A password manager is the first software I advise the majority to install on their device. Most users stick with the default Chrome Password manager or iCloud Keychain to store confidential information. But there are other capable password managers out there that offer more features and cross-platform availability. LastPass used to be our go-to recommendation but the company is once again in news for all the wrong reasons. Bitwarden and 1Password are two other big names in the password management space.
Bitwarden vs 1Password
If you are getting confused between the two software then read along to find all the differences. The comparison will be based on cross-platform availability, UI, features, security, backup, mobile experience, price, and more. Let’s get started.
A lack of cross-platform availability is the main reason I ask users to invest in a third-party password manager. They mostly cover all platforms that you can think of. The same is the case with both Bitwarden and 1Password.
Bitwarden is available across iOS and Android; it has native desktop applications for Windows, macOS, and Linux; and it also integrates with every major browser, including Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge.
1Password includes support for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Chrome, and even Linux. 1Password has browser extensions for major names including Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.
Both Bitwarden and 1Password use the standard macOS menu for navigation. I like 1Password’s approach here. It’s simple, works perfectly out of the box, and doesn’t go overboard with a plethora of options and menus.
You will see password vault, Favorites, Watchtower (more on that later), and categories on the left menu.
I found Bitwarden on the safer side. At first glance, it looks bland compared to 1Password. For fans of dark themes, the app supports that as well. As for animations, I found 1Password to offer a more fluid experience than Bitwarden.
Add a New Item
1Password will first ask you to choose a template such as a login info, Credit Card, or Secure note. As you select a website to add info, the app will suggest you use the randomly generated complex password. You can either use that or opt for your own password.
One can also customize the auto-generated passwords and add notes to it. I wish 1Password would have offered a security questions option while adding new info for a website.
As for Bitwarden, click on the ‘+’ button at the bottom, and you can add new items. New item types are limited to log in, Card, Identity, and Secure Note only.
Bitwarden also offers you to add the authenticator key which is useful if you are using two-factor authentication across services.
Security and Backup
Security is the most critical aspect of these apps. 1Password offers you to add a hint for a password in case you forget it.
1Password lets you backup data on cloud services. But the options are limited to iCloud, Google Drive, and Dropbox only. No matter which service you use, I would strongly suggest you not store data on their servers. In case of any breakdown or if system gets compromised, your data might be at risk.
With Bitwarden, all data is fully encrypted before it ever leaves your device. Only you have access to it. Not even the team at Bitwarden can read your data, even if they wanted to. Your data is sealed with end-to-end AES-256 bit encryption. It also supports 2FA.
As for Backup, Bitwarden stores all the user data on the Microsoft Azure Cloud platform.
1Password makes a strong case with a long list of features. The app supports auto-generated passwords, categorization of apps, tags, Apple Watch support, TOTP, and multiple vaults.
Among them, multiple vaults is my favorite add-on. It allows you to create different vaults for other family members. For example, I’m the one handling all the passwords in the family. I have created various vaults for my mom, brother, and dad in the 1Password app.
1Password also offers something called Watchtower. As the name suggests, Watchtower keeps track of compromised, vulnerable, reused, and weak passwords. Everything is nicely detailed on the left sidebar and easily accessible with one-click.
Bitwarden is full of useful functions as well. The list of features includes encrypted file attachments, security audit reports, two-factor authentication, user groups, shared items, and more.
Bitwarden has a cool trick up its sleeve. Since it’s an open-source service, Bitwarden allows you to self-host the app data on your own server. It does require some expertise from your end but the company has a handy user guide to install and deploy it.
1Password works as a subscription service that offers a personal plan starting at $3/month or $36/year. Their family plan comes with attractive pricing and costs $5/month for up to 5 members and $1 more for every new member after adding 5 members.
Bitwarden only costs $10 per year. That is way cheaper than the competition out there. The family plan is set at $3.33 per month.
A Word on Mobile Apps
Both 1Password and Bitwarden offer Face ID and fingerprint support on iPhone and Android respectively. They go perfectly fine with the auto-fill function as well.
1Password easily beats Bitwarden here with a better UI, navigation, and smooth animations. I felt Bitwarden was a little less polished than 1Password.
Wrap Up: Bitwarden vs 1Password
Both the Bitwarden and 1Password have their strength and weaknesses. Bitwarden is open-source, costs less, and the ability to host data on your server is a blessing for geeky minds. 1Password has a few more features and the app offers a robust experience on all platforms.