(Last updated on January 15th, 2021)
McAfee or BullGuard, which software is a better option in 2021?
Read this ultimate McAfee vs. BullGuard comparison to make a smart choice.
Where on the one hand, the rise of social media platforms and e-commerce has hugely contributed to users’ time spent on the internet. It has also given them a false sense of security that this digital world is a safe place.
We share a lot of personal information online on social media websites, e-stores, and through emails. All this information can easily land in the hands of the hackers if you don’t have premium protection.
You’d be surprised to know that Over 10,000 billion malware attacks surfaced in 2018, and these attacks are only estimated to escalate. This estimate is also confirmed by the AV-Test Institute that registers more than 350,000 new malware samples every single day.
These figures suggest that if we want to be safe in today’s digital environment, we need some robust antivirus protection. But try not to fall for a freeware.
Free antivirus software may provide you some protection against known viruses. But it can’t offer you complete protection against all kinds of malware and cyber threats. In fact, freeware is extremely inadequate against the latest malware technologies. Only premium software can provide complete peace of mind in the face of these threats.
Premium antivirus software comes packed with the advanced features that provide multi-level antimalware security from known as well as emerging 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.
Here, we compare two top-ranking antivirus programs, McAfee and BullGuard. We’ll assess them on different security and design aspects and see which one provides better overall performance and higher value for money.
In a rush? Read a quick summary of our comparison below and find out the winners in each category.
A Quick Rundown of Winners in Each Category
Winner: McAfee. McAfee’s straightforward approach with product design – all the features jammed into one product – makes it extremely attractive and suitable for every user.
2. Malware Protection
Winner: McAfee. Both McAfee and BullGuard stood at par on the first independent test, but BullGuard didn’t participate in the second evaluation. So, McAfee is the winner here.
3. System Performance
Winner: McAfee. McAfee did well in both evaluations. Whereas BullGuard was behind in one assessment and didn’t participate in the other.
Winner: BullGuard. BullGuard’s interface is much more functional and user-friendly compared to McAfee’s.
Winner: McAfee. McAfee gives you far more value for money than BullGuard does. That’s why McAfee is the winner of this category, as well.
Winner: McAfee. McAfee is way more popular than BullGuard and holds a much more significant market share.
BullGuard is competitive, but McAfee offers a more comprehensive feature-set and better malware protection with minimal impact on system performance. Also, McAfee offers better value for money than BullGuard.
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 get right into it now.
Most antivirus companies these days pack their products with a host of different advanced features that add extra value to their product beyond malware protection. Let’s see what features we can find with McAfee and BullGuard.
We’ll start with McAfee.
McAfee Total Protection is the company’s best-selling product and comes with cutting-edge malware protection as well as all the advanced features of the modern antivirus programs.
- A Firewall protects your devices from any cyber threats that may try to plant a virus on an application in your system. Other than the firewall, various features provide multi-layer protection for you.
- A Network Shield provides real-time monitoring for your system and prevents any external users from connecting with it.
- A Password Protector secures your login information and passwords while you’re on the internet.
- Identity Protection is also part of this product. This function secures your personal and financial information so that the hackers can’t misuse it. In case of any issue, you also have 24/7 access to expert advice from the company.
- Additionally, a Parental Control module saves your kids from any mishap on the internet. This module monitors their online activities, limits their access to certain websites or apps, as well as helps restrict their browsing time.
- The feature also incorporates a tracking facility which you can use to be aware of your children’s whereabouts while they are away.
- There’s also a File Encryption utility that keeps your private data and important information safe from hackers and phishing websites.
- The software also comes with Performance Enhancing Tools that boost your system performance by cleaning off any junk files, shredding deleted data, and organizing temporary files.
Now let’s review the antivirus products from BullGuard.
The first paid product from BullGuard is simply named BullGuard Antivirus. A PC-only product, it packs a number of interesting features:
- Complete malware protection including anti-phishing, anti-virus, and anti-ransomware protection.
- There’s a behavioral engine that automatically adjusts software settings according to your online usage patterns and how you use the software.
- A Safe browser protects you from cyber-attacks while you’re browsing online.
- The product also comes with the Game Booster feature that optimizes your computer settings so you can fully enjoy an enhanced gaming experience.
Next, we have BullGuard Internet Security. This suite comes with multi-platform compatibility for PCs, Macs, and Android devices, and protects 3 devices at a time. Along with everything, this suite also adds some additional features to the mix:
- An advanced firewall provides real-time protection, so you’re safe against any external threats.
- A parental control suite keeps a check on your children’s online habits and restricts their access to unwanted content, so they are safe on the internet.
- You also get the cloud-integrated backup facility for your sensitive data with this suite, as well as some neat PC tune-up features.
BullGuard Premium Protection is the final tier of protection from the company. Along with everything from previous packages, this product provides some extra security features such as:
- The smart network scanner that detects any loopholes in the network security and fixes them for you.
- Identity protection is also part of the product. This feature keeps your personal and financial information safe from misuse while you’re shopping or banking online. The software immediately notifies you if it suspects somebody is impersonating you.
Both Internet Security and Premium Protection products include free 24/7 live chat support as well as regular updates to keep your program up to date with the emerging malware threats.
Interested in BullGuard’s business antivirus? Click here for more information.
Winner: McAfee. McAfee has all its advanced features packed into one product, which makes it equally ideal for use by both individuals and families.
2. Malware Protection
An ideal antivirus software should have all the advanced features required to offer defense against the old as well as emerging malware types. Let’s compare our companies to find out which one does a better job of providing real-time protection.
Let’s first look at the Protection Test results from the AV-Test Institute as of their August 2019 assessment. In this test, McAfee notched the perfect 6 out of 6 score.
BullGuard also followed suit and scored a fantastic 6 out of 6..
Now we’ll turn to AV-Comparatives for their most recent Real-World Protection Test results. In this test, McAfee was only able to make the STANDARD award. Whereas, BullGuard didn’t participate in this assessment.
We are also going to look at Malware Protection Test from AV-Comparatives. As per their March 2019 results, McAfee secured the ADVANCED award while BullGuard wasn’t part of this test as well.
Winner: McAfee. Both companies did well on the first independent test, but BullGuard skipped the second and third tests.
3. System Performance
Nobody wants a software that drags system speed and prevents it from functioning efficiently. That’s why we are going to examine the impact of our brands on system performance and make sure they don’t cause drags.
For this assessment, we’ll again turn to our two testing companies, AV-Test and AV-Comparatives.
The Performance Test from AV-Test.org rewarded McAfee with the amazing 6 out of 6 score, once again.
However, BullGuard fell slightly behind this time with a 5.5 out of 6.
Now, let’s check out the Performance Test results from AV-Comparatives. Here as well, McAfee did a superb job and bagged the highest ADVANCED+ award.
Once again, BullGuard did not appear for this evaluation.
Winner: McAfee. McAfee did well on both tests. Whereas, BullGuard was a little behind in one assessment and absent from the other.
The user interface plays a vital role in painting a positive or negative picture of a brand in the user’s mind. Let’s take a look at both companies’ user interfaces to find out which one paints a better picture in this category.
McAfee uses dark grey and white colors to distinguish two different portions of the interface. The left-hand side contains a dark-grey rail to show system security status. On the right-hand side, a wide panel displays many functions to make them readily accessible from the Home screen, of which there are only two: ‘Virus Scan’ and ‘Remove Cookies and Trackers.’
On the top of the screen, a horizontal bar gives access to different functions and features. Overall, the interface is quite easy-to-navigate, but McAfee seemed to have focused on the simplicity of the design.
Now we’ll turn our attention to the BullGuard interface.
BullGuard interface is mostly white and uses light grey as the accent color. Big rectangular blocks take up the entire screen and give access to different features and functions, such as antivirus, firewall, backup, PC tune-up, parental controls, etc.
Each block also contains drop-down menus to access settings for that specific function. Overall, the interface is simplistic, as well as easy to understand and navigate.
Winner: BullGuard. The Home screen of McAfee Interface doesn’t provide much information, which is why you have to access individual functions for updates. Whereas, with BullGuard, all the updates are available on the Home screen.
Apart from technical performance, pricing is probably the single most crucial aspect that can prove to be decisive in a purchase decision. Let’s see how carefully both McAfee and BullGuard price their products.
McAfee probably has the most attractive pricing policy out there. McAfee Total Protection comes at the cost of $24.99 per year for one license. You can get more licenses of this suite for a little additional charge depending on how many licenses you require.
5 more licenses will cost you $39.99 per year, whereas if you were to buy 10 licenses, they’d cost you $44.99 per year. So, the more licenses you get, the less you have to pay. For instance, for 10 licenses, the cost will break down to only $4.5 per license.
|McAfee Products||Regular Price||Discounted Price|
|McAfee Total Protection (1 Device)||$79.99/year||Check here|
|McAfee Total Protection (5 Device)||$99.99/year||Check here|
|McAfee Total Protection (10 Device)||$119.99/year||Check here|
Now let’s review BullGuard’s product pricing.
The entry-level product from the company, BullGuard Antivirus, costs $29.95 per year for 1 license. Almost $5 more than McAfee.
BullGuard Internet Security comes for $59.95 per year for 3 licenses. And BullGuard Premium Protection costs you $99.95 per year for 10 licenses. These costs seem pretty high compared to McAfee.
|BullGuard Products||Regular Price||Discounted Price|
|BullGuard Antivirus||$29.99/year||Check here|
|BullGuard Internet Security||$59.99/year||Check here|
|BullGuard Premium Protection||$99.99/year||Check here|
|BullGuard Business Antivirus||Varies||Check here|
Winner: McAfee. It is obvious from the pricing comparison above that McAfee gives you more value for your money. BullGuard costs more per license, charging you almost double for 10 licenses ($99.95) compared to McAfee ($44.99).
Finally, let’s see which company does better on the popularity scale. For which we’ll turn to OPSWALT, a popular website that regularly issues reports on the market share occupied by the top security products.
Their recent report came out in August 2019. Here, McAfee takes the second position among the most popular antivirus products in 2019, whereas BullGuard isn’t even listed among the top 10 products.
Winner: McAfee. McAfee is clearly much more popular and holds a significantly bigger share of the market compared to BullGuard.
We’ve seen that McAfee wins out in almost all categories. McAfee particularly stands out in the following areas: product features and design, malware protection, system performance, pricing, and popularity. The one area it needs to focus more attention on is the user interface. So, based on our findings, we declare McAfee as the winner of today’s comparison.
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.