.00 /mo

Key Features

  • Great UI & UX
  • Multiple devices
  • Password generator
  • Dark-web monitoring
  • Inheritance features

"Solid security and great for those looking for value!"

 

Released in 2008, LastPass is a product that was acquired by the SaaS giant LogMeIn. It’s an excellent password manager that offers solid features and probably the best value, in terms of family plans.

 

LastPass’s free plan used to be one of the best, but as of March 2021, only works on 1 device. If you plan to use a password manager on both your mobile device and PC, you’ll need to look into a paid plan.

 

Why we love LastPass

 

  • Incredibly good value for groups
    Our favourite thing about LastPass is it’s value for money. Their Family plan costs $4.00 a month, and can be used by a whopping 6 users. That means if you can find 5 other friends or family members, you’ll each be paying less than $0.70 cents a month for a top-class password manager!
  • Dark web monitoring
    LastPass constantly monitors security breaches and alerts you immediately if it detects you’ve been compromised.
  • Security
    They take security very seriously, with AES-256 & Zero-Knowledge encryption and advanced two-factor authentication.
  • Emergency access
    They let you nominate a designated ‘emergency contact’, if you wish. That way, if an emergency or death happens, your loved ones won’t get locked out of important accounts.

 

What LastPass could do better

 

We did run into a problem in the past with contacting their servers, which meant we couldn’t access our password. We don’t know how consistent this issue is, I just hope it only happened during the time we were testing it, for their sake.

 

They also made the news a few times in recent years when vulnerabilities were found on their browser extension. In their defense, the problems applied to very specific use cases, and were quickly resolved. However, it could be something to bear in mind.

 

Learn more about LastPass

 

 

 

3. NordPass

https://nordpass.com/
NordPass

Usability

Excellent

Overall Rating

rated 5 out of 5rated 5 out of 5rated 5 out of 5rated 5 out of 5rated 5 out of 5

Price (USD)

$2.49 /mo

Key Features

  • Secure sharing
  • Multiple devices
  • XChaCha20 encrypt.
  • Accepts crypto
  • 100% free plan

"A password manager from a leading brand in security, NordPass is secure, straightforward & reliable."

 

What do you get when one of the best Virtual Private Network (VPN) providers in the world, diversifies into password managers? A very solid and secure password manager!

 

Yup, NordPass is the brainchild of the guys from NordVPN, which is world-renowned for its expertise in online security. So, unsurprisingly, NordPass’s biggest strength is how well it protects your passwords.

 

When we first reviewed NordPass, it was a very new product with no bells and whistles. They’ve since added a lot of features.

 

Why we love NordPass

 

  • Security from the security experts
    Zero-knowledge tech, thumbprint authentication, they’ve got it all. Their security standards are audited by the German cybersecurity firm Cure53 and they offer a slew of security tools.
  • The latest encryption standards
    Your information is protected with top-of-the-field encryption algorithms (they’re currently running XChaCha20 encryption). No matter what, your private information will look like gibberish to outsiders, including NordPass staff.
  • Accepts cryptocurrency
    You can pay for this service with cryptocurrency! Unusual, but no doubt useful for some folk.
  • Good value
    The first time we wrote about NordPass, we complained it felt over-priced for the features you get. Today, it’s one of the cheapest around! Their premium plans are $1.99 (and drop to $1.49 if you buy a 2-year plan). Their family plan is only $3.99/mo for 5 users.

 

What NordPass could do better

 

It seems you’re still limited to only syncing with 6 devices at a time with NordPass. Granted, we don’t usually need more devices than that, but we just don’t really like limits. Especially when many other brands provide unlimited device syncing.

 

Learn more about NordPass

 

 

 

Usability

Very Good

Overall Rating

rated 4 out of 5rated 4 out of 5rated 54 out of 5rated 45 out of 5

Price (USD)

$3.33 /mo

Key Features

  • Great UI & UX
  • Dark web monitor
  • Built-in VPN
  • Multifactor auth
  • Solid security

"Beautifully user-friendly with a list of features that go on for days!"

 

Dashlane first jumped into the password manager race in 2012. Since then, they’ve been steadily adding features to their product. Today, they offer a beautifully-branded and feature-rich security product. They’re certainly giving the more-established players in the industry a run for their money.

 

Why we love Dashlane

 

  • Incredibly intuitive
    Dashlane’s UI is simply beautiful. It’s well-designed and very intuitive. It’s something I can’t really explain, but using it just feels right – and their desktop app is particularly great. Onboarding is extremely easy, with the installer doing most of the heavy lifting.
  • Great security tools
    They have an Identity Dashboard, where the program scans the dark web to check for your compromised passwords. They’ve even got a free VPN with the premium account!
  • Bulk password changer
    Their one-click password changer lets you easily update your passwords across different sites directly via the Dashboard. Whilst this doesn’t work on all websites – they’ve got an updated version in beta testing that.
  • Security
    Dashlane uses military-grade security, with AES-256 encryption, multi-factor authentication, biometric authentication with the mobile app, and Zero-Knowledge security.

 

What Dashlane could do better

 

Compared to the others on this list, Dashlane comes at a slightly steeper price.

 

Their free tier is very limited. Their cheapest paid plan, the ‘Essential’ plan at $1.99/mo, is also pretty limiting as you can only sync to 2 devices. If you want their full security suite and unlimited devices, you’ll need to cough up $3.33/mo, which is a little higher than the competition.

 

Assuming you want to share accounts with your wife and children, you’ll have to pay full price for all of them because Dashlane doesn’t come with a family plan.

 

2021 Update: Dashlane now has a pretty great family plan! For $4.99/mo, you’ll get 6 accounts!

 

Learn more about Dashlane

 

 

 

5. Sticky Password

https://www.stickypassword.com/
Dashlane

Usability

Very Good

Overall Rating

rated 4 out of 5rated 4 out of 5rated 4 out of 5rated 4 out of 5

Price (USD)

$2.49 /mo

Key Features

  • App Accounts
  • Device backup
  • Browser support
  • Solid security
  • Great value

"Whilst simplistic, Sticky Password’s features are enhanced by the value of the lifetime plan!"

 

Coming up 5th on our list is Sticky Password – a product from a team of former executives of AVG Technologies.

 

Sticky Password has arguably as many problems as they have benefits, but the value they provide with their Lifetime plan earns them a place on this list. Plus, a portion of your payment will go towards saving endangered manatees!

 

Why we love Sticky Password

 

  • Lifetime plan gives you value
    This is where Sticky really shines. They offer a lifetime plan, where you only have to fork out $159.99 once to have access to the service for the rest of your life! Break that down into 10 years, and you’re only paying $1.30 a month!
  • Portable mode
    They have a unique ‘portable mode’, where you can chuck the tool on a flash drive, and then have access to your passwords wherever you go. If you’re always moving between multiple PCs (e.g. from an office PC, home, or university library), you’ll love this. No wonder the tool is popular with students and teachers, who also benefit from a specially discounted plan.
  • Great compatibility
    StickyPassword works on all your devices and supports 17 browsers!
  • Security
    Dashlane uses military-grade security, with AES-256 encryption, multi-factor authentication, biometric authentication with the mobile app, and Zero-Knowledge security.

 

What Sticky Password could do better

 

Don’t get me wrong, Sticky Password isn’t plagued with problems. But they have some issues that might irritate users. Things like slow syncing, no dark web scanning, and an overzealous autofill system.

 

This password manager’s desktop app also looks dated, and they’ve made some questionable choices in regards to the placement of their features. These things won’t exactly ruin your experience, but they’re noticeable.

 

Learn more about Sticky Password

 

 

 

Why You Need A Password Manager, Pronto

 

In this era, we all exist as two selves: our fleshy human selves, and our digital selves. Most of our everyday digital activities – from online shopping, to working remotely – need passwords. Good ones.

 

Sure, you may not be in the 24% of folks who’ve used ‘password’, or ‘123456’ as a password. But did you know that many passwords that mix letters, numbers and symbols can still be cracked by a computer in minutes? Sorry…

 

Humans love crappy passwords because they’re easy to remember. Thing is – they’re also easy to hack.

 

And the more online accounts that we accrue over the years, the more chaotic things get. If you’re setting strong passwords, how can you remember them all? You can’t. But a password manager can. To use them, you only need to memorize one master password to access a secure vault where all your logins are neatly organized.

 

Password managers have lots of benefits, but the most important one is they let you start setting complex passwords that hackers can’t crack.

 

How We Picked The Best Password Managers

 

In order to pick the best password managers for this list, we paid special attention to these considerations.

 

  1. Usabiliaty
    The program needs to be user-friendly. UI & UX plays an important role here because the best program is useless if it’s not usable.
  2. Features
    The amount of features the program has, and how it adds value to the users.
  3. Security
    Password managers hold the keys to our digital lives! It’s extremely important that they have good security, so that even if their servers are breached, the hackers can’t read your data because only you know the master password.
  4. Value for money
    How much value you get for the price you pay. Most password managers will offer family and business plans too, to suit a range of needs.
  5. Flexibility
    Password managers should support most devices, and allow you to sync across them. They should also have browser extensions for all major browsers.
  6. Support for mobile platforms
    We all use our mobile devices to browse websites and access apps, but no one wants to type in long and complex passwords on teeny tiny phone keyboards. A great password manager will adapt the UX to mobile – e.g. letting you authenticate using biometric face scans.

 

Is it safe to trust a password manager with all your passwords?

 

Yes – the best password managers are very safe. Most cyber-security specialists agree that they’re the best way to protect your passwords.

 

Some brands, like 1Password, have never been hacked. However, every few years, a password manager might make the news because a vulnerability has been found or breached.

 

However, all good password managers store your passwords in an encrypted format. The industry standard encryption is the military grade AES 256-bit, which is virtually impenetrable to brute-force attack.

 

On top of that, a good password manager will use something called zero-knowledge architecture. Since passwords are encrypted before leaving your device, they can’t be deciphered by any outside parties. So in the rare event of a server breach, your passwords should still be unreadable to outsiders!

 

That said, there are some risks to understand. A password manager essentially puts all your eggs in one basket so it’s veeeery important that you choose a strong master password, and that you keep it safe. If you forget your password, many password managers will lock you out, with no option to recover it!

 

It’s also very important to secure your digital devices. If your device gets infected with malware, it’s possible for hackers to record your master password and get into your database.

 

The best way to keep your password safe is to pair a good password manager with good online security habits. For example:

 

 

For an extra layer of securit, you should set up two-factor authentication for your password manager account.

 

In short, if you’re smart about how you use the internet, the security benefits of using a password manager far outweigh the risks. Just make sure you’re using a good brand!

 

Secure your digital life!

A password manager isn’t the only tool to make sure you’re using the internet safely. Make sure you’re using a solid VPN and check out our round up of the most secure browsers.

 

Why Can’t You Just Use Your Browser?

 

Many people first start using a password manager through a web browser password manager – such as Google Password Manager that works through Chrome.

 

Unfortunately, it’s just not that hard to steal passwords from web browsers. There’s plenty of malware out there to do it, and even free software that people can use.

 

An old version of this article included G Password Manager, but we’ve removed it since it doesn’t seem worth the risk. As convenient as G Password Manager is, Google isn’t in the business of keeping your passwords secure and you won’t get the same features as a dedicated password manager.

 

Also, you never know what Google might be doing with your data. *shrugs*

 

We’d pick one of these other dedicated password managers any day.

 

The Best Ways To Use A Password Manager

 

Using a password manager couldn’t be simpler:

 

  1. Purchase your plan and set up a strong master password.
  2. Next, import all of your existing passwords, or start logging into sites that you use, and saving the log in details.
  3. Next, identify the weak, duplicate and compromised passwords and start replacing them with strong ones.
  4. Start browsing the internet, using your password manager to autofill your passwords and forms for you. Easy!

 

Bear in mind that your password security still depends heavily on how good your actual passwords are for each account. Most password managers will offer a password generator to help you come up with long and complicated ones.

 

1password helps you to generate password

You can try out 1Password’s password generator before you download.

 

Otherwise, you can generate secure passwords manually. Make them around 20 characters long, and include a mix of ALL the major character types (numbers, symbols, uppercase & lowercase).

 

Verdict: Which Is The Best Password Manager For You?

 

Here is a recap of Bitcatcha’s best password managers:

 

Usability

Overall
Rating

Price
(USD/MO)

1password

Excellent

Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5

$2.99

lastpass

Very Good

Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5

$3.00

nordpass

Excellent

Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5Rated 5 out of 5

$2.49

 

If you’ve made it this far, you’ll have noticed that each password manager on this list has its merits.

 

Some have business strengths, others are more focused on providing value via shared plans. Knowing this, we know that it can be hard to make a decision.

 

If we had one piece of advice to give, it’s to decide on the features you want, then see if the brand has that functionality. No point in picking a password manager that doesn’t do what you want it to do. That also means checking it supports each device platform you use.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

1. What is a password manager?

 

A password manager is a useful digital tool that allows users to safely generate, store and manage your various passwords for apps and websites. Typically, your passwords will be stored in an encrypted database that will be accessed by one master password. A good password manager like 1Password, use military-grade security and have a user interface that’s very easy to use.

 

2. How safe are password managers?

 

Not all password managers are made equal, but the best brands use military-grade encryption, multi-factor authentication and biometric authentication to keep your passwords safe. Brands such as 1Password and NordPass use Zero-Knowledge security, which means that your passwords look like gibberish to any outsiders. You’ll also need to set a strong Master Password and keep this safe.

 

3. How much do password managers cost?

 

Password managers are generally inexpensive, ranging between $2 – $4/mo for a standard personal plan, if you purchase an annual plan. Most password managers offer savings on Family Plans. LastPass Family plan costs $4.00 a month for 6 users, which costs under $0.70 cents per user.

 

4. Which is the best password manager for personal use?

 

We recommend 1Password for personal use for its balanced feature set, solid security, and user-friendliness at a fair price. Their Travel Mode feature is an added bonus if you travel frequently, which enables you to hide certain passwords from unwarranted searches at customs.

 

5. Which one is better LastPass or 1Password?

 

Both LastPass and 1Password are very similar in terms of usability, features, and pricing. For security, however, 1Password offers an extra layer of protection by requiring you to input a set of Secret Key and Master Password when you’re setting it up on other devices; whereas LastPass only require your Master Password for the setup. If you prefer extra security, go for 1Password.

 

6. Is it safe to use Google Password Manager?

 

If you care about your password security, we recommend against using Google Password Manager. It’s accessible on the Chrome browser but doesn’t require a master password to unlock. In other words, anyone who got hold of your devices will be able to access all of your logins saved on Chrome.