The best password managers of 2020 and how to use them

For many people, working from home has turn into the brand new regular — and which means securing your on-line accounts with sturdy passwords is extra necessary than ever. However memorizing dozens and dozens of passwords could be a problem, and utilizing the identical previous password again and again is harmful. 

If you end up persistently getting locked out of 1 on-line account or one other since you’re drawing a clean while you attempt to log in, it is time to think about a password manager that can assist you seamlessly oversee and deal with all of your login credentials. Password managers are additionally useful for auto-filling types and syncing your knowledge throughout Home windows PCs and Macs, iPhonesiPads, Android phones and extra.

A password supervisor is basically an encrypted digital vault that shops safe password login data you employ to entry apps and accounts in your cell gadget, web sites and different providers. Along with protecting your identification, credentials and delicate knowledge protected, the perfect password supervisor additionally has a password generator to create sturdy, unique passwords and make sure you aren’t utilizing the identical password in a number of locations. With all of the latest information of safety breaches and identification theft, having a singular password password for every location can go an extended technique to making certain that if one website will get hacked, your stolen password cannot be used on different websites. You are mainly creating your personal safety characteristic.

Learn extra: The guide to password security (and why you should care)

Plus, with a supervisor, you do not have to recollect the varied items of login data, similar to transport addresses and bank card data. With only one grasp password, or in some circumstances a PIN or your fingerprint, you possibly can autofill a type or password area. Some additionally characteristic on-line storage and an encrypted vault for storing paperwork. 

All our greatest password supervisor picks are available in free variations, which generally allow you to securely retailer passwords for one gadget — though our decide for the perfect free supervisor can be utilized for syncing throughout a number of gadgets — and all deal with {hardware} authentication by YubiKey. Our greatest password supervisor picks additionally characteristic subscription choices that allow you to sync your safe password login data throughout gadgets, share credentials with trusted household and associates, and get entry to safe on-line storage. And if transparency is necessary to you, a number of of our picks are open-source initiatives. We additionally have a look at what a password supervisor is and the fundamentals of the best way to use one.

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Observe that these password supervisor providers are independently chosen by our editors. The present model of the checklist is essentially unchanged from its earlier iteration as a result of we’ve not seen any new password supervisor providers which might be worthy of taking down our favorites — but. If and when that adjustments, we’ll replace this story accordingly.

Sarah Tew/PJDM

  • Affords free model
  • Base worth past free: $36 per yr
  • Works with: Home windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iPhone and iPad. Browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Web Explorer, Edge and Opera. 

A few of our different picks have a free possibility, however most restrict you to only one gadget if you happen to do not pay up. The free model of LastPass stands out as the perfect password supervisor on this class by providing you with the flexibility to retailer passwords, consumer login data and credentials and sync all of it wherever you need throughout cell gadgets and browsers. You can even share a login merchandise with one other particular person. 

For $36 a yr, you should purchase the Premium model of the password supervisor to share passwords, logins, memberships and different objects with trusted household and associates, use multifactor authentication by YubiKey and get 1GB of encrypted storage. 

And with a $48 annual subscription, you possibly can join the Households plan that offers you six particular person accounts, shared folders and a dashboard for managing the household accounts and keeping track of your account’s safety.

No, LastPass is not flawless: A vulnerability privately reported in September 2019 was a scary flaw that might doubtlessly compromise passwords. However the firm patched it earlier than it was identified to be exploited within the wild.

Jason Cipriani/PJDM

  • Affords trial model
  • Base worth: $35.88 per yr
  • Works with: Home windows, MacOS, Linux, Chrome OS, Android, iPhone and iPad. Browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge and Opera. 

If you happen to’re in search of a trusted password supervisor app to maintain your login data personal and safe, 1Password is the perfect password supervisor for the duty, letting you entry your accounts and providers with one grasp password. It is out there for all main gadget platforms.

This properly designed password supervisor lacks a free model, however you possibly can test it out for 30 days earlier than signing up. A person subscription runs $36 a yr and comes with 1GB of doc storage and non-compulsory two-factor authentication by Yubikey for extra safety. A journey mode enables you to take away your 1Password delicate knowledge out of your gadget while you journey after which restore it with one straightforward click on while you return, in order that it isn’t weak to frame checks. 

On Macs, you should utilize Contact ID to unlock 1Password, and on iOS gadgets you should utilize Face ID as nicely. For $60 a yr, you possibly can cowl a household of 5, sharing passwords, bank cards and the rest among the many group with a single password supervisor app. Every particular person will get their very own vault, and it is simple to regulate who you share data with and what they will do with it.

You can even create separate visitor accounts for password sharing to share Wi-Fi connection passwords, for instance, or house alarm codes with friends.

Learn extra: The best web hosting providers

Different free and paid choices price contemplating

Each LastPass and 1Password are stable, reasonably priced password keepers, and in a straw ballot of PJDM staffers, they have been about neck and neck in use — although the latter might embody some making the most of the 1Password for Journalism initiative that provides free service to us hacks. However if you happen to discover neither of our two really helpful password managers works fairly the way you need, a handful of different apps are price contemplating. These all have free variations out there.




  • Affords free model
  • Base worth past free: $10 per yr 
  • Works with: Home windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iPhone and iPad. Browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera, Vivaldi, Courageous and Tor. 

Bitwarden is a lean, open-source encryption software program password supervisor that may generate, retailer and routinely fill your passwords throughout your gadgets and in style browsers — together with Courageous and Tor — without spending a dime. It lacks a number of the bells and whistles of our picks, but when all you are in search of is a service to handle your login data, it is onerous to go up Bitwarden. Plus it has a password sharing characteristic so you possibly can share all of your login data with one other particular person. For $10 a yr, you possibly can add 1GB of encrypted file storage. And for $12 a yr, 5 members of the family or associates can share login data.




  • Affords restricted free model (50 passwords on one gadget)
  • Base worth past free: $59.88 per yr
  • Works with: Home windows, MacOS, Android, iPhone and iPad. Browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Web Explorer, Edge and Opera. 

Dashlane gives a easy and safe technique to handle your passwords and hold different login data saved. Only for managing passwords, we prefer it as a lot as our picks, however the free Dashlane app limits you to at least one gadget and 50 passwords. The $60 Premium subscription is just like plans from 1Password and LastPass. The $120 Premium Plus annual subscription provides credit score and ID-theft monitoring.




  • Affords restricted free model (limitless passwords on one gadget)
  • Base worth past free: $34.99
  • Works with: Home windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iPhone and iPad. Browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Web Explorer, Edge and Opera. 

Keeper is one other safe password supervisor that helps you handle login data on Home windows, MacOS, Android and iOS gadgets. A free model offers you limitless passwords on one gadget. The step-up model prices $35 a yr and allows you to sync passwords throughout a number of gadgets. For round $45 a yr, you will get 10GB of safe file storage.



  • It is free
  • Donations accepted
  • Works with: Home windows, MacOS, Linux, Chrome OS, Android, iPhone and iPad, BlackBerry, Home windows Telephone and Palm OS. Entry through the net plus in style browser extensions. (Aside from the official Home windows model, KeePass for different platforms are unofficial ports.)

KeePass, one other open-source software program password supervisor, began on Home windows and has been ported utilizing the identical code base to different platforms, together with MacOS, Android and iOS. On the plus facet, it’s very free and endorsed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. On the opposite facet, it is actually for superior customers solely: Its consumer interface takes a little bit of fiddling to get all of the independently constructed variations of KeePass to work collectively.

What about NordPass and Norton Password Supervisor?

There’s been a shift out there for VPN and antivirus software program in latest months. Lots of the firms behind these software program packages are increasing them to turn into wider software program suites. As an illustration: NordVPN now affords NordPass, a devoted password supervisor, and Norton now affords a Norton Password Supervisor as a part of its antivirus and identification theft packages. We’ve not particularly reviewed these, if solely as a result of they do not but seem to have a characteristic set or pricing possibility that beats any of our most well-liked choices above. If and when that adjustments, we’ll test them out in additional element. 

Password supervisor fundamentals

Nonetheless want extra data on what password managers are, and why they’re higher than the alternate options? Learn on.

How does a password supervisor work? 

To get began, a password supervisor will document the username and password you employ while you first check in to a web site or service. Then the following time you go to the web site, it would autofill types along with your saved consumer login data. For these web sites and providers that do not enable computerized filling, a password supervisor enables you to copy the password to stick into the password area.

If you happen to’re caught choosing a very good password, a supervisor can generate a powerful password for you and watch that you just aren’t reusing it any across services. And if you happen to use a couple of gadget, you desire a supervisor that’s out there throughout all of your gadgets and browsers, so you possibly can entry your passwords and login data — together with credit-card and transport data — from wherever by the supervisor app or its browser extension. Some present safe storage so you possibly can retailer different objects too, similar to paperwork or an digital copy of your passport or will.

Take word: Many password managers hold the grasp password you employ to unlock the supervisor domestically and never on a distant server. Or if it is on a server, it is encrypted and never readable by the corporate.

This ensures your account stays safe in case of a knowledge breach. It additionally signifies that if you happen to overlook your grasp password, there will not be a technique to recuperate your account by the corporate. Due to that, a couple of password managers supply DIY kits that can assist you recuperate your account by yourself. Worst-case state of affairs, you begin over with a brand new password supervisor account after which reset and save passwords for all of your accounts and apps.

Learn extra: This is how we might finally replace passwords

What makes for a safe password?  

When attempting to keep away from a weak password, a very good password ought to be an extended string of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, punctuation and different nonalphanumeric characters — one thing that is troublesome for others to guess, however a snap for a password supervisor to maintain monitor of. And regardless of what you might have heard, as soon as you choose a very good password or passphrase, you don’t really need to change it periodically.

Can I take advantage of an online browser to handle my passwords and login data? 

You’ll be able to definitely use Chrome, Safari or Firefox to handle your passwords, addresses and different login knowledge. You’ll be able to even arrange a grasp password to unlock your credentials inside a browser. And whereas utilizing a web-based browser’s password instrument is definitely higher than not utilizing a password keeper in any respect, you possibly can’t simply entry your passwords and different login data exterior of the browser or share login data with others you belief. 

What about iCloud Keychain? 

By way of iCloud Keychain, you possibly can entry your Safari web site usernames and passwords, bank card data and Wi-Fi community data out of your Mac and iOS gadgets. It is nice if you happen to stay in Apple’s world. However if you happen to enterprise exterior and have a Home windows or Android gadget or use the Chrome or Firefox browser, iCloud Keychain comes up brief.

Learn extra: Google looks to leave passwords behind for a billion Android devices

David Gewirtz contributed to this story. 

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Clifford Colby