Ditch the sticky notes and get peace of mind. One of our favorite password managers can be your first defense against getting hacked.
For many of us, working remotely has become routine — and that means securing your online accounts with strong passwords is more essential than ever. But trying to memorize dozens and dozens of passwords can be a challenge, and using the same old password over and over is downright dangerous.
If you find yourself consistently getting locked out of one online account or another because you’re drawing a blank when you try to log in, it’s time to consider a password manager. Password managers can help you seamlessly oversee and handle all your login credentials. They’re also handy for autofilling forms and syncing your data across Windows PCs and Macs, iPhones, iPads, Android phones and more.
A password manager is essentially an encrypted digital vault that stores secure password login information you use to access apps and accounts on your mobile device, websites and other services. In addition to keeping your identity, credentials and sensitive data safe, the best password manager also has a password generator to create strong, unique passwords and ensure you aren’t using the same password in multiple places. With all the recent news of security breaches and identity theft, having a unique password password for each location can go a long way to ensuring that if one site gets hacked, your stolen password can’t be used on other sites. You’re basically creating your own security feature.
Plus, with a manager, you don’t have to remember the various pieces of login information, such as shipping addresses and credit card information. With just one master password, or in some cases a PIN or your fingerprint, you can autofill a form or password field. Some also feature online storage and an encrypted vault for storing documents.
All our best password manager picks come in free versions, which typically let you securely store passwords for one device — although our pick for the best free manager can currently be used for syncing across multiple devices — and all handle hardware authentication through YubiKey. Our best password manager picks also feature subscription options that let you sync your secure password login information across devices, share credentials with trusted family and friends, and get access to secure online storage. And if transparency is important to you, several of our picks are open-source projects. We also look at what a password manager is and the basics of how to use one.
Note that these password manager services are independently chosen by our editors. We’ll be updating this story periodically as new options become available. In light of our top choice’s recent pricing change, we may be reconsidering the order in the near future, and will update this story accordingly.
- Offers free version
- Base price beyond free: $36 per year
- Works with: Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iPhone and iPad. Browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Edge and Opera.
The free version of LastPass once made it stand out as the best password manager in this category by giving you the ability to store passwords, user login info and credentials and sync all of it wherever you want across both your mobile devices or your browsers. And while you can currently view and manage passwords across mobile and desktop devices, as of March 16, you’ll have to choose to use the free version for either mobile or desktop.
That means if you choose mobile, you’ll be able to access your LastPass account across your phones, tablets or smartwatches, but not on your laptop — unless you upgrade to Premium, for $36 a year, or Families, for $48 a year.
The Premium version of the password manager also allows you to share passwords, logins, memberships and other items with trusted family and friends, use multifactor authentication through YubiKey and get 1 gigabyte of encrypted storage. Meanwhile, the Families plan that gives you six individual accounts, shared folders and a dashboard for managing the family accounts and keeping an eye on your account’s security.