When it comes to choosing a password manager, not everyone has the same needs, making it difficult to choose the right tool. We’ve cut through the noise by comparing two popular password managers according to five key features. Keep in mind that no single password manager is right for every situation.
1. Security & Encryption
The main function of a password manager is to protect your login credentials from hackers and other unauthorized users. We evaluated each password manager based on the strength of its security features, such as whether it uses end-to-end encryption or secret keys to keep your logins safe. We also conducted tests to determine which tools do the best job of helping you create secure passwords. Some password managers alert you when you create a weak password but don’t force you to choose something stronger. Others require strong master passwords to ensure your data stays private.
2. App Compatibility
Few people use just one browser or device these days, so it’s important for a password manager to work on many platforms and browsers. We tested each password manager to determine if it works with major operating systems and internet browsers, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Edge. For users who haven’t upgraded to Edge yet, we also checked to see if each tool is compatible with Internet Explorer.
3. Usability & Ease of Use
We evaluated these tools on their usability and checked to see if each password manager supports biometric authentication. This security method uses fingerprints and other unique identifiers to verify your identity before granting access to your accounts. Although no security method is 100% foolproof, biometric authentication is one of the most secure ways to protect your data, as it’s incredibly difficult for a hacker to replicate your fingerprints or some other unique aspect of your identity.
4. Password Sharing
Password sharing is important if you plan to create an account for multiple users. To help you choose the right one for your needs, we tested each password manager to determine how easy it is to share credentials with family members or business associates. The best tools make it easy to share passwords for music and video streaming services, joint credit cards and other shared accounts.
It’s important to choose a password manager that fits your budget, so we evaluated both tools based on how much it costs for individual accounts, family accounts and business/enterprise accounts. We also checked to see how many users are supported by each type of account.
We spent more than 10 hours testing RoboForm and LastPass to see how they compare with each other based on five evaluation criteria. Our results are summarized below.
RoboForm uses several security methods to keep your data safe. For example, account owners are given a secret key that prevents their master passwords from being decrypted on the company’s server. As a result, your master password is never transmitted to RoboForm or any other location. It remains on your device, making it extremely difficult for hackers to gain access to your accounts. RoboForm also uses the PBKDF2 algorithm to “salt” your master password. This involves adding extra characters to make it more difficult for anyone to guess what your master password is. When it comes to creating a master password, RoboForm provides an additional layer of security by requiring you to use at least eight characters, four of which must be letters or special characters instead of numbers.
Like RoboForm, LastPass protects your data with several types of encryption and advanced security features. One of the main forms of encryption used is 256-AES, which prevents your data from being transmitted to the company’s server. This means that no one — including LastPass employees — will ever see your master password. LastPass also uses one-way salted hashing to prevent unauthorized access to your accounts. The one-way process prevents hackers from reversing the salting, making it impossible for hackers to remove the extra data from your master password.
RoboForm and LastPass both work on most major platforms and browsers, giving you the flexibility you need to manage passwords across an array of devices. Supported operating systems include Windows, macOS, iOS and Android, making it easy to use RoboForm on a desktop computer, laptop or smartphone. RoboForm is also compatible with all major browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, Safari and Internet Explorer. Although RoboForm works on many platforms, it isn’t compatible with Linux, which is an important consideration if you need a password manager for business use.
Like RoboForm, LastPass is compatible with all the major operating systems: Windows, macOS, iOS and Android. It also works with a variety of browsers, including Chrome, Opera, Safari, Firefox, Edge and Internet Explorer. LastPass beats RoboForm in the compatibility category because it works with the Linux operating system, Windows Phone, Windows RT and Dolphin browser. If you need an account that supports several people using a variety of platforms, LastPass may be a better fit than RoboForm. This is especially true if you need to accommodate a large group of business users who plan to use different platforms at work, at home and on the road.
|Chrome, Chrome OS||Yes||Yes|
|Other||N/A||Dolphin browser (Android)
RoboForm receives high marks for usability and ease of use, partly because of how easy it is to set up an account and start using the password manager. To create an account, you just need to visit the RoboForm website, download the version you need and create a master password. Once your account is active, you can import your existing passwords, eliminating the need to enter every login manually. RoboForm also imports your bookmarks and other personal data, putting everything in one convenient location. For added convenience, RoboForm allows you to organize your login credentials and folders, making it easy to find what you need when you need it.
It’s also easy to set up a LastPass account. All you have to do is visit the LastPass website and follow the on-screen instructions. After you create your account, you’ll have the option of downloading LastPass for multiple devices. Like Roboform, LastPass makes it easy to import passwords from other locations, reducing the amount of time it takes to get up and running. LastPass has a bit of an edge over Roboform because it automatically detects which browsers are installed on your device, eliminating the need to do a manual search for the browser extensions you need.
RoboForm makes it easy to share passwords with family members, employees and trusted friends. To share login credentials with someone, simply open the RoboForm Editor, right-click on the item you want to share and enter the email address of the person who needs access to the credentials. After entering the email address, click Add to complete the sharing process. What sets RoboForm apart from other password managers is that you can share your passwords with people who don’t have their own Roboform accounts. If you want to share the password to a streaming service with a friend, that person doesn’t have to create a separate account just to access your login.
LastPass also allows you to share passwords with other people. If there’s a login you want to share, simply visit your LastPass vault, hover over the item and enter the person’s email address. Once the other person accepts, any changes you make — such as a new password for the website — will be synced to the other person’s account, eliminating the need to send messages back and forth about the change. If you decide to stop sharing your password, you just have to revoke the other person’s access. This makes it easy to make adjustments based on whatever’s happening in your life. If an employee leaves your company or you part ways with a significant other, you won’t have to worry about changing your account passwords.
If you need a password manager for personal use, RoboForm offers two options. A basic account is free, but it’s missing some key features, including two-factor authentication, syncing across all devices and priority 24/7 support. Upgrading to a premium account costs $19 per year and gives you access to every feature available to personal users. For business accounts, your price depends on how many users are in your organization. If you have one to 10 business users, you’ll pay $39.95 per user per year. The price drops to $29.95 per user per year for 101 to 1,000 users. If you have anywhere from 11 to 100 users, you’ll pay either $34.95 or $35.95 per user per year.
LastPass provides a broader range of accounts than RoboForm, all with different price levels to suit your budget. Like Roboform, LastPass charges nothing for a basic account, but you can upgrade to a premium individual account for $3 per month. Family accounts support up to six users for just $4 per month. If you need a password manager for business, LastPass has three options: a team account, a business account and an enterprise account. Prices range from $4 per user per month to $6 per user per month. If you need an enterprise account for hundreds or thousands of users, you may be able to negotiate custom pricing. LastPass requires annual billing for all account types.
|Individual||Free for a basic account; $19 per year for premium features||Free for a basic account; $3 per month for a premium account (billed annually)|
|Family||N/A||$4 per month for up to six users (billed annually)|
|Teams||N/A||$4 per user per month for five to 50 users (billed annually)|
|Business||$29.95 to $39.95 per user per year depending on the number of users in the organization||Enterprise plan starts at $6 per user per month (billed annually)|
|Enterprise||N/A||$4 per user per month or custom pricing based on your company’s needs (billed annually)|
Both password managers have a variety of useful features, but it’s important to understand how to use those features to make your life easier. The comparison table below lists some of the key functions of a password manager and shows how RoboForm and LastPass stack up in each category.
|Setting up the vault||Once you create an account, you’ll be able to create a vault by importing passwords or adding them manually.||After creating your account, create a vault by visiting your favorite websites and saving your login credentials. For added convenience, you can create a vault on your local machine.|
|Logging into accounts||Visit the login page of the target website. For browsers that support autofill, all you need to do is click the autofill button and choose the correct login. If your browser doesn’t support autofill click the RoboForm extension and select a login.||To log in via the browser extension, click the LastPass icon and enter your login credentials. Navigate to the target website and click Launch. If you’re already in the LastPass vault, simply locate the target website and click Launch.|
|Creating passwords||Click the RoboForm icon and select Generate New.||When you visit a new website, click the LastPass icon to open the password generator. If you want to create a random password, choose the Generate and Fill option.|
|Changing passwords||To change your master password, click the RoboForm icon, select Change Master Password and enter your current credentials. You’ll be prompted to create a new master password.||To change your password manually, click the LastPass icon and log in to the website using your existing username and password. Create a new password, click the LastPass field and click Edit to save the new password in LastPass.|
|Sharing logins||Open the RoboForm Editor, locate the item you want to share, right-click it and enter the other person’s email address.||Go to the LastPass vault, choose the item you want to share and click the Share icon. You’ll be prompted to enter the other person’s email address.|
|Recovering account||You may be able to recover your account using Touch ID, if you set up this feature when you created your account. Another option is to ask your emergency contact to recover your account for you. If none of these options works, you can reset your master password.||You may be able to recover your account with an SMS message or by completing the master password recovery process.|
|Advanced security features||RoboForm uses multiple encryption methods, requires users to create strong master passwords and offers two-factor authentication and multifactor authentication to keep accounts secure.||LastPass keeps your data secure with several forms of encryption. For added security, multifactor authentication is available for business accounts.|