Using a password manager isn’t just for work. All of us spend an increasing amount of time in the digital world. Every single service from Gmail to your Netflix account needs a password for access. The resulting deluge of passwords has resulted in many of us creating weak, easily remembered ones for convenience.
That convenience comes at a price, though. Whether you use a weak password that gets hacked or sign up with a service that suffers a data breach, the risks are enormous. In 2020, consumers lost approximately $13 billion to identity fraud from stolen data.
Using a password manager can mitigate many of our bad password habits. Even better is that you can use these apps across various devices, from Apple to Android.
Here are some of the best password managers this year (free and paid).
NordPass is from the same company that operates NordVPN, one of the best Virtual Private Network (VPN) services in the market. The company has a strong focus on the cybersecurity space and has been increasing its product line rapidly.
I highly recommend that you consider NordPass if you’re already using their VPN – it keeps things under one roof. NordPass also has a few distinguishing characteristics that I love.
I often find myself jotting down some information that doesn’t really warrant secure storage but is also not suitable to leave lying around – like temporary codes, IP addresses, or other private information. NordPass has a safe space where I can jot these notes down.
There is also an interesting folder system that helps keep your passwords organized. I have so many passwords that I had to split the Excel list I was using into multiple sheets. With NordPass, all of that goes away.
Key Features with NordPass
- Secure note storage
- Password health checker
- Data breach scanner
- Free / From $1.49 per month
Keeper is perhaps one of the most comprehensive password managers I’ve seen to date and has the track record to back it all up. Yet I can’t help but wonder if you need everything it provides on a typical basis.
Still, if you must have the best of everything, there are lots to love in Keeper. Aside from the usual password management features, the extras have a lot to do with security. It is one of the few cases I’ve seen that integrates convenience well with security.
One example of this is the allowance for Windows Hello users to log in to the application itself. Keeper also supports a broad range of 2FA, including SMS, fingerprint, and even a YubiKey (if you happen to use one).
Key Features with Keeper
- Biometrics support
- Version keeping for data records
- Dark web monitoring (with Plus bundle)
- From $2.91 for personal use
LastPass has turned its password management service into a worldwide success. LogMeIn, the company behind this application, today turns over more than a billion-dollar revenue each year. They have apps for devices, but the key focus is mainly on its web-based service.
You can arrange passwords into groups (LastPass calls them custom folders), but there isn’t the ability to distinguish profiles more intuitively. Still, the experience is a smooth one. When it isn’t actively working, you can check other things in the main dashboard, summarizing your overall password health.
As with many other services now, LastPass includes a password generator and dark web monitoring system (only for paid plans). It also has a self-developed authentication system that works on mobiles for an additional 2FA option.
Key Features of LastPass
- 1GB Secure file storage
- Secure notes system
- Multiple 2FA options
- Free / From $3 per month
Dashlane is a name you certainly would have come across for those who have done some background work. The company has been in the business for over a decade and perfected the art of password security.
This password manager service is perhaps the most security-focused one around. More importantly, they are highly transparent about how data is handled – to the extent of releasing a 23-page whitepaper.
Again, I love the inclusion of a secure storage space you can use to dump some files temporarily. The app also includes a password generation utility, syncs between multiple devices, and is convenient to use.
Key Features of Dashlane
- Secure storage space
- Security alerts
- Automatic password changer
- Free / From $2.49 per month
1Password has a long history in the field, dating back to 2005. First released for the Mac platform, it quickly worked its way onto iOS and Windows. Today, 1Password is capable of supporting almost every device in existence.
The biggest attraction that 1Password has to offer is simplicity. If you’re concerned about using complex password managers, this is the right solution for you. Don’t worry, though; simplicity doesn’t mean that it’s lax on security.
With 1Password, you get many security features like 2FA, secure storage, multi-factor authentication, and more. They also have a business opinion that extends capabilities slightly with features like custom security controls and logging. There is, however, no free plan with 1Password.
Key Features with 1Password
- Advanced admin controls
- Duo integration for MFA
- Secure storage space
- Free / From $2.99 per month
To be honest, I’ve generally felt that using a password manager was a bit troublesome. That was until I found out most could import existing passwords and manage the process easily. Most password managers also include a free plan, but paid plans are better, especially for sharing passwords in the family.