- Strengths & Weaknesses
- 1Password X: The Standalone Extension for Chrome and Firefox
- The 1Password Watchtower
- 1Password Features Overview
Out of our password manager reviews, 1Password sits among the best options. From the features to the user interface to the unique security model, 1Password stands above the competition. That said, the lack of a free plan means you’ll have to pay to stay protected.
In this 1Password review, we’re going to detail our experience after taking a Premium subscription out for a test run. We’ll touch on features, pricing, usability, security and support along the way, all before giving our verdict.
For the short answer, 1Password is one of the best password managers around, so long as you’re willing to pay. Even though the price isn’t high, a limited free plan would be nice to see. If you’re already paying for, say, RoboForm, though, 1Password offers more than one compelling reason to switch (read our RoboForm review).
1Password Video Review
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Easy to use
- Excellent security
- Travel mode
- Standalone version
- Excellent family plan
- No free plan
- Limited sharing on personal plans
1Password is rife with features. Although it doesn’t go as far as Dashlane with identity theft protection features, the list still impresses (read our best identity theft protection guide). From a standalone Google password manager extension to a few clever features for keeping you safe while traveling, 1Password is packed full.
That starts with travel mode, which allows you to lock your passwords while on the go. Whenever you turn it on, every vault in your 1Password account will be locked. If you’re traveling across borders and the border police inspect your device, the necessary keys aren’t there to unlock your vault, even with your password.
The way it works is simple: When you turn on travel mode, the local data on your device will be deleted. Of course, your passwords are still stored in the cloud, but your device won’t retrieve them until you turn the mode off.
1Password X: The Standalone Extension for Chrome and Firefox
One of 1Password’s strongest features is 1Password X. It’s the full 1Password experience, but based entirely in Chrome or Firefox. Although 1Password isn’t the only option with a Chrome extension, the fact that it can run independently of a local app is big.
That means you can use 1Password on any operating system that supports Firefox or Chrome. Although the 1Password app officially supports only macOS, iOS, Windows and Android, you can access the full list of features by using X. That opens up support to Linux and ChromeOS, which are two platforms most passwords managers skip past.
The standard fare of features are present in the browser extensions, including autofill, password capture and password generation. Beyond that, though, you can use 1Password X to organize your vaults, view and edit entries, search through your vault and use Watchtower (more on that last one in a minute).
1Password even bakes in a list of hotkeys to make the browser experience all the more seamless. You can immediately search your vault using “CTRL + F” or quickly add a new item by hitting “CTRL + I.”
The 1Password Watchtower
Included in your 1Password vault is Watchtower, a security dashboard that shows reused, vulnerable and weak passwords. This is a fairly common features — Dashlane has a security dashboard, for example — but 1Password goes a step further.
In addition to showing weak passwords, Watchtower integrates with haveibeenpwned.com. If you’re unaware, this website holds a database of any compromised passwords and accounts from past data breaches. From your Watchtower, you can view passwords that have been compromised and change them right away.
Watchtower also points out vulnerable websites. In most cases, a website will show up as unsecured when there are HTTP and HTTPS versions that support autofill (read our HTTP vs. HTTPS guide for more on that). Although it’s not the end of the world, knowing that certain sites could put you at risk is nice.
1Password Features Overview
- AES-256 Encryption
- 2FA keys
- Security analysis
- Multi-device sync
- Backup and recovery
- Mobile apps
- Password changer
- Password generator
- Browser extension
- Form auto-fill
- Browser UI
- Desktop UI
- Live chat
- Help center
- 24/7 support
- Free plan
1Password is an inexpensive password security tool, but the lack of a free plan stings. Although the price isn’t too high (read our Dashlane review for that), there are cheaper options for individual users (Keeper, for example). 1Password stands apart, however, with an excellent family plan.
There are two options for personal plans: 1Password and 1Password Families. The standard plan, which runs $2.99 per month when billed annually, comes with all of the features for a single user. You get travel mode, item recovery, 1GB of document storage and multi-device sync, but only for a single user.
For only $2 more per month, the Families plan comes with five individual accounts. More than that, though, family members can easily share items with each other and recover accounts if someone forgets a password. The Families plan starts with five users, but you can add more for $1 each. Plus, it includes five limited guest-sharing passes.
Regardless of the plan that’s right for you, 1Password offers a 14-day free trial, after which you’ll be charged. It’s important to note that 1Password doesn’t offer refunds, though, even if you have remaining time on your subscription.
1Password Free: A Missed Opportunity
As you can see in the table above, 1Password doesn’t offer a free plan. Although you can use the service for free for 30 days, you’ll have to start paying after that. This is a huge missed opportunity, as the best free password managers, such as LastPass and NordPass, scoop up the market. Read our 1Password vs LastPass comparison.
A paid password manager comes with certain benefits, one of which we’ll discuss in the “security” section below. Although we understand that a company needs to make money, a limited-feature free version of 1Password would still be nice to see.
1Password Business and Teams Pricing
1Password’s dedication to multi-user plans continues into its business pricing. The Teams plan, the cheaper of the bunch, is $1 more than a normal individual plan and is charged per user. It’s the same by nearly all accounts, except that it comes with Duo integration for business-wide two-factor authentication (2FA) and admin controls for managing permissions.
The Business plan is far more impressive. Though it’s double the cost of Teams per user, Business subscriptions come with 5GB of document storage per user, 20 limited guest-sharing accounts, advanced security controls, custom roles, usage stats and much, much more. Most excitingly, Business subscribers can offer Family accounts free of charge to all of their members.
Signing up for 1Password is simple. You’ll choose a plan, enter your email address and verify with a six-digit code sent to that address. 1Password asks for a credit card before you create your account, but you don’t have to enter one. If you choose to just use the free trial, your account will be locked after 14 days.
1Password will get to work right away generating your emergency kit. This document, which you can save as a PDF, includes your email address, 128-bit secret key and master password.
If you need to access your account but forgot your master password, you’ll need your emergency kit. We recommend storing it digitally with encryption software, as well as printing it and storing it in, say, a safety deposit box.
After saving, you can use the 1Password vault in your browser. There are a few things already set up for you. 1Password includes links to download the local applications, as well as three items in a “starter kit.” Those include your 1Password master password, a note on getting set up and an identity card with the information you provided during signup.
Managing 1Password Vaults and Entries
1Password works a little differently than other password managers. Rather than having a single vault where you store everything, like with Abine Blur (read our Blur review), 1Password allows you to use as many vaults as you want. These vaults don’t use different passwords — your master password is the key to everything — but it’s a nice step for organization.
You could, for example, segment personal and business entries into separate vaults, or go a step further and categorize all of your entries. No matter how deep you go, you can always view your vaults together. If you’re trying to track down a particular entry, you can search through everything rather than going through each vault alone.
Organization just starts there. When adding a new entry, which we’ll get to in a minute, you can specify the category that entry should live in. More than that, though, you can break up entries using tags and favorites. 1Password gives you the tools to keep your vault(s) as organized as you want, which is rarely afforded by password managers.
Adding Entries to 1Password
Adding entries to 1Password is a breeze. After choosing the vault you want to store the entry in, you just need to click the “plus” icon at the bottom of the screen.
As mentioned, 1Password will ask for the category you want to store the password in. Although you can’t set your own categories, there are a lot to choose from, including passports, rewards programs and software licenses.
New categories will automatically be added to the categories menu on the left side. Things get exciting once you add a new password. With clear dedication to flexibility, you can add as many fields and/or sections that you want to a 1Password entry.
The fields can have different properties, too. For example, you can set one field to a month/year format and another for an email address.
Furthermore, you can add notes and tags to the entry. As you can see in the screenshot above, which features the software license template, 1Password will recommend some fields to you. However, you’re free to change, delete or add as many fields as you want.
From organization to custom fields, 1Password is dedicated to options. You can customize your vault(s) in any way you see fit. That level of flexibility isn’t usually offered by password managers, and when dealing with hundreds of entries, that’s important.
Using 1Password on Android and iOS
1Password’s usability goes beyond the desktop. In fact, it ranked first in our best password manager for iOS guide thanks to its excellent iPhone and Android apps. Although the mobile app serves its purpose for autofill and general password management, you can also access Watchtower and travel mode on the go.
Security is a little more complex with 1Password than it is with other password managers (read our Sticky Password review for a fairly straightforward model).
As is the case with any good password manager, everything comes back to your master password, which 1Password has zero knowledge of. As we’ll get to in a minute, your master password is never sent to the server, encrypted or not.
That’s only half of the equation with 1Password, though. When you download the app, 1Password generates a 128-bit secret key, which is stored locally. This key, along with your master password and a salt, are run through a key derivation function (PBKDF2-HMAC-SHA256), which is used to authenticate your account.
Using the secret key with your master password is what 1Password calls Blur. That means there are two elements needed to unlock your AES-256 encrypted vault (read our description of encryption for more on that).
Has 1Password Ever Been Hacked?
LastPass, which suffered a nasty hack in 2015, brought uncertainty to the password manager industry, with even more in 2019. Thankfully, 1Password has never suffered such a hack. Even if 1Password were to be hacked, there’s nothing stored on its servers that’s crackable.
As 1Password correctly points out, the largest issue with password managers is the signin process, that being how the password manager authenticates you and unlocks your encrypted data. For most, the process works like this: Your master password is used to generate a key, which is sent over an encrypted connection to authenticate you.
With 1Password, that’s not enough. In addition to the two-secret key derivation idea, 1Password employs protection through a secure remote password (SRP) layer in the network chain, which happens before transit.
The process is long but, in short, 1Password generates a verifier value based on a salt, your secret key and your master password. That verifier is checked against the server to authenticate your device. For those who are having trouble following along, this means your master password, even in an encrypted form, never leaves your device.
Built on Open Standards
1Password has some clever security methods, but it’s nothing that’s not publicly available. It’s clear that the 1Password security architecture is built on open data formats, those being OPVault and Agile Keychain. Although developed by 1Password, its data format is not kept secret. Anyone can develop tools to read the format.
That doesn’t make your passwords less secure — you’ll still need to decrypt the file — but the risk of vendor lock-in is lost. If 1Password were to ever go away, developers can still create tools to read the 1Password file format, meaning your 1Password license isn’t void. There are a few open-source tools available already, in fact.
If there’s anything good we can say about the lack of a free plan, it’s that there’s no fussing about when it comes to customer service. There are three ways to get a hold of 1Password: through its Twitter support, through email and through the community forums. Outside of that, there’s a wonderful knowledgebase stuffed with articles.
The email support is fine, but you’ll likely get a faster response through Twitter or the forums. 1Password proudly displays that it has answered more than 250,000 questions through the forums. Browsing through the Mac subforum, which has the most replies by far, 1Password staff were answering questions within minutes of posting, no matter the time of day.
The knowledgebase works for just about everything, though. 1Password offers its articles in an easy-to-understand format, with multiple languages, to boot. The knowledgebase is full of excellent resources, with everything from YouTube videos covering the basics to deep-dives into controlling 1Password from the command line.
In addition to the wonderfully crafted user interface, the support resources show where your subscription money goes. Although we’re still disappointed by the lack of a free plan, 1Password makes the extra cost worth it. That’s true not only when using the application, but also when finding support for it.
1Password isn’t as easy to recommend as something like LastPass or Dashlane (read our Dashlane vs. LastPass and Dashlane vs. 1Password comparisons). That said, it can go toe-to-toe with the top dogs in terms of usability, security and features. The biggest misstep is its lack of a free plan. However, as long as you’re willing to pay, 1Password is easily one of the best password managers around, and it ranked first in our best password manager for small business list.
Do you plan on signing up for 1Password? What stands out to you the most about it? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.
How to Use 1Password
1Password is easy to use. Simply go to the website, sign up for an account and head to the vault. There, you can organize entries, create and manage separate vaults, as well as import passwords from Chrome, LastPass and more.
Is 1Password Safe?
Yes, 1Password is safe. It uses two keys to authenticate your account, effectively doubling the security that you’d get with other password managers. Additionally, it implements an extra layer of protection when you log in, which allows 1Password to authenticate without ever seeing your master password.
Is 1Password Free?
No, 1Password is not free. There’s a 14-day free trial offered to all new members, but no ongoing free plan. That said, the price is cheap at only $3 per month for a single user and $5 per month for a family of five.