Although anything that’s fun costs at least $8, your password manager doesn’t even have to cost that much. In fact, most of the good ones have free versions. Does it mean that they are free because you’re giving away your credentials to someone else to look at? Not at all.
As software, they’re not super high-maintenance, plus they also help to sell their premium products. So, it’s a sales initiative that can be very beneficial to an everyday user such as yourself. That said, not all of them are made equal. To find out which ones are giving you the most, read our best free password manager top list for 2021.
Today’s best free password managers:
- NordPass – Most secure and streamlined experience
- Dashlane – Most versatile password manager in 2021
- RoboForm – Novice-friendly and secure tool
- LastPass – Most feature-rich free option
- Enpass – Best free password manager for desktop
Best free password managers – our curated list
The list below combines the best free password managers and the best premium ones with a free version. The latter will likely have some limitations that will make you think about upgrading, such as a limited number of entries or no sharing option. Nevertheless, I recommend checking these five first before spending your money.
1. NordPass — most secure free password manager
|Cloud storage:||3 GB (with NordLocker app)|
|Platforms:||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
|Browser plugins:||Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Brave, Vivaldi, and Edge|
NordPass is a side product of NordVPN developers. Although the latter is a paid-only service, their password manager has a free version. It’s extremely generous because everyone can use it as long as they wish. Considering what you get, it does make sense to switch to it.
In terms of security, NordPass goes a bit further to offer XChaCha20 encryption with Argon 2 for key derivation. Although AES-256 encryption would have worked just as well, their pick is a proper next-gen solution that’s more resistant to misconfigurations and up to three times faster. From a technical standpoint, there’s nothing to scoff at in their setup. Let’s not forget that this also applies to free users.
Free versions of premium password managers are notorious for having minimal features. Many companies do that to drive sales. NordPass free version, in fact, isn’t one of the feature-rich versions. However, for most users, that should be just enough. It allows storing an unlimited amount of passwords, notes, and credit cards. Plus, you can access your secure vault on any device. Since they support Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS with several browsers, you should be able to use NordPass on all of them, whether you’re on the go or at home.
If you don’t want to be bothered by creating a secure password that you’re not going to memorize anyway, it has an integrated password generator. So, you’ll be able to generate and instantly store it for later as you’re browsing. It’s also worth mentioning that Data Breach Scanner and Password Health features are be reserved for premium users-only.
There is some integration with other password managers. If you’re interested in checking if NordPass would work for you, you can export your vault from your current password manager. When uploaded to NordPass, you’ll have all your credentials at your fingertips. It works with the most popular password managers and your browsers. So, the data that is saved in your browser can be safely locked away.
NordPass is still in its product development infancy. However, it’s still a well-rounded free password manager if you’re OK with the fact that it lacks bells and whistles. It’s also rare when a free password manager has a live chat customer support and uses encryption that’s stronger than AES.
- Next-gen encryption
- Unlimited password vault storage
- Easy vault transfers
- Live chat customer support
- Most features are behind a paywall
- Lacks add-ons for more browsers
2. Dashlane — most versatile free option
|Platforms:||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS|
|Browser plugins:||Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Edge|
Dashlane’s Premium version is one of the pricier password managers you could choose. If you’d rather prefer cheaper options, you might turn your head away so fast you might not even notice that they also have a free version. Despite its limitations, Dashlane should be a fine password manager for most users.
They use tough military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, which is considered a gold standard in the cybersecurity world. This should put some ease of mind that all your stored credentials are safe. To make your vault even safer, you can add 2FA authentication. This isn’t limited to premium users. Free users can also use this feature. However, the only way to activate it will be from your desktop app, so keep that in mind.
Where you will get a free user treatment is in terms of features. Dashlane is pretty strict when it comes to using the password manager. You can only associate it with one device, and if you want to join with another, you have to unlink the previous one. It may cause frustration if you’re planning to use it on multiple devices. You should consider Dashlane as a free version only if you will be using it on a single device.
The maximum amount of passwords is 50. Meaning, you probably won’t store all of your passwords since most people have beyond 50 accounts. However, the service redeems itself with security alerts. Some services include a premium feature, which alerts you if it notices that your account got caught up in some data breach. Other than that, it includes password sharing with 5 people and a password generator.
As a direct competitor to LastPass and the like, Dashline can boast about wide support. It includes desktop apps for Windows, macOS, and Linux. However, mobile users on Android or iOS shouldn’t feel left out. They can also find their version in their respective stores. Also, you can download browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, and Internet Explorer. It means that whatever setup you’re currently using will be compatible. We wouldn’t expect anything less of them. If you can deal with the fact that the iOS version feels like an early access version and pretty severe limitations to the features, Dashlane is a good choice. It has no black spots reputation-wise, and are continually improving their products. If you’re on a budget and use a single device, Dashlane can be a perfect fit.
- Password sharing with 5 users
- Superb reputation
- 2FA support
- The maximum amount of stored passwords is 50
- iOS version is lacking
- Limits user to one device
3. RoboForm — most customisable tool
|Platforms:||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
|Browser plugins:||Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera|
RoboForm is one of the oldest password managers. They’ve been in the business way before the tools became essential cybersecurity products. Thus, the product went through several revamps that lead to the version that we have today. It’s premium software that has a free version on the side.
A military-grade AES-256 cipher protects your vault of passwords. It’s only uploaded to their servers encrypted, and only your master password can unlock it. No one at RoboForm knows what your passwords are, including your master password. To make your vault even safer, you can add 2FA authentication, which prevents unauthorized access even when someone obtains your master password.
Free users get the local-hosted option. In the meantime, paid subscribers can also choose a cloud-hosted RoboForm. In any case, it all depends on your preferred storage method, so we’re not marking this as a con.
When it comes to features, RoboForm has more than essentials, even on its free version. It can store an unlimited number of logins and give you a detailed password audit. It lists all the current passwords that you have and gives insights into whether it’s strong enough.
If they aren’t, you can use their password generator to switch to stronger passwords. If you want to share a password with someone, you can share it via email, and they will be able to view it from their RoboForm app. There’s also emergency access, so you could access your friend’s and family’s password vaults should they lock themselves out. That’s a list of benefits that’s longer than average.
RoboForm is available to Windows, macOS, iOS, and Linux devices. So, whichever device you’re using, you’ll be able to set up the solution. You can also use with browser as an add-on on Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, Edge, and even Internet Explorer. If you’re cloud-hosting, all your passwords will be available across all of your devices.
Overall, RoboForm is an excellent password manager, even as a free version. That said, it won’t be a perfect fit for all users. Some functionalities of the apps are not explained or introduced well. It could scare novice users off pretty fast.
- Unlimited password vault storage
- Convenient updating of weaker passwords
- Password sharing via email
- No dark web monitoring
- Could be more user-friendly
4. LastPass — most feature-rich free password manager
|Platforms:||Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
|Browser plugins:||Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Edge, Edge Legacy|
LastPass is a great password manager, no matter which version you pick. However, even though its free version is really useful, it’s a bit inferior to its paid counterpart. That’s because, even though there’s no limit on simultaneous connections, you can use it only on one type of devices (mobile or computer). In addition, free users have no customer support aside from the knowledge base and the community forum.
Other than that, the free version of LastPass has most of the same features and security measures as the paid version, which makes it a great pick.
For safety, it uses the industry-standard military-grade encryption, the same that you’d find on any top-tier password manager. Your data is first encrypted and only then uploaded to their servers, so your credentials are inaccessible not only to hackers but also to LastPass themselves.
There are a lot more ways to make sure that only you can enter your password vault. This password manager supports a lot of two-factor authentication methods. You can authorize your login via the authenticator app on your smartphone to PIN codes. It truly adds a degree of confidence that your very private data is safe.
Security isn’t the only strength of LastPass. There are many additional features that are bound to be useful. There’s a password generator that has length and character modifiers. If you’re tired of adding and subtracting symbols so that a service that you’re would deem a password worthy, this is a godsend to you. Plus, you can instantly add a generated password to your vault, which can be synced with your other devices. LastPass has apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS, plus a long list of browsers that include even Safari, Opera, and even Edge.
Suppose you’re already using a password manager, no worries. You can export your current vault into the LastPass. It supports transfer from most major password manager providers, so it’s easy to test it out. If you don’t like it, you can delete your data and close the account. If you like it, you can use it for free as long as you want.
If you’re very budget-cautious, the only things you miss out on as a free user are password sharing, a security dashboard, dark web monitoring, advanced multi-factor authentication options, customer support, encrypted file storage, and the possibility to use the program on both mobile and desktop devices. That’s it. Even on the free version, the vault password storage is unlimited. It means that you can store all of your passwords in a single place and not worry about space constraints.
- Premium features in a free edition
- Extensive 2FA options
- Multi-device support
- Easy vault transfers
- Unlimited password vault storage
- Reputation stains
- No customer support
- Only mobile or desktop version
5. Enpass — best password manager for desktop
|Platforms:||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
|Browser plugins:||Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Brave, Vivaldi|
Enpass is a lightweight password manager that also treats its users with a free version. The caveat is that the free version is available for desktop users. If you need a free password manager for mobile, Enpass won’t be a solution. Their apps are available for Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems.
The service is distinct in the sense that it primarily relies on offline storage. So, no data can ever leave your device if you don’t want to. However, if you’d like to sync your data, you’ll have to use some other form of cloud hosting like OneDrive, Dropbox, iCloud. It will be the only method to make your password vaults match across your devices.
The data itself is encrypted with an AES-256 military-grade cipher with SQLCIPHER extension. It’s an impenetrable combination, and you’re not endangering your credentials even when storing them in your Google Drive. As long as you’re the only one who knows your master password, the data will stay sealed.
The app itself has some nice addition to make your usage more comfortable. For example, you don’t have to type in your master password every time you want to access your vault. You can use the PIN lock feature. It allows you to log in using PIN-code on devices that you’ve previously logged in to.
It can be helpful not only with passwords, too. You can use it with credit cards, IDs, and more. This helps you save time when typing out as a secure way of managing your most sensitive pieces of information.
The most significant drawback of a free version is that it only stores a maximum of 25 items. An average user should run out of free space pretty quickly, pushing to upgrade to a paid version. It only allows a single user access, which is common among password managers. This shouldn’t be considered a dealbreaker.
They also allow sharing items with other users. If you’re sharing a Netflix account with someone else, it will be much safer if you share the login details via Enpass.
- Attractive UI
- Good password generator
- Password sharing
- Doesn’t import passwords directly from browser
- Isn’t free on mobile
- Doesn’t have proprietary cloud-servers
- No 2FA
How I curated this list of free password managers?
A password manager should increase your security, not the other way around. That’s why we analyzed how each provider makes sure that your password vault is safe. Whether it’s encryption, hashing, or other means – the more, the merrier. Other features like multi-factor authentication are also important – it adds a layer of protection if your master password becomes exposed. Finally, anything adding convenience for the user is obviously great to have.
Video review: Best FREE password managers of 2021
Should I use a free password manager?
A free password manager can be the right solution. Most premium password managers have free versions, and you can use them to store your most important credentials safely. The main limitation is that they usually lock some of their features behind a paywall to incentivize customers to opt-in for a subscription.
There are also such password managers that do not have premium versions, they are just free, and that’s it. In those cases, the apps may be plagued with ads, or you might be uploading a lot of data into their servers and not even know about it. When a premium password manager offers a free version, you know where the money comes from. Plus, you get a much better impression of whether you like the service. That’s why it’s best to check the free version and later decide if you want to commit.
Is there a free password manager for businesses?
Some open-source password managers are also free to businesses. This includes Bitwarden, Passbolt, and others. Though, they will require appropriate configurations, including the hosting location. So, it really won’t be free, you’ll just be paying for hosting instead of the license.
Some business owners might think that a solution in such a case would be getting a closed-source password manager and asking each employee to create a personal account. For one, this is breaching of terms of service. Secondly, this makes credentials management impossible.
If everyone’s accounts have the same permissions, you might also write your shared credentials on the wall. One of the biggest selling points of commercial business password managers is that they allow you to have a clear set of permissions, who has access to what.
Are free password managers worth getting: wrap-up
If you want to increase your online security, the password manager is the easiest first step you should take. Plus, even the premium providers have a free option, so there’s no excuse that you cannot afford it. Importing passwords from your browser takes seconds, and most password managers do it automatically. Besides, it’s a lot safer than keeping your password saved in a browser, where it’s stored with zero encryption.
Don’t take your cybersecurity as a non-issue. Credential stuffing – the practice of trying the same login credential combination on various websites – isn’t something only hi-tech Russian hackers do. With a breached database leak, even a teenager could do it. With a free password manager, you can have unique passwords for all your accounts, preventing security issues with the click of a button.
Yes – they are just as safe as their premium counterparts, and they offer the same features that you would find in their paid services. Usually, they protect their password vaults with some form of encryption. Even the provider can’t know your passwords as there is no way to decipher the data without your master password.
All iPhones come with iCloud Keychain. It seamlessly shares your login credentials across all your Apple devices. However, if you’re not a hardcore Apple fan and not every device you own is iDevice, a third-party password manager can help with password sharing. It extends to Windows and Android devices. Thus, Dashlane is one of the best password managers for iOS devices. It can send you 2FA codes even via Apple Watch.
LastPass is one of the best options, which has a great free version for Android users. Since Android 8.0 Oreo, it’s possible to fill in a password on a browser and apps. The new framework functions similarly to iCloud Keychain, but it’s less efficient at sharing passwords between devices. Third-party providers can use the built-in Autofill framework and add sharing between devices.
Most premium password managers have free versions, however, some are even offering premium version trials. Usually, it will be a premium trial that lasts a fixed amount of time or a 30-day money-back guarantee. So, you can subscribe to them for a month and cancel before you’re charged. You’ll get a full refund.