- Strengths & Weaknesses
- Dashlane’s Automatic Password Changer
- Dashlane Features Overview
Dashlane sits among the best password managers around, stuffed full of features that other options can’t contend with. More than that, though, it provides a unique security structure that keeps your account safe. In this updated Dashlane review, we’re going to look at the latest version to see if it’s still worth the price.
If you’re unaware, Dashlane raised its rates from $40 per year to $60 per year in 2018, following the launch of version six. This price increase came with a handful of new features, including a VPN and dark web monitoring (also see our best VPN for the dark web piece). During this review, we’re going to look at the new price and features, as well as check up on security, usability and support.
Although Dashlane is more expensive than other password managers, it’s much more robust. The added features are more than worth an extra couple of dollars per month. Thankfully, if you can’t pay, Dashlane also has a generous free plan, so there’s no reason not to try it out.
Dashlane Video Review
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Local and browser applications
- Flawless autofill
- Free plan offered
- Secure note storage
- Security dashboard
- Automatic password changer
- Multiple 2FA options
- Unique security model
- Extensive knowledgebase
- Free plan limited to 50 entries
- No application autofill
Dashlane builds upon the typical password manager model with a number of unique features. It branches into other areas of cybersecurity, offering a VPN, identity theft protection and two-factor authentication (2FA) hardware. That said, Dashlane demands a high price for those additional features.
The basic features are accounted for with Dashlane, with your subscription including multi-device sync, unlimited password storage and unlimited password sharing. However, Dashlane has a lot of unique features, rivaling the likes of Abine Blur, which, as you can see in our Blur review, has a solid list of features on its own.
Dashlane’s features include a security dashboard, which shows your overall password health, dark web monitoring and identity theft protection. Although not on par with an identity theft protection service like IdentityForce (read our IdentityForce review), Dashlane offers credit monitoring and $1,000,000 in identity theft protection.
Furthermore, Dashlane includes a VPN, which we’ll cover in depth in the “security” section below. Although we appreciate the addition, the bundled virtual private network is nothing compared to our best VPN pick ExpressVPN (read our ExpressVPN review).
Dashlane’s Automatic Password Changer
For all of the features Dashlane offers, the most unique is its automatic password changer. In a single click, you can update your passwords on multiple websites. The list of supported sites is lengthy, including Reddit, Citrix and Corel (read our Corel VideoStudio Ultimate review and Citrix ShareFile review).
The automatic password changer solves one of the greatest problems with online accounts, that being constantly updating your passwords. It’s not without risk, though. In order to properly change your password, your old and new password are briefly unencrypted on Dashlane’s servers.
That said, that information is only stored in system memory (RAM) for the duration of the operation before being flushed. The information is never permanently stored. Even so, if you’re concerned about any of your passwords being decrypted, even temporarily, you don’t have to use the password changer.
Dashlane 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
- Limited Live chat
- Help center
- 24/7 support
- Free plan
Dashlane is one of the more expensive password managers around, but it makes the extra cost worth it. Stuffed to the brim with features, Dashlane ensures the few extra dollars you’re spending each month don’t go to waste. That said, if you’re looking for a standard password manager, there are cheaper options.
1-year plan $ 4.99/ month
$59.88 billed every year
1-year plan $ 9.99/ month
$119.88 billed every year
The standard paid plan, Premium, comes with the features you’d expect from any password manager. It supports unlimited entries and sharing — including both regular passwords as well as credit card information — multi-device sync and secure file storage. However, it’s around $2 more expensive per month than the competition — read our 1Password review for an example — and that’s because of the additional features. Read our Dashlane vs. 1Password piece to see how the two compare.
The Dashlane Premium plan includes dark web monitoring, a VPN and support for YubiKey. Although these features are welcome, they should be optional. Dashlane charges twice as much as Keeper and justifies the extra cost (read our Keeper review). However, if you’re not in the market for a VPN or dark web monitoring, that’s money going to waste.
For twice the price, you can subscribe to the Premium Plus plan, which includes all of the features of Premium, as well as identity restoration service, credit monitoring and $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance. The cost is high for a password manager, but compared to the picks in our best identity theft protection guide, the price isn’t bad.
No matter which tier you choose, Dashlane only offers annual billing, meaning the cost is around $60 and $120 for Premium and Premium Plus, respectively. Although we would’ve liked to see a monthly billing cycle, Dashlane offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so there’s no risk in signing up.
Dashlane Free vs. Premium
Dashlane offers a free plan, too, which made its way onto our best free password manager list. However, it wasn’t able to beat out LastPass, as you can see in our LastPass review and Dashlane vs. LastPass matchup. Although we appreciate Dashlane’s free plan, it’s limited in a number of ways compared to Premium.
The free plan is limited to a single device, meaning syncing is out the question, and you’re limited to 50 entries. It’s not as restrictive as McAfee True Key’s free plan — read our McAfee True Key review for more on that — but it’s not as generous as some other free plans, namely the one from LastPass.
Dashlane is accessible for newbies and veterans alike, despite being packed with features. The seamless setup process makes it clear what you need to do, and organizing your entries is as simple or complex as you want it to be. All told, Dashlane impressively balances usability and functionality.
You don’t need to sign up for an account before downloading Dashlane. From the homepage, all you need to click is the “let’s get started” button in the top-right corner. Dashlane will automatically download the Windows application, with an option to download the macOS application. From there, you can create an account.
After signing up for a free account, Dashlane will send you on a short tour of its functionality, explaining what it’s capable of and what it does to keep your passwords and credit card information safe. More than that, though, it will go through your browsers for any passwords you’ve stored and automatically import them.
Although setting up a password manager is easy, the tedious process of importing passwords and credit cards — or, worse, entering them manually — is daunting. Dashlane keeps things simple, all while fully explaining what the application does. That’s carried over into the desktop application, which gives you some simple tasks to complete to finish setting up your account.
The Dashlane Windows and macOS Applications
In the local application, you can finish the remaining setup tasks, including adding the Dashlane extension to your browser, testing out autofill and downloading the mobile app. When signing up through the installer, you’re automatically enrolled in a free plan. However, you can upgrade any time using the “go premium” button in the bottom left corner.
Using the application is a dream. Dashlane includes multiple filtering options for entries, allowing you to view them as a list or in block tiles, segment them based on categories or simply alphabetize them. When importing around 200 passwords, Dashlane automatically set categories for our entries and was pretty close each time.
If you need to edit any of the imported passwords, you can do so by clicking the “more” button next to a relevant entry. There are a bunch of options in this menu, including your password history, that are best to discover on your own. For our purposes, we just clicked “edit item.”
On the entry page, Dashlane provides a lot of information. You can rename the entry, add a secondary login, add a note and categorize the password either using the preset options or by adding your own. Dashlane goes beyond that, though. Also on each entry, you can see a password rating, as well as how many times the password is reused in your vault.
Dashlane strikes an impressive balance between usability and functionality. A lot of critical information, such as how many times you’ve reused a password, is easily accessible. More than that, though, that additional information doesn’t break the flow of the application.
Checking in with Dashlane’s Identity Dashboard
There are a lot of other features hidden with Dashlane’s application, including options for autofill and automatic entry capture. We’ll leave you to uncover those on your own, as they’re available even on the free plan. However, we want to highlight one unique area.
Dashlane provides an identity dashboard in the local application. This area shows an overall score for all of your passwords, as well as the number of safe, weak, reused and compromised passwords you have. Furthermore, Dashlane will display any relevant breach notifications in your identity dashboard.
If you’re paying, you can also enter your email address for dark web monitoring, and if you’re subscribed to the Premium Plus plan, you can track your credit. This screen, in particular, showcases how robust Dashlane is, putting simplistic password managers like NordPass to shame (read our NordPass review).
Using the Dashlane Password Generator and Autofill in Chrome and Firefox
The local application is robust, but most of your time with Dashlane will be spent with the browser extension, which is available for Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer, though sadly not for Opera. The extension does a few things, but most importantly, it allows you to generate passwords for new accounts and autofill existing entries.
As far as password generators go, Dashlane is stock. It’s similar to our own password generator is many ways, though it allows you to avoid ambiguous characters to have strong passwords. However, the autofill settings are interesting. As for standard autofill, Dashlane went off without a hitch, automatically recognizing fields and filling in the relevant information.
However, you can customize how Dashlane behaves when it comes to autofill. For a particular page or for an entire website, you can tell Dashlane if you want to fill forms and login info, only login info or nothing at all. It seems simple, and it is, but many password managers don’t offer that functionality.
Dashlane, upon first glance, is standard in terms of security, offering a zero-knowledge model and AES-256 encryption for your vault. However, by making a few tweaks in how you authenticate your device, Dashlane has become one of the most secure password managers around.
Our look into Dashlane’s security is based off the technical white paper supplied by Dashlane on its website and a study of the application by MIT in 2016. Starting with the white paper, which is about a year old at the time of writing, Dashlane tells the familiar tale of most password managers. Your data is secured with AES-256, which is locked behind a strong master password (read our description of encryption for more on AES).
Additionally, Dashlane has zero-knowledge of your master password, which means it never sees the data stored in your vault. In fact, Dashlane never sees your master password, nor any of its derivatives, for authentication. Instead, the master password is used along with a 32-byte salt for generating an Argon2d hash, which is the 256-key that’s used for encrypting and decrypting your information.
That’s for accessing your information, but there’s another hurdle to overcome. Instead of using your master password to authenticate your device, Dashlane generates a user device key for each new device you set up. This key is in no way related to your master password.
Instead, it’s generated based on some hardware and software characteristics of your device, as well as 38 characters generated using the OpenSSL RAND_byte function. As for what you see, all you need to do to authenticate is enter a one-time password sent to your email.
Because of this approach, the authentication of your device and the decryption of your vault are separate processes. This is important to note, as most password managers simply authenticate using a stored hash of your master password. With Dashlane, an attacker would need not only your master password, but also access to one of your devices or your email.
Dashlane 2FA Options
To further enhance the security of your master password, Dashlane offers a variety of two-factor authentication options. You can use the best 2FA apps, including Authy and Google Authenticator, as well as hardware keys supporting the universal two-factor authentication standard, such as the YubiKey.
Dashlane VPN and Identity Theft Protection
As mentioned in the “features” section, Dashlane is more than a password manager, offering a free virtual private network and identity theft protection with your plan. Although these features are welcome, they shouldn’t sell you on the service.
Identity theft protection is fine, though nothing compared to a fully fledged service, such as Identity Guard (read our Identity Guard review to learn why). The VPN is the bigger concern, though. Dashlane doesn’t actually offer its own VPN, instead providing service through AnchorFree’s network, which owns Hotspot Shield.
This network is the go-to for multiple online security brands (read our Kaspersky Anti-Virus review for an example). As you can see in our Hotspot Shield review, it’s not a terrible option, though there are better VPNs around (read our CyberGhost review if that’s what you’re after).
Dashlane offers a surprising number of support options for a password manager. Although most features go without explanation, there are plenty of ways to receive clarification. That said, you can only ask questions during business hours.
Unlike most password managers, Dashlane offers two forms of contact: email and live chat. Email is handled through a contact form, with support for English, French and German speakers. English email support runs seven days a week, though French and German representatives only respond Monday through Friday during business hours.
Live chat is similar, available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. It’s worth noting that live chat is only available in English, too, as is the support Twitter account. Although we appreciate the contact options, a 24/7 option would be nice to see. Thankfully, you can find answers to most questions in the knowledgebase.
Dashlane offers everything from small clarifications to full-blown tutorials in its knowledgebase. No matter how small the topic, Dashlane covers it in immense detail, fit with plenty of screenshots when relevant. An article on sharing items in your vault, for example, clocks in at more than 1,200 words, covering not only how to share items, but each of the options that goes along with the process.
Dashlane has transcended standard password managers with a robust list of features and extra services bundled with your subscription. However, it demands a price tag to match. Although we like the goodies, they’re not for everyone, which could leave you overpaying. That said, with an expertly crafted interface and unique security architecture, the extra cost is worth it.
Do you plan on signing up for Dashlane? If not, which password manager are you using? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.
What Is Dashlane?
Dashlane is a password manager for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. It allows you to store unlimited passwords, addresses, notes and more, and sync them across your devices.
How Does Dashlane Work?
Dashlane stores an encrypted file full of your passwords on its servers, which it syncs across your devices. Then, you can decrypt that file locally using your master password. Dashlane never sees nor transfers any data unencrypted. All of the decryption happens locally.
How to Add Dashlane to Chrome
You can add Dashlane to Chrome through the Chrome Web Store. Alternatively, if you have the Windows Dashlane application, you can find a link to install the browser extension under the “extensions” menu item.
How to Use Dashlane
You can use Dashlane through the desktop application or browser extension. When installing, Dashlane will ask if you want to import your stored passwords from your browser. If you do so, you’re ready to go out of the gate.