Are you looking for an antivirus that will keep your devices safe from the next ransomware attack or data-thieving trojans? Independent labs like AV-Test and AV-Compare identify over 300,000 new threats every day, so your hunt for the best antivirus is totally justified.
The market is also flooded with lots of lame antivirus packages that leave you exposed, which is why you need to confirm whether the protection they advertise is worth your money.
The bad guys are getting smarter every day, which is why you need to entrust your privacy with the most modernized antivirus package. Of the most trusted names in the market, Bitdefender and Avast are highly recommended.
Their security suites are updated in real-time. The two also provide a wide range of packages to suit your budget, including a free version. We, however, advise against those free options since most of them don’t really stop any significant threats.
Both companies came into 2020 with powerful upgrades to protect individual and family devices. This review compares each security feature from Avast and Bitdefender and how well it will serve you. It is unbiased, based totally on independent tests and our own evaluation of each security suite on our devices. You also get a free trial from both companies to get the feel of how the security you pay for will work.
Here is a detailed review of each company’s 2021 product.
Bitdefender Antivirus 2021
Bitdefender is a household name covering more than 500,000 devices worldwide. It is popular for three main packages that come with a wonderful offer at half price for the first year. Total security has all the features, although the other two packages also carry all the essential security features, as explained below.
It also has a family license key that covers 10 devices in your family with Total Security. Bitdefender accommodates a wide range of users; the app is largely independent and works without requiring much action from you. Its silent vigilance also makes it the best antivirus for busy and non-tech-savvy users.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2021
Antivirus Plus is the entry-level suite which covers three PCS, which is on the downside. We feel it would be better if it extended at least to include Android and iOS. It carries all the essential features for Hard drive and web protection. It is best suited for a home computer, especially if you don’t need parental control. It includes a VPN, a password manager, and a firewall alongside Bitdefender’s powerful threat detection and neutralization.
Bitdefender Internet Security 2021
Internet security is the mid-range package that also covers PCs only. It comes with lots of extra powerful features, including a two-way firewall, a File shredder, a WIFI scanner, and parental control, which is better than you will find with most mid-range packages. One license covers three PCS and also gives you access to webcam and microphone monitors alongside all the features of Antivirus Plus.
It also comes with a WIFI scanner to protect your device when using public WIFI. Bitdefender, however, denied it the device optimizer so you won’t get a startup optimizer, disk cleanup, and other system boosting features. It is still one of the best mid-range packages in the market for families and multiple-device owners.
Bitdefender Total Security 2021
This is Bitdefender`s most widely purchased package coming with everything you may need to protect devices across all networks. Total security includes anti-theft protection for Android, and laptops and also carries device optimization famous for optimizing resource usage by the apps on your device.
One license allows you to activate on five different devices of your choice, including Mac, iOS, Windows, and Android. With Bitdefender Total Security, you also get access to the advanced network monitors that make your home network safer.
Bitdefender also packs some specific products such as Bitdefender for Mac, Premium VPN, and Parental control, which you can invest in in case you are facing a bigger problem. most of the extra products are just an extension of Total Security utilities though.
New Features from Bitdefender in 2021
- AI Supported Parental Control
Bitdefender came in 2020 with a powerful revolution of traditional parental control that includes a better message and social network monitoring, browser surveillance, and a cyberbullying monitor. The powerful extension costs $50 more and is accessible for both Internet Security and Total Security License key holders. It scans your child`s calls and messaging for foul language, inappropriate content requested or received, and any attempts to bypass Bitdefender Parental control parameters.
It also monitors social networks and messaging apps for signs of bullying. The AI-assisted data analysis keeps a copy of your child`s media online but limits your access to the basics such as the website accessed or the source of the bullying which also protects the child`s privacy.
It can also be accessed by both parents rather than other antivirus apps that only give you one parent license. It always notifies you of the nature of the threat and advises you to speak to the child.
The traditional parental control features are still free on Internet Security and Total Security, allowing you to set screen time, track your child on GPS, and monitor content both online and via messaging apps. All the features of Parental Control are accessible on the web through Bitdefender Central, allowing you to check notifications and execute actions remotely.
This was a major boost to browsing safety offered by Bitdefender, preventing predatory sites from collecting your data and using it against you. It blocks all attempts by websites to track and save your browsing data and records the instances of attempted tracking.
You can check the extension to see blocked attempts. It also lists the motive of each site that attempted to track you. This is better than traditional anti-tracker extensions. It also gives you an option to whitelist trusted websites.
- Safe Files
Bitdefender added this feature way back for protection of the most important files and folders on your computer, which you can simply mark for extra protection. Bitdefender then sets extra virtual storage on your computer for the files and requires your password for any app or user to open them.
In 2020 Bitdefender made Safe Files extra vigilant to check for ransomware attacks and attempted copying of these files without your approval. It blocks even some system apps from carrying out actions on your marked files, which some people on reddit consider to be overzealous but we believe it is totally justified.
- Microphone Monitor
Microphone breaches give away your calls and conversations to some sneaky eavesdropping apps, which is why Bitdefender 2020 licenses come with a microphone monitor. It limits the apps that have access to your microphone and informs you if any app with access to it is behaving maliciously.
This is the same feature that has improved its parental control to be able to monitor foul language and cyberbullying attacks on your child. It is an addition to the webcam monitor, which they introduced earlier.
- Remote Functions
Bitdefender central received the highest score by many software review platforms for allowing account holders to carry out critical actions remotely. It is not a replacement to the My Bitdefender App Interface. Instead, it just gives you more control of devices which are covered by your activation code.
It allows you to initiate scans on other devices covered by your license, check and implement vulnerability status recommendations and also initiate anti-theft actions remotely. It is the best way to cover home-based devices even if you are not at home.
Features we like In Bitdefender 2021
- Threat Detection
AV-Test and AV-Compare both gave Bitdefender Total Security a perfect score in detecting Widespread threats. Bitdefender also scored 99.9% in detecting zero-day threats attributed to its suspicious behavior focus when scanning for threats around files and websites. Bitdefender Anti-phishing is also powerful, detecting some of the best cloned masquerading websites, some not even previously listed as threats.
The Bitdefender threat database is also updated in real-time, protecting your device from all threats as soon as you are online. Bitdefender also packs a Rescue Mode that recovers all your files and system apps after a deep cleaning and rebooting your computer.
Its protection is rated as one of the best in the market as it combats most threats before they even interact with your hard drive. It also clean up all online downloads including blockage of fishy websites that try to do download and install apps on your hard drive without your approval.
In our tests, we noticed very little lag time on Windows and Mac after installing Bitdefender. The impact on Android and iOS was even lower as you couldn`t notice any change in startup time.
Bitdefender comes with a system optimization feature that allows the app to use your system resources economically. Its startup optimizer also reduces the number of programs launched simultaneously every time your device starts to prevent lags.
Bitdefender’s full scans are also Quick since Bitdefender uses its Global Protective Network feature to move full analysis of threats to a cloud server rather than doing everything on the device, which could slow other System functions. It also allows you to activate zero-disturbance modes when gaming, watching or working, which automatically stops unnecessary pop-ups.
- Internet Banking Safety
Provision of a hardened browser when making online payments, filling in your credit card or debit card details. Whenever you need to transact online, Bitdefender Safe Pay opens a safe browser for you and fills in your banking details if you have saved them on Bitdefender. It protects against tracking and phishing attempts that intend to collect your banking details.
- Web Security
Bitdefender`s protection for your device once it goes online has been improved a step further with a powerful two-layered firewall and a network scanner. It protects your device against botnets and hard hacks through your network, making it safe to use both public WIFIs and your shared home network.
Bitdefender also scans all the search results in your browser and promptly blocks suspicious URLs that are labeled as scammers, phishing sites, or other malicious links. Bitdefender also scans emails and downloads for spam and suspicious attachments and quarantines them before they interact with your hard drive. Its free VPN allows you up to 200mb of traffic for each device. You have to pay extra for unlimited traffic VPN.
Many companies now allow you to track, lock, or wipe your phone with their antitheft features. Bitdefender, however, will enable you to trace your laptop as well and lock it or wipe in case of loss. Its anti-theft service is, however, limited to Total Security only. It still allows you to activate a ring or vibration or take a snap of a person attempting to unlock your pattern or pin on android.
- Little impact on regular device speed
- Top-rated antivirus protection
- Safe Pay makes banking and paying online safe
- Two-way firewall and network scanner
- Parental control detects cyberbullying
- Free premium password manager
- Anti-Theft extends to computers
- Premium parental control costs extra
- Antivirus Plus and Internet Security support PCs only
Avast Antivirus 2021
Avast Free Antivirus is the most popular free antivirus in the market, but its premium service packages have also become famous for delivering a more robust protection. Avast`s packages are divided into three suites namely a free antivirus, premium protection and Ultimate protection. It offers individual packages for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
In 2020, Avast abandoned their Internet Security Packages and instead opted for a cheaper option of premium protection that gives you an activation code for only one device. We discuss each package below, including Avast for Mac.
Avast Free Antivirus 2021
Avast Free Antivirus is available alongside all their premium versions for each system. The package is the most impressive of any free antivirus in the market, but we still don’t recommend it. It was recently hit by scandals of being used as a data collection tool by the company.
Our tests, however, proved that Avast free Antivirus is way below basic protection so it won’t protect you against any significant threat.
The free antivirus provides a basic version of password protection, a browser, and file clean-up, free scanning and device protection as well as a WIFI Inspector. It also includes a game mode and anti-disturbance features, although it keeps prompting you to upgrade all the time you want to do anything.
Avast Premium Security 2021
Avast packages come with an option to either pay for one device or 10 devices. The difference is just $20 to get the extra devices unless you have a coupon code. This Premium Multidevice package for which competes with Bitdefender Total security is their most affordable package although it has less premium features. It has many basic functions split down but not necessarily different from Bitdefender functions.
The package is loaded with most features you need from a premium antivirus tool, including a firewall, a data shredder, a webcam monitor, Ransomware protection, and a tool called Sandbox that protects you when you navigate unsafe sites or run unsafe apps.
The package has powerful antivirus protection with anti-phishing and antispam protection. It doesn`t include parental control, a VPN, and extra safety for online payments, which makes Bitdefender Internet Security more economical in that aspect.
Avast Ultimate Security 2021
This is the full utility Package from Avast for any privacy-conscious device owners that comes with an unlimited VPN, a premium password manager, an improved system optimizer and cleanup that optimizes your system better than the lower tier packages. It is also split into two main packages charged $99.99 for one device and 119.99 for 10 devices. It still lacks a premium parental control tool. It is, however, a powerful all rounded package.
Avast Premium Security for Mac 2021
Avast has a specialized antivirus for Mac, which also comes with one free package and a paid premium version that offers more vigilant protection. It provides the extra security that you will not get with Apple`s basic security features, including an unlimited VPN, Ransomware protection, a WIFI scanner, and a WEB Security protection utility.
They protect you from Spam, Phishing attacks, and other web-based threats. It doesn`t include a hardened browser for Safe Pay and parental control, which still gives Bitdefender an upper hand. Mac packages have similar features and pricing standards as Windows Premium and Ultimate.
New Features from Avast in 2021
Avast did not make many changes in its 2020 packages. Their most improved feature is the customizable interface of Avast Ultimate. After installing their premium packages, they allow you to choose from their 21 features the ones you want to activate. This means you can choose if you need the firewall, VPN, premium cleaner, and other features. This is better than most antivirus packages, which assume you need all the applications included in their packages.
- Avast Free Antivirus
While we are not great fans of free antivirus, Avast`s free antivirus packages proved quite impressive. Avast tends to woe in customers through their free antivirus, which is why it has more features than most free plans in the market.
Apart from giving you full access to hard drive protection and clean up, Avast free antivirus also gives you access to a password manager, A WIFI scanner, and also browsing protection, which has anti-phishing protection.
However, as impressive as Avast free antivirus may sound, it is not as solid as it may sound. Most of the features are only a skeleton of what is given in paid features. The password manager doesn`t tell you if your password is weak nor even inform you if your password is breached. It just imports your passwords, sometimes without your authorization, and auto-fills them whenever you need them.
It also has a fishy way of trying to force you to upgrade whenever you reboot your computer. Avast free antivirus has been known to allow lots of threats to slip through with some reviewers, even accusing Avast of using it as a way of collecting data for sale. That is why we highly recommend investing in a robust paid plan with features that impress you.
- Avast Premium Clean Up
Avast`s premium clean up goes a long way in clearing your device of some data that most antivirus software won`t even identify. Avast premium clean up identifies old registry files from old system files you no longer use and other software that you may never need. It also clears Brocken and remnant files from software and cache junk that fills up your hard storage.
The premium cleaner also removes rootkit infections that normal full scans may not be able to clear. It is closely rated to Bitdefender Rescue Mode, although it goes further in optimizing your device. It, however, comes at an extra cost as a single package, which may not be worth it for most devices you use for your usual light projects.
All Avast Paid packages include this one, and it is such a deal-breaker. It allows you to open files and run apps whose security you doubt safely without affecting the overall security of your PC or Mac. It is especially suitable for opening apps downloaded via torrent download platforms. It is especially unique and life-changing for most personal device owners.
- Sensitive data shield
Protecting sensitive documents on your computer has to be your top priority. Most antivirus packages in the market, however, only protect the files you identified as sensitive. Avast, once installed on your device, scans all your files for documents that may include sensitive details of you from CVs to IDs.
It uses a smart scanner that locates Social Security Numbers, Bank account numbers, and any other details that may look sensitive. We especially enjoyed the way it tells you the location of these files, some that you may have forgotten about. It then establishes a shield around them against spyware and brute attacks.
- Passive Mode
We don’t encourage running multiple antivirus software on your phone or computer at the same time, but when one fails, you may not have an option but to switch. While upgrading, you may still need the features of one antivirus hence a reason to keep both.
In such cases, although rare, you can really use the allowance to run both on your device. With Avast Passive mode, you can run any other antivirus package of your choice with Avast on your device.
- It can run alongside another antivirus
- Customizable user interface
- The free version has more useful features
- The Software updater locates and updates apps in your system
- Sandbox helps utilize apps you don’t trust
- Its password manager imports your passwords without authorization
- When installed, it automatically installs Avast secure browser and sets it as default
Despite the number of extras added by the company, its protection against offline and online threats on your device, as well as brute hacks is always the ultimate test of superiority. In labs where Bitdefender 2020 and Avast 2020 were tested concurrently, Bitdefender always came in on top.
AV-Test gave Bitdefender 6 out of 6 in April 2019 while Avast scored only 5.5 Out of 6 in detecting Widespread threats, Zero-day threats, Phishing threats, and network-based attacks. Bitdefender retained the top spot alongside Norton in the AV-Comparatives Real-World Threats test in June 2019 where Avast dropped out of the top 5.
Bitdefender`s superior threat detection means there is hardly any suspicious attack that will go past its web security or its vigilant device monitoring shield. Bitdefender uses a behavior scanner to detect suspicious behavior around apps and files.
Its system is better suited in beating attempted hard breaches compared to Avast. In Out tests, Avast displayed more false positives than Bitdefender. Bitdefender Safe Files, however, denied access to some known trusted apps for files we marked for extra protection.
This has been a concern for Avast customers despite an increase in its market share over the years. While Bitdefender includes a system optimizer that allows the app to adapt to the device and use only available resources, Avast doesn`t do much in terms of improving performance. In our tests, we realized a huge increase in lag time during startup, streaming, and opening vital programs with Avast installed. With Bitdefender, there was hardly any significant increase in lag time even when streaming except when the VPN was activated.
- Package Features
Avast packages increase in price very sharply once you get off the free package and free trial compared to Bitdefender. Bitdefender offers you their licenses at half price, and they become even cheaper if you utilize available coupon codes for their packages.
With Bitdefender, purchasing their top package, Bitdefender Total Protection 2020, or their family package guarantees you access to all features, including parental control. Independent features are more justified, except paying extra for unlimited VPN traffic.
Avast comes with some unique features as well that allow you to walk through known risky ground easily, such as Sandbox and extra premium clean Up. Other Important Packages from Avast also tend to come as independent packages that tend to cost a lot more, such as their Secure Line VPN and their Premium Cleaner.
In 2021, to stay safe whenever you are online, you will have to invest in the best protection package available. Bitdefender and Avast both offer an option to be protected for free, but as our tests proved, it is just not enough.
We tested the various utilities offered by each company to help you justify every penny you spend on your protection with these two antiviruses. This guide will help you choose the best Antivirus between Bitdefender and Avast for your specific needs in 2021.