June 20, 2024


Sapiens Digital

The Best Password Managers for 2020

10 min read

Everyone Needs a Password Manager

Nearly every website you visit insists you create a user account and think up a password, from dating apps to hyper-secure banking sites. The human memory can’t keep up with dozens and dozens of these. Some folks get the bright idea to use the simplest possible passwords, things that are easy to remember, like “123456789” or “password.” Others memorize one superbly random password and use it for everything. Either path is likely to make you the latest victim of identity theft.

Don’t be like them—use a password manager. With a password manager, you don’t have to remember that strong, unique password for every website. The password manager stores them for you and even helps you generate new, random ones. We’ve tested and analyzed dozens, so you can pick the password manager that best fits your needs.

All of the products in this roundup earned at least 3.5 stars and all of them cost money (though you can use some of them for free if you accept certain limitations). If you don’t want to spend money and don’t want limitations, don’t worry. We’ve rounded up the best free password managers in a separate article. Most of the free tools lack the most advanced features, but they get the job done. Whether free or paid, a password manager is something everybody needs.

The Password Basics

A typical password manager installs as a browser plug-in to handle password capture and replay. When you log in to a secure site, it offers to save your credentials. When you return to that site, it offers to automatically fill in those credentials. If you’ve saved multiple logins for the same site, the password manager lists all those options. Most also offer a browser toolbar menu of saved logins, so you can go straight to a saved site and log in automatically.

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Some products detect password-change events and offer to update the existing record. Some even record your credentials during the process of signing up for a new secure website. For maximum convenience, you shouldn’t choose a password manager that doesn’t include password capture and replay automation.

Those who are already using a password manager may find that the grass looks greener in the other app. Most allow you to export your saved data or import from other products, easing the process of switching password managers.

Getting all of your existing passwords into the password manager is a good first step. Next, you need to identify the weak and duplicate passwords and replace them with tough ones. Many password managers flag weak, duplicate, or compromised passwords and help you improve them.

When you create a new secure account or update a weak password, you don’t want to strain your brain trying to come up with something strong and unique. Why bother? You don’t have to remember it. Make sure your generated passwords are at least 20 characters long and include all of the major character types (uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and symbols); all too many products default to a shorter length.

Entering a password like @2a&[email protected] on your smartphone’s tiny keyboard can be tough. Fortunately, almost all of our top password managers can sync across all your Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. A few even let you authenticate on iOS or Android with your fingerprint or face rather than typing the master password each time.

Most password managers integrate some form of two-factor authentication for securing your account, be it biometric, SMS-based, or via time-based one-time passwords (TOTPs) stored in an authenticator app such as Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator. The best password managers support authentication via U2F- or TOTP-based hardware keys such as from YubiKey and Titan Security.

Fill Forms Automatically

Since most password managers can auto-fill stored credentials, it’s just a small step for them to automatically fill in personal data on web forms—first and last name, email address, phone number, bank cards, passport numbers, and so on. After all, storing payment and identity details in an encrypted vault is a much safer way than saving them to a website or browser.

Most of the top-rated products include a web form-filling component. The breadth and flexibility of their data collections vary, as does their accuracy when matching web form fields with their stored items. Even if they miss a field or two, the ones they do fill are ones you don’t have to type. Think about how many sites you go to that want all the same information; this feature is a huge time-saver.

Each password manager handles form filling differently. Some immediately fill all recognized fields, some wait for you to click in a field, some pop up and ask what you’d prefer. You’ll even find products that offer your choice of credit cards using realistic images with the correct color and bank logo!

Advanced Password-Management Features

Given that all these products take care of basic password management tasks, how do any of them stand out from the pack?

One handy advanced feature is managing passwords for applications, not just websites. Another is a secure browser, designed to protect sensitive transactions and invoked automatically when you visit a financial site. The ability to automate the password change process seems to be less and less common these days. Some password managers never offered this feature to maintain zero-knowledge policies.

Most password managers include a built-in mechanism for securely sharing passwords with other users, but some go a step further with advanced permissions. For instance, a few password managers allow you to share a login without making the password visible, revoke sharing, or make the recipient an owner of the item. On a grimmer note, what happens to your secure accounts after you’ve died? A growing number of products include some provision for a digital legacy, a method to transfer your logins to a trusted individual in the event of your death or incapacity.

Logging in with your secure username and password to a website that doesn’t use a secure HTTPS connection is a big no-no. Some password managers even warn you about insecure login pages. Even when you do use HTTPS, sniffers and snoops can still learn some things about your activity, such as the simple fact that you’re logging in to the secure site, and the IP address from which you’re connecting. Running your secure connections through a virtual private network, or VPN, adds a layer of protection. Dashlane now includes a simple built-in VPN from Hotspot Shield, and RememBear comes from the same source as the Editor’s Choice TunnelBear VPN. 

Secure storage is an increasingly common feature among password managers, too. The storage allocation won’t replace the need for a dedicated cloud storage and syncing service, but in many cases, it’s enough for storing important documents in an encrypted state.

What’s Not Here

As mentioned above, every product in the chart above earned at least a 3.5-star rating. Those with three stars are still good, but they’re not quite up there with the very best. If you’re looking for a particular password manager that isn’t in this table, we have probably reviewed it, but found it lacking in some way.

As mentioned earlier, you also won’t find any only-free password managers here; those products are in a separate roundup. The password managers offer both excellent paid and free tiers appear in both roundups.

The Top Password Management Software

Although a password manager needs to offer all the advanced features, it should remain easy to use and avoid needless complexity. Users who get annoyed or baffled by a password manager may well abandon it and go back to using sticky notes to store and share passwords or, worse, applying the same password everywhere. Our Editors’ Choices for the category are Dashlane, Keeper, and LastPass. Slick and polished Dashlane boasts a ton of features. Keeper Password Manager & Digital Vault offers a full set of advanced features, a sleek and elegant user interface, and support for every popular platform and browser. LastPass excels because of its ease of use and impressive free version. You won’t go wrong choosing any one of these products. Products that do not earn an Editors’ Choice still have their merits however, and you may even prefer one of them.

Where To Buy

  • Keeper Password Manager & Digital Vault

    Keeper Password Manager & Digital Vault

    Pros: Supports all popular platforms and browsers.
    Two-factor authentication.
    Secure password sharing and inheritance.
    Optional secure file storage.
    Retains full history of passwords and files.
    Fills web forms and app passwords.

    Cons: Web form filling somewhat limited.
    No fully automated password updates.

    Bottom Line: With a strong focus on security, Keeper Password Manager & Digital Vault works on all popular platforms and browsers.
    The latest edition brings a new look and all the advanced features you could want.

    Read Review

  • LastPass


    Pros: Capable free version

    Supports many platforms and browsers

    Actionable password strength report

    Secure sharing and password inheritance

    Two-factor authentication

    Cons: Some personal data types can’t be used for form-filling

    No U2F support

    Some components list out-of-date options

    Bottom Line: LastPass’s free edition matches the capabilities of some paid password managers, while remaining easy to use. You can likely ignore LastPass Premium, especially given its premium price.

    Read Review

  • Sticky Password Premium

    Sticky Password Premium

    Pros: Syncs across devices.
    No-cloud Wi-Fi sync available.
    Captures even oddball logins.
    Manages application passwords.
    Online console manages trusted devices.
    Biometric authentication via fingerprint.

    Cons: Report lists only the very weakest passwords.
    No online access to passwords.
    USB/Bluetooth authentication replaces master password, hence it’s not two-factor.

    Bottom Line: Sticky Password Premium does everything you’d expect from a password manager and more.
    New biometric authentication and no-cloud Wi-Fi sync make it an even better choice.

    Read Review

  • Bitwarden Premium

    Bitwarden Premium

    Pros: Supports all popular platforms and browsers. Two-factor authentication using Yubikey or FIDO. Generates TOTP codes for 2FA-supporting sites. Analyzes passwords and security. Inexpensive.

    Cons: Edge extension not working correctly. Support for iOS somewhat limited. Full-scale secure sharing costs extra.

    Bottom Line: Bitwarden Premium supports advanced two-factor authentication and can serve as an authenticator itself. This password manager costs little more than the impressive free edition and gives you quite a lot.

    Read Review

  • Dashlane


    Pros: Syncs across all your Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices

    Offers all essential and advanced password management features

    Includes VPN protection

    Scans Dark Web for compromised accounts

    Cons: Expensive

    Free version doesn’t sync across devices

    Has trouble with some multipage logins

    Paltry cloud storage that can’t be upgraded

    Bottom Line: The well designed and well executed Dashlane makes smart password management a breeze, with many security-focused extras. It is expensive, however; some users may prefer a more streamlined offering that also costs less.

    Read Review

  • LogMeOnce Password Management Suite Ultimate 5.2

    LogMeOnce Password Management Suite Ultimate 5.2

    Pros: Syncs across Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android.
    New, streamlined interface.
    Vast number of features, many of them unique and patented.

    Cons: Some features cost extra.
    All-features installation quite expensive.
    Vast number of features may overwhelm users.

    Bottom Line: LogMeOnce Password Management Suite Ultimate offers more features than any competing product. However, we’re not convinced those features are all necessary, and enabling them all makes the product very expensive.

  • Password Boss Premium v2.0

    Password Boss Premium v2.0

    Pros: Syncs across all your Windows, iOS, and Android devices.
    Two-factor authentication.
    Secure sharing and password inheritance.
    Fills web forms.
    Password generator default length 20.

    Cons: Lacks Mac support.
    No online access.
    Some configuration settings could be more flexible.

    Bottom Line: Password Boss Premium v2.0 handles all basic password management tasks and includes advanced features, such as secure sharing and password inheritance.
    It’s definitely worth a look.

    Read Review

  • AgileBits 1Password

    AgileBits 1Password

    Pros: Apps for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and popular browsers

    Intuitive password organization

    Secure yet simple authentication method for adding new devices

    Two-factor authentication

    Cons: Confusing browser extension system

    Limited import options

    Sharing limited to family plans

    Lacks password-inheritance feature

    Bottom Line: 1Password syncs passwords and personal data across all your devices. It’s not quite as slick or capable as many competitors, but it’s still an easy-to-use utility.

    Read Review

  • RoboForm 8 Everywhere

    RoboForm 8 Everywhere

    Pros: Syncs across many device types and browsers.
    Security Center identifies weak and duplicate passwords.
    Includes digital inheritance and secure sharing.
    Comprehensive web form filling.
    Manages application passwords.

    Cons: Limited import capability.
    User interface can be confusing.
    Password generator defaults aren’t optimal.
    Limited two-factor authentication.

    Bottom Line: RoboForm 8 Everywhere adds new features like digital inheritance and secure file sharing to the venerable RoboForm’s password management and form filling capabilities, but it hasn’t quite caught up with the top products.

  • True Key by Intel Security

    True Key by Intel Security

    Pros: Syncs data across Windows, Mac, Android, iOS.
    Extremely comprehensive multi-factor authentication.
    Can import passwords from browsers, competitors.
    Facial-recognition login for Windows.
    Can reset master password.

    Cons: Doesn’t handle oddball logins.
    Can’t fill Web forms using saved personal data.
    No actionable security report or password sharing.

    Bottom Line: Intel’s True Key password manager outstrips the competition in its multi-factor authentication choices.
    Once all of its features are fully realized, it will be a top-notch password manager.

    Read Review

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More From Neil J. Rubenking

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