What’s the best password manager for 2020?
The best way to keep all of your online accounts secure is to use a password manager, which generates and stores a unique, high-security password for every website, application and service that demands them.
Almost every website and online service we use requires a unique password, but having to come up with, and remember, multiple passwords encourages bad habits. This includes reusing passwords across multiple accounts or picking configurations that are easy to recall but will, therefore, be easy to crack.
The simplest way to keep track of the seemingly endless number of passwords you’ll accumulate in your online life is to use password management software. A password manager will store all your passwords, either locally or online, in encrypted storage protected by a master password. So, instead of having to memorise scores of different passwords, you’ll have to remember only one. Here, Trusted Reviews has taken a look at the best paid, free and open-source options for every kind of user.
Check out our quick summary below, and scroll down further for more details on each option:
- Best password manager overall: Keeper
- Best free online password manager: LastPass
- Best free password manager for security: KeePass
- Best password manager for travellers: 1Password
- Another great-value password manager: Dashlane
Related: Best VPN 2020
A great value cross-platform password manager with an easy-to-use interface
- Perfect malware protection
- Excellent user interface
- Useful free tier
- Low-cost single-user subscription
- Supports a wide range of software and OS platforms
- Free tier supports only a single device
Keeper bills itself as the most downloaded password keeper in the world. It has a free tier that’s restricted to unlimited password storage on a single device using the downloadable Keeper app, without cloud storage, syncing or any other features.
However, free users can enable two-factor authentication including security keys, add a browser extension, run a security audit on their passwords, and use BreachWatch to see if any of their login details have appeared in known security breaches.
If you want to access your passwords on more than one device, you’ll have to subscribe to Keeper Unlimited password manager. This provides extra features including the ability to link unlimited devices, share records online and give someone emergency access to your passwords.
Like LastPass and 1Password, your primary interactions with Keeper come via its online vault. You can access this as a web app in your browser, through a wide range of apps and plugins for web browsers and smartphones, as well as through desktop applications for Windows, Linux and macOS with a great hotkey-to-autofill option designed to work with any application.
Keeper feels very polished and provides a super-smooth introduction to its features. It’s also the most modern-feeling of our top password managers, with attractive themes and clear settings. If you want more comprehensive features for free – notably multi-device support – you should opt for LastPass or a self-managed KeePass solution, but Keeper is one of the best and easiest to use paid-for options you’ll find right now.
Prices: Single-user subscription, £20.99 per year; five-user family subscription, £44.99 per year
The best free online password manager; an all-round industry leader
- Comprehensive free feature set
- Subscriptions add genuinely useful features
- Fantastic value family subscription
- Only paid accounts get emergency access
Owned by LogMeIn, LastPass is perhaps the best-known online password manager – and its free tier is excellent. Critically, it allows you to sync your passwords between unlimited browsers, desktop clients and mobile devices; it supports multi-factor authentication; plus, it allows you to share any given password with one other LastPass user.
Since LastPass is primarily accessed through browser extensions, it works well on any operating system that can run the current versions of those browsers.
It can also securely store notes, addresses, financial and identity information, automatically generating and – in some cases – updating website passwords for you. Other features include extensive multi-factor authentication options, the ability to create a one-time password that you can use to access LastPass on a potentially insecure device or network, and a helpful Security Challenge that checks for weak and duplicate passwords. The latter can also see if any email address you use has ever been involved in a security breach.
The Premium tier adds extra multi-factor authentication options, the ability to give access rights to contact in case of emergency, a gigabyte of encrypted storage for whatever you need, priority support, and the ability to share passwords with more than one person at a time.
A Family plan is available, giving you six accounts, unlimited shared password folders and a management dashboard for your accounts. Business-orientated options are also accessible. LastPass has consistently responsibly handled security incidents, promptly informing users and issuing patches.
Prices: Single-user subscription, $36 per year; Six-user family subscription: $48 per year
3. KeePass Password Safe
A highly customisable, open-source password manager for technically confident users who want full control of their data
- Free and open source
- Huge range of apps and plugins
- You control your password database
- Requires more hands-on management than its rivals
In the right hands, KeePass Password Safe is the ultimate high-security password management solution. You control where your master password list is kept, how it’s secured and accessed; and, because KeePass is open source, there are versions for almost every platform you’re likely to need.
Unlike the full-service cloud-based model on offer from almost all of its rivals, KeePass lets you choose where your password database is stored. If you want cloud convenience, you can sync it to your Dropbox, Google Drive or another online storage service. You can keep it on a USB stick that’s always with you; on a self-administered local or online storage server, or solely on a local PC. Backups are strongly recommended, though.
The main application’s comprehensive feature set includes a secure password generator, import and export tools, and a duplicate entry detector. On top of that, there’s a massive range of approved third-party plugins, including a pronounceable password generator, two-factor authentication and password filling and updating tools for a variety of browsers and applications. You’ll need some of these if you want to be able to automatically fill in and save passwords for websites, of which KeePass is the most stable.
KeePass’s highly flexible and customisable nature is both its best feature and the reason it’s an overwhelming option for some users. With the right combination of desktop applications, mobile apps, online storage and plugins, KeePass is the ideal secure, powerful, personalised and free password manager for the dedicated techheads among you.
A strong cross-platform password management solution with extra features for travellers
- Fast erase and restore for travellers
- Supports a wide range of software and OS platforms
- Scriptable command line client
- No free tier – trial available
Unlike rivals LastPass and Dashlane, 1Password doesn’t offer a free tier, although a 30-day free trial is available. Personal and five-user family tiers can be had, with the option of adding extra users to the latter. These also give the master account holder management and monitoring capabilities and let family members share passwords and other secure data.
All 1Password accounts allow unlimited storage of passwords and other items including notes, personal details for form-filling and payment information, and you get 1GB to store any documents securely.
We’re very keen on 1Password’s Travel mode, which can easily remove and restore sensitive data from your devices. This feature makes it the best option for world travellers, particularly those whose devices contain sensitive business passwords. Unfortunately, there’s no emergency contact mode, but there’s a printable emergency kit that you can fill in with your password and give to a trusted person.
1Password’s cross-platform support is excellent. You’ll most likely use 1Password through its 1PasswordX browser extension for Chrome, Firefox and Edge browsers. Desktop applications are also available for Windows and macOS, and there’s a scriptable command line tool for Linux power users. As you’d expect, iOS and Android mobile users are also catered for.
Price: Single-user subscription: $35.88 per year; Five-user family subscription: $59.88 per year
A very capable password manager that focuses on mainstream platforms
- Free accounts get emergency access feature
- Paid subscription includes a VPN
- Free tier only supports 50 passwords and a single device
- More limited platform support than rivals
Dashlane is a well-established name in password management and has an open and generally responsible approach to vulnerability reports.
Its free tier is somewhat limited. You can’t use it to sync passwords between multiple devices, and it can only save a maximum of 50 passwords, which makes it more of an extended demo than a genuinely useful free product for most users.
Both free and paying users get two-factor authentication, security alerts in case of any breaches affecting services you use, password sharing (limited to five people on a free account), and the ability to grant emergency access to your passwords.
Paying users get unlimited devices, unlimited password storage and a gigabyte of encrypted storage. “Dark Web Monitoring” alerts you to whether your email address shows up breaches discovered by online intelligence service SpyCloud, plus you get a VPN – a rebranded version of AnchorFree’s Hotspot Shield, as seen in Kaspersky Secure Connection.
The only real downside for subscribers is that cross-platform support feels less developed than that of rival LastPass. Unless you use Windows or macOS, you’re restricted to Dashlane’s browser extensions, which it consistently downplays. The extensions have improved over the years, culminating in a “Standalone” extension for Chrome, Firefox and Edge that provides full access to secure notes and accounts management options. However, you still can’t use it to save receipts and copies of your ID documents, access the Dashlane Security Dashboard, use the Dashlane VPN, or do anything relating to the Emergency feature.
Prices: Single-user Premium account: $39.96 per year