The Best Password Manager

Protect your identity while keeping your sanity.

Forgetting a password is annoying, but reusing the same credentials for all your online accounts is a potential disaster. The best password managers don’t just help you keep up with your digital life; they also make it incredibly easy to protect your identity with Fort Knox-level passwords and regular security audits. After evaluating all the top software, our favorite was Dashlane, the Cadillac of password managers. We also recommend Enpass because its desktop app is completely free and fully functional for the first 20 logins and 1Password for its seamless integration with other apps.

To find the best password manager, we spent over 90 hours poring over the topic. We read a bunch of reviews and guides, evaluated 94 different password-saving services, and surveyed 219 people. There are plenty of popular password managers on the market that would absolutely love your business (including LastPass, RoboForm, and Sticky Password) but many of them don’t jive with all the top operating systems (or the cloud).

We narrowed down the options to the ones with the best mobile apps, an extensive set of features, and a top-notch user experience on every device. Most importantly, though, we personally tested 15 different password managers in every form they come in (desktop apps, mobile apps, browser extensions, and any other clients available) for more than a week to find our top three picks.

The Three Best Password Managers





Freemium version

Cost for cloud sync

$39.99 / year
$9.99 / lifetime
$49.99 (desktop app) + $9.99 ( mobile app) / lifetime

AES-256 encryption

Master password not stored in the cloud

Vault location options

Dashlane Servers
iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, Box, ownCloud/WebDAV
Dropbox, iCloud

Secure sharing


How We Found the Best Password Manager

We began our hunt for the best password manager by building an archive of every password manager-type software we could find (94 to be exact). Once the list was complete, our team spent a couple of days gathering a boatload of data for each one, including who the software was designed for, app ratings, feature lists, pricing, and security measures.

Next, we set out to determine which password-management features are the most important by reading the internet’s most popular “top 10” lists; investigating security hacks; and dissecting reviews from CNET, PCMag, Lifehacker, and Tom’s Guide. We also surveyed over 200 people about their online accounts and web browsing habits. From there, we translated our newfound knowledge into the following criteria, and whittled our selection of 94 apps down to the three best options available:

First, we removed any software options that aren’t standard password managers.

We found 94 different applications during our massive Google search of all password managers ever, but many of them weren’t a good fit for the average person’s password collection. We eliminated open source software like Entropass that requires a certain level of technical knowledge and business-level software designed for teams.

Then, we cut software that didn’t have an active changelog.

The landscape of cybersecurity is ever changing, and most developers publish changelogs to document how quickly and how often their software is updated. We removed any password managers with dusty, out-of-date changelogs, as that may be evidence that they haven’t updated their software lately.

We removed software that didn’t offer support for all (3) major desktop browsers, OS X, Windows 8, iOS, and Android.

A study about how we use electronic devices at home found that we switch among smartphones, tablets, and laptops an average of 21 times per hour and the average American owns four digital devices. So even if you’re a brand or platform loyalist, chances are you’re going to need a password manager that works across multiple devices and at least two operating systems. For that reason, we removed password managers that aren’t compatible with all of the most popular operating systems.

We couldn’t recommend password managers that lacked core features on desktop and mobile.

There are two cornerstone features of all password managers: automatic password capture and password generation. The first captures login credentials as you enter them and stores them in your vault. The latter allows you to generate extremely secure and complex passwords with a few customization options like the length and whether it’s pronounceable or not. If both of those features weren’t available on mobile and desktop, we chopped the manager from our list.

Finally, we removed password managers with an average mobile app user rating of less than 4.0.

We never experienced any real glitches while testing the password managers, but there were several apps (like Sticky Password and Keeper) that weren’t entirely fun to use. We’re talking about poor layouts, annoying push notifications, and invasive in-app popups.

We found that the app’s user ratings were a great way to gauge how satisfied customers were with each password manager’s overall performance. And our own experiences while testing these apps aligned with those ratings every time.

Password Managers Reviews and Testing

To evaluate the final 15 password managers, we purchased the apps and extensions for several different operating systems (OS X Yosemite, Windows 10, iOS 9.1, Android Lollipop 5.1.1) and installed them on a number of devices. Then we created a bunch of fake accounts (for sites from Facebook to Mint to Spotify) and spent a week doing all the things you do with a password manager: logging in and out of accounts, auditing passwords, updating passwords, and syncing credentials across devices. Some of our team members also imported their own personal stash of logins — some of which turned out to be pretty vulnerable.

After really digging in, the team unanimously hailed Dashlane as the best password manager money could buy. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider other options, though. Here’s a closer look at each of our finalists to help you decide which one’s right for you and your wallet:

Best Overall

Dashlane is the Cadillac of password managers, complete with an impressive automatic password-changing tool and Security Dashboard.

Dashlane 5.0 is a digital wallet, automatic password updater, receipt tracker, and security auditor rolled into one well-designed package. So if you’re looking for an option with the most bells and whistles possible, Dashlane is for you. If you’re new to password managers, don’t let that comprehensive list of features scare you; it’s also the easiest one to use. Between the interactive setup process and a bunch of helpful push notifications, learning the ins and outs of the software is a fairly straightforward process.

The most impressive aspect of Dashlane is the automatic password changer. With literally one click, Dashlane logs you into the selected service, changes your password, and syncs your new credentials — there’s even the option to change all of your “weak or reused” passwords in one fell swoop. Fresh and regularly updated passwords are the key to online safety, and Dashlane makes that process almost effortless.

Dashlane also excels when it comes to getting a feel for your overall safety. Its Security Dashboard menu serves as a hub that identifies your “Security Score,” as well as passwords deemed as weak, reused, old, or compromised.

We did experience an iOS bug during testing that occasionally prevented us from logging in on an iPad Air and iPhone 6 Plus. But, four hours after submitting our support ticket, we received a response from customer service explaining the details of the bug and instructions on how to deal with it.


  • It has an automatic password-changing tool that works with a huge selection (we counted 323) of popular sites, like Best Buy, Airbnb, and Basecamp.
  • Its Security Dashboard goes far beyond the average security audit.
  • Dashlane has a beautiful, flat interface that’s easy to navigate and features a thorough quick-start guide.
  • Your login credentials are stored on Dashlane’s servers, not a third party’s, so you don’t need to link your account to another service.


  • It’s the only subscription-based password manager. If your subscription ends, your account reverts back to the freemium offering, which means you’ll wave cloud sync and a few other niceties goodbye.
  • We experienced an iOS bug during testing.

Best Free Password Manager

The desktop version of Enpass offers full functionality for zero dollars, and cloud sync on your smartphone is a $10 in-app purchase away.

Enpass is an utterly minimalistic software option that’s best for someone who needs only the most basic features: a password auditor, password generator, and automatic password-capture tool. But what it does, it does well. We had no real issues throughout our entire week of testing. We did, however, observe a minor nuisance with the browser extension: When you click it to fill a form, it flashes in a way that looks, well, like it didn’t do anything. The credentials are inputted just fine, but it took our team a few tries to realize it was actually working correctly.

Where Enpass truly shines is in its freemium plan. The desktop version is available for free and doesn’t have any feature restrictions. The catch is that you’re limited to 20 logins. Our survey results indicated that the average person frequents four different online accounts every day. So in that case, Enpass is the absolute best option you could get simply because it’s free. Want to use your phone too? The app is $10. If you need more than 20 logins, though, and can’t afford to pay, LastPass is your next-best option.


  • The free desktop version is fully functional for the first 20 logins.
  • It’s a simple, clean manager.


  • There are two versions of Enpass 5.0 for Mac due to an issue with the App Store — one version supports iCloud and the other doesn’t.

Best Integration with Other Apps

1Password is a pricier, big league password manager that boasts built-in support for a ton of popular apps.

1Password is a sleek application that’s gotten a lot of praise — it was even named an App Store Essential — and when it came to putting the rubber to the road, we couldn’t disagree. One of our team members has been a 1Password user for years now, and our collective findings testing the app were no less impressive than what he experienced. Two-factor authentication, password auditor and generation tools, Apple Watch support, multiple vaults that allow you to create different buckets of credentials — it has all the essential features and a little bit more.

Using 1Password also has an interesting perk: AgileBits, its developer, has scored a ton of partnerships with other app makers (like eBay, Slack, Basecamp, and Swarm). That means 1Password is integrated into the login process, which takes the same autofill functionality that you experience on mobile browsers and adds it to apps.

For example, the mobile versions of Safari and Chrome allow you to enable automatic filling. Once it’s enabled, you can click the share button while visiting a login page and you will be given the option to launch your password manager. By doing so, your credentials will be entered automatically. However, this streamlined process is not available when logging into apps — unless you’re using 1Password. Clicking on the 1Password logo makes logging into a bevy of popular apps just as simple.

The alternative to this is manually switching to your password manager, finding the associated account, copying the credentials, switching back to your mobile browser, and then pasting the info into the box, which can obviously be a great pain.


  • Many popular apps have built-in 1Password integration.
  • Creating new logins from your phone is much easier with 1Password than any of the competition.


  • A single license costs $50.
  • It doesn’t have a freemium version, and the free trial expires after 30 days.

Runners-Up for The Best

These two runners-up passed our initial cuts, but didn’t stand out during hands-on testing:

SafeInCloud is the less-handsome twin brother to Enpass. Both have an almost identical line of core features. SafeInCloud’s mobile app costs $5 less than Enpass, but the savings couldn’t compensate for Enpass’ slightly more navigable iOS and Android apps.

LastPass, a popular, long-standing password manager, also passed our initial cuts. However, it was recently hacked, and the encrypted master passwords of some of its users were stolen. Due to that fact (and its subpar design), we are not able to recommend LastPass over any of the competition.

Our Research

219 People Surveyed
90 Hours of Research
32 Articles Scrutinized
15 Finalists Tested
94 Services Evaluated

What You Need to Know About Password Managers

Password managers are one of the best (and least used) ways to protect your identity.

Only 7 percent of the people we surveyed use password managers. This information aligns well with a recent study performed by Google, which found that less than one-third of non-experts considered the statement “Use a password manager” to be effective or very effective advice. However, the consensus among experts who participated in Google’s study (those who reported having five or more years of experience working in computer security) was that despite the overwhelming negative perception, using a password manager is better than not.

Here’s why: Password managers make it incredibly easy to create strong, unique passwords for every account you have — and they’re stored in a secure server under a layer of encryption. It takes a great deal of effort and know-how to do that manually, which is why most people wind up creating a weak password, storing it somewhere unsafe, and reusing it for a large percentage of their online accounts.

Your online habits and overall tech-savviness also heavily influence the security of your digital life, not just strong and unique passwords. As just one example, phishing scams are aplenty, and if you wander into a sketchy or unsecured site, you run the risk of falling prey to a variety of threats — even SSL-protected sites aren’t impenetrable (XSS/SQL Injection, Cross site scripting, Active Mixed Content, etc.).

The bottom line is that if used incorrectly, password managers can create a single point of failure. But if used correctly — with 100 percent commitment — they are one of the best ways to prevent identity theft and to secure your online presence.

Password managers create a single point of failure, but they’re still worth it.

Throughout our research, the most notable concern regarding password managers was that they’re often considered a single point of failure. And technically, that’s true. If a hacker managed to get ahold of your master password, your entire vault could be compromised. However, there are a couple of reasons why this scenario is highly unlikely.

The first is two-factor authentication. With this feature enabled, a second unique code (in addition to your master password) is required to log into your account on a new device. That means that a hacker would have to steal your master password and one of your devices in order to gain entry into your vault.

Secondly, your data is always encrypted. That means that even if your password manager’s server is compromised, a hacker won’t be able to make heads or tails of your data without the cipher (your master password). Cracking encrypted data takes a great deal of time and computational firepower — enough time for you to reset passwords for your most sensitive accounts.

There’s no free way to sync your credentials on multiple devices.

Syncing your credentials across multiple devices is going to require a premium plan, regardless of which password manager you choose — they all charge for cloud sync, every last one of them. If you only want to use a password manager on your desktop or laptop, however, you might be able to get away with using a freemium option from LastPass or Enpass.

To give you an example of what life is like without cloud sync, imagine that you used the Enpass Chrome extension on your laptop to save your Yelp login credentials. Then, later that evening, you needed to login on your phone for the first time to leave a review at the new dive bar where you just dined. The Enpass app on your phone can’t talk with the Enpass application on your laptop, and your password will not be there.

That leaves you with two options: Input the credentials from memory, or log into Enpass from the web and grab the credentials from there. And every time you change passwords (which should be often), you’ll be required to manually update them on all your other devices. Cloud sync prevents such frustration.

Take Action

  • Count up your memorized passwords: Ask yourself how many online accounts you’ve devoted to memory. If it’s more than three, you should probably consider using a password manager. If not simply for the convenience, use one to ensure that your identity is well-protected. When you’re relying on your memory, you’re passwords probably aren’t as complex and secure as they could be.
  • Give the password manager a try: Most password managers will give you a free spin. Start with a freemium version or sign up for a 30-day trial to get a taste of the super-secure, auto-filled good life.
  • Audit your passwords: Once you’ve got your hands on a password manager, use the app’s tools to see how secure you are, then upgrade any old, reused passwords. If you want to go the extra mile, take some time to create your own password update schedule and say goodbye to “Password123” forever.