Looking for the best password manager (opens in new tab)? LastPass (opens in new tab) and Bitwarden (opens in new tab) are two of the top options on the market today. Both platforms offer solutions for individuals, families, and teams, top-tier security features, and integration with a wide range of devices.
Choosing which of these password managers is right for you can be a tough decision. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how LastPass and Bitwarden stack up in terms of features, performance, support, and pricing.
All LastPass and Bitwarden plans cover the essential features you need to keep your accounts safe. You can store an unlimited number of passwords and sync them across all your devices, as well as quickly create new credentials using a random password generator. You can also store more than just passwords—both platforms support encrypted notes, credit card and bank account information, and more.
These two password managers also offer a number of features for businesses. LastPass enables administrators to configure single sign-on for more than 1,200 popular business apps. All single sign-ons are trackable for added security. LastPass also gives your IT department control over more than 100 customizable security policies to implement user access management to different vaults.
Bitwarden stands out for enabling businesses to self-host their own passwords on their server. This comes with added responsibility, but it can be a major advantage if you don’t want to trust your company’s security to a third party. Plus, administrators get access to vault health reports that highlight weak passwords and audit logs to keep track of who is accessing what passwords.
One thing that’s noteworthy about Bitwarden is that it’s an open-source password manager. That means its security features have been checked over by security experts from around the world. LastPass doesn’t face the same external scrutiny, although the company has an incredibly secure encryption system and has never reported losing user data.
LastPass and Bitwarden are both very easy to use, although LastPass has slightly more features to make accessing your accounts more efficient. Both platforms are available as desktop apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers and as mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. They each also offer browser integrations for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Edge (Bitwarden also has an extension for Tor). Helpfully, the browser extensions can be used to auto-fill credentials whenever you log into a website.
What we like better about LastPass is that the web and desktop interfaces are virtually identical. Everything you can do with the browser extension—including generating passwords and creating an unlimited number of new data categories—you can do with the desktop apps. That’s not true for Bitwarden, as the desktop apps don’t include password sharing features or the random password generator. One critical thing to note is that the Bitwarden desktop app doesn’t support two-factor authentication.
That said, Bitwarden does have a trick up its sleeve that you won’t find in LastPass: a command line tool. This tool works across operating systems and allows you to integrate your password manager into complex scripts. You can also use it to generate new random passwords for all your accounts in the event of a data breach.
Neither LastPass nor Bitwarden stand out for their customer support. That’s not entirely surprising for Bitwarden since it’s an open-source project. But we’d expect more from LastPass considering that it’s a widely used commercial software. Both platforms provide support by email only, and you have to jump through quite a few hoops to reach the contact form on LastPass’s website.
The good news is that both platforms have user forums that are very active. You can post a very specific question and get an answer back within just a day or two. For basic setup and customization questions, you’ll find a user guide on LastPass’s website and a set of basic tutorials on Bitwarden’s website.
Pricing and plans
Compared to any other password manager, we’d say that LastPass is cheap. But Bitwarden, as an open-source project, charges incredibly low subscription rates that few commercial competitors can match.
Most individual users can use LastPass and Bitwarden for free. LastPass has few restrictions for free users—the main feature missing is one-to-many sharing, which you might need for working in a team. Bitwarden’s free plan similarly limits sharing, but little else. Paid individual plans cost $3 per month at Lastpass but just $10 per year at Bitwarden.
LastPass business plans range in price from $3 to $8 per user per month, depending on how many users you have, whether you need user access management, and whether you want single sign-on for popular apps. Bitwarden offers a free business plan for up to two users, a Teams plan for $2 per user per month, and an Enterprise plan for $3 per user per month. The Enterprise plan offers self-hosting, directory sync, and audit logs.
LastPass and Bitwarden are both strong password management solutions with a lot in common. Most individuals can use either platform for free, but Bitwarden is significantly cheaper for families and businesses. Bitwarden is the password manager of choice if you want to host your own password database or if you want to integrate your password manager into complex command line scripts. LastPass may be a better option if you prioritize ease of use or if your business wants to enable single sign-on for increased productivity.
- Best password managers of 2020 (opens in new tab)