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1password vs. Dashlane

[ 1password vs. Dashlane ] I was a 1password user for years. Thought it was great, everything I needed without not too much bloat, ads, etc. Then one day 1password locked everyone out. As in can’t log in with the master password. So no access to any passwords, notes or anything. Business shut down. Thought I was hacked. Not a good feeling. Immediately after shooting an emergency email to 1password support, I began looking for a good replacement for 1password. Not even gonna wait 10 minutes for a reply back from 1password support. Passwords are mission critical to my operation. It’s like air. Need it like now, bro.

Long story short: it took about an hour to go from complete 1password lockout to back up and running with Dashlane. Of all the great “1password alternatives”, Dashlane looked closest to matching the feature set that I had enjoyed with good ’ol 1password. If you compare side by side, the features match up pretty good. So I pulled the trigger and went with Dashlane. It cost another chunk of money (I was basically forfeiting the remainder of my 1password renewal), but whatever. I needed a replacement for 1password STAT.

Both are great

Since switching from 1password to Dashlane several years ago, I’ve had plenty of time to get familiar with Dashlane. I’ve noticed a lot of similarities, and some major differences. In general both apps are pretty amazing, but they both cost $$$. So it makes sense to evaluate some anecdotal evidence before making a decision either way. Below I share some of the pros and cons that I’ve found after working with 1password and Dashlane for around three years apiece.

Please understand before reading that software changes constantly, so features and prices are subject to change. Also, this is a completely open/honest review. I am not affiliated with either app or company in any way. No affiliate links or anything like that, in case you were wondering.

So now with all that out of the way, let’s begin the vs. with a review of 1password..

1password : Pros & Cons

So first up is 1password. Current pricing ranges from $2.99/mo to $4.99/mo. Note that these prices are likely to increase with future updates (if past history is any indication). First, the things I like the most about 1password:

Pros

Look and feel
I like the UI of 1password better. It’s just simpler and just right. Plenty of visible options but kept at a minimum.
Using notes
Secure notes play an important role in my workflow. 1password meets that need with notes that are actual plain-text notes. So you can search each individual note to find something you are looking for (via Cmd+F on Mac).
Browser addon
I like the utility of the 1password browser addon. Makes it easy to grab/view specific form information right in the browser. So you can do things like edit login credentials, and quickly copy usernames and passwords when logging in via HTTP authentication prompts.
Auto save
Another great thing about 1password is that it automatically remembers first-time login credentials. I never had to do a thing to make it happen: 1password just remembers new login infos automatically (after asking “yes” or “no”).
Clean technique
While browsing with 1password addon installed, I never know it’s even there. It’s just transparent, there if you need it kind of thing. No little icons added to every form field or anything else. And because 1password doesn’t interfere with form fields, they all “remember” any submitted values normally. Compare this with Dashlane’s more invasive technique, described below.

And now the top things I don’t like about 1password:

Cons

Auto login
There was no automatic login feature. Like when you visit a page and want to automatically fill out and submit the form. Wasn’t able to do it with 1password. Also when you first log into 1password, it doesn’t automatically log in any forms that may be open in tabs or windows.
Auto sync devices
In order to synchronize 1password across multiple devices, you need to sign up for Dropbox account. Then there are all sorts of special folders and weird custom files that need to be added to Dropbox. Just not as “clean” as Dashlane’s transparent approach.
Restoring backups
I did not have much luck restoring backups of my password file(s) with 1password. The process seems easy enough, but the problem is that every time I tried restoring a backup, 1password added duplicate copies of all my notes. So it was a pain having to go thru, check each one, and then delete.
Random lockouts
As mentioned, when it comes to security, “sometimes works” is NOT an option. I realize that mistakes happen, but so do consequences. And the consequences in this case were that I switched my password software faster than you can blink an eye. Crashes and lockouts are unacceptable in the password/security game.

Dashlane : Pros & Cons

Now for Dashlane, where current pricing ranges from free (50 password limit!) to $9.99/mo. Note that these prices are likely to increase with future updates (if past history is any indication). First, the things I like the most about Dashlane:

Pros

Auto login
Dashlane is great when it comes to automatically logging you in to any open sites. Whether you’re just opening a browser tab for a login page, or just logging into Dashlane at the beginning of your day, Dashlane logs you in to any open sites automatically. And I think there is an option to disable this feature if needed. Is it perfect? No. Sometimes you sit there and wait for Dashlane to fill out a login form.. and it never does. Usually it works though, and when it does it’s awesome.
Auto sync devices
With Dashlane it is much easier to automatically keep your passwords and notes synchronized across devices. No Dropbox account or cluttered files needed. It does take some time installing the app and configuring on each device, but once you get it dialed in, you’re good to go.
It just works
I think my favorite thing about Dashlane (after switching from 1password), is that it just works. It does exactly what it says, and keeps on doing it. In this regard Dashlane is an excellent replacement for 1password.
Random lockouts
No weird crashes or lockouts with Dashlane. Have not had any sort of issue in that area. Even when the Internet is not available. You might think that, because Dashlane is more of a service, that passwords would be unavailable if you are offline. But actually that’s not the case. With Dashlane, you always have access to your secure passwords and notes.

And now the top things I don’t like about Dashlane:

Cons

Using notes
Dashlane notes suck compared to 1password. With Dashlane notes, you can search all notes just fine. But you can’t search within any individual note. Further the notes are not in plain text format, but rather some sort of weird proprietary format that doesn’t behave like regular text. It’s frustrating.
Cluttered pages
Unlike 1password’s clean technique, Dashlane injects all sorts of annoying HTML into every form element on every page. Even worse than the obtrusive markup are the little Dashlane icons that are displayed in every form field. Really clutters up the page and makes Dashlane look shilly.
Also, because of the added Dashlane markup, form fields do not remember entered values. Not like with submitting forms and stuff, that all is good. I’m referring to like search fields, for example. Usually browsers remember previous search terms and will display them via little dropdown menu, so you can just select any previous search instead of having to re-type it again. Tedious to explain, but something that really saves a lot of time. With Dashlane enabled in the browser, common fields do not remember previous values. Wish they did.
Browser addon
Compared to 1password’s browser addon, Dashlane’s browser addon is pretty weak. You can’t copy individual usernames or passwords, instead you have to visit the main app — just to copy a password or username. Likewise you can’t edit saved password information right in the browser, so again you have to return to the main app. Just adds needless extra clicks to my workflow.
Auto save
Recall with 1password, any new login is saved automatically, so I don’t have to return to the app and do a bunch of stuff. Unfortunately with Dashlane, saving new login credentials does not happen automatically. Instead you’ve got to go back to the main app, and manually add new passwords that way. I think there may be a way to enable this functionality, but I have not yet found it.
Redundancy
Dashlane makes you enter your password to export a secured copy of your data — even if you already are logged in to Dashlane. Seems like overkill, unless Dashlane assumes all of their users are incompetent.
Cluttered UI
I find the Dashlane interface kinda cluttered with too many bells and whistles. For example, there are sliding/popups just about everywhere, waiting to strike. Like trying to sign you up, pushing upgrades or premium service, etc. Getting started popups and all sorts of other extraneous little features. In other words, the UI could be a LOT cleaner and simpler, imho. And another wierd thing: there is a “Getting Started” progress bar that seems stuck on 85% — even though I’ve been using the app for like three years now.. and still apparently there is more that I need to do. When really there isn’t. So seeing that constant 85% sort of aggravating.

One more thing..

One other thing I want to mention. A big weakness for both of these password managers is that neither can do auto-fill/submit password/login for HTTP authentication prompts. But at least with 1password you can copy/paste the info quickly via the browser addon. With Dashlane you have to visit the main app to get the password, which takes extra time/steps and is not as convenient. So if anyone is listening, auto-HTTP-auth logins would be awesome.

And the winner is..

There is no winner or loser. As mentioned previously, both apps are great — and quite similar. So it just depends on which features you are looking for, etc. Personally, I like both apps equally and am happy using Dashlane for now. The great thing about free market capitalism, is that there usually is more than one option. We have a choice. And so if Dashlane ever drops the ball and does something stupid like block everyone from their own account, I’ll switch back to 1password or some other password app in an instant.

Of course there is much more to each of these programs. This post merely scratches the surface with some genuine anecdotal feedback. Depending on your preferred feature set, pricing, and so forth, you may have a completely different pro & con list. Hopefully this post gives you some additional information that you can use when evaluating the two products and making a final decision. Or going a different route, whatever you gotta do.

Bottom line

1password feels like a solid app, making it super easy to manage passwords. I would still be using it if it hadn’t crashed unexpectedly. Seriously. We’re talking about passwords here — keys to the kingdom — can’t afford to go even 1 second without access. Dashlane feels newer, but tries too hard in the UI and fails at certain basic/essential tasks. Overall I like Dashlane a lot, just wish it were more like 1password in some regards. Either way, it is good to know that there are at least two great apps available for managing passwords.

Jeff Starr
About the Author Jeff Starr = Fullstack Developer. Book Author. Teacher. Human Being.
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8 responses
  1. Hmm. I’m not sure what you mean about 1Password not logging you into sites automatically.

    I mean… you do have to tell it to log you in when you visit a site. But that’s actually great for me because, as a maintenance vendor I can have up to 80 client user accounts for a hosting company. I want to be able to choose the right one rather than log in randomly.

    But once I choose the right credentials (or identity, or credit-card info) then autofill works pretty well. (Sometimes surprisingly so!)

    I gotta say this is way preferable to the way, say, Chrome does it where if I type my email address into a form it’ll replace everything else it can with my identity info — not helpful if I’m just temporarily trying to divert a client’s notifications to me before putting it back.

    I don’t mind having to use Dropbox (or Google Drive, iCloud, whatever) as a repository for backups. I just created a folder called “1Password” and never look in it.

    Otherwise, very good point about the hazards of putting all your eggs in one basket. You can export all your records from 1Password, of course, though it gives me the jimmies thinking where I’d put it to keep it safe. :-)

    Great comparative review. I’m not sold on Dashlane, but it’s good to know its there. Thanks!

    • Jeff Starr

      Hi David,

      About the auto-login, with Dashlane you can enable or disable; but the last time I used 1password, there was no way to enable. So Dashlane is bit more capable for that feature. Personally I find the automatic login shaves a noticeable amount of time off my workflow :)

  2. I’ve recently started using 1Password and like it but any company locking everyone out even on accident is grounds to revaluate my decision. You say “Then one day 1password locked everyone out.” Do you mean mean all of 1Password’s clients were locked out of their account or you and your team were? If everyone was locked out of their account could you give me a date or an article to go off so I can do my digging? If it was just you, how did they handle your case and what was their response/reasoning for your account being locked? What do you mean by “locked out”; were you unable to open your vault or unable to sync your account?

    Thanks,
    Holt

    • Jeff Starr

      That would be your call 100%, either way. I’m just sharing my experience, and it was like three years ago. And ONCE. From what I recall, and I can try digging up the email support thread, is that 1password released an update that just froze ALL USERS out of their accounts, as in NO ACCESS to anything in their password files. I’m sure 1password would not drop the ball like that again, but who knows anything is possible.

  3. Thanks for the comparison review, Jeff. It was good to learn about Dashlane and what it can do.

    I’ve used 1Password for many years and never had a problem with access. Maybe I was lucky to not need it when there was a problem time. That probably would have sent me looking for options too.

    1Password used to rely on Dropbox for sharing years ago but now has other options. If you’re in the macOS / iOS ecosystem it can use iCloud to automatically and quickly sync between all your devices.

    I don’t know if external password managers are vulnerable, but I’ve heard about recent malware on sites that can trick browsers into auto-filling injected forms to steal data, including logins. So I’d much prefer to require some manual action on my part to log in. I use 1Password’s customizable keyboard shortcut (command-\) by default to make it easy.

  4. Hi Jeff,

    do you ever tried Lastpass? Works great even the free version.

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