Frankly, there shouldn’t be a Bitwarden vs 1Password. That’s not fair. While the former has an excellent free plan, the latter is strictly premium.
Recently, I reviewed Microsoft Password Manager but refrained from comparing it to Bitwarden. Because Microsoft’s offering was no match for the fantastic open-source password manager that Bitwarden is.
But 1Password can be a different story.
Without any wait, let’s jump to the battleground:
Bitwarden vs 1Password
It’s been over a year now since I boarded the Bitarden bandwagon. In between, I laid my hands on Keeper Password Manager, which is again a great paid option.
But you rarely feel like paying for a password manager given the power Bitwarden gives you in their free offering.
This is no limit to how many passwords you can store. In addition, you can add identity documents, credit cards, security notes, etc.
And it’s been only a few days since I installed 1Password. Initial impressions are good, and we can have a worthy competitor this time.
Further sections test these two on eight vital parameters:
- User Interface
- Export & Import
- Autofill & Capture
- Password Generator
- Security Features
- Extra Goodies
- Supported Platforms
Starting with the first:
Bitwarden’s UI is clean with no clutter. Features are aplenty and kept in plain sight.
You can also switch to Dark Mode in the settings. There is an option to change the overall look to a more greyish style (Nord mode) as well.
Overall, there is nothing to complain about the aesthetics.
The user interface is similar, a three-panel layout with a good amount of white space.
And similar to Bitwarden, you have the option to change the appearance to dark mode. However, anything in the middle, like a greyish theme is absent.
Conclusively, both score near about the same in looks. Still, Bitwarden with the extra theme definitely edges out 1Password.
Export & Import
Bitwarden has splendid support for importing entries from other utilities in addition to browser-in-built password managers.
However, you can’t use import from the native platform applications. Instead, you have to head over to Bitwaden’s web vault.
Bitwarden’s list of import-supported password managers is really extensive. And you can still import if somehow you don’t see your password management utility in there. Just download a sample file, copy-paste your entries in the given format, and hit import data.
1Password’s officially import-supported applications were comparatively limited.
Although, you can opt for the other tab to import from any CSV. Afterward, you have to handhold it to name various columns as username, password, URL, notes, etc., and the process will complete in seconds.
Using this process, I have successfully imported my 179 entries from Bitwarden.
Likewise, you can’t utilize import from anywhere else other than the 1Password web vault. That said, the list of supported imports is an area needing improvement.
AutoFill & Capture
Bitwarden’s Autofill is still in beta. So expect to get annoyed sometimes.
But my personal experience with this experimental feature hasn’t seen a single instance gone wrong except if you have multiple accounts on a website. In that case, you use the browser extension, which isn’t an inconvenience but adds one additional click to the process.
However, the auto-capture is a breeze. Just sign up to any website or update any password, and Bitwarden will pop up to save the new instance.
While Bitwarden was great at auto-filling single logins, it’s the multiple accounts on the same website that got it confused.
There was no such problem with 1Password’s autofill. It gives you options to scroll and choose when you select the empty spaces to fill in case there are many credentials. This cuts the step to click the browser extension each time.
But again, out of my 179 entries on the web, there are only a handful where I have multiple accounts. So, that wasn’t a huge differentiator in my case.
However, I have found Bitwarden wasn’t detecting pop-over sign-in pages. So, that also entails one extra click in going over the extension to autofill.
Conclusively, 1Password’s autofill is a step ahead of Bitwarden.
Its password generator can create up to 128 digit passwords with options to use lowercase, uppercase, numbers, and special characters. Similarly, you can also create 20-words passphrases with a choice to include numbers.
It lets you generate smart passwords (19 characters), random passwords (up to 100 characters), passphrases (up to 15 words), and pin codes (up to 12 digits).
But it doesn’t give you much choice about it. For instance, you can include/exclude numbers and symbols in random passwords, but you don’t have any control over the uppercase/lowercase characters.
Similarly, one cannot use numbers in passphrases.
Bitwarden is the more diverse of the two.
Your vault is protected by a master password which you enter every time you log in.
But you can also use a pin to fast-track the process. However, using a pin can only be enabled once you log in using the master password and gets erased after you log out. Conclusively, the pin is for unlocking, and can’t be used for logging in.
You can also set a two-factor authentication with your email or any 3rd-party application like the Google Authenticator.
Additionally, you can put an extra layer of security by putting selective password entries behind a master password prompt.
Bitwarden uses the industry-standard AES-256 bit encryption. In addition, it’s an open-source piece of software, which means its code is publicly available for scrutiny. Notably, it has been successfully audited by third-party security agencies.
Finally, you can rest assured that Bitwarden is military-grade secure.
Likewise, 1Password has a strong security model.
Your vault is protected by your account (master) password. It also has end-to-end AES-256 bit encryption. Additionally, you can set a 2FA for your password vault.
They have also withstood audits by many independent security firms with reports publicly available on their website.
Overall, both have robust security infrastructure in place for an average user like me.
Winner: None. It’s a tie.
With Bitwarden Send, you can share self-destructing, access restricted, password-protected text (or attachments up to 1GB for paid plans). And your receiver need not be having a Bitwarden account.
One can also set a Yubikey/FIDO 2 Duo security key for 2FA in non-free subscriptions. These are physical keys like a USB drive used in place of an authenticator application.
Besides, you have to get Bitwarden’s own authenticator in the premium tiers.
In addition to a password manager, it can also act as your encrypted 1GB cloud storage. Besides, your deleted passwords stay there for 365 days as a backup.
Like Bitwarden, 1Password also allows setting up physical secondary authentications like Yubikey/FIDO 2 security keys.
In addition, you can use 1Password to act as an authenticator for other services.
There is no clear winner, but 1Password has more to offer beyond just being a password manager.
Bitwarden has native applications for Windows, macOS & Linux. There are browser extensions for all major browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Brave, Edge, Vivaldi, Tor, Opera, & Safari.
It has apps for Android and iOS as well. And finally, you can also use the command-line interface (CLI) to access and manage your vault.
However, there is always a web vault if you don’t want to install anything.
In addition to a web vault, 1Password has application support for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android.
Besides, there are browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Brave, Edge, and Safari. And 1Password also has a CLI tool just like its opponent.
Bitwarden has a minor advantage for privacy-sensitive people with the support of the Tor browser.
A forever-free version for individuals and two-member organizations. Paid tiers start from USD 10 per year.
No free plan. You have to pay about USD 35.88 per year to get onboard.
Winner: Bitwarden, by a mile.
That was my round-up of Bitwarden vs 1Password.
While it’s been more than a year with Bitwarden, the first few interactions with 1Password were nothing less than a delight.
That said, there isn’t enough incentive to pay if you’ve something like a Bitwarden’s free tier. So, I’m staying put with my current companion: Bitwarden password manager, as it’s open-source, powerful, and free.