If you’re like most people, you may become overwhelmed by the number of passwords created, used and remembered in your everyday life. Password managers like Bitwarden and LastPass make those tasks easier.

Man hand typing on keyboard with login and password on screen display, cyber security concept, data protection and secured internet access.
Image: Mongta Studio/Adobe Stock

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What is Bitwarden?

Bitwarden is an open source password manager for personal, business and team use that stores credentials in a secure vault. People using it can also store other types of sensitive information and securely transmit it to others.
What is LastPass?

LastPass is a password manager that aims to remove the obstacles that make people feel frustrated when trying to log in to services or encourage them to ignore best practices for password usage. Tools from LastPass can also autofill credentials, helping people gain access faster.

SEE: Password breach: Why pop culture and passwords don’t mix (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Bitwarden vs. LastPass: Feature comparison

Features Bitwarden LastPass
Open source Yes No
Self-hosted deployment option Yes No
Cross-platform password management Yes Yes
Account recovery option for lost master passwords No Yes
Automatic dark web monitoring No Yes

Head-to-head comparison: Bitwarden vs. LastPass

Password storage and usage

Bitwarden helps people generate, store and secure their passwords from any location or device. If a user has a business account, they can specify which teams or people have certain passwords, letting productivity happen without unnecessary obstacles. Bitwarden also supports several two-step login methods. These make it harder for hackers to get and use passwords. The company uses end-to-end encryption, and even its employees can’t see stored content.

Security experts note that humans are often the weakest links in a security strategy. LastPass has a built-in password generator to make it easier for people to set passwords hackers won’t crack. It also offers single sign-on and multifactor authentication options. The company also recently announced a passwordless login feature, showing it’s moving towards the password-free future many people envision. Users also have the ability to share their passwords with a trusted person.

Vault management

In addition to storing passwords, people can put identity and payment details as well as freeform text notes into the Bitwarden vault. There’s also a search field and filter to facilitate finding a particular piece of stored information faster. The Vault Health and Data Breach reports let people see if their vaults or the content contain any vulnerabilities that could help cybercriminals wreak havoc. The star icon next to vault entries allows favoriting information to make it more accessible later.

The LastPass vault works similarly to Bitwarden’s in that it can store other sensitive content besides passwords and people can favorite the items they want to access more quickly later. LastPass vault users can also launch websites directly from within its interface. Alternatively,  they can use the LastPass browser extension to automatically capture new passwords they create and put them into the vault. The LastPass vault has an unlimited capacity. However, LastPass indicates people should expect performance decreases when maintaining more than 2,000 items there.

User-friendliness

People consistently report that Bitwarden is easy to use and install, whether on your phone or a computer. When creating new passwords, there’s the option to add brief notes about them or move them to a subfolder, both of which could assist with improved organization. The Bitwarden Send feature provides a secure and simple method of giving information to someone else. It works even if the recipient does not also use Bitwarden.

LastPass makes things easy for people who start using it after first trying competing products. It can import details from dozens of other password managers. People who subscribe to a LastPass family plan can put their passwords into shareable folders, making them accessible to those who need them while maintaining protection.

Choosing Bitwarden vs. LastPass

Most people who use these two products find them simple to learn and employ regularly, even without extensive tech knowledge. If you do run into an issue, there are comprehensive support sections available on the companies’ websites, and there’s the option to get personalized help when needed.

SEE: Mobile device security policy (TechRepublic Premium)

If pricing is a concern, both companies are very transparent about costs. Bitwarden and LastPass both have free versions, although they’re limited in features. If you’re open to a premium plan, Bitwarden’s personal options range from $10-40/month when billed annually. The business plans get billed at a per-user rate ranging from $3-6, depending on your billing cycle.

Premium versions of LastPass for personal use cost either $3 or $4/month on an annual billing cycle, depending on whether you just get it for yourself or opt for a family plan. For businesses, the price is either $4 or $6/month per user.

Compromised and weak passwords are two major security issues in today’s internet-focused world. These products can help you set strong passwords and keep them secure, all without making you wrack your brain every time you need to log into a service. Since they have similar features, consider taking the time to learn about some of the minor differences before committing to one. Alternatively, use the free versions of both for long enough to see which you prefer.