The 5 Best (Really) Free Password Managers – Updated for 2019
There’s a reason free password managers don’t cost you anything – and that’s because you always end up paying one way or another.
While most of the free options usually are free, they come with pretty big limitations, and try to make you upgrade every time you move your mouse.
But – we tested 60+ free password managers, and present you with 10 highly secure options – and which won’t nag you to upgrade every two minutes.
The 5 Best (Really Free) Antivirus Programs for 2019
- LastPass – Securely Store Unlimited Logins on Any Browser, Any Device
- Dashlane – All The Essentials for Free
- RoboForm – Multi-Platform, Unlimited Logins
- Sticky Pass – Unlimited Devices and Logins
- TrueKey – Simple, Straightforward – With Face-Recognition Capability
Can a Password Manager Really Be Free?
A quick word here about the meaning of ‘free’: when it comes to anything in life, password managers included – there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
So on that note – if you’re looking for something that’s really ‘free’, you’re going to find you end up paying in other ways.
While the password managers in our list below really are ‘free’, there’s a small catch:
- A ‘free’ password manager really is free to use – but expect to have some severely limited features. Dashlane, for example, has a really great free version…except you’ll only be able to use it on one device, and to store up to 50 passwords.
- A ‘free trial’ password manager gives you access to every feature available…but after a certain amount of time (usually 30 days), you won’t have access to it anymore, as your free trial would have ended. For the sake of ease, we’ve not included any ‘free trial’ password managers on our list – that’s for another article!
What We Look For In Our Best Free Password Managers
We’ve tested almost 70 password managers out there, to bring you this list of the best free password managers around.
But what makes them the ‘best’? Here’s what we look for to have it make our list:
- Range of features on offer: Does the password manager have enough features that I’ll be able to use it for free?
- Number of devices, browsers and syncing capabilities: how many devices and OS are included? Can I sync across them all?
- Advanced features: is there anything I get that goes above and beyond the standard features?
While truly free password managers are rare (they’re mostly just free versions of other paid plans, with limited features), we’ve taken ‘free password manager’ to mean the best password manager without needing to pay anything – those that need you only to sign-up.
Our Recommended Best Free Password Managers
It’s a bit close to call, but our top pick for the best free password manager available has to be LastPass. Its free plan just includes more, stronger features than any of their competitors, including secure note storage, a password strength report, cross-device autosyncing, as well as multi-factor authentication.
1. LastPass – Securely Store Unlimited Logins on Any Browser, Any Device
LastPass is our top-pick: it’s extremely easy to use, and has so many advanced features on offer: a strong password generator, autofill passwords, offline access to the vault and multi-device access.
LastPass’ Free Version Includes:
Along with the usual, expected basic features – a secure password vault – LastPass’ free version has so many advanced features:
Multi-device access? Yes. Multi-factor authentication? Yes. These are not standard free password manager features, by any means!
The secure notes feature alone is really worth taking note of: it allows you to store highly sensitive financial information (as in, the types you’re constantly told to never share with anyone – bank details, Social Security numbers…), and store it securely, for easy login.
If you think it can’t get better than this, you might be surprised: LastPass’ Premium plan provides those ‘just in case’ and emergency features, such as emergency access, priority tech support….and 1 GB of encrypted file storage. That’s all pretty useful, especially if you make (and store) copies of your important documents (birth certificates, passports etc) online.
LastPass is usually compared with its closest rival, Dashlane, for its range of free features – but we have to go with LastPass here, as Dashlane restricts the number of devices available on its free plan.
Pros of LastPass’ Free Plan
- Wide range of features, going above and beyond other free password managers
- Multi-device access, which isn’t a standard feature for a free password manager
- Secure sharing – which is pretty unheard of on a free plan.
Cons of LastPass’ Free Plan
- No emergency access – meaning if you’re locked out, you’ve lost all of your saved data – forever.
- No large file storage: if you’re looking to make secure backups of your documents, LastPass’ free plan won’t cut it.
LastPass’ Free Password Manager is Best For You If
- You’re looking for something free, flexible and secure, with some extra features that you don’t find with other free password managers.
- You have multiple devices and want to easily sync them.
When Should You Upgrade to LastPass’ Premium Version?
If you want those emergency situation options (or have locked yourself out from your accounts before!), or if you want a password manager that stores your important documents securely too.
2. Dashlane – All The Essentials for Free
Well-designed with a simple interface, Dashlane is a local-storage free password manager, offering some really great advanced features – autofill forms and logins, security alerts and even password sharing (for up to 5 accounts).
Dashlane’s Free Version Includes:
Unlike LastPass, Dashlane’s free version – surprisingly – includes emergency contact access.
Like LastPass, Dashlane also has a secure notes feature and two-factor authentication on its free plan – as well as a password changer (which LastPass didn’t!).
Similarly, Dashlane actually beats LastPass with its included security alerts – because if you’re a victim of a hack, you want to get notified about it, right?
Pros of Dashlane’s Free Plan
- Included security alerts and secure notes
- Password sharing – for up to 5 accounts
- Emergency contact access – this is more than LastPass offers!
Cons of Dashlane’s Free Plan
- Offers password storage for only up to 50 accounts
- Available on one device only – so don’t expect any cross-device password syncing!
Dashlane’s Free Password Manager is Best For You If
- You only really use one device, and don’t have more than 50 logins.
- You’ve been hacked before, and think you might make use of the emergency contact access feature, or the security alerts.
When Should You Upgrade to Dashlane Premium Version?
If you either want to store your passwords on more than just one device, or have over 50 logins, then Dashlane’s Premium plan would be a better option for you.
3. RoboForm – Multi-Platform, Unlimited Logins
RoboForm boasts it will have you ‘managing passwords like a pro’, and it’s probably right. RoboForm automatically captures passwords as you browse, without any input from you – which is something that even LastPass and Dashlane don’t offer.
RoboForm’s Free Version Includes:
RoboForm’s free version gives you a wide-range of features, including unlimited secure password sharing, and even emergency access:
Unlike Dashlane, RoboForm offers unlimited logins and a password audit too – as well as emergency access, meaning it actually offers more than LastPass in this respect.
Pros of RoboForm’s Free Plan
- Unlimited login storage
- Unlimited password sharing
- Emergency access
Cons of RoboForm’s Free Plan
- No two-factor authentication for an added layer of security
- No syncing across devices – if you use multiple devices, don’t expect your passwords to be available across them!
RoboForm’s Free Password Manager is Best For You If
- You need something simple to store your hundreds of logins, and want to know how secure each of them really are.
- There’s a small chance you might need to receive emergency access at some point – or you just like the possibility that it’s there if you ever need it.
When Should You Upgrade to RoboForm’s Premium Version?
If you’re looking for wider features and functionality – such as multi-device sync or a secure shared folder, or just want the added layer of security that comes with two-factor authentication, then the premium plan is more likely your best bet.
4. Sticky Pass – Unlimited Devices and Logins
Sticky Pass calls itself ‘the lifetime password manager’, and that makes sense – the free plan generously includes unlimited logins and devices (which either Dashlane or RoboForm do – although LastPass also offers this). Even more impressive – it actually goes a step above even LastPass, providing biometric authentication on their free plan!
Sticky Pass Free Version Includes:
We were actually a bit shocked at what was included in the free plan, as it was pretty generous, with unlimited password storage and cross-device syncing included. We like the addition of the secure digital wallet – and the biometric authentication (in addition to the two-factor authentication) is great to have too. We’re not sure who would want to use a USB portable version of their password manager (as we feel it kind of defeats the purpose), but it’s in the free plan should you ever feel the need!
Pros of Sticky Pass Free Plan
- Unlimited login storage
- Cross-device and browser capability
- Digital wallet, secure notes and biometric authentication included.
Cons of Sticky Pass Free Plan
- No secure password sharing
- No syncing across devices – this would be a pretty big obstacle for cross-device users.
Sticky Pass Free Password Manager is Best For You If
- You have a lot of documents, logins and sensitive financial information you want to store securely, for free.
- You prefer to have the two-factor authentication and biometric authentication options, for added layers of security.
When Should You Upgrade to Sticky Pass Premium Version?
If you have multiple devices, multiple users using your logins or just want to backup your data – or even sync it across your devices, then Sticky Pass’ Premium plan is a better option for you.
5. TrueKey – Simple, Straightforward – With Face-Recognition Capability
Powered by McAfee, TrueKey takes something complicated and makes it simple: with multiple ways to sign in. It’s a cross-browser, cross-OS wonder, cross-syncing wonder.
TrueKey’s Free Version Includes:
TrueKey’s free plan gives access to all of the above sign-in options (which varies according to the OS you’re attempting to sign in from, but there should be enough options to keep you happy) the secure password generator, digital wallet and password manager – but only for up to 15 passwords!
Pros of TrueKey’s Free Plan
- Massive range of sign-in options, depending on the OS you’re using
- Cross-device sync included as standard
- Digital wallet and password generator
Cons of TrueKey’s Free Plan
- You’re given only up to 15 passwords to save – this is unlikely to be enough for most users!
- No additional features, as with other providers – no sharing capability, or backup option.
TrueKey’s Free Password Manager is Best For You If
- You really like multiple sign-in options.
- You don’t have a lot of passwords to manage, you only need something easy and secure to use.
When Should You Upgrade to TrueKey’s Premium Version?
This goes without saying – once you go over your 15 password limit. That’s really the only difference between TrueKey’s free and premium plans – the free plan is more of a ‘taste’ than a long-term option.
Bottom Line: The Best Free Password Manager
Each of the 5 free password managers mentioned above has their own benefits and cool features – it ultimately depends on the features you’re looking for in a password manager.
- If you want a free password manager that does everything – from sharing, to security, to secure sensitive data storage, choose LastPass. It has the widest range of advanced features, with secure, multi-device access.
- If you have only one device that you want all the essentials for, plus emergency access – choose Dashlane. You’ll get high-level security, storage and some advanced features.
- If you need unlimited logins and password sharing across unlimited devices – choose RoboForm. You’ll have all the password storage you need.
- If you like extra layers of security, including biometric authentication – choose StickyPass. You’ll be able to save passwords securely, without fear of a leak.
- If you don’t have a lot of passwords or want a lot of interesting sign-in options, choose TrueKey. You’ll have multi-device, multi-sync capabilities that are easy to manage and access.
Depending on your specific needs, some of these recommended free password managers might be lacking in certain areas – for example, multiple devices, or if you need secure password sharing.
It’s worth it to sign up to the free password manager that seems to fit your needs the best, and try it out for a week or so. If you find it lacking, then try another free password manager.
Ultimately, if you find something you can use easily but are lacking certain features you need, it might just be time to upgrade to a paid version.