Password managers are an essential security tool for using the internet. They allow you to use unique passwords across your accounts, avoid the dangers of cybercrime and log in to websites faster.
Unfortunately, most password managers are aimed at individuals. While you can use multiple instances of one across your devices, having a centralized station for managing multiple users is nice.
We scoured our password manager reviews to find the best password manager for families. We’re going to go over how we made our selections, talk about why we like each option for families and give a short list of pros and cons.
1Password is the champion, so if you want to go easy mode, it’s worth it to just sign up for an account there. If you want a few more options or just to see what we think of other providers, read on.
Best Password Manager for Families 2019
What Makes a Password Manager Best for Families?
Many password managers focus their lineup on individual users, with a separate multi-user section targeted at businesses. There are a few that have in-between plans for families or small teams, though. That was the first and most obvious area we looked at for this roundup.
We didn’t accept any multi-user plan. The idea of a family plan is that there’s a set number of users for a set price — no paying per person. We started with password managers that offer a fixed-price family plan.
That list is limiting, unfortunately. As you’ll see with our last pick, we couldn’t find enough fixed-price plans that meet our quality standard. Price took over. Our last pick is priced per user, but it’s as cheap as other providers when the same number of users are on an account.
We also looked for admin features that make managing your passwords easy. For example, 1Password lets you create as many vaults as you like, meaning you can segregate all the information you store. That allows everyone to keep what they need to private while sharing what they want.
Sharing features are something we always look for in a password manager, but it’s especially important here. Families will share Netflix passwords, WiFi codes and more. If you want to double down, you could even store the password for the best VPN for Netflix in your account.
Lastly, we looked for password sync and backup. Those are standards, not “nice to haves,” so we’re looking at how well they’re implemented, not that they’re there in the first place. Some amount of item retention is welcome, too.
While picking family plans was our first priority, we didn’t let normal password manager standards fall by the wayside. Features, price, ease of use and security are still important aspects.
The two biggest things for families are security and ease of use. Security is always a concern for password managers, but it’s especially so when multiple people’s accounts are on the line. The highest standard in encryption with plenty of hashing is required (read our description of encryption to learn about those terms).
Ease of use is relevant because it’s likely at least one person in your family isn’t too hot on tech. Password managers are among the easiest security tools to use, though, and our picks are suitable for anyone who knows how to do a Google search.
Features are less of a concern, mainly because we’re putting the namesake function of a password manager in the spotlight. Dashlane, our pick for the best password manager, comes with a long list of features, but they’re more suitable for an individual. There’s no family plan, either, but you can learn about its solo plan in our Dashlane review.
1Password is the best password manager for iOS and ranked well in our best password manager guide, too. While it didn’t have the chops to beat Dashlane in our Dashlane vs. 1Password comparison, it came close with its reasonable price tag and impressive set of features.
One of its strongest points is its family plan, too. 1Password offers a family plan for up to five users for only a couple dollars more than a solo plan. You can extend past the five user limit for an additional dollar per user, per month.
When you sign up, you’ll be asked to create a custom URL that your family can use to unlock your vault. You can set your master password and invite family members through email. Once they confirm, they’ll set their own master password at the URL you created earlier.
The creator of the account will be dubbed the “family organizer” and responsible for managing access to different vaults. You can allow other users to view, edit or manage a vault or cut off their access. 1Password supports an unlimited number of vaults, too, meaning you can properly portion your personal information.
Other Reasons We Like 1Password
1Password is dead simple. The URL you set gives others access to the vaults in your account, but each user can download local applications, too. For an ultra-lightweight setup, you could just install 1Password X, a browser extension that acts as a standalone application.
Creating entries is not only simple, but customizable. 1Password supports many entry types, including WiFi passwords, bank accounts and software licenses. Each can support an unlimited number of custom fields, meaning you can store almost anything in your vault.
1Password will show common fields for the entry you’re creating, but you have the flexibility to add or remove as many of those stock fields as you want. The field type is customizable, too. For example, you could add a “month/year” field or a “password” field, each with its own unique characteristics.
Password fields allow you to use 1Password’s generator.
You can round out an entry with custom notes and tags, making it easy to organize your vaults.
The customization is there, but you don’t have to use it. 1Password is such a strong choice because it gives you the tools to tweak it, but doesn’t force you to do so. Using it simply as a password manager won’t hinder the experience.
There are many other reasons to like 1Password, including Travel Mode, which allows you to wipe sensitive data from your device before traveling and restore it with a tap. You can learn about that and more in our 1Password review or try it free of charge for 30 days.
- Unlimited vaults
- Excellent features
- Outdated hashing algorithm
Keeper’s family plan protects up to five users, each with their own vault. Unlike 1Password, every user has a vault to themselves and you can share items between them. If you prefer the more segregated approach to password management, Keeper looks attractive.
It’s the same price as 1Password but can only support five users. The base count is the same, but you can’t add more to your plan.
Even so, Keeper has a lot to offer. Your plan comes with 10GB of encrypted file storage that all users can access. You can purchase more storage, but it’s too expensive compared to the best cloud storage providers. 500GB is around $400, which is 10 times the price of the same space with Sync.com (read our Sync.com review).
The included 10GB should do you well, but we don’t recommend upgrading.
While Keeper can only support up to five user accounts, it can be installed on as many devices as you want. It supports multi-device sync across any device it’s installed on, meaning you’re never limited in where you can access your vault.
Other Reasons We Like Keeper
Keeper took a spot in our best password manager for Mac guide for its excellent mobile app and unlimited cloud backup. The Windows application could use some work, especially compared to 1Password’s, but it’s not too difficult to get around.
It shines in security. Keeper uses a zero-knowledge model, so only you know what’s inside your vault and the password to unlock it. Your master password is not stored by or sent to the service.
That means you can’t forget your master password, though. Keeper’s only form of account restoration is through emergency access. You can grant emergency access to up to five users. After a specified time frame, your vault will be unlocked to them.
That is good if you forget your password, but also if something happens to you and your loved ones need to access things stored in your vault, such as insurance information.
Keeper comes with a few extra goodies, too, but our favorite is KeeperChat. It is an encrypted messaging application that uses end-to-end encryption to protect your communication. It has interesting features, including a private media gallery and self-destruct timer for messages.
- 10GB of encrypted file storage
- Restricted to five users
LastPass is the best free password manager on the market. It’s easy to use, comes with a slew of built-in features and can be synced across your devices. While the free plan is only for a single user, its family plan is the cheapest we’ve seen and comes with the same great list of features.
For $1 less than Keeper and 1Password, LastPass can support up to six users on a single account. It works differently than those providers, though. Essentially, you’re buying six Premium licenses for the price of two.
Those licenses are separate, but you can use the family manager dashboard to get an overview of the vaults tied to your account. The dashboard allows you to add and remove users through email and get a broad look at how your family is using their accounts.
You can’t modify permissions like you can with 1Password, though. Instead, you can share as many items or folders as you want with the users on your account. That includes items stored in your vault, such as notes, passwords, credit cards and more.
Other Reasons We Like LastPass
LastPass is based in your browser, meaning you can access it on any device that supports Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer. If you purchase a personal or family plan, you can download LastPass for Applications, which allows you to use LastPass’s snappy auto-fill on desktop applications.
Unfortunately, LastPass gained a bad reputation after being the victim of a data breach in 2015. While data was stolen, no plain text password or vault information was unlocked.
That’s because of the security measures LastPass has in place. It uses AES-256 to encrypt your vault and a zero-knowledge model. Encryption and decryption happen locally, too, meaning none of your information is sent or stored on LastPass’s servers. The only thing it uses is a password hash to authenticate your account.
The free plan is the most impressive, but the family plan packs a lot of value for a low price. You can learn more about the service in our LastPass review or sign up for a free account to try it yourself.
- Up to six users
- Auto-fill on desktop
- Subpar security
RoboForm offers the second cheapest family plan on our list, but it’s just as good as the other offerings. Everywhere Family offers five user accounts for around $15 less than the competition. You can also purchase up to five years upfront, which saves you nearly 20 percent in the long run.
Like LastPass, RoboForm gives you five Everywhere licenses and a centralized dashboard to manage them. You don’t have the flexibility of multiple vaults like you do with 1Password, but you still get a decent amount of control over what’s stored.
You can share entries with as many family members as you like. That includes logins, identities, notes and more. The sharing is static, too, meaning you add a user to a certain item and they retain access to it for as long as you want.
RoboForm syncs across as many devices as you install it on. While there is a user limit, there isn’t a device limit and you can access your vault items anywhere. It also includes unlimited vault backup in case you delete something by accident.
Other Reasons We Like RoboForm
RoboForm’s strongest aspect is its price. The family plan is much cheaper than the competition’s, but there’s a free individual plan that rivals LastPass’s, as well.. It offers unlimited password storage on a single device. The lack of multi-device sync is the only reason we wouldn’t recommend it over LastPass.
If you’re a techie like us, you’ll appreciate RoboForm’s customization. It isn’t user-friendly like 1Password’s, though. You can set custom hotkeys, customize context commands for Internet Explorer and even upload your own language files.
If you like tinkering, that is a pro. That said, we imagine those options will be too much for the majority of users.
Using the application is fine, as long as you ignore the more extraneous options. RoboForm includes folders to organize your vault, .csv import and browser import, all of which help you get set up and organized quickly.
While RoboForm isn’t our first choice for password managers, it isn’t a bad one. You can learn more about its strengths and weaknesses in our RoboForm review or sign up for a free account to try it yourself.
- Long-term plans available
- Vault organization options
- Too many complex options
Zoho Vault is a business-focused password manager, but its standard plan isn’t bad for families. It is the only plan on this list that’s priced per user, but the rate is so inexpensive you’ll easily be able to fit a family of five on a plan for the same price as other providers.
The business mentality means you get a lot of control over the information you store. Zoho includes controls for password expiration, data restriction by IP address, full backup, mobile access and more. You can share items between users on your account, as well as third-parties.
Unfortunately, that mentality brings downsides with it. While we can imagine users taking advantage of role-based permissions, we can’t imagine them using the G Suite and Office 365 integrations that Zoho offers. Many of the controls are built for enterprise settings, so some options will be obsolete.
Even so, there’s a lot to like about Zoho for families. You’re unlikely to find much use in password usage reports, but you can still use the centralized admin features to organize your accounts and offer access to certain family members.
Other Reasons We Like Zoho Vault
Zoho has some of the best security we’ve seen from a password manager. It starts with the organization administrator, which is, in this case, whoever signed up for the account. After you sign up, a RSA public-private key pair is generated, along with an AES-256 key. The private key is encrypted using your master password and stored in the database.
The same process happens for all the users on your account. By only storing your private key, Zoho is able to authenticate you and decrypt your data without storing or seeing your master password. In the event of a data breach, the attacker would simply have a list of private keys with no pair.
Thankfully, the superior protection doesn’t get in the way of usability. Zoho has some of the best sharing tools we’ve seen from a password manager, as well. Since it is focused on businesses, you can add users to vault items with different permissions. Likewise, you can modify user roles to have more or less control over your vault.
Despite Zoho’s focus on business, it’s not difficult to use. You can access your vault anywhere, including mobile devices. It’s not the best choice for individuals, but it’s one of the best options for multi-user setups. You can learn more in our Zoho Vault review or sign up for a free account to try it yourself.
- Many user controls
- Excellent security
- Password expiration settings
- Unnecessary controls for families
Password managers are one of the most inexpensive and practical ways to protect yourself online. The few family plans available add even more value to individual packages and often come with admin controls for managing your sensitive information.
The middle three options are interchangeable. Keeper, LastPass and RoboForm all offer a streamlined family plan without too many unique features. If you’re eyeing one of those, it’s a good idea to try each and go with the interface you like most.
1Password is unique in its ability to manage as many vaults as you like. It’s the best family plan as it isn’t just a bundle of premium licenses and extended sharing capabilities. You get control over every area of your password storage and an intuitive interface to make sense of it all.
Do you think 1Password is the best option, too? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.