Browsers like Chrome and Firefox have built-in password management features, as do mobile operating systems like iOS and Android — so, do you really need a password manager in 2022?
- The answer is: yes, you absolutely need a password manager!
Password theft is a real problem — if a hacker gains access to a single account, they can access every account that uses the same login details. And most people use extremely simple and easily hackable passwords when they create logins. In order to keep your online accounts safe, every one of your passwords needs to be unique, random, and complex. One of the most immediately useful benefits of a password manager is that you can easily create virtually unhackable passwords.
But password managers can do so much more than generate strong passwords. They’re highly secure, protecting user data with industry-leading 256-bit AES encryption. They provide additional security features like two-factor authentication (2FA) and password strength auditing, and they even include extra security measures like dark web monitoring. Browser-based password managers don’t offer this range of security features.
Password managers are also very convenient — they auto-save and auto-fill passwords and credit cards, and, unlike Chrome and Firefox’s built-in password managers, they let you easily share passwords with other users and sync your data across all of your devices and browsers.
If you want to keep your logins safe, protect your online accounts, and save yourself a ton of time remembering complex passwords, you really do need a password manager. My favorite is 1Password because it has all of the features I mentioned above, plus unique features such as a Travel Mode that lets you temporarily hide important information when you travel out of the country.
How Do Password Managers Keep You Safe?
Password managers provide several layers of cybersecurity. In addition to generating secure passwords, password managers also prevent malware like screenloggers and keyloggers from accessing your passwords. Because your password manager will auto-fill your logins, there’s no way for a hacker to steal your passwords off of your screen or keystrokes.
The best password managers on the market also provide a few essential security protections that ensure your logins stay 100% secure. These are the most important security features of password managers:
- Secure encryption. Password managers like 1Password and Dashlane use secure end-to-end encryption to keep your data completely secure. It works like this — your passwords are encrypted on your device using a unique key that isn’t shared with anyone. When your data is sent to your password manager’s cloud to sync between your devices, that data stays encrypted until it comes back to your device. Because password managers use strong encryption methods, there’s no way for the data to be decoded in the cloud.
- Two-factor authentication (2FA). Your password vault can be compromised if a hacker gains access to your master password. But there are a couple of solutions to this problem. The first is to ensure that your master password is complex, random, and unique. The second is to enable two-factor authentication (2FA) when logging into your password manager. 2FA makes it impossible to access your vault without both your master password and a second piece of information, like a temporary one-time password, a fingerprint, or a physical USB token.
- Password vault auditing. The top password managers provide password security audits and data breach monitoring. 1Password’s Watchtower security auditing is the best example of this — it audits every single password in your vault and alerts you to weak passwords, passwords that you’ve reused multiple times, or passwords that might have been compromised. It can also alert you when your credit card expires, which is pretty cool, and tell you about any 2FA-compatible logins so you can set up 2FA for these accounts using 1Password’s own TOTP generator. Other top password managers like Dashlane and RoboForm also offer strong password vault auditing tools (but they’re slightly less full-featured than 1Password’s).
What Else Can a Password Manager Do?
While the main function of a password manager is pretty simple — generating, storing, and auto-filling passwords — today’s password managers offer a lot of helpful extras. This is mostly to help them to compete with one another! Here are a few of the additional features that 2022’s top password managers offer:
- Secure form filling.
- Password sharing.
- Encrypted storage.
- Encrypted messaging.
- VPN (virtual private network).
- And more…
Different password managers specialize in different areas — for example, users focused on building strong cybersecurity protections will like that Keeper provides 10 GB of secure file storage and an encrypted messaging app. And users who often fill out advanced web forms can check out RoboForm, which offers templates for credit cards, passports, vehicle registration, and more.
Dashlane is the only password manager with an included VPN, and it’s actually really good! It uses Hotspot Shield — one of the fastest VPNs on the market — which comes with several extra features like split-tunneling and P2P support.
Families will want to look into password managers like 1Password or Dashlane that have family-specific plans. These plans make it easy to share some passwords and restrict access to others. For example, if you want your kids to be able to log into your Netflix account but not your banking account, a family password manager will make it easy to share limited access to your password vault with a variety of different users.
What’s Wrong With Built-In Password Managers?
Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox all offer password managers that integrate with your browser, while Android and iOS have built-in password managers that work across all of the apps on your mobile device.
These built-in password managers can be so convenient! They automatically ask you to save passwords and automatically offer to fill in saved logins. However, this convenience comes at a price.
The main issue is that built-in password managers just aren’t as secure as third-party password managers. If a hacker gains access to your mobile device or your Google password, then all of your logins are easily accessible.
Standalone password managers like 1Password use secure encryption, two-factor authentication, and secure remote password protocol (TLS) to ensure that your data is completely encrypted at every level.
All of the best password managers have browser extensions and mobile apps as well, so they’re actually more convenient — the password managers built into Chrome and iOS don’t work well across different devices, operating systems, or browsers.
A third-party password manager can fully integrate with all of your devices, apps, browsers, and online accounts while also generating strong original passwords and auditing existing passwords to ensure that your accounts remain as secure as possible.
The 3 Best Password Managers in 2022
Quick summary of the best password managers in 2022:
1.🥇1Password — Overall Best Password Manager in 2022
1Password is the best password manager in 2022. It includes tons of features, uses unbreakable AES 256-bit encryption to secure your accounts, is super easy to use, and is pretty affordable.
1Password comes with several excellent security features, such as:
- Customizable password vaults — Create multiple password vaults with different names, allowing you to organize your data.
- Password vault auditing — Receive alerts if 1Password detects weak, reused, or exploited passwords.
- Travel Mode — Temporarily hide important data when you travel.
- Privacy cards — Create virtual payment cards to mask your debit card information from vendors (US only).
- And more…
I really like the customizable password vaults. They allow you to separate your data into multiple vaults, which is an ideal way to stay organized if you have various types of information to manage (such as personal data, family documents, and work logins). There’s no limit to the number of vaults you can create. And if you have the Families plan, you can also share specific vaults with the rest of your family. For example, you can share your personal data vault with your family while keeping your work vault separate. This is a level of control that competitors like RoboForm, which limits you to just 2 shared folders, don’t offer.
The Travel Mode feature is pretty cool, too. It lets you hide sensitive information when crossing borders, so even if border control officers look through your phone, they won’t see logins you want to keep to yourself. 1Password is the only password manager to include this feature, and it performed really well in our tests.
Apart from being feature-rich and easy to use, 1Password is super affordable. 1Password Personal costs $2.99 / month and provides access to all of the features you need to secure your accounts in 2022. However, Families is great for securing your whole household — it costs $4.99 / month and allows up to 5 users, who can all create and share unlimited vaults. If you have a larger family, you can add an unlimited number of additional users for a small fee. Whichever plan you choose, 1Password offers a 14-day free trial, so you can try it risk-free.
2. 🥈Dashlane — Best Password Manager With Extra Features
Dashlane is a highly secure and affordable password manager with a very intuitive design. It comes with more additional features than most password managers on the market, and each of these features performs really well.
- Web-based password vault — Store passwords, notes, personal information, payment information, and more in a secure online vault that uses 256-bit AES encryption.
- Password Health Dashboard — Audits your passwords and gives you an overall security score.
- Secure VPN — Masks your IP address behind a virtual one to keep your data private.
- And more…
Dashlane’s Password Health Dashboard works really well. It scans your stored passwords and looks for compromised, reused, or weak passwords. It then grants you an overall security score out of 100 based on its results, and lets you know which passwords you need to change to increase your overall score. While RoboForm also provides vault auditing, Dashlane provides you with much more detail when it identifies a data breach.
I also really like Dashlane’s VPN. It’s powered by Hotspot Shield, one of the fastest VPNs on the market, and it allows you to browse the internet and access streaming services like Netflix in privacy without any noticeable slowdown. It’s also good for torrenting. Dashlane is the only password manager on the market to include a bundled VPN.
Dashlane offers 3 plans: Dashlane Free, Dashlane Premium, and Dashlane Family. The free plan is okay, but it’s quite limited — only allowing storage for up to 50 passwords. Dashlane Premium costs $4.99 / month and provides access to every feature for 1 user. Finally, Dashlane Family costs $7.49 / month and provides 6 users with access to all of Dashlane’s features and a family management dashboard — perfect for covering everyone in the household (though you can’t add unlimited extra users like you can with 1Password). Whichever plan you go for, Dashlane offers a 30-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
3. 🥉RoboForm — Best Password Manager for Users on a Budget
RoboForm includes all of the essential features you need in a password manager — and its low price point makes it ideal for users not wanting to spend a lot of money. However, it lacks any unique additional features like 1Password’s Travel Mode and Dashlane’s VPN. That said, its automatic form filling, is the best on the market in 2022.
- Password auditing — Alerts you to compromised, weak, or reused passwords and lets you know the strength and age of each stored password.
- Two-factor authentication (2FA) — Secures your account behind a second form of identification, such as an email, mobile, or authenticator app.
- Automatic form filling — Gives you 7 different form templates plus the ability to customize.
- And more…
RoboForm’s auditing tool performed well in my tests. Like Dashlane, it provides you with an overall security score and alerts you to any compromised passwords (though it doesn’t go into the level of detail that Dashlane does when it identifies a breach). However, I really like how RoboForm also provides you with your password’s age. It’s a good idea to regularly change your passwords to prevent hackers from brute forcing them, and RoboForm makes it really easy to see which passwords you’ve been using for too long and should therefore be changing.
I also like how RoboForm includes automatic form filling. You can enter detailed information into RoboForm, including your personal, business, passport, and address information, and then fill out online forms asking for that information in just a few clicks. In my tests, RoboForm could complete complex web forms in a matter of seconds without any errors.
RoboForm Everywhere provides coverage on unlimited devices and access to every RoboForm feature for 1 user, and costs just $1.16 / month. RoboForm Family is slightly more expensive, costing $23.80 / year, but grants you 5 licenses to protect everyone in your household. Whichever plan you pick, RoboForm offers a 30-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee.
Frequently Asked Questions — Do You Really Need a Password Manager in 2022?
- How do password managers work?
- Can a password manager be hacked?
- Does a password manager need the internet?
- Why use password managers?
- Are password managers free?
- Which password manager is the most secure?
- Which password manager should I use?
How do password managers work?
When you save a password to your password manager, it’s encrypted on your computer using a process called hashing before being sent to the password manager’s cloud servers. Your stored passwords (or personal information) then require a master password before they can be transmitted back to your computer and decrypted. You create your master password when you first sign up for the password manager, so only you know it (not even the password manager’s staff have access to it). In other words, it’s really difficult for hackers to compromise your password manager and steal your information.
Overall, password managers make for a super secure method that can save time spent having to remember or retrieve passwords, all without any risk to your personal data or online security.
Can a password manager be hacked?
Even if your password manager’s servers are hacked, your logins will remain safe, because top password managers like 1Password and Dashlane encrypt your data using military-grade 256-bit AES encryption. This means a hacker would only be able to access encrypted data that’s impossible to decrypt.
However, if a hacker somehow gets hold of your master password, they’ll have access to everything in your vault. So it’s a good idea to also install a premium antivirus program like Norton, which can prevent malware such as keyloggers from stealing your master password.
Does a password manager need the internet?
Most password managers require you to have an active internet connection because they’re cloud-based. However, some password managers are still accessible if your connection drops. For example, 1Password offers the option to your data locally, so it doesn’t always require an internet connection.
Why use password managers?
First of all, password managers are super convenient. The top password managers in 2022 allow for unlimited password storage and come with various helpful features, such as the ability to generate passwords, auto-filling and saving functionalities, and vault auditing.
When you have hundreds of online accounts, creating and remembering unique passwords for each one can be difficult. Unfortunately, because of this, many people use easy-to-remember passwords that are easy to compromise. It’s a good idea to always use unique passwords because if a hacker compromises one account, they’ll gain access to every account that uses that same password.
Top password managers like 1Password include various features that can accommodate having lots of accounts with unique and complex passwords. For example, 1Password can alert you to reused and weak passwords and help you to easily change them. It can also remember complex passwords for you, allowing you to auto-fill them when you need to log into a website.
Are password managers free?
There are free password managers on the market, but they all have limitations. For example, Dashlane’s free password manager only allows you to store up to 50 passwords on 1 device, and limits you to sharing a maximum of 5 passwords with friends or family members.
Honestly, paying a little bit of money and getting a premium password manager is worthwhile. When you choose a premium option, most restrictions are removed. For example, 1Password’s Personal plan allows you to store unlimited passwords on unlimited devices and only costs $2.99 / month. It also comes with various other features, including customizable password vaults, password auditing, and a unique Travel Mode, and you can try it with a 14-day free trial.
Which password manager is the most secure?
Truthfully, the 10 best password managers in 2022 are all as secure as each other. They all use 256-bit AES security — an encryption architecture that’s so secure even the military and banks use it.
Therefore, when picking your password manager, you should focus on which one offers the best features for you. For example, 1Password has a unique Travel Mode, and Dashlane includes a VPN. RoboForm is a really good option if you have to fill out a lot of online forms and want to enter data super quickly.
Which password manager should I use?
Any of the password managers from our list of the best password managers in 2022 will cover the basics of password management really well. However, 1Password is my overall favorite. It’s feature-rich, intuitive, and includes some excellent features like customizable password vaults, in-depth password auditing, and a unique Travel Mode. You can try 1Password risk-free on a 14-day free trial.