Everyone needs a password manager in 2021. It’s the only way to maintain unique, hard-to-guess credentials for every secure site you and your team access daily. The six password manager apps and services listed in this blog all offer a full set of features in exchange for a monthly or annual fee. Our evaluation is based on the full feature set available with a paid subscription with the ability to run-on Windows or Linux PCs, Macs, and mobile devices.
Different password managers have different user experiences and different feature sets, but all offer subscribers a similar set of core features. These core features are a password generator that puts together a unique combination, secure sharing of passwords with trusted contacts, form filling for credentials, secure notes, and a sync engine that replicates the database across devices, using a cloud service or a local host.
Password managers that sync the saved password database to the cloud use end-to-end encryption. The data is encrypted before it leaves your device, and it stays encrypted as it’s transferred to the remote server. When you sign in to the app on your local device, the program sends a one-way hash of the password that identifies you but can’t be used to unlock the file itself.
This list of the best password managers, was developed thoroughly with the goal of finding the broadest possible selection of products from established developers. All offer both personal and business versions of their products, and some offer family subscriptions that allow multiple user accounts. When choosing a password manager make sure that it meets your needs, and take advantage of free trial options before settling on your final choice. If you’re willing to pay a monthly or annual fee, here are the top 6 best password manager options:
- Personal Subscription: $36/year
- Family Subscription: $60/five users/year
- Business Accounts: $96/user/month
1Password earned its reputation on Apple’s Mac and iOS devices, and have also embraced Windows, Android, Linux, and Chrome OS as well. The 1Password X browser extension fills in credentials, suggests passwords, and provides 2-factor authentication in Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. 1Password works best when its data files are synced from 1Password’s servers, but you also have the option to save passwords locally and sync the data file with your own network, Dropbox, or iCloud account. The company does not do user tracking of any kind. 1Password Business accounts add advanced access control, with activity logs and centrally managed security policies, includes 5GB of document storage (compared to 1GB for personal accounts) plus a free linked family account for each user.
- Keeper Bundle: $60/year
- Keeper Unlimited: $30/year
- Family Plan Unlimited: $75/five users/year
- Family Plan Bundle: $104/five users/year
Keeper has the widest assortment of products of any developer in this list, with separate offerings for personal and family use, business, enterprise customers, and managed service providers. The personal $30 plan allows storage of an unlimited number of passwords and syncs them on an unlimited number of devices. The $60 bundle adds the KeeperChat encrypted messaging program, secure file storage, and a breach monitoring service that scans saved passwords to find any known to be compromised. The family version of each plan doubles the cost and supports up to five users. Keeper stores synced data files on the Amazon Web Services cloud. Student plans are half-off the listed prices.
- Free Version: Fewer than 50 passwords
- Premium: $60/year
- Premium Plus: $120/year
- Business Plan Premium: $48/user/year
Dashlane doesn’t have the longevity of its rivals, but it’s been around long enough to earn a reputation for ease of use. Apps are available for Windows PCs, Macs, Android, and iOS. If your password vault includes fewer than 50 entries and you only need to use the software on a single device, you can get by with the free version, which also supports two-factor authentication. Dashlane does not offer a family plan, but it does support sharing of passwords between accounts. The $60 Premium version removes limits on the number of saved passwords, synced devices and includes a VPN option. The $120 Premium Plus bundle adds identity theft insurance and credit monitoring. Business $48/user/year plans include the same features as Premium, with provisioning and deployment options as well as the capability to segregate business and personal credentials. All prices require annual billing.
- Free Version: Unlimited number of saved credentials
- Premium: $30/year
- Lifetime Subscription: $200
Sticky Password was founded by former executives of AVG Technologies, which was a pioneer in the freemium category for security software. This password manager offers a full-featured free version that works on all major device categories and browsers, allows an unlimited number of saved credentials, and supports two-factor authentication and biometric sign-in. The $30 premium version includes the ability to sync between devices, using either the company’s servers or a local-only option using your own Wi-Fi network. It also supports cloud backups and secure password sharing and includes priority support.
- Free Version: Includes core features
- Personal User: $10/year
- Family Plan: $40/year for up to 6 users
Bitwarden brags that its core features are “100% free,” and that’s not an idle boast. That free version has none of the limitations associated with commercial software. Instead, the paid versions add advanced features like a built-in TOTP authenticator and two-step login with a hardware key. The source code for Bitwarden is hosted on GitHub, with separate repositories for desktop, server, web, browser, mobile, and command-line projects. It has all the checklist features of commercial personal password managers, including secure cloud syncing. If you’re uncomfortable with storing your passwords in the Bitwarden cloud, you can host the infrastructure on your own server, using Docker.
- Premium Version: $36/year
- Family Plan: $48/year for 6 users
- Business Plan: $48/user/year
The company’s personal and business product lines work on all major desktop and mobile platforms and browsers. The service is cloud-based only, with files stored on the company’s servers and synced to local devices. The $36 Premium version enables cross-platform support, adds a few extra features, such as advanced multi-factor authentication options, 1GB of encrypted file storage, and the capability to designate a trusted contact for emergency access. The $48 family plan for up to six users, includes a management dashboard.