Bitwarden is a password management solution that securely generates, stores, autofills and monitors credentials for websites and applications. Bitwarden Free provides a secure vault for credentials, credit cards, identification documents and text files. The Bitwarden Premium plan costs $10 per year and offers additional capabilities such as encrypted file attachment sharing, advanced vault health reporting and enhanced authentication. This guide compares Bitwarden Free vs. Premium and provides recommendations to help you choose the right product.
Bitwarden Free vs. Bitwarden Premium: Comparison
|Secure credential generation
|Encrypted file sharing
|Vault health reporting
|Bitwarden authenticator (TOTP)
Feature comparison: Bitwarden Free vs. Bitwarden Premium
All Bitwarden users get access to a secure vault to store, monitor and autofill credentials, credit cards, identification documents and text files. Both Free and Premium users can install Bitwarden on an unlimited number of devices.
For those migrating from LastPass or another credential manager, Bitwarden can import vaults in a variety of formats to streamline the process. You can also import saved passwords from major browsers.
Both Bitwarden plans also provide secure username and password generation and allow you to share vault items with one other user.
Encrypted file sharing
Bitwarden allows users to send encrypted files via links that you can password-protect, set to automatically delete or expire after a certain amount of time and even limit how many times they’re accessed. The Bitwarden Free plan allows you to send encrypted text only, whereas Bitwarden Premium users can attach other file types.
Vault health reporting
Bitwarden Free users can enter any username or email address to learn if it’s been found in any online data breaches.
Bitwarden Premium accounts get access to a full suite of vault health reporting features. For example, you can generate a list of weak, exposed and reused passwords that need to be changed or accounts where you’ve failed to activate multi-factor authentication.
Bitwarden Free users can enable two-step login, such as MFA, for their Bitwarden account using an authenticator app or email verification codes. Bitwarden Premium users can use the Bitwarden authenticator app, which provides time-based one-time passwords (TOTPs) for additional security. Premium plans also support integrations with leading MFA providers Yubikey and Duo.
With a Bitwarden Premium account, you can designate an emergency contact who can request access to your vault in case of an emergency.
Bitwarden Free users have access to an online self-help center as well as 24/7 email support. Bitwarden Premium users get priority email support, which guarantees faster responses.
Need help getting started? Read our step-by-step guide on how to use Bitwarden.
Bitwarden Free pros and cons
Pros of Bitwarden Free
- Manages unlimited passwords across unlimited devices.
- Supports secure vault sharing and sending encrypted text.
- Can search data breach lists to find out if your account has been compromised.
Cons of Bitwarden Free
- Can’t send encrypted file attachments.
- Doesn’t provide additional security reporting.
- No access to the Bitwarden Authenticator.
Bitwarden Premium pros and cons
Pros of Bitwarden Premium
- Can send up to 1 GB of encrypted file attachments.
- Access to advanced vault health reports.
- Bitwarden Authenticator and third-party MFA support.
Cons of Bitwarden Premium
- Can’t link multiple user accounts.
- Priority support is email-based only.
We started by reviewing the Bitwarden website to compile basic information about the capabilities, features and pricing of the Free and Premium plans. Next, we researched both products on sites like Reddit to gain an understanding of how real customers use Bitwarden Free and Premium and which features stand out the most. We then tested the Free version to see how it performed and which capabilities are worth upgrading to.
Read our Bitwarden review for an in-depth look at its features, pricing and more.
Should your organization use Bitwarden Free or Bitwarden Premium?
Both Bitwarden Free and Bitwarden Premium offer secure credential management for an unlimited number of items (including passwords, credit cards and IDs) across an unlimited number of devices. Both products are for home users and lack the team management capabilities required for business use cases.
If you’re just looking for credential management, the Bitwarden Free plan provides everything you need to save, generate and autofill passwords across all your devices. If you’re also looking for secure file sharing, enhanced MFA functionality or advanced vault health reports, upgrading to Bitwarden Premium is worth the $10 per year.
Password managers like Bitwarden enable a more secure web browsing experience because they help you generate stronger passwords and avoid reusing passwords across websites and applications. For even greater web protection, read our How to use a VPN guide.