Bitwarden vs. LastPass: How Do CNET’s Top Password Manager Picks Stack Up?

A password supervisor was one thing that was simply type of “good to have” — an ancillary participant in your solid of on-line safety instruments. Now, utilizing a password supervisor is an absolute necessity if you wish to just remember to’re correctly defending your self on-line from threats like information theft and phishing.   

However it may be robust to discover a password supervisor that is best for you due to what number of choices can be found. Some could also be simpler to make use of than others whereas some could also be extra geared towards the techie crowd. And whereas password managers normally have fairly comparable core performance, the supply of particular options might fluctuate at completely different worth ranges. For those who’re not sure what’s best for you, CNET’s breakdown of the finest password managers is a superb place to start out.  

The highest two password managers on that listing are Bitwarden and LastPass, two big-name leaders within the business that provide web customers wonderful, polished password supervisor choices. 

LastPass — maybe essentially the most well-known and broadly used password supervisor — held CNET’s high password supervisor crown for a very long time. However the firm’s choices in 2021 to start limiting its free providing to only one machine kind and yank e-mail help from free customers, together with a collection of safety missteps, have relegated it to the second place behind Bitwarden.

That mentioned, the standard of LastPass’s paid tier is top-of-the-line. It is intuitive, simple to make use of and full of tons of helpful options like automated syncing throughout gadgets, darkish net monitoring, password generator and safe notes. Nevertheless, although LastPass patched a vulnerability that might have leaked consumer credentials, the corporate’s use of net trackers in its Android app continues to be regarding. 

By comparability, Bitwarden permits you to use its service totally free throughout a vast variety of gadgets and machine sorts. Bitwarden’s free tier additionally consists of core performance like two-factor authentication, limitless vault objects, username and password generator and automated syncing throughout gadgets. For those who pay for the premium plan, you get all that, plus options like superior two-factor authentication, encrypted sharing of textual content and information, emergency entry and precedence help. Like LastPass, Bitwarden operates on a zero-knowledge mannequin of encryption (which means that the businesses themselves haven’t got entry to your grasp password or something saved in your vault) however scores bonus factors for being absolutely open supply.

Ultimately, each are nice choices — however Bitwarden is mostly the higher choice, significantly for its transparency. Let’s take a deeper dive into how password supervisor heavyweights Bitwarden and LastPass stack up towards each other when it comes to worth, platform availability and safety.      

Sarah Tew/CNET

You should utilize Bitwarden’s free tier on a vast variety of gadgets throughout machine sorts, which helps give it a substantial leg up on LastPass when it comes to general price effectiveness — even when its free choice does not embody all of the options as LastPass’s free tier does. Bitwarden is absolutely open supply and a extremely safe choice with zero-knowledge encryption and multifactor authentication. This password supervisor’s easy consumer interface is simple to make use of throughout all main platforms, in addition to browser extensions together with Courageous and Tor.

Sarah Tew/CNET

LastPass presents an extremely polished and feature-rich password supervisor that’s simple to make use of and nearly as safe as Bitwarden, although it’s not absolutely open supply. Nevertheless, the truth that LastPass not permits limitless gadgets and machine sorts on its free tier is a significant downside and an enormous a part of the explanation the supplier slipped to the No. 2 place behind Bitwarden in CNET’s evaluation of the very best password managers. 

Value-effectiveness: Bitwarden by a mile, particularly when factoring in its limitless free tier

Bitwarden is decidedly the less expensive of the 2. Bitwarden’s paid tier is $10 a yr for a private account and $40 a yr for a household account that covers as much as six people. The premium particular person account permits you to share vault objects with one different consumer, whereas with the household plan six individuals can share vault objects with one another. 

LastPass, however, costs $36 a yr for its particular person account and $48 a yr for its household plan that additionally consists of six accounts. 

The variations between every password supervisor’s free tier is the place issues diverge way more dramatically. Like LastPass used to do till a little bit over a yr in the past, Bitwarden permits you to use its service throughout a vast variety of gadgets no matter what platform you are utilizing it on. LastPass has taken that flexibility away from its free customers, seemingly in an try and extra aggressively push customers to its paid plans. You will solely have the ability to entry your LastPass vault on both cellular gadgets or desktop computer systems, however not each, in case you’re a free consumer. 

An absence of entry throughout all gadgets is a significant hitch as a result of password managers have to be in every single place you’re on-line to be best as a safety instrument.

“Web customers are sure to overlook about their password supervisor altogether if it is not instantly and constantly seen as they browse the net throughout gadgets,” CNET’s Rae Hodge explains in her LastPass versus 1Password comparability. “In consequence, they’re more likely to retailer their ever-increasing variety of passwords in a browser itself, which is a a lot much less safe choice.”

You might, theoretically, get round this limitation in case you signed up for 2 separate free accounts utilizing two completely different e-mail addresses. Nevertheless, that may imply you’d must handle two separate vaults as properly — one serving your cellular gadgets and one your desktop computer systems. Since autosyncing throughout gadgets is such a vital performance for a password supervisor to have, this resolution is not very sensible.

The one place the place LastPass has Bitwarden beat when it comes to cost-effectiveness is its 30-day free trial, versus Bitwarden’s seven days. 

Platform availability: Bitwarden, by advantage of its wider vary of browser extensions

Each Bitwarden and LastPass provide devoted desktop apps for Mac, Home windows and Linux, together with cellular apps for iOS and Android gadgets. You may also obtain Bitwarden from the F-Droid repository. 

Each password managers additionally provide varied browser extensions, however whereas LastPass presents extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera and Safari, Bitwarden has all these plus Vivaldi, Courageous and Tor. Bitwarden’s Internet Vault may even help you entry your vault from any browser in case you are with out the gadgets you usually use the service on. 

You should utilize each suppliers’ command line interface to put in writing and execute scripts on varied platforms. Utilizing a CLI requires much less processing energy and could be nice for automating duties and creating customized interfaces and for enterprise IT groups to combine password managers into their organizations’ inner methods. Nevertheless, it does contain a better quantity of technical know-how than utilizing a password supervisor’s app or browser extension. For those who’re an on a regular basis consumer who prefers the ease-of-use of an ordinary graphical consumer interface, then the CLI in all probability is not for you anyway.    

Finally, Bitwarden provides you extra choices than LastPass in relation to what platforms you wish to use its service on. Although Bitwarden is simple to make use of throughout all platforms for any consumer, its vary of choices — together with Tor extension — will certainly attraction to techier and extra privacy-focused clients. For those who needn’t entry your vault on all these platforms, then LastPass greater than will get the job completed when it comes to platform compatibility.   

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Safety: Bitwarden, as a result of it is extra clear and absolutely open supply

By way of safety, Bitwarden and LastPass are principally on equal footing. Nevertheless, Bitwarden will get an edge right here because of being extra clear than LastPass. Bitwarden is open-source and extra upfront about its compliance, audits and certifications. And versus the 5 trackers residing on LastPass’s Android app, Bitwarden has two — which is not fairly nearly as good because the zero discovered with 1Password and KeePass, however we a lot want two reasonably than 5. Trackers generally is a main privateness problem as a result of, even when your passwords and different vault entries themselves are securely encrypted and hidden from third events, different web sites can nonetheless observe the websites you go to.

Bitwarden can be open-source, which means its code is brazenly out there on-line to anybody who needs to scrutinize it. LastPass, however, is a closed-source proprietary software program, which conversely means it is not brazenly out there to public scrutiny. With LastPass, we do not know if any vulnerabilities or backdoors exist within the software program until it’s publicly disclosed by the corporate. That mentioned, LastPass’s command line interface is open-source, which makes up for the proprietary nature of its software program in case you select to utilize the supplier’s CLI.   

With each Bitwarden and LastPass, you get the good thing about zero-knowledge encryption together with encrypted file and password sharing, multifactor authentication and customizable password era. 

Bitwarden’s privateness coverage says it collects private data like your title, e-mail tackle, IP tackle and details about the machine you are utilizing. The corporate says it could use that data to offer you its companies and share that data with unnamed “subsidiaries, associates, and companions to facilitate our international operations and in accordance with relevant legal guidelines, and our agreements with clients or service suppliers.”

LastPass collects the identical classes of data, in response to its privateness coverage, and may share the data with “third-party service suppliers underneath applicable confidentiality and information privateness obligations.”

Finally, with both supplier you may relaxation assured that your vault is abundantly safe, however Bitwarden takes the crown right here head-to-head.

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