In this Dashlane vs LastPass comparison, we’ll run through everything that makes these password managers stand out from the other options. Both will help you set a strong password, but only one can win.
This comparison is particularly interesting as data breaches in 2011 and 2015 brought up concerns about LastPass’s security, while Dashlane’s update to version six included a slew of new features and a nearly 20 percent price increase.
Before the comparison, let’s define how we’re going to evaluate these password managers.
Setting Up a Fight: Dashlane vs. LastPass
LastPass and Dashlane are top dogs in the password manager field, so comparing them only seems natural. We’ll throw them into the ring for five rounds, corresponding to the criteria used in our password manager reviews.
The rounds they’ll compete in are features, pricing, user-friendliness, security and support. We’ll go over what each password manager brings to the table for that round, give our thoughts on how they compare and declare a winner. Whichever takes three rounds or more wins.
Some rounds, such as user-friendliness, are close, so declaring a winner isn’t cut and dry. When a situation like that comes up, we’ll explain why we think one password manager edges out the other, even if it’s a minor thing.
Our verdict will also address the grey areas left during the rounds, so be sure to read through that after we’ve declared a winner.
With that out of the way, let’s start at the top.
Modern browsers have password managers built in. They aren’t as secure or user-friendly as paid options, but they’re still there. We’re first going to compare Dashlane and LastPass in terms of features to see how well they justify their price tags.
Dashlane 6 was released in 2018 and it packed in a lot of new features. The first is dark web monitoring. Dashlane will scan the dark web for anyone using account info stored in your vault. If it finds anything, you’ll be notified to change your password.
It’s not different from Dashlane’s normal monitoring, except that it happens on the dark web. Dashlane still keeps an eye on your other accounts and alerts you to potential breaches as soon as they happen. Premium Plus subscribers get credit monitoring, too.
Starting with version six, Dashlane began including a virtual private network for Premium subscribers. We’re not sure how well it can stack up against the best VPN providers, but, from what we saw in our antivirus reviews, bundled VPNs tend to be lackluster at best.
Features from previous versions of Dashlane are still present. They include multi-device sync, unlimited password storage, an automatic password changer, YubiKey support (one of our picks for the best 2FA apps) and more. Dashlane 5 already sat above the competition for features and, given the updates, LastPass has a tough road ahead for this round.
LastPass focuses solely on password management, so there’s no included VPN or anything like that. Instead, its features are aimed at having all the sensitive information you need at your fingertips, no matter what device you’re on.
You can store many different items in LastPass. The usual suspects, such as your bank account, passport and insurance policies, are around, but there are also more obscure items, such as SSH keys and database logins. For anything else, you can create a custom item type.
In your vault, you can access the security challenge. LastPass shows you an overall security rating for the passwords in your vault, your standing against other LastPass users and your master password score. For supported sites, you can automatically change your password from this area.
LastPass also has file and folder sharing, support for an unlimited number of entries, multi-device sync and multi-factor authentication. It has its own app for 2FA, too, which functions like Google Authenticator.
Round One Thoughts
Comparing features, there’s a clear winner. Dashlane 6 gives you much more in terms of features, including monitoring the dark web, your online accounts and your credit score. The VPN is a nice inclusion, too, but we’re not sure how well it’ll perform.
Features need context and that’s why we’re looking at pricing next. Dashlane raised its rates by nearly 20 percent with the release of version six and LastPass was our best free password manager, so this round should be interesting.
Dashlane revamped its lineup with version six, adding Premium Plus into the mix. Premium prices went from a little over $3 to $5 and Premium Plus clocks in at $10. Dashlane was pricey before, but now it’s one of the most expensive password managers on the market.
The free plan is mediocre, too. It’s limited to 50 entries and a single device, so it’s best used as a trial. You can install Dashlane on multiple devices, but your passwords won’t sync across them, which is a confusing and annoying hurdle that makes the free plan feel lackluster.
Premium is almost required to use Dashlane to its fullest potential. It lifts the limits on passwords and devices and you get the constant monitoring that we mentioned in the previous section.
Dashlane can only be paid for on an annual basis, though. While the same is true with LastPass, the increased rate adds up quickly. The difference between $3 and $5 isn’t much when you’re paying monthly, but it could make the difference between signing up and not when you’re paying annually.
LastPass is easily the best free password manager. It’s paid plans aren’t bad, either, and cost slightly less than the competition. You’re not getting as many features as you would with Dashlane, but, if those don’t matter to you, you can save a lot of money.
The star of the show is LastPass’s free offering. You get unlimited item storage, multi-device sync and access to LastPass in your browser. Some features are missing, such as a small amount of encrypted file storage and auto-fill for desktop applications, but, overall, it is a well-rounded free plan.
Premium, at only $24 annually, may as well be free. The additions are file storage, auto-fill for applications, priority support and advanced multi-factor options. The free plan is so good, though, that we wouldn’t fault you for not upgrading.
LastPass offers a family plan, too, which is an advantage over Dashlane. It’s half again the price of Premium, but it comes with licenses for up to six users and a dedicated family manager board. It’s a great choice for families or small businesses with six or fewer employees.
Round Two Thoughts
Dashlane was already expensive and the release of version six didn’t help that. The price hike is justified, but the company still lacks an inexpensive option for those who just want a password manager without extra fat. Considering LastPass offers so much for so little, the winner of this round is clear.
Password managers are among the few security tools that increase your safety while making your experience easier. We’re going to take a look at how these two work in a real-world setting, and how they can make your browser and desktop experience simpler.
Dashlane will guide you through installing its desktop application and browser extension. You can access your vault through either user interface, but the browser doesn’t have as many settings as the client.
As you install, Dashlane will ask if you want to import passwords from your browser. It supports Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome and you can uncheck any passwords you don’t want gumming up your vault.
You can organize your vault with categories, but you need to assign a category to a password as you’re creating it. It’s a fine organizational method, but not as clean as LastPass, as we’ll see shortly.
Dashlane’s password changer helps a lot in this round. The list of supported websites is growing, including Adobe, Reddit, Box and more (read our Box review). You can change passwords for all those accounts with one click. Dashlane will set a different password for each and update your vault entries.
The usability is good, overall, but not excellent. Dashlane lacks core organizational functions that would make the vault experience better. Auto-fill, password generation and all other aspects work well, though.
LastPass is exclusively in your browser. You can download a desktop variant, but it’ll simply open your vault in a new browser window. It is a streamlined approach that does a lot for user-friendliness.
You can access your vault by clicking on the browser extension and selecting “open my vault.” By default, your accounts are laid out like tiles, each with its own icon and color. That makes scanning your vault simple, especially with tools to change the size of tiles or organize items into lines.
From an organizational standpoint, we like LastPass’s folders more than Dashlane’s categories. Folders are more intuitive, especially for Windows users, and you can add multiple items to them at once.
LastPass does some of its own organization, too. Each item category you add will show up in the left-side menu. For example, if you have notes, passwords and addresses, you’ll get three corresponding tabs in your menu.
LastPass has a password changer, as well, but you can only access it through the security challenge. It has a smaller list of supported websites, too, which is the only area where LastPass falls behind Dashlane in usability.
Round Three Thoughts
Other rounds have been polarizing, but this one is close. LastPass and Dashlane offer great user experiences with auto-fill, vault organization and automatic password changing. We like LastPass’s organizational features more, though, which is enough for it to take the win in this round.
Security is the most important aspect of any password manager. A breach of your vault doesn’t mean access to one account, but all your accounts, credit cards and possibly more. We’re going to look at the security measures Dashlane and LastPass implement to keep your data safe, as well as the history of breaches at the companies had, if any.
We rated Dashlane as the most secure password manager for good reason. It uses industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption on your data, a cipher that would take multiple billions of years for a supercomputer to crack.
Dashlane has zero-knowledge of your master password, too. It isn’t stored on Dashlane’s servers or your local machine, meaning someone could only get it if you told them or they installed a keylogger on your computer. The best antivirus software can get rid of the latter, though.
That also means Dashlane can’t restore your account if you forget your master password. It has backup codes and emergency access, though, so you or someone close to you can get in to your account if certain criteria are met.
Dashlane’s security system requires a U.S. patent. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology studied the system and found that “…the security of AES ensures that it is infeasible to obtain a user’s sensitive information without knowledge of their master password.”
Top-notch security measures are common for password managers, but constant security audits and the use of AES for transfer has worked well for Dashlane. It has no history of data breaches.
LastPass has been the center of controversy for password manager security. It’s had two major breaches, one in 2011 and another in 2015. No passwords were stolen, but users’ email addresses, encrypted master passwords and master password hints were.
It still uses AES 256-bit and a zero-knowledge model. That shows, too, considering the attacks weren’t successful in accessing any user’s account. Master passwords would have to be stored in encrypted form on LastPass’s servers for this attack to work, though, which is a security flaw Dashlane doesn’t have.
The severity of such an attack is dependent on the user’s master password. Hackers were only able to access encrypted forms, meaning their best shot at learning the password is through machine guessing.
Be on the lookout for phishing pages, too. LastPass was the target of a large phishing attack in 2018. When users landed on a malicious website, a mock LastPass notification appeared, prompting them to enter their master password and multi-factor key.
Round Four Thoughts
LastPass’s security measures don’t make it more susceptible to attacks, but it’s been targeted in the past. While a master password change fixed the problem, it was too close for comfort. Dashlane hasn’t had those problems, so there’s a clear winner here.
Users of password managers don’t need much support and, because of that, many developers skimp in this area. Dashlane and LastPass are among the best options on the market, though, so we’re looking for any area of support that goes beyond what’s expected for this kind of product.
Dashlane offers live chat and email support. Email is available 24/7, but live chat is only offered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. We reached out to the email team on a free plan and received a response in a little under four hours.
Premium users have priority support, but Dashlane doesn’t quantify the time frame in which you should expect a response. Given the snappy response to our free inquiry, though, priority support should be quick.
Dashlane has an excellent help center. There are detailed guides ranging from starting the application to exporting password data. Articles are, thankfully, full of screenshots, too. Dashlane has a small troubleshooting section in the help center that many other password managers lack, as well.
Phone support is the only thing missing from Dashlane’s support system. Other than that, email is quick, live chat is nice and the help center is excellent. You shouldn’t need support for a password manager but, in the event you do, Dashlane has you covered.
LastPass earned a 64 percent rating in our review. That’s bad, considering Dashlane was in the 90s. It only offers email support, with Premium users getting priority. When we reached out, it took LastPass two days to get back.
What’s frustrating is that LastPass says it has 24/7 support. Email support is not around-the-clock, though, considering you’ll have to wait at least a few hours to get a reply. The phrase “24/7 support” implies instant answers through phone or live chat, which LastPass doesn’t have.
LastPass has a knowledgebase that functions more like a FAQ than a troubleshooting guide. The articles are fine, but navigating it is a nightmare. Your best chance of finding an article you need is using the search bar.
The saving grace is the forum. It’s the best place to get information on troubleshooting and using LastPass. It’s only the community, though. There are no support reps scouring the forums. LastPass should have reps on the forum as a way to provide pseudo-24/7 support.
Round Five Thoughts
Previous rounds have been decisive and this one isn’t any different. Dashlane has better support with faster response times, more direct support options and a more useful knowledgebase.
Dashlane and LastPass are the top dogs when it comes to password managers. They both made it into multiple categories in our best password manager list, but Dashlane took three of the five rounds here, making it the winner in this comparison.
The only round it lost badly in was pricing. Dashlane is more expensive than almost every password manager on the market. It comes with an excellent feature set that easily justifies the cost, though.