The top 8 password managers in 2024


There’s a very helpful Wiki article about passwords which begins: “If your password is on this list of 10,000 most common passwords, you need a new password.” Quite frank for Wikipedia, don’t you think?

So what’s the list? Well, all the classics are in there. 123456 and ‘password’ still top the rankings (seriously, Wired has been writing about this since 2016…). There are also some funny ones like ‘letmein’ and ‘access’. But, ultimately, the human brain doesn’t seem very sophisticated when it comes to passwords. Most of us choose simple, easier-to-remember combinations, our own name, or sports – ‘baseball’ and ‘football’ both crack Wikipedia’s Top 20.

But with companies and app creators focused on cybersecurity, more and more are mandating passwords that meet complexity requirements, including length, and use of numbers and symbols. Secure, yes. Memorable, well…try remembering 10 or 20 of those when you can’t even remember why you came into this room.

The answer? Password managers. Business password management is such an easy and obvious cybersecurity win that it’s wild more organizations haven’t automated this stuff. These days there’s a whole industry out there dedicated to password management. And today, we’re going to break down some of the best.

Why business needs secure password management     

In short, because it’s more secure. You don’t have to hope that Kevin in accounting won’t use his pet’s name to log into your financial records (which, coincidentally, is also his personal email and banking password). Password managers let you generate and store strong, unique passwords in a safe place. That means employees can spend more time working and less time trying to crack their own codes.

This sounds like a joke, but research has found that employees spend an average of 11 hours per year trying to remember or reset passwords. If your organization has 15,000 staff, that’s a productivity loss of $5.2 million.

The contenders: 8 top password managers reviewed      

1Password. 1Password transcends password storage, acting as a secure vault for logins, credit cards, addresses, and even sensitive notes. It effortlessly generates strong, unique passwords, eliminates weak ones, and autofills them across all devices. 

Keeper. Keeper works smoothly across multiple platforms, users and browsers, so it’s great for big organizations. You’re also getting multi-factor authentication, secure sharing and auditing tools, so you can check the health of your company’s passwords over time.

Bitwarden. Open source, great functionality, and it’s free! Most password managers have free tiers, but they’re usually compromised and limited. Bitwarden gives you a ton of security for nothing: 2FA, browser extensions, good platform compatibility, and all the flexibility perks that come with open-source software. 

Dashlane. Dashlane isn’t cheap, at least not at the top tier, but you’re getting a VPN and dark web monitor, not just password management. With Dashlane, you can quickly scan for compromised accounts, revoke access from anywhere, and share passwords securely between employees. Nice. 

KeepSolid PassWarden. KeepSolid is good choice for small teams, since it doesn’t have truly robust admin features. What it does have is multi-device synch, 2FA, and password sharing from a single vault.

LogMeOnce. Basically a passwordless password manager. LogMeOnce allows you to login without a master password – users can use a fingerprint, QR code or selfie instead. No browser or phone support here, but it does come with encrypted storage.

Nordpass. Yep, this is the same guys behind that NordVPN you’ve been seeing all over YouTube. The free tier is pretty limited, but if you’re happy to pay up, you get secure password sharing, password health reports, and a dedicated web vault. This one’s great for business admins.

AgileBits 1Password. Super popular, super easy to use, with a great user tutorial to get your staff up to speed. On the other hand, you don’t get a proper password inheritance feature with this one. Not a deal-breaker, but something to consider.

Essential features of business password managers    

So what should you look for when deciding on a password manager? As always this will depend on the size of the business, and your budget, and maybe your particular brand of security paranoia. Still, with so many great products on the market now, there’s a password manager to suit just about everyone.

Here are some good features to look for:

Two Factor Authentication. Otherwise known as 2FA or multi-factor authentication. Your business password management should always include 2FA, if possible. Preferably with physical security keys, biometrics, SMS or time-based one-time passwords (TOTP).

Revoke access. Admins should be able to revoke system access remotely, from anywhere. Ideally, your password manager should also come with watchtower alerts, too, warning you of potential data leaks.

Encryption. It almost goes without saying, but if your password manager doesn’t have end-to-end encryption or zero-knowledge architecture, look elsewhere. The provider should never be able to access your organization’s passwords.

User access control. Business password management relies on tiers of access. Admins should be able to control and restrict access to certain passwords, or sensitive information, based on roles and clearance level.

Password generator. Some password managers allow users to create their own passwords, giving them suggestions and alerting them to weak or compromised passwords. And that’s fine. Even better is a built-in password generator.

Web vault. The bread and butter of business password management. Encrypted digital web vaults are where all your business passwords and stored (they can also be used to keep documents and other files, depending on the program).

Integration. Before you jump into a particular password manager, make sure it’s compatible with your operating system. It should also have browser integration, to make life easier for users. If the password manager doesn’t synch across devices, look elsewhere.

A buyer’s guide for business password managers   

When you dive into the world of business password management, you’ll find that most password managers come with a free tier. This is obviously to get you hooked on the software, in the hopes you’ll upgrade. For individual users and small companies, a free tier with secure storage and password capture might be all you need, but most companies are going to want some more robust functionality and admin control. And for that you basically have to pay.

The best password managers will provide flexible pricing, depending on the size of your organization, and the features you want to use. Don’t get sucked into spending more than you need.