In our previous blog post Protect your Online Identity and Confidential Data with Password Manager we presented the feature set that Password Management products offer. With so many functions and options, how would you pick one that will be good for you. In this post we’ll try to make that decision easier for you.
Let’s begin with what are the Password Management solutions available on the market.
Your Browser Built-In Password Manager
The most basic Password Management solution is the one you have built into your browser. All current main browsers have a native Password Management capability that covers most of the core Password Management functions mentioned in the previous blog post, as well as typically providing Form Autofill.
Its biggest advantage is that it is available with the browser out of the box and it’s free. With a few clicks through the browser settings you can turn it on and you’re ready to go. The passwords will sync among the instances of the browser on your different devices when you’re logged into the browser’s user account.
Its main functional disadvantage is that the sync is limited to instances of the same browser only, and it does not support Mobile Apps. If you normally only use one browser, or if you always use the same browser to access certain websites (e.g. you always use Chrome for your online banking while to shop on Amazon you only use Firefox), this is not an issue for you. While the lack of coverage for Mobile Apps is still a concern with this approach, you can work around it by always using websites rather than associated Apps where a login is required. In some cases this may be much less convenient than using the dedicated App.
What you need to keep in mind is that the way some browsers keep your passwords is not secured enough. As described in the Why you should never allow your web browser to save your passwords article, they allow easy access to view your saved passwords. All someone has to do is have access to your computer (remote or physical) and, unless you use Safari or the Master Password feature in Firefox, those passwords are available for anyone to see.
Dedicated Password Management Products
If you want more than what a native browser Password Manager offers, you will need to get a dedicated Password Manager that keeps your passwords secured, can sync across all your devices, browsers, and Mobile Apps, as well as providing you with more functions.
There are many Password Managers out there. In a quick web search you could find these products: LastPass, Dashlane, Keeper, RoboForm, KeePass, StickyPassword, RememberBear, LogmeOnce, TrueKey, ZohoVault, F-Secure, IntuitivePassword, Kasperskt, PasswordGenie, SplashData, TrendMicro, MyKi, 1U, Avira, EnPass, OneID, LifeLock, Blur, and 1Password, and there are many more of them.
The length of this list together with the wealth of possible features does not make it easy to pick one that is the best fit for you. Many of them are good products and have certain advantages or disadvantages, so they may be more or less applicable to you, your needs, and your preferences. We find the following three that come up on the list in most reviews are particularly good: LastPass, Dashlane, and Keeper. We will suggest a simple criterion to help you pick one.
While other Password Managers put a limit on the number of passwords free users can save, or allows the free version to be used on only a single device, LastPass has no limits on syncing or on the number of passwords. The free edition of LastPass has a good number of features, indeed more than some of its for-pay competitors. It syncs across all your Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices, making it a fully functional version by any means. Upgrading to a paid version just adds features.
If you want it free, LastPass is a good choice.
The free version of Dashlane is limited to one device only, with no option to sync between devices. That limitation makes the free version of Dashlane pretty much useless in my opinion. It is mainly useful in helping you to evaluate the product before you commit for a plan. However, once you’ve signed for a paid version, you have access to a very rich feature set, where many features are even beyond the typical scope, or what is typically expected from a Password Manager. Such features are Receipt Capture and Dark Web Scan.
If you’re willing to pay a little more (Dashlane price is on the higher end of these products) for a feature rich product and you find all these additional features useful, Dashlane is your choice.
Keeper is a third good and popular Password Manager. Its cost is like a Premium subscription of LastPass and lower than the cost of Dashlane. It provides a very good feature set, with some features that are more flexible than the competitor products. For example, the Password Sharing feature allows you full control on the passwords you share. It also offers native apps for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Kindle, Windows Phone, and Linux, as well as browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, and Internet Explorer.
Based on your requirements and preferences you might find Keeper your favorite choice. To be sure, you’ll need to dive a little bit into the details before you can make a decision.
For more information, you will find that PC Magazine provides very detailed reviews on these three products: