Updated on: May 1, 2023
Short on time? Here’s the best password manager for Windows in 2023:
1Password— Unbreakable security with an excellent Windows app and intuitive extensions for all major browsers, plus Windows Hello compatibility, password security auditing, password sharing, hidden vaults, and 1 GB secure storage, all for a low price.
I tested the most popular password managers on the market to find the best ones for Windows — password managers that are highly encrypted, have intuitive Windows integrations, can sync across multiple devices, are compatible with biometric tools like Windows Hello, and are excellent at generating, saving, and auto-filling passwords.
I found several password managers that are secure, reliable, and packed with useful features. In fact, every product on this list stands out from the other products I’ve tested — each password manager here is easy to use and offers excellent features for Windows users. My top choices aren’t buggy, they include essential features, and they’re much better than password managers included in web browsers.
Quick summary of the best password managers for Windows in 2023:
1Password— Best overall Windows password manager in 2023.
Dashlane— Very secure & feature-rich (with standout extras like a VPN).
RoboForm— Excellent form-filling capabilities.
NordPass— User-friendly with advanced encryption.
Keeper— High-security extras (up to 100 GB storage, encrypted chat).
- Plus 5 more!
- Comparison of the Best Password Managers for Windows.
1Password — Best Overall Windows Password Manager in 2023
During my tests, the 1Password desktop app worked smoothly on Windows, letting me easily generate, organize, and share passwords. I also like that 1Password is compatible with Windows Hello, so I could use my fingerprint and face ID to quickly access my password vault. 1Password also supports Windows Hello companion devices like fingerprint readers or USB keys on older devices.
1Password comes with the following features:
- Unlimited password storage.
- Multi-device sync.
- Two-factor authentication (2FA).
- Password sharing.
- Password security auditing.
- Dark web monitoring.
- Account recovery.
- Encrypted storage (1 GB).
- Privacy Cards (US users only).
- Travel Mode.
I like how 1Password works with the third-party app Privacy in order to set up Privacy Cards, which are virtual payment cards that hide your actual debit card information while making purchases online (Privacy Cards are currently only available for US users). These cards replace your actual debit card number with a different set of numbers when you make a purchase, so that your actual card information will remain safe and secure if the vendor ever falls victim to a data breach.
1Password’s Travel Mode is a unique feature — it lets you temporarily hide passwords and data stored in your 1Password vault. This is useful if you want to keep your data private while passing through border security checkpoints, or as a measure to prevent criminals from accessing your data if your laptop is stolen.
I was also impressed by 1Password’s security audit feature (Watchtower), which made it easy for me to check which of my passwords were weak, duplicated, or compromised. It’s cool that 1Password’s security auditing feature monitors credit card expiration dates too, notifying you if your cards are expiring soon and need to be replaced.
1Password is a secure and user-friendly Windows password manager with lots of features — it has strong encryption, a wide range of 2FA options, password security auditing, dark web monitoring, secure password sharing, account recovery, virtual payment cards, Travel Mode, and much more. Its intuitive Windows app makes it easy to use all of its features (even for new users), and it’s an excellent choice for both individual users and families (you can add as many users as you want to its family plan). You can try all of the premium features with a 14-day free trial.
Read the full 1Password review >
Dashlane — Best for Additional Features (Comes With a VPN)
Dashlane also has:
- Unlimited password storage.
- Multi-device sync.
- Password sharing.
- Passkey authentication.
- Virtual private network (VPN).
- Password strength auditing.
- Dark web monitoring.
- Emergency access.
- Secure storage (1 GB).
I really like Dashlane’s live dark web monitoring. This tool scans the dark web in real time and provides you with instant alerts in case of a leaked email address. Dashlane’s dark web monitoring includes 24/7 surveillance, monitoring for up to 5 email addresses, and instant data breach alerts. Some password managers don’t have dark web monitoring, and many of the ones that do (like 1Password and RoboForm) use a third-party database like Have I Been Pwned?’s free database. Dashlane, on the other hand, uses its own database and servers for dark web monitoring.
Dashlane recently introduced an innovative security feature called passkey authentication. This enables users to ditch passwords in favor of cryptography keys — enhancing both user experience and account security. Passkeys are only supported on a few websites right now, but given their potential, their adoption is certain to improve with time so it’s good to see Dashlane include this.
Dashlane also offers a VPN — when I tested it, it provided me with an encrypted internet connection with almost no slowdown. I maintained really fast speeds across all servers and could stream videos in HD without interruptions.
Dashlane is very secure, it’s user-friendly, and it comes with tons of extra features, including a VPN, Windows Hello compatibility, 1 GB encrypted storage, live dark web monitoring, and more. Dashlane’s free plan includes a free trial of Dashlane Premium, and all purchases come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read the full Dashlane review >
RoboForm — Best for Advanced Form-Filling
The RoboForm Windows app and browser extension are both easy to install and use — its intuitive interface and wide range of customization options make it a good choice for non-technical users.
There are 7 templates that RoboForm can automatically fill out, including forms for addresses, banks, automobiles, and passports. In my testing, RoboForm completed each web form in one click, filling out all of my information with zero errors.
RoboForm also includes:
- Unlimited passwords across unlimited devices.
- Windows application logins.
- Password auditing.
- Emergency access.
- Secure folder for sharing passwords.
- Secure bookmarks storage.
- Secure notes storage.
RoboForm, like Sticky Password, is one of the few password managers offering application logins. This means you can save and auto-fill logins for your Windows applications, like Skype and Spotify.
I also really like how RoboForm has a Bookmarks feature that saves and stores bookmarks to any devices where you have the app installed. You can store bookmarks through RoboForm’s browser extension, web app, or mobile apps directly from the web pages you want to store.
This feature is especially useful if you’re looking to quickly access your favorite sites across various browsers and operating systems. In my tests, I was instantly able to access my bookmarked sites from my Windows, Android, and Mac devices.
I also really like RoboForm’s secure notes storage. It let me easily save and share important information like safe lock combinations, internet passwords, and even secret family recipes!
RoboForm’s password auditing tool is right up there with 1Password’s. It uses the “zxcvbn” open source algorithm, which many cybersecurity experts believe is the best password strength tool available.
RoboForm also has password sharing, but it doesn’t allow permission options for individual items. When you send an individual item, the person you send it to isn’t able to edit or share it themselves. While RoboForm does have permission options for shared folders, I’d like to see it align more with top competitors like 1Password and Dashlane and allow you to select individual permission levels for each password you send. That said, RoboForm’s password sharing is secure and made it very easy to share items between users in my tests.
RoboForm is one of the most affordable password managers on the market, starting at $0.99 / month, so it’s a great option for users on a budget.
RoboForm has excellent form-filling capabilities — it accurately fills even the most advanced web forms with one click. RoboForm also comes with lots of additional features, like 2FA, application logins, bookmarks storage, and more. You can try RoboForm with a 30-day free trial, and all purchases come with a 30-day money back guarantee.
Read the full RoboForm review >
NordPass — User-Friendly With Advanced Encryption
NordPass is a simple and easy-to-use password manager that uses XChaCha20 encryption to secure your accounts (an algorithm that’s newer than 256-bit AES encryption, the standard that most password managers on the market use today). It’s a cool difference, but it’s impossible to say whether XChaCha20 is more secure than 256-bit AES, as neither of them have ever been hacked.
The features NordPass offers include:
- Multi-device sync.
- Password sharing.
- Passkey authentication.
- Data breach scanning.
- Password health checker.
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA).
- Secure notes and file storage.
When I tested NordPass’s Windows app, I found it simple to generate new passwords, auto-fill logins, organize my data, and share passwords and notes. I also found the web extension (compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Brave, and more) easy to use. Every time I made a new account, a pop-up appeared in the corner of my web browser, asking me if I wanted to save that account. After saving the account, I then just clicked on NordPass’s icon whenever I visited the saved account’s website to be logged in automatically.
I also like NordPass’s password health checker. It alerts you to weak, reused, and old passwords, and provides you with a link to the individual websites where you can change them. This is a feature many top password managers (such as 1Password and Dashlane) include, but I like how simple and lightweight NordPass’s health checker is — it doesn’t give you an overall score like a lot of competitors, but just lists which passwords you need to change and why.
With NordPass Premium, you get 3 GB of storage to attach all kinds of files to your passwords and notes, including important documents, photos, and videos. Annoyingly, individual files are limited to 50 MB, and the feature is currently only available on desktops and iOS devices — but it works really well so it’s still a nice addition to have.
NordPass’s MFA options are really good, too — it offers authentication with USB security keys, authenticator apps such as Google Authenticator and Authy, and backup codes. I found the MFA very easy to set up and use. While NordPass doesn’t offer smartwatch 2FA like Dashlane and Keeper, it has a decent range of options and they all work seamlessly.
Overall, NordPass provides essential password management at a very good value. You can use NordPass Free on 1 device at a time, whereas NordPass Premium brings you coverage for up to 6 devices for $1.99 / month. NordPass Family is the same, but it adds licenses for up to 6 users.
NordPass has an easy-to-use interface and a very high level of security — it offers high-quality Windows password protection with cutting-edge XChaCha20 encryption technology. It also features zero-knowledge architecture, MFA, and passkey authentication. All premium NordPass plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Keeper — Best for Additional Security Features
Keeper comes with a wide range of high-security features — it uses 256-bit AES encryption, has a variety of multi-factor authentication options, and is Service Organization Controls (SOC 2) compliant, meaning it regularly undergoes security audits.
The Keeper Windows app is really good — it has a clean, modern, and well-organized interface, all the features are easily accessible, and everything works as promised.
Keeper also has:
- Dark web monitoring (BreachWatch).
- Encrypted chat (KeeperChat).
- Password security auditing.
- Secure storage (up to 100 GB).
- Emergency access.
- Biometric login with Windows Hello.
I really like Keeper’s dark web monitoring feature. While top competitors like 1Password and Dashlane also scan the dark web for compromised credentials, I think Keeper does a particularly good job. In my tests, Keeper alerted me that one of my emails had been breached, which most competing password managers failed to catch!
It’s cool that Keeper has its own encrypted messaging app, called KeeperChat. In addition to securing your communication, it lets you retract messages, set self-destruct timers, and store media files. Similar to Keeper’s password manager, KeeperChat protects user data with 256-bit AES encryption and has a zero-knowledge policy, so that even Keeper employees aren’t able to view your messages.
However, I don’t like how you have to convince all of your contacts to download KeeperChat in order to message them on the app. This might be a challenge since most people are already happy with the encrypted messaging services that they currently use like WhatsApp and Signal.
Another perk is that you can pay extra for up to 100 GB of cloud storage — the other password managers on this list offer 1 GB per person at most. Keeper even allows you to buy up to 1 TB of KeeperChat storage, where you can save photos, videos, and other files in the Gallery section.
Keeper Unlimited offers unlimited passwords on unlimited devices, secure password sharing, emergency access, and more. With our special 30% discount, it’s priced at $17.49 / year, which is a good deal. Keeper Family adds 5 licenses and 10 GB cloud storage, and it’s also available at a 30% discount, so you can get it for $37.49 / year. Keeper does offer a free plan, but it can only be used on 1 mobile device so won’t protect your Windows PC. Both Unlimited and Family users can buy add-ons like dark web monitoring and up to 100 GB of cloud storage.
Keeper is a highly secure password manager with a lot of additional features — including dark web monitoring, up to 100 GB of secure storage, multi-factor authentication, an encrypted chat, and password security auditing. Keeper has plans for individuals and families, and you can try all of the premium features with a 30-day free trial.
LastPass — Good Free Features for Windows Users
LastPass has good plans for Windows users — even the free plan gives you unlimited password storage on an unlimited number of devices (though only the paid plans will let you use the Windows app). LastPass is also one of the rare free password managers to include password sharing — you can share unlimited passwords, but only with 1 other user. Dashlane’s free plan allows unlimited password sharing with other Dashlane users.
Both LastPass’s Windows app and browser extensions performed well during my tests — I had no problems using all of the provided features, and I found it very easy to generate, save, fill out, and share logins.
That said, some of LastPass’s browser extensions have limited functionality compared to competitors like 1Password and Dashlane.
What I like most about LastPass is that it offers several options to recover your account in case you forget your master password. For instance, LastPass can send a recovery code to your phone, or you can restore a previous master password up to 30 days after setting up a new one.
I also like that LastPass comes with 2FA and a TOTP generator for an additional layer of password security. It also includes password security auditing and dark web monitoring, which is pretty good but not quite as in-depth as what Dashlane offers.
LastPass also offers one-to-one password sharing with its free version — users can share an unlimited number of passwords or other stored items with one other LastPass user. However, the free plan lacks emergency access, security alerts, 1 GB of storage, and password strength auditing.
While LastPass Free is good, LastPass Premium is even better, adding features like one-to-many password sharing, dark web monitoring, emergency access, and 1 GB of storage for only $3.00 / month. Upgrading to this plan also gets you advanced two-factor authentication options and credit monitoring (for US customers only), which monitors your credit report for any signs of identity theft. LastPass Families is the same as Premium, adding coverage for up to 6 users for $4.00 / month.
LastPass has a good free plan for Windows users. It comes with unlimited password storage on an unlimited number of either desktop or mobile devices for 1 user. It also includes password sharing with one other user, 2FA, and account recovery. The premium version of LastPass adds advanced features like password sharing with multiple users, dark web monitoring, emergency access, and cloud storage. You can try LastPass with a 30-day free trial.
Read the full LastPass review >
Sticky Password — Good Premium Plan With a Portable Option
Sticky Password is a basic but reliable password manager with an intuitive Windows app. While it has fewer features than competitors like 1Password, Dashlane, and Keeper, it does offer some useful ones, including:
- Application logins.
- Dark web monitoring.
- Secure notes.
- Cloud and Wi-Fi sync options.
- Portable USB copy of the program.
I really like how Sticky Password can save and auto-fill logins for your Windows apps, like Skype and iTunes. RoboForm offers this too, but many other premium password managers don’t.
Sticky Password’s USB password manager is also a nice feature. You can load a portable version of Sticky Password onto a USB flash drive, giving you access to all your passwords and data on any PC. I also like how Sticky Password gives you the option to store your data locally on your device or on its cloud.
Sticky Password does provide dark web monitoring, but it isn’t great. It outsources its dark web monitoring to Crossword Cybersecurity, a company that specializes in protecting online data — but it can only monitor accounts already in your vault and it takes a long time to run a scan.
Sticky Password comes with two data synchronization options — cloud sync and Wi-Fi-only sync. Cloud sync encrypts all of your data using 256-bit AES encryption before syncing it across devices, making it a very safe option, but Wi-Fi-only sync makes sure that your data is only synced directly between devices through a trusted Wi-Fi network. This option provides users with an extra layer of security for their data and lets them have control over how it is managed. Sticky Password is one of the few password managers on the market to provide Wi-Fi-only data sync.
Sticky Password’s free plan includes unlimited passwords on 1 device, the portable USB version, 2FA, and secure notes storage. With Sticky Password Premium ($29.99 / year), you also get unlimited devices, password sharing, dark web monitoring, and cloud or local storage and sync. StickyPassword also offers a lifetime subscription. If you’re an animal lover, there’s an extra reason to choose Sticky Password. Part of the profit from each premium license goes to the Save The Manatee Club, a non-profit dedicated to conserving the manatee population.
Sticky Password offers all standard password management features, plus local data storage and a portable USB version. It’s easy to use on Windows, and it can even auto-fill your Windows app logins. The free plan comes with a 30-day free trial of Sticky Password Premium, and all purchases are backed with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read the full Sticky Password review >
Avira Password Manager — Intuitive Windows App + Good Free Plan
Avira Password Manager is secure and easy to use, so it’s good for non-technical users. It also has a pretty good free plan that gives you unlimited password storage across unlimited devices. Other top password managers like Dashlane limit you to 1 device on their free plans, but Dashlane Free comes with more additional security features than Avira Password Manager.
I found Avira Password Manager really intuitive on Windows. The interface is streamlined, and it generated, saved, and auto-filled passwords with no issues in all my tests.
Avira Password Manager’s features include:
- Built-in 2FA authenticator (free plan).
- Password vault auditing (paid plan).
- Data breach monitoring (paid plan).
However, Avira Password Manager is missing some key security features that keep your sensitive data secure and better protected. For example, it doesn’t have account recovery options if you lose your master password (LastPass has many recovery options). It also doesn’t offer emergency access.
Another downside is that Avira only offers an SMS 2FA option for logging into its website, and it doesn’t provide authenticator app integration, biometric 2FA, or hardware key authentication options. Top competitors like 1Password and Dashlane offer all of these features, and more.
That said, setting up the built-in authenticator is really simple. I just photographed the QR codes on 2FA-compatible sites, and Avira automatically generated a new temporary one-time password (TOTP) for those sites every 30 seconds.
Avira Password Manager’s free plan includes unlimited passwords on unlimited devices, a built-in 2FA authenticator, and multi-device sync. However, the paid plan ($2.67 / month) adds password vault auditing, website security monitoring, and data breach monitoring. You can also get Avira Password Manager as part of Avira’s comprehensive Prime antivirus package, which costs $59.99 / year and also provides a VPN and protection for up to 5 devices.
Avira Password Manager is user-friendly and secure, with a good free plan and a cheap premium version. The free plan offers unlimited password storage on unlimited devices, 2FA, and multi-device sync, whereas the premium version adds password vault auditing, website security monitoring, and data breach monitoring. You can get Avira Password Manager as a standalone app or bundled with the Avira Prime package, and there’s a 60-day money-back guarantee on all yearly plans.
Read the full Avira Password Manager review >
Bitwarden — Open-Source Password Management
Bitwarden is a secure open-source password manager with all of the features I expect to see in a premium product. That said, Bitwarden doesn’t offer the same ease of use as other premium password managers. When I tried to import my passwords from another password manager, I found the process quite complex. I also found the interface on Windows wasn’t that intuitive compared to Dashlane’s.
Nonetheless, my passwords synced easily between my devices, and the auto-fill feature worked well.
The features it offers include:
- Strong encryption.
- Two-factor authentication (2FA).
- Password security auditing.
- Password breach monitoring.
- Cloud or local hosting options.
- Password generator.
Bitwarden’s free plan is pretty good — it includes unlimited password storage across unlimited devices, as well as unlimited password sharing with 1 other user. Many top password managers limit you to 1 device on their free plans and don’t allow sharing. However, Dashlane offers storage for unlimited passwords on 1 device and lets you share unlimited passwords, and it also comes with extras like password security auditing, data breach monitoring, a TOTP authenticator, and more. These additional features are only available with Bitwarden’s premium plans.
If you’re a technical user, I think Bitwarden could be a good budget option for you. If you’re not tech-savvy, you’d be better off going for a password manager that’s simpler to use, like 1Password or Dashlane.
Bitwarden Premium gives you access to 1 GB encrypted storage, vault auditing tools, emergency access, USB 2FA (with security keys like YubiKey and FIDO), and a built-in 2FA authenticator for just $10.00 / year. Bitwarden Premium is much cheaper than competing brands, while still offering a variety of useful features. However, I’m not a fan of how this plan only allows you to share or sync folders with 1 other user. While you can still share text or files with other users, this feature is much more restrictive than top competitors like 1Password, which lets you share unlimited passwords with unlimited users with its premium plans.
For $10.00 / year, you can upgrade to Bitwarden’s Families plan, which gets you all of the same features as Bitwarden Premium, along with coverage for up to 6 users and unlimited password sharing between 6 users.
Bitwarden is a very affordable open-source password manager. It handles basic password management well, and it offers strong security features. Plus, Bitwarden’s free plan includes unlimited password storage on unlimited devices and unlimited sharing with 1 other user. While it’s not as easy to use as top competitors like 1Password and Dashlane, it’s a good option for technical users who want a budget option.
Read the full Bitwarden review >
Enpass — Budget Option With Lifetime Subscription
Enpass is a decent password manager for Windows users who just need basic password protection. It offers good password creation, auto-fill, and auditing.
I really like how Enpass is a fully offline password manager, meaning that user data is saved locally on your device instead of on cloud servers, making it a good option for security-conscious users who don’t want to store data on cloud-based servers.
However, Enpass also gives users the option to connect to a third-party cloud storage service, like Google Drive and Dropbox, but this may not be the most practical option as it requires extra technical setup steps and you’d need to pay extra for these services.
Compared to top password managers like 1Password, Enpass has limited functionality. What’s more, it’s the only password manager on my list that only offers local data storage by default. Many security-focused people think this is the safest option, but I prefer password managers like Sticky Password that let you choose whether to host your data locally or in the cloud.
Additionally, unlike top competitors, Enpass doesn’t offer regular 2FA methods. That said, it still allows users to create a “Keyfile” that can be used as an extra layer of security while logging into your vault. It’s a good inclusion, but it isn’t super easy to use.
Enpass also provides biometric login options for Windows, as well as macOS and mobile devices that support biometrics.
Enpass has a completely free desktop version, plus a free limited mobile version (up to 25 passwords). There are several premium plans starting at $23.99 / year, and Enpass even offers a lifetime subscription.
Enpass is a decent password manager that handles the basics well. It only has local data storage, which is fine for advanced users. However, if you want to store your data in the cloud, you have to pay for third-party cloud storage. Enpass has a free version and is one of the rare password managers to offer a lifetime subscription.
Norton Password Manager — Decent Free Option
Norton Password Manager is secure, easy-to-use, and comes as a free download or bundled with Norton’s 360 internet security plans. It performs basic password management functions well and has all the industry-standard security features like 256-bit AES encryption and a zero-knowledge policy.
Norton doesn’t offer a password manager app for Windows (1Password has a great Windows app), but its browser-based app and extension worked well when I tested it.
Norton Password Manager also has:
- Unlimited password storage.
- Password generator.
- Password vault auditing.
- Two-factor authentication (2FA).
- Basic 2FA login.
- Automatic password changer.
It allows for unlimited password storage across unlimited devices. Besides Bitwarden and Avira Password Manager, Norton is one of the few free password managers that offers unlimited password storage on unlimited devices.
However, it’s missing some features I expect to see in a premium password manager, like password sharing between users or a built-in TOTP authenticator. Competitors like RoboForm and Keeper include these features for a low price, and brands like 1Password and Dashlane also come with standout features like hidden vaults (1Password), virtual payment cards (1Password), and a VPN (Dashlane).
That said, Norton 360 antivirus offers more internet security features than most competitors. It has real-time malware scanning, anti-phishing protection, comprehensive parental controls, a secure VPN, and identity theft prevention for US users.
But if you’re not in the market for an antivirus, you can download the password manager for free. On your Windows PC, you can access its browser extension on all the most popular browsers, and the mobile app integrates easily with Android and iOS.
Norton Password Manager is a 100% free password manager with secure encryption, a zero-knowledge protocol, and helpful security features. It’s not as feature-rich as top password managers like 1Password, but it offers unlimited multi-device sync and password vault auditing. Norton Password Manager also comes bundled with Norton 360, which has dark web monitoring, a VPN, parental controls, and a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Read the full Norton Password Manager review >
Comparison of the Best Password Managers for Windows
|Password Manager||Free Version||Starting price||Windows Hello Compatibility||Password Breach Monitoring||Encrypted Storage||Family Plan|
||No||$2.99 / month||✅||✅||1 GB||5 users (+ you can add more for a small fee)|
||Unlimited passwords on 1 device||$2.00 / month||✅||✅||1 GB||10 users|
||Unlimited passwords on 1 device||$0.99 / month||✅||✅||❌||5 users|
||Unlimited passwords on 1 device||$1.99 / month||✅||✅||3 GB (Premium users only)||6 users|
||Unlimited passwords on 1 mobile device||$3.75 / month||✅||✅||Up to 100 GB||5 users|
||Unlimited passwords on unlimited devices (desktop or mobile)||$3.00 / month||✅||✅||1 GB||6 users|
||Unlimited passwords on 1 device||$29.99 / year||❌||✅||❌||No family plan|
||Unlimited passwords on unlimited devices||$2.67 / month||❌||✅||1 GB||No family plan|
||Unlimited passwords on unlimited devices||$10.00 / year||✅||✅||1 GB||6 users|
||Unlimited passwords (desktop), 25 passwords (mobile)||$23.99 / year||❌||✅||❌||6 users|
||Unlimited passwords on unlimited devices||Free plan only||❌||❌||❌||No family plan|
How to Choose the Best Password Manager for Windows in 2023
- Look for advanced security features. Good password managers maintain high-level security with bank-grade encryption, zero-knowledge protocols, and two-factor authentication (2FA). My top choices have all of these security features, making sure your passwords and sensitive data are 100% secure.
- Check for useful extra features. Many password managers offer a wide range of features, but not all of them are useful or work well. I only recommend password managers with convenient tools, including encrypted password sharing and dark web scanning. Some password managers also have unique features — for example, 1Password has hidden vaults and virtual payment cards, and Dashlane offers a VPN.
- Pick one that’s easy to use. My list only includes products that provide an easy user experience, cross-platform support, intuitive interfaces, and secure browser extensions. Most of the password managers on this list also offer both personal and family plans (I recommend 1Password for families).
- Choose a password manager with good customer support. I tested each company’s live chat, phone, and email support services to guarantee that you would be able to get support whenever you need it. The brands I recommend also offer useful FAQs, knowledge bases, and chat forums to make it easier for users to find answers to their questions.
- Find a password manager that offers a good value. The best password managers for Windows need to offer reasonably priced plans for every budget. My top recommendations are all affordable and come with free trials and/or money-back guarantees.
Why Built-In Password Managers Aren’t Good Enough
Top browsers — including Edge, Chrome, and Firefox — all include in-built password managers. However, despite being free and convenient, they aren’t anywhere near as good as standalone password managers. Here’s why.
- Security. Edge, Chrome, and Firefox all use the same 256-bit AES encryption as premium password managers. However, they don’t use master passwords or 2FA as standard (so if your device is compromised whilst you’re logged in, your passwords can more easily be accessed), and they don’t have zero-knowledge architecture (meaning if their servers are hacked, there’s a chance your data could be unencrypted).
NB. Chrome and Firefox do now offer master password and 2FA options, but they are not activated by default and you need to dig through their settings to find any reference to them. Edge doesn’t yet offer these options at all.
- Syncing. Browser-based password managers all now offer the option to sync across devices, but this is still limited to that one browser — so if you use multiple browsers, you’ll need to save each password with each browser. Standalone password managers, on the other hand, sync across all browsers and all platforms, which is far more convenient, not to mention safer.
- Generating Strong Passwords. Browser-based password managers all now include password generators, which usually pop up automatically when creating a new password. However, they don’t create passwords that are as strong as the premium password generators, and they don’t offer any customization options, e.g. defining the password length or type of characters used.
- Sharing Passwords. Browser-based password managers don’t include any sharing features, so if you need to share a password with a friend or colleague, there is no 100% safe way to do so — you’d have to simply use e.g. a text message or email, which will be unencrypted and open to interception.
- Password Health. Edge and Chrome both now include password health indicators, which show weak, reused, or known breached passwords. Firefox only shows breached passwords. However, with all 3, you’d have to log into your browser’s password settings in order to see this information, which there is rarely any reason to do — meaning it is easy to miss this important information. Standalone password managers, on the other hand, have desktop and mobile apps where this information is clearly displayed, with additional tools to easily amend and update the relevant passwords.
- Storing Other Personal Data. Unlike standalone password managers, which enable you to save a wide range of personal information in their vaults, browser-based password managers are limited to passwords and credit card details only. This means you still need to store all your other personal information elsewhere, without any option to encrypt and protect it from potential hackers.
- Emergency Access. Browser-based password managers don’t offer any kind of emergency access feature, meaning your passwords would all be completely inaccessible to family members or other contacts in the event of an emergency.
Essentially, browser-based password managers have seen a significant improvement over time, with enhanced security and features like password generation and password health now becoming more prevalent.
However — they are still nowhere near as secure as standalone password managers, they don’t allow for syncing across all apps, browsers, and devices, they don’t allow for password sharing or emergency access, and you can’t save all of your personal information. They also aren’t nearly as user-friendly, meaning you’re far more likely to lose, or leave exposed, important data.
Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut
- KeePass. KeePass is a highly secure open-source (and completely free) password manager. However, it’s very difficult to use, and it doesn’t have the useful extra features or the helpful customer support that you get with top brands like 1Password and Dashlane.
- Zoho Vault. Zoho Vault is a decent password manager, but it was developed for teams and businesses, so many of its features aren’t useful for individuals or families.
- True Key. Even though it’s owned by McAfee, one of the best cybersecurity companies in the world, True Key isn’t a great product. It’s missing most of the features the brands on this list offer, and it didn’t perform well in my tests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a password manager for my PC?
Yes, you should be using a password manager. Nowadays, just about every aspect of our lives is managed through online accounts and services, which means we not only need hundreds of online logins, but we need them to be safe from potential hackers.
Having unique complex passwords for every account is the only way to stay truly safe online, which means a password manager is a necessity — as no-one is capable of remembering multiple complex passwords.
Premium standalone password managers use multiple layers of secure encryption technology, which make them the safest way to manage your online life. They can also generate, save, and store an unlimited number of passwords, have excellent auto-fill capabilities, and come with a lot of other useful features such as password sharing, password health monitoring, emergency access solutions, and much more. The best password managers aren’t free, but they also aren’t expensive, and they offer an excellent value considering the security and convenience they provide.
Does Windows 10 have a password manager?
No, but Microsoft Edge — Windows 10’s default browser — does. However, while Edge’s password manager has improved in recent years, it’s still nowhere near as good as the standalone premium password managers I’ve recommended above.
Microsoft Edge’s password manager encrypts your passwords locally on your device, and the encryption key is stored in your operating system’s storage. This means that should your device become compromised, hackers would potentially be able to access and read all of your passwords. Premium password managers use multiple levels of encryption technology, including master passwords and 2FA, to protect your data against all kinds of cyber attacks.
Edge’s password manager offers the option to sync between devices. However, again the encryption methods are not as secure as standalone password managers. And as it is limited to the Edge browser, you’ll not be able to access any of your passwords if you use other browsers.
Edge’s password manager does include a password generator, auto-fill, a password health indicator, and it alerts you if any of your known passwords are found in an online data breach. However, these features aren’t as comprehensive or complex as those offered by the top standalone password managers, and it doesn’t include useful features such as password sharing, emergency access, and more.
Why can’t I just use the Chrome/Firefox/Edge password manager?
While your browser’s built-in password manager may be convenient, it’s just not as good — it only works on the one browser, it can’t share passwords, it doesn’t allow you to store additional personal data, the auto-filling functions aren’t as accurate, and it isn’t as secure.
Unlike browser-based password managers, the products I recommend generate the strongest passwords and accurately auto-fill logins and web forms. They also provide additional features like password sharing, emergency access, easy password changing, and more. They also work across all browsers, devices, and operating systems, and have the very highest levels of security thanks to utilizing technology such as 2FA, master passwords, and zero-knowledge architecture.
Can I sync my Windows passwords with Android/iOS/Mac devices?
Definitely! One of the great things about third-party password managers is that they offer functionality on almost every device, browser, and operating system. For example, with all of the password managers listed here, you can install the mobile app on an iPhone, the desktop or web app on a PC, and the Android app on a tablet — and all of your logins and encrypted files will be synced up between each of your devices.
Are these password managers really secure?
Absolutely! I only recommend password managers that use zero-knowledge protocols — ensuring that all data is encrypted before it gets to the password manager’s servers. This one-way encryption makes it impossible for the company to access your data. Also, the encryption methods these password managers use are virtually unbreakable. They’re the same methods used by banks, tech corporations, and even the military. Even if somebody hacked your computer and found your master password, they couldn’t access your passwords. They’d fail the two-factor authentication test that these password managers have. In short, all of these password managers are EXTREMELY secure.
Can I use these password managers with Windows Hello?
The majority of the password managers on my list are compatible with Windows Hello. 1Password was the easiest for me to set up with Windows Hello. After toggling a couple of settings, I could access my password vault with just my fingerprint — no master password needed!