Bitdefender vs Norton | The Best Comparison On the Internet (2018)

Bitdefender and Norton are two familiar names in the antivirus industry, but who comes out on top in a head-to-head battle for dominance?

Read this comprehensive Bitdefender vs. Norton guide to make a wise decision.

The so-called digital world we live in is becoming increasingly complex with time, and it goes without saying that your security and privacy are at stake.

Do you know AV-Test institute registers over 350,000 new malware samples every single day? Hackers are constantly releasing new malware (a collective term used for viruses, worms, ransomware, Trojan horses, and more) on the internet that do a lot of terrible things, such as corrupt your computer, breach your privacy, steal your sensitive login details, and so on.

So it makes sense to say that having a reliable antivirus suite on your computer is no longer an option but a requirement.

In this ultimate comparison, you’ll see the antivirus products both Bitdefender and Norton offer, as well as how they compare to each other in terms of malware protection, system performance, user interface, and more.

If want the answer straightaway, take a look at the infographic below and also read our short verdict to make your mind.

Bitdefender vs Norton Summary

Short Verdict

Bitdefender not only offers more features and extra utilities in its antivirus suites than Norton but also boasts better malware protection and extremely low system impact.

Our Recommendation: Go with Bitdefender Total Security 2019 (currently at 40% off) for maximum peace of mind!

Let’s begin with the detailed comparison…

What is Included in Bitdefender’s Antivirus Suites?

Bitdefender Free Edition is the company’s free antivirus product. The bare-bones freeware offers limited malware protection and doesn’t include any advanced protection-related features or extra utilities that have become commonplace tools in modern antivirus suites.

However, protection against malicious websites and phishing attacks is included in the free product.

Bitdefender’s entry-level paid-for offering is Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019. Along with great malware protection, it offers a hardened browser for secure online shopping/banking, a password manager (stores all your passwords at one place), a file shredder (deletes your sensitive files securely so no one can recover them), a WiFi Security Advisor (helps fix vulnerabilities in your network), and a battery saver utility.

Silent mode feature (for interruption-free experience) and a vulnerability scanner (checks outdated software and other flaws) are also part of the product.

Next level up is Bitdefender Internet Security 2019. In that, you get everything that is included in the ‘Plus’ suite, along with a two-way Firewall (monitors network connections and blocks malicious attempts made via network), a file encryption utility (shields your sensitive files from ransomware) and webcam protection.

Parental control features and an anti-spam module (blocks junk emails) are also jammed into the “Internet Security” suite.

Another level up is Bitdefender Total Security 2019 – the company’s most popular suite. Along with everything that is included in the ‘Internet Security’ suite, it further adds a useful anti-theft module (helps find stolen/lost devices) and several performance optimization tools, such as DiskCleanup and OneClick Optimizer.

You can protect a maximum of five devices (PCs, Macs, iOS, or Android) with a single license of Bitdefender Total Security 2019.

Also, the “Total Security” suite is compatible with both Mac and Windows.

If you want to protect more than five devices, then Bitdefender Family Pack 2019 might be the best option for you. It includes everything that is part of the high-end ‘Total Security’ suite and offers protection for an unlimited number of PCs, Macs, iOS and Android devices with just one license.

Bitdefender's Security Suites Features Comparison

Now, let’s see what Bitdefender offers for Macs.

Bitdefender offers a separate product for Mac users, called Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac. It offers excellent malware protection, along with a VPN and few other advanced protection-related utilities. However, I’d recommend you to go with Bitdefender Total Security 2019 — which is also compatible with Mac — as it offers more features and utilities at nearly the same price point.

What is Included in Norton’s Antivirus Suites?

Like Bitdefender, Norton also offers a range of antivirus suites to meet your needs, but there is no free offering.

The first suite in the line is Norton AntiVirus Basic – the company’s entry-level premium product. It offers great protection against viruses, ransomware, worms and other online threats, but there aren’t any advanced security-related features or extra utilities packed into this suite.

Next up is Norton Security Standard, which is compatible with both Mac and Windows platform. Along with excellent protection against all sorts of malware threats, it offers a two-way firewall (prevents hackers from gaining access to your computer via network) and premium customer support.

Norton also offers 100% virus protection guarantee with this suite, according to which a Norton expert will “help keep your device virus-free, or give you a refund.”

You can protect 1 PC and 1 Mac or mobile device (Android or iOS) under the “Standard” suite.

Another level up is Norton Security Deluxe. It includes everything that’s jammed into the “Standard” suite, along with a web portal (to help you manage protection for all your devices at one place) and protection for up to 5 PCs, Mac, smartphones or tablets.

Norton Security Premium is the company’s top-drawer (and most popular) antivirus suite. In that, you get everything that comes with the “Deluxe” suite, plus premium family safety features (helps kids explore the internet safely), automatic backup of your important files, and 25GB of secure cloud space for data storage.

You can protect up to 10 PCs, Macs, mobile phones or tablets under the “Premium” suite.

Features included in Norton security suites

The two main browser extensions that Norton offers are Identity Safe and Security Toolbar. The former is a password manager while the latter secures your online experience and also prevents identity theft.

Interestingly, common tools/features like WiFi scanner, file shredder, webcam protector, VPN, and secure browser are not part of even the top-of-the-line Norton suite.

Bitdefender vs Norton: Which Software Offers Better Malware Protection?

Malware protection engine is the heart of a security product.

To see whether Bitdefender or Norton is better in terms of malware protection, I’ll look at the most recent independent lab tests conducted by AV-Test and AV-Comparatives — two well-known (and most respected) independent security labs that deeply evaluate various top antivirus products, including Bitdefender and Norton.

AV-Test’s most recent evaluations were conducted on Windows 10 platform during March and April 2018. All participating products were tested against 196 samples of zero-day malware (or new malware) and 5,484 samples of widespread malware (also called old malware) over both months.

Both Bitdefender and Norton blocked 100% of both types of malware samples in both months, registering excellent 6 out of 6 star ratings in the ‘protection’ category. (See this and this for detailed results.)

Bitdefender's protection test report when conducted on Windows 10 by AV-Test on March-April 2018

The two main tests that AV-Comparatives conducts are Real-World Protection Test and Malware Protection Test. The latter test comprehensively evaluates a product’s ability to prevent malware infections, while the former test exposes a product against real-world malware conditions (as experienced by everyday users).

AV-Comparatives most recent Real-World Protection Test Report listed aggregated results of the tests conducted over the period of five months (from February to June 2018).

Bitdefender received the highest ADVANCED+ award from the security institute, due to its near-perfect protection rate of 99.8% and low false positives’ count (2). Norton, on the other hand, also registered an impressive protection rate of 99.8%, but it came up with a whopping 32 false positives. It could only manage the second-best ADVANCED award.

***false positive refers to the case where a security product wrongly flags a clean file as malware.

AV-Comparatives real-world protection test awards - February to June 2018

AV-Comparatives Malware Protection Test was recently held in March 2018. Bitdefender once again put up an impressive show, with a perfect 100% protection rate and just two false positives. It received the highest ADVANCED+ honor.

On the other hand, Norton’s protection rate was near-perfect, at 99.9%, but it came up with 90 false alarms, meaning it had to settle for the third-best STANDARD award in this test.

AV-Comparatives malware protection test awards - March 2018

So, it’s clear that Bitdefender is better than Norton in terms of malware protection.

Winner: Bitdefender

Bitdefender vs Norton: Which Software Puts Less Impact on System?

It is part of a security product’s job to protect your computer against real-time malware attacks, which means it has to continuously run in the background just like any other computer application. So if an antivirus software is resource-intensive, needless to say your system’s performance (or speed) will suffer – especially if your computer is behind the times.

To see how much impact both Bitdefender and Norton put on computer performance, I will look at the most recent performance tests conducted by the independent security institutes.

AV-Test’s ‘Peformance’ study measures the influence of a security product on computer speed while carrying out a few common computer tasks, such as lunching popular websites, launching applications, downloading/installing software. The influence of each product was measured in terms of system slowdown on a standard PC as well as on a high-end PC.

Both Bitdefender and Norton received the highest 6/6 star rating from the AV-Test experts in the ‘Performance’ category.

Bitdefender's performance test report when conducted on Windows 10 by AV-Test on March-April 2018

The experts at AV-Comparatives do a similar study; they check the impact of a security product on computer performance while executing common computer tasks, like archiving/unarchiving, downloading files, installing/uninstalling software, copying of files, and more. An impact score (the lower, the better) is given to each product based on its performance in the test.

Bitdefender received the highest ADVANCED+ award from the experts, due to its near-perfect impact score of 6.9. Norton, on the other hand, could only manage the second-best ADVANCED award, because of its slightly worse impact score of 16.1.

AV-Comparatives performance test awards - April 2018

Both software registered perfect results in the AV-Test’s study, but Bitdefender came out of AV-Comparatives’ study with better results than Symantec.

Winner: Bitdefender

Bitdefender vs Norton: Which Software Boasts Better Interface?

Another important consideration is the user interface.

First, let’s look at Bitdefender’s interface…

Bitdefender interface is dark and modern, in shades of black and light grey. There is a vertical menu on the left which consists of the following tabs: Protection, Privacy, Tools, Activity, Notifications, Account, Settings, and Support.

Protection window is the first screen you see when you open the software. If everything is okay, you’ll see “You’re Protected” written next to a checkmark. Right next to it is a toggle switch for Auto-Pilot feature, which – when turned on – handles everything on its own, without interrupting you with mindless notifications. Buttons to run a Quick Scan or a Vulnerability Scan are also made available to you on the view.

Privacy and Tools tabs contain relevant features and their settings. The rest of the tabs are pretty much self-explanatory.

Bitdefender Interface as seen on Windows 10

The name of the suite you’re subscribed to is displayed in the top bar.

Now, let’s look at Norton’s interface…

Norton’s interface is simple and bright, in colors of white and green. The default screen shows your protection status, along with last scan time and a link to run a Quick Scan. There are four modules on the main page: Security, Identity, Performance, More Norton.

Security tab lets you run different types of scans, check error logs, manually update malware definitions, and more. Identity module contains privacy-related features, including Norton’s password manager, while Performance window includes several computer performance improvement tools. Clicking More Norton tab takes you to Norton’s online portal where you can manage protection for all your devices at one place.

Norton's Interface as seen on Windows 10

The bottom bar shows your subscription status, while the bar at the top contains links to Settings and Help.

Overall, both Bitdefender and Norton offer a simple and easy-to-use interface.

Winner: It’s a tie.

Bitdefender vs Norton: Which Software is Less Expensive?

Bitdefender Security Suites Price (USD) / Device(s) covered
Bitdefender Antivirus Free (Get it) Free (Unlimited Devices)
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus (Get it) $39.98/year (3 Devices)
Bitdefender Internet Security (Get it) $49.99/year (3 Devices)
Bitdefender Total Security (Get it) $49.99/year (5 Devices)
Bitdefender Family Pack (Get it) $69.98/year (Unlimited Devices)
Virus Scanner (Get it) Free (Unlimited Devices)
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac (Get it) $39.99/year (1 Mac)
Norton Security Product Price (USD) / Device(s) covered
Norton AntiVirus Basic $29.99/year (1 Device)
Norton Security Standard $39.99/year (1 Device)
Norton Security Deluxe $49.99/year (5 Devices)
Norton Security Premium $54.99/year (10 Devices)

Both companies offer products at nearly the same price points, but Bitdefender’s suites cover more devices than Norton.

Winner: Bitdefender

Bitdefender vs Norton: Which Software is More Popular?

Both Bitdefender and Norton are well-known brands in the market. To see which of the two is more popular, I will look at the independent market share statistics and the number of followers of both software on social media.

OPSWAT is a company that regularly releases monthly reports on the market share of top antivirus products. According to their most recent report, Bitdefender stands fifth on the list of top antivirus products, with a market share of 7.95%. Avast sits on top with a market share of 17.79%, followed by ESET (12.71%) and Malwarebytes (12.55%).

Surprisingly, Norton is not on the list of top ten security products.

OPSWAT Anti-virus Market Share Report (August 2018)

Speaking of social media numbers, Bitdefender has 4.1 million Facebook fans and 82K Twitter followers. Norton, on the other hand, has 1.3 million Facebook fans and 158K Twitter followers.

Overall, it can be said that Bitdefender is more popular than Norton.

Winner: Bitdefender

Final Thoughts

Independent studies have shown that Bitdefender is better than Norton in terms of malware protection and impact on system performance. Also, Bitdefender also packs more features and extra utilities than Norton.

Go with Bitdefender Total Security 2019 (currently at 40% OFF) for superior protection. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019 is also a decent choice.

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Umair Anwar

Umair Anwar has helped several online companies grow their influence and revenue by implementing strategies and tactics that actually work. He is an internet marketer and a technology buff.

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