If you’re looking for an antivirus program for personal use or your business, Bitdefender is worth examining. With over 500 million users and counting, the antivirus is one of the most recognizable names in the industry. But does it have the features and performance you need? We find out in this Bitdefender review.
We tested Bitdefender’s security options, privacy measures, the speed of its scans, and its usability to help you determine if it’s worth your money. Read on to discover the results of our testing.
Bitdefender Expert Review: A Summary
What We Like
- Many security and privacy features like real-time protection and anti-fraud tools
- Free 30-day trial
- Apps are clean, organized, and easy to navigate
- Good customer service with live chat and call options
- Trustworthy malware protection
What We Don't Like
- Tracks information for marketing purposes
- Long scanning times resulting in mild delays
- Slightly lengthy installation process
Our experience with Bitdefender antivirus shows why it’s one of the biggest names in the cybersecurity space. It can detect malware and suspicious files in nearly all cases and goes the extra mile when it comes to features.
Its Total Security package includes vulnerability assessment, a firewall, an antispam filter, and ransomware remediation. It also offers a password manager, anti-tracker, VPN, video and audio protection, parental controls, and its own privacy browser. All of these options worked as intended during our Bitdefender evaluation tests.
If you’re afraid this big range of options might result in a confusing experience, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Bitdefender’s software is easy to understand and neatly organized. You can easily activate features and customize your experience. If you do end up with questions, their live chat and phone support are ready to help you out 24/7.
The only big downside we found while testing was the speed of the scans. The full system scan took hours to complete and asked a lot of our CPU, which is a completely different experience compared to most of the other top antivirus solutions we tested. Even so, the scans happened in the background and only mildly affected our browsing.
Although the installation process could be made easier, and Bitdefender does log some information for marketing purposes (which you can opt out of), we found this antivirus an overall great choice for anyone looking for proper malware protection for their device. Read our full Bitdefender review below for more details.
Bitdefender Specifications and Subscriptions
If you visit Bitdefender’s pricing page, you might be overwhelmed. There are at least 16 subscription plans on the page, making it confusing to know what to choose.
It would be better if Bitdefender kept its plans straightforward and simple, much like Norton does on its pricing page. That said, we examined each of Bitdefender’s plans to see what’s the best option for users.
Bitdefender’s pricing differs based on whether you want the antivirus for Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS or just one of the operating systems. If you intend to use Bitdefender on all of them, purchase one of the following all-in-one plans:
- Bitdefender Premium Security ($49.99): Includes Bitdefender’s VPN and password manager
- Bitdefender Ultimate Security ($79.99): Adds an identity theft feature on top of all that the Premium Security plan offers
If you only need an antivirus for your Windows device, you can save money by choosing either the Antivirus Plus or Internet Security plans, which cover up to three devices.
- Bitdefender Antivirus Plus ($19.99): Provides basic antivirus protection
- Bitdefender Internet Security ($34.99): Adds webcam/microphone protection, a VPN service, and a firewall
Mac users will have to pay $29.99 to use Bitdefender for a year on three devices. If you use mobile devices (iPhone and Android users), you’ll have to part with $19.99/year for the antivirus on one device.
For most users, we’d recommend the Bitdefender Total Security package, which can be installed on five devices and offers lots of additional features, including anti-theft tools, an optimizer, and protection on all kinds of devices. If you have a large family, we recommend the Family pack, which covers 15 devices.
Bear in mind that for every Bitdefender plan, you can choose to subscribe for a year, two, or three. Your biggest saving is almost always with the one-year plan since the renewal prices usually change after the first year.
To help you decide on Bitdefender’s plans, we’ve summarized the features of three of its most popular plans in the table below.
|Feature||Bitdefender Internet Security||Bitdefender Total Security|
Bitdefender Family Pack
|Pricing||$34.99 (first year)||$39.99 (first year)||$44.99 (first year)|
|Number of devices||3||5||15|
|Compatibility||Windows||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS|
|Anti-phishing and anti-fraud||✔||✔||✔|
|Protection against malware, spyware, adware||✔||✔||✔|
|Payment protection/private browsing (Safepay)||✔||✔||✔|
|Webcam and microphone protection||✔||✔||✔|
|Download link||Get Bitdefender Internet Security||Get Bitdefender Total Security||Get Bitdefender Family Pack|
Bitdefender’s free subscriptions
Bitdefender offers a free version of their software for Windows. With Bitdefender Free Antivirus, you get protection from malware and access to live customer support, which is not something that is usually offered by free antivirus software.
For mobile and Mac users, there is also a Bitdefender Free version:
- Bitdefender Virus Scanner for Mac
- Bitdefender Mobile Security for iOS
- Bitdefender Antivirus Free for Android
Aside from that, this virus scanner offers two free apps for Windows:
- Bitdefender TrafficLight: A free browser extension that will filter web traffic and block malicious content and phishing attempts
- Bitdefender Home Scanner: A scanner that checks your system and offers security recommendations
These free versions and tools might feel more manageable and simpler to use since they don’t have as many features. This is especially useful for novice antivirus users who aren’t that knowledgeable about the technical details of antivirus programs.
If you’d rather try out the full premium experience, makes sure to use Bitdefender’s completely free 30-day trial. We’ll be discussing this later in this review.
Security: Can Bitdefender Be Trusted?
Bitdefender can be trusted as it offers several security features that match even the best antivirus scanners. During our Bitdefender review, we discovered the following:
- Bitdefender performed well in AV-Comparatives’ security tests, with a 98.1% offline/online detection rate, 99.94 protection rate, and just six false positives.
- Bitdefender has consistently been one of the best providers in terms of security and received AV-Comparatives’ “Advanced+” malware protection award.
- Bitdefender Total Security offers many additional security features, including vulnerability assessment, a firewall, an antispam filter, and ransomware remediation.
Both advanced users and beginners will find what they need in this feature-rich antivirus tool. That’s why we awarded Bitdefender with a 9/10 in security.
Security testing: How does Bitdefender measure up?
To verify the security capabilities of antivirus software, we usually turn to independent security audits by reputed companies, including AV-Comparatives and AV-Tests.
Here’s how Bitdefender fared in AV-Comparative’s consumer product tests of March 2023:
- Offline detection rate: 98.1%
- Online detection rate: 98.1%
- Protection rate: 99.94%
- False positives: 6
The offline/online detection rate means that you can trust Bitdefender to spot threats in 98.1% of cases, whether you’re using the internet or not. Bitdefender’s offline detection rate is particularly impressive. However, Bitdefender’s online detection rate is slightly lower than other top antivirus solutions like Norton.
Bitdefender’s protection rate (the degree to which the program was able to defend the system against threats) is satisfyingly high at 99.94%. In other words, once Bitdefender has spotted a threat, it’s able to combat it in virtually all cases. However, the likes of McAfee and Norton have a 99.99% protection rate.
Finally, AV-Comparatives’s tests came back with just six false positives for Bitdefender. This refers to any case in which Bitdefender flagged a file, program, or process as harmful when it wasn’t. This number is well below the average of 16.
Over the years, Bitdefender has consistently been one of the best when it comes to malware protection. It reconfirmed its status in 2023: Bitdefender was awarded the “Advanced+“ malware protection award along with nine other competitors.
Real-time threat protection
The most important feature of a good antivirus program is real-time protection. Bitdefender’s real-time solution is called Bitdefender Shield. During our tests, it actively scanned any folder we opened, any file we accessed, and any email we read.
On top of that, Advanced Threat Defense will identify suspicious behavior and block zero-day attacks.
In Bitdefender’s software, you can alter your preferences by going to the “Protection” tab and then clicking either “Antivirus” or “Advanced Threat Defense.” Under “Settings,” you can manage exceptions and determine exactly which content you want the program to scan. We advise users to set up these options with care, so Bitdefender can continuously scan and protect their devices.
You can run the following scans on Bitdefender:
- Quick scan: Run a quick check of your system to identify and quarantine suspicious files.
- System scan: It checks all files on your system to fish out harmful ones.
- Custom scan: This feature allows you to scan specific files and folders.
Under “Manage Scans,” you can schedule scans for specific periods.
Among a league of extra protection options, Bitdefender offers a solid firewall. Think of the firewall as the security personnel at your gate. It vets all incoming and outgoing traffic and decides which ones are safe.
One aspect of the firewall worth mentioning is that it has a stealth mode, which makes your device invisible inside and outside your network.
However, you’ll need quite a bit of tech knowledge to use its configuration settings. Beginners are better off leaving the firewall on its default settings as it already offers excellent protection.
Unfortunately, the firewall isn’t available on Bitdefender Antivirus For Mac.
You can set Bitdefender’s firewall to allow or block suspicious applications. The best option is to set it to automatic, which instructs Bitdefender to decide the best course of action for each file.
We also recommend toggling the “Alert mode” button on. That way, you can get a notification if any application tries to access the internet. However, it can get annoying if the pop-ups are too frequent.
We tested Bitdefender’s firewall by running different simulated attacks on our device. We attempted to visit fishy sites and download suspicious files. The firewall promptly flagged the site and denied us access.
Bitdefender vulnerability scan
Another security option is the Bitdefender vulnerability scan. A vulnerability scan helps the user increase their system’s cybersecurity by reviewing and assessing the user’s current setup and making recommendations to correct any issues. Some things that the scan looks for are:
- Outdated or vulnerable software
- Missing security patches
- Potentially unsafe system settings
When we ran the Bitdefender vulnerability scan on one of our devices, the program recommended updating several of our programs, including Windows itself, and changing some of our system settings.
With ransomware gangs running rampant, a tool like Bitdefender’s ransomware remediation feature comes in handy. If your files are taken hostage by ransomware, Bitdefender can undo the damage by restoring encrypted files.
This feature works by preventing applications that exhibit ransomware behavior and attempt to alter files. There’s an option to exclude some apps that exhibit ransomware behavior, but you should have technical knowledge before tweaking that setting.
You can also set the ransomware mediation feature to automatically restore files compromised by ransomware.
Bitdefender’s antispam feature prevents unsolicited emails from making it into your inbox. During our tests, the tool examined each email sent to our inbox and flagged any feature it considered spam. If there are emails you don’t want to receive, you can alert the antispam feature by adding the email address or domain name.
You can also ask Bitdefender’s antispam to block emails encoded with Asian and Cyrillic characters, which spammers often use.
If you think that the antispam feature is flagging a perfectly fine email, you can upload a sample to help Bitdefender improve its detection algorithm.
Bitdefender indicates that the antispam feature works with Outlook or Thunderbird email clients.
You can retrieve your stolen device using Bitdefender’s anti-theft tool. As long as your device is connected to the internet, you can see your device’s location on Google Maps. You can also lock your device remotely using a custom code. That way, the thief will not be able to access the device.
To protect your privacy, you can also remotely wipe all data from your device. This is important if you have sensitive personal and financial information on the device.
Identity theft protection and credit monitoring
Bitdefender also provides identity theft protection. It monitors the internet, social media, and the dark web and alerts you if your personal information and financial data are at the mercy of hackers. If your information is compromised, Bitdefender can help you recover your identity by connecting you to US-based certified protection experts.
When you subscribe to Bitdefender’s premium plans, you can get up to $2 million in insurance payments to cover expenses you make while trying to reclaim your identity.
Furthermore, Bitdefender provides credit monitoring, giving you instant online access to your credit reports from various providers, including Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
Note that this service is only available to US-based persons and requires a valid social security number.
Privacy: How Does Bitdefender Handle Your Data?
Antivirus programs have access to a lot of data on your device, and regarding protecting that data, Bitdefender does a very decent job. While conducting our Bitdefender review, we noticed the following:
- Bitdefender Total Security offers a password manager, anti-tracker, VPN, video and audio protection, Safepay, and parental controls.
- Data gathered by Bitdefender might be used for site improvement, communication with users, statistical purposes, or marketing.
- Limited account data was leaked during a breach in 2015, but that breach was dealt with quickly and effectively.
Based on this, we conclude that Bitdefender takes a serious approach to maintaining the privacy of its users. That’s why we give Bitdefender an 8.5/10 for privacy.
Bitdefender’s privacy protection features
In its software, Bitdefender has a separate tab for its privacy options. Although these options aren’t included across all of Bitdefender’s subscriptions, they are part of the Total Security package.
Safepay is Bitdefender’s browser designed primarily to protect your online transactions and keep you safe during your online banking activities. If you shop online and use your credit cards and banking details often, you’re at risk of all kinds of attacks, including phishing attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks, and keylogging.
Safepay protects against all these in the following ways:
- It prevents access to your desktop, including anyone taking screenshots.
- It uses Bitdefender’s password manager to keep your passwords secure.
- Uses a virtual keyboard to ensure hackers can’t read your keystrokes.
- Supports bookmarks, so you can save and switch between different shopping sites.
- Uses a web-filtering technology to prevent you from opening malicious websites.
Note that you can use Safepay to open any website, not just shopping platforms.
In our experience, Safepay worked well. We could not take any screenshots of the browser, which is an indication that no hacker would be able to do that. Plus, it refused to open certain websites that it flagged as suspicious. Overall, Safepay is a good web protection feature if you want extra security while making payments online.
Bitdefender premium VPN
Bitdefender VPN is a decent add-on to help you surf the web anonymously and securely. It has over 4,000 servers in 53 countries, which is an impressive count. Plus, we could use the service on 10 devices simultaneously, including Windows, Android, iOS, and macOS devices.
Based on our Bitdefender VPN tests, the provider was able to change our location and unblock many streaming services — Netflix and Amazon Prime Video included. However, with Netflix US, we needed to try different servers to get in. We also noticed lags, especially when we attempted to download large files and stream HD movies.
As far as VPNs go, our top recommendation is NordVPN. Among all the dozens of VPNs we’ve tested over the years, NordVPN is the fastest, making it the best choice for activities like streaming, gaming, and torrenting.
As we highlighted in our NordVPN review, this provider has no issues unblocking Netflix US on the first crack. It also has several useful features, including a double VPN to encrypt your traffic twice and dedicated IPs, which are IP addresses that only you can use.
Bitdefender password manager
Bitdefender’s password manager is handy if you need to remember several passwords across multiple platforms. It auto-generates, auto-saves, and auto-fills your passwords as long as you can remember your set master password.
It’s available on Windows, Android, iOS, and macOS. We could also use it on various browser extensions, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari. Like most of the best password managers, Bitdefender’s password manager works with multiple file formats and can import passwords from other password managers, including 1Password, Dashlane, and LastPass.
Note that the option “Sync across devices” will allow anyone using your subscription to see your passwords, so be careful if you share your account with others.
Bitdefender used to offer Bitdefender Wallet, a threadbare password manager that didn’t have multi-platform password synchronization. Bitdefender has since discontinued support for the Wallet.
You can purchase Bitdefender’s password manager as a standalone product, and there’s a three-month free trial period to let you test it out first.
Video and audio protection
Hackers can use your device’s camera and microphone to spy on you. They can record your daily activities, monitor your meetings, and listen in on your conversations to gather information about you or your business. Bitdefender’s microphone and webcam protection prevents anyone from accessing your camera or microphone.
During our tests, the feature let us choose which apps used our webcam and microphone. It also blocked and alerted us as soon as an unauthorized app tries to access our webcam and microphone.
Bitdefender parental control
Bitdefender’s Parental Control feature allows you to filter what your children watch and limit screen time. You can also access your children’s phone contacts and their locations.
All these controls can be set using Bitdefender’s central dashboard. There, you’ll receive alerts when your child attempts to bypass the controls. You can receive daily, weekly, or monthly reports of your child’s activities.
|Monitor and block apps||✔||✔||✖||✔|
|Access to phone contacts||✖||✔||✔||✖|
If you want more parental control programs, you can read our top seven of the best parental control apps article.
We could install the browser extension on various browsers, including Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari.
The anti-tracker browser extension told us exactly how many trackers it blocked on each page we visited, as you can see below.
With the inclusion of all of these extra features, Bitdefender shows that it’s ready to go the extra mile to protect its users not just against different kinds of malware but also against curious eyes all across the web.
- Bitdefender gathers information directly provided by the user, including details gathered via forms, comments, and signup sheets for newsletters. Only the information gathered for the newsletter might be used for marketing purposes.
- Via the Bitdefender website, the company collects your IP address, the date and time of your visit, and the website that referred you. This (mostly aggregated) data is used for website improvement, statistical purposes, or improving and ensuring web services and their security.
- Cookies might be used to track your preferences (such as your preferred language) and can be used for website optimization and marketing.
- Only Bitdefender employees and external data processors have access to your data. Any data processor Bitdefender works with must maintain the same customer data security level as Bitdefender.
- Bitdefender may disclose customer data to “competent authorities” if permitted and required by law or necessary to protect the rights and interests of Bitdefender and its users.
Bitdefender even uses its policy to advise readers never to share their password with anyone and tells them how to access, rectify, or erase data stored by Bitdefender, as determined by the GDPR.
Data breach in 2015
Bitdefender has a great track record with little to no scandals. The company did suffer a data breach in 2015, in which a limited amount of usernames and passwords that were not encrypted were leaked. In response to the breach, Bitdefender resolved the issue and included additional security measures in its setup. Moreover, they sent out a notice to possibly affected users, so they could reset their passwords.
Considering this is the last known Bitdefender breach and it was limited and quickly dealt with, we consider Bitdefender, a very strong privacy-minded company.
Usability: How User-Friendly Is Bitdefender?
During this Bitdefender review, we found the software to be very user-friendly regarding its website, supported operating systems and languages, and the installation process. The summary of our Bitdefender evaluation tests is as follows:
- Bitdefender’s installation process is slightly lengthy but relatively easy.
- There’s an accessible, completely free, 30-day trial available on Bitdefender’s website.
- The Bitdefender software is easy to use, with all features and options neatly organized.
- Bitdefender is available in many different languages.
- Canceling your Bitdefender subscription is straightforward, and refunds can be requested through Bitdefender’s customer support.
- Bitdefender’s customer support section is extensive, and their live chat and call options provide adequate and fast replies.
Based on these conclusions, we give Bitdefender an 8/10 for usability.
The best and most secure way to download Bitdefender is through the official Bitdefender website. The website is pretty user-friendly and easy to navigate, with separate sections, “For Home” and “For Business,” on the home page.
If you want to get started with Bitdefender, you can either try out their free trial or dive straight into a paid subscription.
How to activate your 30-day free trial of Bitdefender
Bitdefender offers a free trial of 30 days that might be interesting for new users to try out first. These free trials are available for most of their subscriptions, and you can enjoy them without adding any payment information like your credit card.
If you’d like to try Bitdefender’s trial run, follow these steps:
- Go to the Bitdefender website.
- Hover over the “For Home” section in the menu at the top, then click “Trial Downloads.”
- Click “Download Now” on the package of your choice. We recommend Bitdefender Total Security.
- Once the files have finished downloading, open them.
- Sign in with your email address to activate your 30-day trial.
- Enjoy the software!
Although this trial will run out after 30 days, it gives you the opportunity to try out the full service completely risk-free.
How to install Bitdefender
If you want to subscribe to and install the paid version of Bitdefender on your PC, follow these steps:
- Go to Bitdefender’s website and click “See Solutions” under “For Home.”
- Choose the subscription of your choice (we recommend “Bitdefender Total Security”) and click “Learn More.”
- Select “Buy Now” on the plan you want. Choose the subscription length and number of devices (five or 10) you’d like.
- Add any extras you might like, then click “Billing and Payment Details” at the bottom.
- Fill in your email, full name, country, and payment details and click “Confirm Order.”
- Select “Download & install.”
- Open the installation file and run it.
- Create a Bitdefender account.
- Remove any incompatible applications. This will usually only be the case if you already have a different antivirus program installed on your device.
- Restart your PC to complete the process.
- Accept the subscription agreement and wait while the Bitdefender Total Security software downloads.
- Fill in the activation code you received with your order confirmation.
The Bitdefender installation process for PC could have been slightly simpler and more streamlined. We had to restart our computer several times to complete the installation process. Apart from that, however, the download process is smooth and easy to understand.
If you want to install the app on your smartphone, you can simply download the Bitdefender Mobile Security app on Google Play or the Apple Store.
Once we downloaded Bitdefender, we were met with a user-friendly dashboard. Bitdefender’s software offers a wide variety of options, which are all displayed in an organized way, so it doesn’t feel too crowded or overwhelming.
The interface showed us different tabs on the left hand. The two most important ones were “Protection” and “Privacy.” Here, the many different features of Bitdefender Total Security (or whichever other subscription you’ve chosen) are neatly grouped by the main function.
Each feature is easy to activate — usually with a simple slider — and comes with a short description. However, these descriptions tend to use a lot of jargon, meaning some users might not understand what each option actually does.
We expect that many won’t immediately know the difference between the “System Scan” and the “Vulnerability Scan,” for example. Bitdefender could improve by making the antivirus terms it uses more understandable to novice users.
The software is available in 20 languages, which are easily accessible under “Settings.” Options include anything from English, German, and Portuguese to Korean, Russian, and Vietnamese.
How easy is it to cancel Bitdefender?
It is very easy to cancel Bitdefender since trying their software does not require you to register a credit card. So once the trial runs out, you won’t be charged, and you don’t have to do anything save to delete the software from your system. They can’t make canceling any easier than that.
When you have a running subscription that you wish to cancel, the process works slightly differently. If you’re still within the first thirty days of starting it, you can get a refund:
- Go to the Bitdefender website and click “Support” in the top right corner.
- Scroll down to “Chat 24/7” and click it.
- Click “Ask Live” next to “Consumer Commercial Support.”
- Fill in your first name and enter the email that’s connected to your account. Then write in the “Request” section that you’d like to get a refund.
- Click “Start the chat” and wait for the chat to be opened. The support agent will guide you through the rest of the process.
Keep in mind that it can take up to five business days for the money to be returned to your account. Aside from that, this refund process only works if you’ve ordered your Bitdefender subscription via the official website. If you’ve subscribed through a different seller, you’ll need to contact them.
When you’ve had your subscription for longer than 30 days, you can log in to your Bitdefender Central account to change your auto-renewal status, cancel your subscription, or delete your account altogether.
Bitdefender’s customer support
If you run into any issues while using Bitdefender, you can contact their support team through their website or via the dashboard. On the website, simply click the “Support“ button in the top right corner. When using the dashboard, you can click on the menu button in the top right corner and then choose one of the options. Free online support is offered on all subscriptions.
One strange inconsistency we noticed was that the links in the dashboard led to different pages than those on the website. The website appears to offer more diverse and complete suggestions, so we recommend using that.
Bitdefender support consists of many different options:
- User guide: This lengthy manual contains information about different features, settings, and more.
- FAQ page: The Bitdefender Support Center works as a knowledge base with various articles and “How-to” videos to show you the ropes. For basic questions, this section might already help.
- Expert community: Bitdefender’s forums are actively monitored and feature actual issues that other users ran into, including the solutions provided by Bitdefender experts. If you have a query, it might be worth searching for an answer here.
- Live chat: To use this chat, click “Chat 24/7” on the support page and fill in your first name and email, along with your request. The live chat is always active, so you’ll be able to get direct help from a support agent at all times.
- Phone: Bitdefender has a worldwide phone number for any questions. There are also specific numbers to call for customers in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Except for the French Canadian customer support (which is available Monday through Friday from nine to five), all of these lines have 24/7 service and are in English.
- Email: You can send in an email ticket by clicking “Send us an email!” on the Bitdefender support site. Fill in your email (so they can send you a reply) and choose the product and category that fit your query.
Although support via email took several hours to get back to us, the live chat and call options especially were very fast. When we contacted them, Bitdefender’s live chat offered us clear answers to all our questions within two minutes.
During the phone call, we didn’t have to go through long and complicated selection menus. Our question was answered within five minutes, and the customer service representative even sent us a useful tutorial video.
The only drawback of Bitdefender’s customer service is that not all options are available in all languages. The live chat and forum are only available in English, while phone support is only available in English and French. Apart from that, Bitdefender’s customer service is excellent.
Speed and Performance: Will Bitdefender Slow Down My System?
Although the Bitdefender software is very user-friendly in general, its scans may slow your system down. During our Bitdefender review, we noted that the antivirus defended our system well, but unfortunately, this did have consequences for our computer’s performance.
After our extensive Bitdefender evaluation tests, we conclude that:
- Bitdefender’s quick scan took just five minutes, while the long scan took hours. These results are remarkably long compared to competitors.
- The CPU load during a fast scan increases considerably, in our case, between 30% and 40%.
- The software sometimes suffers a “CPU glitch” that drastically increases the system load.
Based on these findings, we give Bitdefender a 6/10 for speed and system usage.
How long does a scan take?
In our Bitdefender quick scan vs system scan tests, we noticed that the quick scan (which checks the most important files on your device) took a few minutes, and the Bitdefender full system scan (which goes through your entire system) lasted several hours.
We ran both types of scans multiple times on our system to see how long they took. All of the tests in this section were performed on an 11th Gen Intel(R) Core (TM) i5 CPU system with 8GB RAM, running on Windows 11 Home 64-bit.
On average, the quick scan took just a little over five minutes. Although this is not a lot of time, it is on the long side compared to other antiviruses. For example, during our Sophos review, the quick scan took between 30 seconds and a minute. The quick scan might take longer or shorter for you, depending on the size of your system.
The Bitdefender full system scan time was quite long. During our own tests, we had the scan running for over four and a half hours. Bitdefender scanned over a million items in this time, but this is remarkably slow compared to earlier results (25 minutes for a full scan) and results from other antivirus scanners.
Generally, the scans happen in the background of your device in an unobtrusive way, so you won’t be bothered by them. Although long scan times won’t be an issue for most users, this can be annoying when they affect your computer performance. That’s why we also studied the impact of the scans on our CPU.
How does Bitdefender impact my CPU?
While performing the scans, we noticed that Bitdefender impacted our CPU as it asked for quite a bit of CPU power and memory. During the full system scan, which took hours, we even had to deal with some minor delays while browsing. We wouldn’t advise running a scan while online gaming, for example, as that might result in some serious lag. On top of that, our hardware heated up during the scans.
For both the quick and the full system scans, Bitdefender’s impact on our CPU was about 30% to 40%. It also asked for about 400 MB of our system’s memory. These numbers may seem relatively high, but they are much lower compared to some of its competitors. For example, during our Malwarebytes review, the CPU demand for Windows ranged from 75% to 90%, and it took 900MB of RAM.
Moreover, Bitdefender barely impacts your CPU when it’s running in the background. We ran the scanner in the background while visiting a website without a security certificate, resulting in many “suspicious connection blocked” notifications. Nonetheless, we noticed only a limited impact on CPU usage, namely an average of only about 2%.
Bitdefender’s ‘CPU Glitch’
Some Bitdefender users have reported noticing a dramatic increase in processor usage (up to 100%) during scans or even while running the program in the background. We haven’t experienced this issue ourselves lately, but it has been reported online several times, including on Reddit and the Bitdefender help forums.
Bitdefender’s task “Bitdefender virus shield” appears to be the cause of the sudden increase. This task is responsible for the real-time protection of your device, so turning it off isn’t an option. Luckily, the problem is resolved by rebooting your system. The fact that this issue occurs from time to time is, of course, a big drawback.
Final Verdict: Is Bitdefender Right for You?
Based on our Bitdefender review, we discovered that Bitdefender’s malware scanner has a lot to offer. It will protect you against nearly all online threats, including viruses, worms, keyloggers, and other malware. Its most complete version (Bitdefender Total Security) includes a huge range of security and privacy features.
This antivirus is a great option for both beginners and more experienced antivirus users. Its easy interface is a breath of fresh air and will allow even novice users to enjoy its many features. Any serious antivirus veteran will find the plethora of options a great expansion of a standard antivirus package.
Aside from that, Bitdefender is currently one of our top picks for privacy-minded users. Its many privacy features will be a welcome addition for many. As long as you opt out of certain kinds of data collection, you’ll be well-protected on all fronts.
Based on our Bitdefender Antivirus review, our final score for Bitdefender is a solid 7.9/10. Suffice it to say, Bitdefender ends up high in our top five and is used daily by part of the VPNOverview team, so it’s definitely among our personal favorites!
If you’d like more information on Bitdefender or want to take out a subscription right away, visit their website by clicking the orange button below.
If you’re looking for a different antivirus solution or want to compare your options, check out these articles:
Do you have a question about Bitdefender? Have a quick look at our FAQ below and click on a question to see the answer.
Bitdefender offers three different premium packages:
- Bitdefender Internet Security: $34.99 for the first year (three devices, only available for Windows)
- Bitdefender Total Security: $39.98 for the first year (five devices)
- Bitdefender Family Pack: $49.99 for the first year (15 devices)
They also offer free antivirus software for macOS, Android, and iOS. Read our in-depth Bitdefender review for more information.
Yes, absolutely. Bitdefender will protect your device against almost all types of malware, including viruses, ransomware, and even phishing attacks.
It also offers many extra options to enhance your online privacy and has very user-friendly software. Read our full Bitdefender review to learn more about how this antivirus solution performed in our tests.
Yes, you can use Bitdefender for free, but only on macOS, Android, and iOS. Windows users can get a Bitdefender Free 30-day trial to see if they’d like to use Bitdefender’s paid version in the long run.