LastPass is one of the most recognizable and popular password managers on the Internet. It works well, tons of people use it, and it’s generally trustworthy. It is also relatively accessible and easy to use with a bunch of useful tools. LastPass has both a free and premium version of the app, but it has changed quite a bit, especially over the last few years. The good news is the number of free features is at an all-time high right now. Let’s take a look at LastPass Free vs Premium and see whether or not you actually need Premium.
Unfortunately, LastPass put some restrictions on its free version in 2021, but it’s still decent to use if you don’t need multi-platform support on the free tier.
See how LastPass stacks up against the competition:
What does LastPass do?
There are a good number of features that work in both the free and premium versions of LastPass. The app’s big thing is storing your login credentials for all the websites you visit so you can log in easier. You only have to remember a single password — the one for LastPass. LastPass, in turn, remembers all of your other passwords. In an age where people have upwards of dozens of accounts, such a tool is very useful.
The apps and browser extensions work the same for almost every platform. You log into the service, add your various accounts, and LastPass offers to auto-fill the login details when you reach any given website. Android, iOS, and PC all have slightly different methods to engage with it, but none of them are difficult. You should be able to get used to it after just a few logins.
Finally, LastPass does offer encryption on both free and premium accounts. It is encrypted and decrypted with AES-256 bit encryption with PBKDF2 SHA-256 along with salted hashing. Everything takes place at the device level. The encryption keys are never sent to LastPass servers, and the company can’t access your personal information at all. That’s great news for both free and premium users.
What comes with LastPass Free?
LastPass Free has changed forms many times over the years. We actually think the current iteration is among the best. The service gives out a generous number of features for a free account and it should be more than most people actually need. Here is the official list directly from LastPass if you want to check out the official website.
- An encrypted vault to store things like passwords, form fill items (address, email, etc), and a note function for hidden notes
- Save and fill site login credentials
- Autofill website logins on all available platforms
- Unlimited password storage
- Support for things like Wi-Fi passwords, credit cards, bank accounts, membership cards, driver licenses, and other sensitive data
- A password generator that creates long, random passwords that are much harder for hackers to guess
- Two-factor authentication including support for LastPass Authenticator (Google Play link)
- Password auditing functions on both mobile and PC. This tells you if you re-use a password multiple times and how strong your passwords are. Simply use the Security Dashboard on PC or the Security Challenge function on mobile.
- A built-in web browser
- You can share passwords with other LastPass members on a one-to-one basis. This is good when sharing accounts with significant others or kids.
- You can only use the free version of LastPass on one platform and you have to pick whether it’s PC or your phone. This limitation takes effect in mid-March 2021. Basically, you can use it on your phone and tablet or your PC and laptop, but not both. Read more here.
You can do quite a bit with a free account. The ability to sync your account between devices for free is great since that function is usually a premium feature for a lot of services. Additionally, the Security Challenge helps you identify weaknesses in your password habits and even gives you tips on how to solve them.
What extras do you get with LastPass Premium?
LastPass Premium doesn’t come across as a bait-and-switch tactic. Many existing free features simply get upgrades to offer more functionality. Here is the list from the LastPass website if you want to check it out there.
- The basic features are actually the same on LastPass Premium.
- More storage (up to 1GB) for secure notes and other stuff
- Emergency Access support that lets you give access to a family member in case of an emergency. They would log in to get your information and the app makes them wait an hour for you to revoke access in case they’re doing it erroneously.
- LastPass offers premium customer support for paying customers.
- One-to-many password sharing. It works just like the one-to-one password sharing for the free version, except you can share with a lot more people.
- Unlocks some minor features on various versions of LastPass. For instance, some forms of biometrics on the Windows app require the premium version of LastPass.
That’s it really. LastPass Premium really only unlocks a few extra things. It doesn’t appear to hold any important features behind a paywall.
How much does LastPass Premium cost?
There are several payment tiers depending on where you subscribe and in what context. For example, business accounts pay differently from individual accounts. In any case, here are all the payment details we could find.
- $36 per year (single account) — A single premium account runs for $36 per year (plus tax). You may see it as $3 per month in some adverts. $36 per year averages out to that, but LastPass bills on an annual basis, so you have to pay the $36 up front.
- $48 per year (family account) — Family accounts come with up to six premium licenses for you and your family members for easier password sharing. It does not come with any additional features compared to the single premium account except the increased number of users.
- Business accounts range in price from $3 per user per month to $8 per user per month based on your needs and team size. We recommend checking out the pricing page for LastPass and contacting the company if you plan to go with this route.
Should I upgrade?
To be perfectly honest, no. LastPass is tiered in such a way that it’ll prompt you to upgrade if you go beyond the limits of the free account anyway. Thus, you should absolutely hang out on LastPass Free until such a time that you absolutely have to go premium. The only people who need to worry about it are ones who need it on multiple platforms and an increasing number of people use their mobile phones for everything.
Still, there are some perks for premium users. The extra level of support from the company may please some people, especially if they use their accounts for important stuff like work. Additionally, the extra biometrics options might be nice for people who invested in laptops or desktops with fingerprint readers. We’re not saying premium is a rip-off or that it’s not worth having. It’s just a simple matter of logistics. LastPass gives you a ton of stuff for free and there’s no need to go premium unless you absolutely need to. We’re not fans of the fact that you have to pay to use multiple platforms, but that’s obviously another perk.
Looking for some alternatives? Try these:
LastPass is surprisingly friendly to free users and that makes it an easy recommendation for just about anybody. Plus, it’s a big name in this space so it’s often among the first to adopt new features when they come out. For example, it was one of the first to use Android’s native auto-fill functionality when it launched in Android 8.0 Oreo. As long as it continues to do well, we see no reason not to use either the free or premium version depending on your personal needs.