With ever-increasing privacy concerns, it’s crucial to keep your personal information secure. That’s especially true when it comes to passwords you use for accessing websites and apps daily. Keeping all the passwords in your head or writing them down in your notebook became obsolete with the invention of password manager apps.
A password management app should be simple enough to ensure you’ll use it, and it needs to provide a high enough level of protection for your data. In this article, we’ll take a look at Bitwarden and Lastpass.
The crucial factor for choosing a password manager is how secure it is.
In this regard, both apps provide a high level of security using the AES-256 encryption standard. That’s currently the only publicly available standard that’s approved by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) for use in encrypting the top-secret information. AES-256 provides end-to-end encryption, meaning nobody will be able to read or access your data except yourself when using the app.
To further boost security, both apps provide the two-factor authentication (2FA) for accessing your e-mail, authentication apps, Yubico, and FIDO U2F security keys. Additionally, mobile app versions of both services allow for biometric authentication as well.
While both apps provide the same level of security, there’s a couple of different options that come with each one. LastPass offers its proprietary 2FA app and supports smart card readers for enterprise customers. It also checks all of your passwords to determine how strong they are and how you can improve them.
Bitwarden includes even more reports. They provide information about your password strength, reused passwords, and any missing 2FA that’s associated with apps which provide such feature. You’ll also get a report on all your passwords that may have been included in data breaches.
These are incidents that involve certain websites or apps that have been “breached” by hackers. That, in turn, compromises your passwords. Thanks to these breach reports, Bitwarden can suggest appropriate action, like changing your password.
Following the industry-standard UI layouts, both Bitwarden and LastPass provide a clean and user-friendly interface.
The central portion of the app screen lists all your passwords, sorted by the app/website they grant access to. To the left, a sidebar contains different options, such as passwords lists, notes, settings, or login parameters. You can also create folders for grouping the passwords by any criteria you choose. If you have too many passwords, the search option will help you quickly find the one you need.
Of course, all of this applies to both the web and mobile app versions. One minor advantage for LastPass is that it allows you to view your passwords in two different layouts: compact or grid. A convenient feature on Bitwarden’s side is the bottom menu with shortcuts to Vault, Settings, and Password Generator.
Both apps provide automatic filling of passwords and forms. That allows you to quickly sign into any website or app, without having to memorize or copy-paste your credentials. It’s available on desktop web browsers, as well as when using mobile apps. To be able to use this feature on the web browsers, you’ll need to install dedicated browser extensions, which is a simple chore.
Besides allowing you to enter passwords to the manager app manually, both LastPass and Bitwarden will offer to store this data for each login you make automatically. That applies to names and addresses as well. One advantage Bitwarden has over LastPass is adding custom fields to your password list entries. You can use this to add text notes, additional e-mail addresses, phone numbers, or anything you’d like.
Even though LastPass has been around for many years, Bitwarden, a relatively new app, brings all the relevant features and then some. Capitalizing on the open-source community, you can expect more frequent updates and new features coming out for Bitwarden. That will probably create an even bigger gap between the two apps in the future.
Free and Premium Plans
A great thing about LastPass and Bitwarden is that they’re available for free. And they include a pretty decent set of permanently available options.
One of the significant free benefits is that that it allows you to use each app on all your devices at the same time. You can also use the secure vault for your passwords without any limitations. You have 2FA enabled, as well as a secure password generator. For advanced users, Bitwarden even lets you self-host the password manager on your server. That lowers the risk of any breaches where your data might get compromised.
Of course, both apps provide premium versions as well, bringing even more features to the table. LastPass charges $3/month for their service, which they bill as $36 upfront for 12 months. Compared to that, Bitwarden is a clear winner with $10 per year, which boils down to $0.83 per month.
Keep Your Password Secure
With more options available for free, a lower-priced premium version, and an excellent potential for future improvements, Bitwarden seems like a clear winner. If you want an app with a proven record and specific options for business users, then you might consider getting LastPass. Regardless of which of the two password managers you choose, your data will be well protected.
Have you already used Bitwarden or LastPass? Which one seems like a better fit for you? Any experiences with other password manager apps? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.