You may not have heard of KeePass — it’s open source, meaning that its code is available for anyone to test and modify. It operates differently than a more traditional password manager, like LastPass. But KeePass and LastPass are both free to use, so which is better? We’ve compared them side by side in a number of different categories to see how they stack up.
- Both have password generators that allow you to create strong, unique, customizable passwords
- Both use a master password to protect your data
- Both use one-sided encryption
- Both are free
- LastPass has a security score feature that generates a report of the strength of your passwords
- LastPass offers two-factor authentication
- KeePass is an open source application
- LastPass offers versions of the application designed specifically for families and businesses
- KeePass allows you to create a key file, an added file that will be needed to unlock your database in addition to the master password
LastPass and KeePass are definitely on opposite ends of the spectrum when its comes to interface. Originally developed for Windows, KeePass has an old-school style interface, so it’s not as sleek or modern looking as LastPass. The icons in the application look a little outdated, and they don’t offer any sort of tutorial when you first download the application, so navigating can be a little difficult in the beginning. Once you figure it out it’s pretty basic, but LastPass definitely has a sleeker, more intuitive interface. It features a tile-like layout that displays all of your saved passwords, and includes the logo for that login on each tile, making it easy to find specific entries quickly.
LastPass offers a helpful security score feature that generates a detailed report of the strength of your saved passwords. This makes it easy to identify when your passwords are not as strong as they could be, so you’re consistently using the best password practices. KeePass doesn’t have this feature, and unlike LastPass, it doesn’t offer two-factor authentication.
You could argue that KeePass might be more secure than other password managers because it’s an open source application, meaning anyone can test and modify the source code, so it’s constantly being improved. This may be true, and it’s definitely a unique feature, but ultimately one of the main reasons for having a password manager is to utilize the best possible password practices, and the security features on LastPass are more equipped to help you do this.
KeePass does not offer a family-specific version of their software. LastPass, however, offers LastPass Family, which allows you to create one vault for an entire family. Each family member has access to the vault using their personal email, but one designated “family manager” decides which member can view certain folders and information. For example, you can allow your kids to view the Netflix password, but deny them access to your credit card information.
KeePass does not have a business-specific version of their software. LastPass, however, offers two business options: LastPass Teams, for smaller businesses or inter-departmental use, and LastPass Enterprise, for larger businesses. Both versions allow companies to share information securely among employees and allow a designated administrator to manage employee permissions.
Both LastPass and KeePass are free to use. LastPass also offers a premium version of the application, which costs $2/month.
The KeePass mobile app is actually much more modern looking than its desktop counterpart, and definitely more intuitive. But you have to manually enter all of your passwords, as they won’t sync across devices unless you use an outside service (like Dropbox or Google Drive). LastPass ultimately wins this category because your information is automatically synced when you download the app.
Who KeePass Might Be Better For:
- Users who are interested in using an open-source application
- Users who want a basic, no-frills password manager for no cost
Who LastPass Might Be Better For:
- Users who want the most comprehensive security features
- Users who want a password manager specifically for businesses or family use
- Users who are new to password managers, and want a more intuitive interface
If you want a traditional password manager that’s free and easy to use, LastPass is the clear winner. But KeePass is definitely a cool alternative. Its open source software makes it unique, and allows pretty much anyone to offer feedback on the source code. This also means its security systems are updated frequently, so even though there’s no security test feature, you know that its security is still sophisticated.
KeePass is a great choice for code-loving users, but if you’re new to password managers or want something easy to use, you should probably go with LastPass.
To learn more, read our review of the best password managers of 2019.