Without realizing it, many of us are walking around with the digital equivalent of one of those janitor keyrings with a stupendous number of keys for a preposterous number of locks. With everything from social media accounts, alternate emails, apps, websites, online stores and more, the online landscape is replete with doors, and remembering which key corresponds to which lock cannot only be a chore, it can be a challenge.
That’s where password managers like 1Password and LastPass come in. They simplify your life by storing your ridiculous litany of passwords behind a single master password while providing convenience through numerous other ways like form filling, automatic password generation, extra security features and file vaults with encrypted cloud storage. But which password manager is the best? Which one provides the most functionalities and at the best price?
Down below we will make a direct comparison between two of the biggest names in password management to help you decide which option is best for you — LastPass or 1Password?
LastPass vs 1Password
While nominally serving the function of a standard password manager, both 1Password and LastPass allow users to store a variety of data beyond simple passwords. Files, notes, payment information, documents – neither option will leave you hanging when it comes to serving as a one-stop-shop for your secure information storage.
Both apps use 256-bit AES encryption to protect your data — currently the strongest encryption standard and one essentially invulnerable to brute force attacks. This is good news in the case of a data breach because it means that malicious actors have no way of reading whatever data they do get their hands on.
Both companies also use, on top of the 256-bit AES encryption for your data, another encryption called PBKDF2 SHA-256, to make your data, for all intents and purposes, genuinely indecipherable.
Where LastPass and 1Password begin to differ is in their non-encryption-based layers of security required to access your account. 1Password relies on an account-unique 128-bit Secret Key required alongside your master password every time you sign in to your account.
This means an extra step for users and another keystone to protect alongside the master password but means that attackers, even with your master password, can’t get into your account.
It should also be noted that LastPass did experience a security breach in 2015 — though according to official records, there was no exposure of personal data to the attackers and that the underlying defense systems of LastPass did indeed protect its users as intended.
The term dark web monitoring also shows up in marketing copy and security conversations regarding several password managers and indeed does so for LastPass’ premium plan and above.
Though that specific term is absent in 1Password, similar security protections are in place under the guise of their watchtower feature which monitors any potential breaches related to your email address and notifies you as soon as they are detected.
In a strictly technical sense, LastPass could arguably be considered more “secure” simply due to the multiple layers of encryption as well as multi-factor authentication – plus it should be said that the 2015 security breach actually testifies to the soundness of their security systems rather than against them, considering no personal data was reportedly exposed.
That said, both password managers are essentially indecipherable to any hacker without a supercomputer or thousands of years to brute force your data; as long as you, personally, don’t make any serious errors with stewardship of your master password you shouldn’t have a problem with either LastPass or 1Password. There are millions of users on either side that can testify to the security protocols employed by either option.
Both companies offer password management solutions on most platforms on the market. Where the key difference lies is in their form: LastPass operates singularly as a browser plug-in while 1Password is primarily a local download accompanied, ideally, by the browser-based plugin known as 1Password X (currently only available on Chrome, Firefox, and Opera).
The advantage of the 1Password local apps is that they allow users to access passwords and vaults off-line — a bonus to some users.
It’s important to point out that 1Password is generally considered to be better on iOS and Mac than on its Windows and android counterparts where it lags behind. The app has a history of rolling out features on the latter well after having been established on Mac and iOS, so Windows users (i.e. a majority of users) are somewhat left out of the party.
And a wider variety of operating systems than 1Password. Though it lacks a local version of the app that can be used off-line, the fact that one password has a history of the slow rollout on Windows leaves it in second place.
Like any password manager, both apps purposely do not feature straightforward recovery options for their master passwords — for obvious reasons. A major weakness in any account’s security lies in the very recovery options we use whenever we forget our password (which is, largely, why a password manager comes in handy in the first place).
That said, both 1Password and LastPass possess their own backup options in anticipation of a worst-case scenario in which you forget the 1Password you really should never forget: your master password.
1Password features an Emergency Kit — a simple text file containing your Secret Key, email address, and a text box for you to record your master password. This can be kept off-line as a last line of defense against your own bad memory.
LastPass, on the other hand, allows users to set up SMS verification or one-time passwords sent via email that are specific to the device and the browser at hand. This defense is, to some extent, less secure against attackers with access to your physical devices but more convenient for those prone to forgetting important information like your master password.
Choosing a winner here depends on your own appetite for vulnerability. If you foresee a concerted effort to steal your password then 1Password is probably a better choice. You can store your exact information off-line on a piece of paper or a hard drive gathering dust in the drawer of your desk you rarely open.
However, if you’re more likely to forget your password and use password managers more as a matter of increased convenience, LastPass can protect you against yourself better than 1Password.
Alongside the usual slew of password management options, both apps offer their own variety of unique perks that may sway users to either camp depending on their own personal preferences.
The stand out feature of 1Password is, without a doubt, its Travel Mode feature the deletes sensitive data and information from your device to be automatically reinstalled at a later date – something especially useful for those concerned with, say, unwarranted investigations into their device while crossing hazardous borders (or any other hiccups with potential legal ramifications).
Another feature to take into account with 1Password is the off-line storage functionality we mentioned earlier.
For more everyday use, LastPass offers an experimental auto-change feature that regularly changes the saved passwords inside your vault without any input required from you. This quiet, behind-the-curtain feature adds another layer of security to users who, like any human, tend to leave off regular password changes for years on end.
It really depends on what the individual user is looking for; everyday users in search of another layer of security will likely get more mileage out of LastPass’ auto-change feature. Conversely, those more in search of general convenience and extra utility will gravitate towards the offline vault option that 1Password provides.
If you’re trying to keep sensitive data away from prying eyes, 1Password’s Travel Mode is a pretty large cherry atop the password management cake. Overall, however, the unique perks of 1Password constitute some pretty significant and creative departures from the otherwise standard options on offer by LastPass
LastPass overall offers a slightly better value proposition, especially as you get into the more specialized heavy-duty plans like Teams and Business/Enterprise. Generally speaking though, for individual users, the difference is, for most intents and purposes, negligible.
Both apps are competing for essentially the same price points and offering essentially the same features – the difference maker is really the devil in the details when it comes to the specific functionality is offered by either option.
The fact that LastPass offers a free plan, however bare-bones, pretty much wins out the zero dollar portion of the battle for value supremacy. You just can’t beat free.
The unpaid version of LastPass strips away much of the security components, like dark web monitoring, emergency support, and the security dashboard, but leaves intact a competent and lightweight password manager. Those looking for simple, straightforward convenience by way of form filling, password generation, password tracking and nothing more would do well to go with the LastPass’free plan.
LastPass Premium vs. 1Password Premium
At the entry-level price point of three dollars a month each, both LastPass and 1Password’s premium plans are pretty comparable, leaving the difference-maker to how you value the factors already covered rather than price as the primary factor in your choice. 1Password, when billed annually, actually ends up $0.50 cheaper per month.
But if you’re looking to spend money on a password manager, $0.50 probably won’t be a larger component of your decision compared to features and functionality. It should be mentioned that LastPass offers 30 days of free premium when you sign up for their free plan.
LastPass Families vs. 1Password Family
The Family options are where LastPass actually edges out 1Password on the price by offering their second level for a dollar less per month when billed annually and a whole three dollars less when billed monthly — enough to sway some money-minded users towards LastPass.
When it comes to their feature segmentation, both apps pretty much offer the same thing: multiple users, unlimited sharing between them, and improved recovery tools using these multiple profiles.
LastPass Teams vs. 1Password Team
The Teams option for small businesses is, functionally speaking, pretty much the same for both services. Both 1Password and LastPass offer security and password management options tailored to organizations but with an important caveat: LastPass caps its users at 50 for their Teams option.
Any more and you’ll be forced to upgrade to their business plan. This becomes especially relevant when looking at the next price point.
LastPass Enterprise vs. 1Password Business
Here, the two-dollar difference between LastPass and 1Password can make a big difference. When looking at teams numbering in the dozens or even hundreds, those two dollars quickly become hundreds of dollars per month and thousands per year for businesses.
However, because 1Password has no cap on teams means that businesses without a need for the Business Plan’s special perks (like increased storage per person, guest accounts, and VIP support) they can get by with a comparatively cheaper option for even large companies.
LastPass vs 1Password Comparison: Which one is better?
Overall, LastPass narrowly edges out one password in a hypothetical contest between the two encompassing all users and use cases. In addition to the overlap the two services share in functionality, the fact that LastPass offers a free plan gives it, generally speaking, a better value proposition overall.
That said, it’s important to point out that for many, many users one password may still be the better option. Mac users in particular will enjoy a quicker feature rollout than Windows users.
Those looking to hide sensitive data from “border agents” will gravitate towards 1Password’s Travel Mode. Large businesses in need of a wide arsenal of security and personnel management systems can save serious money with LastPass.
What are your thoughts on the LastPass vs 1Password debate? Any questions about how to set up or use either of the services? Let us know down below!