(Last updated on March 2nd, 2021)
Bitdefender or Avast, which antivirus software is a better choice in 2021?
Read this in-depth, data-driven Bitdefender versus Avast comparison to make a wise decision.
The number of devices connected to the online world is increasing with each passing day. The Internet has certainly brought great comfort to our lives, opening avenues that seemed to be impossible before.
We can now talk to distant friends and relatives, shop online without having to move an inch from the sofa, stream our favorite shows and movies, acquire education, and do many more things.
However, being constantly connected to the online world has made us more than a couch potato – it has made us more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Hackers can now invade our privacy by stealing photos or other valuable data, steal banking information, encrypt data and demand ransom, etc.
According to SonicWall’s latest cyberthreat report, nearly 10 billion malware attacks were recorded in 2019, which is more than the world’s population.
Similarly, the 2019 also saw 187.9 million ransomware attacks, 34.3 million IoT malware attacks and 4 trillion intrusion attempts.
The rise in the instances of such attacks comes at a cost. It is expected that the worldwide spending on cybersecurity will touch $133.7 billion a year in 2022.
So, the question is: how much are you spending to safeguard data and privacy of yourself and your loved ones?
You may argue that premium anti-malware protection is only meant for businesses, and that individuals can rely on free antivirus software offered by almost all known brands.
But think again. Freebies come with only basic features and lack advanced tools needed to provide you with multifaceted protection and complete peace of mind.
Cybercriminals keep coming up with new and more sophisticated ways to breach your privacy and steal your data.
Only premium and reliable security suites can save the day for you, as they come with advanced features like multi-layer ransomware protection, anti-phishing tool, file shredder, firewall, parental controls, password manager, VPN, microphone and webcam protection, identity theft protection, and much more.
Antivirus programs from brands like Bitdefender, McAfee, Avast and Kaspersky are loaded with features that make you online world free of threats.
Best Antivirus Suite for 2020
Overall Score: 9.9/10
60-day money-back guarantee
Right now, we think that Norton is the best antivirus software your money can buy. It regularly earns perfect or near-perfect scores from independent labs and has the least impact on system performance compared to rival products. Its products combine top-notch security with an array of excellent security features and, best of all, offer exceptional value for money.
Overall, Norton 360 Deluxe (currently at 70% off) is our pick for the best antivirus suite in 2020. It is competitively priced and comes with almost everything you could possibly ask for, such as a firewall, a fully integrated VPN, dark web monitoring, cloud backup storage (50GB), a password manager, and parental controls. You can cover up to 5 PCs, Macs, smartphones or tablets with this suite.
If you want full-on identity protection and don’t mind paying more, Norton 360 with LifeLock Select (currently at 35% off) gives those in the US a full range of identity protection features, more backup space (100GB), as well as all the above.
In this detailed guide, we are going to compare two of the most popular antivirus brands: Bitdefender and Avast.
We’ll analyze strengths and weaknesses of each software using different metrics like features, anti-malware protection, system performance, user interface, pricing, and user feedback.
In a hurry? Below is a quick summary of the comparison that tells you which antivirus suite trumps the other in each category.
A Quick Rundown of the Winners in Each Category
Winner: Bitdefender. Both Bitdefender and Avast provide excellent features. But Bitdefender boasts a more robust security- and performance-enhancing feature spread than Avast. So, Bitdefender wins this category.
2. Malware Protection
Winner: Bitdefender. Both companies did well in the independent lab tests, but Bitdefender fared slightly better than Avast in both evaluations.
3. System Performance
Winner: Tie. This category is a tie since both companies received equal ratings in the independent performance evaluations.
Winner: Bitdefender. Avast has a very friendly, intuitive interface. But what makes Bitdefender stand out is the ability to optimize its interface for both casual and skilled users.
Winner: Bitdefender. When it comes to pricing, Bitdefender is far ahead on the affordability scale than Avast. Bitdefender also offers more licenses per product, while Avast is significantly expensive.
6. Customer Satisfaction
Winner: Avast. Avast wins this category, receiving a better ranking than Bitdefender according to one of the two independent sources.
Bitdefender offers more security-related features and extra utility tools in its security suites than Avast. Independent tests prove that both software provide excellent protection against both widespread and zero-day malware, but Bitdefender is slightly better than Avast in terms of the impact on system performance.
Best Antivirus for 2021
- Robust feature-set
- Excellent anti-malware security
- Minimal system impact
- Easy-to-use interface
- Automatic updates
- Trusted by 50 million users
- 100% virus protection promise
- 60-day money-back guarantee
#2 (Very Good)
- Exceptional malware protection
- Little impact on performance
- Trusted by millions of users
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- User-friendly interface
#3 (Very Good)
- Good malware protection
- Trusted by big corporations
- Minimal impact on performance
- Good value for money
- 30-day risk-free guarantee
Now, let’s get a more detailed perspective.
Features play a central role in swaying the customer towards choosing one product over the other. A product that carries more utilities certainly comes off as providing better value for money. Let’s see how our competing companies pack their products with different functions.
Let’s start with Bitdefender.
Bitdefender Free Edition is the first PC- only product from the company. It does provide some protection from different malware, but it’s pretty basic compared to premium versions.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2021 is the entry-level premium product. This is a Windows-only offering as well. The product comes with many useful features such as:
- Full-blown protection against all kinds of malware attacks.
- A password manager that stores all your sensitive information in a digital vault and keeps it safe from misuse.
- A limited-use VPN is included to allow you anonymous browsing to keep you safe from hacking attacks.
- A file shredder permanently deletes your files from the system, so you can rest assured that your private data won’t be discovered.
- A Vulnerability Scanner detects any loopholes in the security network and fixes them instantly.
- There’s an Anti-Fraud module that protects your financial information and provides you safe online shopping experience.
- One license of this package protects three PCs. But there’s an option to add more computers.
The next tier of protection is Bitdefender Internet Security 2021, which is also a Windows-only product. It includes everything from the previous suite plus:
- A two-way firewall is part of this product to monitor your home network keeping you safe from intruders.
- A Fire Vault Feature protects the sensitive information on your device so only you can access it.
- There’s a Vulnerability Checker that fixes any loopholes in the security settings to ensure your protection.
- There’s also a limited Parental Control module. This utility monitors your children’s online activities and restricts their access to inappropriate content providing safe browsing for them.
- There’s a webcam shield as well as a Microphone Monitor that lets you control what apps get access to your microphone.
- One license of this suite protects up to three PCs.
Next up is Bitdefender Total Security 2021, the company’s full-blown antivirus package. The product includes everything from previous offerings and more features like:
- An Anti-Theft module that allows you to locate any stolen or lost device under the protection of this suite. This feature saves you from losing your prized possessions.
- The product also comes with performance optimization tools to speed up system processing power for your routine activities.
- This suite extends security to macOS, Android as well as iOS devices.
- A single license of this product will protect up to 5 devices.
Bitdefender Family Pack 2021 is the extended version of the Total Security suite that:
- Covers up to 15 devices.
- The Family Pack also has advanced parental controls to supervise your kids’ online activity and provide safe surfing for them.
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is a separate product that only caters to Mac devices. This product includes:
- High-end malware protection against all Mac-related threats.
- A VPN that provides fast, secure, and anonymous browsing experience, so you are risk-free.
- Multi-layer ransomware protection is also part of the product. This function saves you from rogue software that might hold your computer hostage.
- Speed enhancing features enhance system performance so you can do your work unhindered.
- A Traffic Light browser extension is included to provide safe online shopping and banking experience for you.
- There’s also cross-platform protection that prevents the transfer of malware threats from Windows devices.
Bitdefender provides superior customer support for all its products through chat, phone calls, or emails.
If you’re interested in Bitdefender’s business solutions? Click here for more information.
Now let’s review Avast products and their features.
Avast has different products for Windows and Mac devices. We’ll start with Windows-only products.
Avast Free Antivirus is the company’s free offering that provides only cursory protection. For more advanced features, let’s look at their premium products.
Avast Internet Security is the first paid product from the company. This product includes:
- Comprehensive protection against all kinds of malware threats.
- A firewall that monitors network traffic for security issues, so you’re protected from external threats.
- A Real Site feature protects you against DNS hijacking and makes sure you get to the original website.
- A Sandbox feature lets you open files in a safe mode to avoid any viruses entering your computer system from unchecked documents.
Next up the product ladder is Avast Premium Security. It includes everything from the Internet Security Suite plus:
- A Webcam Shield that secures you against spying hackers.
- A Data Shredder tool that makes the recovery of any deleted files impossible for anyone. This feature makes your private information does not get in the wrong hands.
- It also incorporates Ransomware Shield to protect you from monetary cybercrimes.
- A Wi-Fi Inspector detects weaknesses in your home and public networks, so your device is protected wherever you go.
Finally, for Windows-only products, Avast Ultimate is the highest tier of protection. Along with everything from the Premium Suite, the product also comes with more advanced features. For instance:
- A secure VPN tool ensures safe as well as anonymous browsing for you.
- There’s a high-functioning clean-up tool that keeps your computer speed at its best.
- There’s also a full-blown password manager and protector that secures your sensitive information while you’re on the internet.
- This product is a mix of all premium suites and individual offerings.
For Mac-specific protection, the company offers Avast Security for Mac. This product is available in two versions: free and pro. The free version provides basic malware protection. Nothing much. The Pro version, however, includes:
- Comprehensive malware protection from all kinds of Mac-related digital threats.
- A Wi-Fi Security Scan feature that protects you from threats across this channel.
- Wi-fi Intruder Alert notifies so when someone is trying to gain access to your network.
- A Ransomware Shield is also included.
- Web and email shields to protect from cyber threats transferred through infected documents or phishing websites.
To check out Avast’s business antivirus options, click here for detailed information.
Winner: Bitdefender. Both companies provide great features. But Bitdefender offers a much more comprehensive feature set spread across different suites.
2. Malware Protection
A reliable antivirus suite complements its impressive feature set with strong malware protection. This is the most testing function for any antivirus software.
Let’s look at test results from two independent organizations – AV-test and AV-Comparatives – and see how Bitdefender and Avast perform when it comes to malware protection.
AV-Test is among the top-rated independent organizations, which tests three key metrics of all antivirus products, including Protection, Performance and Usability.
In the AV-Test’s April 2020 Protection Test, Bitdefender displayed an outstanding defending capability and received a perfect 6 out of 6 score. Avast, on the other hand, was a bit short of the perfect score, receiving 5.5 out of 6 points.
Now let’s look at the AV-Comparatives’ test results. The organization runs three types of tests: Real-World Protection Test, Malware Protection test, and Performance Test.
In AV-Comparatives Real-World Protection Test, conducted in May 2020, both Bitdefender and Avast gave outstanding performances and bagged the highest ADVANCED+ (3-star) award.
Meanwhile, in the March 2020 Malware Protection Test, AV-Comparatives again handed Bitdefender the maximum 3-star ADVANCED+ award, whereas Avast received the 2-star ADVANCED award.
Winner: Bitdefender. Both companies performed well in independent tests. However, Bitdefender left Avast behind in two key tests, becoming the winner in this category.
3. System Performance
An antivirus should protect your computer while having a minimal impact on your system speed. Let’s see how the two brands compete in this arena and impact your system speed.
We’ll first look at the Performance Test results from the AV-Test Institute, carried out in April 2020. In this test, Bitdefender was exceptional once again and received a perfect 6 out of 6 score, whereas Avast was a little behind and managed to get 5.5 out of 6 score.
Now let’s take a look at the AV-Comparatives Performance Test results, issued in April 2020. Here, Bitdefender again notched the maximum 3-star ADVANCED+ award, while Avast received the second-ranked 2-star ADVANCED award.
Winner: Tie. Both companies gave a fantastic performance on the two independent tests and received matching scores. So, it’s a tie.
All renowned antivirus products have an interface that is not only intuitive but also straightforward as well. An interface is the software’s first interaction with the user and helps create a lasting impression.
Let’s see which among Bitdefender and Avast offers a more user-friendly interface.
Bitdefender interface divides into two main portions: a panel on the left side and a screen on the right side. The left panel lists different operations and notifies the system status. The screen side of the interface uses big quick access blocks to start or modify any function.
Bitdefender makes its interface intuitive and easy to use and is ideal for both new and expert users. At the same time, it incorporates the functionality to switch to more complex personalization for more seasoned users.
Now let’s see what Avast brings to the table.
Avast uses dark grey as the main color of its theme and contrasts it with bright colors like green, purple and orange. Avast’s interface comprises a vertical rail on the left side from where you can access the dashboard to see your overall protection status and run a scan.
The side rail also has separate tabs for Protection, Privacy and Performance categories from you can access these features in detail. For instance, you can control File Shield, Behavior Shield, Web Shield and Mail Shield features under the Protection category.
Winner: Bitdefender. While Avast too has a user-friendly interface. Bitdefender optimizes its interface for use by both casual and veteran computer users, which makes it a better design.
When it comes to pricing, the more the value, the better. Every customer gauges a price point based on what it brings in return. That’s why companies should be careful about how they charge for their products in comparison with their competition.
Let’s look at how Bitdefender and Avast compare in their pricing for different products.
Let’s start with Bitdefender pricing.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus costs $19.99 per year for 3 licenses. Bitdefender Internet Security, the second tier of protection costs you $39.98 per year also for up to 3 licenses. But both of these products are only compatible with Windows.
Next comes the third package, Bitdefender Total Security which comes at $44.99 per year for 5 licenses. Finally, Bitdefender Family Pack costs $69.98 per year and gives you an unlimited number of licenses. Both these premium products are universal, meaning they apply to PCs, Macs, and mobile devices.
|Bitdefender Products||Regular Price||Discounted Price|
|Bitdefender Antivirus Plus||$59.99/year||Check here|
|Bitdefender Internet Security||$79.99/year||Check here|
|Bitdefender Total Security||$89.99/year||Check here|
|Bitdefender Family Pack||$119.99/year||Check here|
|Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac||$59.99/year||Check here|
|Bitdefender Small Office Security||Varies||Check here|
|Bitdefender GravityZone Business AV||Varies||Check here|
Now let’s see how Avast fares in comparison.
Avast Internet Security is the entry-level product that comes at a cost of $59.99 with 1 PC-only license. Avast Premier costs you $ 69.99 per year. This product also provides protection for 1 device only.
Then the most premium tier for Windows-only devices, Avast Ultimate costs $119.98 per year also for 1 device. Lastly, Avast Security for Mac, the flagship MacOS product, costs $59.99 for 1 Mac.
|Avast Products||Regular Price||Discounted Price|
|Avast Internet Security||$47.99/year||Check here|
|Avast Premium Security (1 Device)||$69.99/year||Check here|
|Avast Premium Security (Multi-Device)||$89.99/year||Check here|
|Avast Ultimate||$99.99/year||Check here|
|Avast Business Antivirus||Varies||Check here|
Winner: Bitdefender. Bitdefender has priced its products quite reasonably compared to Avast, also offering more licenses with every tier. There’s a massive difference between the top-tier prices of both companies. So, Bitdefender wins this category.
6. Customer Satisfaction
It is imperative today for any company to give full support to its customers in case of an issue. This presence or lack of support adds a lot to the brand’s market reputation. Let’s see which of our competing companies is better at keeping its customers happy.
Our first source of feedback rating is the Better Business Bureau (BBB). They are an independent organization that collects customer feedback and average it out into letter rating from A to F. BBB awarded Bitdefender with an average C rating while awarding Avast with a perfect A+. This shows that Avast takes excellent care of its customers.
Now let’s look at our second source. Consumeraffairs.org is another platform to check customer ranking. The website collects customer responses and issues a 5-star ranking based on the positive or negative nature of the feedback. Bitdefender scored a 3-star rating on this site. Avast also matched Bitdefender on this platform and scored a 3-star rating.
Winner: Avast. Both companies received a similar rating from the second source, but Avast went way ahead compared to Bitdefender in its rating from the BBB. Avast is the obvious winner here.
There’s no questioning that Avast is a top-notch security company. But Bitdefender surges ahead with its focus on functional features, excellent malware protection, minimal impact on system performance, and good pricing structure. All of these aspects are hugely important.
Our recommendations: If you want to get the highest level of security and performance, there's no better choice than Norton, which protects over 50 million users worldwide.
After reviewing dozens of antivirus products from some of the biggest names in the cybersecurity realm, we believe that Norton 360 Deluxe is the best antivirus suite available on the market. It provides flawless anti-malware protection without slowing you down. Plus, you get almost all the advanced features you could ever want.
If you're willing to pay more for advanced identity protection features, we recommend Norton 360 with LifeLock select (only available in the US). It's a bit pricey but worth the price.
Anas Baig is a consumer privacy advocate and cybersecurity journalist by profession. Has has more than 7 years of professional experience under his belt. Anas has been featured on numerous media publications including The Guardian, Lifehacker, The Next Web, Infosecurity Magazine, Security Boulevard, Hacker Noon, CMS Wire, IAPP, SC Magazine, and many others. His interest includes Digital Privacy Rights, Information Security, Networking, Privacy, and Data Protection.