Bitdefender vs Windows Defender

Windows Defender comes pre-installed while Bitdefender has gained reputation of being the best antivirus. Users often gets confused with Bitdefender vs Windows Defender comparison.

While Windows Defender has only one version and it comes free along with the Windows 10 license. Bitdefender started its journey in 2001 while Windows Defender first appeared in 2006. Windows Defender was first released as a separate antispyware product. Then later Microsoft included its full version with Windows 8 replacing Microsoft Security Essential. Since then, it is a part of the Windows operating system.

In this article, I am going to do Bitdefender vs Windows Defender comparison. I will list all the features of both company products. Then I will compare their protection capability. After that, you will see user reviews for both products. I will also analyze the ease of use factor for both software.

Review Summary

Here is the summary of this extended comparison. If you don’t want to go through all the details, then you can check the summary and decide which product is better for you.

Bitdefender has more features than Windows Defender. Though you need to pay subscription cost for Bitdefender while Windows Defender is free, they both have an excellent protection score. Though, Windows Defender has a massive impact on the system performance.

Bitdefender is somewhat heavier on system resources but it has several useful components. It also comes with premium support while there is none with Windows Defender.

If you think which product to choose in Bitdefender, then I would recommend you to go through Total Security 2019. It is a full-featured protection suite that can protect different devices. It protects your Windows PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices. If you are thinking of protecting your whole family, then you can go with Bitdefender Family Pack. You can protect up to 15 different devices.


Company Offerings

Bitdefender Windows Defender
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus (Windows Only) Windows Defender (Windows Only)
Bitdefender Internet Security (Windows Only)
Bitdefender Total Security (Windows & Mac)
Bitdefender Family Pack (Windows & Mac)
Virus Scanner (Mac Only)
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac (Mac Only)
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition (Windows Only)

Features in Bitdefender Security Suites

Bitdefender has several security suites. They are rich in features. So many features make the software bulky, and it consumes the system resources. So, it’s good that they have not included fancy features. However, their free software only has a few protection features. We should also understand that a free tool couldn’t have all the features. The companies have to make money too.

Bitdefender vs Windows Defender - Features

Let’s take a look at the features of different Bitdefender products.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

Bitdefender Free Antivirus is a basic protection suite. It has only a few features that are required to secure your PC from viruses and malware. The Free version also protects you from fraud and phishing websites. It doesn’t protect your password and privacy. It also lacks VPN, Parental Controls, Webcam Protection, and Ransomware Protection.

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is the entry-level premium security suite. It has the features of Free Edition and also comes with Free Online Support. It has File Shredder, VPN, Password Manager, and Wi-Fi Security Advisor. Antivirus Plus also checks the vulnerability of your PC and suggest fixes. It also protects your financial transactions from harmful websites. There is also an anti-tracker that keeps your browsing data private.

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus lacks some other features. It doesn’t have a Firewall and also doesn’t protect your webcam. Also, Parental Control, Anti-Theft, File Encryption, and Performance enhancement features not present. It doesn’t have the Microphone Monitor feature also.

Bitdefender Internet Security

Along with the features of Antivirus Plus, Internet Security comes with a few extra features. It protects your webcam and files. It also has a Firewall, Parental Controls, and File Encryption. Internet Security has the new feature Microphone Monitor that doesn’t let other apps to access your Mic and spy on you. Though, Internet Security doesn’t have all the features that Bitdefender offers. It doesn’t improve the performance and also doesn’t have an Anti-Theft feature.

Bitdefender Total Security

When it comes to a full-featured protection suite, Bitdefender Total Security comes ahead. It has all the elements, and it also supports multi-device. It protects your Windows PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices. The Windows version has all the features, while Mac, iOS, and Android has fewer features due to OS compatibility. Bitdefender comes with five device protection subscription. So, its price is reasonable.

Bitdefender Family Pack

Bitdefender Family Pack is for your whole family. It has the features of Total Security. You can protect up to 15 devices with this plan. Like Total Security, it also supports Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. So with one subscription, you can have a strong shield for all devices in the family. With this plan, you can properly use and manage the parental control feature. You can use the Bitdefender Central account to handle them.

Virus Scanner for Mac

Bitdefender Virus Scanner is a free tool, and it is for Mac. It has an essential feature of virus scanning. So, when you are suspecting a virus, run this tool. It lacks several other features that Bitdefender provides in the paid version.

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is the premium security suite. It protects your Mac from viruses and malware. It also has a ransomware shield. The VPN protects your confidential information from hackers. It also blocks phishing websites. This antivirus also boosts the performance of your Mac.

If you are getting Bitdefender Total Security or Family Pack, Antivirus for Mac is included in that plan.

In the table below, you can compare the features of different Bitdefender products.

Features/Products Antivirus Free Antivirus Plus Internet Security Total Security Family Pack
Intelligent Antivirus Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Advanced Threat Defense Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ransomware Protection No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Anti-tracker No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Microphone Monitor No No Yes Yes Yes
Web Attack Prevention Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wi-Fi Security Advisor No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Online Banking Protection No Yes Yes Yes Yes
VPN No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Password Manager No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Search Advisor No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Anti-Phishing Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Vulnerability Scan No Yes Yes Yes Yes
File Shredder No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Webcam Protection No No Yes Yes Yes
Firewall No No Yes Yes Yes
Safe Files No No Yes Yes Yes
Parental Control No No Yes Yes Yes
File Encryption No No Yes Yes Yes
Anti-Theft No No No Yes Yes
Speed-up Devices No No No Yes Yes
Online Support No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Multi-Device Support No No No Yes Yes
Family Device Protection No No No No Yes

Features in Windows Defender

Unlike other security software companies, Windows Defender doesn’t have different security products. It comes preinstalled with the Windows operating system and doesn’t need to purchase separately. Windows Defender has few useful components but not like Bitdefender. The complete tool is called Windows Defender Security Center.

Windows Defender vs Bitdefender Features

Windows Defender virus and threat protection feature captures the viruses and malware. It is pretty strong. If you install any other security software, the Windows Defender turns off the infection and threat protection and give preference to the new software.

Windows Defender SmartScreen protects you from malicious websites and files. Whenever you download unrecognized apps and data, it can warn or block according to your preference. Also, account protection protects your Microsoft Account from unauthorized access.

The Device Security section comes with Core Isolation, Security Processor, and Secure Boot features. Windows Defender also analyzes the issues related to your system health. It checks storage, battery, apps & software, and Windows time service status.

The most critical component of Windows Defender is Firewall and Parental Control. These two features are much better compared to Bitdefender. The Firewall analyzes the incoming as well as outgoing internet traffic to block the malicious software. It is a much-advanced firewall than Bitdefender.

Parental Control comes with advanced features. You can easily control when your children can use the internet. You can set a limit for daily internet usage. Also, you can block or allow websites that your kids can access. However, this feature only works on the Microsoft Edge browser. So you need to make sure there is no other browser on your PC.

Despite having all these features, if we compare it with Bitdefender, Bitdefender has more useful features. Windows Defender lacks password manager, VPN, file shredder, file encryption, webcam & mic protection, etc.

Bitdefender is a clear winner in terms of features.

Bitdefender vs Windows Defender – Which has better Protection?

The security suite’s main task is to provide protection. So how can we decide which one is better without checking the protection capability? To know which antivirus is better in protection, I will take reference from two antivirus test institutes. The AV-Test and AV-Comparatives, both analyze the protection and performance of popular anti-viruses.

Earlier, when there were fewer computer threats, anti-viruses used to work on the signature-based mechanism. In this method, security software matches the signature of files in the virus database, and if it matches, then the data is considered a virus. The problem with this method is, it is slow. Nowadays, thousands of new malware are emerging every day. And the signature update process takes lots of time. So, anti-viruses had to evolve to catch all these. This type of risk is called zero-day malware.

To solve this issue, a new approach called heuristic approach was developed. Anti-viruses don’t wait for the signature database, and they check the behavior of the programs if their actions match with the malware actions the antivirus blocks them and update its signature in the database.

Bitdefender and Windows Defender both works on the heuristic approach. It checks the signature of the viruses and also analyzes the behavior to catch new threats. Now let’s take a look at the AV test institutes scores in these two methods of protection.

AV-Test Results of Bitdefender and Windows Defender

In the most recent test of AV-Test institute, both antiviruses perform well. The test was conducted in July-August 2019. In this test, Bitdefender and Windows Defender both got 6/6 in the protection test. Below is screenshot of the Bitdefender Protection Test.

Bitdefender AV-Test Protection Score August 2019

In the zero-day malware attack test, AV-Test used 368 samples; in July test Bitdefender blocks 100% threats, and in August test it blocks 99.5% threats while Windows Defender blocked all the 368 threats with 100% score.

In the Signature-based test, AV-Test used 13521 samples of widespread malware detected in the past four months. Bitdefender and Windows Defender both got a 100% score in both month tests. Below is a screenshot of the Windows Defender Protection Test.

Windows Defender AV-Test Protection Score August 2019

Both Antiviruses performed well in the protection test. There is a slight difference in the August month test of Bitdefender, though that is a minor difference and doesn’t affect that much. Below is a table that will help to compare the AV-Test score of both software.

Bitdefender Windows Defender
0-Day Test Signature Test 0-Day Test Signature Test
August 2019 99.5% 100% 100% 100%
June 2019 98.8% 100% 100% 100%
April 2019 100% 100% 100% 100%
February 2019 98.8% 100% 100% 100%
December 2018 100% 100% 100% 99.9%

The above matrix is for the Windows version. In the Android and Mac versions, Bitdefender performed well. Windows Defender doesn’t have a product for other devices; it only works in the windows version.

AV-Comparatives Results of Bitdefender and Windows Defender

AV-Comparatives conducted the most recent Real-World Protection Test from February to May 2019. The test published in June 2019. In this test, Bitdefender got the highest Advanced+ award while Windows Defender (Microsoft) got Advanced award. In this test, AV-Comparatives used 752 test cases. Bitdefender blocked 751 and compromised only 1 with a score of 99.9%. While Windows Defender blocked 749 and compromised 3 cases with a score of 99.8%. Windows Defender is slightly lower than Bitdefender as it has compromised three threats. Although, those are due to the user input.

AV Comparatives Protection Test June 2019

In the False Positive test, Bitdefender’s performance was excellent. However, Windows Defender performs poorly. Bitdefender only blocked two domains and 0 files that were genuine and unharmful, while Windows Defender blocked 19 domains and 55 files which were not harmful. Due to this reason, the final award of Microsoft was pushed to one step below.

AV-Comparatives also checks the signature-based detection with its Malware Protection Test. The most recent test was in March 2019. In this test, Bitdefender and Windows Defender (Microsoft) both were got Advanced+ award which is the highest. They used 10970 recent samples of malware spread in the last few weeks. Bitdefender blocked 10969 and compromised only 1 with a score of 99.99%. While Windows Defender blocked 10968 and compromised only 2 with a score of 99.98%, both antivirus’s performance was excellent.

AV-Comparatives Malware Protection Test March 2019

In the False Positive Test, Bitdefender blocks six genuine websites/files. While Windows Defender blocks eight websites/files that were not harmful.

Both antivirus test institution reports suggest that Bitdefender and Windows Defender have excellent protection score. In the Real-World Test and the Signature-based test both perform well. Bitdefender’s protection score is consistent, and it has a lower false positive. While Microsoft Defender has higher false-positive cases, which is a downside. However, I am not going to choose a winner here as both antiviruses don’t allow many threats to enter your PC.

Bitdefender vs Windows Defender – Impact on the Performance

Every system software consumes some resources. Either it is a simple clock or antivirus they leave some impact on the performance. We must choose an antivirus that has better protection and leaves less impact on the resources. Because if the antivirus consumes so much of resources, it will make your system slow and you won’t be able to do other tasks.

To test the performance of these two antiviruses, I will again take the reference of Antivirus test institutes.

AV-Test for Performance of Bitdefender and Microsoft Defender

In the AV-Test, the Bitdefender performance score is 6/6. This test was conducted from July to Augst 2019. In this test, the AV-Test institute checks the impact on the performance on several actions. It checks by opening popular websites, downloading apps, launching apps, installing apps, and copying files. Then it compares the performance with other anti-viruses and gives them scores. Below is the test score of Bitdefender.

Bitdefender AV-Test Performance Score August 2019

Bitdefender got full marks 6/6. If we take the average of each test category, then Bitdefender’s impact on the performance of Standard PC is 9.2%, while on the High-End PC is 7.8%. Which means Bitdefender performs better on High-End PCs. Below is the test score of the Windows Defender.

Windows Defender AV-Test Performance Score August 2019

Windows Defender’s performance score is 5.5/6.0. The rating is less than Bitdefender, which is shocking. Since Defender is developed by Microsoft specially for Windows PCs, it is expected to have a low impact on the performance. If we take the average of scores, then the effect on the performance of a Standard PC is 13.4%, while on the High-End PC is 11.6%.

Bitdefender’s average impact on the performance is 8.5%, while Windows Defender’s average effect is 12.5%. Bitdefender is a winner here.

AV-Comparatives Performance Test of Bitdefender and Windows Defender

AV-Comparatives conducted the Performance Test in April 2019. The test score suggests the same as AV-Test. It is bitter for Windows Defender. Bitdefender manages to get the Advanced+ award. Though Windows Defender got only the Standard award. Below is the impact score of all popular antiviruses.

AV-Comparatives Performance Test Score Summary April 2019

Bitdefender’s impact on the performance score is 8.3, while Windows Defender’s effect on the performance is massive 27.3.

AV-Comparatives Performance Test Score Award Advanced Plus April 2019

In the whole test, Windows Defender (Microsoft) is at last. It is a little surprising as Microsoft inbuilt it with its operating system, so it should have less impact on the performance. The test result tells otherwise.

AV-Comparatives Performance Test Score Award Standard April 2019

Bitdefender is a clear winner here.

Windows Defender vs Bitdefender – Impact on your Pocket

Below is a table that lists all the products of Bitdefender and their prices.

Bitdefender Products Price for 1 Year / Devices
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus $59.99 / 3 Devices
Bitdefender Internet Security $79.99 / 3 Devices
Bitdefender Total Security $89.99 / 5 Devices
Bitdefender Family Pack $119.99 / 15 Devices
Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac $59.99 / 3 Devices
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition Free
Virus Scanner for Mac Free

There is no need to put a table for Windows Defender as it doesn’t have any other products. Also, the Windows Defender comes free with the Windows operating system. So there is no extra cost to put for Windows Defender.

Windows Defender is a clear winner in terms of pricing.

Bitdefender Vs Windows Defender – User Opinions

There are mixed reviews on the internet about Windows Defender and Bitdefender. However, it seems that people prefer Bitdefender paid version over Windows Defender. They don’t recommend to choose Bitdefender Free over Windows Defender. Below a user tells the same, though he also complains about the slow speed of Windows Defender with executable files.

Bitdefender vs Windows Defender - User Reviews 1

The below user tells that the Windows Defender is useful if you have to do routine tasks daily.

Windows Defender vs Bitdefender - User Reviews 2

Below is a user that complains about the impact on the performance of Windows Defender.

Bitdefender vs Windows Defender - User Reviews 3

This user imprecates the firewall of Bitdefender. Indeed Windows Defender’s firewall is better than Bitdefender.

Bitdefender vs Windows Defender - User Reviews 4

According to the OPSWAT August 2019 Market Share Report, Bitdefender is in the fourth position. However, we cannot compare Bitdefender and Windows Defender according to this report as the Defender is a free product.

OPSWAT Market Share Report August 2019

In terms of popularity and user opinions, there is no exact winner. Some users seem to rely on the Windows Defender. And some user prefers Bitdefender.

The Conclusion

Bitdefender and Windows Defender both are good antivirus. If you are going to use Bitdefender Free version, then it is not worth it. You should use the Windows Defender. The paid version of Bitdefender has more for you.

The features wise Bitdefender packs a lot. Some useful features are password manager, VPN, file shredder & encryption, webcam & mic protection. While Windows Defender only comes with few useful features like parental control and firewall. So if you are paying for something you are getting extra.

Both antiviruses have excellent protection capabilities. You are not going to compromise the security even if you any of the two. Although, the Windows Defender has a massive impact on the performance compared to Bitdefender. Bitdefender is lighter on your system.

The pricing point also matters. You get Windows Defender free of cost but to get the extra features you need to pay extra. If you ask me to choose one I would select Bitdefender Paid version. It comes with premium features, and there is support in case of any problem, which you don’t get with Windows Defender. It is better to use some deals to purchase Bitdefender to lower its cost.

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