Skip to main content

Best free password managers in 2021

Best free password managers - woman typing on laptop at desk
(Image credit: Unsplash)

The best password managers allow you to easily and securely store your online login details, with a range of features including generating strong passwords, auto-capturing passwords as you type, and syncing data across devices and browsers. 

Many users still practice poor password hygiene, using the classic "password123" or rehashing the same sequence across multiple logins. This is why it's critical to start using a standalone password manager, separate from your browser's, which can offer you password health checks, session timeout, and two-factor authentication (2FA). 

Passwords managers typically store your logins in a vault, along with other information such as credit card details, and protect them with a master password. In some cases, you may have to reset your account and start over if you forget your master password—but, thankfully, many providers now offer biometric logins on mobile and desktop apps, which should prevent your passwords from being deleted.

There is a wide variety of solutions to pick from, so we've ranked the best free password managers you can download today. This list is sure to fulfil the primary convenience and security needs of most users, while offering enough variety across solution providers to fit your specific requirements.

Best free password managers - Bitwarden's logo

Bitwarden offers the best free password management functionality (Image credit: Bitwarden)

1. Bitwarden

Best overall free password manager

Browser extension: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera, Brave, Vivaldi, Tor | Desktop app : Windows, macOS, Linux | Mobile app: iOS, Android

Cross-device sync
Intuitive features and design
Tight security
No password health check
No password sharing

Bitwarden is our favorite free password manager due to its generous range of features, intuitive interface, and razor-sharp security. You can get started with its free plan by downloading an extension to your browser. It also offers desktop and mobile apps, but you can reap the benefits without them.

Bitwarden doesn’t store your master password on its servers, so if you forget it, you must delete your account and start over. For extra security, you can set up a two-step login and a session timeout—for example, your vault can automatically lock after 15 minutes. You can also use its data breach test to check if your personal information has been compromised in a third-party security breach.

Bitwarden's free personal plan offers unlimited logins, cards, notes, and identities, which sync across devices. You can easily import your passwords from another password manager or use the password generator to create new ones. Top tip: if you sign up for the free business plan, you get all the personal plan’s benefits, plus an extra user account and unlimited item sharing.

Best free password managers - LastPass's password manager displayed on a smartphone

LastPass makes it easy to create and organize logins (Image credit: LastPass)

2. LastPass

Best if using one device

Browser extension: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera, Brave | Desktop app: Windows, macOS, Linux | Mobile app: iOS, Android

Ability to create digital identities
Unlimited password and note sharing
Smooth password auto-capture and generation
Mobile-only or desktop-only
No password health check

Once an undisputed leader among free password managers, since March 2021 LastPass has asked its non-premium users to choose between mobile and desktop. While it has app- and browser-based solutions for both, it will only allow you three switches between its mobile and desktop products before you decide which one to keep.

LastPass has some powerful organizational tools that make it popular with over 25 million users. You can create multiple identities to store your data under—for example, work and personal—which comes in handy if you're using your personal device for work or sharing your free plan with a family member. Furthermore, you can make use of folders to categorize your passwords, notes, credit cards, and more. 

LastPass performs well across all major password manager features: it has a strong password generator, auto-captures new logins, stores unlimited items, and lets you share your information securely via email, with an option to hide login data from the recipient. It even lets you attach files to vault items, up to 10MB each and 50MB in total.

Best free password managers - RoboForm's password manager demonstrated on a desktop

RoboForm improves the strength of your passwords (Image credit: RoboForm)

3. RoboForm

Best for beginners

Browser extension: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge | Desktop app: Windows, macOS, Chrome OS | Mobile app: iOS, Android

Password health check
App password capture (Windows only)
Unlimited password sharing
No cross-device sync
Interfaces lack polish

RoboForm is a truly elegant password manager when it comes to bringing your saved data, password health checks, and security features together in one place. On top of dedicated apps for desktop and mobile, RoboForm offers a browser-based solution for Chrome OS users. Its only shortcoming is not allowing cross-device sync on the free plan

In terms of basic password management functions, RoboForm is up there with Bitwarden and LastPass: generating strong passwords, importing logins, categorizing data into identities and folders, logging you into websites, and capturing forms including bank and passport details. Its intuitive interface for app and browser makes it the perfect solution for a password manager newbie.

RoboForm additionally offers competitive features such as bookmarking, which saves webpages securely into your vault, and capturing Windows app passwords which can log you into programs like Outlook and Skype

Perhaps the most exciting feature for those who've been reusing weak passwords, RoboForm's security center evaluates your overall vault health, breaking down the strength of each login and prompting you to generate better passwords.

Best free password managers - a visual model of Myki's password manager

Myki stores your login data on your local device  (Image credit: Myki)

4. Myki

Best for privacy and security

Browser extension: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera | Desktop app: Windows, macOS, Linux | Mobile app: iOS, Android

Hard to hack: data stored on device
Password health check
Auto-fills mobile apps
No browser functionality without device app 
Cross-device transition lacking

Myki performs well on basic password manager functionality: it auto-captures logins, generates complex passwords, stores ID and bank details, and allows external sharing. Because Myki stores your data locally on your device rather than in the cloud, you get full functionality only by installing a desktop or mobile app, which the browser extension must connect to in order to launch.

But where Myki may be lacking in cross-device transition, it makes up with its top-notch security system. For starters, you needn’t remember a master password to enter your vault, as you use a PIN or biometrics. Furthermore, you choose when the session disconnects and get a full record of vault login details, including IP, to protect against any break-ins. 

The safety of the information stored is also taken care of. You can set up an extra 2FA step for individual logins and always have access to their editing history. Considering you also get password health checks for free, Myki is a strong contender for security-focused password managers.

Best free password managers - NordPass logo and smartphone app demonstration

NordPass lets you manage your passwords without an account  (Image credit: NordPass)

5. NordPass

Best for convenient login

Browser extension: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera, Brave, Vivaldi | Desktop app: Windows, macOS, Linux | Mobile app: iOS, Android

Can use without an account
Cross-device sync
Unlimited logins and devices
No password sharing
Only one active device at a time

NordPass is part of Nord Security's range of products—alongside NordVPN, a privacy solution with over 14 million users—thus leveraging proprietary encryption methods to keep your data safe. You can use NordPass on desktop and mobile apps, but you only have full in-browser functionality with the desktop app installed.

An unusual feature of the NordPass app is that it allows you to start saving passwords and credit cards without an account. You get the same functionality as if you were logged in—apart from cross-device sync—including password generation, autofill, organizing folders, and storing unlimited logins, bank details, notes, and addresses. While convenient, if you use the app without an account, your data isn't encrypted by NordPass servers, and there's an enhanced risk of identity theft.

In-app password health checks are reserved for premium accounts, but NordPass does have a web-based strength checker, where you input passwords manually and get a result of weak, moderate, or strong. With this tool, you also find out if your password has been exposed to any data breaches, which should prompt you to strengthen your passwords.

Best free password managers - Zoho Vault's logo

Zoho Vault keeps track of all your login activity (Image credit: Zoho Vault)

6. Zoho Vault

Best for password audits

Browser extension: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera, Brave, Vivaldi | Desktop app: None | Mobile app: iOS, Android

Comprehensive password assessment report
Activity auditing
Custom vault items
No password sharing
Limited options for individual users

Zoho Vault is part of an extensive suite of business productivity programs including Zoho Creator and Zoho Show. Hence, its free plan has a strong security and auditing focus, the highlight being its password assessment report, which analyzes the viability of your logins—for example, how many contain dictionary words or are being reused. 

You also get a vault activity audit, which tracks password changes, browser details, and more. Vault items in Zoho Vault are called secrets, and you can put them into categories including web account, bank account, and social security number. You can even create your own secret with customizable fields—for example, passport details—a feature not often offered in free plans.

With Zoho Vault’s auto-fill and auto-login features, you're able to access your saved websites quickly and securely. Furthermore, you can set a generation policy for new passwords, which controls sequence length and enforces special characters, renewal dates, and more.

Best free password managers - Dashlane's homepage

Dashlane captures and protects up to 50 passwords for free  (Image credit: Dashlane)

7. Dashlane

Best for light users

Browser extension: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge | Desktop app: Windows, macOS | Mobile app: iOS, Android

Strong password generator
Security alerts on data breaches
Password health check
Limit of up to 50 logins
One device only

Dashlane is a powerful password manager and is best suited for people with few logins who desire top functionality. With up to 50 passwords available in its vault, you can auto-capture logins as you browse, generate complex passwords in-app and in-browser, and share them securely with up to five accounts. Other items you can save and auto-fill include IDs, card details, and bank accounts.

Dashlane prides itself on its tight security standards, including device-based encryption and 2FA. But it surpasses the basics by offering immediate security alerts and suggesting protective measures when your info is part of a data breach. Additionally, the free plan contains a password health check, which breaks down weak, reused, or compromised logins.

Finally, Dashlane restricts its free plan to one device, which could make it difficult for heavy users to fill credentials across devices. However, if you're using Dashlane to store logins on a work desktop or a shared family device, this may not be an inconvenience at all.