This comprehensive guide was created based on the research of our seasoned experts and the top independent labs in the world so that you could make an informed decision.

We follow the work of four labs that regularly release detailed reports: AV-Test Institute based in Germany, MRG-Effitas, and SE Labs found in the UK as well as AV-Comparatives based in Austria.

AV-Test Institute discovered 144.91 million new malware samples in 2019 and a record of 38.48 million new samples in the first quarter of 2020. Malicious hackers are now attacking computers and networks at a rate of one attack every 39 seconds.

Using ransomware is one of the highest growing trends among hackers. The payoff is the main reason for it. Ransomware payments are now totaling around $1 billion per year, making them far more lucrative than traditional malware operations.

Research shows that ransomware is involved in 24 percent of malware security incidents. A ransomware attack in early 2020 on the New Orleans city government cost the city upwards of $7 million.

As you can see, high-grade protection is more critical than ever before.

In this comparison, you’ll see the security products, features, and tools both companies offer. We look at how they stack up against each other re

Here are the most important factors that we’ve compared:

  • Protection
  • Performance
  • Usability
  • Features
  • Pricing

You need to be able to protect yourself against any digital threats, so you don’t have to deal with these kinds of problems ever in your life.

So let’s dive right in.

A quick overview of the results

If you’re in a rush or just not too interested in all the statistics, we have compiled a handy overview of the results.

  • Protection

    Tests show that Norton offers the best protection with 100% results, while Bitdefender only protected against 99,3% of threats.

  • Performance

    Bitdefender may cause some slow-down while launching popular websites. Norton, on the other hand, hardly affects your computer's performance at all.

  • Usability

    Both products offer simple and straightforward to use interfaces. There were some problems with false reporting while using Bitdefender, though.

  • Features

    Bitdefender and Norton offer entry-level products with main features as well as complete bundles with everything you'll ever need.

  • Pricing

    Norton has more reasonable prices for both entry-level products and high-end bundles.

A short verdict

Norton is a better option than Bitdefender in every aspect. It offers higher-end security, doesn’t take that much of a toll on your computer’s performance, and has a lower price.

  1. Our top-rated software
    Norton Antivirus logo

    Norton

    Norton has been performing with 100% results in all of the tests. It's the highest-rated software in the independent labs' eyes, and we see the reasons as well. If you want the best in the world, you'll get Norton.

    Special offer - up to 60% offGet the best dealFrom $29.99 / year
  2. A close second
    Bitdefender Antivirus logo

    Bitdefender

    Since 2001, Bitdefender innovation has consistently delivered award-winning security products and threat intelligence for people, homes, businesses, devices, networks, and cloud services.

    Special offer 50% offGet the best dealFrom $19.99 / year

Detailed results

If you love to get to know the product in detail, before you buy them, you’ve come to the right place. We would be happy to dive into the details that were uncovered during our research. Let’s see everything we learned when we put Bitdefender and Norton head-to-head. The contenders were compared in 5 categories using data gathered by our experts and test results of top independent testing facilities.

So let’s see what we found out.

Protection

If you’re thinking of installing antivirus software, there must be only one reason for it – the security it offers against malware. The last tests show that one of our competitors did a bit better than the other.

Let’s compare the test results of two labs, AV-Test and AV-Comparatives so that you can see for yourself.

AV-Test put both software up against 402 samples of 0-day malware attacks and 20606 samples of malware in four weeks.

Both software showed impressive results protecting and detecting malware and other threats with a clean 100% results. We can say that these are some world-class numbers right here.

Industry average Bitdefender Norton
Protection against 0-day malware attacks, inclusive of web and email threats

402 samples used

Detection of widespread and prevalent malware discovered in the last 4 weeks

20606 samples used

Source: av-test.org

AV-Comparatives tested the Real-Life Protection and found that Norton protected against 100% of threats while Bitdefender Blocked 99,3% of threats. The results are based on the test set of 754 live test cases (malicious URLs found in the field), consisting of working exploits (i.e., drive-by downloads) and URLs pointing directly to malware.

Bitdefender Norton
Blocked
Compromised
Protection rate

Source: av-comparatives.org

While AV-Test didn’t find any difference between the two contenders, AV-Comparatives’ tests showed that Norton offers higher-grade security.

Winner: Norton

Performance

If you choose to secure your digital life, it’s crucial for the solution to trouble your everyday tasks as little as possible. Trying to load websites or open applications when the computer keeps slowing down, can get quite infuriating.

Let’s see how the two competitors hold up against each other in that regard so that you can avoid any problems.

AV-Test lab research shows that Bitdefender performs quite nicely while installing frequently used applications, but may cause some slow-down while launching popular websites. Norton, on the other hand, hardly puts any toll on your computer at all. It shows results better than the industry average in every category.

Industry average Bitdefender Norton
Slowing-down when launcing popular websites

50 websites visited

Slower download of frequently-used applications

20 downloaded files

Slower launch of standard software

12 test cases applied

Slower installation of frequently-used applications

19 installed applications

Slower copying of files (locally and in a network)

7388 files copied

Source: av-test.org

There is no competition here – Norton wins this category with a big lead over Bitdefender. If you’re looking for an option that doesn’t affect your computer’s performance, then the choice is certainly Norton.

Winner: Norton

Usability

The usability of antivirus software can be measured in two aspects. The first is its interface and how easy it is to use. The second is the software’s false reporting. If false reports keep popping up left and right, you can’t properly use your computer. That’s why we put the products head-to-head in both aspects.

First, let’s compare the interfaces.

Bitdefender offers a modern and easy to understand application with an intuitive design. Compared to some of the competitors, it has a bit more information on the home screen. Still, the important things stand out, and everything can be found in a heartbeat.

On the left side of the window, you can find a menu for different modules.

The first is the dashboard that is basically the home screen and gives you an overview of everything that is going on. There’s a big status message on the top, letting you know if your computer is safe. You can also start a quick scan there, open the VPN, safepay, and add other devices you wish to keep safe. There’s also an option to add a customized quick action.

If you check back to the right, you’ll find the protection module, where you can see if your device is protected and if the program is up to date. You are also able to start a quick scan or a vulnerability scan from there.

If you go through the options on the left, you are presented with privacy, utilities, notifications, your account, setting, and support.

Bitdefender User Interface

Norton’s design creates a pleasant atmosphere with a scenic photo on the left of its main window. You can also see your subscription status there.

On the opposite side is the most crucial information about your device. You can see your security, VPN, cloud backup, password manager, and parental control status.

With ease, you can open up the security panel or configure any of the above options.

Norton Main Screen User Interface Screenshot

The security window lets you dive even more into detail. You can quickly start a new scan and see the date of your last scan.

You can also add devices if you have a bundled option or subscribe for more.

In the bottom part of the window, you’ll get easy access to all the features you have subscribed to. Plus, there is the length of your remaining subscription there.

Norton User Interface Screenshot

Now let’s dive into false reporting.

AV-Test also conducts usability tests that show if any false reports show up. Results indicate that Bitdefender had some problems with false reporting, while Norton didn’t show any notifications that weren’t malware.

Industry average Bitdefender Norton
False warnings or blockages when visiting websites

500 samples used

False detections of legimate software as malware during a system scan

964 585 samples used

False warnings concerning certain actions carried out whilst installing and using legitimate software

87 samples used

False blockages of certain actions carried out whilst installing and using legitimate software

87 samples used

Source: av-test.org

As both products have an easy-to-use interface, it all comes down to false reporting. Once again, Norton performed better than the competition, showing the best result anyone could.

Winner: Norton

Features

Bitdefender and Norton both come with all the necessary features for you to protect your digital life. There are entry-level products and big bundles available as well. Something for every need.

Let’s first see what Bitdefender has to offer.

Bitdefender offers a wide variety of security products for PC, Mac, Android, and iOS users. They also can provide multiple services for their clients, ranging from install and setup to computer tune-up.

Bitdefender’s entry-level product for PCs is called Bitdefender Antivirus Plus and it offers essential antivirus protection. The Mac version of the same product is called Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac. It promises absolute antivirus protection against all Mac-related threats.

The lightweight software also offers multi-layer ransomware protection, as well as blocks and removes annoying adware. The software prevents phishing and online fraud when shopping and browsing. You’ll also get a secure VPN for complete online privacy, including 200 MB of traffic a day.

The only thing the Mac version offers, that the PC version doesn’t, is the additional Time Machine protection for your backed-up files in case of a ransomware attack. If you compare the two products the other way, you can see that PC users get a lot more than the Mac users.

Here’s a list of all the features that are only available with the PC version:

  • Advanced Threat Defense that uses a technique called behavioral detection to closely monitor active apps. The moment it detects anything suspicious, it takes instant action to prevent infections.
  • A new cyber threat intelligence network threat prevention technologies that can analyze and identify suspicious network-level activities and block sophisticated exploits, malware, or botnet-related URLs, as well as brute force attacks.
  • Advanced aunty fraud filtering system warns you whenever you visit websites that may try to scam you.
  • Safe Files that can prevent unauthorized changes to your most important files. You can simply add folders to the watch list, and Bitdefender guards the files stored in them against ransomware and other types of malware. Only applications you explicitly trust are allowed to access your Safe Files.

These examples are only from the protection features. Bitdefender also offers performance features such as Global Protective Network, Battery Mode, as well as Game, Movie & Work Modes for PC. There is also safe online banking, WiFi security advisor, social network protection, vulnerability assessment, a Password manager, and a file shredder features available to PC users.

If you use more than one computer, the PC version is available for up to 10 devices. The Mac option can be purchased for only up to 3 devices. A 30-day free trial is available for both PC and Mac.

Bitdefender Internet Security is a mid-tier option available to only PC users. Its threat detection is designed to keep all Internet threats away.

It comes with a privacy firewall to block intrusions, filter your network traffic, and provides webcam and microphone protection to prevent eavesdropping.

A secure VPN with 200MB daily traffic is also included to protect your bank info, passwords, and downloads from hackers when you use public WiFi networks.

Bitdefender Internet Security also comes with parental control options so you can be sure that your children stay safe while browsing. Filter out inappropriate content and limit screen time. You can also log in remotely to Bitdefender Central to keep up with your kids.

Bitdefender also offers two different bundle options.

The first is Bitdefender Total Security and is available for PCs, Macs, Androids and iOS devices. You can choose between 5 and 10 device options.

The software bundle offers top-grade protection both off and online as well as a secure VPN for up to 200 MB of traffic a day and advanced parental controls.

It is basically everything Bitdefender has to offer to keep you safe.

There is also another bundle option available for people who are heavy computer users.

In addition to everything covered before, Bitdefender Premium Security offers you unlimited VPN traffic and priority support. So every time you have a question, you’ll get a quick answer. This bundle is only available for up to 10 devices.

View all Bitdefender products

Now let’s take a look at what Norton has to offer.

Norton’s entry-level security product is called Norton AntiVirus Plus, available for PCs and Macs. It comes with real-time threat protection, a password manager and a firewall. If you’re using Windows, you’ll get 2 GB of cloud backup as well.

Norton also has a separate VPN option called Norton Secure VPN. It helps secure private information like your passwords, bank account details, and credit card information when using public Wi-Fi on your PC, Mac, or mobile device.

There are three options for the software – 1 device, 5 devices, and 10 devices. You’ll get bank-grade encryption and can browse anonymously if you’d like to. These options prevent you from being tracked by online advertisers and other companies.

Norton Secure VPN also offers you access to your favorite websites, videos, or apps when traveling. Even if these sites are not available in the location, you are right now.

Adblocking is also available that block unwanted tracking technologies to avoid being tracked by online advertisers and other companies.

Norton also offers bundle options with the name Norton 360. These are newer versions of Norton Security packages that the company no longer provides.

Norton 360 gives you all-around protection, both offline and online. All the bundles are available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices.

The entry-level package is named Norton 360 Standard and allows you to protect 1 PC, Mac, smartphone, or tablet. It also includes a Secure VPN for your device.

If you’re using Windows, you’ll get a bit more than mac OS users, including 10 GB of cloud backup and SafeCam. This feature alerts you to attempts to access your webcam and helps you block unauthorized access to it.

If you opt for the mid-tier option Norton 360 Deluxe, you can use the software on up to 5 devices. Cloud storage size is upped as well to 50 GB.

For all the parents out there, one significant benefit is also its parental control features so that you can manage your kids’ activities online. It helps them to explore, learn, and enjoy their connected world more safely. Unfortunately, this option is only limited to PCs and smartphones.

Norton has developed an option for people who have a lot of devices or big families. Norton 360 Premium lets you use it for up to 10 devices and gives Windows users 75 GB of cloud storage.

Both Norton 360 and Antivirus Plus come with 100% virus protection promise. But to be eligible, you must have a qualifying subscription with automatic renewal.

If you choose to subscribe to one of Norton 360 bundles, a 24/7 phone, and chat support is also available.

View all Norton products

The list of extra features seems long for both Bitdefender and Norton. Both software options have anti-malware and VPN abilities. That is why we have to call it a tie.

Winner: It’s a tie

Pricing

When deciding which option to go with, price is always an important part. You have to take all the details into account to make the best decision. When investing in antivirus software, you are not purchasing an application but rather an ease-of-mind that your digital life is in safe hands.

So let’s see which price points are offered by both products. Here are the prices of both Bitdefender and Norton products.

Bitdefender offers four different levels of protection for you with its products. You can buy its antivirus and privacy products separately or as a bundle.

  1. Bitdefender Antivirus logo

    Bitdefender Antivirus Plus

    A lightweight antivirus that offers essential protection for 1 to 10 PCs.

    Special offer 50% offGet the best dealFrom $19.99 / year
  2. Bitdefender Antivirus logo

    Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

    A lightweight antivirus that offers essential protection 1 to 3 Macs.

    Special offer 50% offGet the best dealFrom $19.99 / year
  1. Bitdefender Antivirus logo

    Bitdefender Internet Security

    An Internet security suite that protects your Windows PC against all online threats.

    Special offer 50% offGet the best dealFrom $29.99 / year
  2. Bitdefender Antivirus logo

    Bitdefender Total Security

    Complete protection for all your devices that goes beyond antivirus & anti-malware software. For up to 10 devices.

    Special offer 50% offGet the best dealFrom $44.99 / year
  3. Bitdefender Antivirus logo

    Bitdefender Premium Security

    Premium security and privacy pack for absolute digital freedom – protection, unlimited VPN traffic, and priority support. For 10 devices.

    Special offer 40% offGet the best dealFrom $89.99 / year

Norton offers its products bundled and independently as well. For the best all-around protection, it’s better to go with complete packages, so we’ll start with these.

  1. Norton Antivirus logo

    Norton 360 Standard

    High-grade antivirus and VPN for 1 PC, Mac, or smart device. 10 GB of cloud backup included for Windows users.

    Special offer 60% offGet the best deal $29.99 / year
  2. Norton Antivirus logo

    Norton 360 Deluxe

    High-grade antivirus and VPN for up to 5 PCs, Macs, or smart devices. 50 GB of cloud backup and parental control options included for Windows users.

    Special offer 58% offGet the best deal $39.99 / year
  3. Norton Antivirus logo

    Norton 360 Premium

    High-grade antivirus and VPN for up to 10 PCs, Macs, or smart devices. 75 GB of cloud backup and parental control options included for Windows users.

    Special offer 52% offGet the best deal $49.99 / year

Norton AntiVirus Plus is available individually as well. If you go with this option, keep in mind that you don’t have a VPN bundled in, but you can get it separately.

  1. Norton Antivirus logo

    Norton AntiVirus Plus

    Powerful protection for your one device and the personal information it stores. 2 GB of cloud backup included for Windows users.

    Special offer 57% offGet the best deal $14.99 / year
  2. Norton Antivirus logo

    Norton Secure VPN

    Bank-grade encryption, private browsing, and tracking block for PC, Mac, Android, or iOS.

    Special offer 43% offGet the best dealFrom $39.99 / year

Both Bitdefender and Norton are very reasonably priced. Still, you’ll get better deals when going with Norton. It doesn’t matter if you go for entry-level products or all-around bundles, Norton has lower prices.

If you consider all the other categories as well, Norton certainly gives you the best bang for the buck.

Winner: Norton

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that Norton is a better option than Bitdefender. Its protection and detection were superior, and it is priced more reasonably. Still, Bitdefender is really close to a perfect antivirus program.

Keep in mind that we give our best to get you all the facts so you can make an informed decision about the best option. After all, you are the one that is going to use the software. We hope this review has been helpful to you.

  1. Our top-rated software
    Norton Antivirus logo

    Norton

    Norton has been performing with 100% results in all of the tests. It's the highest-rated software in the independent labs' eyes, and we see the reasons as well. If you want the best in the world, you'll get Norton.

    Special offer - up to 60% offGet the best dealFrom $29.99 / year