Best password managers: Reviews of the top products

We are terrible at passwords. We suck at creating them (the top two most popular remain “123456” and “password”), we share them way too freely, and we forget them all the time. Indeed, the very thing that can ensure our online security has become our biggest obstacle to it. This is what makes a good password manager essential.

A password manager relieves the burden of thinking up and memorizing unique, complex logins—the hallmark of a secure password. It allows you to safely share those logins with others when necessary. And because these tools encrypt your login info in a virtual vault—either locally or in the cloud—and lock it with a single master password, they protect the passwords themselves. If you’re looking to up your security game, a password manager is the way to go.

But password managers vary widely in their capabilities and cost, so we compared several of the most popular. All support Windows Mac OS, Android, and iOS, as well as the major browsers. And all will let you sync your data across multiple devices, though you may have pay extra for the privilege.

Here are our top two picks, followed by tips on what to look for when shopping for a password manager and links to full reviews of all the products.

Updated 5/28/20 to include our review of Trend Micro’s Password Manager, a product that’s as basic as its name. We can appreciate a product that sticks to a narrow mission but does it perfectly—unfortunately Password Manager makes a few missteps. Scroll to the bottom of this article for links to all of our password manager reviews. 

Best overall password manager

LastPass ticks all the boxes on our password manager want list. It makes it a breeze to create unique, complex passwords; capture and manage login credentials; sync them across multiple devices; and share them with others you trust. Its password auditing and updating features let you identify and eliminate weak or duplicate passwords with just a mouse click or two. It also stores credit card numbers and other personal data to autofill web forms when you’re making a purchase, signing up for a service, or paying a bill.

LastPass also supports a range of multi-factor authentication options for protecting your vault, including app-based authenticators like Symantec VIP and Google Authenticator, hardware tokens like YubiKey, and fingerprint readers.

Runner-up

Dashlane is the strongest contender for LastPass’s crown. It has a beautiful interface, is easy to use, and is stocked with features to help you strengthen your online security. Chief among these is a stellar security dashboard that grades your passwords and suggests actions for boosting your score and your protection. Dashlane is free for a single device, but if you want syncing across multiple devices you’ll need a Premium plan, which has a $60 price tag—the highest in our roundup. This is the only thing that slightly dampens are enthusiasm for this fantastic password manager.