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
Bitdefender — Winner 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.
Bitdefender vs. McAfee: Malware Protection
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.
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.
Bitdefender vs. McAfee: Web Security
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 accessing web pages with downloadable malware too. It checks search results for dangerous sites, scans encrypted websites, and identifies fraudulent content.
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.
Bitdefender vs. McAfee: Features
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.
- 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.
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. However, unlike Bitdefender, it doesn’t work for torrenting.
Bitdefender vs. McAfee: Ease of Use
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.
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.
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.
Bitdefender vs. McAfee: Customer Support
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.
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.