Bitwarden and LastPass are both reliable password managers — the choice boils down to budget and DIY skills. 

TLDR: While LastPass offers more features and smoother usability, Bitwarden steals the show by offering cheaper prices, a valuable reputation and secure open-source services.

Bitwarden vs. LastPass Password Managers: Our Ratings

Privacy and Security

Usability

Plans and Pricing

Customer Experience

Reputation

Winner

Bitwarden

LastPass

LastPass and Bitwarden are two well-known password managers aimed at wildly different audiences. The good news is that both password managers make your online life easier and take strong measures to protect your passwords with a high level of security.

During our password managers testing and review period, we checked to see how each product measured up in the areas of privacy, usability, pricing, customer service and reputation. Seeing how each fared in these specific categories will help you decide which password manager best fits your needs.

In This Review:

    Bitwarden Background

    Bitwarden, released in 2016, has its headquarters in Santa Barbara, California. The company runs a tight ship via a small management team and 46 employees according to LinkedIn. Bitwarden features strong global support by providing services in more than 40 languages, but the company doesn’t list how many users and businesses it serves.

    LastPass Background

    LastPass was first created in 2008, but has since been acquired by LogMeIn. The Boston-based company also has GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar in its business portfolio. LastPass reports that it serves 25.6 million users and 70,000 businesses.

    Bitwarden vs. LastPass: Privacy and Security

    Security Services

    Bitwarden

    LastPass

    No Security Breaches

    AES-256 Encryption

    PBKDF2 Hashing Protection

    “Zero-Knowledge” Security Model

    Multikey Authentication

    Password Generator

    Bug Bounty Program

    Consistent Audits and Reports

    Security Score

    Bitwarden and LastPass both boast some of the best security and privacy features found with password managers. For instance, both companies use Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)-256 encryption and Password-Based Key Derivation Function 2 (PBKDF2) for ultra-tight security surrounding your password vault. You’ll also find that both services utilize a “Zero-Knowledge” model. This means your master password is never sent to either company’s servers nor can it be accessed by a hacker. 

    Password generators, bug bounty programs, consistent third-party auditing and security scoring that shows repetitive or weak passwords are also included with both Bitwarden and LastPass.

    LastPass pulls ahead in the competition with its multikey authentication, which is flexible and trumps Bitwarden’s two-factor authentication. Bitwarden, however, has never been breached or hacked, unlike LastPass.

    WINNER: Bitwarden

    Bitwarden wins the privacy and security category thanks to its open-source code. Anyone in the world can see exactly how Bitwarden works, and the community works together to continuously improve its security and performance. Bitwarden’s open-source code offers a higher level of transparency than its competitors that use closed-source code, including LastPass.

    Bitwarden vs. LastPass: Usability

    Bitwarden and LastPass differ in their philosophies for usability. Bitwarden is geared toward an audience of individuals who like to figure things out on their own, customize their options and do things themselves. LastPass is geared more toward a general audience, so it needs an easy-to-use interface. 

    That difference is clearly seen in the web vaults and password manager apps. While Bitwarden appears simple on the surface, it enables you to dig into deeper settings and personalize your features. For many, the level of customization will work great, but it can quickly become confusing if you don’t recognize certain terms used. This also means Bitwarden can be frustrating for the less tech savvy user. That doesn’t mean Bitwarden isn’t accessible to anyone, but you won’t find easy-to-follow setup steps quite as easily as you would with LastPass.

    WINNER: LastPass

    On the other hand, LastPass sometimes appears clunkier in its interfaces, but adding passwords is easier and jumping into browser extensions and autofill is a snap. LastPass’ mobile apps are prettier, smoother and a pleasure to use, and though much of that is due to LastPass’ higher price, we have to declare LastPass as the winner for usability.

    Bitwarden vs. LastPass: Plans and Pricing

    It’s hard to beat Bitwarden’s Premium plan at $10 annually. LastPass gains back some ground with a similarly-priced family plan. We’ll break down the paid and free offerings of each company. 

    Bitwarden vs. LastPass Password Manager Costs

    Free

    Premium

    Family

    Bitwarden

    $0

    $10/year

    $40/year

    LastPass

    $0

    $36/year

    $48/year

    Bitwarden vs. LastPass: Free Plans

    In previous years, the free version race would’ve been a bit closer between Bitwarden and LastPass. However, in recent months LastPass has cut down on the features for its free version and singlehandedly given the win to Bitwarden. In summation, Bitwarden is one of the best free password managers you can get.

    Bitwarden offers unlimited password storage on unlimited devices with its free version. You’ll also have one-to-one text sharing, a password generator and the ability to self-host your passwords.

    LastPass offers one-to-one sharing and a password generator in its free version, along with secure notes, multifactor authentication and LastPass Authenticator. These extra features would’ve given LastPass the win over Bitwarden for free versions, except for the fact that LastPass recently limited its unlimited password support to only working on one device type (either desktop or mobile). In addition, LastPass is removing customer support by email for all free users as of August 2021. For these reasons, we recommend selecting Bitwarden if you want a free plan because you can use it on all the devices you want.

    Bitwarden vs. LastPass: Premium Paid Plans

    If you upgrade to a Premium plan, you’ll find Bitwarden beats out LastPass again due to price. Though the features that LastPass hands you are more detailed and flexible, you’ll pay almost four times per year what you would with Bitwarden for essentially the same functionality. 

     It should also be noted that spending just $10 a year for a Premium plan is virtually unheard of in the password manager world. It’s impressive that Bitwarden offers almost all of its features for such a low price, and we think that’s worth looking into for most customers. While you’ll get a bit more polish and user friendliness from LastPass, we don’t think the higher price justifies it.

    Bitwarden vs. LastPass: Family Plans

    Bitwarden and LastPass both offer family plans that include six Premium accounts bundled together for whoever you want to add to your plan. While the price differential is closer here, Bitwarden still beats LastPass. The price, however, is close enough that you shouldn’t fail to explore both options if you’re committed to a family plan.

    WINNER: Bitwarden

    Bitwarden beats out LastPass on lowest pricing across all paid plans. Plus, it places few restrictions on its free option. 

    Bitwarden vs. LastPass: Customer Experience

    Effective August 2021, free users will only be able to receive help through the online library and community forums since LastPass is discontinuing its email support for free plan users. In fact, LastPass has already removed the Contact page from its website. Moving forward, LastPass will only allow you to email its customer care team if you’re a Premium or Families plan user. LastPass does also have a chatbot available to anyone on its website that can help make it easier to find solutions.

    Bitwarden allows users with any plan to send an email through its Contact page at any time. That doesn’t mean the company will get back to you right away. In fact, the company is known to give priority support to its Premium and Family plan users. However, it does speak to the fact that Bitwarden seems more willing to help and talk with its customers, even though its team is smaller. Additionally, Bitwarden’s community support and forums seem to have better engagement and service than LastPass. 

    WINNER: Tie

    Although we think Bitwarden exhibits more care for its customers overall, we’re willing to make this category a tie since LastPass can still offer more resources for first-time users due to the larger size of its team.

    Bitwarden vs. LastPass: Reputation

    While LastPass is arguably the most well-known password manager in the world, the company has recently come under fire for its lack of committed customer support for all users and its pullback on free features. That can easily be seen in its reviews on TrustPilot which sit at a 1.5 out of 5 stars rating from only 270 total reviews. While not everyone is unhappy with LastPass, the company has been riding a wave of bad press since its 2015 security breach.

    WINNER: Bitwarden

    Though more of a niche program, Bitwarden fares much better on Trustpilot with a 4.5 out of 5 stars from just 32 reviews. Bitwarden’s underground popularity may contribute to its ability to commit to customer service and allow the company to provide a great password manager for its target audience. 

    LastPass vs. Bitwarden: Who Wins?

    LastPass has a bigger team and can offer smooth usability, functionality and polish, while Bitwarden keeps its team smaller and its services less expensive. Both password managers work great, so you can’t go wrong with either one.

    That being said, if you’re a casual password manager user who wants to keep the process simple and doesn’t worry about price, LastPass may be the best option for you. If you don’t mind doing a little work yourself or you want to keep things cheap (or even free), we recommend Bitwarden. Overall, we feel Bitwarden provides the best value based on price and features.

    Since both password managers offer free plans, you can try out both and see which suits you best. 

    Password Manager FAQs

    • What is a password manager?

      A password manager helps you remember all your passwords for your online accounts while also keeping them safe. Password managers store your passwords in a cloud-based, or locally hosted, encrypted “vault” online. Your vault will be locked behind your master password, which is also encrypted.

    • How does a password manager work?

      Password managers can autofill your username and password information on websites so you don’t have to type them in manually. Most password managers also work for auto filling credit card forms, addresses and more.

      Most password managers also sync across devices and browsers. The passwords you use on your desktop should also work on your mobile phone, provided you have the necessary app and/or browser extensions downloaded and installed.

      In addition to convenience, password managers often utilize password generators to randomize your passwords so they can be longer, stronger and virtually impossible to guess or hack. Each password should also be unique to each account. Having unique passwords for each of your accounts means if one of your passwords is compromised for any reason, none of your other passwords will be vulnerable.

    • Why do I need a password manager?

      If you’re like most people, you regularly repeat passwords when you’re having to sign up for a simple account with a website. There are too many accounts and too many passwords to remember these days, and repeating easy-to-remember passwords cuts down on used brainpower.

      The problem is that repeating simple passwords leaves you vulnerable to hackers — if they obtain a password for one site you use, they simply have to repeat it to gain access to others. Password managers want to help you remember all your passwords while also beefing up the security for all your accounts. It’s a simple tool, but an effective one for anyone who regularly uses the internet.

    Pricing is accurate at time of publication.