On the surface, LastPass and Bitwarden are quite similar. They are both robust, server-based password managers with strong security. But they take different approaches when it comes to pricing, cross-device support, and transparency. Question is, which is right for you?
Bitwarden Is More Secure
When it comes to the basics, both LastPass and Bitwarden have the ground covered. They both offer AES-256 encryption, two-factor authentication, multi-factor authentication, and a zero-knowledge policy.
All data is also encrypted during transfer, so you are safe from man-in-the-middle attacks. Neither of the companies can actually see your passwords. This means that even if their servers are hacked (like what happened to LastPass in 2015), hackers won’t get access to your passwords.
What gives Bitwarden a slight edge is the fact that the product is open-source. The code that runs the system is available online. This means that it can be checked online by experts to make sure that there are no major security issues. Bitwarden went through a successful third-party audit using Cure53 cybersecurity firm.
And because the code is open-source, community members can create additional tools that work with Bitwarden data. Even if Bitwarden shuts down in the future, the products can still be developed by the open-source community.
LastPass Is Easier to Use
Bitwarden was developed as a tool for businesses, and it shows. On the other hand, LastPass was built as a free product for the masses.
On the whole, LastPass is easier to use. Whether it’s the design of the web client, or how seamlessly the auto-fill functionality works using browser extensions.
Bitwarden leans toward the utilitarian side, with features designed for power users. The browser’s auto-fill feature is a prime example. When you want to log in to a website using Bitwarden, you’ll first have to go to its extension and then select the login.
If you’re signing up for a new account, you’ll need to add the details first in the Bitwarden extension, and then use that on the web page.
Instead, LastPass will show you the auto-fill data right in the fields. Just click and go.
On the flip side, Bitwarden is filled with power-user features. One of the experimental features at the time of writing will automatically fill in the login details as soon as the login page opens. This is even faster than using LastPass.
When it comes to mobile apps, LastPass and Bitwarden both offer similar auto-fill experiences on iPhone and Android. Both integrate into the platform’s own password auto-fill system.
For beginners, LastPass wins the usability point. It’s easier to use the auto-fill and sharing features.
Bitwarden’s Free and Paid Plans Are Better
What Bitwarden loses out on in the user experience, it more than makes up for with its features and pricing.
Starting March 16, 2021, LastPass will only support one device type with its free plan. This means that you’ll need to pay for the $3/month Premium plan if you want to use LastPass on your desktop along with your smartphone.
Bitwarden offers a generous free plan. It includes cross-device support and unlimited logins for free. Even Bitwarden’s premium accounts are cheaper when compared to LastPass.
For an individual, Bitwarden Premium costs $10/year. It includes support for two-factor authentication and includes 1GB of secure storage. LastPass Premium, on the other hand, costs $3/month (but it does come with a one-month free trial).
It’s the same story with family and business plans (where the feature set for both products is fairly similar). You can get a Bitwarden Family account for six members for $40/year, while LastPass costs $48/year.
Bitwarden wins with business plans as well. It offers a free business plan with two shared users. Bitwarden’s team plan starts at $3/month for each user, while LastPass charges $4/month for each user.
If you’re looking to switch from LastPass to Bitwarden, you can easily transfer your passwords using a CSV file.
Overall, Bitwarden Is Better for Most Users
If you’re looking for a secure and free password manager with cross-device support, we would recommend you take a look at Bitwarden. For most users, the free plan will be enough. You can pay the $10/year fee to add features like two-factor authentication and encrypted storage space while helping the company with the continued development of new features.
Unfortunately, as we explained above, choosing Bitwarden means that you’ll have to take a small hit when it comes to usability, but it’s worth the price.
On the other hand, if you find Bitwarden a bit too complex, and if you only plan to use the password manager on a single device, give LastPass’s free plan a shot. If you need cross-device support, you can upgrade to the $3/month Premium plan, or you can get the $4/month Family plan and split the fees with your family members.
While Bitwarden is the best competitor to LastPass’s free plan, it’s not the only alternative. You can try 1Password, or KeePass as well.