Bitwarden and LastPass are two well established password managers which have both recently been tested and scored very highly on the Best Backup Reviews website. Whilst both are well designed, easy to use and very secure what makes them stand out so much is that they both have excellent free accounts in addition to the reasonably priced premium offerings.
To be clear, a lot of password managers have free accounts, albeit usually with fairly severe restrictions imposed upon them (e.g. no device synchronisation or a maximum number of logins etc.). With the main exception of no secure cloud storage and limited multi-factor authentication options both Bitwarden and LastPass have very good free accounts which are more than good enough for most individual users needs.
In addition to free accounts both services offer very reasonably priced premium offerings including more advanced multi-factor authentication options and 1GB of secure cloud storage should this be required by the user.
In this comparison I will be comparing Bitwarden and LastPass side-by-side, my aim is to identify all of the key points which make up a good password manager and compare the two tools against these criteria.
Both Bitwarden and LastPass are well established password managers with good reputations and both featuring all of the main functionality expected from a modern password manager. Features such as multi-factor authentication, strong security, web browser plugins and smartphone apps all form part of what I consider a key feature. The table below highlights how each tool compares on such features side-by-side.
|Web Browser Plugins|
|Password Sharing|| *|
|Secure File Storage||(1GB)||(1GB)
|Free Version Available|
As can be seen above both products feature all of these key features which are expected from a good password manager. In-fact, both of these password managers have a very similar offering in regards to their free accounts and the premium upgrades on offer, with everything else aside they are very closely matched on key features.
* Something which is worth noting, however, is that Bitwarden do offer password sharing although this is via their ‘Organizations’ feature. This feature basically involves linking two or more accounts for secure password sharing which isn’t exposed to the security flaws found in more traditional sharing methods (e.g. email, social media messaging etc.). This feature is limited to only 2 accounts being linked together in the free version.
It is really hard to separate these two password managers with regards to this category, a very fair draw in this section!
Both Bitwarden and LastPass feature many tools which make using and operating a password manager as easy as possible for their users. Such tools these include smartphone apps for mobile access, web browser plugins for auto filling forms and password generators to ensure unique passwords can easily be generated with just a click.
I have also included payment cards and official IDs in this category as tools allowing these documents to be stored securely and separately to regular logins (I.e. in their own category) are of a great help to many users. Both Bitwarden and LastPass allow the storage of official IDs (with photos) and payment card details in their own categories, this means both are very useful when needing to access such documents / card numbers securely without having the original artefact in your possession.
|Web Browser Access|
|Internet Explorer Plugin|
|Payment Cards / IDs|
As can be seen above both password managers perform very well in this category with all of the major usability features included on each. During my testing of each tool (and being a LastPass user myself for many years) I believe both tools are very easy to use and in turn very easy to derive the main benefits form each.
Good security is paramount when selecting a password manager, thankfully this is an area where both Bitwarden and LastPass both perform very well.
As can be seen above both Bitwarden and LastPass offer multi-factor authentication, this forms (in my opinion at least) a key security feature for a password manager so it is great to see both tools implementing it. Both tools include popular app based 2FA options such as Google Authenticator and Authy as well as hardware options such as Yubi keys found only in the premium accounts, very little to separate the two in this regard.
Encrypting all data locally on the device and before any data transmission takes place is also a key consideration in any password manager and helps make the service as secure as possible. Again, both Bitwarden and LastPass perform all encryption & decryption locally on the client device meaning no unencrypted information will ever leave their users devices.
One additional (and important) security feature of Bitwarden is that both the client software and the server software used for synchronisation is all fully open source and free for anyone to review and use. Whilst this might not seem important for many individual users to does help show how committed Bitwarden is to producing highly secure software by making it open to the world in such a way. This openness allows IT experts and security researches to easily confirm that the Bitwarden software does indeed do as it states it does.
Finally, breach warnings are becoming an ever more important part of using the internet safely, in essence such breach warning services alert users when any of their logins have been compromised. Bitwarden does implement a breach warning report which will allow users to see any public data breaches their email addresses might have been involved in. This report is, however, a static report run from within the users web vault and not an automatic breach warning service.
At the time of writing LastPass does not currently have a similar breach warning service meaning this, along with their software being open source means Bitwarden comes out (very slightly) on top in this category.
Both Bitwarden and LastPass provide very detailed online help and support portals, both include good user documentation, FAQs and helpful getting started guides. Additional support is available for each product.
|Online Knowledge Base|
|Ticket / Email Support|
As can be seen above both password managers provide their users with a detailed knowledge base and support centre, both services also provide additional support via email and online ticketing systems as applicable. Unfortunately, neither service provides phone support as a part of the standard, non-business service.
In addition to the support options mentioned above, Bitwarden, also provide a user support forum giving both free and premium users the option to quickly seek help from other members of the Bitwarden community. Whilst both support options are perfectly adequate this support forum does give Bitwarden a slight edge in this category.
Both LastPass and Bitwarden offer various pricing options ranging from a free account and premium individual user accounts through to multiple user team accounts and even business licences covering an entire business operation.
|Individual Plan|| $10/yr|| $36/yr
|Family Plan||$1/m (5 users)||$4/m (6 users)
|Business / Team Plan||$5/m (inc. 5 users + $2/m per additional user)||$4/m (per user, up to 50 users)|
|Other Business Options|
As can be seen above both services offer a good range of accounts ranging from fully featured free accounts through to premium and family accounts and finally business orientated accounts suited to larger teams.
The free accounts from both providers are particularly worthy of special mention being (in my opinion) two of the best free password manager accounts on the market today which feature automatic synchronisation and no limits on the number of passwords which can be stored or the number of devices which can be used.
The individual user premium accounts are also very similar in that they both bring more multi-factor authentication options to the free offering along with 1GB of secure cloud storage. Where these two providers do differ slightly is in the annual price for the premium service with Bitwarden costing only $10 / year versus $36 / year over at LastPass.
Both of these password managers have great free accounts and equally great premium offerings for a small additional fee. With the premium fee being so reasonable over at Bitwarden at only $10 / year versus $36 / year at LastPass it has to be a small win here for Bitwarden!
Bitwarden LastPass are both excellent password managers and either would be an excellent choice for managing your passwords and helping to keep your digital life more secure. The free accounts offer similar features and in my opinion at least together form two of the best free password manager options on the market as of today!
From the test categories above, however, I think it is fair to call this comparison a small win for Bitwarden based on the additional security and piece of mind in which open source software provides coupled with the lower and very reasonable fee for their premium offering. This is, however, a very small win and I would like to stress both password managers here are a great choice should you be looking for a great free password manager or a premium service for a low additional fee.
Overall Verdict: Bitwarden