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10 Best Free or Low-Cost Password Managers: Pros, Cons + Reviews

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Using a password manager is one of the biggest steps you can take to protect your data. If you’re not using a secure password manager, or if you’re still relying on your browser’s built-in features, it might be the time to take your password management to the next level. 

Jump ahead to these sections: 

A password manager encrypts your passwords and other data so you know your info is secure. And many of the top password managers offer extras like form-filling and even virtual private networks. 

Most importantly, a dedicated password manager lets you easily create and store unique, secure passwords for every site you visit. And that means you can stop using weak passwords that are easy to remember (like your dog’s name and your birthday). 

We’ve evaluated 10 of the most popular and feature-rich password managers out there, so you don’t have to. In the guide below, we’ll break down each option’s pros and cons and give you our top picks. 

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What is a Password Manager?

Before you choose a password manager, it’s important to understand what this type of tool is and what it does. 

In short, a password manager is a program that securely stores your online login credentials. It comes in the form of an extension that attaches to your internet browser.

Once installed, your password manager helps you out whenever a site asks you to create a new password. It also pops in to provide your credentials for sites you’ve visited before. 

Most password managers also offer mobile apps that sync with their browser extensions.

How it works

That’s what a password manager is, in a nutshell. But what does it look like to use one? 

Most password managers have a similar, simple setup process. To get started with a password manager, all you need to do is download and install the software and enable the browser extension. 

The service you choose will provide exact instructions for how to do this if you need some extra guidance. But the process takes just a few minutes, and it’s nearly automatic. If you want to use the password manager on your phone or tablet, you’ll need to install the app, too. 

Next, you’ll create a “master password,” which the software can help you create. You’ll want to write this password down somewhere and keep it safe. It provides you access to all of the passwords you store within your password manager. 

Basic features

All password managers share a few common elements. These are the underlying elements that make a password manager, and even the most basic password managers have these basic features.

However, some password managers provide higher quality in these features than others. 

  • Password storage (in limited or unlimited number)
  • Encryption (the stronger, the better)
  • Password generator (the more complex, the better)
  • Browser support and a mobile app
  • Zero-knowledge protocol (the company can’t see your passwords)
  • Two-factor or multi-factor authentication.

Bells and whistles

Some password managers offer additional features, like those below. Some offer just one of these extras, while others provide all the bells and whistles.

Some users might want a password manager that has the full range, while others might like to keep it simple. Here are some of the extras a password manager might provide.

  • Form-filling (easily store data like your name, address, and birthday to fill out forms in a single click)
  • Digital wallet (check out in seconds)
  • Document storage (store everything from PDFs to photos with the same level of encryption)
  • Local storage plus cloud backup (take your password manager with you via USB, but don’t lose your data in a crash)
  • Private messaging (an encrypted and secure messenger)
  • Virtual private network (makes your internet activity private)
  • Secure password sharing (share one or more passwords with a friend, family member, or co-worker)
  • Breach monitoring (alerts you if you need to change your passwords or take other action)

Why Do People Use Password Managers?

People use password managers for two key reasons: convenience and security. 

Convenience

It’s easy to slip into the habit of using weak passwords or reusing passwords across multiple sites. After all, we want our online experience to be easy and seamless. 

Whether we’re on desktop or mobile, we want the ability to log into all of our accounts on the fly. And we don’t want to spend a lot of time recording, tracking, managing, and updating our passwords. 

Security

At the same time, most of us know that using the same password over and over again is risky. That’s true even if you choose an ultra-strong password (which most of us don’t). 

If a hacker randomly chooses you as a target, they can easily force their way into one of your accounts, and then have access to all of your accounts. That includes banking, social media, cloud storage, and all the rest of your data. And that can result in anything from a minor hassle to a major catastrophe. 

Password managers allow you to set a new, random password for every site or app you use. Then, they encrypt those passwords so that only you ever have access to them. 

How Did We Compare Each Password Manager?

So which password manager should you choose? Ultimately, it depends on which features are most important to you. But we compared 10 of the most popular and secure password managers to help you decide.  

To compare each password manager, we took a close look at these key deciding factors: 

  • Security: AES256-bit encryption is standard for the password managers we looked at. But some offer additional precautions. 
  • Number of passwords: Some password managers limit you to as few as 20 passwords unless you pay for an upgrade. Others offer unlimited storage completely free.
  • System support: A browser extension is standard, but some password managers offer a desktop app, as well as a mobile app. We looked at how easy it is to install and use the password manager on all of your devices. 
  • Document storage: We looked at whether the password manager provides document storage, and if so, how much. 
  • Alerts: Does the password manager alert you if there’s been a breach that affects your accounts? 
  • Customer service: It’s important to work with a password manager that offers reliable and accessible customer support. 
  • Added features: Password managers that offer extras like a VPN or secure messenger could rank higher (as long as those features are intuitive and easy to use). 
  • Usability: A password manager could have the best security and features, but if it only works for the most tech-savvy users, it won’t be our top choice. 
  • Value: We looked at how much you get compared to how much you pay for the service. We considered each site’s free version and paid version, as well as whether they offer frequent mark-downs. 

Popular Password Managers Compared

Finally, let’s look at some of the top password managers and see how they compare. Don't want to go through the entire list? Here's a peek at our top picks. 

Best subscription-based:

Best free: 

Best Subscription-Based Password Managers

You don’t necessarily have to pay for your password manager, but you can access some unique features if you do. Here are the sites that offer the best subscription-based password managers.  

Dashlane

Dashlane's offerings

  • Price: Free version available (not rated here), Premium is $4.99/month billed annually (rated here), Premium Plus is $9.99/month billed annually
  • Amount of password storage: 50 with free version and unlimited with both paid versions
  • Password creation: Random password generator, able to replace passwords easily
  • Encryption or security type: "Patented security architecture," security alerts, master password set-up, and secure password share
  • Offers document storage? Yes, secure document storage up to 1GB with paid versions
  • Customer support: Bot, contact form, and troubleshooting tool available
  • Available on: Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
  • Best for: Well-balanced usability and security

Dashlane is our top-rated subscription-based password manager because of its range of features, paired with its intuitive interface. 

Dashlane’s standout feature is its password-changer, which lets you change your login credentials for multiple sites, all from your Dashlane dashboard. However, not every site works with this feature, so you’ll still have to update many (if not most) of your passwords manually. 

At a price of $4.99 per month (billed annually) for Dashlane Premium or $9.99 per month (billed annually) for Premium Plus, it’s one of the costlier options. But you get what you pay for in terms of security, usability, and breach alerts. You even get access to a virtual private network.

The area where Dashlane could use the most improvement is in its customer service options. If you need help, Dashlane directs you to a troubleshooting tool, a customer support bot, and a contact form, rather than a human being via email or phone. 

Dashlane also offers a free version, but it restricts storage to just 50 passwords and a single device, so most people will find it too limited. 

Learn More About Dashlane

Password Boss

Password Boss's homepage

  • Price: Free 30-day trial, Premium is $2.50/month or $29.99/year, and Family (5 users) is $4.00/month
  • Amount of password storage: Unlimited
  • Password creation: Automatic password generator
  • Encryption or security type: 256-bit AES and SSL/TLS encryption
  • Offers document storage? No
  • Customer support:  Email
  • Available on: Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
  • Best for: Advanced features at a low price

Password Boss is an excellent alternative to Dashlane if you want a lower-priced subscription service. Password Boss costs just $2.50 per month (billed annually) for an individual or $4.00 per month for a family of five users. And you can try Password Boss Premium for 30 days free before you commit. 

Password Boss offers unlimited password storage on unlimited devices, with secure encryption and two-step authentication. It also comes with form-filling, a digital wallet, and added features like remote data erasing if you lose your device. 

What puts Password Boss slightly below Dashlane is its lack of a virtual private network (although you can get a separate VPN for free or low-cost), and its lack of in-app password changing. 

Learn More About Password Boss

1Password

1Password's homepage

  • Price: Free 300-day trials, Premium is $2.99/month, Families is $4.99/month, and Business plans range from $3.99-$7.99/month
  • Amount of password storage: Unlimited
  • Password creation: Random password generator
  • Encryption or security type: AES-256 bit encryption and "multiple techniques to protect your data," 1Password can't access your data, and offers travel mode
  • Offers document storage? Yes
  • Customer support: Email
  • Available on: Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
  • Best for: Families and travelers

At second on our list, 1Password is another reliable, subscription-based option. It’s rated after Dashlane and Password Boss because its interface is slightly outdated, both on mobile and desktop. 

1Password originally catered to Mac and iOS users, and its services still lean towards those operating systems more than Windows or Android. However, its browser extension works well on any operating system. 

1Password offers unique organizational tools that are perfect for families, and for those who do a lot of traveling. 

Its “Families” plan lets you invite up to five guests for limited password sharing, plus more for $1 each. You can share passwords, credit cards, secure notes, and more, and you can manage what each family member can access. 

However, you’ll have to pay more for those features. 1Password Families is $4.99 per month (billed annually), and the base version is $2.99 per month (billed annually). 

The app also gives you access to a unique “Travel Mode,” which lets you hide sensitive information while you’re traveling and restore it when you return. 

Learn More About 1Password

RememBear

RememBear's homepage

  • Price: Free version (not rated here) and Premium (rated here) is $3.00/month for a 1-year plan or $2.50/month for a 2-year plan
  • Amount of password storage:  Free version offers unlimited on one device, paid version offers unlimited on unlimited devices
  • Password creation: Random password generator
  • Encryption or security type: AES-256 bit encryption
  • Offers document storage? Yes, Credit card and note storage
  • Customer support: Email
  • Available on: Browser extension and mobile app 
  • Best for: Learning the ropes

RememBear is a great password manager for beginners, with cute bears to walk you through every step. It has one of the easiest onboarding processes of all the managers we reviewed, and provides its users with achievements along the way. 

But as an app geared toward new password manager users, RememBear sometimes prioritizes simplicity over useful features. And despite its lack of some key tools, like password auditing, RememBear still comes at the relatively steep price of $3.00 per month (billed annually). 

Learn More About RememBear

Intuitive Password

Intuitive Password

  • Price: Free version (not rated here) available, Express version (rated here) is $2.00 AUD/month, and Advanced is $5.00 AUD/month
  • Amount of password storage:  20 with free version, 2,000 with Express version, or unlimited with Advanced or Pro versions
  • Password creation: Random password generator and displays several options for each new password
  • Encryption or security type: AES-256 bit encryption with 10,000 rounds of PBKDF2
  • Offers document storage? Yes, store secret notes and documents
  • Customer support: Email, Pro version offers premium support
  • Available on: Windows, MAC, iOS, and Android
  • Best for: Every single feature. 

Intuitive Password is an Australian password manager that’s overflowing with advanced features. 

It offers three subscription versions: Express ($2.00 AUD per month), Advanced ($5.00 AUD per month), and Pro ($7.00 AUD per month). All of the plans are billed annually. It also offers a free version, but it’s limited to just 20 passwords. 

Intuitive Password may have a ton of features, but it ranks last on our list of subscription-based password managers because it can feel overly complex. You have to enter your passwords into its system manually, and the Security Dashboard contains almost limitless information. 

And to get the full range of features, you’ll pay more than any other password manager. 

Learn More About Intuitive Password

Best Free Password Managers

If you’d rather not pay a cent for a password manager, consider the free versions provided by the sites below. 

LastPass

Lastpass homepage

  • Price: Free version (rated here), Premium (not rated here) is $3.00/month billed annually, and Family version (not rated here) is $4.00/month billed annually
  • Amount of password storage: Unlimited for all plans
  • Password creation: Random password generator
  • Encryption or security type: AES 256-bit encryption with PBKDF2 SHA-256 and salted hashes, regularly third-party security testes, and transparent incidence response, among other features
  • Offers document storage? Yes, paid version offers 1GB of secure document storage
  • Customer support: Email and FAQ/support center
  • Available on: Windows, Mac, and Linux browser extension
  • Best for: Multiple devices

If you don’t want to pay for a password manager at all, LastPass is our top recommendation. LastPass is easy to use, secured with two-factor authentication, and its free version is almost as full of features as its paid version. 

What makes LastPass’s free tier truly unique is that it syncs across your devices. You can save an unlimited number of passwords, and even save secure notes. LastPass also features a free password generator and one-to-one password sharing. 

If you upgrade to the paid version, you’ll gain access to one-to-many sharing, emergency access features, advanced multi-factor logins, and 1 GB of encrypted file storage. 

Learn More About LastPass

RoboForm

Roboform's homepage

  • Price: Free version (rated here) and Premium versions start at $23.88/year, but are often discounted
  • Amount of password storage: Unlimited
  • Password creation: Random password generator
  • Encryption or security type: AES-256 bit encryption with PBKDF2 SHA256, Master Password, and multifactor authentication
  • Offers document storage? No, you can only save bookmarks
  • Customer support: Email and paid version gets 24/7 support
  • Available on: Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
  • Best for: Form filling

RoboForm is a great free password manager, but it also offers a relatively-low-cost paid option. Its free version is a great form-filler with a secure password manager attached. 

RoboForm’s extension is easy to use, and so are the apps. You get unlimited password storage for free, and you can use RoboForm to securely log into many mobile apps. However, the free version doesn’t let you sync your data across multiple devices. 

Learn More About RoboForm

Keeper

Keeper's homepage

  • Price: Free version (rated here) available, Premium versions (not rated here) start at $4.99/month
  • Amount of password storage: Unlimited 
  • Password creation: Random password generator
  • Encryption or security type: Claims they have the longest standing SOC 2 Type 2, ISO 27001 and TRUSTe certification in the industry
  • Offers document storage? Yes, between 10-50GB with paid versions
  • Customer support: Live chat, email, and phone
  • Available on: Window, Mac, iOS, and Android
  • Best for: Security and simplicity

Keeper Security offers a reliable, heavily-encrypted password manager. Keeper is even better-known for its added services, which create a full-secure vault for all of your private information. 

With its paid tiers, you can store documents of any kind, securely share passwords, and more. But Keeper’s free password manager is simple, easy-to-use, and, more importantly, super secure.

The drawback is that your Keeper data won’t sync across multiple devices with the free version, and you don’t get all of Keeper’s add-ons like document storage and family password management. 

If you try out Keeper for free and want to upgrade your security level, Keeper can even provide dark web monitoring. 

Learn More About Keeper

Sticky Password

StickPassword's homepage

  • Price: Free version (rated here) and Premium versions (not rated here) are $29.00/year
  • Amount of password storage: Unlimited
  • Password creation: Random password generator
  • Encryption or security type: AES‑256 bit encryption and two-factor authentication
  • Offers document storage? Yes, protects private notes and credit card numbers
  • Customer support: Email
  • Available on:  16 different browsers, plus devices
  • Best for: Basically any browser

StickyPassword's free tier provides a simple, straightforward password manager, as well as form-filling, similar to RoboForm. However, RoboForm ranks higher because it offers bookmark management and more sophisticated form-filling across the internet. 

Sticky Password’s unique benefit is that you can run it as an extension on 16+ browsers. So even if you use a lesser-known browser, like Comodo Dragon or Pale Moon, you can still put Sticky Password to use. 

If you’re willing to upgrade to Sticky Password’s subscription service, you’ll get some additional features. More importantly, Sticky Password will donate a portion of the proceeds to Save the Manatees Club. 

Learn More About StickyPassword

Zoho Vault 

Zoho Vault's homepage

  • Price: Free (rated here), Standard plan (not rated here) $0.90/month billed annually, Professional (not rated here) is $3.60/month billed annually, and Enterprise (not rated here) is $6.30/month billed annually
  • Amount of password storage: Unlimited
  • Password creation: Random password generator
  • Encryption or security type: AES-256 bit encryption and two-factor authentication
  • Offers document storage? Yes, any type of document
  • Customer support: Email
  • Available on: Windows. Mac, iOS, Android, and browser extension 
  • Best for: Managing teams

Zoho Vault offers a respectable, free password manager, which is free for individual personal use. But the company as a whole focuses on enterprises and businesses, which is clear from the app’s sparse interface and features. 

With Zoho Vault, you don’t get individualized features like form-filling or easy password-changing. However, you get all of the essential basics of a secure password manager. And you can even sync your passwords across devices using Zoho Vault, for free. 

Zoho Vault may be a better option if you’re interested in managing passwords for a team or a business. You can try the individual features for free, and upgrade to a paid team version later on. Zoho even offers an upgraded personal subscription if you purchase a team subscription. 

Learn More About Zoho Vault

Getting Started with a Password Manager

Just choosing a password manager, downloading it, and installing it on your devices is a great first step. But to get the most of your password manager, you’ll need to follow through with your renewed dedication to password hygiene. 

You don’t have to update all of your passwords at once. (But if you want to, go for it!) Just make the resolution to change your passwords to stronger ones as you go, and slowly but surely incorporate those un-hackable credentials into your password manager.

Soon, you’ll be logging into all of your accounts in seconds and leaving weak and reused passwords in the past, where they belong.