Free v Paid Dashlane: Can You Rely on the Free Version?

Dashlane’s website greets visitors with a tempting message: “Get Dashlane – it’s free!” But Dashlane has a way to force you to upgrade. The free version only covers one device. Once you’ve installed free Dashlane on your laptop, how will you access your email on your phone?

 Even the free version of Dashlane can generate strong passwords, store them safely, and automatically log you into your accounts. What more could you want? Do you actually need to pay for the premium version? 

You need the simplicity and convenience a password manager provides. We’ve been testing every password manager on the market. Some are a lot better than others. Let’s see if paid Dashlane is worth the price.

Why some Password Managers are Free and Others Are Not

Some password managers only offer a paid product. Others, like Dashlane, offer a free version too. How can they afford to give away their product away?

A free version of a password manager might appear to do everything you need. But users of the free version can miss out on some pretty important features.

Free versions of paid password managers are designed to make you upgrade. Password manager companies want you to download their free product so that you’re tied into their brand. But it can be risky to rely on the free version. 

What are the Risks of Using a Free Password Manager?

Once you’ve used a password manager for a while, you’re basically stuck with it. You could manually change all your passwords and uninstall the software, but it’s a daunting task.

Free password managers often have built-in flaws that make you more likely to upgrade. For example, you can sometimes only use a free password manager on one device.

The free version of a password manager might offer the same secure password encryption methods as the paid version. However, security goes beyond simply encrypting your passwords and storing them safely. 

Free password managers are sometimes only available on a limited number of devices. If you can’t reliably access your passwords across all your devices, you might resort of unsafe methods of recording them such as keeping them in a text document.

To benefit from the protection that a password manager offers, it must be easy to use. If a free password manager forces you to resort to risky workarounds, you’re better off not using it at all.

What are the Benefits of Using a Paid Password Manager?

When you pay for a password manager, you’re getting the best that the software has to offer. You won’t run into restrictions on the number of passwords or devices you can use. 

And many paid password managers offer much more than these basic functions. 

You’re the kind of consumer who understands how important it is to stay secure online. Password manager providers know this. So they’re competing for your attention by offering extra security features

For example, most paid password managers have started offering secure online storage. You can use this to store sensitive information that you might not want to keep on DropBox or Google Drive.

Dashlane even provides access to a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Using a VPN is essential when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks. It makes your public connections private and stops hackers spying on your activity.

Free v Paid Dashlane – Comparison of Features

Features Free Dashlane  Dashlane Premium
Secure password storage. Y Y
Auto-fills forms Y Y
Password changer  Y Y
Two-factor authentication Y Y
Emergency account access Y Y
Security alerts Y Y
Use on across devices N (only available on one device) Y (available across unlimited devices)
Save passwords Y (up to 50) Y (unlimited)
Share passwords with trusted people Y (with up to 5 people) Y (with unlimited people)
VPN access N Y
Dark web monitoring N Y
Secure file storage N Y
Priority support N Y

What are the Pros and Cons of the Free Version of Dashlane?

Free Dashlane is a safe and user-friendly password manager. But it’s far from perfect.

Free Dashlane will keep your passwords safe. It uses secure encryption methods, and your passwords never leave your device. Even if Dashlane’s servers are hacked, there’s no way hackers could access your passwords.

Free Dashlane provides emergency account access. This could be important if you’re incapacitated or lose access to Dashlane. Some password managers, such as LastPass, don’t provide this with their free version.

Having Dashlane autofill your passwords is great. But what if your device is stolen? The thief has effortless access to all your accounts.  Free Dashlane also offers two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication will verify that it’s actually you logging in. It requires you to confirm your activity via an additional trusted device, such as your phone.

The major downside of free Dashlane is that it’s restricted to one device. This could become frustrating within a matter of hours. You may feel the need to upgrade fast.

What are the Pros and Cons of the Paid Version of Dashlane?

Paid Dashlane offers every password-related feature you could want – and more. But do you actually need all these extras?

As a password manager, the paid version of Dashlane works perfectly. It’s a very user-friendly experience across all devices.

Dashlane doesn’t have every password management feature. For example, unlike 1Password and Roboform, it doesn’t work with applications. This won’t be an issue unless you use lots of desktop applications requiring password access.

Plus, there are some two-factor verification methods Dashlane doesn’t support, like fingerprint authentication. These features are most popular among highly security-conscious people working with sensitive data.

But Dashlane’s extra features really make it stand out from other password managers.

Dashlane’s VPN allows you to access certain online services that might be blocked in your region. VPNs are also increasingly used by people who are rightly concerned about the security of public Wi-Fi networks. 

Premium Dashlane will also monitor the “dark web” for your personal information. If hackers have stolen your social security number, Dashlane will send you an alert so you can take action immediately.

But Dashlane is expensive. If you get these bonus features elsewhere, you don’t need to spend so much on a password manager.

The Bottom Line on Dashlane

Dashlane provides an easy and secure way to log onto websites. Unless you need it for applications, or you’re a total security nerd, it will do everything you could possibly want.

And Dashlane is more than just a password manager. Combine it with some decent antivirus software and you’ll have a near-complete internet security suite for a great price.

If you already have an internet security suite, however, look elsewhere. The paid version is probably the most expensive password manager on the market. LastPass is a much cheaper option.

And unless you only have one device, don’t bother with the free version.

About the Author

Scott Jackson
Scott Jackson
Internet security researcher

About the Author

Scott Jackson is an internet security researcher who has spent the last two decades working as an IT technician, programmer, and cybersecurity consultant with more than a dozen Fortune 500 companies. He spends his time researching hacking trends and helping make sure that people stay safe on the internet.