Bitdefender and Avira are our two top antivirus choices, and as far as our reviews go, they are among the best antivirus software choices currently in the market. They hit top marks in almost every category, making it difficult for users to choose between them. To help you, we’re testing Bitdefender and Avira to see who comes out on top.
Before you read on, it might be worth looking at our separate Bitdefender review and Avira review. This will give you a clearer idea about each antivirus, letting you explore their pros and cons before running through this Bitdefender vs. Avira head-to-head.
Setting Up a Fight: Bitdefender vs Avira
Our comparison testing will be a little different from our individual antivirus reviews. We’ll compare both antiviruses in the same five categories as our separate reviews, starting with features before moving on to pricing, user-friendliness, protection and customer support.
If you need a quick answer, we’ll provide a short roundup and decide on a winner at the end of each category. Each category gets a point, and the first to earn three or more points is the overall champion.
Choosing an antivirus that will only protect against viruses is fine, but viruses aren’t the only cyber threats out there. A bare-bones antivirus won’t protect you against phishing, nor will it secure your entire network against hacking attempts.
That’s why it’s important to look at the features both Bitdefender and Avira offer to customers, which is what we’re going to do in this round.
Bitdefender is one of our favorite antiviruses and is currently our top recommendation. It’s one of the most secure antivirus software options for users out there, partly thanks to the range of features it offers.
Bitdefender is, at its core, a top antivirus with extensive malware and ransomware protection. It will defend you against the newest, most elaborate malware, thanks to its “advanced threat defense” that monitors and blocks suspicious activity.
Malware protection isn’t the only trick up Bitdefender’s sleeve, however. It comes as a wide security suite, with microphone and webcam protection, along with anti-tracking protection and overall web-filtering extensions.
You can also take advantage of a WiFi scanner to search your network for any obvious vulnerabilities that you can fix. There’s also a scanner for your PC that looks for insecure software.
If you’re worried about identity theft, Bitdefender includes a sandboxed browser so you can safely browse the net. Bitdefender Safepay runs completely isolated: It’s a separate browser with a virtual keyboard to bypass any potential keyloggers storing your passwords.
Safepay is ideal if you want to be safe logging into your bank or if you’re shopping online. Bitdefender combines Safepay with a free VPN service, although it has a 200MB limit. Because it isn’t a full VPN — and VPNs aren’t Bitdefender’s focus — it won’t compare well to the best VPN providers (read our Bitdefender VPN review).
Instead, the data cap makes it a good match against free VPN services. If you need better VPN protection, ExpressVPN would be a strong alternative (see our ExpressVPN review).
Bitdefender’s included password manager combines well with Safepay. Again, like Bitdefender’s VPN, it’s a good option to include, but it won’t match a top-tier password manager like Dashlane (see our Dashlane review).
Bitdefender tries to be the only security suite you’ll need. Additional features, like file encryption and anti-theft protection, are good extras. As one of the top choices on our best antivirus for Android list, Bitdefender is a good option for Android users, but it also supports Mac and iOS, too.
Like Bitdefender, Avira isn’t just a basic antivirus. It utilizes the full selection of security products on offer and, in many cases, bundles these alongside some of its free or premium products.
Avira Prime, the “all-in-one” solution, is at the top of the pile for potential Avira customers, giving full access to its premium products. Antivirus Pro and other Avira products also offer access to Avira tools, but some of these may well be the more-limited versions.
Avira Prime combines various other Avira products, but Antivirus Pro is its main offering. Antivirus Pro is Avira’s real-time protection against malware, ranking well against Bitdefender’s own protection.
Avira also offers a system clean-up tool to reduce any system inefficiencies and a software scanner to identify any outdated (and therefore risky) software and update them.
Avira also offers security protection for your online shopping. Avira’s Privacy Pal will restrict hundreds of different hidden privacy settings to limit your online tracking. You can also try Phantom VPN, which Avira Prime subscribers have unlimited use of.
Phantom VPN Pro is better than Bitdefender’s capped offering, but it still isn’t in the same league as top VPN alternatives, like NordVPN (see our NordVPN review).
There’s also a password manager similar to Bitdefender’s own offering, as well as security for Android and iOS mobile devices to block certain malicious websites and callers.
Avira might expect you to pay a little more for some of the more advanced features, but many of the “premium” features, like Phantom VPN, are offered for free, but with limitations. This means you can test-run many of the Avira features you’re curious about without needing to pay upfront.
Round One Thoughts
It was always going to be a tough comparison between Bitdefender and Avira. They are filled with advanced features that make them both competitive security suites, with top antivirus protection at the center. There isn’t much to separate the two here, making this round a draw.
If you’ve decided to pay for an antivirus, you need to make sure you’re getting a fair price for its features and quality.
Bitdefender and Avira both offer free products, but it’s the “premium” packages that interest us, so we’ve mostly skipped the Bitdefender free vs Avira free debate. With that in mind, let’s compare the pricing packages that these companies offer.
New customers are going to benefit the most from Bitdefender’s price plans. There are large discounts — up to around 50 percent — on plans covering three devices.
There are four plans for customers, and the price you pay will depend on the number of devices you’re looking to cover, as well as the length of your coverage, up to three years.
- Unlimited devices, malware protection
- Three devices, password manager, file shredder, ransomware remediation & phishing protection
- Three devices, parental control, file encryption, firewall, webcam protection
- Five devices, multi-platform, device optimizer
- 10 devices, priority support, unlimited VPN traffic
At the bottom end is Bitdefender Antivirus Plus. It lacks some of the most premium features on offer in the higher-end packages, like webcam and anti-theft protection. It’s also not available on Mac, as it’s a Windows-only package.
For new members, Antivirus Plus is available for around $40 per year for three devices, or $59.99 per year, if you don’t have the new customer discount applied.
The near-full selection of premium features is also available in Bitdefender Internet Security, the next tier up from Antivirus Plus. This has a great discount for new customers, costing $44.99 per year for three-device coverage, which goes up to $79.99 per year without the discount.
Mac, Android and iOS users will need to upgrade to the Bitdefender Total Security subscription, instead. Bitdefender is one of our choices as the best antivirus for Mac, so if you’re a Mac user, it’s definitely worth considering paying the extra $5 per year for Total Security vs. Internet Security, if you’re a new customer.
Most packages offer coverage from one to 10 devices, but Total Security is more limited, with plans that cover five or 10 devices, instead. If you’re protecting a big family with a large number of devices, you’ll need the Bitdefender Family Pack.
The Family Pack covers 15 devices and comes with a large discount for new customers: $59.99 per year for the first year, then $119.99 per year after that.
Avira has a similar pricing method to Bitdefender, with customers able to choose the number of devices to cover, from one to five, or unlimited device coverage with an Avira Prime subscription.
- Unlimited devices, startup optimizer, disk cleaner, password manager
- One device, real-time protection, phishing, ransomware
- One device, program optimizer, cloud protection, automatic software updater
- Five devices, VIP support, disk cleaner, mobile apps
You can pay monthly or save money by paying for coverage from one to three years. There are no generous discounts for new customers, but the prices are similar to Bitdefender’s undiscounted pricing, with some fluctuation.
Bitdefender doesn’t provide a monthly subscription, so it’s good to see Avira offering this. Avira Antivirus Pro, the cheapest Avira plan, is $57.99 per year, covering three devices.
Avira’s cheapest plan costs $20 more than Bitdefender Antivirus Pro, if you have the Bitdefender new-customer promotional rate. However, the Avira Antivirus Pro plan is $2 cheaper than Bitdefender’s non-promotional price.
Avira Internet Security Suite is on par with Bitdefender Internet Security. It comes with a few more additional premium features — including Avira Password Manager Pro and Software Updater Pro — and costs around $70 per year.
This is around $10 cheaper than Bitdefender’s Internet Security if you don’t have a new user discount, or around $26 more expensive if you do have one.
Avira Prime is the ultimate Avira package, with all the premium features included, and it matches up well to Bitdefender Total Security and the Bitdefender Family Pack.
The Avira Prime option that covers five devices for $99.99 per year is $10 more than Bitdefender’s undiscounted Total Security, or $55 more expensive than the discounted Total Security.
The better value is Avira Prime with unlimited device coverage at $129.99 per year. It’s $10 per year more than the undiscounted Bitdefender Family Pack, but Avira offers unlimited devices, rather than Bitdefender’s 15 devices.
Avira is priced extremely well for the coverage and features, and monthly packages make it a more affordable option for customers. Only AVG offers a monthly plan with a similar feature set and reputation (see our AVG review).
Round Two Thoughts
Again, with good feature sets and competitive pricing, both Avira and Bitdefender have something for everyone. Avira’s monthly plans make it a more affordable option, but Bitdefender trumps this with significant discounts for new customers. With the discounted pricing plans, Bitdefender beats Avira to an overall win on pricing.
3. User Friendliness
Antivirus customers need great protection, but they need to be able to understand and use the software they’ve purchased. User-friendliness is important; if you can’t navigate your antivirus in a crisis, you’re in trouble.
We’re going to see whether Bitdefender or Avira is more user-friendly in this comparison round. We’ll start with the installation process before exploring the clients of both software.
The Bitdefender installation process is pretty simple and quick, although not the quickest, as our Webroot SecureAnywhere review will show.
With a good internet connection, you can download and install Bitdefender in around 10 to 15 minutes. It has a large installation file (approximately 500MB), but much of the installation is automated and requires little user interaction.
The Bitdefender client starts with a central dashboard area. This is where common Bitdefender features, like quick antivirus scanning, can be quickly accessed. You can customize your dashboard with common features, like Safepay, if you’d prefer.
Accessing other areas, like your privacy features, is easy from the left-side menu. Bitdefender tries to automate things as much as possible, but you will see reminders or warnings pop up from time to time in the taskbar. It might, for instance, encourage you to use premium features like Safepay when you’re visiting your online banking website.
Any alerts or warnings can be muted from within Bitdefender’s settings area, which you can also access with ease from the left-side menu. If you need to mute or alter your settings for certain environments (like when you’re working or gaming), you can use custom profiles.
The settings area is helpful, with useful tips included. If you’re unsure about anything, click the question mark icon found above each area.
The Bitdefender client offers a good balance between giving the customer lots of choices to customize their Bitdefender installation while making sure that beginners aren’t overwhelmed.
The installation file for Avira is smaller than Bitdefender (177MB vs. 500MB). The installer is fluid and well designed, but you’ll need to confirm a few additional choices, compared to the Bitdefender installation.
Avira will customize and configure itself, depending on the product subscription you have. If you’re subscribed to a more expensive Avira package, like Internet Security or Prime, you’ll have a separate dashboard area that will give you easy access to all of your other Avira products.
For instance, Avira Prime users will see Antivirus Pro as part of their subscription, alongside a list of other products like Phantom VPN Pro. If you’re subscribed to Avira Antivirus Pro, you’ll only have access to the antivirus client.
The Antivirus Pro client is easy to understand with its clear side menu. The “status” area shows the current status of your protection, including ransomware and web protection, with an option to quickly scan your PC.
Additional features, like your network firewall, can be accessed from the secondary menu under “modules.” These sections come with helpful tips to explain the purpose of each feature.
Avira doesn’t overload you with unnecessary features or settings. Like Bitdefender, a simple interface takes priority, but you can customize your antivirus by clicking the gear icon in the bottom-left.
The settings area isn’t the easiest to understand, but it is extensive. There are links to information guides for certain settings, like “What is Protection Cloud?”. You can also hover over settings and see an explanation in the “description” box at the bottom.
Avira’s clean appearance hides a powerful antivirus underneath and, like Bitdefender, how you use the client is up to you. Most users won’t need to head far past the “quick scan” mode, but if you need to, you can customize your protection with ease.
Round Three Thoughts
As you’d expect from these top antiviruses, user-friendliness is exceptionally important, and there isn’t much space between them. Both Bitdefender and Avira offer easy-to-use clients, but with plenty of options to configure settings how you want them.
You don’t buy antiviruses for how good they look. Protection is everything, and if your antivirus software isn’t up to the task, you’re at risk.
We’re going to use the independent reports from three security testing labs to compare the protection on offer from both Bitdefender and Avira in this round.
Bitdefender did well in AV-Test’s protection testing from May-June 2019. Although scores dropped a little from its previous tests, it still did well, with an overall score of 5.5 out of a maximum of 6.
There was a similar drop in Bitdefender’s performance-percentage scores, but the overall score remained 6 out of 6.
In AV Comparatives’ February-May 2019 scoring, Bitdefender did extremely well. Out of 752 samples, 751 were detected and blocked, with an overall 99.9-percent success rate. AV Comparatives’ performance testing also went well for Bitdefender, gaining AV Comparatives’ highest Advanced+ award.
This puts Bitdefender in the same category as ESET NOD32 (see our Bitdefender vs. ESET NOD32 comparison and our ESET NOD32 review).
At MRG Effitas, Bitdefender scored well in its Q2 2019 full-spectrum testing. From a sample size of 398, Bitdefender has a 100-percent success rate, earning it MRG Effitas’ highest Level 1 “certified” score, matching Kaspersky (see our Kaspersky Anti-Virus review).
In AV-Test’s May-June 2019 test for Avira, protection scores effectively matched Bitdefender’s, with an overall protection score of 5.5 out of 10. Performance scores were also 5.5 out of 6, which was a little lower than Bitdefender’s score of 6.
AV-Comparatives’ testing for Avira from February-May 2019 was better than Bitdefender, however. Out of the 752 samples, all 752 were blocked, a score that only Kaspersky Anti-Virus managed to match.
Performance scores were a little worse for Avira in AV-Comparatives’ April 2019 testing. Out of 14 antiviruses, Avira scored 13 out of 14 for overall impact. Only Microsoft’s Windows Defender did worse (see our Bitdefender vs Windows Defender comparison). It was awarded the mid-tier “advanced” award, overall.
MRG Effitas’ full-spectrum testing from Q2 2019 showed a nearly perfect score for Avira. Out of 398 samples, 397 were blocked, giving an overall success rate of 99.74 percent. This was still good enough for MRG Effitas to award Avira their Level 1 “certified” score to match Bitdefender.
Round Four Thoughts
Protection scores for Bitdefender and Avira were both extremely high and very similar. Each had only one or two missed scores, making it difficult to place a winner on either side. This round is a draw, overall.
If you’re paying for antivirus protection, you should expect high-quality customer support. We’re going to make sure Bitdefender and Avira offer you the right level of customer support in this round.
As you’d expect from an international business like Bitdefender, there are a lot of worldwide support options for customers. To begin with, there are 16 regional phone lines available to customers in almost every continent.
If phone support isn’t for you, you can speak to support staff over live chat instead, or you can submit support queries through email. Support is available 24/7 for customers.
Common customer issues can be answered with guides from the knowledgebase. The guides are simple but come with useful instructions, images and videos to help guide customers through their issues.
You can also take advantage of the free support offered via the support forum, where other customers and staff will answer your questions.
As our original Avira review explains, the real letdown for Avira was the inconsistency in its customer support.
It does a lot of things right, with an extensive knowledgebase and a helpful YouTube channel, with how-to guides and tips in multiple languages. The knowledgebase includes FAQs and guides explaining how to deal with certain errors or issues.
Exploring both the knowledgebase and YouTube channel is difficult, and you will need to carefully search through to find the content you want. Like Bitdefender, there’s also a community forum for customers to post any questions they have, with Avira staff and other customers responding.
If you need direct support, you can take advantage of phone and email support in multiple languages. This is only available for “premium” customers, and you’ll first need to sign in to verify this.
Round Five Thoughts
Avira has good customer support, with extensive guides and a range of support methods. While Avira’s is good, though, Bitdefender’s is better, with clear guides, a more active forum, and a wider range of phone support options for customers.
6. Final Thoughts
We’re big fans of both Bitdefender and Avira at Cloudwards.net, and this comparison was always going to be tough to call. There’s barely anything between these antivirus companies when we look at the user-friendliness and overall quality of protection.
Avira and Bitdefender are both great to use, and you’ll have a great experience, whichever antivirus software you choose. However, Bitdefender’s extensive discounts for new customers and better customer support push Bitdefender slightly ahead.
That’s why Bitdefender remains our top choice and our overall winner in this comparison.
Avira and Bitdefender are both top-tier products, but if you’re looking for a different option, you can check out our antivirus articles for other comparisons, reviews and roundups. Let us know your thoughts below, and thanks for reading.