1Password vs LastPass: One Password Manager for 2020
LastPass is easily one of the most popular password managers out there, and for good reason. With a generous free plan, plenty of features and an accessible user interface, it’s the go-to password manager for a lot of users. That doesn’t mean it’s the best password manager, however.
1Password gives LastPass a run for its money in more ways than one. In this LastPass vs 1Password comparison, we’re going to throw the two into the ring to see which one comes out on top. During a series of rounds, our competitors will trade blows as we evaluate features, security, pricing and more.
Make sure to read our LastPass review and 1Password review if you want more details on either tool. If you want to skip the hoopla, 1Password is the better option, though there are reasons to consider LastPass, especially if you’re on a budget.
Setting Up a Fight: 1Password vs LastPass
Here’s how it’s going down: we have nine rounds, each of which is worth a point. During each round, we’ll compare and contrast LastPass and 1Password to see which is the better tool for that round. At the end, we’ll award a point. After the whole comparison, we’ll tally the points to declare a winner.
As we do with all of our comparisons, however, we want to issue a note of caution. We’ll take a definitive stance when choosing winners — that’s what we’re here to do — but certain sections have some wiggle room. For example, the winner in the “ease of use” round is largely based on personal preference.
We preface our comparison only because LastPass and 1Password are two excellent password management tools. You could go either way and have a great experience. That said, we found one to be the better option overall when comparing them head to head.
- Multi-device sync
- Mobile apps
- Free plan
- Multi-device sync
- Mobile apps
- Free plan
LastPass and 1Password are evenly matched in terms of security, both offering excellent encryption and a zero-knowledge model. That said, there are reasons you should use 1Password vs LastPass. It has a more unique approach to security that could protect your logins in the event of a breach.
1Password uses a two-secret-key security model, meaning there are two encryption keys required to unlock your passwords. One of them is your master password, which 1Password never sees or stores. The other is a device key that’s generated based on hardware and software specifications when you add a new device to your account.
LastPass doesn’t go as far, offering just the single AES-256 key for protection (read our description of encryption for more on that). Still, that single key goes a long way. Again, LastPass doesn’t see or store your master password, meaning even if your account data is stolen, the attacker won’t have the necessary key to decrypt your encrypted vault.
We saw this in action in 2015 when LastPass suffered a data breach. The attacker made off with a database of passwords, but because they were all encrypted, they weren’t able to compromise any user account data. That’s because LastPass doesn’t know your master password when you create your account.
As mentioned, 1Password and LastPass use a zero-knowledge model, meaning your master password is never stored anywhere on their servers. Consequently, that means you can’t reset your master password in the event you forget it. Without your master password, LastPass and 1Password don’t have the means to prove that you are who you say you are.
That’s great for security, though it can cause some problems if you forget your master password. Thankfully, 1Password offers a small form of account recovery. Although it’s not as fluid as Keeper’s account recovery system — read our Keeper review for more on that — it’s more than what LastPass offers.
When you sign up for a 1Password account, you’ll be asked to download an emergency kit. This sheet of paper has your second secret key, your email address and a slot for you to write in your master password. It’s recommended that you print this paper off and store it somewhere safe, such as a safety deposit box.
Additionally, the emergency kit sheet includes a QR code, which you can scan with 1Password apps to automatically authenticate your account. This is an excellent way to perform account recovery, but it’s on you to make sure you store your emergency kit in a safe place.
Both of our competitors support multiple two-factor authentication options, with LastPass actually providing a tool worthy of our best 2FA apps guide (more on that in the “features” round). LastPass goes a step further, though, offering support for hardware 2FA and contextual multi-factor authentication, or MFA.
We’ll talk more about that in the “business plans” round below, but in short, LastPass’ MFA uses contextual analysis to approve logins, much in the same way as OneLogin (read our OneLogin review). This feature isn’t available to individual users, but for most people, that’s not a problem.
1Password offers software 2FA, either through time-based codes or some sort of authentication app. LastPass supports these same forms of 2FA, with support for U2F keys, such as the YubiKey. 1Password also recently rolled out support for hardware 2FA.
Taken together, LastPass offers a lot in the way of security and goes even further for business subscribers. However, 1Password’s core security structure is, technically, more secure, even if both competitors can keep your strong passwords protected in practice. Because of that, we’re giving 1Password the win this round.
Point for 1Password
There’s a lot to talk about with pricing when it comes to LastPass and 1Password. LastPass is the best free password manager around, while 1Password ranked at the top of the list in our password manager for families guide. They’ll both have their time to shine in future rounds. For this one, we’re focusing on individual pricing.
Our two competitors are evenly matched in terms of pricing, offering personal subscriptions for around $3 per month. With 1Password, that price gets you the full range of features and 1GB of encrypted file storage. The document storage is nice to see, but without the ability to purchase more, it’s best for only the most critical documents.
LastPass builds upon its free plan with one-to-many password sharing and LastPass for Applications. The latter feature is great to see, allowing you to use LastPass’ browser autofill on local applications. Very few password managers offer this feature — read our RoboForm review for one example — so it’s nice that LastPass makes it available.
No matter which option you choose, you’ll have 30 days to try the service before making up your mind. For 1Password, that’s a 30-day trial of Premium, with no credit card required. LastPass also offers a month of its paid features, but once the trial period ends, you’ll be booted to a free account.
However, neither one offers a refund policy. That doesn’t hurt much, considering LastPass has its free plan to fall back on. With 1Password, you’ll still have access to your account after the free trial period, but it’ll be “frozen.” That means you can’t add, edit or remove entries, and autofill is disabled.
Although they are equal in terms of cost, we’re going to give the win to LastPass. It has a more fluid system for handling free trials, whereas 1Password doesn’t have much to fall back on. However, it could go either way this round.
Point for LastPass
3. Family Plans
LastPass and 1Password both offer excellent family plans that can protect multiple users for a low monthly price. 1Password asks $5 for its family plan, offering five user accounts and five guest accounts for limited password sharing. However, you’re not restricted to five users. You can add additional members to your account for $1 each.
Unfortunately, LastPass doesn’t provide that flexibility, though it makes up for it with a more generous and cheaper family option. For only $4 per month, LastPass offers six Premium licenses for your family. In addition to what you get with the normal Premium plan, the Families plan also comes with a central dashboard and unlimited shared folders.
Like the previous round, this one could easily go either way. LastPass is cheaper and will protect most families. That said, there’s no denying that 1Password offers more flexibility for users with large families. Furthermore, 1Password offers account recovery through other family members, while LastPass does not.
It’s a small win, but a win nonetheless. For this round, we’re giving a point to 1Password.
Point for 1Password
4. Free Plan
LastPass ranked first in our best free password manager guide, with options like Bitwarden and KeePass following closely behind (read our Bitwarden review and KeePass review, and see how KeePass compares to LastPass). That’s because LastPass offers multi-device sync and unlimited storage on its free plan, which is rare to see.
1Password, on the other hand, doesn’t offer a free plan, which is a huge missed opportunity. As you can read in our Dashlane vs 1Password comparison, even a restricted free plan is better than no free plan at all. 1Password simply offers a 30-day trial, and although that’s nice to see, a restricted free plan would be better.
There’s no contest here, with LastPass offering a free plan and 1Password skipping past one. Even so, it’s important to emphasize just how good LastPass’ free plan is. You get just about all the features of most paid password managers without spending a dime, making it an easy sell for anyone on the fence about using a password management tool.
Point for LastPass
5. Ease of Use
LastPass and 1Password are a far cry from services like LogMeOnce (read our LogMeOnce review). Both are very easy to use, with streamlined interfaces that focus on getting around easily. Thankfully, neither one sacrifices features in favor of being easy to use, much unlike RememBear (read our RememBear review).
Starting with LastPass, it’s based entirely in your browser, which is a good thing. Unlike Dashlane, which offers a local application, you can use LastPass on any device that supports Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and more. It’s not through a browser extension, either; LastPass offers the full tool in your browser.
The browser interface is excellent, too. In it, you can organize your entries either in a list or a tile-like format. LastPass will automatically pull images for most websites, and you can organize your entries into folders. Furthermore, there are tools to sort and filter your entries, making it easy to get around.
LastPass doesn’t skimp on entry types, either. The standards are accounted for, with LastPass supporting notes, passwords, addresses and credit cards. However, you can also store health insurance information, SSH keys, server and database logins, software licenses and more. LastPass also supports custom templates, allowing you to create your own items.
Although LastPass is impressive, 1Password gives it a run for its money in more ways than one. There’s a local application available, but you don’t have to use it. With 1Password X, you can use 1Password exclusively through a browser extension. There’s a full browser interface if you want to use it, too.
Beyond that, 1Password uses a multi-vault system, allowing you to segment your passwords in any way you want. There isn’t a folder system like there is with LastPass, but with the ability to split up entries into separate vaults, that hardly matters. 1Password also has a tagging system within vaults, if you want to further organize your entries.
There are no shortage of entry types, either. Like LastPass, there are multiple preset entries, but you can create your own with custom fields. Although it’s mostly the same as LastPass’ system, 1Password has a more elegant solution, showing you the fields in a standard entry form rather than an Excel-esque table.
Like previous rounds, this one is tough to call, as both competitors offer excellent use experiences with plenty of functionality. That said, 1Password has a level of polish in certain areas that LastPass lacks.
Although LastPass is great to look at in your day-to-day operation, there are some areas of the UI that feel a few years out of date. It’s a small difference, but enough to push 1Password to the front for this round.
Point for 1Password
LastPass and 1Password are stocked with features, though they don’t reach the level of Dashlane (read our Dashlane review). 1Password is better suited for those who are comfortable paying for a subscription, which makes sense, seeing as there isn’t a free plan. That said, LastPass offers a lot for very little.
Starting with 1Password, there are a lot of goodies included with your subscription, but nothing that fundamentally changes the experience. Like other tools, 1Password includes a security dashboard, called Watchtower, where you can view weak, reused and old passwords. It also includes a section for potentially unsafe websites.
1Password also includes “travel mode,” which is our favorite feature. With it, you can automatically store personal data on your mobile device in your 1Password account. If you were to lose your phone while traveling, your personal information would be safe. Thankfully, you can restore your account data with a single tap.
LastPass has some unique features of its own, the most impressive of which is autofill for applications, which mirrors the autofill experience in your browser. Other tools have this functionality, such as RoboForm, but none do it as seamlessly as LastPass. That said, it’s only available to paying subscribers.
Thankfully, LastPass Authenticator is available to all subscribers. This tool is a 2FA app in the vein of Google Authenticator. With it, you can easily set up 2FA on most major websites, apart from your LastPass account. Like most of LastPass’ features, it’s available for free to everyone.
Also available for free is LastPass’ automatic password changer, though you shouldn’t count on it. The tool touts the ability to change your password across multiple websites with a single click. Unfortunately, we were never able to get it working properly while testing.
Although we like 1Password’s features more overall, LastPass has the advantage, considering its free plan. Core functionality like multi-device sync and the ability to share passwords are present on LastPass’ free plan, making it feel like a fully functional tool. 1Password has more bells and whistles, but it makes you pay for them.
Point for LastPass
7. Mobile Apps
LastPass and 1Password both offer excellent mobile apps worthy of a spot in our top password managers for iOS guide. For 1Password, the desktop experience isn’t mirrored, but that’s not a bad thing. You can quickly snap between your various vaults and entries with an easy-to-understand lower menu.
Instead of feeling like a copy of the browser version, 1Password on iOS, Android and other smartphone platforms feels like it was built from the ground up. On iOS, for example, it integrates with Apple Watch, allowing you to approve 2FA codes and quickly access certain entries.
LastPass has an excellent mobile application, as well, though it feels like a cramped version of the browser experience. Still, everything works as it should, with LastPass automatically filling login fields on iOS and Android. You’ll need to log in each time you want to fill a field, but thankfully, the process is simple with biometric authentication.
Once again, this is a close one. The mobile experience for LastPass and 1Password is seamless, no matter if you’re on iOS or Android. For the most part, it comes down to which application you prefer more. For us, 1Password is the winner, offering a more refined mobile experience. That said, LastPass on mobile is excellent, too.
Point for 1Password
8. Business Plans
LastPass and 1Password rank among the top password tools for small business, and for good reason. Both offer comprehensive tools for businesses large and small, going beyond standard password management. That said, there are differences between the two, with LastPass offering more stability for larger outfits.
Starting there, LastPass offers two business plans: Teams and Enterprise. The former is recommended for fewer than 50 users, offering basic business features but skipping past directory integrations, SSO capabilities and MFA. The Enterprise plan is better for larger outlets, offering customizable security policies, SSO and a dedicated account manager.
Additionally, LastPass offers MFA on its own, as well as a bundle of MFA and the Enterprise service. For large businesses, the features are excellent, especially with LastPass’ ease of use. That said, business subscriptions are costly, with the most expensive plan running $8 per user per month.
1Password doesn’t have as many options for large businesses, unless you opt for its by-contact-only Enterprise option. Otherwise, you have two tiers: Teams and Business. The Teams plan is basically a personal 1Password subscription for each user at your business. The $1 premium over a personal subscription accounts for Duo integration.
The Business subscription, costing $8 per user per month, is much more impressive. Although expensive, it’s packed to the brim with features, showcasing VIP support, 5GB of encrypted document storage per user and granular user control. Each user gets a free 1Password Families account, too, which is worth $5 per month on its own.
Both options are pricey, with high monthly rates and no tiered discounts. However, considering the price, 1Password makes more sense for small businesses. Although expensive, it comes with features worthy of the $8-per-month price tag, which is great for smaller teams.
Point for 1Password
Password manager support is usually lackluster, and unfortunately one of our competitors fits that description. Although we’ve seen worse, LastPass’ support system feels dated, which is even more offensive considering you’ll need to dig through the self-help resources to find a contact form. 1Password is much the opposite, with some of the best support we’ve seen.
LastPass doesn’t have bad support, but it could certainly be better. The knowledgebase has a handful of helpful articles, but nothing that goes too in depth, and there’s a community forum for any overflow questions. Unfortunately, you need to use these resources to contact support; LastPass doesn’t offer a seperate line for email inquiries.
1Password not only offers quick email support, but also help through its Twitter page and community forums. However, most impressive are the self-help resources. The articles are cleanly laid out and stuffed with details. There are even some video tutorials and translations for support articles.
Although the knowledgebase is most impressive, the forums will likely be the most useful for you. During our time with it, we monitored various threads to gauge community attentiveness, and we’re happy to report that 1Password’s community is alive and active. Most threads receive a reply within minutes, no matter if it’s day or night.
Many of our previous rounds have been close, but we’re unfortunately ending on an anticlimactic note. LastPass is passable in terms of support, and compared to some other tools, that’s all that’s required. However, compared to 1Password, it falls short in almost every way.
Point for 1Password
10. Final Thoughts
Out of nine rounds, 1Password came away with six wins and LastPass with three. Although that’s definitive in showing which one wins the LastPass vs 1Password battle, this comparison was much closer than we expected. LastPass is still the de facto option for free tools. However, when it comes to paying, 1Password is the clear winner.
All things considered, 1Password offers a great value, even if it skips over the free plan. Although we gave the “features” round to LastPass, that’s not to discredit 1Password’s unique offerings. It’s the superior option. That said, LastPass is still a viable option for those who are on a budget.