LastPass is one of the most popular password managers available today. Here’s how it fares.
LastPass Password Manager Review
Password managers are fast becoming an essential addition to your internet security toolkit. LastPass is a household name as far as password managers are concerned, and it’s easy to see why. There’s a solid free version, and the features of the LastPass premium upgrade add additional security and convenience.
If you’re starting out in the world of password managers, LastPass is a great first stop.
LastPass used to have an incredibly robust free version, but that’s been somewhat watered down in more recent times now that you have to choose between either single-device computer or mobile sync. If you do want to try the Premium or Families versions of LastPass, you can take advantage of a 30-day trial which, refreshingly, doesn’t require any credit card details.
There’s an unfortunate trend for password managers like LastPass and 1Password to display their prices monthly but charge annually, so you’re looking at either $54 per year for one user on Premium or $72 a year for up to six users. In terms of payment options, LastPass accepts a variety of credit cards for payment.
The Free version of LastPass has most of the key features you’d want from a password manager:
- Unlimited password storing
- Access on computer or mobile
- Save and autofill passwords
- Secure one-to-one sharing
- Multi-factor authentication
- Password generator
The Premium version of LastPass include all of the free features, plus some upgrades that are worth considering:
- Access on all devices
- Secure one-to-many sharing
- 1GB encrypted file storage
- Security dashboard
- Dark-web monitoring
- Emergency access
- Priority tech support
The LastPass Families version has everything that the Free and Premium versions have, plus the following extras:
- Six encrypted vaults
- Family manager dashboard
- Group and share items in folders
- Individual encrypted storages
- Personal security dashboards and notifications
LastPass password management
LastPass uses a single master password at login to manage all of its features. You should absolutely make this password very secure, given the job of a password manager is to store all of your other precious passwords.
The Windows desktop software for LastPass used to be terrible, but it’s improved somewhat in recent times. Still, it’s not the end of the world that the Windows software is average because there are LastPass extensions for popular browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Opera. The LastPass app is similar to using the LastPass browser extension, but we highly recommend setting up a PIN to access it so you don’t have to continually re-enter your master password. Admittedly, that’s great for security, but it can be painful to constantly input a complicated master password.
Searching for stored website username/password logins is as simple as leaning on a LastPass browser extension. For software and non-browser logins, you can search for the entry, then copy/paste the username and/or password. This only ever falls apart if LastPass has assigned a password entry that’s not in line with the name you search for.
But that issue tends to be more to do with manually searching for website entries. You’re better off activating LastPass autofill so that it actively prompts you to use it to populate username and password fields.
Creating a new login on a website is just as simple. For a LastPass browser extension, right-click, hover over to LastPass, then select ‘Generate Secure Password’. The LastPass password generator automatically recommends a password, but you can tweak and refresh it in terms of desired character length; uppercase, lowercase, numerical, and symbol characters; as well as options that are easy to say or read. Now copy the password, then paste it back in the password field, and LastPass should pop up to prompt you to store the new login.
LastPass advanced features
When you first open your compatible web browser for the day, LastPass will greet you with a notification of weak or duplicate passwords. You can click the extension twice to get back to its usual functions if you’re pressed for time, or click through to update passwords.
The LastPass vault is where there’s a great range of advanced options. You can, for instance, enable dark web monitoring to see if any of your credentials have leaked online. It’s a nice touch to get email updates for dark web monitoring, too.
At first glance, the LastPass vault is quite intimidating, but it’s great that LastPass has included a basic tour to highlight its extra features. Outside of scrolling or searching through all of your LastPass credentials, you can also add easy-access secure notes or addresses, conveniently separated into meaningful categories. For more sensitive items, LastPass also has categories dedicated to payment details, bank accounts, and even WiFi passwords.
There are other advanced features for those willing to tinker, including emergency access and folder sharing, but the security dashboard is worth highlighting. Here is where you’ll find alerts, the results of dark web monitoring, and a security score with a breakdown of at-risk passwords. You don’t need to dive into these advanced features, but they do add to the overall value.
LastPass is a great place to start on your password-manager journey or when upgrading from a fully free version like Google Password Manager. The 30-day free trial offers a no-risk way to try before you buy.
Even if you only use the basic features, storing passwords and generating secure ones, LastPass is worth the investment. Dig a little deeper, though, and LastPass proves itself to be a fully featured password manager whose popularity is warranted.
How we evaluated LastPass
We consider a variety of factors when evaluating password managers. It starts with a basic analysis of price and features before we dig into hands-on testing of how easy a password manager is to use. Security is very important at SafeWise, so encryption and options like multi-factor authentication score points with us.
The number of supported devices is also important, alongside how many people can use a single account, as well as how easy it is to share credentials between trusted friends, colleagues, and family. If a password manager has a free trial, that scores points; bonus points for password managers that don’t ask for credit card details to access the trial.
Finally, we research and/or test the advanced features of a password manager to see what it offers beyond the basics. Convenience features are great, but we really like a password manager that proactively prompts you to evaluate how secure your online presence truly is.