(Last updated on January 14th, 2021)
Bitdefender or Sophos, which antivirus software is a better option in 2021?
Read this ultimate Bitdefender versus Sophos comparison to make a smart decision.
The world of the Internet has seen a drastic transformation. Since Ray Tomlinson sent the first email in the early 1970s and the first domain name registration (Symbolics.com) in 1985, much has changed in the online world.
Now, millions and billions of emails are sent and received every day and, apart from simple web browsing, the Internet is being used for social networking, buying goods and services and transferring money, among many other things.
Life’s easy, right? If only malware didn’t exist.
Besides all the exciting things, today’s digital world is an ocean full of malicious software or malware (an umbrella term for all sorts of online threats, such as viruses, ransomware, Trojans, worms, rootkits, etc.). This means your data and privacy are on the line if you don’t have an excellent security program.
The AV-Test Institute registers more than 350,000 new malware threats and potentially unwanted applications every single day. The number of malware attacks surfaced in 2018 was – hold your breath – 10 billion, and the number is only projected to go up in the coming months. Similarly, a ransomware attack is expected to occur every 14 seconds in 2019. The time is estimated to shrink by another 3 seconds by 2021.
This risk scenario calls for exceptional antivirus protection.
You may think free antivirus is the answer, but most freeware programs have flimsy firewalls that will buckle at the first sign of stress. Therefore, it’s not a good idea to take risks when your security and privacy are at stake. tre
Only a premium antivirus suite can secure your computer and give you complete peace of mind. It also comes with several protection-related features and advanced utilities that keep your devices safe from some of the most dangerous digital threats.
Best Antivirus Suite for 2021
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 2021. 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.
Read this in-depth Bitdefender vs. Sophos comparison to find out which of them provides better bang for your buck. We will look at the strengths and weaknesses of both software and show you which one is a better option.
In a rush? Check out the rundown below to find out which antivirus wins in each category.
A Quick Rundown of Winners in Each Category
Winner: Bitdefender. Bitdefender has a much more comprehensive array of features and utilities than Sophos.
2. Malware Protection
Winner: Bitdefender. Bitdefender showed exceptional malware defense capabilities in independent evaluations, whereas Sophos didn’t participate.
3. System Performance
Winner: Bitdefender. Once again, Bitdefender achieved perfect scores in independent tests, whereas Sophos wasn’t among the participants.
Winner: Bitdefender. Both companies offer a decent interface, but Bitdefender’s is much easier to use and more intuitive.
Winner: Bitdefender. Bitdefender offers more bang for your buck than Sophos.
6. Customer Satisfaction
Winner: Bitdefender. Sophos has not been rated by an important review website, which makes Bitdefender win this category.
Bitdefender is the overall winner as it offers more security-enhancing features and extra utilities in its security suites than Sophos. Also, independent tests show that Bitdefender is better than Sophos in terms of both malware detection and 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
Let’s dig deeper into details.
Features are perhaps the first thing to look for in any antivirus program, as they give you a clear idea of whether or not the software is worth your money. The best antivirus suite is one that offers all or most of the advanced features relevant to today’s security environment. Let’s see how Bitdefender and Sophos fare in this category.
First, we will look into Bitdefender’s feature-set.
The company does offer its free security suite marketed as Bitdefender Antivirus Free. The freeware does prevent malicious and fraudulent websites from harming your device, but it doesn’t come with advanced features and cannot thwart all malware attacks.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2021 is the company’s entry-level premium offering. It offers the following features:
- Solid defense against malware attacks.
- Protection against ransomware, which is the most dreaded form of malware as it is highly sophisticated and financially motivated.
- A hardened browser that lets you shop online or use banking applications in a secure environment.
- A password manager that stores and manages all your passwords in a secure vault.
- A file shredder that deletes your sensitive files in a way that they cannot be recovered, thus preventing the bad guys from misusing your data.
- The Antivirus Plus 2021 suite runs only on Windows.
The next tier is Bitdefender Internet Security 2021. It boasts all the features included in the above-mentioned package, plus:
- A two-way firewall that protects your device against malware attacks by keeping a keen eye on incoming and outgoing network traffic.
- A file encryption tool that keeps your sensitive files safe and prevents you from ransomware.
- A webcam protection tool to stop anyone from hijacking your webcam.
- A tool to prevent junk and phishing emails from invading your inbox.
- A single annual license protects up to 3 devices.
Then comes the company’s most popular and advanced security suite: Bitdefender Total Security 2021. It is packed with every single feature in the previous packages, and:
- Anti-theft and anti-loss tools to help you trace lost or stolen devices.
- Parental controls that provide an extra layer of security to your children.
- Extremely useful tools like Disk Cleanup, Startup Optimizer, and OneClick Optimizer to boost system performance.
- Supports all PCs (Windows and Mac) and smartphones (Android or iOS).
- A single license covers up to 5 devices.
Bitdefender Family Pack 2021 is another product by the company for those with a family. The suite offers all the features included in the Total Security suite, with an added advantage of protecting an unlimited number of devices running on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS platforms.
If you just want Mac-specific protection, Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is the company’s specialized offering for the platform. The suite protects Mac users against all kinds of malware threats, including viruses, Trojan horses, worms, adware, etc. It also safeguards your backups and makes your online experience more secure.
All paid antivirus packages offered by Bitdefender come with 24/7 customer support.
Interested in Bitdefender’s business products? Click here to find out more.
Let’s see what Sophos has to offer in comparison.
The company’s product line-up starts with Sophos Home Free, which provides real-time malware protection as well as web protection. However, like most free programs, it lacks several must-have features of an excellent antivirus program.
The company’s only premium product for home users is Sophos Home Premium, which comes with the following features:
- Advanced real-time protection to thwart malware attacks.
- Ransomware protection to defend you against one of the most dangerous kinds of digital threats.
- A tool for safe browsing and protecting you against phishing sites.
- A privacy protection tool that prevents access to webcam and keystrokes.
- Malware scanner that catches and removes any traces of malware and spyware
- Premium customer support
If you would like to learn more about Sophos’ business solutions, click here for more information.
Winner: Bitdefender. Bitdefender has a clear edge over its competitor thanks to numerous advanced tools and utilities which go beyond basic malware protection. Moreover, Sophos only has one product for home users as compared to several packages offered by Bitdefender.
2. Malware Protection
In order to be useful, an antivirus program has to provide a solid defense against all sorts of malware attacks, including viruses, Trojan horses, worms, ransomware, etc.
AV-Test and AV-Comparatives are two reputable independent testing organizations that regularly pit various security products against each other. The tests help in determining which antivirus company offers better malware defense and has minimal impact on system performance.
AV-Test Institute rates a program’s performance on a 1 to 6 scale (with 6 being the highest score) in three different categories: Protection, Performance, and Usability.
In the AV-Test’s April 2019 Protection test, Bitdefender received a perfect 6 out of 6 score, indicating excellent anti-malware capabilities.
Sophos didn’t participate in the test, which shows a lack of preparation or trust in its products.
Similarly, in the AV-Comparatives’ Real-World Protection test for June 2019, Bitdefender got the highest ADVANCED+ award. Once again, Sophos didn’t participate in the evaluation.
Winner: Bitdefender. While Bitdefender clinched the highest possible ratings in both evaluations, Sophos was conspicuous by its absence.
3. System Performance
Besides offering useful features and protection against malware, an excellent antivirus program should not affect system performance. Let’s consult the same two testing organizations again to find out which among Bitdefender and Sophos trumps the other in this category.
In AV-Test’s Performance evaluation for March-April 2019, Bitdefender once again notched a perfect 6 out of 6 score.
Sophos wasn’t among the participants once again.
In the AV-Comparatives’ April 2019 Performance test, Bitdefender received the highest ADVANCED+ award while Sophos didn’t participate.
Winner: Bitdefender. The results were identical to that of protection tests, as Bitdefender once again passed the evaluations in flying colors while Sophos abstained.
Nobody wants to spend money on a complicated and bad-looking piece of software. If the interface of an antivirus product is not user-friendly, you may fail to make the most of all its features and utilities.
Let’s see how Bitdefender and Sophos compare in this category.
Bitdefender offers a clean and modern interface that uses black, grey and white as its primary colors.
It presents an easy-to-use dashboard, which houses useful options like “Quick Scan” and “VPN.” However, you can also add a quick action of your own choice on the dashboard.
On the left-hand side is a black rail from where you can access primary options like Protection, Privacy, Utilities, and Settings.
The good thing is that Bitdefender’s interface works well for both novice and tech-savvy users and gives you a lot of room for control with its customization options.
Let’s now have a look at the Sophos interface.
Sophos’ interface – which uses blue, grey and white as its primary colors – is both simple and pleasing to the eyes.
The dashboard is extremely minimalistic and displays only two large buttons titled “Scan Computer” and “My Activity”. On the upper right side below the top bar is the Settings
All other operations take place in your browser after you type in your login credentials. This comes in handy for parents, as the feature helps them remotely protect their kids’ devices.
Winner: Bitdefender. Bitdefender offers a more straightforward and yet sophisticated interface than Sophos. Bitdefender also provides great room for customization.
An antivirus program can have all the necessary features and great malware defense, but if it’s too expensive, it may not be the foremost choice for a large number of people.
Let’s see how Bitdefender and Sophos price their products.
A single annual license of Bitdefender Antivirus Plus carries a price tag of $34.99 and supports 3 devices. At the next level is Bitdefender Internet Security which also covers 3 PCs for $39.98, whereas Bitdefender Total Security, the company’s most comprehensive offering, costs $44.99 and covers up to 5 devices.
For those looking to protect more than 5 devices, Bitdefender Family Pack is the best pick as it covers an unlimited number of devices. The package is priced at $69.98 per year.
|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 take a look at Sophos’ pricing.
You can buy a yearly license of the Sophos Home Premium suite for $36 and a two-yearly license for $72, but the good part is that the package covers up to 10 devices.
|Sophos Products||Regular Price||Discounted Price|
|Sophos Home Premium||$42.00/year||Check here|
|Sophos Business Antivirus||$63.25/year||Check here|
Winner: Bitdefender. Bitdefender provides great value for money.
6. Customer Satisfaction
The last aspect to consider before buying any product or service is to find out how satisfied its existing customers are. Let’s see how users rate customer service offered by Bitdefender and Sophos, according to independent review websites.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a well-known organization that gathers customer feedback and rates products on an A to F scale. On the BBB, both Bitdefender and Sophos have an average C+ rating.
Another popular website that tracks customer reviews is Consumeraffairs.org, which uses a 1 to 5-star score to rate products. On this site, Bitdefender holds a 3-star rating, indicating average reviews. On the other hand, Sophos has not been yet rated by Consumeraffairs.org, probably because of a fewer number of reviews.
Winner: Bitdefender. Sophos has not yet been ranked by an important customer review website, which makes us unable to assess its customer support performance.
Bitdefender outsmarts its rival in all categories thanks to its several advanced features, exceptional malware defense, no impact on system performance, intuitive user interface and better customer support.
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.