Detailed Expert Review
I have tried over 30 different password managers, and almost all of them had serious flaws that left my data unprotected — but not Dashlane. It’s safe, easy-to-use, and packed with bonus features that help make my online life easier and more secure.
- One-click password changer. Audits the entire password vault and replaces weak passwords with one click.
- Great user interface. Simplifies password management with easy autofilling, sharing data with other users, and creating strong passwords.
- Unlimited VPN (virtual private network). Provides unlimited secure web browsing, unblocks geo-restricted streaming content, and runs faster than many standalone VPNs.
- Customer support. Well-trained tech support team provides responsive email and live chat support.
Dashlane’s Premium plan is, in my opinion, the best password manager available — Dashlane Free is OK, but it’s not the best free password manager on the market. If you need a decent free password manager, LastPass offers a much better free plan.
I’ve tested almost all of the password managers out there, and some of them actually left major holes in my online security. But Dashlane has repeatedly proven to be 100% secure, easy to use, and very affordable.
I ran Dashlane through a pretty exhaustive test, trying to see if there was anything that would make me cautious about using this password manager.
Here’s what I found out.
Dashlane Security Features
Because password managers hold so much sensitive information, they have to be really well protected. I felt 100% secure in letting Dashlane store my private logins because of powerful security features like:
- 256-bit AES encryption. Dashlane uses military-grade encryption to store passwords. This one-way encryption is practically unbreakable.
- Zero-knowledge protocol. One-way encryption means that nobody at Dashlane can access user data — that’s why it’s so important not to forget your Master Password!
- Encrypted storage. All users get 1 GB of encrypted data storage, and you can share that data with other Dashlane users.
- Multi-factor authentication. This adds another step to the login process — along with your Master Password, you can log in using a Temporary One Time Password (TOTP), USB device like YubiKey, or even the biometrics on your smart device.
Like most competitors, Dashlane can autofill an unlimited number of logins, web forms, and financial details — but it’s also got some unique features that make it my favorite password manager of 2020.
Any password manager will generate strong and unique new passwords. But Dashlane makes it incredibly easy to replace old, weak passwords. When I tested Keeper, it flagged dozens of my passwords for being too weak. But in order to strengthen those passwords, I had to go through all of my accounts and manually change them. Changing passwords with Keeper was really tedious!
Dashlane’s Password Changer even automatically changed my weak passwords on a ton of websites including Reddit, Vimeo, and WebMD. Password Changer can automatically change passwords on over 300 websites, with new ones getting added all the time.
Dashlane isn’t the only password manager with a feature like this. For example, both LastPass and Norton Password Manager (included with the antivirus Norton 360) have an automatic password changer. But, in both cases, those features are much more limited than Dashlane’s, and they’re only compatible with around 50-60 sites.
During Dashlane’s setup process, the Password Changer brings up a list of all your existing passwords and ranks them according to their Safety Level. It also gives a breakdown of any security issues associated with each of your passwords.
Dashlane noticed I’d reused one password 120 times on my test account, marking it “Extremely unsafe”.
Dashlane’s Password Changer then lets you change your passwords with just one click.
This is an incredible feature — you’ve most likely created hundreds of online accounts over the years, and no other password manager has a way to automatically change so many passwords.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Dashlane is the only password manager to give users access to a virtual private network (VPN) — a feature that reroutes your internet traffic through an encrypted, secure protocol.
Dashlane gets a lot of attention for this, and including a VPN with a password manager actually makes a lot of sense. By encrypting your data on public Wi-Fi networks, a VPN can prevent hackers from stealing your passwords and other personal information.
VPNs typically slow down your internet speed. However, Dashlane uses one of the fastest VPN providers in the business (AnchorFree).
I tested Dashlane’s VPN with Ookla’s SpeedTest.
First I tested my regular broadband speeds — without the VPN enabled — to get a benchmark speed.
My regular speed without a VPN:
My regular broadband connection provides a 40 Mbps download rate — pretty normal for my part of the UK.
For my first test of Dashlane’s VPN, I connected to a VPN server in the UK. Even though this was the closest location available, I expected some slowdown as Dashlane re-routed my traffic through its server.
Dashlane’s VPN speed when connected to the UK (my home country):
My download speed slowed to 28.5 Mbps. This is really pretty good, and wouldn’t be noticeable for most activities (with the exception of streaming ultra-HD video). My “ping” increased from 9 ms to 22 ms. A high ping can be a problem for activities like online gaming, but it’s unavoidable when using a VPN.
For my next test, I connected to a server in France. France is pretty close to the UK, but I expect a significant slowdown when connecting to a server in another country.
Dashlane’s VPN speed when connected to France (nearby country):
My download speed barely reduced at all when I connected to France — from 28.5 Mbps in the UK to 26.3 Mbps in France. That is impressive.
My final test was to connect to a server in the United States. The US is a long way from the UK, but there’s a lot of great content on the US version of Netflix that I can’t access in the UK. This is one reason it’s important to have a fast VPN.
Dashlane’s VPN speed when connected to USA (across an ocean):
My download speed was 27.6 Mbps when connected to Dashlane’s servers in the US. This is highly impressive — in fact, I tested it a few times to make sure there hadn’t been a mistake.
Another great thing about Dashlane’s VPN — you can use as much data as you want. This is a big deal. Most “bonus” VPNs included with other security products impose strict usage limits. For example, Kaspersky restricts free users to 300 MB per day, and Panda limits users to 150 MB per day on most plans.
My top-recommended antivirus software — Norton 360 — also comes with an unlimited VPN, but it’s far slower. I use both Norton and Dashlane regularly. Norton is great in pretty much every respect — but I’ll choose Dashlane’s VPN every time.
Dashlane lets you register trusted people as Emergency Contacts. If you can’t access Dashlane in an emergency, your Emergency Contacts can log into your account and retrieve your passwords and secure documents.
I added my dad as an Emergency Contact. If my dad requests access to my account, Dashlane will email me to ask my permission to let him in. If I don’t respond within the Waiting Period (I chose 2 days), this probably means I’m out of reach, so Dashlane will let him into my account.
Most of the top password managers have a similar Emergency feature. For example, LastPass and RoboForm do this in pretty much the same way. Dashlane doesn’t add anything new here, but it’s a good implementation of this feature — and it’s available even for Free users.
Dashlane lets you securely store and organize your receipts. Dashlane used to save receipts automatically — but unfortunately, it no longer does this. You have to enter purchase details manually.
The Receipts feature could be helpful if you’re self-employed and need to keep track of expenses.
However, as a regular consumer — even one who does most of their shopping online — I’m not too sure why you’d need to keep this information in highly-encrypted storage. The Receipts features isn’t something I can see myself using.
Dark Web Monitoring
Dashlane partners with security firm SpyCloud to provide an excellent Dark Web Monitoring service. It scans the dark web — the hidden corners of the internet where hackers typically sell stolen information — to check if your personal information has been compromised.
Setting up Dark Web Monitoring is simple — I just selected the Dark Web Monitoring tab in Dashlane’s desktop application and entered my email address.
Dashlane will find out whether hackers have stolen any personal information associated with this email address. Things like:
- Credit card details.
- Social Security numbers.
- Phone numbers.
Fortunately, Dashlane didn’t find any of my personal information for sale on the Dark Web. But if you are a victim of fraud, it’s crucial that you know right away, so you can cancel your credit cards and notify the authorities.
Dashlane isn’t unique in offering a Dark Web Monitoring service — LastPass provides a very similar feature called “Breach Alerts”. Both brands do this well. However, this is a Dashlane Premium feature, whereas LastPass delivers it for free.
2-Factor Authentication (2FA)
2-Factor Authentication (2FA) is an extra-secure login method that brings a significant increase in account security. With 2FA enabled, Dashlane sends a One-Time Password to your mobile device to verify your identity. 2FA adds an extra layer of security on top of your Master Password.
Dashlane lets you choose between activating 2FA each time you log in or each time you log in on a new device.
Most password managers provide 2FA. And many go further than Dashlane. LastPass, for example, offers Multi-factor Authentication — meaning you can use 3 or more authentication methods. However, anything stronger than 2FA isn’t necessary for the average person.
Dashlane integrates with several authentication apps, including Authy and Google Authenticator. Dashlane Premium subscribers can use 2FA with YubiKey, a USB authenticator.
I also tested Dashlane’s 2FA feature using FreeOTP, a free authentication app for Android — it worked perfectly in every case.
Dashlane Plans and Pricing
Dashlane has a few plans:
Dashlane Free — Limited, Not That Good
Dashlane Free gives you access to a lot of great features, including:
- Password storage.
- Form and payment autofill.
- Security alerts.
- Password Generator.
- Password Changer.
- Basic 2-factor authentication (a more secure login method).
- Password sharing (with up to 5 people).
- Emergency contact access.
- Secure Notes storage.
That’s all for free! Sounds great, right?
Well, if this looks too good to be true… that’s because it is.
Dashlane will give you all of these awesome features — for free — but you can only store up to 50 passwords.
Plus, you can only use it on one device.
For me, that’s just not enough. But if you have fewer than 50 passwords, and if you only need a password manager on one device, Dashlane Free is a great option.
Dashlane Premium — Best Value, All Features Included
Dashlane’s Premium plan is where things get interesting. You get all the Free features, plus:
- Advanced 2-factor authentication (using YubiKey).
- VPN with unlimited data.
- Dark Web Monitoring.
- 1 GB secure file storage.
- Remote Access via a web app on Chrome, Firefox, or Edge.
- Priority support.
Dashlane offers more useful features than any other password manager. Accordingly, Dashlane is one of the more expensive password managers available.
You may already have some of these features that Dashlane provides elsewhere. For example, some of the best antivirus packages, such as Norton 360 Standard, provide Dark Web Monitoring and a VPN.
However, don’t let this put you off. Dashlane is still completely worth the price — even if you don’t need all the features.
And there’s a full, 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied.
Dashlane Premium Plus (US Only) — Includes Identity Theft Protection
Dashlane Premium Plus is only available in the United States. It provides some extra identity theft protection features, such as:
- Credit Monitoring via TransUnion. Dashlane will alert you to any activity on your credit report.
- Identity Restoration Support. Professional advice on recovering from identity theft.
- Identity Theft Insurance via American Insurance Group (AIG) — up to $1 million of cover.
Dashlane Premium Plus is a big jump in price compared with Dashlane Premium — but it’s still pretty cheap.
Falling victim to identity theft can be devastating, so upgrading to Premium Plus is a good opportunity to get some low-cost extra protection for your peace-of-mind.
Dashlane Premium Family — Good Family Plan
Dashlane’s Premium Family plan is pretty good. It comes with all of Dashlane’s Premium features, plus:
- Up to 5 additional licenses.
- A family control dashboard.
- Private accounts for each member.
Dashlane also offers a Premium Plus Family plan for US users, which offers the same identity theft protection as Premium Plus but for all members included on the family plan.
I think 1Password has a slightly better family plan, but Dashlane Premium Family is a better choice if you want all of the extra features the Dashlane has — a VPN, dark web monitoring, one-click password changer, etc.
Dashlane Ease of Use and Setup
One big selling point for Dashlane is just how easy it is to set up and use. Dashlane provides one of the best setup processes I’ve ever experienced. And I don’t just mean for a password manager — I mean out of any software I’ve ever used!
Download the setup file, and you’ll be installing the browser extension with just two clicks:
Click once more to import all your existing passwords:
Within about 3 minutes, I was able to:
- Create an account and choose a Master Password.
- Download and install the Dashlane Windows application.
- Import all my existing passwords.
- Set up Dark Web Monitoring.
- Install Dashlane’s Chrome extension.
- Use the Password Changer to change many of my weak passwords.
Once I’d set up Dashlane, I found the browser extension was all I really needed for day-to-day password management. Dashlane’s browser extension can:
- Automatically log you into websites.
- Autofill forms and payment information.
- Generate strong new passwords.
- Display your saved login details.
In fact, I forgot Dashlane was even there most of the time. This simplicity is a real selling point. Dashlane is a great choice if you want to stay secure online but struggle using complicated software (I’m looking at you, Zoho Vault).
Dashlane Mobile App
Dashlane’s mobile app provides access to all of Dashlane’s features — so you can manage your passwords, retrieve your Secure Notes, and use the VPN on multiple devices.
Unlike most password manager mobile apps, Dashlane does let you take screenshots within the app. For security reasons, this is an optional feature, and it’s turned “off” by default.
Dashlane’s mobile app autofills passwords on a variety of mobile browsers, it autofills passwords across a good range of mobile apps, and it provides mobile access to all Dashlane’s features.
Password manager mobile apps are quite inconsistent in terms of which mobile browsers they support. For example, 1Password’s Android app doesn’t support Chrome, and LastPass’s Android app only supports Chrome.
Dashlane’s mobile app works with a good range of mobile browsers. On iOS, Dashlane supports Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. On Android, I got it to work with Chrome, Firefox, Firefox Focus, DuckDuckGo, and Edge. Unfortunately, I had issues with Brave (not a common browser but very popular among privacy experts). Brave’s built-in password manager kept overriding Dashlane, and I was unable to autofill my passwords a lot of the time.
Dashlane will also autofill passwords on many mobile apps. On iOS, the app autofill feature is pretty limited. This is due to Apple’s security restrictions and it’s a problem for all third-party password managers. iOS “sandboxes” many apps so they can’t interact.
I tested the Android app on a Samsung S10e running Android 10. The Android app works much better than the iOS version. The autofill feature enabled me to easily log into most apps, including Facebook and LinkedIn, but it didn’t work with some high-security apps like PayPal or my internet banking app.
To be fair to Dashlane, I’ve never tested a password manager app where the “app autofill” feature worked perfectly. Ultimately, l found it easy to get around these minor issues with the app autofill — I just opened the Dashlane mobile app and copied the relevant password to my clipboard when required.
Dashlane’s mobile app really shines when it comes to its features. With the Dashlane mobile app, you have pretty much the full version of Dashlane available in your pocket.
Here’s an example of why it’s so important for a password manager to have a good mobile app. Just the other day, I needed to send someone a copy of my ID via email. Luckily, I’d previously scanned my driver’s license and uploaded it using Dashlane’s Secure Notes feature.
I accessed my Secure Notes on my phone, which showed me a list of the notes I’d created.
Here how that looks:
I tapped on my driver’s license and Dashlane showed me the attached image of my ID.
I could then securely view the file within Dashlane or download it to my phone.
Within 2 minutes, I’d downloaded the image of my driver’s license and emailed it to my colleague. This was a super convenient and secure way of sharing sensitive information.
Like with all password managers, Dashlane’s mobile app isn’t perfect. However, it’s easily one of the best password manager mobile apps I’ve tried. The only issue is with app autofill, where Dashlane still beats its main competition (namely LastPass and 1Password). I’ve also deleted my previous VPN mobile app — I just use Dashlane’s mobile VPN now.
Dashlane provides the following types of customer support:
- In-depth FAQs in English, French, German, and Spanish.
- Email support in English (7 days a week), French, and German (both Monday-Friday).
- Live chat in English (Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm US Eastern Standard Time).
- Twitter (@DashlaneSupport).
Overall, I was very impressed with Dashlane’s support team. I received friendly and well-informed advice within less than a minute via the Live Chat option:
I also got a quick response via email when I requested a refund. Unsurprisingly, the support team did make one attempt to try to change my mind:
I replied and offered my feedback a few days later. I got the following response within 12 hours:
Dashlane offers FAQ documents, too, and they’re incredibly in-depth. Each topic has step-by-step instructions so you can troubleshoot most problems yourself. For example, when I had difficulty installing the Firefox extension, I quickly found a solution in the FAQs.
Dashlane doesn’t offer phone support, but I don’t know of any password manager that does. There’s also no support forum. Quite a few password managers offer this — including 1Password and Bitwarden — and I’ve found they can be a pretty helpful resource when needed, so it’d be nice to see Dashlane implement this in the future.
Overall, Dashlane’s helpful and responsive customer support makes it a great choice if you’re not experienced using password managers — particularly if you speak English and can use the live chat option.
Is Dashlane the Best Password Manager Out There?
Dashlane has more features than any other password manager I’ve tested. But ultimately, what puts Dashlane ahead of the competition isn’t the quantity, but the quality of its features.
For example, Dashlane’s VPN is a unique feature among password managers. But it’s not just any VPN — Dashlane’s VPN is one of the fastest and more reliable on the market.
Dashlane also excels at the basic password management features. The Password Changer is a real game-changer — it lets you make a huge step up in your online security with just one click.
I’d recommend Dashlane to just about anyone, with a couple of reservations. If you want something cheaper, consider LastPass. And 1Password might be a better option if you need a family plan, but Dashlane’s family plan is still really good.
But overall, and most importantly, Dashlane works perfectly — it’s well-designed, secure, and you’ll feel confident that it’s looking after your personal information. Even if you’ve never used a password manager before, you should find Dashlane a pleasure to use.
Dashlane – Frequently Asked Questions
🤔 Is there a free version of Dashlane?
Dashlane Free is fairly decent in terms of the features it offers — including the Password Generator, Password Changer, and sharing passwords with up to 5 accounts. However, Dashlane Free is limited to one device, and you’ll only be able to store 50 passwords. You also won’t have access to the VPN or Dark Web Monitoring features.
🤔️🤔 Can I sync my Dashlane data across more than one device?
Yes, you can sync your Dashlane data across multiple devices, including smartphones and computers. Note that you must be using Dashlane Premium to sync your data between more than one device.
Navigate to “Preferences” and click on the Sync tab. Here, you’ll be able to enable or disable sync. To sync your Dashlane data across all of your devices, you must be logged in to Dashlane on the device that holds all of your data and have “Sync” enabled.
🤔 Are my passwords stored on Dashlane’s servers?
No, all of the passwords and data linked to your Dashlane account are stored securely on your device(s). All of your data is encrypted and can only be accessed using your Master Password.
Dashlane’s employees cannot access your data or Master Password, even in an emergency — such as losing your device or forgetting your Master Password. This is why it’s essential that you remember your password and set up an emergency contact who can retrieve your data if they need to.
🤔️ How do I set up an emergency contact?
Setting up an emergency contact is crucial if you ever forget your Master Password, or if you can’t access your data.
Go to the “Emergency” tab and click the Add new button. In the box underneath “Emergency Contact” type in the email address of the person who you’d like to have as an emergency contact. Note that your emergency contact must have a Dashlane account to be able to access your data in an emergency — if they’re not already a Dashlane user, they can create an account to accept your request.
Before sending the request, you can set the “Waiting period” — the time you’ll have to respond to a data request before your emergency contact is granted access automatically. You can set the “Waiting Period” from No Waiting Period up to 60 Days. You can also select Require Your Response, which means your emergency contact will never be granted access to your data automatically. Note that if you select “Require Your Response”, you’ll never be able to recover your data if you forget your account login details.
You can also customize what information your emergency contact will be able to access. For example, if you want them to have access to one website password only, you can click Advanced at the bottom left of the “New contact” window, and enter the specific information they’ll be able to access in the Emergency items box.
To submit the request to your new emergency contact, click Next and then type in the name you want to appear as in the email request. Once done, click Send, and enter your Master Password.
Your emergency contact will receive the request in their email inbox and their Dashlane app. Your emergency contact will have to navigate to the “Emergency” page to accept the request.
Whenever your emergency contact requests to access your account, you’ll receive a message in the Dashlane app. You can click Grant access or Decline access. If you can’t access your account, your emergency contact will have to wait until the “Waiting period” is complete.