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KeePass, Dashlane and LastPass are awesome password managers. We look at all 3 together with a critical eye, to find out which one is the best among them.

Battle of the Password Managers: KeePass vs Dashlane vs LastPass

battle-of-the-password-anagers-keepassvs-dashlane-vs-pastpass

Password managers are becoming standard among savvy computer users, but it doesn’t mean they’re all created equal. While their main purpose is great – storing all of your passwords in a secure location, doing the logging in for you – each has some significant differences, advantages and shortcomings.

We’ve reviewed the top 3 password managers on TechNorms in the past – KeePass, Dashlane and LastPass, but now we’re looking at all three together with a critical eye, to find out which one is the best. We move from a desktop based software to a hybrid to one that resides totally in the cloud.

From storing your passwords in the cloud to suggesting unbreakable passwords, read on for our comprehensive review of the three most popular password managers available – KeePass, Dashlane and LastPass.

KeePass vs Dashlane vs LastPass: Feature Comparison

When taking a long hard look at the features offered by the top 3 password managers, there are several to consider, however a handful reign the most important for most users.

KeePassDashlaneLastPass
Encrypts PasswordsYesYesYes
Integrates with
Google Authenticator
NoYesYes
Two Step VerificationYes. Asks for Windows Login
and a Key File which makes
it a 3-step verification.
Yes.
Via Google Authenticator
Yes.
Via Google Authenticator
Cloud-Based No. But Portable version can
be synched across all devices.
Yes (With a $29.99
Annual Subscription)
Yes
Compatible on All Devices Yes. Compatible apps are
available on all platforms.
YesYes
Auto-LoginThis feature can be added by
utilizing a plugin for KeePass
YesYes
Browser ExtensionYesYesYes (Started out as a
browser extension)

The Best of KeePass

Among the three password managers in our review, KeePass is the completely free option. It’s also open-source and has been around the longest, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. KeePass works by storing all of your password information locally on your PC and/or mobile device, with you creating a master password that universally auto-logs you in to all sites that require a user name and password.

You will need to make the effort to save the portable version or your password database in a cloud based synching service like Dropbox to make sure it’s available across all your devices.

setting-the-master-key-in-keepass

KeePass is available on Windows, Mac and all mobile platforms, like Android and iOS. If you’re a big fan of organization when it comes to your passwords, KeePass also lets you organize your passwords into groups and sub-groups, which is pretty awesome. It also offers changeable shortcut keys so you can bring up KeePass quickly. This feature is definitely rare among password managers.

shortcut-key-settings

Overall, KeePass is a great option for anyone who feels uncomfortable storing their passwords in the cloud because this option isn’t available with KeePass. If you don’t use other computers often and are frequently at home however, this option is quite good, and removes any worries of your passwords being anywhere but on your PC.

Read more about KeePass in our detailed review – The Best Open Source Password Manager : KeePass Password Safe

Download KeePass

The Best of Dashlane

Dashlane is a comparatively new password manager on the scene. This password manager stands out for two big reasons – its aesthetically pleasing look and incredible ease of use.

passwords-stored-in-dashlane

Dashlane works by storing all of your passwords in the cloud, but note, this portion of the service does costs $29.99 each year. Non-cloud based storage is still free. One of the most unique features offered by Dashlane is their Digital Wallet, which securely stores your debit card numbers, PayPal information and other financial information you specify.

It also offers a real-time look at your credit score.

security-score-in-dashlane

Dashlane also offers a browser extension that’s available for all browsers, helping the password manager work even faster. A “Form Filler” is also included so you don’t have to fill in forms manually, making it a huge timesaver. Google’s two-step authentication service can be used with this service as well.

Read more about Dashlane in our review – Securely Manage Your Passwords With Dashlane

Download Dashlane

The Best of LastPass

LastPass meanwhile is the only free password manager that includes cloud-based storage of your passwords. The bonus of this feature is that you can access your passwords from anywhere, while your single main password for accessing your passwords is stored safely on your machine.

All of your passwords are kept in a “Vault” on your Account Page.

vault-in-lastpass

You can also import and export your passwords with no limitation on the number of passwords for websites. LastPass also lets you create multiple identities so you can quickly login at work, home or under any other visages. Syncing between all devices is another highly attractive feature of this service, especially if you switch from your mobile to various PCs throughout the day.

Additionally, LastPass offers “one-time passwords” for sketchy WiFi connections, which is very cool. If there are certain sites you never want to save passwords for, like your bank login information, you can add that to the “Never URL” list in “Settings.” It also provides a virtual keyboard so hackers can’t track your keystrokes.

one-time-password-page

Want to know more? Read our LastPass Review – Secure, Safe and Efficient password management in Your Browser with LastPass

Download LastPass

The Winner Is…

While all three password managers offer unique features that make each a great choice, overall when it comes to the user-friendliness of each, as well as its features, we’ve found LastPass to be the overall best password manager available. It’s free and offers cloud-based storage of your passwords, which is something you can’t find with any other password manager.

LastPass also comes out on top because of its syncing capabilities, as well as the ease of importing and exporting passwords. Combine that with the offering of one-time passwords and two-factor authentication, and LastPass goes above and beyond what you’d traditionally get with a password manager.

Conclusion

The time is now to get serious about managing your passwords. If you have dozens to hundreds of username/password combos for various sites, KeePass, Dashlane and LastPass are all great options. Just make sure to weigh your options before going with any of these, and know the exact features you’re looking for.

For information on a great password manager for Windows 8, check out our post – Metro-Styled PassBox is a Feature Rich Password Manager for Windows 8



  • DonWolf

    I tried KeePass, and I like it because it’s open source, but i prefer Dashlane for it’s ease of use and quick setup. Also like their built in password generator, which i use regularly. I also use keyspinner.com for generating a quick password.

    Thanks for good review :)

    • http://www.technorms.com/ Vikram

      Good to know. :)

    • mom_rox

      My only quibble with the keepass password generator is that it will not remember my preference of not using lookalike characters. I have to click that option each time – not a biggie, but it is one extra step. I haven’t tried Dashlane, so I can’t make a comparison.

  • Grahnberg

    Thanks for the review. However, what are the security implications of using a program that is NOT open source?

    • http://www.technorms.com/ Vikram

      Its how you look at it. Since closed software limits access to the code chances of hackers finding loopholes or bugs reduces significantly.

      However, in case of Open Source software, if there is community of seasoned developers supporting it, the bugs are found and rooted out much faster as compared to a closed software where only a limited number of people are working on vulnerabilities.

  • XB77

    LastPass cloud-based costs $12/year. It is NOT free. Only one-device local storage is free. Dashlane is also cloud-based at $30/year (or free on only one device), as are many others like RoboForm Everywhere $10 1st year, $20 year thereafter, free mobile device apps.

    • http://www.jeroenheijster.com/ Jeroen Heijster

      LastPass is free with cloud-sync. You just cannot use the mobile apps with the free version.

  • CityBuilder

    Lastpass would for me clearly be the winner if they offered it free of charge for mobile devices. As it is for me, I’m finding it’s worth spending the extra $18 a year to use Dashlane instead of Lastpass. I just find it nicer to use, and it keeps a much cleaner database of your usernames and passwords. I just exported my lastpass database the other day and found about 1800 records, much of them I have no idea where they came from as they might of had URLS’s that were like 1800 characters long, some with no usernames, many with no passwords etc. I then imported them into Dashlane and then exported the dashlane csv file and it was simply clean, it refused to import any incomplete records and it was easy to then import the records (although only 200 at a time) in the android awallet app.

  • Steve

    I installed Dashlane after reading about the great interface, multi-functions, password generator…..this was going to be great!

    Not so much. Upon installing, on first startup Dashlane refused to start! Error message said, “This program is blocked by group policy. For more information, contact your system administrator.” That would be me!

    A little snooping showed the problem. Dashlane insists on installing in your %appdata% folder, not in Program Files or Program Files x86. Installing in such a non-standard directory is part of the bag of tricks that CryptoLocker and much other malware uses to remain undetected and do their skulduggery. A security program imitating CryptoLocker? Curious.

    I run a program called CryptoPrevent, which immunizes your system against CryptoLocker and a family of similar malware. Part of its defense is to prevent programs from installing in nonstandard locations, including %appdata%. I consider CryptoPrevent essential and necessary, since once CryptoLocker and friends lock up your computer you’re not getting it back for less than several hundred dollars.

    I sent an e-mail with my findings to Dashlane. They replied, saying it might take awhile to respond as they were busy. I’ve waited two weeks. Time to go public with this very real concern. Legitimate security software has no business imitating malware. Every other password manager I’ve looked at runs in standard directories. Dashlane is Trashlane until they straighten up their act. I do not think safe passwords are a good trade for a boat anchor that used to be a computer.

    I recommend people look elsewhere for a password manager.

  • John

    I tried them all, none of them compete with LoginBox.