With so many password managers on the market, it can be difficult to figure out which one is right for your family or business. To make it easier to sort through all the services, we evaluated these two companies on five of the most important features. Keep in mind that the right password manager depends on several factors, including whether you need a single account for yourself or you’re looking to manage an account for multiple users.
1. Security & Encryption
The best password managers combine multiple authentication methods with strong password requirements. We compared these password managers based on how well they protect your sensitive data, paying special attention to encryption methods, and secret keys. We also checked to see if these password managers have strict requirements for creating a master password, such as minimum character counts or a minimum number of symbols and letters.
2. App Compatibility
It’s important for a password manager to work on multiple devices, especially if you plan to use it to manage a family or business account. We tested each password manager to determine if it works with the major operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, as well as some of the most popular browsers: Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Opera, Edge, and Safari. We also tested each password manager on Linux.
3. Usability and Ease of Use
The easier it is to set up and use a password manager, the easier it will be to manage your accounts. We tested each password manager to determine how easy it is to create an account, generate passwords and perform other key functions. We also checked to see if each password manager supports biometric logins, which creates an additional obstacle for hackers. With biometric authentication enabled, you’ll be asked to provide a fingerprint or other unique identifier when you attempt to log in to an app or website. Because it’s extremely difficult to replicate this identifier, biometric logins keep your data even more secure.
4. Password Sharing
To keep your passwords safe, you should avoid writing them done or telling many people what they are. But what if you want to share an online account with a friend, family member or colleague? Password sharing makes it possible to share login credentials with the people you trust without revealing your account passwords. We tested each password manager to determine if password sharing is allowed.
If you’re on a budget, price is an important consideration when choosing a password manager. We compared the prices of these password managers and checked to determine if volume discounts are available.
We spent more than 10 hours testing KeePass and LastPass to see how they compare with each other based on the five most important features. The results of this comparison are outlined below.
KeePass is quite different from many of the password managers on the market in terms of how it protects your data from unauthorized access and use. Version 1, which is for Windows users, uses security-enhanced edit controls, process memory protection and password quality estimation to ensure you create a strong master password and keep hackers from accessing your accounts. Version 2, which works in Windows and Mono, uses the same functions, but it also allows you to enter the master key on a secure desktop.
LastPass keeps your data safe by employing several types of encryption. Like many password managers, it uses 256-AES encryption to keep your master password on your local device instead of transmitting it between your machine and the company’s server. As a result, no one at LastPass has access to your account, and there’s no way for a hacker to intercept any data. LastPass offers an additional layer of protection with one-way salted hashing. The hashing process adds extra data to your master password to prevent hackers from decrypting the information. Salting prevents hackers from reversing the hashing process, which means they can’t remove the extra data and guess your master password.
KeePass is somewhat limited in its app compatibility, giving LastPass higher marks in this category. Version 1 of the password manager only works with Windows and the Wine browser. Version 2 works with Windows and Mono, which includes the Berkeley Development System, Linux and other platforms. If you spend a lot of time browsing on your mobile device, LastPass is the better choice by virtue of its widespread compatibility.
For people who prefer to use a desktop or laptop computer, LastPass works with Windows, macOS and Linux, along with the Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge browsers. If you prefer to use mobile apps or surf the Web on a smartphone or tablet, you can use LastPass with iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows RT and the Dolphin browser for Android. If you manage a business account with dozens or even hundreds of users, LastPass has a slight edge over KeePass due to its compatibility with such a wide range of platforms and devices.
KeePass is somewhat difficult to use unless you’re comfortable with open-source programs. Compared to LastPass, the user interface is somewhat primitive, but KeePass does allow you to choose a dialog banner style. This gives you greater control over the interface than you would have with LastPass. KeePass has a steep learning curve, but it does a good job protecting sensitive data, so it’s worth your time to explore everything it has to offer.
LastPass earns high marks for usability and ease of use based on the simple setup process and intuitive user interface. To create an account, all you have to do is go to the LastPass website and initiate the signup process. Once you have an account, you’ll be prompted to download the version of LastPass that works with your device or browser. If you work with multiple platforms or devices, you’ll have an opportunity to download LastPass for each one. LastPass has a bit of an edge over KeePass in this category because it automatically detects your browser, speeding up the setup process. With LastPass, it’s also easy to import your login credentials from websites and apps.
KeePass doesn’t offer password sharing in the traditional sense, but Version 2 does allow multiple users to work in a shared database. This is an ideal setup if you’re a developer working on a new product and need to collaborate with other developers on your team. You could also use this function for other business purposes.
LastPass allows password sharing, eliminating the need to give out your password if you want to share an account. Whether you want to share an online banking account with your spouse or a bookkeeping app with a freelancer, all you have to do is go to the LastPass vault and enter the other person’s email address. If the user accepts, the item will be shared from your account, and any changes you make will sync immediately to all users. If you decide to stop sharing the account, LastPass also makes it easy to generate a new password and prevent the other user from continuing to use your credentials.
Both versions of KeePass are free for everyone to use, making it easier to manage your budget. It’s important to note, however, that KeePass has far fewer features than LastPass, and it isn’t compatible with as many platforms as LastPass. Despite the lack of features, the open-source nature of KeePass makes it a good choice for tech-savvy users who are interested in modifying the code to suit their needs.
LastPass offers several types of accounts to suit different user needs. If you need an individual account, you can get the basic features of LastPass for free or pay just $3 per month to access a premium account. The service is billed annually, so an individual account costs around $36 per year. To upgrade to a family account, you’ll pay $4 per month for up to six users. LastPass also offers team, business and enterprise versions of its password manager. You’ll pay $4 to $6 per user per month, billed annually, for one of these options. If you manage a large organization, you may be able to negotiate custom pricing if you contact LastPass directly.
Both password managers get the job done, but as with any tool, you need to understand how to use their features to maximize their value. Below is a table showing the main functions of a password manager and explaining how these functions work for each company.
|Setting up the vault||You must create a new password database once you set up your account. To do so, click File and then New. You’ll be prompted to enter your master password.||Simply visit a website and save your login credentials. This will prompt LastPass to create a vault for you You can also create a vault on your local machine for added security.|
|Logging in to accounts||Choose a stored item from your database. The browser window will open automatically, allowing you to log in.||From the LastPass vault, click an item and then click Launch. If you’re using the browser extension, click the LastPass icon. You’ll be prompted to enter your login information. Then click launch.|
|Creating passwords||Right-click Password Entry and choose Add Entry. Once the window appears, you can create a password that conforms to the KeePass security requirements.||Open the password generator by clicking the LastPass icon while you’re on the target website. Choose the Generate and Fill option to generate a random password.|
|Changing passwords||To change your master key, click File –> Change Master Key. Then Click File –> Save As –> Save to File. Before changing your password, be sure to back up your database.||Click the LastPass icon and log in with your existing credentials. Then choose a new password, click the LastPass field and save by the new password by clicking Edit.|
|Sharing logins||KeePass doesn’t enable login sharing, but it does allow multiple users to work in the same shared database.||In the LastPass vault, locate the item you want to share. Click the Share icon and enter the other person’s email address.|
|Recovering account||KeePass doesn’t provide a key to unlock your database if you forget your master password. If you can’t remember the master password, you’ll lose access to all of your saved credentials.||Complete the master password recovery process. Alternatively, you may be able to recover your account via SMS, if you have this option enabled.|
|Advanced security features||Both versions of KeePass rely on process memory protection, security-enhanced edit controls and password quality estimation to keep your information secure. Version 2 also allows you to enter your master key on a secure desktop.||LastPass uses 256-AES encryption and one-way salted hashing to keep your credentials safe.|