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Bitwarden vs LastPass: which one's better?


Bitwarden and LastPass are two of the most popular password managers on the market. They both make your online life easier by remembering your many passwords so you don’t have to, completing forms with autofill, keeping you safe from hacks, and more.

They both offer the required password manager basics, plenty of features, free versions, and affordable paid versions. But which one is best?

In this comparison review, we pit the two against each other, compare features, and see which offers the overall best service. So let’s dive in and see which password manager is better: Bitwarden or LastPass.

LastPass vs. Bitwarden - an overview

LastPassBitwarden
Rating
4.2
4.1
PriceStarts from $3.00/monthStarts from less than $1/month
EncryptionAES-256-bitAES-256-bit
PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux, Chrome, iOS, AndroidWindows, macOS, Linux, Chrome, iOS, Android
Browser extensionsWindows, macOS, Linux, Chrome, iOS, AndroidWindows, macOS, Linux, Chrome, iOS, Android
TrialFree version and a 30-day trial of PremiumFree version and a 30-day trial of Premium
WebsiteLastpass.comBitwarden.com

Winner:

LastPass winner logo

Bitwarden or LastPass: which one is more secure?

LastPass Security score

When comparing Bitwarden and LastPass’s security, there are a few important factors you need to bear in mind. Sure, both password managers offer military-grade encryption, multi-factor authentication, and secure data storage, but BitWarden is open source while LastPass is closed source.

This means developers are free to poke around in Bitwarden and patch up any issues that may crop up, while LastPass is as closed as the password vaults it creates for its users. Unfortunately, LastPass also suffered a serious hacking attempt in the not-too-distant past, for these reasons we rate Bitwarden as the more secure of the two. Let’s look at their respective security features in more detail.

Winner:

Bitwarden winner logo

Encryption

Bitwarden uses end-to-end military-grade AES-256 cipher encryption and a master password-derived encryption key to keep your sensitive data secure. This includes personal info like your logins, credit card details, ID, and even your folder names. No one is getting access to this info.

LastPass also offers military-grade AES-256-bit encryption to keep your vault watertight. Your master password is the only thing that can get in. None of your data is ever stored in unencrypted form on LastPass’s servers, it stays encrypted till it reaches your device.

Neither Bitwarden nor LastPass can access any of your data, you can count on both password managers to lock your details away with robust encryption, so you can use either with confidence on that front.

Multifactor security

Two-step login settings on Bitwarden

Multi-factor (MFA) security is vital as it adds extra layers of security to your data. With MFA set up, you’ll need to confirm your identity beyond the standard login, via a mobile device or additional security questions. This means that even if someone gets your master password, you’ll still be protected from hacks.

LastPass offers two-factor authentication (2FA) which you can activate through numerous methods. Use the LastPass authenticator app, a USB token, smart card, Windows Fingerprint, and more to keep your data under lock and key. You can even combine these options for layers upon layers of MFA.

Bitwarden also offers 2FA via its authenticator app or email on the free version, with additional options (text message, phone call, security keys) on its premium version.

Both password managers are secure, but LastPass’s versatility with combination options gives it the edge.

Account settings on LastPass

Data storage

A good password manager does more than just, well, manage your passwords. You can also use them as a secure cloud storage option for your sensitive files.

The free version of LastPass gives you 50 MB of storage space and that doubles to 1 GB on the premium plan. It’s not a huge amount of space, but you can save an unlimited amount of passwords. It’s worth noting that file size is capped at 10 MB, so you can’t upload anything that exceeds that.

Bitwarden also offers 1 GB of storage on its premium plan, but if you need more you can pay for additional storage in 1 GB increments. Its attachment size limit is 500 MB, or 100 MB if uploading from a mobile device.

Privacy policy

LastPass’s privacy policy leaves a lot to be desired. For starters, LastPass collects a selection of your data, including:

  • Email address
  • Billing info
  • Your name
  • Different devices used
  • Length of sessions
  • IP addresses
  • Your location
  • Operating system
  • Data you voluntarily submit

Since LastPass is a part of the LogMeIn network, it uses its privacy policy, which makes it clear that some of your data may be sold on to marketers and accessed by” affiliated and unaffiliated service providers”.

Bitwarden also collects a selection of your data when you use the password manager, including:

  • Your name
  • Your email address
  • Your IP address and other online identifiers
  • The type of device you’re using
  • Your operating system
  • Information you enter into Bitwarden’s forms

Bitwarden’s privacy policy also states “Bitwarden may use the Personal Information collected by the Site to provide you with services, to accomplish our business purposes and to fulfill other legal obligations”.

Third-party security audits

LastPass (as part of the LogMeIn network) was audited in 2018 by Tevora Business Solutions. The audit looked at whether LastPass meets the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Trust Service Principles which are related to privacy and security controls.

The Trevor Business Solutions Audit report states that LastPass: “service commitments and system requirements were achieved based on the applicable trust services criteria is fairly stated, in all material respects”.

Whilst this technically counts as a third-party audit, it’s nowhere near the level of audit that Bitwarden has been through.

Bitwarden has been audited by Cure53 and Insight Risk Consulting auditing firms. It’s been tested on all sorts of security features from source code inspection to penetration testing, and even cryptographic analysis.

As well as extensive third-party audits, Bitwarden’s open-source software means the password manager is always being inspected by developers and bug hunters. Bitwarden also has a great record of swiftly patching any security issues that crop up.

In terms of privacy and transparency, Bitwarden easily comes out on top.

Bitwarden vs LastPass: features overview

Password managers tend to offer a similar suite of features across the board. What’s important is how well these features are implemented, how easy they are to use, and of course how useful they are. Additional features are always a bonus. LastPass and Bitwarden both offer the basics like password importing, auto-filling, auto-saving, password generating, and more. We think LastPass does the basics better than Bitwarden. Here’s why.

Winner:

LastPass winner logo

Password importing

Password importing on LastPass

Being able to import your passwords into the password manager is a must-have. Password managers are meant to make your life easier, so the last thing you need to be doing is entering passwords in manually.

LastPass gives you plenty of options when it comes to importing passwords. You can sync them in from your web browser, from other password managers, and more sources. Even if your old password manager doesn't feature exporting, LastPass can extract your passwords using its passive import function. The whole importing process is really simple too, with easy on-screen steps that you can follow.

Bitwarden also has a number of options for password importing - browsers, other password managers, .CSV files, and more. However, the system isn’t quite as smooth as LastPass, in fact, we had to seek a bit of assistance from the articles on Bitwarden’s (helpfully extensive) knowledge base. Once we found the right tutorial it was easy, but not as simple as LastPass’s instant on-screen tips.

Account and password recovery

If you ever forget your master password (we’re only human after all), you have a few options for account recovery with LastPass. You can ask for a password hint, recover the account through a mobile account with Face or Touch ID, recover via text message, or use your previous master password. You’ll have to use the browser extension to activate your chosen recovery method. If none of those work, you’ll have to start again with a completely new account, as LastPass won’t be able to access your details.

Contrastingly, Bitwarden only offers one method of account recovery - a special recovery code you’ll get when you first set up 2FA. Bitwarden urges you to write this code down, as without it you'll never be able to recover your account if you forget your master password. Without the recovery code, your account will be lost forever and you’ll need to start again.

Password generator

LastPass has an excellent password generator to ensure you only use secure passwords across your accounts. Its standard password length is just 12 characters, but you can increase that to a total of 99 characters. Lowercase, uppercase, symbols, numbers - your passwords can be composed of any character combination you want. You can also ask for passwords to be ‘easy to read’ or 'easy to say’.

Bitwarden also has a great password generator to keep your accounts safe with unhackable passwords. Its passwords have a default length of 14 characters, but you can set them to be anywhere between 5-128 characters. You can make them up of letters, symbols, and numbers - or choose to create a passphrase.

Password generator on Bitwarden

Password sharing

You can share your passwords on LastPass amongst users, but the extent of this feature varies across different types of accounts. With a Family Plan, you can share passwords with up to six other users, Business Plans let you share passwords with unlimited users (except for a Teams account which caps the number at 50). If you’re on a Free or Premium plan you can’t share passwords with other users.

To share a password with Bitwarden you’ll need a Premium account, and even then you can only share with one other user. Upgrade to Bitwarden’s Family plan and you can share unlimited passwords with up to six users.

Autofill

Sure, autofill is a feature that’s already included in most web browsers, but password managers can add an extra layer of security with more options and better encryption.

You can rely on LastPass’s auto-fill feature to quickly fill out all sorts of forms and logins. It fills out basic logins, personal details, payment card info, addresses, and more. You can also disable it for certain sites, so it won’t automatically fill out if there might be a security concern.

Bitwarden’s autofill feature is adept at filling out various forms and details, but it’s not as smooth. Where LastPass instantly fills out forms when you hover over them, with Bitwarden you need to right-click in the box, click Bitwarden, then click autofill. It’s a bit better on Bitwarden’s mobile apps, but all in all, LastPass provides a better experience on this feature.

Bitwarden vs LastPass: which offers better value for money?

Bitwarden and LastPass both offer excellent free plans which include unlimited passwords and easy device syncing. However, when it comes to paid plans, Bitwarden offers a similar service for much less than what you’d have to pay for LastPass, making it the winner for value for money. Let’s look at LastPass and Bitwarden’s pricing plans in more detail.

Winner:

Bitwarden winner logo

Bitwarden or LastPass: Free vs. Premium plans - not finished

VersionLastPassBitwarden
Free$0.00$0.00
Premium$36.00/year$10.00/year
Family$48.00/year$12.00/year
Check pricingCheck pricing

LastPass' free option gives you all the basic essentials you need a password manager to do, but you can only use it on the device it's downloaded on. So if you set up a free account on desktop, you can’t use it on mobile, and vice versa.

Features you can use with the free version include:

  • Secure password vault
  • Autofill
  • Compatible on all devices
  • Password generator
  • Security dashboard
  • Basic MFA
  • LastPass Authenticator app
  • Save notes

While it’s a decent crop of features and more than enough for basic password managing, the Premium version gives you quite a bit more.

On a Premium plan you also get:

  • File sharing
  • Use account on multiple devices
  • Dark web monitor
  • Priority tech support
  • 1GB encrypted file storage
  • Advanced MFA options

Finally, with a Family plan, you also get:

  • Can be used by up to 6 people
  • Family dashboard
  • Unlimited shared folders

If you’re not sure whether to get the paid version, you can give LastPass premium a try for 30-days for free first.

Bitwarden’s free plan also offers the basics, you can use it and enjoy:

  • Password vault
  • Password generator
  • Autofill
  • Browser, mobile, and desktop apps
  • Basic 2FA
  • Store notes and personal info
  • Cloud hosting

Upgrade to Bitwarden Premium and you’ll get some extra features in the shape of:

  • More 2FA options - YubiKey, U2F, and Duo
  • Up to 1 GB data storage
  • Password health reports
  • Time-based one-time password generator and authenticator
  • Prioritized customer support
Bitwarden Go Premium page

With a Family plan you get the added bonus of being able to share passwords and the account with up to six users.

As you can see, Bitwaren is very generous. Not only does the free version include all you need for basic password managing, but the Premium plan is considerably cheaper than LastPass

Platforms, interface, and ease of use

LastPass dashboard

The main point of a password manager is to make your online life a little bit easier by eliminating needless admin. So it goes without saying ease of use is a key part of a good password manager. LastPass is intuitive, helpful, and simple to get started with. Compare that to Bitwarden’s sometimes-confusing feature setup and it’s clear that LastPass wins this category.

Winner:

LastPass winner logo

Desktop apps

LastPass has a desktop you can install in seconds. All you need to do is visit the LastPass website and press the Get LastPass download button, you can’t miss it. It works on Windows, macOS, and Linux devices.

Bitwarden’s desktop app is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux devices too. You can use it to save your passwords and data just like the web app. Bitwarden’s apps all look the same, so it won’t be jarring if you need to switch from browser app to desktop app at any point.

Bitwarden dashboard

Browser extensions

The most convenient method of using a password manager is by adding it as a browser extension, LastPass is compatible with all the main browsers - like Chrome and Firefox - but you can even add it to the likes of Safari, Edge, and Opera. It’s a simple process, just add the password manager to your browser like you would any extension.

Bitwarden also offers an extension for most common browsers - including Firefox, Chrome, and Edge - but the experience can differ depending on which one you’re using. For instance, the Chrome extension doesn’t have a sidebar, but Firefox does. The Edge extension has been known to be a bit buggy, although this is potentially the result of a recent Edge update. As a result of these differences, if you’re switching from browser to browser and using Bitwarden’s extension, you'll have to adjust to a different way of working.

Mobile apps

You can add LastPass to your smartphone by downloading it from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. It’s fully functional and includes all the features you’ll find on its browser and desktop apps. A great additional feature is the use of autofill on apps. And iOS fans will be pleased to know LastPass also works on iPads, and you can use your Apple Watch to access your password vault.

Bitwarden gives you a great way to have your passwords covered on your smartphone with its mobile apps too. Again, it’s just a case of downloading the app to your iOS or Android device from their respective app stores. Bitwarden’s mobile apps are really easy to use, with attractive interfaces that you can even customize to work just how you like.

Customer support

If you need some tech support when you’re using LastPass, your first port of call should be the FAQ section on the LastPass website. Here, you’ll find extensive articles on all sorts of common problems, just type in your keyword, such as ‘autofill’, to reveal the support pages. Alternatively, you can raise a support ticket but sadly this option is only available for premium subscribers.

Bitwarden's customer support options could be better too. There are a lot of helpful articles on its knowledge base, and you can contact the support team via email for a reply from an actual human which is refreshing, but to get on the priority queue you’ll need a Premium account.

Alternatively, you could seek answers from Bitwarden’s community forum. A lot of fellow Bitwarden users are often on hand with tips, advice, and solutions. You can even find workarounds from developers, and suggest improvements or request new features.

With both password managers showing room for improvement on the support front, we’ll label this category as a draw.

Winner: draw

Bitwarden vs. LastPass – which one wins?

CategoryLastPassBitwarden
Features✔️
Pricing and plans✔️
Security✔️
User-friendliness✔️
Customer support✔️✔️
Compatibility✔️

Winner:

LastPass winner logo

Bitwarden vs LastPass - what's the final verdict? Well, this has been a really close battle, there are pros in favor of both password managers, and cons too. Bitwarden is much more open, transparent, and it’s been extensively audited. But LastPass’s features are easier to use and offer a better user experience. In fact, LastPass is a lot more user-friendly overall, and it’s simple to use where Bitwarden can sometimes seem complicated and confusing. That said, Bitwarden is cheaper so you might see it as better value for money.

On paper, these two password managers are hard to separate - they’re both very useful tools and will certainly help you manage your existing passwords, generate new ones, and stay secure in your general online life.

Ultimately, while this face-off could be seen as a draw, we think LastPass ever-so-slightly takes the win simply because it’s easier to use and should appeal to a wider user base.


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