Passwords are a fact of life, and if you’re one of those people who reuses the same couple of passwords because that’s all you can remember, then you really need to think seriously about a password manager.
But in a world where there are countless options, which one is the right one for you?
But before I go on, what is a password manager?
A password manager is an app, or a combination of online services and apps that safely and securely store your passwords — it also securely distributes them to all of your devices.
Because password managers are storing your passwords, it’s important to choose a trustworthy, reliable, and secure service. This is not a job you want to entrust to any old no-name company.
I’ve used both LastPass and 1Password extensively, and I’ve found them both to be very capable password managers. And while on the surface they seem quite similar, there are some key differences between the two that might influence which one you choose.
Premium: $3 per month
Families: $4 per month
|Individual: $2.99 per month
Families: $4.99 per month
|Encryption||256-bit AES encryption with PBKDF2 SHA-256 for master passwords||256-bit AES encryption with PBKDF2 password hashing for the master password, with additional 28-bit secret key backup for master password|
|Multi-factor authentication support||Yes||Yes|
You should go with LastPass if…
1. You want a free option.
There’s a limited free version of LastPass that allows it to be used on one device type — either computers or mobile devices. If you don’t want to access your passwords across both devices then the free option will work for you.
2. You prefer to work within the browser.
LastPass uses browser extensions on desktop platforms, so there’s no app to download. This works well for people who are comfortable working within the browser, which, to be fair, is where most passwords are used and needed.
3. You like to deep-dive into the settings.
LastPass offers access to a myriad of settings and customizations from the web interface. You can set LastPass to do things such as restrict login to the account to selected countries and force devices to logout.
If you like taking a having lots of settings to tweak, this is the service for you
You should go with 1Password if…
- You want apps.
If you want to access your passwords via an app on desktop systems rather than through the browser then 1Password is the platform for you because it offers standalone apps for Windows, Mac, ChromeOS and Linux.
2. You have a big family.
The best security key
The family plan allows five people to use the service, but you can add more for $1 a month. This is a great deal, and I’ve not seen another company offer anything similar.
3. You want a great support community.
While 1Password offers a broad range of support options, the one feature that this company has that elevates it over LastPass is an active and supportive community forum. In my experience, users will get a solution to most problems here even quicker than going through the support channels, which are themselves quite fast.
4. You travel and want to secure your information.
If you’re concerned about crossing borders with sensitive data on your devices, 1Password allows you to remove sensitive data prior to you crossing the border, and then you can later restore the data with a click.
Alternatives to consider
Here are a few alternatives worth taking a look at.