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TunnelBear vs NordVPN

TunnelBear vs NordVPN: A Comparison in 2024

If you’re caught in two minds between TunnelBear and NordVPN, we’re here to help. In this TunnelBear vs NordVPN comparison, we’ll assess them across different categories to help you discover the best option for your needs.

Wisdom SablahSandra PattisonSimona Ivanovski

Written by Wisdom Sablah (Writer)

Reviewed by Sandra Pattison (Writer, Editor)

Facts checked by Simona Ivanovski (Fact-Checker)

Last Updated: 2024-07-01T12:46:01+00:00

All our content is written fully by humans; we do not publish AI writing. Learn more here.

  • Simple user interface
  • Cheap long-term plans
  • Solid security
  • Extensive security features
  • User-friendly desktop UI
  • Fast download speeds
$3.33 / month(save 66%)(All Plans)
$3.55 / month(save 72%)(All Plans)
Key Takeaways: TunnelBear vs NordVPN
  • The main difference between NordVPN and TunnelBear is that NordVPN is better for many use cases, including streaming, gaming, torrenting, and safe and private browsing. 
  • NordVPN is faster than TunnelBear and has more security features. Unlike TunnelBear, you can use NordVPN on many smart TVs and routers. 
  • If you want a free VPN, choose TunnelBear since its free plan offers access to 47 servers and 2GB of data per month. 

Facts & Expert Analysis About NordVPN vs TunnelBear:

  • NordVPN’s server coverage has increased: Until 2023, NordVPN had servers in nearly 60 countries. However, NordVPN’s server coverage rose to 111 countries by 2024, indicating that the VPN is keen on improving its service.1
  • TunnelBear’s apps will make you smile: TunnelBear has a bear mascot that interacts with you — often humorously — as you use the app. For instance, on TunnelBear’s server maps, countries are represented by honey pots, and when you click on a specific country, the bear moves toward that honey pot.
  • For the best business VPN, consider NordVPN’s sister product: NordLayer — formerly known as NordVPN Teams — is the top choice if you want a VPN for your business, thanks to its flexible user management features and excellent security features. You can learn more in our best business VPNs article.
Best Option

You’re reading the right article if you’re stuck between NordVPN and TunnelBear VPN. NordVPN is one of the best VPN providers, known for its high-level security and privacy features. TunnelBear’s claim to fame is its user-friendly interface and free plan. In this TunnelBear vs NordVPN comparison, we’ll help you decide between the two.

We’ll compare both VPNs across multiple categories based on use cases to help you find the one that best fits your needs. We’ll also highlight TunnelBear’s free plan and reveal whether it’s worth a try. Keep reading this article to learn how TunnelBear and NordVPN stack up against each other. As a heads-up, NordVPN is better than TunnelBear for many use cases.

  • 03/21/2023

    TunnelBear changed its free data amount to 2GB per month, up from 500MB per month.

  • 08/08/2023

    Removed information about TunnelBear’s discontinued Twitter/X promotion.

  • 07/01/2024 Facts checked

    Rewritten to include more categories and focus on which VPN is best for different use cases.

Cloudwards Editor’s Choice: NordVPN Is the Winner

Our VPN experts agree that NordVPN is far better than TunnelBear. It’s faster, has a larger server spread and is better for streaming, secure browsing and torrenting. TunnelBear offers a free plan, but it’s limited. Although TunnelBear is cheaper when you compare prices, NordVPN offers better value for money. Plus, its money-back guarantee is more reliable.

Editor’s Choice

Which Is Better: TunnelBear vs NordVPN?

NordVPN is better than TunnelBear for many use cases. It’s more reliable for browsing securely on public WiFi, unblocking streaming platforms, streaming movies and live sports without lags, and downloading P2P torrents.

Although NordVPN is the better VPN overall, you can consider TunnelBear if you want a free VPN. Its free plan offers access to servers in 47 countries, which is more than most free VPNs provide. It also allows unlimited simultaneous connections, letting you share your subscription with friends and family.

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Who Is TunnelBear For?

  • People who need a free VPN: TunnelBear offers a generous free plan that lets users access servers in 47 countries and use 2GB of data per month. 
  • People on a tight budget: TunnelBear’s plans are generally more affordable than NordVPN’s.
  • Users with multiple devices or shared subscriptions: A TunnelBear subscription offers unlimited simultaneous connections, meaning you can use it on as many devices as you want. 

Who Is NordVPN For?

  • Privacy-focused users wanting to browse safely or evade censorship: NordVPN is one of the most secure VPNs with high-level encryption, a kill switch, dedicated IPs, double VPN and obfuscated servers. 
  • People who need a streaming VPN: Thanks to its fast speeds and reliable unblocking ability, NordVPN can help you enjoy your favorite streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. 
  • Torrent downloaders: NordVPN can help you download torrent files from many popular torrenting sites, including The Pirate Bay, 1337x, YTS and EZTV.

Our Detailed Comparison Methodology

We compared NordVPN and TunnelBear by testing them across different categories: speeds, server network, security features, privacy credentials, streaming ability and torrenting performance. For each category, we checked what each VPN offers and tested those features firsthand.

We also considered the experiences of our VPN experts who have previously reviewed these VPNs. We divided our findings into two broad sections: similarities and differences.  

NordVPN vs TunnelBear: Comparison at a Glance

$3.33 / month(All Plans)$3.55 / month(All Plans) 30-days money-back guarantee
Payment methodsCredit cardPayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, Cash
Accepts cryptocurrency
Simultaneous connections Unlimited 10
Supports split tunneling
Unlimited bandwidth
Free trial available7 days on mobile
Refund period30 days
Worldwide server amount47 countries5,800 servers in 60 countries
Desktop OSesWindows, MacOSWindows, MacOS, Linux
Mobile OSesAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOS
Browser extensionsChrome, Firefox, EdgeChrome, Firefox, Edge
Can be installed on routers
Can access Netflix US
Can access BBC iPlayer
Can access Hulu
Can access Amazon Prime Video
Encryption types256-AES256-AES, ChaCha20
VPN protocols availableIPSec, OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuardOpenVPN, IKEv2, NordLynx
Enabled at device startup
Allows torrenting
No-logging policy
Passed DNS leak test
Killswitch available
Malware/ad blocker included
Live Chat24/7
Email support24/724/7
Phone support
User forum

TunnelBear Key Features:

  • Free plan: TunnelBear’s free plan offers 2GB of monthly data and access to 47 servers. 
  • Unlimited device connections: You can use a TunnelBear subscription on unlimited devices. 
  • Cheap plans: TunnelBear’s monthly, yearly and three-year plans are relatively cheap. 
  • Good security features: TunnelBear is a secure VPN with vital security features, including AES encryption, a kill switch and leak protection. 

NordVPN Key Features:

  • Excellent security features: NordVPN protects user traffic with basic and advanced VPN security features, such as AES encryption, a kill switch, dedicated IPs, double VPN and obfuscated servers. 
  • Fast speeds: NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the market, with high download and upload speeds as well as low latency. 
  • Reliable streaming performance: NordVPN can unblock all the major streaming services, including Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, Max and Amazon Prime Video.
  • Privacy-focused service: NordVPN sticks to a strict no-logs policy. It’s also based in the privacy-friendly country of Panama, and it runs on RAM-only servers. 
  • Apps and configurations: NordVPN has apps for all four major operating systems: Windows, Android, iOS and macOS. It also supports many router and smart TV models. 
  • Responsive customer support: NordVPN’s agents are reasonably fast and responsive, whether you contact them through email or live chat. 

TunnelBear vs NordVPN: Similarities

TunnelBear and NordVPN share some common features: encryption, a kill switch, split tunneling and similar logging policies. Let’s explore each of those categories. 

Encryption & VPN Protocols

Encryption refers to how a VPN scrambles your internet traffic. NordVPN and TunnelBear support AES encryption and ChaCha20, two ciphers that are nearly impossible to crack. Both VPN services pair AES encryption with OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, while ChaCha20 works with WireGuard and NordVPN’s NordLynx.

nordvpn protocols
NordVPN offers NordLynx and OpenVPN (TCP/UDP) on its Windows app.

NordVPN and TunnelBear will automatically select your protocol, but you can change it depending on your needs. If you read our VPN protocol guide, you’ll notice that a VPN protocol determines the security and speed of a VPN connection. 

OpenVPN is often the go-to option since it provides a good mix of speed and security. If you want fast speeds, we recommend WireGuard. NordVPN offers NordLynx, a proprietary version of WireGuard, and it’s also very fast. IKEv2 works best with mobile networks since it’s swift to reconnect when your network fluctuates.

Kill Switch

NordVPN and TunnelBear each offer a kill switch to prevent data leaks if your VPN disconnects unexpectedly. A VPN can disconnect from a server for various reasons, including an unstable internet connection as well as server timeouts or failures.

TunnelBear calls its kill switch “VigilantBear.” Like NordVPN’s version, this kill switch is system-wide, preventing your entire device from connecting to the internet without an active VPN connection. In addition to a system-wide kill switch, NordVPN offers an app-level kill switch, which lets you restrict the feature’s effect to specific apps.

Split Tunneling

NordVPN and TunnelBear both offer split tunneling, which lets you route part of your traffic through the VPN while the other part accesses the internet directly. We recommend using split tunneling if you need VPN protection for sensitive activities like torrenting, but not for all your traffic. That way, you can enjoy two IP addresses and fast speeds.

NordVPN supports app-based split tunneling, meaning you can decide which apps go through the VPN tunnel and which don’t. You can use NordVPN’s split tunneling on Windows, Android and Android TVs. 

nordvpn split tunneling
NordVPN offers app-based split tunneling on Windows,
Android and Android TVs.

TunnelBear supports app-based and website-based split tunneling, but it varies depending on the operating system. Both forms of split tunneling are available on Windows devices. You can use split tunneling with websites on TunnelBear’s iOS and macOS apps, but not on others. On Android, TunnelBear only offers app-based split tunneling.

Logging Policy & Audits

In their privacy policies, both NordVPN and TunnelBear state that they don’t log sensitive user information like your IP address, connection timestamps and browsing activity. That way, even if hackers break into the VPNs’ servers, they can’t piece data together to track you. In addition, if authorities subpoena them, they won’t have any data on you to share.

tunnelbear privacy policy
TunnelBear’s privacy policy states that it doesn’t log sensitive user information. 

However, it’s one thing to claim a no-logs policy and another to abide by it. To confirm if a VPN service sticks to its word, we check if it has any history of sharing sensitive user information and if the logging policy has been audited. Fortunately, neither NordVPN nor TunnelBear is on record for sharing sensitive user data with authorities or third parties.

Both VPNs have also been audited multiple times. PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte — two reputed auditing firms — have verified NordVPN’s logging policy four times. Cure53 has audited TunnelBear and given it the thumbs-up seven times. While we’d like to see another auditing firm review TunnelBear’s systems, we are impressed by its consistent security audits.

NordVPN lends credence to its no-logs policy by running RAM-only servers. This means that any user data that the VPN has is wiped away each time the servers reboot. Unfortunately, TunnelBear doesn’t use RAM-only servers. 

NordVPN vs TunnelBear: Differences

In this section, we’ll reveal the areas where NordVPN and TunnelBear differ. To give you a quick summary, the VPNs vary regarding their supported apps and platforms, speeds, pricing and plans, server networks, streaming performances, advanced security and privacy features, and customer support.

Apps & Configurations

NordVPN is the better pick if you want a VPN that supports more operating systems. Both VPNs have apps for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Neither has a graphical user interface (GUI) for Linux, but they do offer instructions for manual configuration. Consider Surfshark or PIA if you need a GUI app for Linux.

NordVPN and TunnelBear each have browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Edge. However, if you want to use a VPN for your smart TV, NordVPN is the better option. Unlike TunnelBear, NordVPN has native apps for Android TV as well as Apple TV HD and 4K.

nordvpn apple tvos
NordVPN has a native app for tvOS and Apple TV.

You can set up NordVPN on any router that supports OpenVPN, including those with DD-WRT, Tomato, OpenWRT and Merlin firmware. Setting up NordVPN on a router will let you enjoy the VPN on devices that the VPN doesn’t support, such as Xbox, Kindle Fire, PlayStation and Oculus Quest. Unfortunately, TunnelBear doesn’t offer configurations to set it up on routers.


NordVPN is faster than TunnelBear, whether you’re considering download speeds, upload speeds or latency. NordVPN’s fast speeds mean you can browse, stream, make video calls and play online games without worrying about lags, slow loading times and buffering wheels.

NordVPN isn’t just faster than TunnelBear; it’s actually the fastest VPN on the market. In our VPN speed test, NordVPN kept 90% of our unprotected internet speed worldwide. This indicates that NordVPN’s impact on download speed is almost negligible. In contrast, TunnelBear kept around 75% of our initial speeds.

Similarly, NordVPN’s upload speeds are better than TunnelBear’s. While TunnelBear maintained close to 75% of our starting upload speeds, NordVPN preserved around 90%. If you upload content often, whether as a social media content creator or a cloud-dependent remote worker, NordVPN’s stable upload speeds will spare you long upload times.

Latency measures how long it takes your device to send a data packet and receive a response. It’s especially important for playing online games that may produce lags. Again, NordVPN yields fewer lags compared to TunnelBear, especially in nearby locations. This makes NordVPN the better choice if you want to play online games like League of Legends or Fortnite.

Free Plan

NordVPN doesn’t have a free plan, but you can use TunnelBear without paying a dime. TunnelBear’s free plan lets you access all 47 of its servers, which is a lot for a free VPN. However, unlike paying customers, free TunnelBear users can only select countries, not specific servers.

tunnelbear free plan
TunnelBear’s free plan includes 2GB of free monthly data. 

TunnelBear offers 2GB of free data each month. This could suffice for casual browsing, but it’s not enough for bandwidth-demanding activities like streaming and gaming. TunnelBear’s free plan supports torrenting, but it doesn’t unblock Netflix and other streaming services. Learn how TunnelBear’s free plan compares with other free services in our article on the best free VPNs.



TunnelBear is generally more affordable than NordVPN. Its monthly rate is $9.99, while NordVPN’s monthly plan costs $12.99. TunnelBear is also cheaper on the annual plan: $4.99 compared to NordVPN’s $4.99. However, NordVPN adds three free months to its yearly and two-year plans.

Unlike TunnelBear, NordVPN offers a two-year plan, which costs $3.55 monthly. TunnelBear’s longest plan is the three-year plan, priced at $3.33 per month.

TunnelBear also offers a plan for teams, starting at $5.75 per month. However, if you want a VPN for your business, NordLayer — NordVPN’s sister product — is more expensive but offers better security features and customization options. Read our best VPNs for business piece to learn about NordLayer and other excellent business VPNs.

Monthly plan$12.99$9.99
One-year plan$4.99 per month$4.99 per month
Two-year plan$3.55 per monthN/A
Three-year planN/A$3.33 per month
Money-Back Guarantee

A refund window is useful because it helps you test a VPN without losing money. NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test any of their plans. This means that it will return your money if you request a refund within 30 days. We have tested this refund policy multiple times over the years and can confirm that NordVPN sticks to its money-back guarantee.

In contrast, TunnelBear doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee. We suppose this is because it has a free plan, which you can use to test its service. However, TunnelBear’s free plan is limited and might not give you a proper feel for the paid service. TunnelBear says it will consider refunds on a case-by-case basis, but it sounds like a long shot.

Simultaneous Connections

You can use your NordVPN subscription on up to 10 devices. This should be enough for small households. However, if you need more device connections, TunnelBear is a better option. It offers unlimited simultaneous connections, meaning you can share your TunnelBear subscription with limitless devices.

Streaming Performance

If you want a streaming VPN, choose NordVPN over TunnelBear. In our tests, NordVPN unblocked all the major streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Max, Peacock TV, Disney Plus and BBC iPlayer. NordVPN is also one of the best streaming VPNs because its fast speeds ensure high-quality streams, whether in HD or 4K.

nordvpn streaming
NordVPN can unblock Netflix’s U.S. library and help you stream buffer-free. 

Unfortunately, TunnelBear couldn’t unblock many streaming services, including Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and BBC iPlayer. We tried multiple servers but to no avail. 

The streaming services likely noticed that we were using a VPN because of TunnelBear’s IPs and blocked us. That can happen since services often monitor IP addresses and flag those with high volumes. They also keep a database of known VPN IP addresses. We did have some luck with Max and Peacock, although we experienced lags. 


If you want a VPN to download torrents, opt for NordVPN. In our tests, NordVPN allowed us to download torrents from many torrenting sites, including EZTV and YTS. The downloads were impressively fast, and it’s no surprise that NordVPN is one of our best VPNs for torrenting. We couldn’t download any torrents while connected to TunnelBear’s servers. 

Server List

NordVPN has a larger server network than TunnelBear, thanks to its network of over 6,000 servers in 111 countries. On the other hand, TunnelBear offers 5,000 servers in 47 countries. You need a VPN with a large server network if you want to have multiple IP address options and reduce the chances of server overload.

Thanks to its massive server spread, NordVPN has servers in more countries than TunnelBear on all continents. Unlike TunnelBear, NordVPN provides servers in the following countries: Costa Rica, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Estonia, Iceland, Albania, Croatia, Georgia, North Macedonia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, the UAE, Israel and Turkey.

Dedicated IP Addresses

NordVPN offers dedicated IP addresses, while TunnelBear only offers shared IPs. You need dedicated IPs for avoiding repeated verification requests like CAPTCHAs, skipping blocklists and accessing sensitive websites such as banking sites.

NordVPN provides dedicated IPs in the U.S., the U.K., the Netherlands, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Sweden, Australia, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Singapore, Ireland and Austria. 

Double VPN

NordVPN has double VPN servers, but TunnelBear doesn’t. Also known as multi-hop, a double VPN is an advanced security feature that sends traffic through two VPN servers instead of one. As we explain in our breakdown of double VPNs, routing traffic through two servers adds another layer of encryption and makes it harder for snoopers to know your original IP address.

The side-effect of double VPNs is that they can slow down your connection. We recommend using them only if you’re a journalist, activist or someone who needs to avoid government surveillance and censorship. NordVPN has many double VPN server pairs with exit nodes in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, France, Taiwan, Sweden, Hong Kong, the Netherlands and Switzerland.


NordVPN and TunnelBear both offer obfuscation, which makes your VPN traffic seem like regular internet traffic. As a result, your VPN use is less detectable to VPN-blocking firewalls and is helpful if you’re browsing in countries with strict internet censorship.

We prefer NordVPN’s obfuscation over TunnelBear’s mainly because NordVPN is easier to use and available on more devices. NordVPN offers multiple obfuscated servers in many countries, including Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy and the Netherlands, and it’s available on all of its apps.

tunnelbear ghostbear
To enjoy obfuscation on TunnelBear, activate the button under GhostBear. 

TunnelBear’s obfuscation is available on Windows, macOS (v4) and Android, but not on iOS or macOS (v5). You can activate it by clicking the “GhostBear” button in the “settings” tab.

5/9/14 Eyes

As an added privacy benefit, it’s good if a VPN is based outside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. We have written about how the Five Eyes Alliance works, but the main point is that it’s a data-sharing arrangement between countries that allows them to conduct surveillance and share information.

NordVPN is in Panama, a privacy-friendly jurisdiction outside the 5/9/14 Eyes alliance. Panama has no mandatory data retention laws that force VPNs to collect data. 

TunnelBear is based in Canada, which is part of the Five Eyes Alliance. Though it’s a long shot, your information could be shared across countries. However, if the VPN doesn’t log your data, there’s nothing to worry about.

Customer Support

A VPN must have good customer support to assist you when you hit a snag or have questions. Based on our checks and experience, NordVPN provides better customer support than TunnelBear. NordVPN’s knowledgebase is more detailed and comprehensive, and it’s filled with FAQs, troubleshooting guides and setup guides.

If you need to talk with a human agent, NordVPN is still the better option. Its email support agents respond within 24 hours of receiving a query. TunnelBear’s agents will usually respond in about three to four days. Plus, you’ll have to log in to your TunnelBear account to send a ticket. You must also answer some questions and attach a screenshot.

tunnelbear contact support agents
To send a ticket to TunnelBear, you must first answer some questions. 

Unfortunately, TunnelBear doesn’t offer live chat support. On the other hand, NordVPN has responsive live chat support. You’ll have to interact with the chatbot first, but you can type “live agent” to skip the chatbot. In our experience, NordVPN’s live agents are courteous and responsive. 

The Verdict: Why We Think NordVPN Wins Overall

NordVPN is generally better than TunnelBear because it has more features and better performance. It has a larger server spread, faster speeds, and more advanced security and privacy features. In addition, NordVPN is better at unblocking streaming platforms and downloading torrents.

Unlike NordVPN, TunnelBear offers a free plan that gives access to 47 servers and 2GB of data per month. However, you can use NordVPN free for 30 days, thanks to its dependable 30-day money-back guarantee. In addition, although TunnelBear offers unlimited simultaneous connections, you can also use NordVPN on unlimited devices when you install it on a router.

Did you learn something new in this NordVPN vs TunnelBear comparison? Which section surprised you the most? Which of them are you likely to use? Do you have any further questions or VPNs you’d like us to review? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below. As always, thanks for reading.

If You Want to Consider Other Services, Check Out…

  • ExpressVPN: ExpressVPN offers better all-around features and performance, whether it’s for unblocking streaming sites or browsing in restrictive countries.
  • Surfshark: Surfshark is more affordable than NordVPN and TunnelBear on its long-term plans. 
  • Windscribe: This free VPN offers 10GB of data per month and lets you access 11 servers. 
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FAQ: NordVPN vs TunnelBear

  • NordVPN is better than TunnelBear for many use cases, such as ensuring secure and private browsing, unblocking streaming services, torrenting and streaming without lags.

  • ExpressVPN is generally better than NordVPN because its security features are built into all of its servers, and it’s easier to use.

  • NordVPN is one of the best VPNs, thanks to its large server network, fast speeds and excellent security features.

  • TunnelBear is good if you want a free VPN or a VPN for secure browsing. However, it’s not suitable for streaming or torrenting.


  1. NordVPN – Over 6,000 best VPN servers worldwide
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