Bitdefender vs. McAfee: Which One Is Better? [2023 Top Picks]

Find the best antivirus for you and your devices.
We compare security, extra features, ease of use, and more to help you decide.
Professional Reviews
Affiliate Commissions
Reviews Guidelines

Bitdefender vs. McAfee: Which Is Right for You?

Sam Boyd
Sam Boyd
Junior Editor

Bitdefender vs. McAfee: Which Is Right for You?

Bitdefender and McAfee are two of the most comprehensive internet security suites on the market. They both excel at malware detection and removal, provide an impressive set of easy-to-use features, and offer really good value.

But there are some differences to consider. For example, while both antiviruses are great at malware removal, McAfee’s scan causes more system slowdown. And while both have decent mobile apps, McAfee’s iOS app is more full-featured. In this article, I explain the key points of difference to help you make an informed choice.

Bitdefender vs. McAfee — Final Verdict

  • 1st place:
  • 2nd place:

BitdefenderWinner in Performance, Extra Features, and Price. If you’re looking for a powerful anti-malware engine with excellent internet security protections inside a very intuitive dashboard, go with Bitdefender.

McAfeeWinner in VPN, Password Manager, and iOS App. If you want an internet security suite that includes all of the tools you need to stay safe online in 2023, go with McAfee.

Bitdefender vs. McAfee: Malware Protection

Antivirus Overall Malware Detection Score Ransomware Detection Full System Scan Time Quick Scan Time Scan’s Impact On System Performance Scans External Drives
Bitdefender 100% 100% 1 hour 10 minutes Low
McAfee 100% 100% 1 hour 2 minutes Low

Bitdefender’s malware scanner is lightweight but powerful. It uses machine learning and a huge directory to detect malware. Most scanning happens in the cloud, so the scans only take up a tiny amount of your CPU.

I tested Bitdefender by downloading hundreds of malware samples to my computer, including viruses, trojans, rootkits and ransomware. I then ran a full system scan, and Bitdefender detected 100% of the malware.

The full system scan took around an hour, but this wasn’t an issue as it was so lightweight it barely affected my system performance.

Bitdefender’s real-time protection, Bitdefender Shield, is excellent too. I placed a variety of infected files on my computer, and Bitdefender Shield blocked all of them before I could start to download them.

Visit Bitdefender

McAfee’s antivirus scanner performed just as well as Bitdefender’s, identifying 100% of the malware samples I tested it with. McAfee uses traditional malware detection techniques, checking files against a huge virus database and using heuristics to identify potentially dangerous files too.

Like Bitdefender, McAfee’s full system scan took around an hour. However, unlike Bitdefender, it did cause some slowdown on my computer. While I could still use my PC for browsing the web, streaming videos and gaming were impossible. That said, you can schedule scans for a convenient time when you’re not using your computer.

McAfee’s real-time protection engine performed as well as Bitdefender’s, successfully blocking me from downloading or opening any malware files when I put it to the test.

Visit McAfee

Bitdefender vs. McAfee: Web Security

Web Security Blocks Phishing Sites? Stops Drive-By Downloads? Scans Downloads for Malware? Isolated Secure Browser? Blocks Keylogging Scripts?

Bitdefender’s anti-phishing protection compares any website you visit to a huge database of dangerous sites. In my tests, it successfully blocked all the phishing sites I tried to access. I also like that it shows which sites were blocked and why.

Bitdefender’s web protection stops you from accessing web pages with downloadable malware too. It checks search results for dangerous sites, scans encrypted websites, and identifies fraudulent content.

Visit Bitdefender

McAfee’s WebAdvisor offers excellent web protection.

WebAdvisor identifies phishing sites from a massive database that is continuously updated. In my tests, it blocked 100% of phishing sites and exploit attacks, detecting many dangerous sites that Chrome and Firefox’s built-in protections failed to.

If you’re looking for online protection for your Windows or Mac device, McAfee is a great option.

Visit McAfee

Bitdefender vs. McAfee: Features

Additional Features Firewall VPN Network Scanner Anti-Theft Protection Parental Controls Password Manager

Bitdefender Total Security covers 5 devices and has:

  • Web protection.
  • Secure browser for online finances.
  • System optimization tools.
  • Wi-Fi network protection.
  • VPN (limited to 200 MB/per day & 1 server location).
  • Password manager.
  • Parental controls.
  • File shredder.
  • Firewall.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • And more…

Bitdefender’s parental controls are excellent — you can set daily device limits, manage and block apps, and whitelist and blacklist specific sites. On the mobile apps, you can also set safe and restricted geographical locations, and view the latest phone contacts added to your child’s device.

Bitdefender’s user profiles offer different modes depending on what you’re doing, such as working, gaming, or watching movies. For example, in gaming mode Bitdefender will suspend notifications, automatic updates, and virus scans, which is super handy.

Bitdefender’s password manager is okay, but there are no 2FA or password sharing options. The VPN is limited to 200 MB per day, but it offers excellent speeds and is good for torrenting. If you want to get the VPN with no limitations, you can get it as a standalone purchase or upgrade to Bitdefender’s Premium Security plan.

Visit Bitdefender

McAfee Total Protection covers either 5 or unlimited devices and includes:

  • Customizable firewall.
  • Web protection & browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.
  • System tuneup tools.
  • Network scanner.
  • VPN with unlimited data.
  • Password manager (True Key).
  • Identity theft monitoring.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • And more…

Like Bitdefender, McAfee offers excellent parental controls (with its top-tier Family plans). With its Safe Family app, you can filter web content, limit device usage and internet access, block specific apps, and track device locations.

McAfee’s True Key is a decent password manager. It offers all the essentials, like unlimited password storage across devices, secure notes, and a password generator. However, like Bitdefender, it’s lacking 2FA options and password sharing.

McAfee’s Safe Connect VPN is easy to use and offers unlimited data and decent speeds. It’s also good for torrenting and works with most streaming sites.

Visit McAfee

Bitdefender vs. McAfee: Ease of Use

Antivirus Windows Mac Linux Android iOS Chromebook Others
(GravityZone plan only)
Android app only

Bitdefender’s desktop dashboard is well designed, and every feature is easily accessible. I like the large buttons and the Quick Action option, which lets you add more buttons to the dashboard. I was also impressed by the easy-to-access protection settings, which allowed me to customize real-time protections.

Bitdefender’s features are organized into three categories: Protection, Privacy, and Utilities. Parental Controls and Anti-theft Protection sit under the Utilities tab, but when you click them you’re taken to Bitdefender’s online portal.

Bitdefender’s Android app is really feature-rich and provides excellent security and useful extras like anti-theft protection. However, the iOS app is limited, with only web protection, breach monitoring, and a VPN.

Visit Bitdefender

McAfee is simple to install and use.

It’s extremely easy to schedule a scan with McAfee. It’s also simple to customize your firewall protection, access the VPN, and run system tune-ups.

You can only access the parental controls and identity theft monitoring through the online dashboard, which is fine, but it would be nice if they were incorporated into the app.

McAfee’s mobile apps are beautifully designed and easy to navigate. What’s more, the iOS app is more feature-rich than Bitdefender’s.

Visit McAfee

Bitdefender vs. McAfee: Customer Support

Antivirus Email Support Live Chat Phone Support Active Community Forum Social Media Support FAQs & Setup Guides

Bitdefender’s customer support center is impressive. There’s a knowledge database, email support, phone support, live chat, and community support.

When I tried the live chat, I was connected to an agent within minutes, and they answered my questions within a few seconds.

The phone support is great, too. Bitdefender has 28 phone numbers across 18 countries, including a 24-hour worldwide phone number. When I tested it, I was connected with an agent almost instantly, and they were knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful.

Bitdefender’s knowledge base has a huge array of articles and video tutorials, and I found answers to most of my questions there. However, the community forum isn’t very active — no one had answered a question for a couple of months.

Visit Bitdefender

McAfee’s customer support is really good, with 24/7 live chat and phone support, a forum, and a knowledge base.

When I contacted phone support with an issue, it was resolved within minutes, which is great. The live chat was really fast and helpful too, but you have to fill in a form before you can get connected.

McAfee’s support forum is much more active than Bitdefender’s. Support staff and McAfee users are available to answer your questions there, and I got a response in just five hours, which is impressive.

However, McAfee’s online knowledge base is pretty useless compared to Bitdefender’s. A lot of the FAQ answers relate to older versions of the software, so it’s impossible to get the answers you need. But the live chat and phone support are so good that this isn’t a major issue.

Visit McAfee

Starting Price
Money Back Guarantee
Free Trial
30 Days
30 Days
Ease of Use
Latest Positive Review*User reviews are not verified
Dec. 6, 2020
Excellent Antivirus
This antivirus is very helpful and quickly blocks unsafe websites and...
Derek R. Freeman
May 26, 2020
Great AV
I run five A-V Anti Malware programs and only BitDefender finds the...
Maria Davis
Dec. 28, 2020
It's good product for protection
I have purchased McAfee antivirus now, try to download and install then I...
Dec. 20, 2020
Pretty good
I'm still trying to figure out how to use this software, but it has served...
Latest Negative Review*User reviews are not verified
Aug. 24, 2022
Pop-up Ads even when Paid for Subscription
Total Security comes with 'Wallet' for passwords but rather than improve...
May 19, 2022
Useless antivirus software, which crashes and freezes PC when detecting a thread
This is one of the worst nightmare piece of antivirus software we have...
M Murray
Jan. 10, 2022
Rip off
I did not have the setting on autorenewal but i see that they have taken...
Beverley Husson
Nov. 28, 2021
Retired Senior
It's an ok program, my complaint is with the staff. I shut off my auto...
Our Verdict
Sam Boyd
Sam Boyd
Junior Editor
Bitdefender has perfect malware detection rates, a ton of extras, and some of the cheapest plans on the market. McAfee also has perfect malware detection rates, an excellent selection of features and extras, and is very affordable. Bitdefender may be a better choice if you’re looking for a simple yet customizable antivirus, whereas McAfee is a better option if you want a VPN with no restrictions as well as a fully-featured iOS app. Both brands offer a 30-day money-back guarantee with all plans.  
Time To Decide Which One Is Best For You

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find the best antivirus for me?

The first thing to do is to understand what you need — all antiviruses come with different internet security tools to help you stay protected, so identifying what level of protection you want will help you figure out which product is right for you.

Some antiviruses have a virtual private network (VPN), some have safe browsing extensions, and some have a password manager. Some only work on certain operating systems, while others cover all operating systems across multiple devices.

It’s important to compare the best antiviruses on the market to find the perfect one with the functionality you need.

What makes an antivirus secure?

A high-quality antivirus suite will detect, flag, and remove viruses and various types of malware. It will also offer real-time protection against all threats, regardless of whether you are browsing the internet, downloading software, shopping online, or opening email. For additional security, many antivirus suites offer a VPN, secure storage, and a password manager — these things all add several layers of protection against various cyber threats.

For more information on how antiviruses work, read this.

What do I need to look for when searching for an antivirus?

An antivirus needs to protect against all types of malware — trojans, rootkits, worms, spyware, viruses, ransomware, and anything else that might cause damage to your devices. This is done in a variety of ways, but the most essential feature of an antivirus is real-time protection — this makes sure that an active threat is effectively stopped before anything serious can happen.

Other things to look for include — excellent detection rates, fast system performance, included extra features (like a VPN, password manager, etc.), easy-to-use interface, good customer support, and overall value.

Go here for a list of the best antivirus software of 2023.

How do I know if one antivirus is better than another?

When researching antiviruses, it’s a good idea to visit a few well-known antivirus software websites such as Norton, McAfee, and Bitdefender to directly compare each antivirus’s features.

You can also look at the expert opinions of our reviewers at to find the most up-to-date and unbiased information about the best cybersecurity products on the market today.