Table of Contents
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Dashlane Review Rapid Rundown
Dashlane security is one of the best in the password manager industry. It’s not only because the Dashlane app and extension is equipped with many security features. It’s also because Dashlane adheres to security principles like Zero Knowledge. All that combined raises the level of security Dashlane provides in a big way.
Convenience and security usually don’t go together. That’s why Dashlane scores big in my book. It’s one of those password managers that are somehow easy to use. New dashlane users should be able to get acquainted with the app or the browser extension on their own.
Dashlane offers more pricing choices than its competitors. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. It can attract customers with the technical background to compare the different options. On the other hand, it could turn off those who aren’t tech savvy enough.
- Secure Notes: Store your sensitive info with this feature. It's better than sticky notes.
- VPN: Dashlane's built-in VPN secures your online browsing.
- Dark Web Monitoring: This feature alerts you to data breaches involving your email.
- Emergency Password Access: Shares access to your passwords to trusted users in an emergency.
The Full Review
Alright, let's get into the full Dashlane review. I've tested every single aspect of Dashlane's features, from it's security, ease of use, and more.
|Quick Dashlane Review|
|Overall rank||3 out of 7|
|Starting Price||$3.33 per month when billed annually|
|Password storage limit||Unlimited|
|Document storage limit for individuals||1GB per user|
Pros and Cons
When you go the Dashlane pricing page, you’ll notice that you have many options to choose from. While having many options is great for people who want more choices, it can be confusing for others. Right now, you have 7 choices. There’s actually also an Enterprise plan. But we won’t be discussing that here. It’s for very large businesses. We’ll be focusing on these 7 choices instead:
- Friends & Family
- And Business
I’ve put together a table below that allows you to easily compare the different plans. Notice that it has two paid individual plans before the Family plan. The first is Advanced and the second is Premium. Other password managers only have one individual plan. In addition, it has 3 business plans. Most other password managers only have 2. 1Password, NordPass, and Bitwarden, for instance, have at most 2 personal plans and 2 business plans.
|Premium Plans||Business Plans|
|Free||Advanced||Premium||Friends & Family||Starter||Teams||Enterprise|
|Monthly cost if billed annually||$0||$2.75||$3.33||$4.99 / Family (up to 6 members)||$2 / User (up to 10 users)||$5 / User||$6 / User|
|Live chat, email, forum, and socmed support|
|Document storage (1GB/user)|
|Dark Web Monitoring|
|Admin-assisted account recovery|
While the free version won’t cost you a single cent, it lacks important premium features. For instance, the paid plans let you use Dashlane on unlimited devices. In Dashlane Free, you can only use it on 1 device. Practically everyone uses more than one device. You probably have at least one mobile device and one desktop or laptop. So the free version likely won’t cut it.
The most popular plan for individuals is Dashlane Premium. It’s got all the security features you need in a password manager. Moreover, it already supports unlimited password storage. I highly recommend you try it out.
You can try out Dashlane Premium by clicking its ‘Try it free’ link on the pricing page. You’ll then be given a 30-day free trial to test premium password manager features. Once the 30-day trial ends, you’ll be automatically downgraded to Dashlane Free. One disadvantage of choosing this option is that you won’t have access to the VPN service.
If you want to try the VPN service, you can also click the ‘Purchase now’ link instead. You’ll then be granted a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can try all premium features, including the VPN service, for 30 days. If you decide you don’t like it, you can cancel and request for a refund.
Dashlane is the most expensive among my preferred password managers. It’s a selection that includes 1Password, NordPass, Dashlane, and Bitwarden. That’s especially true in the Premium Plan category. It’s worth noting though, the biggest advantage of its Premium Plan is its built-in VPN service. So if you don’t find that important, you can just go for the cheaper Advanced Plan.
Dashlane Security and Privacy
Dashlane is a highly secure password manager. Even Dashlane Free is packed with security features. I mean, how many free password managers do you know comes with all of the following?
- Two-factor authentication,
- Secure password sharing, and
- Secure notes
Bitwarden Free doesn’t support true two-factor authentication. NordPass Free doesn’t offer password sharing. And 1Password doesn’t have any free version at all. So Dashlane security is simply one of the best! In the following sections, I’m going to introduce you to the key security features that make up the vaunted Dashlane security.
The security of every password manager hinges heavily on the user’s master password. All login credentials and other secrets are locked by that single master password. No matter how secure a password manager is, if that password falls, it’s game over. In Dashlane, these passwords are secured by design.
Each master password is covered by what’s called a ‘zero knowledge architecture’. All secure password managers follow this architecture. I’ll talk about this architecture in more detail later. But for now, it should be enough to say that Dashlane doesn’t store your master password on their servers. Thus, no one from Dashlane can ever steal your data through that password.
You create your master password when you sign up. For example, here’s what you’ll see when you install the Safari web app on macOS. It’s very important to make sure this password is strong and complex enough. Check out the FAQ for tips on how to create secure/strong passwords.
You can “jot down” Wi-Fi passwords, software keys, travel details, and so on, in Dashlane Secure Notes. This feature simplifies the task of jotting down and retrieving secret information. Not only that, you can also attach files to these notes. The maximum total storage capacity for file attachments is 1GB.
Dashlane isn’t the only password manager that supports this feature. You can find similar capabilities on NordPass and Bitwarden as well. In fact, you can attach up to 3GB in NordPass. Most other password managers can only support up to 1GB of attachments though. So Dashlane’s at par in this regard.
Dashlane stores all passwords, secure notes, and other items in your password vault. There’s only one way into your vault—your master password. As long as you keep your master password secret, no one else can access your vault but you.
This password manager supports unlimited password storage. This means you can store as many passwords as you like in your password vault. You can store unlimited secure notes as well.
All items in your vault are encrypted using AES 256-bit encryption. It’s the gold standard for encryption. The US government uses it to protect its data and it’s what most other reputable password managers use. Among my most trusted password managers, NordPass is the only exception. It uses XChaCha20. All others, including Dashlane, use AES-256.
Finding weak passwords in your vault is easy. Just go to the Password Health tool. It will show you your weak and compromised passwords. More about this later. You can also check if certain passwords in your vault have been involved in a data breach. For this task, you can use Dashlane’s Dark Web Monitoring tool. I’ll talk about that tool later.
To ensure your vault only holds strong passwords, use the Dashlane password generator. You can use the generator to create hard-to-crack passwords for you. Use it to generate passwords when you add a new login or when you want to change the password of an existing login.
By default, it will generate a 16-character password. The password will consist of uppercase and lower case letters as well as numbers. However, you can have it add symbols and similar characters to make it even more complex. Just tick the corresponding checkboxes. If you don’t like the generated password, just click the retry button to its right.
To maximize the Dashlane password generator, combine it with the Password Health tool. Let’s talk about that tool next.
You can use this tool to uncover weak passwords in your vault. Not only that, you can also ask it to show your compromised and reused passwords. Compromised passwords are those that were exposed in a past data breach. Reused passwords are those that you’ve reused across multiple sites. Reused passwords make you vulnerable to data breaches. If one copy is compromised, all other copies instantly become fair game.
For better results, combine this tool with the Generator. This will allow you to clear your vault of easy-to-break passwords. Use Password Health to uncover passwords that are weak. Then use the Password Generator to replace them.
This tool also gives you a Password Health Score. It’s a measurement of your password hygiene. If your score is close to 100, it means you’re doing a good job in securing your passwords. I love this password health checker because I can easily tell at a glance if any of my accounts are at risk. Even free users have access to this feature. That’s really great news if you just plan on sticking with Dashlane Free.
The best password managers follow a zero knowledge architecture. In this architecture, no one knows the key to your vault but you. As you already know by now, that key is your master password. It’s used to encrypt and decrypt your data. All that encryption and decryption happens on your device. So even if your data is stored on Dashlane’s servers, nobody from Dashlane can view them.
Zero Knowledge keeps your passwords very secure, but it has one major downside. The people at Dashlane can’t help you recover your account if you lose your master password. You’re only recourse would be to reset your account. That would be very inconvenient because it would erase all your data. To avoid this predicament, you can enable biometric recovery. I’ll talk about this in more detail in the Account Recovery section below.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
When you use Dashlane Premium, you get an additional layer of security in the form of a VPN. A VPN service encrypts data that’s transmitted over the internet. This can be very beneficial for Premium users who often use public Wi-Fi. Hackers sometimes lurk in Public Wi-Fi to intercept network traffic. They can steal your data that way. A VPN prevents hackers from succeeding by encrypting your network traffic.
A VPN can also hide your IP address. This prevents other people from tracking your online activities. Advertisers, authoritarian governments, and even your ISP can't track you. A VPN is great for preserving your online privacy. More so when you combine it with a password manager. That’s what Dashlane does!
It’s a pity the Dashlane premium 30-day free trial doesn’t include this feature. That means you couldn’t try it out first if you wanted to. You have to upgrade to the premium password manager to use that VPN.
Dark Web Monitoring
You can use Dark Web Monitoring to scan the dark web for copies of your personal information. If any is found, Dashlane will send you personalized security alerts. The dark web is a portion of the web that’s hidden from the general public. It’s where cyber crooks usually sell information they’ve stolen. Dark Web Monitoring is only available to premium users.
When you first use the Dark Web Monitoring tool, you’ll be asked to add an email address that you want monitored. Why an email address? Because we usually enter email addresses whenever we sign up for online accounts. If email addresses are part of stolen data, it’s likely other personal information are there as well. Once the tool shows the results, you can view each item’s details.
You’ll see information about the breach as well as when the breach happened. Change the password of all online accounts that come out in the results. If the results don’t show, try logging out and logging back in. Dark Web Monitoring will continue to monitor an email once it’s been added. You can add up to 5 emails per Dashlane account.
Features and Capabilities
We know Dashlane is one of the most secure password managers. Security isn’t the only thing you’ll love about it though. It also comes with a nice selection of capabilities that make online security quick and easy.
The Dashlane password manager supports unlimited password storage. You can save as many website and app passwords as you want. That’s just half the story though. Once you login to a site or app it recognizes, it will auto-fill the username and password fields for you. All passwords are synced to the cloud. So you can access them from the Dashlane web app, browser extensions, and mobile apps.
Dashlane’s ability to store unlimited passwords is made even better through Collections. Collections make organizing logins effortless. They work just like folders. You can, for instance, create a folder named “Finances”. You can then add online banking and payment sites to it. You can also create a folder named “Travel” and then add hotel, airplane, and travel sites to that.
Dashlane’s Collections are like 1Password’s multiple vaults. They're two underrated password management features. You may not appreciate them at first. But once you start accumulating a ton of logins, you’ll realize how useful they really are. Let’s say you want to change the credit card details on all your travel-related accounts. You can click the “Travel” collection and then click “Go to website” on each login item. That’s much easier than attempting to recall every single travel-related site you log in to.
Your Dashlane password manager can be accessed from any web browser with the browser extension. That’s a big deal. It gives you quick access to all your passwords. It also lets you carry out basic password management tasks. You can use it to generate strong passwords, do autofill, and perform a few other tasks.
The Dashlane browser extension lacks advanced functionality, but that’s not an issue. You can easily launch the web-based app from it. Meaning, all advanced password management capabilities can be reached with a single click. The browser extension can be installed on Chrome, Safari, Edge, Firefox, and Brave.
You can safely attach copies of sensitive files to your secure notes. For example, you can create a secure note named ‘Passport Info’. You may then add information like your passport number, issue date, and expiry date. But in addition to those, you may also attach a scanned copy of your passport itself. That way, if you lose your physical passport, you can still prove who you are by showing the scanned copy.
You can attach files up to a total of 1GB. NordPass’ attachment limit is much higher, at 3GB. However, the limit of most password managers is also 1GB. So Dashlane is within the norm.
Ease of Use and Setup
For the most part, I found Dashlane’s password manager incredibly easy to use and set up. The set up process only took about a minute to complete. After that, it took me just a few more minutes to familiarize myself with the interface. Granted, I’m already familiar with other password management tools. I still think first time password manager users can get acquainted with it in no time.
Let’s have a look at some common processes users perform on a password manager and see how you would do it on Dashlane. The only process I found too complicated was the two-factor authentication set up. This process was much easier on 1Password and NordPass.
Dashlane account creation
The Dashlane account creation process is pretty straightforward. Let me walk you though the steps in a Mac environment. A Windows installation will look a bit different, but the general steps should be the same.
- Go to the Dashlane website and look for the ‘Get Dashlane’ button. Click that button. That should bring you to the pricing page.
- Select your desired plan. If you select ‘Purchase now’, you’ll be brought to a form where you’ll be asked to enter payment details. You’ll also be offered a 30-day money back guarantee. In this example, I’m choosing ‘Try it free’ under the Premium plan.
That will automatically launch the App Store. Since I selected ‘Try it free’, I’m not asked to enter any payment details.
- Click GET to download and install the app.
- As soon as the download and installation completes, click OPEN.
- Click the ‘Get started’ button.
- Register your email address and then click ‘Next’.
- Create a master password and enter it into the field provided. Click Next to proceed.
- If your device supports it, enable Biometric authentication and recovery. Biometrics like Touch ID and Safe ID greatly simplify the login process. You don’t have to enter your master password anymore!
- Review your account authentication details and then click ‘Create your account’.
That should complete the Dashlane account creation process. You can start using the Dashlane password manager premium features for 30 days. After 30 days, you’ll be downgraded to Dashlane Free. If you decide to continue using premium features, you can upgrade to Premium.
If this is your first time to try any password management tool, you can start adding new passwords. If not, then you can check out the ‘Export and Import passwords’ section below.
Dashlane staff can't help you recover your account if you lose your master password. This is because of the Zero Knowledge we talked about earlier. To avoid having to reset your account, enable Biometric Recovery. Biometric Recovery can be enabled on the Dashlane mobile apps and on the Safari app. Of course, your mobile device must support biometrics for this to work. In iOS, for example, this is Face ID or Touch ID.
I just love how Biometric Recovery simplifies the account recovery process. It beats NordPass’ Recovery Code or 1Password’s Emergency Kit. Of course, you have to enable it right from the start to be sure you can use it when you need it. That shouldn’t be a problem. I found it very easy to set up on the mobile app. I just enabled the toggle switches, and I was all set.
Export and import passwords
If you're already using other password management tools, shifting to Dashlane is effortless. Normally, you can do it in just two steps.
- Export existing passwords from your source password management tool. In most cases, you’ll be exporting them in a CSV file.
- Import the CSV file into Dashlane. Currently, you can only import passwords using the web app and the Android app.
In the web app, you can reach the import tool through the Logins menu.
Exporting passwords is just as easy. Again, it involves a CSV file. In the web-based app, follow these steps:
- Go to ‘My Account’ > ‘Settings’
- Click the ‘Export data’ menu
- Click the ‘Export to CSV’ button.
Always remember that CSV files aren’t encrypted. That means other people can see your passwords if they manage to get hold of your exported file. To avoid a security breach, always delete CSV files when you’re done using them. In fact, you should wipe them off your OS trash bin as soon as you delete them to leave no traces.
Setting up Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
The security Dashlane gives you at installation is already pretty strong. Every time you use Dashlane on a new device, you’re asked to enter your master key and a verification code. That verification code is sent to your registered email. After you enter those two pieces of information, Dashlane will register your device. If you’re using a browser extension, Dashlane will register your browser.
Technically, this combination can already be considered 2FA. The first factor is your master password and the second factor is your device. The first factor is something you know, while the second factor is something you have. If you enabled biometrics (e.g. Face ID) at installation, that will serve as the first factor. The only difference is that it’s not something you know. But rather, something you are.
Despite that, Dashlane offers yet another method of 2FA. It uses a 6-digit token generated by an authenticator app. Other password management tools rely on third party authenticator apps to do 2FA. Usually they use the Microsoft or the Google Authenticator. Dashlane has its own authenticator app. It’s called the Dashlane Authenticator.
Let me now show you the steps for setting up 2FA on Dashlane’s mobile app. I’m using an iPhone, so just adapt accordingly if you’re using an Android.
- Tap the ‘Settings’ button at the bottom of the screen.
- Tap ‘Security’.
- Switch on the 2-factor authentication (2FA) toggle switch.
- Tap the ‘Open App Store’ button. This will launch the Dashlane Authenticator download screen in the App Store.
- In the App Store, tap the GET button.
- As soon as the download and installation completes, tap the OPEN button
- Tap the ‘Complete 2FA setup’ button
- You’ll then be asked how you want to receive an authentication request. I selected ‘Every time you log in’.
- You’ll then be asked to set up a recovery method. You’ll need it if you can’t access the Authenticator app. Tap the ‘Start setup’ button.
- Add your mobile phone number. Dashlane is supposed to send the recovery code to this number. In the next step, I asked Dashlane to send the recovery codes to my email address.
- Tap the ‘Save recovery codes’ button. You’ll then be asked to choose where you want to send the recovery codes. I chose to send them to my email address. Follow the rest of the instructions on the screen until the setup process completes.
The next time you login to Dashlane on a device or browser, you'll have to perform 2FA. You’ll be asked to enter your master password AND a token from the authenticator app. For example, you’ll see these two screens when you login to the Chrome browser extension.
I really appreciate how Dashlane makes unlimited password sharing available to all plans. Even free users can share passwords. That’s very generous. Other password managers like NordPass don’t offer this feature in the free versions. It’s not even just plain unlimited password sharing. You may also share as many two-factor authentication tokens and secure notes as you want.
You can only share with Dashlane users, but that’s still awesome. You can ask the recipient to sign up for the free version of the Dashlane password manager if they haven’t yet.
Dashlane Mobile App
Dashlane’s mobile app brings the Dashlane password manager to your mobile device. It’s the perfect password management tool for people on the go. It literally allows you to carry a powerful password manager in your pocket.
Not all features in Dashlane’s web-based app are found in the mobile apps. But all key features are there. You’ll find Dashlane’s Password Generator, Secure Notes, and Secure Sharing. You’ll even find Dashlane’s Dark Web Monitoring feature. It is however worth noting that the Android app has more features than the iOS app. For instance, the Android mobile app can import and export passwords, while the iOS app can’t.
The mobile app syncs with the browser extension and the web-based app. So passwords stored in one platform can be accessed from the other platforms. And, as long as you have a good internet connection, the data syncs instantly. Configuration changes sync instantly as well. For example, after I enabled 2FA on the mobile app, I was able to test 2FA right away on the browser.
Dashlane provides customer support through email, live chat, and a knowledgebase. It also has an active Reddit community where you can post questions and other members answer. It’s important to mention that the live chat customer support Dashlane provides isn't 24/7. It's only available from Monday to Friday, between 9AM to 6PM EST. That can be a bummer for customers on the other side of the globe.
It's time to end this Dashlane password manager review. But before we go, here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about Dashlane. Even if you don’t have questions, I suggest you browse through it. Who knows? You might discover something new about Dashlane's password manager!
What other password managers would I recommend?
While the Dashlane is a solid choice, it's always wise to check out alternatives. In this section, I’m going to present a few other trusted password managers on the market. In my opinion, they’re the best password managers you can find right now.
First up is 1Password. It offers practically the same level of security Dashlane provides. Aside from the usual security features, it's got something similar to Password Health. The feature is called Watchtower. 1Password is also known for Travel Mode. It's a feature that lets you hide selected vaults when you're traveling. 1Password’s Individual Plan is priced between Dashlane Advanced and Dashlane Premium. It’s at $2.99/user.
The second one that instantly comes to mind is NordPass. It’s one of the cheapest in the group, especially once you start looking in the Business Plan category. Add to that the fact that it offers 3GB of document storage. That’s 3x more than the usual storage capacity of 1GB. So far, 1GB has been good enough for me, but you’ll never know. I’d be more comfortable knowing I still have a lot of room to spare!
Then there’s Bitwarden. This one’s developed under an open source model. Meaning its underlying code is made available to the general public. That’s great for security because independent developers can scrutinize its code. This reduces the risk of backdoors and speeds up discovery of weaknesses. And then of course, there’s the ridiculously low price. This is common in open source software. Just don’t expect it to be as user-friendly as the others. It’s definitely not on their level.
Let’s compare those three password management tools side by side.
|Individual Premium Plan monthly cost||$2.99 / User||$2.39 / User||$3.33 / User||$0.83 / User|
|Business Plan monthly cost||$7.99 / User||$3.99 / User||$6.00 / User||$5.00 / User|
|Encrypted file storage|
|Autofill login details & credit card info|
|Support multiple operating systems|
|Hide account passwords while traveling|
|3rd party audits|
|Has free version|
|Virtual private network (VPN)|
How secure is Dashlane?
Theoretically, Dashlane is very secure. It supports many security features. It also implements Zero Knowledge. It uses the gold standard for encryption. So why do I say ‘theoretically'? Because Dashlane doesn’t seem to undergo any third party audits. So no one outside of Dashlane can verify whether Dashlane is a reliable password manager. By comparison, other reputable password managers like 1Password, NordPass, and Bitwarden do. This means auditors verify if their claims of being secure are true.
Is there a Dashlane desktop app?
No, there is no more Dashlane desktop app. Dashlane used to have apps for Windows and macOS, but they were discontinued. If you want to use Dashlane, you have three choices: the browser extension, the web app, and the mobile app. In macOS, the Dashlane web app looks and feels like a desktop app. But it’s essentially a Safari app.
Where is the Automatic Password Changer?
Like the desktop app, the automatic password changer feature has already been discontinued. The password changer was a popular feature. In fact, it managed to attract users from other password management tools. Unfortunately, the password changer was too complex. It had many issues. As a result, Dashlane stopped supporting it in 2022.
What is the purpose of a password manager?
A password manager replaces two critical tasks in password management. The first is the task of crafting unique, strong passwords. No two passwords that belong to you must be the same. And all your passwords must be hard to break. Check out the question about secure passwords below to know what I mean by a ‘strong password’. The second is the task of recalling every password you need for logging in.
Performing BOTH tasks can be extremely difficult once you reach 10 or even 5 passwords. Remembering beyond 10 passwords is humanly impossible for most users. Password managers simplify both tasks. They generate strong passwords for you. At the same time, they eliminate the need to manually recall passwords. Every time you need to login, your password manager will auto-fill the required fields for you.
A password manager reduces the number of passwords to remember to just one. When you use a password manager like Dashlane, you just need to recall your master password. That's all you need to unlock the passwords in your vault.
Does Dashlane support Google Authenticator?
Yes, it does. Not only Google Authenticator but also other authenticator apps. However, it took me a while to figure out how to set it up. There are no resources on the web, on Dashlane’s subreddit, or even on the Dashlane website. I tried experimenting on the iOS app and the browser extensions. It seemed like the only option was to use Dashlane Authenticator. Finally, I got it to work on the Dashlane web-based app. So, yes. If you want to set up 2FA with other authenticator apps, use the web-based app.
Can you use security keys with Dashlane?
Yes, you can use USB security keys to unlock the Dashlane web app. However, you can’t use it if you’re already using 2FA. So if you want to use a security key, disable 2FA first. You can set up Dashlane to use a security key by following these steps:
- Go to My account > Settings > Security settings.
- Switch on ‘Local unlock’.
- Click ‘Add unlock method’.
- Click ‘Use a different device’
- Select USB security key.
- Follow the rest of the instructions
How to create a secure password?
The formula to a strong or secure password isn’t rocket science.
- Use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters
- Include numbers
- Include symbols like @, &, $, and so on.
- Make it long
However, when it comes to applying that formula, it can take some getting used to. You can simplify things by using the Dashlane password manager. You can use it to generate secure passwords for you. Here’s the Dashlane browser extension instantly generating a strong password for me.
Make it a point to run all new passwords through the Dashlane password manager. Every time you sign up on a new site, use the Dashlane browser extension to generate your password. And every time you install a new app on your mobile device, use the Dashlane mobile app. By making this part of your account creation routine, you will never end up with a weak password.
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