Many companies offer password managers with a variety of features, making it difficult to determine which one is the best fit for your needs. We cut through the noise and evaluated these two companies based on what’s most important. Keep in mind that a password manager that works great for someone else may not be the right one for you. It depends on whether you need the password manager for personal, family or business use.
1. Security & Encryption
The main purpose of a password manager is to enhance online security and protect your personal information against unauthorized access. We assessed each password manager based on several important security features, including encryption method and the ability to use two-factor authentication to log in to online accounts.
2. App Compatibility
A password manager is most useful when it works across a wide range of platforms and devices. After all, millions of people use smartphones and tablets to browse the internet. If password managers only worked on desktop or laptop computers, those people would be left without a way to keep their data safe when using mobile devices. A good password manager should work with all the major operating systems and browsers, including Windows, macOS, Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Edge. As an added bonus, many password managers also work with Linux, Opera and Vivaldi.
3. Usability & Ease of Use
The best password managers are easy to set up and use with your online accounts. They typically have well-designed user interfaces that make it easy to find the features you need, along with easy-to-navigate menus for your convenience. We also checked to see if these password managers are compatible with biometric authentication, a security method that requires you to provide a fingerprint or some other unique identifier before granting access to your accounts.
4. Password Sharing
Although the main objective of a password manager is to keep your passwords private, there are times when you might want to share credentials with a colleague or someone you love. The best password managers make it possible to share your credentials without revealing your usernames and passwords, making it easier to share accounts designed to stream content, facilitate financial transactions and perform other functions.
Price isn’t as important as security and ease of use, but it’s always a consideration. The best password managers provide a good balance of features at a price that’s easy to afford. This is especially important for team and business accounts with many users. Some companies also offer discounts to users who are willing to pay for several months or years of service up front.
We spent more than 10 hours comparing 1Password and KeePass to see how they compare with each other on the five most important features of a password manager. A breakdown of the results is below.
1Password uses the latest encryption methods to keep your personal information safe from hackers, including AES-256, PBKDF2 and end-to-end encryption. For added security, 1Password also requires users to enter a secret key when attempting to log in to their accounts. This provides an extra layer of protection in the event that someone guesses your master password; unless the hacker enters your secret key, the master password alone won’t be enough to gain access to your accounts. Another helpful security feature is the ability to save passwords in multiple vaults. This feature makes it possible to store some data in a separate vault, making it even less likely that someone will be able to access it.
KeePass is an open-source password manager that uses advanced security methods to protect your data. Which features you have depends on which version of the software you use. Version 1 has security process protection, security-enhanced edit controls and password quality estimation. Version 2 also uses security process protection, security-enhanced edit controls and password quality estimation, but it gives you the option of using a secure desktop to enter your master password, further enhancing your security. Version 1 is designed for Windows, while Version 2 is made for Windows and Mono.
One of the reasons 1Password is such a good password manager is because it’s compatible with many devices and platforms. Version 4 of 1Password is one of the few password managers that still works with Internet Explorer, making it a good choice for users who prefer IE over newer browsers. 1Password also works in the Chrome, Edge, Opera and Safari browsers, making it especially helpful for families or colleagues who need to share an account. For desktop users, 1Password works with Windows, Linux and macOS. It also works on the iOS and Android mobile platforms, making it possible to use 1Password on the go.
KeePass doesn’t work with as many browsers and platforms as 1Password, giving 1Password an edge in the app compatibility category. It works on Windows, Linux and macOS, but not on iOS, Android or any of the major browsers. KeePass does work with Berkeley Development System and the Wine browser, however, making it ideal for developers with advanced technical skills. If you spend most of your time on a Windows, macOS or Linux machine, KeePass is likely to meet your needs. For users who like to browse the Web on their mobile devices, however, 1Password is the better choice when it comes to compatibility.
|Chrome, Chrome OS||Yes||No|
|Linux||Yes (command line)||Yes|
|Other||Berkeley Development System
* Only with 1Password 4 for Windows
Whether you have a personal account or a business account with multiple users, 1Password is easy to set up. After creating an account, you’ll be prompted to create a strong master password, which is used to access your online accounts. Once you have a master password in place, you’ll be able to download the 1Password browser extension or start using the tool on your mobile devices. 1Password has a slight edge over KeePass in this category because the company sends you an emergency kit when you sign up for an account. The kit contains a secret key, your master password and contact information for the support team. If you forget your master password, you’ll be able to use this information to get back into your account.
Because it’s an open-source tool, KeePass is somewhat difficult to set up. The user interface isn’t very intuitive, so you may have to look around for several minutes before you figure out how to get things up and running. One feature KeePass has that most password managers don’t is the option to choose a banner style. This makes it possible to adjust the user interface to your liking instead of having to get used to a single user interface that can’t be changed. KeePass does have a bit of a learning curve, but it has advanced security features that should make it worth your while if you have the time and patience to learn how to use it.
Password sharing is another category in which 1Password has an edge over KeePass. With 1Password, you have the ability to share passwords with family members, friends and colleagues, making it easier to access shared accounts. Sharing passwords within 1Password is simple; just move the password into your shared vault and invite the other person to access it. If you need to revoke sharing for some reason, such as when an employee leaves your company and no longer needs access to shared work tools, all you have to do is move the password back to your private vault. The password-sharing feature keeps your accounts secure by allowing other people to log in to your shared accounts without seeing your credentials.
KeePass doesn’t offer password sharing, which may make it a poor fit for your needs if you want to share credentials for video streaming, online banking and other services. What it does have is the ability to work in a shared database if you’re using Version 2, which works with Windows and Mono. This feature makes KeePass ideal for developers who need to collaborate on projects without investing in expensive collaboration tools. If you need a password manager for individual or family use, 1Password is the better choice.
The main disadvantage of using 1Password vs KeePass is that 1Password is a paid tool. Your cost depends on what type of account you have and whether you prefer to make a monthly payment or purchase a one-year subscription. For an individual account, 1Password costs $3.99 per month if you choose monthly billing; the price decreases to $2.99 with annual billing. Family accounts are $6.99 per month for monthly billing or $4.99 per month for annual billing. Team accounts are always billed monthly, and they cost $3.99 per user per month. 1Password limits team accounts to no more than five users. Enterprise accounts cost $3 per user per month, and annual billing is the only option.
KeePass is completely free, regardless of whether you use Version 1 or Version 2. Using a free password manager makes it easier to manage your budget, but it’s important to understand the trade-offs involved in using a free tool. KeePass has fewer features than 1Password, and it’s also more difficult to use. The user support provided by KeePass isn’t as robust as the service provided by 1Password, either. If you have some development experience and don’t mind using open-source tools, then KeePass is a good choice.
|Individual||$3.99/month (billed monthly); $2.99/month (billed annually)||Free|
|Family||$6.99/month (billed monthly); $4.99/month (billed annually)||N/A|
|Teams||$3.99/user/month for up to 5 users (billed monthly)||N/A|
|Enterprise||$3/user/month (billed annually)||N/A|
Both password managers do a good job of keeping your credentials secure, but as with any tool, you need to know how each one works before you can maximize its capabilities. The table below outlines the main functions of a password manager and explains how they work for each company.
|Setting up the vault||Visit the 1Password homepage, click New Vault and type in a description.||When you set up your account, you must create a new password database before you can start storing login information. To do this, click File and then click New.|
|Logging into accounts||Browser: Visit a website, such as your favorite streaming service or online banking portal. Find the site’s login page. Click the 1Password icon. It will automatically fill in your credentials. Mobile: Open an app on your mobile device. Click the 1Password Mini icon, choose a login item and drag it into the app.||Select an item stored in your database. This will open a browser window and allow you to log in to the selected website.|
|Creating passwords||Look for the 1Password button on your toolbar. Click the Generate Password button.||Right-click on Password Entry. Choose Add Entry. Create a new password that adheres to the KeePass security requirements.|
|Changing passwords||Sign in to a website using your current credentials. Click the 1Password button and enter a new password when prompted. You may need to enter your current password again before you can make the change.||Change your master key by clicking File–>Change Master Key. To save your changes, click File–>Save to File.|
|Sharing logins||Open your private vault, find the item you want to share and click Move/Copy. This moves the item to your shared vault.||KeePass doesn’t allow login sharing.|
|Recovering account||If you have a family account, ask a family member for the master password. Otherwise, you may be able to recover your account by using facial recognition or Touch ID.||You can’t access your KeePass account if you forget your master password.|
|Advanced security features||1Password has an auto-locking feature and uses several current encryption standards to protect your personal data.||KeePass Version 1 and Version 2 use password quality estimation, security-enhanced edit controls and process memory protection to prevent unauthorized access to your data.|