LastPass is perhaps the best-known password manager around. Primarily a browser-based service, it's available in both free and paid-for versions that work across all major browsers, with mobile apps for Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Blackberry.
Unusually, the free version provides unlimited syncing across any given type of device. So, for example, if you use the browser plugin, you'll be able to sync it between all your browsers on all your PCs, or if you use the smartphone version, you'll be able to sync across all your mobile devices.
Related: Best Password Managers
For cross-platform PC and mobile synchronisation, you'll need to invest inLastPass Premium. However, at $12 (£9) a year, it's cheaper than premium services from rivals RoboForm and Dashlane. It's well worth the subscription fee: if you're going to use a password manager to create secure, long, random passwords, then you won't want to have to painstakingly tap them in on a mobile phone screen.
Both Free and Premium versions of LastPass offer support for multi-factor authentication, so you can configure them to require an extra code generated by a mobile app or a code grid that you can keep somewhere else. The Premium version adds supports for USB one-time code generators and fingerprint scanners.
The program's default settings aren't configured for optimal security. You may want to apply different settings to different devices, but we generally recommend setting LastPass to automatically log out of your password vault on closing your browser. On computers that others have access to, configuring an idle time logout is also an excellent idea.
LastPass goes out of its way to remind you to make sure your password security is in good health, with features including popups that alert you to duplicate passwords.
Obviously it isn't best practice to use duplicates, but if you have a specific reason for doing so then you can disable duplicate password alerts on a per-site basis, which is helpful, or altogether, which is probably a little cavalier.
You'll also be regularly prompted to take the LastPass security challenge, which analyses every password in your vault to alert you to duplicate, weak, old and compromised passwords. The latter is particularly handy, since it tracks sites that have suffered breaches since you last changed the password for them.
Related: Best VPNs for Netflix and privacy
In the case of many websites, you can even have LastPass automatically change your passwords directly from its Security Challenge or site information screens. This does away with the need for going logging into each site to change the password manually, but bear in mind that the process can be rather slow and isn't always successful.
Extra settings allow you to remove duplicate entries, securely store your credit card details and form fill preferences, and write secure notes for your reference. An optional desktop application can store passwords for Windows desktop software, although we weren't always able to successfully use it to auto-fill passwords.
We particularly liked the fact that all of LastPass' configuration, from importing passwords from other sources to giving a friend or family member emergency access to your account, can be handled from within your browser, rather than requiring you to have an application installed.
The mobile version duplicates the key features of its desktop counterpart, from checking your password security status to generating new secure passwords, and provides an excellent user interface. You can set it up to auto-fill passwords into apps – this includes within other browsers – or use its own secure integrated browser and have it use a PIN, rather than your master password, to unlock its local copy of your password vault.
LastPass is a powerful and easy-to-use tool, and provides an exceptional range of features – even in its free tier. Even its Premium subscription is low cost and provides convenient syncing to every device you own. We particularly liked being able to manage everything from its browser plugin on the desktop, making LastPass our password manager of choice.