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Best Password Managers in 2021
Updated: Aug 18, 2021 / Article by: Timothy Shim
With all the web services we use nowadays, each of us likely has over a hundred usernames and passwords. While you can get away with replicating your username, passwords should be unique. Remembering all of them can be a challenge, which is where the humble password manager comes in handy.
Yet, with many different brands on the market, how will you know if one is right for you? Without further ado, here are some of the best password managers you can get your hands on now;
NordPass may not sound familiar to most, but that’s because it only entered the market in 2019. It came from the same people that built NordVPN, the Virtual Private Network (VPN) service that’s become one of the most popular today.
Is NordPass The Best Password Manager?
That background alone should be enough to let you know that NordPass takes security seriously. The password management system NordPass uses is Cloud-based, allowing more effortless password sync across your devices.
Because it’s also one of the product lines, NordPass is kept leaner than other password managers that try to include too many features. As a result, it occupies little in system resources – at the very least, a smaller footprint than Skype or Slack takes up.
That focus on purpose also shows itself in price since NordPass is cheaper than most. While there’s a free version, you’ll want to sign up for their paid plan for multi-device use. That starts from as little as $1.99 per month.
Why Choose NordPass?
NordPass is cheap and good at what it does. If you don’t want an app that tries to do everything, then NordPass offers a streamlined experience that’s perfect.
LastPass has been in the market for a long time now, and it’s one of the most reputable around. Its longevity also means an excellent track record, and development has seen its use extended across almost all platforms imaginable today.
Is LastPass Any Good?
Like most other password managers, LastPass mainly focuses on security. It operates without even their employees or systems knowing your passwords so that you can log in anywhere with complete confidence in privacy.
One unique point to note is that LastPass has developed a very streamlined onboarding process. You get guided along with video tutorials on how it works. While that’s fantastic, it also drives home that the interface might not be as intuitive as I’d like. Still, it works, and it just takes a tiny bit of effort for that extra security.
LastPass has a free tier, but I’ve tried it and realized you need to sign up for the premium version for more convenience. That runs to $3 per month, but for a dollar more, you can get a family pack that has six premium licenses in one bundle.
Why Choose LastPass?
LastPass is an industry veteran that’s cut their teeth in the test of time. If you want something that’s proven secure, this is the one you seek.
Dashlane has been around for a while and is more than just a password manager. Although not quite as well-known for the latter feature, it bills itself as both password manager and digital wallet. A master password controls access to your secure vault, offering fast access to your credentials at any time.
Is It Safe to Use Dashlane?
Among the many password managers, Dashlane sticks out for its almost rabid approach towards security. While we expect high levels of encryption, Dashlane takes things to the next level with multi-factor authentication, security key compatibility (YubiKey), the inclusion of a VPN, and more.
Many will also be pleased by the very intuitive interface that Dashlane offers. It’s so easy to use that even your kids will love it – if you’ll let them touch your passwords, that is. Dashlane also has a free plan tier, and premium plans start from as little as $2.49 per month.
Why Choose Dashlane?
Dashlane is for those who want everything rolled up in one giant bundle. It includes everything but the kitchen sink, but remember, prices increase as the feature set expands.
With the image of a cool old dude on the front page of their website, Keeper seems to be taking their brand name seriously. Unlike many who brand around the utility of their service, Keeper jumps right in and warns of cybersecurity threats – and they’re right.
Quick Keeper Overview
With so many of us going online, one of the most significant security loopholes is in the lax credentials we use. Keeper brings things center focus right away and carries a business-like feeling to the features that many seem to pass off as a consumer-ish trend.
While it offers a good range of security features, one thing to note is that Keeper also accepts biometrics for access. That means fingerprints and FaceID for those who dislike typing. Not the most secure access method, but it works.
One small problem, though, is that the convenience comes at a price. If you want to move past the free plan, then Keeper plus bundle (yes, that’s what they call it) will set you back at least $4.87 per month.
Why Choose Keeper?
Keeper brings a more traditional business interface to what many have treated with kid gloves. It’s perfect for working adults and comes with features needed in a busy working environment.
Bitwarden is another relative newcomer, having just launched in 2016. While that gives it a few years’ advantages on the even newer entrants, it remains a little untested compared to oldies like LastPass and Dashlane.
Quick Bitwarden Overview
Very unusually for a commercial security entity, Bitwarden makes its course code open for industry vetting. While that’s great for transparency, it also raises some doubt as to security. Still, there have been no issues thus far, and Bitwarden remains a strong choice for its feature set.
Cloud storage of credentials means that you can sync passwords across devices easily. Don’t worry about security, though, as there is a whole slew of measures it takes to keep you safe. I especially like that you can use a Yubikey with the Birwarden service.
Bitwarden, like everyone else, has a free plan you can use to start with. Don’t expect that to work well, though, as it often gets annoying enough to push you to upgrade. For individuals, Bitwarden has some of the cheapest rates around at less than $1 per month.
Why Choose Bitwarden?
Bitwarden is comprehensive in features, secure, and very cheap. The premium account removes many annoying restrictions for rates far less than those offered on many competing platforms.
First of all, let’s approach this from a utility standpoint. Many web browsers today can handle your credentials for you. I relied on Google Chrome to manage my login credentials for a long time. But then I tried NordPass.
My experience drove home why password managers are becoming so popular, and it hooked me the first time it launched. If you aren’t sure if they’re right for you, here are some reasons why you should get one;
Password Managers are Cleaner
NordPass was able to import all the credentials I stored in Chrome, and boy, was it a mess. You see, Chrome’s credential management system works like a spreadsheet. It’s a massive blank database that grabs credentials off every single web page you enter them on.
The result is that for each website, you’re likely to have four or five records – and that’s if you never change the credentials for those sites. If you do, the number doubles. It’s a huge mess, and what I saw appalled me.
They Offer Better Security
Of course, there is the main reason why developers built password managers too; security. Most password management features in web browsers don’t have a strong focus in this area. While they often use encryption, the system isn’t exactly the most secure.
A password manager is an “extra” but one designed for a singular purpose – to keep your long list of usernames and passwords safe. It’s purpose-built, and the companies developing them often have a long track record in cybersecurity.
Secure Sharing of Passwords
Password sharing is something simple yet, at the same time, complex. Friends and families sometimes share services, but what happens if you need to hand credentials to someone who’s forgotten something?
Sending credentials over the Internet is a bad idea since they can get stolen in transit. Jotting them down and handing a note works, but what if they’re not nearby? The password manager again comes in handy, allowing the secure sharing of passwords.
Using a Password Manager for the First Time
Earlier I mentioned the shock I got when I first transited from Google’s credential management to NordPass. My “secure information” was a mess, with tons of duplicates and challenging to decipher names – many of which I had no recollection of.
I’m not going to lie to you; it will take quite some time for you to sort out the mess. Deleting, updating, or jotting down notes for each saved password will take ages. Or, if you’re less uptight than me, simply let the password manager handle it on your behalf.
No matter what, it’ll be cleaner than Chrome.
The password manager interface itself isn’t a problem. Most will be simple to use since they revolve around a single primary function. You won’t need to worry too much about management if you want it to just run silently in the background.
Conclusion: It’s a Smart Choice
I won’t go into more details on why you need a password manager. The fact is, you don’t. However, before you ignore the choice, take one out for a spin and give it a chance. Likely you will discover the same things as me and start cussing at your web browser for doing an awful job of something so important.
Remember, almost all the password managers follow a freemium model, so you can use the basic features for as long as you wish.
Timothy Shim is a writer, editor, and tech geek. Starting his career in the field of Information Technology, he rapidly found his way into print and has since worked with International, regional and domestic media titles including ComputerWorld, PC.com, Business Today, and The Asian Banker. His expertise lies in the field of technology from both consumer as well as enterprise points of view.