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LastPass free vs premium: Is it worth the upgrade?
Unfortunately, LastPass put some restrictions on its free version in 2021, but it’s still good a good free option as long as you don’t need multiplatform support. Multiplatform support is now a premium option.
What does LastPass do?
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?
- 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. Additionally, the Security Challenge helps you identify weaknesses in your password habits and even gives you tips on how to solve them. It’s not great if you have multiple devices, but it does keep your stuff synced in case you ever upgrade to the premium version.
What extras do you get with LastPass Premium?
- The difference in basic features is LastPass Premium allowing you to sync your information between multiple devices on multiple platforms, a new thing starting in March 2021.
- More storage (up to 1GB) for secure notes and other stuff
- Emergency Access support lets you give access to a family member in case of an emergency. It works by letting them log in to get your credentials, but the app makes them wait an hour to access anything so you can revoke permission if needed.
- 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?
- $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?
As long as you don't need multiplatform support, the free version of LastPass works just fine.
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. LastPass gives you a ton of stuff for free and there’s simply 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.