Bitwarden Review

Open-source password management with end-to-end encryption and a generous free tier

Updated: March 24,2022

DataProt is supported by its audience. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. This, however, does not influence the evaluations in our reviews. Learn More.

An estimated 90% of online users are worried about password leaks – and for good reason. Recent data breaches have compromised countless accounts where users relied on commonly used passwords like “123456”. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to beef up your digital security. One of these is to get a password manager to generate and store complex passwords for each of your accounts.

Combing through the many password managers on the market, we’ve selected a solution that strikes the perfect balance between security, compatibility, and ease of use. Our detailed Bitwarden review covers all the features that this password software relies on to shield your sensitive data. We went the extra mile and listed all of Bitwarden’s assets and rough patches.

Price Range:
$0 - $5/user/month
ios logo
mac logo
linux logo
android logo
windows logo
  • Number of devices: Unlimited
  • Available on: Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, Android
  • Multi-factor authentication: Yes
  • Encryption: 256-bit AES encryption
  • Password generator: 14 to 128 characters
  • Offline mode: Yes
  • Price range: Free - $5 per user/month
  • Best price: $3.33/month for up to six users
pros thumb up Pros
  • Free plan includes core features
  • Supports all popular browsers
  • Effective Send feature
  • Open-source
  • Highly secure
pros thumb down Cons
  • No real-time breach-monitoring
  • No account recovery option

The Bitwarden password manager is an open-source software that offers both a free plan and some of the market’s more affordable paid packages. It was released in 2016 and has since provided individuals and organizations worldwide with an encrypted vault to store their sensitive data. Armed with strong security features, native apps for all major operating systems, and browser extensions, Bitwarden offers full coverage for all devices. We’ll start by reviewing the pricing plans to help you decide whether this password protector is the right option for your needs.

Bitwarden Pricing Plans

Bitwarden is a good choice for users on a budget. In addition to affordable pricing plans, there is a free option that includes all of the core features. The plans are split into two categories: Personal and Business. The Personal plans are further divided into individual options (Basic Free and Premium) and sharing options (Free Two-Person Org. and Family Org.). The Business plan is split into Teams Organization and Enterprise Organization packages. The core features include:

  • Open-source
  • Zero-knowledge encryption
  • Unlimited devices + syncing
  • Unlimited device types
  • Browser, Mobile, Desktop apps
  • Unlimited vault items
  • Store notes, credit cards, identities
  • Bitwarden Send
  • Secure password generator
  • Basic two-step login
  • Free cloud hosting

Our Bitwarden review offers a more comprehensive analysis of these pricing plans.

bitwarden pricing for individual users

Personal Plans

The Basic Free Account is limited to a single user and doesn’t allow sharing through collections. But it has all the aforementioned features, such as the secure password generator and free cloud hosting. It supports an unlimited number of devices and covers all browser, desktop, and mobile apps. It’s often praised as the best and most well-rounded free password management software.

The Premium Account costs $10 per year and adds more flair to password organization. When it comes to the Bitwarden Free vs. Premium showdown, the latter adds encrypted sharing (Bitwarden Send) for both text and files, 1 GB for personal encrypted file attachments, as well as the Bitwarden authenticator, vault health reports, emergency access, priority support, and self-host options.

The Free Organization Account allows two users to share passwords and data while offering the same core features as the Basic Free Account. You’ll also have the option of sharing through two collections for free.

The Family Account is a cost-effective plan that gets you six licenses and personal vaults, priority customer support, and unlimited sharing through collections. The Bitwarden family pricing plan includes all of the features in Bitwarden Premium and adds up to 1 GB of cloud storage for shared items, and all of that for as little as $40 per year. All paid plans come with a 30-day refund policy.

Business Plans

The Teams Organization pricing plan tailors to users who wish to safely share data with co-workers and across departments. For as little as $3/month per user, subscribers get all the core features coupled with the following Bitwarden premium features:

  • Unlimited users
  • Unlimited sharing through collections
  • API Access
  • Directory Sync
  • Event & Audit Logs
  • User groups
  • Enhanced Two-step login
  • 1GB+ Encrypted File Attachments
  • Bitwarden Authenticator
  • Personal emergency Access
  • Vault Health Reports
  • Priority support

Those who wish to pump up the service can upgrade to the Enterprise Organization package that costs $5/month/user. Aside from all the core and premium features, this plan offers advanced SSO authentication, admin password reset, and enterprise policies. The prices for business plans are based on annual subscriptions, and all are refundable within 30 days from purchase.

bitwarden business pricing

Bitwarden Features

So how does Bitwarden work? In order to answer this question, we have to look closer at the tools this password software uses to safeguard your data. These include some of the latest and most advanced security functionalities designed to prevent breaches and leaks.

Bitwarden Authenticator

Shielding passwords from bad actors requires the use of top-notch encryption software. During our review of the Bitwarden password security measures, we concluded that the software is reliable thanks in no small part to its unique two-factor authentication method. While standard 2FA normally adds two separate forms of identification to those who wish to access your vault (a password and an SMS confirmation), Bitwarden uses dedicated authentication apps.

Through these third-party apps such as Authy, Google Authenticator, or Free OTP, you can verify your identity for websites and apps that use two-step verification. The Bitwarden Authenticator will generate a six-digit Time-based One-time Password or TOTP for you to use. With this unique Bitwarden authenticator key, you don’t have to worry about your passwords or credit card details being compromised.

Password Generator

Instead of coming up with your own potentially easy-to-break password, you can lean on Bitwarden to create one for you. It has the ability to crank out random strings of digits, upper- and lowercase letters, and symbols, ranging from 14 to 128 characters in length.

The generator offers plenty of customization options, ensuring that all your accounts are impenetrable. The credentials are automatically saved when you find your perfect combination. In addition, the Bitwarden Password Generator can also produce multi-word passphrases that you can use to create an easy-to-remember master password.

Bitwarden Send

This new feature allows users to securely send sensitive data such as passwords, billing credentials, or business documents directly to co-workers or other individuals who aren’t necessarily using Bitwarden. Giving others access to this type of data is a delicate procedure, which is why the information is sent via an encrypted link.

The feature can be used to share single files or text notes, depending on the pricing plan, and you can send fully encrypted data from any browser or desktop application. If you’re on the move, Bitwarden reviews your data and sends it directly through your mobile device.

Bitwarden Sharing

Family and business subscribers can share files by creating an organization and inviting other members. This method allows you to give others access to your folders or your vault, but the sharing is limited to Bitwarden users. Free Organization and Family Organization users can share items with a total of two and six people, respectively, while Teams and Enterprise pricing plans don’t have limitations.

It’s worth noting that while the Bitwarden Send feature is straightforward, sending items through organizations may be more of a hassle. Still, it allows you to give your family members and other trusted individuals access to your Bitwarden vault or limit each user to specific collections.

Vault Health Reports

Bitwarden offers users insightful reports that assess the health of the vault’s security. These are intended to expose any weaknesses and identify unsecured sites and breached logins to help you reinforce your online shield.

Bitwarden provides six types of health reports: exposed passwords, reused passwords, weak passwords, unsecured websites, inactive 2FA, and data breach reports. The last one checks if your sensitive data or email addresses appear in data breaches via the Have I Been Pwned site.

There are a few rough edges, though. For starters, Bitwarden reviews available data and offers health reports only to paying customers. Free users are left to fend for themselves. The password management software doesn’t have real-time breach-monitoring and won’t inform you automatically if your data ends up on the dark web.

Security Features

Bitwarden makes sure all your passwords and private information are protected with end-to-end 256-bit AES encryption. Not even the Bitwarden team can access the data in your vault; that can only be done with your master password.

But while Bitwarden takes security very seriously and adheres to the strict zero-knowledge policy, the company’s team won’t be able to restore your account if you lose or forget your master password.

How Does Bitwarden Compare to Other Password Managers?
Bitwarden Review Logo
$0 - $5/user/month
ios icon mac icon linux icon android icon windows icon
1Password Review Logo
ios icon mac icon android icon windows icon
LastPass Review Logo
$3 -$8/month
ios icon mac icon linux icon chrome icon android icon windows icon

In order to get a better sense of the software’s capabilities and help you determine which option is best suited for your unique requirements, we took the time to compare password managers. We’ve selected two leading brands: 1Password and Lastpass.

Bitwarden vs. 1Password

1Password is one of the most popular password programs with advanced security features, the ability to store an unlimited number of passwords, and 1 GB of encrypted storage.

Although both Bitwarden and 1password use end-to-end encryption to shield your sensitive data, the latter provides an additional layer of security in the form of a secret key. For its part, Bitwarden offers added protection with its authenticator key and zero-knowledge policy.

Password sharing is another battlefield for these two competitors: 1Password allows users to store data in multiple vaults and share access to these vaults with others. So how does Bitwarden work when it comes to file sharing? In our earlier Bitwarden Send section, we’ve covered some of the perks associated with this new feature, which allows users to share sensitive data through an encrypted link, while family and business subscribers have to create organizations.

1Password is quite pricey compared to its counterpart. Bitwarden has one of the best free versions on the market, with all the core features, including syncing an unlimited number of passwords on all your devices. 1Password has a 14-day free trial, but to use it regularly, you’ll have to pay between $2.99 per month (Individual Plan) and $19.95 per month (Teams Starter Pack) for up to 10 users.

LastPass vs. Bitwarden Review

Both LastPass and Bitwarden use top-notch encryption tools to scramble user data. But while recovering your account isn’t possible with Bitwarden, Lastpass offers multiple account recovery options.

While basic features are pretty much the same, Bitwarden stands out thanks to its sharing tools. On the other hand, LastPass offers features such as an automatic password changer and emergency access, which Bitwarden doesn’t have.

Before deciding whether to go with LastPass or Bitwarden, review the pricing plans because both password software offer core features and unlimited passwords with their free plan. However, LastPass’s paid plans are a bit more costly, starting from $2.90 per month (Premium Plan for one user) and going up to $5.70/month/user with the Business Plan.

Installation and Ease of Use

Installing Bitwarden is a straightforward process. While setting up an account, you’ll have to create a master password and download the installation file for your device: Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, or iOS. After you install Bitwarden, log in to your account and make sure to import all your saved passwords from supported files and software or from a CSV file into the program to start the migration process.

The Bitwarden dashboard is pretty intuitive, and navigating the vault from a desktop app is really simple. Everything is displayed in three columns: Vault Filters, Vault Items, and Vault Item Information. Whenever you enter a new login, Bitwarden will pop up with an offer to save it to your password vault. You can also create and edit entries in the vault via browser extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Vivaldi, Brave, and Tor.

bitwarden system compatibility

The Bitwarden app will review and sync all your data between your desktop and mobile devices, allowing you to use the software when you’re on the move. Password protection apps for these devices have a similar layout as the desktop version. There is a password generator and Bitwarden TOTP authenticator, and you’ll be able to log in by entering your master password or using the biometric login (face ID or fingerprint).

How Has Bitwarden Changed Over Time?

Since its launch in 2016, the software has been evolving with the needs of its customers and emerging cyber threats. During our Bitwarden password manager review, we learned that the company introduced the Admin Password Reset option in June 2021. The feature allows administrators to reset end-user accounts of their employees should they lose the master pass.

Another update was released in August of the same year. The new Provider Portal allows MSPs to create and easily administer Bitwarden organizations on behalf of customers. Another big milestone was in 2019 when the company announced that it was accepting payments in cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.

bitwarden dashboard

Bitwarden Customer Support

Our review of Bitwarden wouldn’t be complete without examining the efficiency of the customer support team, which is accessible via email. But before you reach out to agents, make sure to go through the well-organized Help section on the website. There, you’ll find details about the installation process, importing and exporting passwords, pricing, and other crucial topics. You can also turn to community forums for user feedback, and if all else, fails you can send your questions to the support team.

Bottom Line

After reviewing the software’s long list of features and comparing it to some of the competition, we’ve concluded that Bitwarden is arguably the best password keeper app for users on a budget. The free version of the password manager has all of the core features, which many users will find sufficient. Users who want more robust features such as security audits and health reports can sign up for very affordable plans. The app is straightforward for personal use and offers a well-rounded knowledge base to help out along the way.

Is Bitwarden safe to use?

Yes. Bitwarden is a tried and tested password management software that uses robust end-to-end 256-bit AES encryption to protect sensitive data. The company also adheres to a zero-knowledge policy, which means that no one other than the users themselves have access to their digital vaults.

Is Bitwarden better than LastPass?

Both offer great free plans with the option to store an unlimited number of passwords, and their paid plans are affordable. But Bitwarden doesn’t have account recovery options should you lose your master password, while Lastpass does. The latter also offers extra features such as an automatic password changer and emergency access.

Who is behind Bitwarden?

During our Bitwarden review, we also checked out the company’s management team, which consists of CEO Michael Crandell, Founder and Chief Technology Officer Kyle Spearrin, Chief Customer Officer Gary Orenstein, and Chief Financial Officer Stephen Morrison.