The password manager market is steadily growing, and it’s no exaggeration to say that users now have 10 or more excellent options to choose from. With so many providers to choose from, it can be hard to narrow down the search or even know where to start your evaluation. We focused on these five key features to help you make a more informed decision when choosing between NordPass and Dashlane.
Password managers are the best way to keep your information safe, but you still need to find a reliable platform. Security and encryption is the most important factor to consider when looking for a new password manager.
Industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption is used by NordPass and Dashlane. At the same time, there are significant gaps between different applications when it comes to password managers.
Two-factor authentication (2FA), for example, is a crucial tool for securing online accounts. If your password manager doesn’t support 2FA, it is that much easier for a hacker to get into your account and compromise your passwords.
Most people access the internet on multiple devices, so you probably need a password manager that offers cloud syncing on different kinds of devices.
Password managers almost always offer mobile apps for iOS and Android, but different vendors approach desktop access differently. Some offer dedicated desktop apps for macOS, Windows, and Linux, while others stick to extensions that load directly into your browser.
In many cases, you also can access your passwords through the provider’s website. App compatibility covers a platform’s availability as well as the reviews it has received for each of its clients.
Setup and Ease of Use
You need to complete a few steps to get started with a new password manager. First, you have to create an account. Second, you have to download the right app for the device you’re using. Finally, you have to either enter all of your passwords or import them from an existing database.
With the right provider, that entire process should only take a few minutes. From there, you should be able to rely on the application to keep track of your passwords across devices and enter them as needed into websites and apps. If something goes wrong, you should be able to get help from their customer support team and quickly resolve the problem.
People share passwords with friends and family members for a variety of reasons. In 2023, most password managers come with at least some features to streamline password sharing and make it more secure. The best providers make it easy to share information regardless of whether the recipient is using the same password manager.
In evaluating each platform, we consider the security and flexibility of its password sharing features. For example, some password managers allow you to password-protect shared passwords or set an expiration date.
Even if one application is slightly better than the other, you still have to consider price when making your final decision. Most password managers cost about $2 to $4 per month, but there are also some both above and below that range. Dashlane, for example, charges a minimum of $4.99 per month for paid subscriptions.
As mentioned above, most password managers rely on AES 256-bit encryption to protect your information. While this is true for Dashlane, NordPass is one of the only providers that uses a different encryption method.
Instead, NordPass uses a lesser known encryption protocol called XChaCha20. You can read more about XChaCha20 encryption on the NordPass website. They highlight some of the perceived advantages of XChaCha20 over the conventional AES 256-bit encryption, but it’s worth noting that AES 256-bit has held up well as a standard method of encryption. However, NordPass chose XChaCha20 for future proof as AES has some known flaws that could become exploitable in the future as computing power advances, thus making password cracking easier.
Aside from encryption, both NordPass and Dashlane also support 2FA to help secure your account. 2FA requires you to approve new login attempts with something other than the username and password. Even if someone can crack master passwords, they won’t be able to approve their own access attempt without the 2FA key.
The most common form of 2FA is to receive a code or notification on your mobile device, typically through an authenticator app. Both NordPass and Dashlane support major authenticator apps like Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, and Authy.
With NordPass, you can also use a USB security key to authenticate new login attempts. According to their website, USB security keys are generally supported as long as they meet the FIDO U2F standard. This makes NordPass a better option for people who don’t want to use a mobile authenticator app.
You shouldn’t have any trouble accessing either NordPass or Dashlane on any of your devices. NordPass offers dedicated apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. However, we noticed that customer reviews are somewhat mixed for the mobile apps. NordPass has an average review score of just 3.6 out of 5 on iOS and 3.8 out of 5 on Android.
Along with the apps, NordPass also has a browser extension available for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Opera. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be an extension for Safari users, but you can access your passwords through the website on any internet-connected device.
The Dashlane browser extension supports Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Based on the information on the Dashlane website, users of Safari, Opera, and other popular browsers appear to be out of luck. That said, there’s a Dashlane extension for Safari on the Mac App Store that still appears to be functional.
Similarly, Dashlane has an app on both the App Store and the Google Play Store. These apps don’t necessarily have a better aesthetic, but they seem to be more popular among users. The mobile apps have received stronger reviews on both iOS (4.8 average) and Android (4.6) than we saw with NordPass.
Part of this confusion stems from the fact that Dashlane recently switched from a desktop app to a web app. While most Dashlane reviews are still positive, many users have criticized this transition since roughly the beginning of 2022. It’s a good idea to start with the free trial of Dashlane or any paid service before paying for a premium subscription.
If you’re new to NordPass, you can create a new account and get started on their website. NordPass allows users to sign up using their email address, or by connecting to their Google or Apple accounts.
During the signup process, you’ll also have to set an account password that controls access to your entire account. NordPass requires master passwords to contain at least eight characters, both uppercase and lowercase letters, and at least one symbol.
We tested out a simple password that still met the basic requirements, but NordPass rejected this one since it was “commonly used.” This is a good sign that NordPass takes account security seriously.
One confusing aspect of NordPass is that it asks for both a master password and an account password without explaining what makes them different. In short, the difference is that the master password unlocks your password vault, while the account password is used to manage subscriptions and preferences within your Nord account. The account password is shared across all Nord services, while the master password is unique to NordPass.
NordPass puts the main menu on the left side of the screen. You can view entries by category or search for specific ones. In the center, you can see your existing entries, add new ones manually, or import them from another source. NordPass supports imports from major browsers and password managers. You can also import passwords through a comma-separated values (CSV) file.
Unlike NordPass, Dashlane won’t even let you sign up until you download one of their apps. From there, you need to enter an email and a master password to create your account. Dashlane has even stricter password strength requirements — you won’t be able to sign up with a simple eight-character password.
Dashlane’s interface is mostly similar to what we saw from NordPass, but there are also some important differences. As with NordPass, you can import passwords through a CSV file. Alternatively, you can import directly from Chrome if you’re using an Android device.
In addition to the virtual private network (VPN), Dashlane comes with a few helpful tools like password health, dark web monitoring, and a password generator. As you can see above, it also includes a unique “password changer” that’s exactly what it sounds like — with certain compatible accounts, you can change your password directly through Dashlane without having to go to the provider’s website.
Both NordPass and Dashlane make it easy to share passwords. Since password managers encrypt data in transit, this form of password sharing is safer than sharing passwords through channels like email or text.
Unfortunately, this feature is only fully accessible with a premium plan. Free NordPass users can’t share passwords at all, while free Dashlane users can only share a maximum of five passwords with each person. Both sent and received passwords are counted as shared. For example, if you send someone two passwords and they send you three, neither of you can share any more passwords with the other.
With NordPass, you can give the recipient of a password either full or limited access to that information. If you give them full access, they’ll be able to access, view, and even edit the password itself. Limited access enables them to use the password through autofill without letting them make any changes or see it in plain text.
Dashlane offers essentially the exact same feature with the option for full or limited sharing rights. As with NordPass, Dashlane’s full rights include the ability to change the entry. The recipient can even change who can use the password, which means they could even revoke your own access.
Limited rights allow the recipient to use the password without being able to see it or make any edits. The Dashlane website notes that even though the password is hidden superficially, someone with the right technical skills could theoretically reveal it in plain text.
There’s very little difference between NordPass and Dashlane when it comes to password sharing functionality with premium plans. That said, Dashlane’s free password sharing feature is much more generous than NordPass’ since you can share up to five items with each other person.
The free NordPass tier comes with most basic features, but it’s missing some important tools like password sharing, emergency access, and dark web monitoring.
Premium subscriptions cost $4.99 per month, but that drops to $2.99 per month if you pay annually or just $2.49 per month if you pay every two years. However, the price may increase when you renew.
NordPass Family plans cover up to six users for $7.99 per month. Like individual plans, these get much more affordable when you commit to a longer subscription. The rate is just $5.99 per month paid annually and $4.99 per month paid every two years.
You can start with a 30-day free trial of Premium ― but not Family ― when you create a free account. However, you can still get a full refund within 30 days of signing up for a Family subscription.
Dashlane’s free subscription is more limited with a maximum of just 50 total passwords and five shares. If you upgrade to Premium ― $6.49 per month or $4.99 per month when paid annually ― you’ll get unlimited password storage plus extra features like secure notes, unlimited password sharing, and 1 GB of file storage. Like NordPass, Dashlane offers a 30-day free trial of the premium subscription.
One of the key perks of Dashlane Premium is that it includes a VPN. Since decent VPNs usually cost at least a few dollars per month, this offsets some of the higher cost of Dashlane relative to NordPass. Still, NordPass Premium is half the cost of a paid Dashlane subscription.
Similarly, Dashlane Family is much more expensive than the NordPass counterpart at $8.99 per month/$7.49 per month paid annually. The two main advantages of Dashlane are its VPN and 1 GB of storage. If those features are important to you, Dashlane may be worth the additional cost.
While NordPass is a better option than Dashlane if you’re looking for a free service, the values are more comparable if you look at the paid plans. Dashlane is much more expensive — you’ll spend about $30 more per year with an annual Dashlane plan compared to NordPass. On the other hand, you’ll also be paying for 1 GB of storage and a VPN.
The right platform for you ultimately depends on what you’re looking for. Furthermore, there are many other good choices aside from NordPass and Dashlane. Don’t hesitate to check out our list of the best password managers to learn more about your options.