Antivirus Software Comparison: McAfee vs. Norton vs. Bitdefender

ByTop10.com StaffNov.08, 2018

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McAfee, Norton, and Bitdefender are all established industry leaders in the world of antivirus software. But which is best for your needs? We breakdown what each software offers so you can find exactly what you’re looking for.

1. Performance

Each antivirus software offers different performance standards and expectations. To start, Bitdefender has high marks from independent tests, and features good scan time with virtually no lag, as well as above average protection against viruses and malware. 

Norton, on the other hand, runs the risk of slowing down your computer during scans but eliminates deeply embedded crimeware that traditional virus scanning doesn't always detect.

McAfee antivirus takes the cake as the industry leader with the shortest scan time and best protection even against the newest threats. Plus, McAfee does all this without slowing down your computer.

Winner: McAfee Antivirus

2. Ease of Use

All of these antivirus providers offer easy-to-use services and programs. Bitdefender offers 1-click setup, remote controlling, quick widgets, one email address to control everything and an easy-to-operate rescue mode. Norton offers an instant download for immediate protection and an easy-to-use web portal for maintenance and updates.

Likewise, McAfee offers an intuitive setup for each of your devices, and, best of all, you can activate McAfee on all of your devices and control them from one screen.

Selecting a winner for this category is too difficult, so we have a tie.

3. Features

The type of features you’ll want in your antivirus package depends on what you do on your devices. For example, do you love gaming and video streaming or do you need protection for file sharing at the office?

Norton offers a mobile app scanning and device locator, though it’s missing an auto backup, gaming mode and parental control features. McAfee will delete files permanently and offers mobile users data backup, WiFi protection, remote lock, wipe and anti-theft tools.

However, Bitdefender takes it to another level and has a laundry list of impressive features. Some of these unique features include cloud anti-spam, IM protection, virtual keyboard, and USB drive protection. Bitdefender takes the features category.

Winner: Bitdefender

4. System Repair and Cleaning

Of course, while features and unique extras are important, the most important feature of antivirus software is how it cleans and repairs your operating system. While all 3 of these companies do well in protecting against viruses, some do better than others at cleaning up devices that have been attacked.

For example, McAfee is notorious for struggling with infected PCs and devices, while Bitdefender antivirus known to do a much better job.

Norton however, really blows the competition out of the water and routinely receives the highest scores from independent testers.

Winner: Norton Antivirus

5. Value for Money

McAfee Total Protection

1 device: $24.99

5 devices: $39.99

10 devices: $44.99

Norton

1 PC: $19.99

1 device: $39.99

5 devices: $49.99

10 devices: $54.99

Bitdefender

1 device: $19.99

3 devices: $40

5 devices: $44.99

If you only have one device to cover, Bitdefender offers a competitive deal, starting at $19.99 and can go up to $44.99 for up to 5 devices. Norton also offers affordable packages, ranging anywhere from $19.99 for one device to $54.99 for up to 10 devices. McAfee’s deal is about the same as the other 2, ranging between $24.99 per year for one device, up to $44.99 for up to 10 devices.

All of these products offer affordable protection for multiple devices, but McAfee’s most expensive package covers up to 10 devices and costs the same as Bitdefender’s 5-device protection package. 

Winner: McAfee Antivirus

6. Support

A friendly and available support staff or online knowledgebase is very important but not always automatic with antivirus packages. Norton antivirus provides phone and live chat support, and features a helpful Q&A section on its site. McAfee offers similar support options, but you’ll need to pay extra for advanced tech support.

Bitdefender's support center is by far the most comprehensive, featuring all of the above as well as superb email support and "Virus Encyclopedia," pushing them ahead of the competition.  

Winner: Bitdefender

Find What You’re Looking For

As you can see each of these antivirus products have different advantages features. While Bitdefender wins top marks for customer support, Norton is ahead of the competition when it comes to system repair.

However neither can compete with McAfee's performance, ease of use, and value, which are 3 of the most important elements in choosing antivirus software.