The Best Free Password Managers - Our Top Picks
Who doesn't want their online accounts to be as secure as possible? Unfortunately, unless you have a password manager, that's a difficult thing to guarantee these days. In order to avoid becoming the next victim of a brute force attack or (needlessly) expose your identity online, unique and tough passwords are needed for every account you have. Unless you've got a photographic memory, you're going to need some help keeping track of all of those numbers and symbols. The good news is, that help doesn't have to be expensive.
A password manager automatically generates highly secure passwords for every online service you use, supplying them whenever you visit the site in question and storing them safely in a digital vault that only you know the combination to. In fact, you'll only ever have to remember a single master password again.
We assessed 12 password managers, some of which offer freemium apps. Often, the free versions are little more than trials and barely usable owing to the strict limits on the number of passwords capable of being saved, or the devices on which they can be used. However, we did notice a few that provide solid functionality, making them ideal for everyday use. And with that, we present to you our top three free password managers:
LastPass Password Manager
LastPass is hands down the best free password manager we evaluated since it offers a legitimate 'free' version and not just a 'freemium' app. The platform doesn't bombard you with in-app advertising or put up paywalls whenever you try to do something meaningful. You also won't have to limit the number of logins that can be saved or how many of your devices you sync the service with.
LastPass provides just about every kind of functionality you'd expect from a premium password manager and at no charge. Amazingly, its performance isn't all that shabby either. Logins are almost always correctly recognized, and stored passwords often find their way into login forms. You can also access a security hub where you'll be provided with insights into how to optimize your security as well as which of your passwords require your attention.
Of course, there were a few minor issues here and there. On occasion, we had to manually copy passwords from the browser extension, and the interface wasn't as elegant as that of our test winner Dashlane.
Despite there not being many paywalls, there are still a few here and there: emergency access, secure password sharing with multiple users, or preferential customer support, are all reserved for paying customers. Still, LastPass's free app is a full-fledged piece of software that manages passwords reliably and competently, offering premium-like functionality at absolutely no cost.
Unlimited saved logins and synchronization between devices
Easy-to-use interface and reliable autofill
Security hub not behind a paywall
Avira Password Manager
Avira's freemium password manager is also generous in terms of the features that it offers up to non-paying users, again placing no limits on how many passwords can be saved, or devices synced with. Unlike LastPass however, the security hub is reserved for premium customers, but that's not a huge loss in our eyes.
The platform's web dashboard and browser extension both focus on the essentials, making Avira Password Manager both easy and comfortable to use. During testing, the autofill function didn't choke once.
Avira Password Manager's browser extension.
Pro version subscribers can look forward to enhanced security features. These include the ability to check whether your accounts have been hacked or if your passwords suffer from security flaws. While handy if you want to import existing passwords into Avira Password Manager, the freemium version offers users the ability to easily create new, highly secure passwords, removing some of the pro version's glitz.
Nevertheless, Avira Password Manager's freemium version still shines thanks to its intuitive user interface, reliable autofill performance, and high security standards.
No limits on saved logins or synchronizations
Easy to use
NordPass might be the new kid on the block in the world of password managers, but, it still managed to secure some laurels from us. Of course, these aren't quite so auspicious as the ones its sister program, NordVPN took in our review of VPN providers (second place overall), however, nothing to shake a stick at either.
NordPass isn't quite as good as Avira Password Manager or LastPass, but it still deserves a spot in our top three free password managers thanks to its sleek user interface and highly accurate data importing.
NordPass's free app is relatively generous. Again, no limits to how many username/password combinations you can save, or to synchronizations across devices. There are some limitations in terms of access (a user can only be active on one device at a time). What does this mean? When you log into your account on your smartphone, you'll be logged out on your PC (or vice versa).
That's not ideal, but because very few password managers offer cross-platform synchronization with their free versions, we can live with having to input our master password every time we use the service on a different device.
Both the free and paid versions lack a dedicated security center or dashboard, but, if you can make do without that and having to log in occasionally, you'll have a powerful free password manager at your fingertips.
Cross-platform synchronization (only one device can be used at a time)
Sleek user interface
Despite their limitations, our top three password managers do their job pretty well, namely, managing passwords both securely and efficiently. Most of the other providers we tested were less generous, severely limiting the number of passwords users can save or the devices with which they can sync. One exception is Bitwarden, but the app's autofill performance wasn't on the same level with LastPass, Avira Password Manager, or NordPass when we evaluated it.
If you want to use Dashlane for free, you'll be limited to a spartan 50 passwords. Enpass lets you have 25, while True Key by McAfee and the Kaspersky Password Manager only make it possible to save 15 passwords. StickyPass and RoboForm permit free users to save as many passwords as they like, but don't offer cross-platform synchronization.
An overview of other freemium apps can be found below:
Securing your passwords digitally doesn't need to cost an arm and a leg. On the contrary: Some freemium password managers can go head-to-head with paid services in terms of essential features, providing a centralized and secure platform that you can use to manage all your online identities with at absolutely no cost.
Whatever provider you choose: Nearly any password manager is better than having no password manager at all. Weak passwords or countless post-it notes stuck to your computer monitor are just inviting disaster.
You can find assessments of all 12 password managers we evaluated as well as a concise pricing table and comparison tool in our exhaustive password manager review.