(Last updated on January 12th, 2021)
Bitdefender or McAfee, which antivirus software wins in 2021?
Our experts have put together this comprehensive, data-driven Bitdefender versus McAfee comparison to help you make an informed decision.
These days, it’s imperative to have reliable antivirus protection for your devices (computers, in particular) to protect yourself from a range of threats that plague the internet.
In 2018 alone, over 800 million new malware samples were surfaced by hackers. Another statistic says that over 8 million devices that got infected with malware across the US in 2018. These numbers are only getting bigger and bigger each year.
Even big companies aren’t safe anymore. For instance, over 3 billion Yahoo accounts were recently hacked by those seeking personal information and financial credentials. Uber lost the data of over 57 million riders to hackers in 2016 alone.
So how do you protect your devices from widespread malware attacks?
When it comes to digital security and privacy, you get what you pay for. You can’t rely on outdated, free antivirus software to get by any longer. We recommend investing in a full-blown security package, like Norton – which is our recommended antivirus suite for 2021 – for top-drawer security and complete peace of mind.
But how can you know which antivirus to trust? We can help with that; down below we’ve compared two of the best antivirus software companies on the market: Bitdefender and McAfee. We’ll show you what each can offer and make recommendations based on their capabilities.
Editor’s Note: We have spent over 150 hours examining all the top antivirus software out there, so you can get the best antivirus product for yourself and those you love.
At the moment, we think that Norton is the best antivirus software available in the market. It offers exceptional anti-malware security with minimal impact on system performance, as evidenced by the recent independent lab tests conducted by the AV-Test Institute.
Currently, Norton is offering an exclusive 70% discount to our readers for a limited time, so grab your copy of Norton before the sale ends.
Best Antivirus Software for 2021
- Unbeatable anti-malware protection
- Minimal system impact
- Exceptional value for money
- Recommended by PC Mag, CNET & TechRadar
- 100% virus protection promise
- 60-day risk-free money-back guarantee
Breakdown of this Comparison
- Anti-malware Protection
- Impact on System Speed
- Customer Ratings
If you’re in a hurry, take a look at our quick rundown below to find out who wins in each category.
Comparison at a Glance
Here’s what we will consider in this Bitdefender versus McAfee comparison.
Features… Bitdefender provides a more comprehensive set of features in its products.
Anti-malware protection… Bitdefender is outstanding in terms of malware protection, as seen in separate tests from two independent organizations.
Impact on system performance… Both companies are good at running alongside standard computer processes and won’t strain your system’s resources.
Interface… Bitdefender’s interface allows for more user customizations and is more streamlined.
Pricing… Bitdefender offers more licenses for less money at almost every tier of coverage, providing more bang for your buck.
Popularity… McAfee holds a larger market share than its rival, according to an independent source.
Customer Ratings… No winners here as independent review websites that measure customer satisfaction vary in their preference between Bitdefender and McAfee.
Bitdefender’s better interface, more generous license-to-dollar ratio and better features combine to make it a more comprehensive choice than McAfee.
2021’s Top Antivirus Picks
#1 (Best Overall)
- Extensive feature-set
- Award-winning malware protection
- Minimal system impact
- competitive pricing structure
- Intuitive user interface
- 100% virus protection promise
- 60-day money-back guarantee
#2 (Very Good)
- Robust Feature-set
- Excellent Anti-malware security
- Zero System Slowdowns
- Exceptional Value for Money
- Intuitive User Interface
#3 (Very Good)
- Impressive Feature-set
- Good malware protection
- Value for Money
Now, let’s dig into the details.
Let’s see the features both Bitdefender and McAfee offer in their security products and how they differ from one another.
Bitdefender offers a comprehensive line-up of security products, with the best features coming with the more premium packages.
Bitdefender Free Edition is the company’s freeware for the Windows platform. It protects against different types of digital threats, but you won’t find any advanced features or utilities integrated into the product.
Next up is another Windows-only product, called Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2021. This elementary software package offers top-notch malware protection along with a bunch of advanced features, including:
- Vulnerability Scanner – scans your network security for outdated software and other security flaws.
- Password Manager – collects and protects your password and login details from theft or misuse.
- Limited VPN – allows temporary anonymity for you while browsing online.
- File Shredder Tool – helps securely delete your sensitive files.
- Anti-Fraud feature – protects against malicious/phishing websites.
The next tier is Bitdefender Internet Security 2021. This brings everything that Bitdefender offers with its elementary package and adds on a few more advanced features:
- Two-Way Firewall – monitors your network and blocks any cyber threats.
- File Vault feature – an encryption utility for the protection of sensitive data.
- Limited Parental Controls – tracks your kid’s online behavior and blocks access to age-inappropriate content.
- Webcam and Microphone Monitor – restricts access to camera and microphone from apps and saves you from spyware activities.
Bitdefender Total Security 2021 is the company’s full-blown security package. It is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, and protects up to 5 devices with the option to add more. The suite comes with everything found in the “Internet Security” suite, plus:
- Multi-layer Ransomware Protection – keeps your personal data such as documents, pictures, and videos safe from misuse.
- Anti-Theft module – helps locate your lost or stolen devices
- Optimization Tools – reorganize your junk and temporary files to speed up the performance of your system.
Out of all the top-of-the-line antivirus suites we have examined from different brands, Bitdefender Total Security is the best in terms of value for money.
However, if you have more than five devices in your household, it’s better to go with Bitdefender Family Pack 2021. A single subscription of this suite protects all your family devices — including Macs — with the top-shelf Bitdefender Total Security 2021 suite.
If you just want to protect your Mac, you might want to look at Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac. It offers top-of-the-line protection against all sorts of Mac-related threats, along with a few useful utilities.
The company’s most popular and best-selling security product is McAfee Total Protection (compatible with Windows, macOS, and smartphones). You can get this package for one computer, five, or ten depending on your needs. There are no feature differences between the bundles, just price.
The product boasts almost all the advanced protection-related features and utilities you can expect to find in any high-end package:
- Firewall – protects your PC from advanced threats; this gets daily refreshes from McAfee’s antivirus catalog to make sure that it’s up-to-date on the latest malware definitions.
- Identity Protection – secures your personal information so that it can’t be misused by hackers. In case of any mishap, the company’s expert advisor is available for help 24/7.
- Malware Scanner – deep-scans your computer’s files and eliminates all kinds of malware.
- Optimization features – reorganize files and delete junk data that might be slowing the performance of your computer.
- Permanent Delete feature – lets you safely delete any files that you don’t want anyone else to see.
- Full-fledged Password Manager – saves and prevents your login information and passwords from misuse while you’re on the internet.
- File Lock – file encryption utility that helps to secure your sensitive data.
- A Network shield provides real-time monitoring for your system and prevents any external user from connecting with it.
- Parental Controls – monitors their online activities, limits their access to certain websites or apps, as well as helps restrict their browsing time
- Tracking Facility – trace your kids’ routes and location while they are away from home.
Next up is McAfee LiveSafe. This package has all the perks of Total Protection but also lets you extend the shield to the cloud. This means that files you store on your own cloud server will benefit from the firewall protection that McAfee offers.
This can be great if you find yourself storing data on the cloud frequently. However, this suite comes at a relatively higher price point and is not available in many regions.
Both Bitdefender and McAfee offer comprehensive customer service through standard means of communication, including email, phone calls, or live chat through each company’s website.
Winner: Bitdefender. Overall, we think that Bitdefender’s products offer a broader set of protection-related features and utilities than McAfee’s.
2. Bitdefender Vs McAfee: Anti-Malware Protection
Malware protection is the single most important aspect of antivirus software. No matter what all the other bells and whistles are, if a security product can’t defend your computer against all kinds of malware, it’s not worth having.
In this round of comparison, we’ll see how good Bitdefender and McAfee are when it comes to defending your system against digital threats.
We will see how both software performed in the recent independent tests conducted by reputable organizations. AV-test.org, a company known for its exhaustive tests and reputation for excellence, uses a 1 to 6 scale for its three tests: Protection, Performance, and Usability.
AV-Test’s most recent evaluations were conducted in July and August 2019. In the Protection category, Bitdefender successfully thwarted all malware it encountered, scoring a perfect 6 out of 6.
McAfee also secured a full 6/6 rating, indicating that both products are excellent in terms of malware protection.
AV-Comparatives is another well-known company that regularly conducts extensive tests to determine the performance of various security software.
The company awarded the highest ADVANCED+ award to Bitdefender in its recent Real-World Protection Test, due to its near-perfect protection rate with low false positives’ count. (False positive is when a security product wrongly flags a clean file or URL as malware-infected.)
In contrast, McAfee received the lowest STANDARD rating from AV-Comparatives, mainly due to false alarms.
Winner: Bitdefender. Independent tests prove that Bitdefender offers top-of-the-line malware protection.
3. Bitdefender Vs McAfee: Impact on System Performance
The next important factor to consider when choosing antivirus software is how much impact it puts on your computer’s performance.
AV-test.org has a Performance test for measuring just this factor. Once again, with a scoring metric of 1 to 6, Bitdefender got a perfect 6 out of 6 rating.
McAfee matched Bitdefender with a 6 out of 6 of its own.
In the AV-Comparatives’ Performance evaluation, both Bitdefender and McAfee received the highest ADVANCED+ award that marks excellent performance on computers with standard running processes. (Here is a link to detailed results.)
Winner: Both. Bitdefender and McAfee proved to be matching rivals in this category, as both of them received perfect scores on both occasions.
4. Bitdefender Vs McAfee: Interface
Good antivirus software isn’t worth much if it’s too hard to use. Excellent usability means that anyone can take full advantage of all the protective and enhancing features antivirus software has to offer, so let’s see how Bitdefender and McAfee compare in this regard.
But what do these two products even look like, and what can you expect from both companies?
Bitdefender has a centralized control panel that has extra, customizable “quick access” slots which you can plug various features or functions into to personalize your daily experience better. This means you can prioritize daily tasks, like antivirus scans, with these tabs and make it easier to initiate them rather than sifting through menus looking for the right process.
Bitdefender also allows you to group up tiles or tasks into tighter clusters for even more customizability. Most people will love this, and those who are just starting will find that the autopilot setting, which recommends tasks for you, is very helpful. Streamlining is very easy with Bitdefender’s interface.
Let’s see how McAfee compares. They have a central control panel, as well, and have everything you need to control its various features located in a left-hand sidebar. This bar has widgets and smaller buttons for managing operations and settings.
You’ll need to switch screens rather frequently with McAfee, as there are different layouts for all of the different processes they offer; scanning is different from optimization, and so on.
Winner: Bitdefender. Overall, both software packages provide a simple, easy-to-use interface, but Bitdefender wins this category as its interface offers superior customizability and doesn’t require so much screen switching as McAfee’s control panel.
5. Bitdefender Vs McAfee: Pricing
Next, let’s see how both companies compare in terms of pricing.
The company’s first package, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, costs $34.99 per year for ten licenses for different computers.
Bitdefender Internet Security will cost you $39.98 per year for ten licenses, and this is the one that has those parental controls that might appeal to you if you’ve got a family and growing kids.
Bitdefender Total Security, which is our recommended antivirus suite for 2019, is only five dollars more at $44.99 for ten licenses. It is compatible with both PCs and Macs, as well as smartphones.
Bitdefender Family Pack will protect all devices in your household for $69.98/year.
|Bitdefender Products||Regular Price||Discounted Price|
|Bitdefender Antivirus Plus||$59.99/year||Check here|
|Bitdefender Internet Security||$79.99/year||Check here|
|Bitdefender Total Security||$89.99/year||Check here|
|Bitdefender Family Pack||$119.99/year||Check here|
|Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac||$59.99/year||Check here|
|Bitdefender Small Office Security||Varies||Check here|
|Bitdefender GravityZone Business AV||Varies||Check here|
If you’re interested in Bitdefender’s business products, visit this link for prices and other information.
McAfee’s price points have some similarities and differences.
Their popular product, McAfee Total Protection, is $24.99/year for one license. The five-license bundle is then raised to $39.99/year, while the ten-license package is $44.99/year. As you can see, it costs more as the license number goes up.
McAfee LiveSafe costs a whopping $114.99 per year for unlimited licenses.
|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|
Winner: Bitdefender. Overall, Bitdefender offers more licenses for less money in almost all options; they give you more bang for your buck in every tier of coverage except in the case of LiveSafe. However, overall, they are superior to McAfee in this arena.
6. Bitdefender Vs McAfee: Popularity
There’s no question about the popularity of both Bitdefender and McAfee. Let’s see data from third-party organization OPSWAT to determine which antivirus company has a bigger market share.
According to recent stats released by security firm OPSWAT, McAfee is in the second place, claiming 12.66% of the antivirus market share pie. In contrast, Bitdefender is at fourth position with a market share of 11.2%.
7. Bitdefender Vs McAfee: Customer Ratings
Finally, let’s see how actual customers consider both companies.
The Better Business Bureau is a good place to start since they gather customer reviews and average those opinions into a metric of A to F. Bitdefender has a moderate C as their customer score, while McAfee, on the other hand, managed an amazing A+ from the BBB.
Consumeraffiars.org is another good resource since they gather customer feedback for similar reasons and company transparency. Bitdefender receives four stars out of a possible five, indicating much better customer feedback. McAfee has a 2-star rating, switching positions for best-appreciated with Bitdefender.
This is another tie since the BBB favors McAfee while consumeraffairs.org favors Bitdefender.
Winner: Both. It appears that customers enjoy both companies, but there are some complaints too.
It’s a close battle. Independent tests prove that both Bitdefender and McAfee are excellent in terms of impact on system performance. However, Bitdefender is our overall pick as it represents excellent value for money, offers better malware defense and has a more intuitive and customizable interface.