We spent over 50 hours researching and testing 12 different types of password manager software and found that ease of use, security, and features offered were most important. The Keepass Password Manager scored high marks in all areas and is our top pick. This free, open source password manager can be installed on your computer or onto a usb drive as well. This software will auto-generate strong passwords for you as you create different online accounts. It will store the passwords in an encrypted database for added security. One of the best things about this software is that it is not integrated into the browser.
Introduction to Password Managers
The days of remembering passwords to your online accounts are quickly fading. To deal with the overwhelming amount of user accounts and password that you have to remember the best single piece of software that does a great job storing and protecting your user accounts is a password manager. There are many password managers on the market but we narrowed our focus down to the most popular free and paid programs. For this review we collaborated with Joanna Summer from InformedMag.com, who is an expert in software, security and personal safety. See her latest trending post on selecting the best diy home security system.
Best Overall Password Manager
1st Place – KeePass
KeePass is a free, open source password manager application that is installed on your local computer or on a USB drive. It’s portable so you can take it with you when you go, simply unplug the USB drive that it is installed on and your set. As with most password managers, KeePass will automatically generate strong password for you when creating your accounts and stores them in it’s encrypted database. Speaking of the database, it not only encrypts the passwords but it also encrypts user accounts and notes as well. KeePassit is not integrated with the browser like some other password managers. Browsers can easily become infected with malware so KeePass already has one step up on the competition in this department. KeePass uses AES encryption which is the same type of security that has been adopted by the National Security Agency.
KeePass is packed with features that make it easy to use while keeping your user accounts safe. Here is a list of feature we found very useful when testing the software.
- Nothing is stored in the system
- User Account and Password are Encyrpted
- Built-in Protection Against Dictionary Attacks
- Ability to Export to Multiple File Formats
- Secure Clipboard Handling of Information
2nd Place – LastPass
LastPass is a web-based password manager that installs as an add-in to the browser. They also have their own browswer for iOS and Android, although with not as much functionality as Chrome or Safari. LastPass used AES encyrption and the database is also available offline. The entire database is protected with a master password. Like KeePass, LastPass will randomly generate strong passwords while creating user accounts and has the ability to securely store notes inside the database. LastPass is very easy to use when on a laptop or PC however we found that it is a bit clunky when used on mobile or tablet devices. The browser-based app is convenient as it automatically detects the site you are on and prefills the username and password to your accounts. Our only concern is if the browser was infected while LastPass was open.
Best Budget Password Manager
3rd Place – RoboForm
RoboForm started out as a software that saved formed data then evolved into saving passwords. It has a lot of the same features as LastPass but lacks a few critical ones that users appreciate like one time passwords and support for multi-factor authentication. RoboForm is also a subscription based model and your account data is stored online.
I’ve used RoboForm in the past and it worked well. When we tested it again recently it still performed well and is a great choice if you want something easy to use that can also store form data. We don’t like the fact that information is stored online and we don’t feel it is as robust as LastPass so that’s why we placed it in the 3rd position for our password manager reviews.
Top Rated Password Managers Summary
After spending time using each one of the products we feel that KeePass is the best all around password manager. There is a little more of a learning curve for the initial setup but it is well woth it for the security features alone. The main reason we gave it the Gold Award is due to its security and the fact that it is not integrated with the browser. We really like the fact that no data is stored online. We also loved the fact that it is completely portable. Selecting any one of the password managers listed above is a huge step in the right direction from managing the passwords yourself or setting the same password for every account.