We all know the importance of using a unique password for each of our separate online accounts. But let’s face it, remembering hundreds of different logins is virtually impossible. That’s where the best password managers come in.
A password manager stores all of your login credentials in one secure location, accessible only by a master password. This means you will only have to remember one password to keep all of your accounts secure.
But with several password managers on the market, how do you know which is the right service for you? In this article, we compare the features, performance, support, and pricing of two of the leading password managers—Bitwarden vs LastPass—to help you determine which is right for you.
An open-source password management app, Bitwarden is free for personal use, with a Premium account and business plans available. The service provides a secure password generator, two-factor authentication (2FA), vault health reports, and encrypted file attachments.
Available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and Chrome OS, LastPass is a versatile password manager with free and paid options. A solid interface and range of 2FA options are strong features, while the free version supports unlimited passwords and has a built-in strong password generator.
Bitwarden vs LastPass: Features
Bitwarden and LastPass both provide the basic features you would expect from a password manager: password storage, a password generator, a way to securely share login information with other users, and even 1GB of file storage with the paid levels. Crucially, both services enable users to save unlimited passwords on their account, even with their respective free plans.
However, LastPass’s free service is lacking in a few key areas when compared to Bitwarden. While Bitwarden users can sync their passwords across multiple devices, LastPass users at the free level are restricted to one device, meaning you won’t be able to access your account on both the mobile app and your desktop. LastPass users can, however, switch their permitted device up to three times.
While neither service stores users’ master passwords to protect their privacy, Bitwarden users have the additional security option to self-host their passwords on their own server. For the security obsessed, this is an excellent feature.
Bitwarden is an open-source product, which gives it an additional security edge. Its source code is available in its entirety online, meaning it can be easily audited by third-party security experts.
We should be clear that LastPass’s security should more than suffice for the average user, but Bitwarden’s heightened measures and its ability to sync on more than one device make it the winner when it comes to features.
Bitwarden vs LastPass: Performance
With both Bitwarden and LastPass, it’s easy to set up an account and get started storing your passwords within seconds.
Both Bitwarden and LastPass users can access the service via a web or mobile apps for iOS or Android. Bitwarden also has a desktop application, but we found the web app was simpler to use.
With LastPass, we found the mobile app slightly more straightforward than the web version, with tools like the password generator housed in a more intuitive location. With Bitwarden, we found little to distinguish the web and mobile versions. Both are light on extraneous features, making them extremely easy to navigate.
Where LastPass trumps Bitwarden in terms of ease of use is its password sharing feature. LastPass allows its users to share any password between each other, and it will appear in their vault just like a regular password. When sharing passwords, you can set privacy controls to determine whether the recipient can see it or not, enabling you to grant someone access to an account without them ever knowing your credentials.
Bitwarden is geared more towards businesses than individuals in this sense. You can share passwords with members of your organization, but it’s worth noting that free users are limited to two-person companies only. Plus, the requirement to set up your organization before you can share login information makes it a bit clunky.
Bitwarden does offer a way to send a secure text with login details, but this feature isn’t the most intuitive, and also requires you to share the actual password, which users may not be comfortable with.
Overall, the two are comparable when it comes to use and performance, except for password sharing, where LastPass is the winner.
Bitwarden vs LastPass: Support
Because Bitwarden is open-source software, it has a particularly active community forum where users can ask questions of each other and request features from the development team. You can also contact Bitwarden by email, or search their FAQs database.
LastPass similarly offers a searchable FAQ database, a community forum, and support by email, although its email support for free users will end on May 17 2021. Only business customers can access LastPass phone support.
Overall, the level of support between the two is comparable, although Bitwarden’s open-source nature means it’s easier to request features and to give feedback to the developers.
Bitwarden vs LastPass: Pricing and plans
With LastPass’s free plan, one user can store unlimited passwords on a single device. If you want access to LastPass on unlimited devices, you will need to upgrade to its $3 a month Premium plan. LastPass’s $4 a month Families plan ups the number of users to six.
For businesses, LastPass has three plans: for $3 per user a month, there's a multi-factor authentication (MFA) plan with no password management features; for $4 per user a month, a Teams plan for businesses of 50 or fewer; and for $6 per user a month, an Enterprise plan for businesses of more than 50. There’s also, for $8 per user a month, the Identity plan combining the Enterprise and MFA offerings.
Bitwarden’s individual plans are significantly cheaper than LastPass’s. The free plan enables unlimited password storage on unlimited devices. The Premium plan, at just $10 for the entire year, adds a few extras, like reports on your password strength and 1GB of free storage. For $40 a year, the Families plan will provide storage for up to six users.
Bitwarden has a free plan for businesses, but it only covers two users. The rest of the business pricing is comparable with LastPass. For $3 per user a month, businesses can have unlimited user accounts, and for $5 per user a month, you can access some additional security features and the option to self-host.
Bitwarden vs LastPass: Verdict
Overall, both Bitwarden and LastPass are strong choices for password managers. But for most individual users, we think Bitwarden might be the better option.
For individual users looking for a free service, Bitwarden’s ability to sync to multiple devices is a big feature that is missing from LastPass. For individuals looking for a paid service, Bitwarden offers a comparable product to LastPass at a significantly better price. And while both services are secure, Bitwarden offers a few security extras that edge out a victory in that regard.
However, if your primary reason for seeking out a password manager is to securely share passwords, LastPass makes it easier for both sender and recipient. While we feel Bitwarden is the overall winner, both services are worth checking out. And since both offer a free option, you can easily give them a try and see which one you prefer.