Do you think you’ve got a good password system? Think again. Even if you would somehow manage to make all your passwords unique and hard to crack, you’d still lose precious time entering, managing, and updating dozens of credentials. It adds up. Fortunately, there’s a solution in the form of password managers, and today we’re pitting against each other two of the best: Dashlane vs. LastPass.
Dashlane and LastPass are two of the most popular password managers, and for a good reason. Both are packed with features and security measures. You can’t go wrong with either, but if you want to get the most out of your money and time, you’ll want to learn the differences.
Here’s what you need to know about Dashlane vs. LastPass.
Editor’s note: This post is current as of April 2021. We’ll be updating this comparison between LastPass and Dashlane regularly.
Dashlane at a glance
LastPass at a glance
The first thing you’ll want to know when you compare Dashlane vs. LastPass is how good these services are at their basic task: managing passwords. The good news is they’re both stellar.
Both LastPass and Dashlane make it easy to store, manage, update, and fill passwords across your PCs and mobile devices. On PC, you’ll mostly interact with them through browser extensions, available for all the popular browsers (more about compatibility below). With one click, you’ll be able to interact with your “vault,” the secure space where your passwords are stored, and access additional features. On mobile, LastPass and Dashlane offer dedicated apps for Android and iOS.
The basic functionality is similar between Dashlane and LastPass, so we won’t dwell on it. Both services will detect password fields in web pages and apps and offer to fill out your credentials for you. Instead of having to remember and enter dozens of passwords, you’ll only need to remember one, your “master password.” This frees you to make all your passwords unique and complex, boosting your online security.
The basic functionality is similar between Dashlane and LastPass
Both services include handy password generators that can create strong passwords for you. They are accessible either from the respective extensions or by clicking on the icons overlaid on password-entry fields. You can configure how many and what type of characters you want to use in your unique password. LastPass even has an option to make passwords “pronounceable” but still secure if you need to memorize them. LastPass also offers to generate unique usernames for you.
What about additional features?
The best Dashlane features
Automatic password changer – Dashlane tries to make the dream of zero-effort security a reality with its automatic password changing feature. This works on select websites – at the time of this writing, about 380 – where Dashlane can log in on your behalf and automatically change the password to something secure. You can set it to do this automatically or on demand. While the list of supported sites includes a few big names, it’s still a relatively small selection, meaning you won’t be able to rely on it fully. From the 450 or so credentials I have stored in Dashlane, the tool only worked for a handful, including Reddit, IMDB, and Vimeo. Your mileage may vary. LastPass offers a similar function.
Security dashboard – Like all good password managers, Dashlane has a security report that analyzes your passwords (or, rather, their encrypted “fingerprints”) and compares them against databases of security breaches and password dumps. Say you used an email-password combination on LinkedIn, which was thoroughly hacked in 2012. In case you have used the same credentials on other services since then, those services are vulnerable. Dashlane tells you which passwords are compromised, weak, or reused across services. You can then easily visit the respective services and update them.
Dark web monitoring – Some hacks go undiscovered for years, meaning you won’t know that you need to update your password until it’s potentially too late. For these cases, Dashlane can monitor the various password dumps that regularly pop up online and search for your credentials. You can enter up to five email passwords, and the service will alert you when they surface, meaning your data has been stolen.
Basic built-in VPN – Dashlane goes above and beyond other password managers thanks to the VPN it integrates with its apps. Considering VPNs can cost $10/month or more, this is a great value. The catch is Dashlane’s integrated VPN is pretty barebone, lacking features found in dedicated VPN apps and only offering a small number of server locations. It will definitely work in a pinch, though, and we liked that it doesn’t have the bandwidth or device number limitations. If you don’t have specific requirements and just need a VPN for occasional, non-critical use, Dashlane will work. But maybe don’t sign up for the service just for it.
Desktop app – Not all password managers have solid desktop apps. Dashlane does (Windows and Mac), and they’re pretty great. We mention it because it gives you access to many features in an intuitive yet powerful package. The onboarding experience is especially nice – the app makes it a breeze to create an account, set it up, and get all the extensions and apps you’ll need. On the downside, certain browser extensions can only be used if you’re running the desktop app. That can pose problems if you need to quickly use it on a computer belonging to someone else—details in the compatibility section.
Emergency contacts – If you’re sick, incapacitated, or you just can’t access your devices, you can give friends or family emergency access to your credentials in Dashlane. You can select which credentials you want to share and whether you want to require your approval to share them or set a waiting period of up to 60 days. The data is only shared on request, so unless something bad happens, you’ll be in control.
Dashlane goes above and beyond other password managers thanks to the VPN
The best LastPass features
Great free plan – We’ll talk more about LastPass’ free plan in the pricing section, but it’s worth highlighting here as well. Unlike Dashlane, LastPass’ free plan has everything most people will want for personal use. Free LastPass is simply a great value that I personally used for many years. However, the company is now changing to only use the service for free on desktop or mobile, rather than both.
Secure Notes – Like Dashlane, LastPass lets you save and manage more than just passwords. You can use the Secure Notes function to keep sensitive information across 15 types, including passport information, credit cards, social security numbers, bank accounts, and even software licenses and Wi-Fi passwords. The best part is you can attach files to these secure notes, which is great if you need to store stuff like scans of your passport without worrying that someone could steal them from your phone or PC. Free plans get 50MB of storage for these files, while Premium goes up to 1GB.
Great autofill and autologin options – The best way to increase security is to make it as painless as possible. That’s why password managers, in general, are so good! LastPass does this with its autologin option, which works really well – it fills out your credentials without any input and logs you in automatically (as long as you enable the option). This is great for websites where you only have one set of credentials. You can also save and autofill your credentials on websites, mobile apps, and even Windows applications. The latter didn’t work super well in our testing, unfortunately.
Digital Wallet – LastPass takes the secure note concept a step forward with its Digital Wallet functionality (Dashlane offers a similar feature). This lets you store credit card details and addresses, greatly simplifying the usually tedious process of entering credit card details and personal information on online shopping checkout pages. After you save your details, you’ll no longer need to pull out your physical wallet to complete a purchase.
Great multifactor authentication methods – Compared to Dashlane, LastPass offers more options for two-factor authentication (2FA). These include LastPass’ own Authenticator app, Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, Toopher, Duo Security, Transakt, and even an analog grid you can print out and keep somewhere secure. That’s on the free plan. On the Premium plan, you get YubiKey and fingerprint/smart card support for additional security. Speaking of LastPass Authenticator, it’s a pretty great app for 2FA, but we think it’s better to avoid keeping your eggs in the same basket and use a trusted third-party option instead.
Credit monitoring – US-based LastPass users can sign up for a free credit monitoring service. Operated through TransUnion, the service will alert you when changes to your credit score occur, potentially protecting you from identity theft. You don’t get many details in the alert, but you can use your yearly free credit report to figure out unexpected changes. If you want more comprehensive protection, you can also sign up for the premium version of this service, which costs $9.95/month (on top of the regular LastPass fee) and gives you additional details from all three major credit bureaus.
Both LastPass and Dashlane have great reputations when it comes to security
Our Dashlane vs. LastPass showdown is defined by the security the two services provide. The ultimate purpose of a password manager is to enhance the security of our online lives. We’re glad to report that both LastPass and Dashlane have great reputations when it comes to security.
To our knowledge, Dashlane has never been hacked. LastPass was compromised once in 2015 when attackers stole encrypted records. According to the company, no plain-text (unencrypted) passwords or user data was compromised. That’s because LastPass can’t access the user data stored on its servers. Even in the eventuality of another LastPass hack, attackers would only be able to access heavily encrypted records. Getting the actual user data would require access to master passwords, which are only stored on the users’ devices.
Both Dashlane and LastPass claim to operate on a “zero-knowledge” security model. In other words, the two services only store encrypted data, which, without your master password, is just gibberish. This protects data from hacking attempts and unauthorized access from rogue employees or even access requests from governments.
LastPass and Dashlane put user data through multiple rounds of hashing and encryption using PBKDF2 SHA-256 and AES-256 algorithms. When it comes to data security, these are the industry standard used by governments, companies, and organizations worldwide. On top of that, both services feature other security layers you can read more about in their own words here and here.
Handing over the keys to your life requires a lot of trust, so both Dashlane and LastPass are keen to prove you can trust them by subjecting themselves to regular security audits from third-party organizations.
The security chain is as strong as its weakest chain. In this regard, we need to note that some security vulnerabilities involving LastPass and Dashlane apps have surfaced over the years. Last year, for instance, security researchers found weaknesses in the LastPass and Dashlane applications for Windows PCs, which allowed theoretical attackers to steal master passwords. However, to exploit these vulnerabilities, attackers would have required full, deep access to the targeted computer. To our knowledge, these now-patched vulnerabilities have not been exploited in the wild.
While the two services are very close, we’ll give LastPass a slight edge in the security competition against Dashlane thanks to its support for more two-factor authentication apps – six vs. three.
In our experience of using Dashlane vs. LastPass, both services worked smoothly across web, desktop, and mobile applications.
In our experience of using Dashlane vs. LastPass, both services worked smoothly across web, desktop, and mobile applications.
They both add icons to password entry fields on the web, making it easy to select the right account and fill it in. We found Dashlane is a bit more intrusive, showing large popups without input from the user. Meanwhile, LastPass’s popups are a bit more discrete and require you to click first. Dashlane is also a bit too eager, showing account-selection popups whenever it detects password fields – on sites like the legacy version of Reddit, which always display a password entry field. This can get annoying.
The browser extensions of LastPass and Dashlane are both fast and efficient to use. Dashlane gets the edge here, as it’s a bit more fresh looking in our eyes.
As for the mobile apps, we have no complaints about either service. Both Dashlane and LastPass integrate with fingerprint readers and facial scanners on Android and iOS, and they work as expected.
Compatibility and requirements
Dashlane browser extensions are available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. Note that, by default, you will need the Windows (Windows 7 or higher) or Mac (Sierra or higher) applications to use the browser extensions. However, you can use the Chrome, Firefox, and Edge extensions without the PC app if you switch to Standalone mode in the extension options.
Using Dashlane extensions in Standalone mode, you’ll also be able to use them on Chromebooks and Linux machines, though Dashlane does not officially support this.
Dashlane apps are available for iOS (iOS 12.2 and above) and Android (Android 6 Marshmallow and above).
LastPass browser extensions are supported for the most recent two versions of Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Edge Legacy, Safari, and Opera. To download and use these extensions, you’ll need PCs running Windows 8.1 or later, the two most recent major MacOS versions, Linux, or Chrome OS.
The LastPass for Applications and the LastPass for Windows Desktop app (the Modern UI app) is available for Windows 8.1 or higher. The LastPass Mac app works on the two most recent macOS versions, with a 64-bit processor required.
Mobile LastPass apps work on Android 5 Lollipop or higher and iOS 11 or higher. Just remember that you can only use the free service on mobile or desktop, not both.
LastPass vs. Dashlane: Pricing
Dashlane is one of the more expensive password managers out there. It does have a free tier, but we can’t really recommend it. Here’s what Dashlane pricing looks like in the United States (Dashlane offers different prices in different countries):
- Free Dashlane plan – $0/month This plan lets you store up to 50 passwords, but you can only use the service on one device. Unless you see yourself comfortably living with these limitations, we can’t really recommend it. Most of us have more than one device (typically at least a phone and a PC), and those 50 passwords can run out fast. The free Dashlane plan doesn’t include the VPN plan and dark web monitoring either.
- Premium Dashlane plan – $4.99/month This is the mainstream plan most people will want. It includes unlimited passwords and devices and all the other features we’ve mentioned throughout this Dashlane vs. LastPass comparison, except identity theft insurance and credit monitoring. As a sizeable perk, it includes a basic VPN.
- Premium Plus Dashlane plan – $9.99/month Everything in the Premium plan, plus identity theft insurance and assistance, plus credit monitoring.
- Unfortunately, Dashlane does not offer a family plan at all, which is a major missed opportunity. If you’re interested in this feature, LastPass or 1Password have you covered.
LastPass is closer to what we consider mainstream in terms of password manager pricing. The service shines when it comes to its free plan. Here’s how it breaks down:
- Free LastPass plan – $0/month This plan gives you all the key features you’ll want in a password manager, and it’s not limited in terms of how many credentials you can save or devices you can sync. This is the plan we recommend if you’re new to password managers and see what the fuss is about, especially since it includes a free 30-day Premium trial.
- Premium LastPass plan – $3/month This plan gives you all the features in the Free plan, plus one-to-many sharing, emergency access, advanced two-factor authentication options like YubiKey, more storage space, and priority support. This is the plan we recommend if you want to make the most out of your password manager, including in work settings.
- Family LastPass plan – $4/month/6 users If you want to secure the online presence of your entire family, you can do that with this affordable and powerful plan, which gives you all the perks of the Premium plan and covers six subscriptions.
Both Dashlane and LastPass offer business plans, with pricing starting from $4/month per user. We won’t get into details on business plans, but you can check the official Dashlane business and LastPass business pages for more.
Dashlane vs LastPass: Which one is better?
For most users, we think LastPass is the better option. It offers the same key features as Dashlane, and a couple of special ones, at a more affordable cost. The free plan used to be very generous, though it has lost some ground. LastPass Premium is a strong, secure, feature-rich plan that will be great for most people.
Dashlane is just as good as LastPass in most areas, but it’s slightly more expensive. It bundles a VPN, making up the difference, but this is a pretty basic VPN that will only satisfy casual users. More advanced users will want to look into one of the many dedicated VPNs out there instead. The fact that Dashlane doesn’t offer a family plan is a bummer.
Even leaving prices aside, we feel LastPass is slightly better, as it has broader compatibility, more two-factor authentication options, and a less-intrusive user experience. That said, Dashlane is still a great option for those who look for the best password managers out there. The difference is pretty small.
Further reading: 10 best password manager apps for Android!
That’s it for our look at Lastpass vs. Dashlane. Which is the best option? Vote in our poll!