The multitude of available password managers can make the prospect of finding the best one overwhelming, given they offer a wide range of features and services that can be difficult for even the most tech-savvy to decipher. Additionally, some password managers are better suited to individual, family or business use. To help make your decision as easy as possible, we honed in on what’s most important.
1. Security & Encryption
For a password manager to serve its primary purpose of safeguarding your private data, it must use the strongest security and encryption methods available. This means it must keep up with changing technologies and remain ahead of potential hackers. Some password managers use strong 256-bit encryption keys created from complex algorithms that make passwords indecipherable to those without the correct decryption key. Other potential security methods include two-factor authentication, emergency access, password audits and the inability for the password management company itself to access your data.
2. App Compatibility
To ensure it works for your needs, a password manager must also be compatible with the devices you use. This includes your preferred Internet browsers, mobile phones (Androids and iPhones), tablets and computer operating systems. If you (like most people today) use more than one digital device, you’ll likely want to ensure the app or software can automatically sync across your devices. This way, changes to passwords or other account information will update completely and securely on all of your devices without you having to do that manually. This will also help prevent you from being locked out of any accounts and allow the app to function as intended.
3. Usability & Ease of Use
If a password manager isn’t easy to use, users will likely be discouraged from using it fully. Limited use or not using the password manager at all can quickly defeat its purpose entirely, leaving gaps in security and putting you at risk of forgotten passwords, cyber attacks due to weak passwords and data breaches. Apps should walk you through an easy set-up process that can even include painless, bulk password importing. Additionally, users should be able to create, update and store new passwords with little to no effort. Some apps may even offer automatic online form filling and biometric fingerprint or facial recognition logins.
4. Password Sharing
At some point, any user of digital accounts may want to give another person the ability to log in to one or more accounts. Password managers that allow password sharing make it possible for this to be done safely and securely. Through password sharing, users can share logins with family members, friends, business colleagues or entire teams. Some apps even make it possible for users to hide the actual password from the person they’re sharing it, and often, users can decide to allow recipients to edit the shared data or make it read-only.
Many password managers have tiered, subscription-based pricing tailored to the type and number of users. Some have separate pricing for individuals, families and businesses, for example, and charge a few dollars per month for each additional user. Additionally, some may offer a free trial or a free version with limited capabilities, and many require paid users to pay annually. To get the most out of a paid service, users should ensure it includes unlimited password storage so they won’t be forced to pay more down the line as their number of passwords inevitably increases.
We compiled security, compatibility, usability, sharing and pricing information on Keeper and 1Password through more than 10 hours of research. Below, we compare Keeper and 1Password on these top five password management features.
Through its “zero-knowledge” system that encrypts and decrypts users’ data locally (on their personal devices), Keeper ensures it never has access to or knowledge of a user’s data. First, users create a unique master password that only they know. This master password is only recoverable through two-factor authentication using one of the user’s personal devices and a strong security question. Additionally, Keeper uses three layers of encryption keys, starting with the strongest 256-bit algorithm, to protect each password and piece of data within a user’s private vault.
Like Keeper, 1Password does not see or have access to any of a user’s data and is encrypted end-to-end using 256-bit keys. Users can decrypt their passwords using a “Secret Key,” a 34-digit code that’s stored directly on users’ devices and in a pdf document called an Emergency Kit. More than 100,000 businesses now trust 1Password to keep their most important information safe. Their service offers easy deployment, and integration with other identity and access management (IAM) platforms like Okta, Azure Active Directory, and Rippling. The Secret Key works in conjunction with a user’s master password, and both are only known by the user. Users must memorize their master password, which can be created through 1Password’s password generator, but they do not need to memorize their secret key. The master password works to protect a user’s data on their devices, and the secret key protects the user’s data that’s off their devices and on 1Password servers.
Both Keeper and 1Password are compatible with most browser extensions, mobile devices and operating systems, although with some slight differences. Users can install the KeeperFill browser extension on most popular browsers, with the exception of newer browsers such as Vivaldi and Brave. The company’s apps are available to download through the Apple App Store, Google Play and the Microsoft Store on Android and iPhone tablets and mobile phones. Additionally, users can install the Keeper Desktop App on Mac, Windows and Linux operating systems. Keeper automatically syncs and updates data between all apps, extensions and devices with every account type except for its free version.
1Password is fully compatible with all major operating systems and modern browsers (it now only supports Internet Explorer through an earlier Windows version, 1Password 4). This means users can download the app on their mobile Android or iPhone devices as well as Apple and Microsoft computers. In addition to Mac OS and Windows, 1Password is compatible with Linux, and Chrome OS, and as a flexible command-line tool users can combine it with their own programs. The 1Password and 1Password X browser extensions both work with Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari to help users quickly and securely log in to websites, but 1Password X can be used without installing the 1Password app. Additionally, 1Password automatically syncs users’ data across all of their devices.
Overall, Keeper employs successful strategies and features that make it easy for just about any customer to use. All users get their own personal vaults so all of their information is stored in one secure, easy-to-navigate place. Keeper calls each password or other piece of information stored in the vault a “record,” and users can manually create new records or import them directly from their browser, a text file or their previous password manager. Users can create personalized fields, folders and subfolders within their vaults to make finding and organizing different types of information and passwords easy.
Logging into online accounts is made especially easy through the KeeperFill autofill feature that automatically fills online forms with a user’s information in just one click. It can generate strong, new passwords and uses biometrics with compatible devices so users can log in to apps and online accounts using their fingerprints or facial recognition.
1Password is similarly easy to use, with a simple set-up process, biometric logins, and automatic syncing between all devices. Through its browser extensions, users’ passwords are automatically saved and filled. With its regular browser extensions, however, users must click the 1Password icon in the browser’s toolbar to open a pop up and click to autofill or create logins. With its alternative 1Password X extension, the 1Password icon appears directly in a site’s password box, making it even easier to use the autofill function. Additionally, users can drag and drop logins from their vault into login forms.
Keeper’s password sharing features are open to any of its account types, from individuals through enterprise users. The only catch (potentially) is that users may only share passwords with other people who also have Keeper accounts or are part of the same family, business or enterprise account. They can also set permission settings and select whether they want the record to be “read only” or allow the recipient to edit, share it or both. To share more than one record at a time, users can create a shared folder. Family and business accounts allow for sharing different types of files between users, and business and enterprise users can choose to share certain records with select individuals or entire teams.
Unlike with Keeper, sharing with 1Password is not available for individual users. Instead, users must have a family account or be part of a team, business or enterprise account. The family account comes with a shared vault to which users can move passwords, passports, credit cards and other types of information and provide access to all members. Users can also create entirely new vaults to share items with only one specific family or team member. With a team account, users can share passwords with team members or invite a client as a guest. Team accounts include up to five guests, and business accounts include up to 20 guests.
Keeper does have a free account option, but this low-tier option can only be used on one device, with no syncing, so it likely won’t be a sustainable option for most. Keeper’s pricing starts at a reasonable $2.91 per month for its individual plan, with a half-off discount for students. Keeper’s family plan starts at $6.24 per month, serves up to five users and includes 10GB of additional file storage. Users can also opt to upgrade to the “bundled” version of the individual or family plans which can include private messaging, more file storage and password security monitoring through BreachWatch. Its business and enterprise plans are billed on a per user per month basis and are cheaper per user than 1Password’s team and business plans.
1Password does not include a free version like Keeper does, although it does offer a free 30-day trial. Its individual plan is just slightly higher priced than Keeper’s, but its family plan is significantly lower for the same amount of users. Its team and business plans, however, are more costly, with its business plan costing over $30 per year more than Keeper’s Enterprise plan. However, 1Password’s business plan includes free family plans, the ability to share with guests, and document storage for each user. While Keeper offers document storage for its business accounts, it must be purchased separately as an add-on. Those interested in an Enterprise account must contact 1Password for a quote.
|Student||50% off Keeper Unlimited||N/A|
|Individual||Keeper Unlimited Password Manager $2.91/month ($34.99/year); Plus Bundle $4.87/month ($58.47/year); Max Bundle $6.01/month ($72.22/year)||$2.99/month (billed annually); free 30-day trial|
|Family||Keeper Family Password Manager $6.24/month ($74.99/year); Plus Bundle $8.62/month ($103.48/year); Max Bundle $12.39/month ($148.72/year)||$4.99/month (billed annually); up to 5 users; free 30-day trial|
|Team||N/A||$3.99/user/month ($47.88 billed annually)|
|Business||$3.75/user/month ($45 billed annually)||$7.99/user/month ($95.88 billed annually)|
|Enterprise||$5.00/user/month ($60 billed annually)||Custom pricing|
To get the most out of your password manager, it’s just as important to know how to use it as to select the right one. Below, we compare Keeper and 1Password on the functions their customers are likely to use the most.
|Setting up the vault||Import new records from web browser, text file or another password manager or add them manually||Import data from a CSV file, save and fill passwords on websites as you go or enter items manually on 1Password.com|
|Logging into accounts||Click on Keeper lock symbol to autofill username and password; locate a record in the app or vault; select account from a list||Click 1Password icon in browser toolbar and select item to fill on websites or use keyboard shortcut Ctrl + backslash (\); sign in from another website by clicking on 1Password icon and selecting desired site|
|Creating passwords||Automatically generate new passwords with a single click||Click 1Password icon in browser and then the wheel symbol to adjust password settings; copy and paste password into password field|
|Changing passwords||Visit websites’ “change password” pages for automatic prompts; generate new passwords with one click||Sign into website, go to “change password” page, enter current password and then click 1Password icon, then wheel signal to select new password settings; copy and paste new password|
|Sharing logins||Share records and folders with other Keeper users; Click Share+ icon to enter recipient email and share files, folders and sub-folders||With family accounts, use shared vault or create a new vault to share log-ins with one specific member; Teams and business also allow users to invite one-time guests|
|Recovering account||Users answer security question and receive a backup email authorization code; two-factor authentication if enabled||Users must find their unique Secret Key through the 1Password app where they’re still signed in, a browser previously used to sign in to their 1Password account or in their Emergency Kit; members of family or team accounts may have a family organizer or team administrator recover their account|
|Advanced security features||Zero-knowledge system; two-factor authentication; emergency access; BreachWatch add-on||Zero-knowledge system; two-factor authentication; Secret Key and Master Password combination; Watchtower breach alerts; secure input fields|