Best Password Manager: Dashlane Password Manager & Secure Digital Wallet
Price: $19.99 to $39.99 for 1 year; free 30-day trial
A password manager is your first line of defense against snoops and identity thieves. But some perform far better than others, as we discovered over months of hands-on testing. We looked for password managers that are easy to set up and use, generate excellent passwords, work across all major platforms, and offer strong encryption and multifactor authentication. (See our tips on what to look for in a password manager.)
Ultimately, Dashlane won our endorsement for best password manager. It has a sleek, modern user interface, a helpful tutorial to get you started, and all the features you'd expect from a top-flight password manager.
- Strong encryption: Dashlane encrypts and stores passwords using the AES-256 standard and, for another layer of security, offers two-factor authentication, letting you verify by text and fingerprint.
- Easy password management: Dashlane's Password Changer runs a diagnostic on your current passwords to let you know which are weak or generic, then helps you generate stronger passwords.
- Autofill: Besides storing passwords, Dashlane stores and encrypts notes, receipts, credit card and payment info, and even your IDs, such as your Social Security and passport numbers. That gives you one handy location for all that information and an easy way to autofill forms.
- Cross-platform compatibility: Dashlane works across Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, and works with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer.
- Security extras: Dashlane sends automatic alerts if a site you've registered with has been compromised. Its Inbox Scans check your email inboxes for old passwords, email addresses, and other vulnerable information that hackers can use, so you can secure it before it gets stolen.
Read on to learn about more password managers, including cross-platform, mobile-only, and security suite options.
Cross-platform password managers
Price: $79 for 3 years; free 30-day trial
Pros: Blur Premium stores and encrypts (AES-256) your log-ins and passwords (or generates new ones) for launching your favorite websites, and saves you time by autofilling your info in online forms. The app has a modern-looking UI and is easy to use across Android, iOS, and all major browsers. Cool extras include a private browser, so you can surf the Web without being tracked; masking of your emails and phone numbers, so companies can't harass you or sell your information; and unlimited single-use credit card numbers, so you can shop without worrying about your payment info being stolen.
Cons: Blur's price is higher than many of its competitors'. Also, there is no Windows or Mac app -- just browser add-ons.
Bottom Line: Blur not only masks your log-ins, but also your emails, phone numbers, and credit card numbers for extra privacy.
Price: $12 for 1 year
Pros: Affordable LastPass offers a wealth of excellent features, such as secure storage for your log-ins, notes, and autofills for sites accessed through its browser plug-in. It can also erase your cache, clipboard, browser history, and cookies on log-out, and can block advertiser cookies. It's available on all mobile platforms. The LastPass Security Challenge encourages in-app multifactor authentication via texted code or barcode scan. If a site you've registered with is ever compromised, LastPass will email you an alert so that you can change your password.
Cons: Our system slowed during testing. LastPass's automatically generated passwords only scored medium on password-strength detection sites.
Bottom Line: LastPass is a great cross-platform password manager with plenty of added features.
Sticky Password Premium
Price: $19.99 for 1 year; $69.99 for a lifetime license; free 30-day trial
Pros: Sticky Password offers AES-256 encryption, multiple user accounts, and data protection for both Web and app accounts. It enables you to secure bookmarks, identities, and memos. Extensions such as Firefox for Android, Safari for iOS, and Safari and Chrome for Mac, as well as excellent encrypted cloud sync and local Wi-Fi sync help you work across platforms effortlessly and more securely. You can also choose to store data only on your device. We found Sticky Password particularly strong in form filling, even on unusual pages. It features multiple authentication options, including fingerprint and Bluetooth, plus voice, which is currently in beta.
Cons: If you lose your master password, there is no recovery option. By default, the password generator produces passwords that are longer but that don't include special characters. You always have the option to change your default setting to incorporate special characters into your password.
Bottom Line: Sticky Password enables you to manage passwords easily across your devices.
Price: $19.95 for 1 year
Pros: RoboForm Everywhere offers dual protection with a PIN and a master password for all your log-ins, bookmarks, identities, and notes. The password generator created excellent passwords for us, according to password-strength detection sites.
Cons: We weren't impressed with the poor download speed and dated UI.
Bottom Line: While RoboForm looks dated, it's one of the best password managers available.
Keeper Password Manager & Digital Vault
Price: $9.99 to $29.99 for 1 year
Pros: Keeper lets you manually input your personal info, but you can also snap photos of your sensitive information. Keeper saves it with AES-256 encryption, and you can access it via all the major OSs and browsers. For added security, Keeper enables two-factor authentication by text, QR code, or Keeper DNA for nearby Internet of Things devices, and all encryption and decryption occurs locally on your device. Input your master password just once, and Keeper will autofill your info throughout your session. If an intruder repeatedly tries to log in unsuccessfully, your locally stored files will self-destruct. The premium version includes encrypted cloud backup, multidevice sync, secure sharing, and the Web app, free for 30 days and free on a single device after that.
Cons: You cannot automatically import your existing browser passwords. Keeper does not offer automatic password modification.
Bottom Line: Keeper Password Manager & Digital Vault's multiple authentication options keep your sensitive info secure.
Price: $49.99 each; $69.99 for a Mac/Windows bundle; $9.99 in-app purchase for Pro features
Pros: 1Password has a wonderfully minimal interface but is full of options. Sign in with Touch ID, choose which account info to secure, and receive multiple vaults for storing your data. These vaults are secured by AES-256 encryption and strong passwords, which 1Password helps you generate, and which are kept only on your device. Auto-updates remind you to change passwords. You can use the entire menu or 1Password mini, a menu bar companion app, to view and edit info. 1Password syncs data across iCloud, Dropbox, or Wi-Fi with end-to-end encryption, and it works on all browsers.
Cons: The app takes a long time to download and has a dated interface, and you need the latest Mac version to use 1Password on your Apple desktop.
Bottom Line: 1Password's dated-looking but minimal interface and 1Password mini make this password manager easy to use.
mSecure Password Manager
Pros: Very professional-looking mSecure Password Manager stores your passwords, usernames, credit cards, and other personal data. Choose from 270 built-in icons to personalize your records or add your own. For example, you can shoot receipt photos or use existing ones and store them with 20 available record types. TouchID, Auto-Lock, Self-Destruct, and Hide Sensitive functions offer added protection.
Cons: mSecure is built for use on Safari and mSecure's own browser.
Bottom Line: Aside from browser limitations, excellent customizations and added security features make mSecure appealing.
Price: $4.99 to $19.99
Pros: Launch OneSafe via app or Safari extension, and enter via Touch ID or set a PIN, password, or pattern. OneSafe syncs across your devices, iCloud, and Dropbox. You can create a decoy safe and password. OneSafe photographs intruders trying to break in, and in the unlikely event that they succeed, OneSafe offers a self-destruct feature.
Cons: Firefox and Chrome extensions would be nice.
Bottom Line: The decoy safe and password and the automatic photographing of intruders set OneSafe apart from competing password managers.
Pros: SafeInCloud offers 256-bit AES encryption for your emails, notes, IDs, credit card numbers, and desktop passwords. You can add more fields and photos. It also keeps your data synced and safe in the cloud. Click the lock symbol to set Auto-lock, which keeps others out of your phone after a prescribed amount of time has passed, or if your phone has been compromised, click Erase Data to erase everything at once.
Cons: There should be a way to import icons to personalize your records that aren't already included in-app.
Bottom Line: SafeInCloud is an excellent password manager with plenty of extra features.
Mobile-only password managers
Norton Identity Safe
Pros: Norton Identity Safe enables you to securely store log-ins, addresses, wallets, notes, and favorites. It gives you tips to create a strong password or enables you to use a PIN.
Cons: There is no password generator, so you must trust your own password-creation skills.
Bottom Line: Norton Identity Safe is as visually appealing as it is useful. Any Norton Security customer should download it.
Password Safe Pro
Price: $3.19 in-app purchase
Pros: Password Safe Pro offers 256-bit encryption and passwords that proved strong to very strong when we tested them on password-strength detection sites. The app does not connect to the Internet, which makes it safer, and all data is locked to your device. The app auto-locks as soon as you leave. The widget always stays on top, so you don't have to switch back and forth between tabs.
Cons: Because there is no Internet connectivity or syncing, if you want to share your password database, you must upload it to Dropbox or another file-sharing site first and then import it from there on another device.
Bottom Line: The excellent password generator and lack of Internet connectivity keep this password manager extra secure.
Private Passwords Keeper Pro
Price: $3.99 for Pro
Pros: When you register for Private Passwords Keeper, all the suggested websites you might need come up, so you don't have to input them from scratch. The app has excellent extras like a self-destruct feature and customizable auto-locking.
Cons: You can only manage log-ins for the Web, not apps.
Bottom Line: Private Passwords Keeper is limited to Web passwords but works smoothly from setup to daily use.
Password Manager Free (or Pro)
Price: Free or $9.99 for Pro
Pros: Password Manager Free protects a variety of info: email log-ins, notes, bank accounts, credit cards, IDs, and more. The app offers convenient single-tap log-in and a database backup to your computer.
Cons: You must log in with your Gmail account and can't manage app passwords.
Bottom Line: If you don't need app log-ins saved, this free password manager keeps other passwords and sensitive data secure.
Password managers in security suites
McAfee LiveSafe includes McAfee SafeKey, which generates and securely saves your online usernames and passwords. SafeKey works across all major OSs and syncs automatically.
Norton Security 2015
Price: $49.99 to $69.99 for 1 year
Norton Security 2015 includes a password manager called Norton Identity Safe, which generates passwords and also creates or imports your log-ins from other password managers. You can sync across computers, browsers, and mobile devices, and secure your passwords in a cloud-based vault. Unfortunately, there is no current Mac version.
More password resources
- What to look for in a password manager
- Passwords 101
- Two-step verification 101
- Security and Antivirus Center