Both Avast antivirus and Bitdefender antivirus are ranked among the most capable and feature-packed protective software suites available. Hence, settling the Bitdefender vs Avast debate means comparing the two like for like, in terms of both performance and overall value for money.
Is paying for Avast worth it? Does the Bitdefender free edition cover everything you need at no cost? Or is it better to sign up for a paid Avast family plan for better coverage?
In this detailed review, we’ll be taking a closer look at the Avast vs Bitdefender debate to work out which of the two represents the superior overall security package good enough to rank in our lineup of the best network security software overall.
You can also check out how Bitdefender and Avast compare to other antivirus software packages using the following links:
Our Recommended Choice
You should know that there are other options available in the cybersecurity market! McAfee is one of the leading antivirus programs that not only protects your devices, it’s encrypted file handling ensures that your sensitive data is secure. With over thousands of identity malware attacks happening by the minute, McAfee ensures their customers their information will not be leaked. Check out the line-up of McAfee products below!
Bitdefender vs Avast: Which is the Better?
It’s no secret that staying safe these days means taking computer viruses and malware seriously. The moment you let your guard down is the moment you leave yourself wide open to attack. Setting yourself up with Bitdefender orAvast will ensure you are protected from a wide variety of threats, but there are important differences between the two software suites to consider.
Likewise, evaluating the differences between Bitdefender free vs paid packages is essential. If you’re not planning on paying for your protection, weighing up the pros and cons of Bitdefender vs Avast free is the way to go.
Personal preference plays a role, but there are certain features, functionalities and points of appeal that separate these two popular computer protection packages. Let’s take a look at the specifics in a little more detail.
For obvious reasons, the most important initial consideration is that of the security of the software suite. Read almost any Bitdefender Antivirus Plus or Avast Total Security review and you’ll scarcely come across a negative word said about either.
Both of these software suites have been designed with both everyday users and businesses in mind, with a wide variety of options available to suit most budgets. Neither would have earned such a strong reputation without providing excellent security coverage, though there are instances where one has a slight edge over the other.
Here’s how they perform when compared side by side, in accordance with a few key security factors:
Kicking things off with a tie, Bitdefender and Avast are completely equal in their capabilities against common and rare viruses. Prioritising virus protection is essential, given how viruses are by far the most common threats posed to the average computer. The very best antivirus software is that which detects the presence of a virus at the earliest possible stage, blocking its spread and preventing it from causing damage in the first place.
Some claim that Bitdefender has a slight edge over Avast, due to the way in which its developers tend to be fractionally ahead of the curve where new viruses and malware are concerned. The free Bitdefender antivirus package is also one of the best available at no initial cost.
Nevertheless, both packages are leagues ahead of the competition in this department, without casting much of a shadow on one another. So again, it’s very much neck-and-neck between the two where antivirus protection is concerned.
It’s also a pretty close call by way of scanning – the Avast and Bitdefender virus scanners both doing a great job with minimal disruption. A good virus scanner goes beyond the basics to perform a deep and complex examination of your computer and its hardware, in order to pick up on any potential signs of a threat. As mentioned above, it’s a case of ensuring anything suspicious is picked up on as early as possible, before it is able to cause harm to your system.
Both Bitdefender and Avast offer a wide range of scan types and features, which can be automated or manually activated. If being completely honest, you could argue that Avast has a slightly longer list of scan types and complex scanning features than its counterparts. Whether or not you’ll actually make use of them depends on your requirements, but Avast may technically have a tiny edge in this department.
Nevertheless, you can count on both of these software suites to perform the fast, detailed and in-depths scans needed to protect your computer from harm. Which in both instances are performed smoothly, seamlessly and without slowing your computer to a crawl.
One of the most important aspects of any computer security system is an effective firewall. Where virus detection software is designed to locate potentially harmful files already on your computer, a firewall establishes a robust barrier between your computer and the Internet. The idea being that with a firewall in place, only the files and users you permit to gain access to your computer and network systems will be able to do so.
Most operating systems and ISPs these days provide rudimentary firewall protection, which is relatively easy to set up and customize. Though rarely is a basic OS-based firewall considered as safe as an advanced firewall, as part of a much broader and stronger security software suite.
It’s a relatively easy comparison in this instance – Avast includes an additional firewall for enhanced protection, whereas Bitdefender doesn’t contain a firewall. Hence, if firewall protection is a priority, Avast takes the lead in this area.
Malware Protection & Phishing Protection
Malware attacks and phishing attempts are becoming more commonplace by the day, which in many instances are practically impossible for the average user to spot. This is where an advanced computer security software suite can help, by ensuring anything that could pose a threat to you or your computer is detected and brought to your attention at the right time.
Neither Avast nor Bitdefender has much of an edge in this aspect, given how both have been designed to identify and prevent a wide range of attacks. Avast may have a slightly larger list of tools and features for handling these kinds of security threats, but Bitdefender is noted for its unrivalled user friendliness. You could therefore argue that Avast is a superior information protection tool, but also that Bitdefender is the perfect choice for the everyday user.
Again, it depends entirely on your requirements and your personal preferences. Not to mention, how much you are willing to pay – given how features and functionalities differ from one package to the next in both instances. In any case, you’re likely to find the most of your needs covered, irrespective of whether you go with Avast or Bitdefender.
Comparing features like for like can be tricky, given how what’s on offer differs significantly from one paid package to the next. In this instance, therefore, let’s assume you’ve decided to go with the top-level subscription package, either with Bitdefender or Avast.
When comparing both lists of features from top to bottom, the most important functionalities are more or less identical between the two. Examples of which include quick scans, full scans and boot-time scans, alongside features such as cloud antivirus, anti-spam, email security and so on. Perhaps the only difference being that while Avast edges ahead in terms of the different types of scans you can do, Bitdefender offers a few additional features you don’t get with Avast.
For example, choose the top-level package with Bitdefender and you’re also provided with an outstanding VPN, a useful password manager and a superb ‘Rescue Mode’ feature for dealing with the consequences of an attack. You also get a superb multi-layer ransomware protection system, which again isn’t included in Avast.
Of course, the extent to which any of these advanced features is essential or even preferable is entirely up to you to decide. In terms of basic coverage, both packages are leaps and bounds ahead of most mainstream antivirus suites. It’s just that with Bitdefender, you gain access to a handful of super-premium additional features that don’t make it into the mix with Avast.
Hence, Bitdefender takes the lead in terms of features, by a very narrow margin.
If you’re relatively experienced where computer security software is concerned, you’ll know just how much of a drain it can be on your system’s resources. Traditionally, there’s been a direct correlation between the power/effectiveness of the antivirus software and the extent to which it slows down your computer. The more comprehensive and in-depth the software, the greater the disruption it has caused.
Increasingly, however, developers are working hard to optimize their system security software packages for lower-spec machines. This way, you’re able to continue working on your computer as normal, while your antivirus software does its thing in the background.
Comparing Bitdefender and Avast, it’s safe to say that Bitdefender is the more lightweight package of the two by far. From top to bottom, Bitdefender has been designed to limit its consumption of system resources and to get the job done smoothly and seamlessly on computers with minimal RAM and limited processing power. By contrast, Avast does have a habit of slowing things down – especially when performing more intensive scans.
For anyone running a high-spec PC with plenty of RAM and processing power, it’s purely a case of personal preference. By contrast, anyone with a more modest set-up or a moderatelypowered laptop should probably go with Bitdefender.
Powerful and advanced features are all well and good, but are of little to no practical value if you don’t know how to use them. This is where the importance of a streamlined and intuitive user interface lies, which with antivirus programs is often overlooked. Particularly if you don’t have a huge amount of past experience, the whole thing can be overwhelming at first. The simpler the user interface, the more likely you are to get the maximum value out of your antivirus software suite.
Initially, you could argue that the interface of Bitdefender’s is a little on the daunting side. It’s not that the information and options on-screen are presented untidily or unattractively – it’s just that there’s so much information it can be difficult to know where to start. Of course, the software comes complete with a whole series of helpful guides and tutorials, so you’ve all the help you need to begin making sense of things.
With Avast, first impressions aren’t nearly as overwhelming. Its development team has done a great job putting together an interface and dashboard that’s both easy on the eye and accommodating for those with little to no experience. Again, all the guides and tutorials you will need to get started are included, so no worries there.
Once up and running, Bitdefender may actually have a slight edge over its rival. For one thing, there’s an extremely useful “quick actions” feature on the front page of the program, providing quick and easy access to the features you will probably be using most often. In addition, the Bitdefender free trial package doesn’t continuously attempt to pressure you into signing up for a paid package.
Avast offers a free version, but includes buttons and tabs for all the various features you’re missing out on anyway. Frustratingly, each time you accidentally click on one of these buttons or tabs, you’re transported to a website that tries to sell you an upgrade. This doesn’t make for the most enjoyable or user-friendly experience, so the points go the way of Bitdefender in this instance.
Pricing & Plans
Of course, costs need to be factored into the equation when choosing an antivirus software suite for your home computer or your business. Where available, choosing a Bitdefender free Mac or PC trial before handing your cash is simply common sense. Likewise, Avast offers a free trial of its antivirus software, so you can see how the whole thing works before choosing a paid package.
Avast for Android/iOS and Bitdefender antivirus for Android/iOS variants are available, but in this instance we’ll be taking a look at the main PC and Mac versions of the two.
Avast is widely considered to be one of the most affordable high-end computer software suites on the market, with packages available from as little as $60. Here’s how things look for paid Avast subscribers at the time of writing:
Internet Security for Windows
Premier for Windows
Ultimate for Windows (unlimited devices)
Security Pro for Mac
It’s also hard to knock what’s available over at Bitdefender, where a powerful and in-depth computer security suite can be picked up for less than $40. At the time of writing, this is how the various packages available for paid Bitdefender subscribers looked:
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
Bitdefender Internet Security
Bitdefender Total Security
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac
Singling out one or the other as a ‘winner’ in terms of price is actually impossible, given how each paid subscription package includes an entirely different set of features and functionalities.
On one hand, you could say that Avast is slightly more flexible for the commercial or business user, with a more dynamic range of higher-end subscription packages to choose from. On the other hand, Bitdefender is the more affordable of the two in most instances. Especially when looking to cover multiple devices, you could save a lot of money by choosing Bitdefender over Avast.
In any case, they both represent exceptional value for money and have packages available to suit all preferences and pockets. It’s therefore more or less a tie, as value for money is pretty much the same with both options.
Trial & Free Versions
Even if you’ve already made a decision to sign up for a paid package, it simply makes sense to give things ago with a free trial beforehand. This way, you’ll have the opportunity to determine whether or not it is the paid package or program for you, before handing over any of your cash. Free trials of antivirus software are (of course) always limited in terms of features and functionalities, though should give you a good idea of the scope of what’s on offer with the paid packages.
On the technical side of things, Avast and Bitdefender are neck-and-neck with their free trial packages. Both companies provide the opportunity to test-drive their software suites, with absolutely no obligation to go ahead. Features and functionalities are kept relatively compact in both instances, though the free trial of Avast is a little more comprehensive in terms of scope than its counterpart.
However, and as previously mentioned above, the free Avast trial package is basically one non-stop advertisement for the paid packages on offer. You’re continuously teased with the features you don’t have access to, which when clicked (accidentally or otherwise) take you straight to a sales page of the Avast website. Not the end of the world, but it does get annoying after a while.
Bitdefender doesn’t offer quite as many features with its free trial, but does at least feel like a self-contained piece of software – not simply an interactive advert for a more advanced package.
Buying an antiviruses suite (or signing up for a subscription) has traditionally meant taking something of a risk. The reason being that if you weren’t completely satisfied with the way the software worked, there’s wasn’t a great deal you could do. You’d be eligible for a refund if it was faulty, but that was about it. Guarantees and warranties are a relatively new arrival where antivirus software is concerned, which when provided bring total peace of mind into the equation.
Particularly given how in some instances, you could be spending three or four figures to protect your business and its computer systems.
The good news being that with both Bitdefender and Avast, a full money-back guarantee is thrown in for added reassurance. In both instances, customers are provided with a 30-day money-back guarantee, meaning you have 30 days from the date of purchase to put it through its paces. If you decide the software isn’t for you, you’ll be entitled to a full refund – no questions asked. You won’t be asked to justify your return of the software in either instances, which is good to know.
Both Avast and Bitdefender combine free trials of their software with a money-back guarantee, representing an excellent and reassuring show of confidence on the part of the software provider.
Verdict: Who Wins?
Reaching a defined conclusion when comparing Bitdefender with Avast is tricky, for the simple reason that both software suites do a great job at an affordable price. Once again, it’s a case of assessing your own requirements, priorities and preferences, before pairing them with your ideal software solution.
For those looking to protect important business machines from harm on a commercial level, it’s probably fair to say that Avast is the more powerful and in-depth suite of the two. Particularly when it comes to scanning, Avast takes some beating.
But at the same time, it’s significantly more expensive than Bitdefender (with some of the higher-tier packages) and you may not necessarily need such in-depth scanning. Hence, anyone looking for more general coverage and in need of a lightweight solution that isn’t going to eat up their hardware’s resources, Bitdefender is the way to go.
The overall recommendation is therefore relatively simple. Decide what level of coverage you need and how much money you can afford to spend, before giving the corresponding antivirus suite a try by way of a free initial trial. It’s also worth remembering that in both instances, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee included with every purchase, so there’s nothing to lose by putting either Avast or Bitdefender through its paces to see what’s on offer.
While the products we mentioned in this article may be good, there is an antivirus program that is continuing to be a leading force in its market. That antivirus program is McAfee! McAfee customers range from home users to government agencies, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the leading security giants that has protected over millions of devices. This antivirus’ customer support comes unmatched as it has a 24/7 tech line available to all it’s users! It’s approach to cybersecurity is what created the standard in it’s own competition pool. Check out their security programs below!
- Extensive compatibility with a wide variety of platforms
- Intensive, in-depth and varied scanning options
- The highest level of malware protection available
- Suitable for all types of business and commercial use
- Very impressive phishing site detection
- Automatically detects and blocks suspicious websites
- Excellent user interface and extensive customization options
- New passive mode for running multiple security products in parallel
- The longest list of features and functionalities
- Unrivalled results in third-party testing
- Very impressive free trial trackage with minimum up-sells
- Includes a VPN and advanced ransomware protection
- Exceptional overall value for money
- Perfect for individual users and businesses
- Intuitive, simple and easy to use
Bitdefender Pros and Cons
Rounding things off, we’ll now be taking a look at the primary advantages and disadvantages of Bitdefender:
- Good all-round protection
- Minimal drain on resources
- Excellent free trial available
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Long list of features
- Great for homes and businesses
- Very affordable packages
- Entry-level packages only protect the Win OS
- Limited number of scan types to choose from
Avast Pros and Cons
It’s a relatively similar story with Avast, where there are significantly more pros than cons to report:
- Dynamic in-depth scanning
- Password manager
- Network security inspector
- Browser-independent protection
- Affordable packages available
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Some features have to be bought separately
- Full protection against dangerous URLs only in Chrome and Firefox