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I reviewed two of the best password managers. Here’s the one I recommend people use

If you need more convenience, protection, and cross-platform integration than you can get with your browser’s autofill, you need a premium password manager like 1Password or Bitwarden. I recently reviewed both and put together this comparison to help you pick which works best for you.

Tiers and pricing

A side-by-side comparison of 1Password and Bitwarden pricing.
A side-by-side comparison of 1Password and Bitwarden pricing. Digital Trends

1Password is only available as a subscription, but Bitwarden has a very good free version. If you don’t want to pay an annual fee to use a password manager, Bitwarden is a great choice.

If you want more than the basics, you’ll need a subscription. Bitwarden is remarkably affordable starting at just $10 annually for an individual account. 1Password’s lowest-cost plan for individuals is $36. While that’s more than three-times as much, it’s still inexpensive and has a feature set you might prefer.

If you want to share a large number of passwords with others, both password managers have subscription savings for groups. 1Password’s Family plan costs $60 per year for five people, while Bitwarden Families is a bit less, supporting six members for $40 annually.

You can try 1Password for 14 days before paying, and Bitwarden has a seven-day free trial to briefly test out its Families plan.

Both services offer business plans. 1Password has a 10-person Teams plan for $20 per month. For groups of at least six people, it’s less expensive than Bitwarden’s Teams plan that’s $4 per person, per month.

For more advanced administrative controls, 1Password’s $8 Business plan and Bitwarden’s $6 Enterprise plan will be more appropriate.

Features

I tested 1Password on my Windows PC and iPhone.
I tested 1Password on my Windows PC and iPhone. Alan Truly / Digital Trends

Dedicated password managers like 1Password and Bitwarden go beyond the basic autofill of your browser and operating system, adding organization features and reports about weak and compromised logins so you can close old accounts, delete duplicates, and clean up your vault for better security and easier access.

Both work on all your devices with apps and extensions for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. 1Password even has a watchOS app, so you can unlock the vault with your Apple Watch. There’s no Wear OS solution.

1Password’s extension supports the most popular web browsers — Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, and Brave. Bitwarden goes further, adding Vivaldi, Opera, Tor, and DuckDuckGo. From any device and most browsers, you can access your encrypted credentials, notes, and credit card numbers with either password manager.

I can store encrypted logins, notes, files, and more in my Bitwarden vault.
I can store encrypted logins, notes, files, and more in my Bitwarden vault. Digital Trends

1Password and Bitwarden can autofill two-factor authentication (2FA) codes as well as passwords. Both work with passkeys also and are easy to use once you’ve completed setup.

Another key feature of a password manager is sharing logins with others. With Bitwarden’s free and individual plans, you can share with one other person, and the Families plan extends sharing to six people.

1Password allows secure sharing with expiration and viewing limits.
1Password allows secure sharing with expiration and viewing limits. Digital Trends

1Password beats that easily with unlimited sharing, even with people who don’t have a 1Password account. You can make the link expire in an hour, a day, a week, or more, and limit viewing to once if you are concerned about the link being reshared.

In general, 1Password seems easier and more friendly, while Bitwarden is more technical. That makes sense given Bitwarden is an open-source project built by a team of programmers.

Support

A side-by-side comparison of 1Password's and Bitwarden's customer service ratings.
A side-by-side comparison of 1Password’s and Bitwarden’s customer service ratings. Digital Trends

1Password and Bitwarden offer email support to subscribers as well as community forums and social media accounts that might be able to help more quickly. You can expect answers within a day if you run into a problem you can’t solve by browsing the support center documentation.

Both services are rated well in Trustpilot reviews of customer service. Bitwarden averages 4.3 stars with 136 reviews, a surprisingly small number, while 1Password enjoys an impressive 4.7 stars with over 12,000 reviews.

Privacy and security

Security shouldn’t be a concern with 1Password or Bitwarden since each have annual third-party security checks and use the best available end-to-end encryption: AES-256. Neither company has suffered a breach, and both protect your privacy within legal limits.

Bitwarden can’t access your data without the master password, which you retain. 1Password uses a master password also but goes a step further by adding a high entropy Secret Key to its encryption. The Secret Key is stored on your devices, acting as another authentication factor for extra security.

Bitwarden allows you to self-host your password vault, keeping all data within your own server. To do so, you’ll need to know how to set up and manage a server and have the confidence that your own security beats Bitwarden’s.

Which password manager is best?

If you’re a programmer, Bitwarden’s UI and open-source development will sound enticing. Being able to examine the code of your security software can help alleviate any concerns.

1Password doesn’t have an answer for Bitwarden’s free version either. Cost isn’t the only important detail, but if you use antivirus software like Bitdefender or Norton, you might already have access to a bundled password manager.

When it comes to ease-of-use and login sharing, 1Password has the advantage. 1Password also offers extra security through its unique Secret Key that makes it highly unlikely your data could be breached. Hackers would need access to one of your devices, as well as your master password. Without either key, decryption is impractical, even with quantum computing.

Both are among the best password managers available and subscription prices are affordable, but 1Password will be a better solution for most people.

Alan Truly
Alan is a Computing Writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. A tech-enthusiast since his youth, Alan stays current on what is…
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