Bitwarden Review: The Best Free Password Manager for 2022

Until spring 2021, only two our main password managers offered free service tiers that let you sync and use a password manager across multiple devices. So when LastPass restricts its free service for use on one device in March 2021Bitwarden – the only other app with the same deal – sealed the deal and became the de facto champion free password manager.

But what do we know about Bitwarden? Is it as safe to use as LastPass? Is it also practical and user-friendly? Is it also compatible on all platforms and does it contain as many features? You bet that’s your connection. Bitwarden’s open-source codebase creates a transparent security foundation beneath its otherwise streamlined interface designed for simplicity. This, combined with its hyper-flexible platform, browser compatibility, and feature-rich premium options, pushes Bitwarden ahead of its competitors.

my once longtime love of LastPass despite everything, I finally make the change in Bitwarden and found out why he’s garnered such a devoted fanbase. Here’s the scoop on my browser’s new best friend.

To like

  • Open source and transparent
  • Free version syncs across unlimited devices
  • Feature-rich premium versions

Do not like

  • Free version has fewer features than competitors
  • User interface not as smooth as competitors
  • Premium users get better customer support

Bitwarden Cost and Compatibility

Bitwarden logo on a laptop mounted on a desk

Sarah Tew/CNET

You will be hard pressed to find a traditional platform that Bitwarden is not compatible with. Bitwarden works with Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iPhone and iPad. Its browser extensions are available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera, Vivaldi, Brave, and Tor. The website extensive knowledge base also specifically includes instructions on using Bitwarden with popular services like Twitch, and offers walkthroughs on integrating Bitwarden with common browser settings to ensure a smoother experience.

With Bitwarden’s free tier, you can store an unlimited number of logins, notes, and maps in its encrypted vault, which you can access from as many devices as you want once you’ve installed the app. A must-have for any password manager, Bitwarden’s free tier also includes a random password generator. Free tier users can also enable two-factor authentication for logins and can use Bitwarden’s database breach feature, which checks multiple sites to see if any of your logins have been involved in a breach. breach.

Bitwarden’s free tier isn’t as feature-rich as LastPass’, which offers a password strength meter that checks all of your vault entries for duplicates and weak passwords. But the ability to use Bitwarden for free on multiple devices, which you can’t do with LastPass anymore, more than makes up for the lack of bells and whistles.

However, Bitwarden has steadily increased its range of flexible features. In March, it announced a handy new perk that will allow you to quickly switch between different Bitwarden user accounts on the same sites. You can also create customizable fields for your credentials. It’s a seemingly small benefit that offers great convenience for those who want to make the most of the app’s modular design. Bitwarden has also increased its biometric security option for those who prefer physical authentication to passwords, and enabled security key support for its mobile applications.

More bells and whistles are available in Bitwarden’s $10 per year premium subscription service, including an almost identical password strength ratio for your vault. The premium subscription also includes up to 1 gigabyte of encrypted attachments and a secure connection via YubiKey, U2F and Duo.

If you really want to improve your household privacy, you can opt for Bitwarden’s family plan, which includes six user accounts and costs $40 per year. Bitwarden offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on its premium services.

Bitwarden Security and Privacy

Bitwarden login screen on red background

Sarah Tew/CNET

When it comes to privacy management services, I’m slow to recommend free services. Online services cost money to develop and maintain, and companies often pay for free services by sharing your data with third-party advertisers, putting your privacy at cross purposes with a company’s revenue stream.

But Bitwarden’s free service puts me at ease. Its open source roots are one of Bitwarden’s most appealing features, allowing the web as a whole to inspect its code for flaws and detect hidden security threats not so easily identified in software. closed-source owners.

Bitwarden’s transparency efforts extend to his public collection easily accessible audits, certifications and code base, including its audited by Cure53. In fact, it offers a handy and continuous list of all its safety certifications and audits. Its security is just as strong as LastPass, offering both two-factor authentication, zero-knowledge password encryption (none of the companies can see your vault entries), and password complexity rules. customizable passwords. Bitwarden also allows you to self-host. This means that if the Bitwarden public service is breached, your own vault should theoretically be secure.

Bitwarden logo displayed on a laptop

Sarah Tew/CNET

outside of reality Unity is strengthconfidentiality is also a priority for password managers.

the web trackers found on the LastPass website previously raised a privacy issue worth noting and pushed me past the tipping point to Bitwarden. The Exodus Privacy application, developed by The Guardian Project to document the number of trackers and permissions that other apps use, discovered seven web trackers (now reduced to five) in the Android version of LastPass earlier this year.

Web trackers on LastPass included those from Google Analytics, AppsFlyer, and Mixpanel. Although LastPass’s password encryption normally protects your passwords from being seen by any tracker or site, these trackers allow third-party companies to collect a surprisingly complete file sites you visit.

In comparison, Bitwarden had two. LastPass Premium Competitors 1Password and KeePass do not have tracers.

Being open source, Bitwarden’s privacy policy and terms of service are a little easier to believe than others, as much of the machinery is visible. Even so, Bitwarden privacy policy reads as clearly as you could ask for. Yes, Bitwarden collects certain types of data: your credit card number if you are a premium user, your email address to log in, your IP address and other information that could verify your identity.

But the list of third-party entities it shares this data with — my biggest concern — is quite limited by comparison, and Bitwarden has an opt-out option that would further reduce that number. Nevertheless, I would like to see more information from the company about the subsidiaries and affiliates with which Bitwarden may share your data.

Is Bitwarden’s interface as pretty as LastPass? Not if you like digital gadgets and sleek design (isn’t everyone?). But, as a former LastPass enthusiast now firmly in the Bitwarden camp, I’m more convinced than ever that simplicity is beautiful.