The market is replete with password management options, all of them advertising a wide array of features and services. Making sense of it all can be a challenge for even the most informed consumer, which is where we come in. In this comparative review, we focus on the most crucial features for reliable online security. The best solution for your purposes will depend on whether you’re a business user or whether you’re seeking a password manager for family or individual use.
There are five key features we looked for in comparing Dashlane and 1Password, both of which are popular options for password management.
1. Security & Encryption
A password manager is to your online existence like the lock on your front door is to your home’s physical security. They’re both tasked with the secure storage of what you need and value the most.
For online purposes, what this means is:
2. App Compatibility
We took a careful look at the kinds of cross-compatibility each of these solutions provide. It’s important for a password manager to be able to run seamlessly on all your devices, to be able to adapt as gracefully as possible to different combinations of hardware and software, and to be usable with the most popular web browsers to be truly effective.
3. Ease of Setup & Use
Enjoying effective password management shouldn’t be the equivalent of learning a whole new language. We evaluated Dashlane and 1Password for:
4. Password Sharing
Password sharing is a particularly desirable feature for any setting where multiple users might need to access the same devices, as is often true for family and business users.
A paid password service should offer unlimited password storage, and the best packages balance the affordability of pricing with powerful, flexible features.
We spent over 10 hours researching Dashlane and 1Password to see how they compare with each other on the five most important features. Below is the breakdown.
Both Dashlane and 1Password score high on providing strong encryption for data transmission, and they both provide automatic security updates or make those updates easy for users to access. Both require two-factor authentication before providing a new device with access to an account. Beyond these fundamentals, each package has advantages and drawbacks.
1Password’s two-factor authentication goes the extra mile, combining a master password with a specific code already sent to a previous device the user owns and, failing this, requiring a complex code sent from 1Password directly.
Unlike Dashlane, 1Password also offers rootkit detection, alerting users to possible attempts by hackers to access their device as an administrator.
While their encryption is comparable, 1Password has an edge in being regularly subject to third-party security audits. Dashlane, meanwhile, has the significant drawback of relying on a VPN from the makers of the controversial HotSpot Shield. That’s particularly unfortunate given how prominently encryption and high-level security feature as the software’s selling points.
On the other hand, Dashlane exerts greater control over the passwords. It’s not possible to use an easy-to-hack password like “111111111” with Dashlane, but 1Password does permit similarly weak passwords. Fortunately, these kinds of gaps are easily closed using 1Password’s Watchtower feature which readily identifies various password weaknesses and suggests solutions. The overall edge still goes to 1Password, with the caveat that it puts much more of the responsibility for implementing strong passwords on the user.
Both Dashlane and 1Password are compatible with a wide range of systems and web browsers. In terms of providing polished apps that work on virtually any device and with the full spectrum of widely used browsers while also providing high-quality desktop apps for Windows and Mac, we give the edge to 1Password. Accessing the full range of 1Password’s browser functionality can involve some confusion as to which specific version of the 1Password app you need to download for working with which browser, but it’s a minor complaint on the whole.
Dashlane’s cross-compatibility, while strong, has certain limitations. For example, it doesn’t officially support Opera — although its app is still claimed to be functional within Opera — and its support in Internet Explorer doesn’t extend to enabling a fully functional web app, web account creation and administrator’s console for business accounts.
Dashlane’s desktop app features clean and intuitive design, although its full functionality is limited to business accounts. It’s a little weaker on organization options than 1Password, although it does offer the ability to categorize passwords (a feature 1Password doesn’t have). On the whole, 1Password has the advantage here.
*Only with 1Password 4 for Windows
1Password has an overall focus on usability. It typically requires a little support and guidance through the installation process — depending on the level of usage planned — but after installation, it boasts a user interface that’s easily grasped even for neophyte users. The intuitive interface combines with a thorough FAQ platform to address most user issues that might arise.
1Password makes it easy to view and change information, store and sort data and identify potential gaps in password strength and updating. All of 1Password’s versions support biometric login options — including the recent addition of Face Unlock support for Pixel 4 — which are particularly useful for its iOS and Android apps.
Dashlane is even more effective at onboarding newcomers to password manager software, providing step-by-step walkthroughs for the first-time installation process and allowing manual selection of password sources. Like 1Password, it also supports biometric logins.
Unfortunately, Dashlane’s reputation for customer and technical support after the point of installation is nowhere near as strong, with some users reporting an over reliance on an archived support system that doesn’t cover all contingencies. That drawback puts 1Password clearly in the lead for ongoing ease of use.
It’s important to observe careful safety rules when engaging in password sharing, which is a practical necessity for families or businesses that have multiple people using the same devices. Fortunately, 1Password delivers in this category for both family and business purposes.
1Password’s family tools make it easy to share secure information with partners and family members on a local network and to introduce guest accounts for visitors as needed. Its business functions provide companies with fine control of password sharing, providing the ability to organize staff into groups by levels of access and create shared vaults for passwords and other secure data. Permissions are simple to customize to control editing access on certain items.
For its part, Dashlane offers a Sharing Center that creates a unique public key for each user, enabling asymmetric data encryption for each shared item. Decryption is enabled via a similarly unique private key, with the combination of public and private keys providing exceptional security. Sharing and managing permissions is simple to manage.
Dashlane’s free version allows sharing between two and five users. It’s necessary to purchase the Premium version to get unlimited sharing. Restrictions on sharing are similar with 1Password, which offers sharing for up to five people with its Family version and unlimited sharing with its Team and Business versions. This is one area where the two software packages are about evenly matched.
Directly comparing the pricing structures of Dashlane and 1Password is a bit complicated. 1Password only offers free trials while Dashlane offers a free version with limited functionality. At the levels of subscription where their services can be directly compared, final expenses will depend greatly depending on the size of the networks being serviced. Dashlane’s prices are often cited as being on the expensive side, but at the Premium and Premium Plus levels, they might well prove to be a more economical solution for larger teams.
It might be tempting to compare Dashlane’s free version to the Family tier of 1Password due to the number of users it supports. This is misleading, though, owing to the fact that Dashlane’s free version supports only 50 passwords and one device, making it effectively useless.
Priced into Dashlane’s paid services are access to a VPN and other bonus features that include dark web monitoring, but there’s no getting around the fact that its solutions are still quite expensive, the structuring of its subscriptions is relatively restrictive, and it doesn’t offer a genuine family plan. Add to this the potential flaws in a VPN system dependent on the provider Dashlane uses, and it’s at least an open question as to whether it’s worth the price.
1Password’s solutions are likewise relatively expensive, described by some reviewers as extremely price-prohibitive. On the other hand, 1Password does offer genuinely functional individual, family and business plans, which combined with its ease of use, high quality of security and capable structure makes it clearly the better “bang for your buck” between the two software solutions.
|Free Option||Yes||30-Day Free Trial|
|Individual||N/A||$2.99/month (billed annually); $3.99/month (billed annually)|
|Family||N/A||$4.99/month (billed annually); $6.99/month (billed annually); up to 5 users|
|Premium/Teams||$4.99/month (billed annually)||$3.99 per user/month (billed annually)|
|Premium Plus/Business||$9.99/month (billed annually)||$7.99 per user/month (billed annually)|
|Business/Enterprise||$4 per user/month (billed annually)||Custom pricing|
Both Dashlane and 1Password are solid choices for password management. Part of what will help make your decision is understanding the particular functions each package provides and, like any tool, making sure you understand how to use it to get the most out of it. The table provided below provides a quick overall comparison of each software package’s performance in key areas.
|Setting up the vault||Imports from browsers and other password managers, with best control from desktop app||Imports from browsers and other password managers; accounts added as you log in|
|Logging into accounts||Fills in login information with a browser extension click||Fills in login information with a browser extension click|
|Creating new passwords||Browser extensions can be used to generate passwords||Same as Dashlane|
|Changing passwords||Click password generator when on any “change password” screen||Same as Dashlane|
|Sharing logins||Robust folder sharing for all tiers of paid service but lacks a Family tier of service||Robust folder sharing for all tiers of service|
|Recovering your account||Reset with biometric access on mobile, or assign an Emergency Contact to inherit your passwords in the event of the unexpected||Emergency Kit and Password Hint|
|Advanced security features||Zero-knowledge protocol, one-way encryption, multi-factor authentication, unlimited VPN||Travel mode, Watchtower and two-factor authentication|