Avast and Bitdefender are two big names in the antivirus world – so which should you choose? We’ll be totally upfront in saying that in our experience, Avast is the all-round better antivirus solution than Bitdefender, especially for less tech savvy users.
Choosing the right antivirus software for your home or business is a vital part of staying safe online. But with so many plans, packages, and antivirus programs out there, it can be hard to tell the good from the bad.
We’ll walk you through each antivirus’ features, prices, support, and more in this comparison, and explain why Avast came out top in the end. Along the way you’ll find out what Bitdefender’s strengths are too – and, most importantly, which one is right for you.
In this guide:
Avast vs Bitdefender: Detailed Comparison
Before you dive into the depths of each antivirus’ features and security software, take a look at our direct, detailed comparison of Avast and Bitdefender to gain a side-by-side understanding of each one:
- Avast is more user-friendly than Bitdefender, making it perfect for less tech savvy users
- We found Bitdefender’s Chrome plugin easier to use than Avast’s
- Bitdefender has a huge offering of security packages – while this offers extensive choice, it can also be overwhelming for newcomers
- We found Avast’s security scans easier to run
- Avast is better for those on a budget, with lower starting prices for its packages
When it comes to security, both anti-virus packages have a wide range of features, but from our testing, we found it was Avast that had the more robust security options. This is especially true if you choose the free Avast package, which is packed full of features, such as threat detection, virus scanning and malware removal. The free version of Bitdefender isn't quite as complete – you'll need to splash out for a premium version to gain access to more features.
Taking the premium versions of both Avast and Bitdefender into account, then it's a much closer race, but it's still Avast that wins by a nose, thanks to a combination of an excellent security suite that is easier to navigate and use than Bitdefenders.
- Uses beginner-friendly and supportive language
- Cheapest annual starting price
- Wide choice of subscription lengths
- Doesn't offer finance monitoring
- Maximum number of 10 licenses available on one subscription
- Able to schedule scans at a time that suits you
- Customizable user interface
- Up to 15 licenses available on one subscription
- Doesn't offer finance monitoring
- Cluttered user interface which can be difficult to navigate
One of the main things that can boggle the brain when choosing your antivirus is the sheer number of features available. Different security packages come with different features included – not to mention all the extra add-ons that you can choose from.
We’ve pulled out the key features included on each package, including the ones you should care about the most, such as parental controls, spam and malware blockers, password managers, and ransomware protection.
Avast offers a decent range of different antivirus products – it’s most well-known for its Avast Free Antivirus package, which costs nothing at all and comes with the following features:
- Intelligent antivirus that blocks viruses, malware, spyware, ransomware, and phishing
- CyberCapture, which automatically sends suspicious files for analysis and “treatment”
- Wi-Fi inspector to make sure your internet is secure
- Smart Scan that scans your device for viruses
- Password manager which helps to remember your passwords
- Behavior shields to monitor suspicious activity in real time
- Game mode which disables unnecessary apps to free up resources
- Browser cleanup that automatically removes poorly rated add-ons
While this is a pretty impressive offering, we recommend investing in one of Avast’s Premium Security plans, which include everything from the free package plus:
- Sandbox, which lets you open suspicious files in a safe environment
- Passive mode, where you can use another antivirus alongside Avast
- Real site, which stops you visiting fake websites
- Ransomware Shield, to protect your files and folders from ransomware
- Advanced firewall, which monitors everything going in and out of your device
- Anti-spam software, to block spam in real-time
- Webcam Shield, a must-have feature that blocks strangers from accessing your webcam
- Automatic software updater runs updates on apps to prevent security breaches
- Data shredder assists with permanently deleting files
- Real-time updates make sure you always have the latest protection
It’s clear that the Premium package offers a much better level of protection from online dangers than the free version. Features such as the Webcam Shield and anti-spam software are especially important, as they deal with threats that are very real in every home.
For even more advanced security, Avast’s Ultimate package includes everything listed above, as well as a few more advanced features. Out of these, the SecureLine VPN is the most standout extra, and is the main reason you would upgrade to this plan.
If you’re looking specifically for protection for your family, then Avast has a tailored security package for you, called Family Space.
The key features in the Family Space plan include GPS technologies – so that you can track locations and receive alerts when your child arrives safely home – as well as content filters, and a “pause internet” option.
Bitdefender also provides free protection in the form of its Antivirus Free Edition, which includes real-time threat detection, virus scanning, and malware removal. You’ll also be guarded against phishing websites and fraud from scam websites.
On the whole, Bitdefender’s free features don’t quite stand up against Avast’s, but the good news is there’s plenty of premium packages to choose from. In fact, Bitdefender seems to have endless plan options, so we’ve picked out the main three that offer all-round security.
Bitdefender Internet Security is the cheapest package – its standout features include parental control, ransomware protection, and protection against malware, spyware, and adware. It covers the basics, but that’s all.
For multiple devices, you’ll need the Bitdefender Total Security package, and for priority support and unlimited VPN traffic, you’re best off choosing the Bitdefender Premium Security package.
Antivirus and Malware Protection
When it comes to the basics of protecting your computer against malware and common viruses, you’d expect a paid antivirus program to stay on top of things. Avast and Bitdefender both do a great job, here. Both programs rely on a vast database of virus definitions, which are updated constantly to monitor against the latest emerging threats.
It’s essential that you keep your antivirus program set to automatically update, incidentally, so that the virus definitions database makes its way to your own device.
Avast and Bitdefender are equally adept at scanning for viruses and protecting against malware, and neither brand is likely to disappoint when it comes to offering round-the-clock virus protection.
One of the key things to look for when choosing antivirus is how easy it is to run scans. You don’t want to spend hours trying to initiate a simple security scan, after all!
This is where Avast really shone in our research. It was super easy to run a Smart Scan, which quickly searches for:
- Browser threats
- Outdated apps
- Viruses and malware
- Advanced issues
You can also run a full virus scan, a targeted scan, a boot-time scan, and custom scans depending on the level of security you need.
With Bitdefender, things were a little more complicated. It was fairly straightforward to run a simple scan, but compared to Avast it seemed somewhat clunky. Finding and setting up scans took a lot more clicks than Avast, making Bitdefender a better fit for more confident users who know what they’re doing.
A firewall is a system that stops unauthorized access of your private network. If you didn’t have a firewall in place, anybody could easily get into your private files through your connection to the internet!
Bitdefender includes a Privacy Firewall, which acts as a powerful layer of protection against outside threats. Avast also provides an Advanced Firewall to guard against hackers.
Ransomware and Phishing Scam Protection
Avast prides itself on its ransomware and phishing security measures – and for good reason! Phishing accounts for 90% of all data breaches, so it’s an important feature to look out for when choosing antivirus.
Avast also has a Ransomware Shield, which protects any files stored in your protected folders from being attacked or affected by ransomware. Its free ransomware decryption tools are available in case you have fallen victim to a ransomware attack.
Bitdefender scored the best phishing “protection rates” in June last year, leading it to win in a set of anti-phishing trials – impressive stuff! When it comes to ransomware, Bitdefender has a Ransomware Remediation feature that identifies new threats and automatically creates backups of any targeted files.
When you’re running an antivirus scan, you can typically expect there to be some level of system impact. That’s because, by nature, a virus scan has to work its way through files and folders across your system, and this can have a heavy load.
That said, both Avast and Bitdefender are pleasingly light-touch when it comes to running a simple background scan. Each program has a quick scan mode, and this is, by design, intended to limit system impact. It’s the kind of scan that can happily run in the background as you go about your regular tasks on your computer. Quick scans are designed to target the areas on your system that are most prone to picking up infections (yes, that includes your downloads folder).
If you need to delve deeper, then you can schedule a full system scan with either Avast or Bitdefender. And at this point, you should expect some degree of system performance hit. That’s because a full scan takes time and requires heavier load for your device. For that reason, your best option is to schedule the scan for a time of day when you’re not likely to be using your device. Don’t feel you have to run a scan like this daily, either. With Bitdefender and Avast, you can set your own preferred schedule – we’d recommend once per week, for a thorough scan.
Pricing and Plans
Avast’s pricing plans range from $69.99 to $119.99 per year. It also has a free plan, and multiple other packages and add-ons, meaning you can tailor your choice to your individual needs. Here’s a quick breakdown of its main plans:
- Free plan: $0 per year
- Family Space: $49.99 per year
- Premium Security, Single Device: $69.99 per year
- Premium Security, Multi Device: $89.99 per year
- Ultimate Single Device: $99.99 per year
- Ultimate 10 Devices: $119.99 per year
Each package comes with the option of signing up for a one, two, or three year subscription.
The Premium Security, Single Device package comes with a 30-day free trial that we recommend starting out on. It’s a great way of deciding if Avast is right for you, and is super easy to set up.
Bitdefender has a huge range of packages – too many, really, which can make it confusing for first-timers to know which is best for them. Here’s a quick look at the four plans we recommend checking out first:
- Antivirus Free Edition: $0 per year
- Bitdefender Internet Security: $79.99 per year
- Bitdefender Total Security: $89.99 per year
- Bitdefender Premium Security: $149.99 per year
Bitdefender also often has sales running on its plans, meaning you can save money on your first year. Like Avast, you can sign up for a one, two, or three year contract.
User-friendliness is an often overlooked aspect when choosing antivirus, but it’s vitally important. Your antivirus should be easy – even enjoyable – to use, to make running your security as seamless as possible.
This is where Bitdefender really fell down in our testing. First of all, it’s incredibly confusing simply navigating its website and choosing the right package. There are too many to choose from, many have similar (or even the same) name, while promoting different prices.
The installation process itself is easy, but when the time comes to run a scan it gets a little more tricky. Meaning we don’t recommend it for beginners.
You can customize your scans, which is great for users who know exactly what they’re doing and want tons of control, but for newcomers it can be a little overwhelming – not to mention pretty hard work each time you want to run a new scan!
In contrast, Avast provides a much smoother and cleaner user experience. Installation was quick and easy, and it has a neat, uncluttered interface that makes managing your scans and security a walk in the park.
Combine that with supportive, friendly messaging, and Avast is a prime example of a user-friendly antivirus program.
Help and Support
On a basic level, both Bitdefender and Avast offer similar help and support channels, including:
- Online forum
- 24/7 phone support
- Installation guides
Avast also offers premium tech support, which you pay extra for – this allows you to call Avast, get a free consultation, and then hand the issue over to a team of experts who work to resolve the issue for you.
Avast vs Bitdefender: Final Verdict
All in all, Avast takes the trophy for being the better overall antivirus. Although Bitdefender offers a huge amount of security tools, packages, add-ons, and customizations, it may prove overwhelming for the less technically confident.
Avast provides stellar security, combined with truly user-friendly scans, and affordable prices. What’s not to love?
Tech.co is reader-supported. If you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps Tech.co to provide free advice and reviews for our readers. It has no additional cost to you, and never affects the editorial independence of our reviews. Click to return to top of page