Bitwarden Review

8.8/10
Last updated: May 6, 2020

A powerful and reliable password manager, Bitwarden has an excellent free plan that’ll cover most of your needs.

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Bitwarden is a less widely known, but nonetheless powerful and reliable password manager. So, how much can you expect from this open-source product?

Is Bitwarden protected from hacks? How does it store passwords? Does Bitwarden generate passwords? Don’t worry – all of these questions will be answered below.

Most importantly, this Bitwarden review will tell you whether it’s worth your precious time.

Overview

  • Encryption: AES-256
  • Two-factor authentication: Yes
  • Mobile app pin: Yes
  • Biometric login: Touch ID, Face ID
  • Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
  • Browser extensions: Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, Safari, Vivaldi, Brave, Tor Browser
  • Free version: Yes
  • Price: from $1.0/month

Security and privacy

The short answer to the question is Bitwarden secure is – yes. It has reliable features to ensure the safety of its users’ passwords.

Encryption

Bitwarden uses military-grade AES-256 encryption. This is recognized as some of the strongest encryption on the market today – with it, your passwords will stay safe in the password manager’s vault.

In fact, the encryption is so hardcore that not even Bitwarden itself could access your vault.

2FA and biometric login

Bitwarden supports two-factor authentication (2FA). Meaning, when you try to access your account, the app will ask you to confirm the login with an additional step – usually, a code generated by some authenticator app.

If you stick to the Free plan, you can use Bitwarden’s Authenticator app for your 2FA. If you upgrade to Premium, you have more options – Duo, YubiKey, and FIDO U2F.

When it comes to biometric login, I like the fact that both Touch ID and Face ID are available for this password manager. These features save your time – instead of typing your password over and over again, you can count on the device recognizing your fingerprint or face.

Even more importantly, with these features, another layer of security is added as anybody else can access your password manager without these biometric logins.

Can I trust Bitwarden

Bitwarden has a clean reputation – there have not been any scandals about it mistreating its users’ data.

What is more, it is a 100% open-source password manager. Meaning, those who are willing to contribute to the development and improvement of the app can do so. The source code is available on GitHub.

Password Generator

One great thing about Bitwarden is its password generator. You can access it via the Tools menu:

password generator

In this window, you’ll be able to set the length, minimum numbers, and minimum special symbols for your password. You would also check additional options regarding the password – such as using capital letters and avoiding ambiguous characters.

Apps and ease of use

I find it significant that Bitwarden supports a wide variety of platforms. Below, I’ll look at the most popular ones.

Desktop

You can get Bitwarden for Windows, iOS, and Linux.

Once you log in, here’s what you’ll see:

Bitwarden windows vault

From here on, you can start adding items, by clicking on either Add Item or the + icon.

You can find more options by clicking on Account:

bitwarden account

Here you can get a Premium Membership, change your Master Password, set up Two-step Login (2FA), and see your Fingerprint Phrase.

Let’s say you want to set up Two-step Login. After pressing on it, click Yes:

two-step login to bitwarden

You’ll then be redirected to your browser’s Bitwarden account. Now go to Settings and click on Two-step Login:

bitwarden two-step login

If you are a Free user, you’ll have one option – the Authenticator App. Click Manage, and you’ll be asked to enter your Master Password:

master password for bitwarden's 2FA

After doing that, you will download the Authenticator, scan the provided QR code, and enter a six-digit verification code from the app:

two-step login on bitwarden

After completing the steps listed above, click Enable, and you’ll be done!

As you can see, using the app is not complicated at all – Bitwarden is user-friendly and highly intuitive.

Browser extensions

Bitwarden supports a wide range of browser extensions:

  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Edge
  • Safari
  • Vivaldi
  • Brave
  • Tor Browser

To start using one of them, click on your chosen one on the Bitwarden website:

web browsers supported by bitwarden

Say, you prefer Bitwarden for Chrome. Once your click on its icon you’ll be sent to this window:

bitwarden chrome extension

Here you’ll click on Add to Chrome, and will get the following notification:

notification prompting to get free bitwarden extension

Click Add extension, and there you have it – the extension has been installed!extension successfully installed message

Mobile

Bitwarden is available on both Android and iOS. You can get the apps on Google Play and the Apple Store.

Once you download the app, log in, and you’ll be sent to your empty vault:

bitwarden mobile vault

You can now explore the Settings section:

mobile settings

Here you’ll find everything from Password Autofill to App Extension. You will be able to manage your Folders and Sync, as well as explore different security options. By the way, this is the place to set your PIN code if you wish to use it!

How to use Bitwarden

Now that you are familiar with this password manager, it’s time to test it for yourself! Create an account, import your passwords, and explore different features – as the product is free, you can take your time to understand the nitty-gritty of it before upgrading to Premium.

Installing and setting up Bitwarden

Installing and setting up your Bitwarden account is very intuitive and self-explanatory.

Start by creating your account on the Bitwarden website:

Create Account

Then click on the Download section on the website, and pick the relevant app:

donwload app

You’ll shortly see that the installation is smooth, as the app notifies you about the next step – all you have to do is to follow, and everything will be just fine.

Once you have your preferred desktop app, you’ll enter your email, Master Password, and will be free to explore the app.

Import and export with Bitwarden

Both import and export with Bitwarden are quite easy, and you only need to complete several steps.

Here’s how you import with Bitwarden:

import passwords

  1. Go to your web vault and click on Tools
  2. Select the format of the Import file
  3. Select the Import file
  4. Alternatively, copy/paste the important file contents

That’s all there is to it. Now let’s see how export with Bitwarden works. You can export your vault data in three different ways.

Let’s start with your desktop app:

  1. Open the app
  2. Go to File
  3. Click Export Vault
  4. Choose the file format
  5. Enter your Master Password
  6. Click Submit
  7. Download the exported file

If you’re exporting from the web vault, here’s what you do:

  1. Log in to your Bitwarden web vault
  2. Click Tools in the top navigation bar
  3. Click Export Vault
  4. Choose the file format
  5. Enter your Master Password
  6. Click Export Vault
  7. Download the exported file

When exporting from the browser extension:

  1. Open the browser extension
  2. Click Tools
  3. Click Export Vault
  4. Choose the file format
  5. Enter your Master Password
  6. Click Submit
  7. Download the exported file

Autofill

With the Bitwarden’s browser extension you are able to auto-fill your online forms. Forget about typing in your usernames, passwords, or credit card details – the password manager will do it for you.

If you click on the Bitwarden icon on your browser, you will see how many passwords there are in your vault for the particular website.

The same goes if you use the right-click context menu. However, as for now, Safari users cannot access this feature.

You can also try using shortcuts to autofill your online forms. When you are on the website to fill in the form, use the relevant shortcut, and the information will be filled for you.

Here are the shortcuts for different platforms:

  1. Windows: Ctrl + Shift + L
  2. Edge: Ctrl + \ or Ctrl + 9
  3. Linux: Ctrl + Shift + L
  4. macOS: Cmd + Shift + L
  5. Safari: Cmd + \ or Cmd + 9 NOTE

How much does Bitwarden cost

When it comes to pricing, you have several options – Free, Premium, Families, and Business. What would you get from each?

Free vs. Premium

For starters, this password manager has an excellent Free plan that would satisfy the needs of many. However, if you wish to access more features, opt for Premium.

Bellow, you can see differences between the Free and the Premium plans:

bitwarden pricing options

Free users can access all Bitwarden apps, sync all of their devices, store as many items in their vault as they wish. They also get logins, secure notes, credit cards, and identities, as well as 2FA, and a secure password generator.

The Premium plan costs $10/year. Its users get all the Free plan’s features plus 1GB of encrypted file storage, more two-step login options, reports on their vault, TOTP authenticator key storage, and priority customer support.

Families

If you wish to ensure the safety of all of your family’s passwords, opt for the Families plan:

bitwarden pricing plan for families

It would cost you $1.0/month billed annually.

When you get it, you can share the password manager with five users, you can have unlimited collections, unlimited shared items, vault health reports, as well as 1 GB enc. file storage, and an optional feature – self-hosting.

Business

There are also two options for businesses:

bitwarden pricing options for business

You can choose Teams for $5.0/month if billed annually.

5 users are included, and each new one could be added for $2 user/month – the number of new users is unlimited. With this plan, you get unlimited collections, unlimited shared items, vault health reports, 1 GB encrypted file storage and priority tech support.

The Enterprise plan is also available. You can get it for $3.0/month if billed annually.

With it, you can enjoy all the features of Teams plus: user groups, directory sync, on-premises hosting, event/audit logs, API access, MFA with Duo Security, and each user gets Premium.

Customer support

When it comes to customer support, Bitwarden offers the following options:

bitwarden support

You can search for your issues in the help center and get a corresponding article. You can go to forums and discuss your questions with other users. Alternatively, you can contact the team behind Bitwarden by email.

What I miss, is the Live chat option – it would make the problem solving more efficient, as well as more personal than “talking to a human through an email.” Hopefully, this feature is on the way.

One more thing to remember – if you’re opting for a Premium plan, you get priority support for any of the urgent issues you might experience while using the product.

Pros and cons

Altogether, here are the positive and negative sides of the Bitwarden password manager.

Pros:

  1. An excellent Free plan
  2. Military-grade encryption
  3. Clean reputation
  4. Open-source
  5. Supports many platforms

Cons:

  1. No live-chat
  2. Fewer 2FA options for Free users

Bottom line

Bitwarden is a superb password manager for various circumstances – both when choosing the Free or Premium plan, as well as with the Families or Business plans.

I was mostly impressed by its reliable security features, great Free plan options that I wouldn’t hesitate to pay for, and ease of use. Of course, there are downsides – namely, the lack of live chat support and fewer two-factor authentification options for Free users.

However, all things considered, if you decide to opt for this password manager, you won’t regret it – Bitwarden will keep your passwords safe and sound.

Good

  • An excellent Free plan
  • Military-grade encryption
  • Clean reputation
  • Open-source
  • Supports many platforms

Bad

  • No live-chat
  • Fewer 2FA options for free users
 8.8 / 10
Total score
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