(Last updated on January 11th, 2021)
Bitdefender or Avira, which software should you choose in 2021?
Read this comprehensive Bitdefender versus Avira comparison to make a smart decision.
In today’s technology-driven world, antivirus software has become an essential tool.
Do you know AV-Test institute captures more than 350,000 new malware samples every single day? Malware attacks are happening at an alarming frequency these days, and it makes sense to say that you should never take your security and privacy for granted.
Even if you only visit popular websites and avoid clicking dangerous links, experts say that you are still vulnerable to malware threats.
In this ultimate guide, you’ll see what is included in the different security packages offered by Bitdefender and Avira, as well as how both software measure up in terms of malware detection, system impact, user interface, cost, and more.
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.
First, let’s take a quick look at the security suites both companies offer.
|Bitdefender Antivirus Suites|
|Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition (Windows only)|
|Bitdefender Antivirus Plus (Windows only)|
|Bitdefender Internet Security (Windows only)|
|Bitdefender Total Security (Windows & Mac)|
|Bitdefender Family Pack (Windows & Mac)|
|Virus Scanner (Mac only)|
|Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac (Mac only)|
|Avira Antivirus Suites|
|Avira Free Security Suite (Windows only)|
|Avira Antivirus Pro (Windows and Mac)|
|Avira Internet Security Suite (Windows only)|
|Avira Optimization Suite (Windows only)|
|Avira Total Security Suite (Windows only)|
|Free Antivirus for Mac (Mac only)|
If don’t have time to go through this detailed comparison, take a look at the graphic below and also read our short verdict to make your mind.
Bitdefender offers more security-enhancing features and extra utilities in its security suites than Avira. Independent tests prove that both programs put a minimal impact on system performance, but Bitdefender is better than Avira in terms of malware protection.
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 start off the detailed comparison.
What’s Included in Bitdefender’s Antivirus Suites?
Like most antivirus companies, Bitdefender offers separate products for Windows and Mac platforms, but its top-of-the-line product is compatible with both platforms.
Bitdefender Free Edition is the company’s limited free offering for the Windows platform. As usual, you won’t find any advanced protection-related features or extra utilities in the freeware, but it does protect against various kinds of malware threats, such as viruses, worms, Trojan horses, rootkits. Protection against phishing/fraudulent websites is also incorporated into the free product.
Next step up is Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2021. Beside excellent malware protection against all kinds of threats, it offers a hardened web browser (secures your online banking/shopping experience), a file shredder (removes your private files permanently so no one can recover them), a password management utility (stores all your passwords and other sensitive details in a secure vault), and a Vulnerability Scanner (checks for outdated software and other security flaws that can be exploited).
Advanced multi-layered ransomware protection is also incorporated into the “Plus” suite.
A single subscription of Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2021 provides a year of protection for 3 PCs.
Next level up is another Windows-only product, called Bitdefender Internet Security 2021. It includes everything found in the “Internet Security” suite, plus a two-way firewall (proactively monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic and thwarts hacking attempts), a Safe File utility (lets you create virtual, password-protected drive where you can keep your sensitive data), and a spam filter (blocks junk/phishing emails).
A limited parental control filter (blocks inappropriate content and helps control what kids can do online) and protection against webcam spying are also part of the “Internet Security” suite.
A single subscription of Bitdefender Internet Security 2021 covers 5 PCs.
Another level up is the top-drawer Bitdefender Total Security 2021, which is compatible with both Windows and MacOS. It includes everything found in the “Internet Security” suite, plus a useful Anti-theft module (helps find lost or stolen devices) and a few performance optimization features, such as Startup Optimizer, OneClick Optimizer, Disk Optimizer.
With a single subscription of this suite, you can protect up to five devices (PCs, Macs, Android, and iOS) in any combination.
Out of all the top-shelf antivirus suites I have reviewed, Bitdefender Total Security 2021 is the best in terms of value for money.
If you want to protect more than five devices, Bitdefender Family Pack 2021 is the best option for you. It protects an unlimited number of PCs, Macs, Android, and iOS devices with the “Total Security” license.
For Macs, Bitdefender offers another premium antivirus suite, called Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac. Besides providing excellent protection against all kinds of malware threats, it offers a limited VPN and an encryption utility. Protection against online threats is also incorporated into the suite.
Note: Both Bitdefender Total Security 2021 and Bitdefender Family Pack 2021 are also compatible with macOS platform.
What’s Included in Avira’s Antivirus Suites?
Like most antivirus companies, Avira offers a range of antivirus products.
Avira Free Antivirus (compatible with both Windows and Mac) is the company’s limited free security product. It offers protection against various kinds of malware threats (including ransomware), but you won’t find any premium security feature or extra utility in the freeware. However, protection against malicious websites is incorporated into the product.
Next level up is the more advanced Avira Antivirus Pro (compatible with both Windows and Mac platforms). Besides top-notch malware protection, the package offers a two-way firewall and a Device Control feature (checks removable device connected to your USB ports for malware). Protection against identity/data theft is also included in the package.
Protection against malicious network traffic and spam emails is also incorporated into the “Pro” plan.
Another level up is Avira Internet Security, which is only compatible with the Windows platform. It includes everything jammed into the “Pro” suite, plus Avira Software Updater Pro (automatically updates software and drivers to patch vulnerabilities).
Next up is Avira Optimization Suite. In that, you’ll get everything included in the “Pro” suite, plus a useful encryption utility (helps create password-protection virtual drives where you can keep your confidential files), a file shredder, and Avira System Speedup Pro (a full suite of PC tune-up and performance optimization tools).
Avira Total Security is the company’s top-of-the-line antivirus suite, compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. It includes everything jammed into the “Optimization” suite, along with an unlimited VPN.
Note: Avira Antivirus Pro and Avira Total Security are compatible with both Windows and Mac platforms.
Bitdefender vs Avira: Which Software Provides Better Malware Protection?
Malware protection component (also called detection engine) lies at the heart of a security product.
To find out which software is better in terms of malware protection, I will look at the most recent independent tests conducted by AV-Test and AV-Comparatives – two well-known and most respected antivirus software testing laboratories.
AV-Test most recent evaluations were conducted in July and August 2018. All participating products – including Bitdefender and Avira – were put to test against 275 samples of zero-day malware (also called unknown malware) and 19,747 samples of widespread malware (or known malware).
Bitdefender registered perfect results; it blocked 100% of both types of malware samples in both months, earning a full 6/6 rating from the experts in the ‘Protection’ category.
Apart from the slightly lower 99.2% protection rate against zero-day malware in June, Avira’s results were flawless too. It also received full marks from the experts.
To thoroughly examine how well a security product defends against malware infections, the experts at AV-Comparatives do two major tests: Real-World Protection Test and Malware Protection Test.
The recent Real-World Protection Test report published by AV-Comparatives includes combined results of all the tests conducted during February-June 2018.
Both Bitdefender and Avira received the highest ADVANCED+ award, due to their near-perfect protection rates of 99.8 and 99.7, respectively. Bitdefender returned 2 false positives during the entire period, while Avira came up with 6.
***False positive (the lower, the better) is when an antivirus software falsely identifies a clean file (or URL) as malware-infected.
In the AV-Comparatives’ Malware Protection Test, which was recently held in March 2018, both software once again received the highest ADVANCED+ award, because of their impressive (and same) protection rate of 99.9%. Bitdefender returned 2 false positives in the test, while Avira rang the false alarm only once.
Overall, both Bitdefender and Avira detect all kinds of malware at near-perfect precision.
Winner: It’s a tie
Bitdefender vs Avira: Which Software Puts Less Impact on System?
If a security product is resource-intensive, it can have a negative impact on the performance (or speed) of your computer – especially if your computer is not advanced.
I will once again look at the most recent independent lab tests to find out how much impact both Bitdefender and Avira put on system performance.
The experts at AV-Test measure the average influence of a security product on computer speed while carrying out a few common computer tasks, such as downloading/installing applications, visit websites, copying files. The impact of each security product is calculated in terms of system slowdown it caused on a standard and a high-end PC.
Here are the results of the test with Bitdefender installed:
Here are the results of the test with Avira installed:
Both software were awarded a perfect 6/6 rating in the ‘Performance’ category.
The experts at AV-Comparatives’ do a Performance Test, which is quite similar to AV-Test’s study. Several common computer operations are executed, and each product is given an impact score (the lower, the better) based on its performance in the test.
Bitdefender was among the few products that were given the highest ADVANCED+ award in the test, because of its impressively low impact score of 6.7. Avira, on the other hand, had to settle for the second-best ADVANCED award, as its impact score was relatively high, at 15.6.
Overall, it can be said that Bitdefender is slightly better than Avira in terms of the impact on system performance.
Bitdefender vs Avira: Which Software Offers Better User Experience?
First, let’s go over the Bitdefender Interface.
The new Bitdefender 2021 software interface is sleek and modern – in colors of white and dark grey. In the left rail, you’ll find Dashboard, Protection, Privacy, and Utilities (arranged in a vertical menu), along with quick links for Notifications, My Account, Settings, and Support.
Dashboard is the first thing you see when you open the interface. It shows your protection status (with either a green checkmark or a red warning sign), along with buttons to access different modules, like the VPN, the Safepay browser, and more. You can also add a widget of your choice to the main screen.
Protection, Privacy, and Utilities tabs contain relevant features/tools (and their settings). You can switch between different windows while viewing details in the main window.
The name of the Bitdefender plan you’re subscribed to is shown in the title bar.
Now, let’s delve into the Avira interface.
Avira’s interface used to be slightly outdated and monochromatic back in the day, but it has improved a lot (though it still seems a bit complicated) — thanks to a major facelift that took place earlier this year.
It is now bright and airy – in colors of green and white. Like most security software, there’s a vertical menu on the left with five tabs: Status, Scan, Modules, Quarantine, and Activity.
Status window is where you land on when you open the software. You’ll see the ‘Your Computer is Safe’ message written next to a green checkmark if everything is safe. This page also shows whether advanced protection modules (like Real-World Protection, Firewall, etc.) are active.
Scan window lets you run different types of scans, while Modules contain advanced features/tool (and their settings). If a file is identified as malicious, it will appear in Quarantine window. Activity tab is self-explanatory.
Link for Settings and Feedback are available at the bottom-left corner.
Overall, Bitdefender offers a better and more intuitive user interface than Avira.
Bitdefender vs Avira: Which Software is Less Expensive?
|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|
|Avira Products||Regular Price||Discounted Price|
|Avira Antivirus Pro||$44.99/year||No Discount|
|Avira Internet Security||$57.99/year||No Discount|
|Avira Optimization Suite||$57.99/year||No Discount|
|Avira Total Security Suite||$98.99/year||No Discount|
|Avira Prime||$99.99/year||No Discount|
|Avira Business Products||Varies||No Discount|
Bitdefender’s security suites are slightly cheaper than Avira’s.
Bitdefender vs Avira: Which Software is More Popular?
Bitdefender and Avira are well-known antivirus brands, but which one of them is more popular?
OPSWAT and Statista are two independent companies that regularly release a report on the market share captured by leading anti-malware products.
According to OPSWAT’s recent report — which came out in August 2018 — Bitdefender is fifth on the list of top antivirus products (sorted by malware share held) with 8.52% share, while Avira is ranked ninth on the list with 5.1% market share.
Statista’s recent report places Bitdefender at seventh position, courtesy 6.1% market share, while Avira (5.81%) takes the eighth spot.
It is evident from the independent statistics that Bitdefender is more popular than Avira.
Both Bitdefender and Avira offer different antivirus packages to match your protection needs.
Bitdefender is the clear winner as it fared better than Avira in almost all the categories we considered.
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.