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Bitdefender vs ESET: side-by-side comparison


Bitdefender and ESET are both household names in the antivirus realm. Bitdefender is well-loved for its outstanding performance, robust extra specs, and strong real-time as well as ransomware protection. Meanwhile, ESET is lesser-known but still has a legion of fans as it’s super secure, lightweight, and highly-rated by independent labs.

Since both providers boast rave reviews and draw in millions of users, how do you decide which is the best between the two heavyweights?

To help you out, in this Bitdefender vs ESET comparison, I’ll cover how they differ in terms of features, security, pricing, performance, user experience, support, and more.

Bitdefender vs ESET

BitdefenderESET NOD32
⭐ Rating:
4.9
4.1
🥇 Overall rank:#1 out of #20#8 out of #20
🔥 Coupons:Bitdefender coupon 60% OFFESET coupon up to 30% OFF
💵 Price:from $23.99/yearFrom $27.99/year
✂️ Free version:YesNo
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOSWindows, Linux, Mac, Android

Bitdefender vs ESET: feature comparison

When it comes to features, Bitdefender has more of them than ESET. Although both providers offer comprehensive and diverse features, Bitdefender clinches the deal with its long list of basic and advanced additional features. Meanwhile, ESET offers only a handful of extras in addition to the essentials.

Here’s what you can get with each provider:

BitdefenderESET
Virus scans
Real-time protection
Ransomware protection
Firewall
Anti-spam
Banking and payment protection
Parental controls
Password manager
Photo encryption
Anti-tracker
VPN
Performance optimization
File shredder
Wrapping up
All things considered, both Bitdefender and ESET have all the essential measures to protect against common vulnerabilities. However, Bitdefender is more feature-rich than ESET as it offers tools like a VPN, performance optimization tools, and a file shredder.

Bitdefender features

Bitdefender has plenty of cool features, and many of them are definitely worth a closer look. But, of course, some of these features are only included in its premium plans.

First up is its Advanced Threat Defense, which is Bitdefender’s real-time monitoring. It uses heuristic methods to detect ransomware and zero-day threats in real time.

Bitdefender protection features

Meanwhile, its ransomware mitigation feature has dual functions. It blocks ransomware attacks as well as creates backups of your files so that they’re protected in case of an attack.

There’s also Anti-Spam – it offers multi-layered protection for the email channel. Its whitelister blocks spammer domains. It also runs heuristic analysis on received emails’ content, header, and metadata. And, to assist the analysis, its learning module gathers stats about the frequency of genuine emails and spam messages.

SafePay is another one of Bitdefender’s attractions. It creates a sandbox browser to protect payment details during online purchases.

Bitdefender’s Anti-Tracker feature helps keep your data and activity private. This is a browser extension that prevents third-party scripts, cookies, and adware from tracking your online behavior.

Additionally, Bitdefender offers a Webcam Filter, which is a microphone and webcam protection feature. It will notify you whenever a new app tries to access your webcam or microphone.

Finally, Bitdefender’s VPN is a must-mention, too. It encrypts internet traffic and anonymizes your online identity to protect your privacy. The version included in all paid plans comes with 200MB of data per day.

Alternatively, you can also upgrade to Bitdefender’s Premium VPN for $2.49/month. This upgraded version offers unlimited data, over 1,300 servers across 48 countries, and Hotspot Shield’s Catapult Hydra for its tunneling protocol.

To learn more about the features, visit our Bitdefender review.

ESET features

ESET has abundant features that are worth a special mention, too. But, as is common, many of them are reserved for those on its premium plans.

For starters, ESET has a great set of anti-theft features. To protect against theft, it offers features like location tracking, anti-theft optimization, laptop activity watch, one-way messaging, phantom account, and more.

Plus, the higher-tier plans also come with a password manager with 256-bit AES secure encryption. But, just don’t expect the password manager to offer everything that you’d get from a dedicated third-party password manager. Some missing essential features include breach monitoring, auditing, password sharing between users, and emergency access.

ESET setup dashboard

ESET also has strong banking protection to prevent payment details from being compromised. Here, the provider’s automatically-activated banking feature will switch to a secure browser whenever you visit a recognized financial site.

To learn more about the features, visit our ESET review.

Bitdefender vs ESET: which offers better protection?

Bitdefender and ESET excel in many ways but, ultimately, it’s their protection rates that will be the deciding factor. I looked at how well these antiviruses perform at independent laboratories and learned that it’s a neck-and-neck match here.

Here’s how ESET Internet Security vs Bitdefender Internet Security plans measure up:

BitdefenderESET
AV-TestTop productTop product
AV-ComparativesAdvanced+Advanced+

Experts at AV-TEST awarded both the TOP PRODUCT certificate for their amazing performances. Although, ESET slightly tipped the scale in its favor by scoring the full 6 points across all 3 categories: protection, performance, and usability. Meanwhile, Bitdefender narrowly missed the mark in terms of usability but rallied with a still-excellent 5.5 points.

As for AV-Comparatives, the providers are on par with each other. Both received the highest Advanced+ level.

Considering there is no visible difference in protection rates, this Bitdefender vs ESET round is a draw.

Real-time protection

Bitdefender has some of the best real-time protection in the industry. To start, it offers Advanced Threat Defense, which uses heuristic methods to monitor all device activities for various types of threats.

And, since Bitdefender is part of the Global Protective Network – a massive website reputation database – it can also swiftly identify new threats or the latest variants of the existing ones.

Besides that, it also has assorted Online Threat Prevention measures. Here, you get features like web attack prevention, search advisor to warn against accessing dangerous web pages, and encrypted web scan.

ESET has robust real-time protection, too. For instance, all files are scanned for potential threats when they’re opened, created, or downloaded.

Plus, in addition to its signature-based scanning methods, the provider also makes full use of the ESET LiveGrid file reputation database to detect unknown or new threats based on behavior.

Malware protection

Bitdefender has ample measures for malware protection. For instance, its multi-layered ransomware protection not only blocks ransomware attacks but also reverses any damage by restoring encrypted files.

Additionally, it also has a vulnerability scanner. The tool searches for security holes and vulnerabilities that could compromise your device and data in the system, apps, and network.

And, of course, its Advanced Threat Defense uses behavioral detection to protect against zero-day malware as well as other new threats.

ESET doesn’t slack on malware protection, either. Its multi-layered protection includes Ransomware Shield, which employs behavior-based detection to block malware.

Besides that, ESET also protects against botnet malware. Here, its Botnet Protection quickly blocks and reports any detected malicious communication.

Meanwhile, its Exploit Blocker blocks attacks on commonly exploited applications like browsers, PDF readers, and email clients.

Firewall protection

Both Bitdefender and ESET include a firewall but only in their higher-tier plans. With Bitdefender, you get a customizable one. You can tweak things like application or network access, rules, and network adapter settings.

Bitdefender AV customizable firewall

Plus, it also comes with port scan protection which prevents people from checking for loopholes in your network and exploiting them.

As for ESET, it has 4 different filtering modes. Automatic is the default mode that allows most outbound traffic and blocks most inbound traffic except for those from the trusted zone.

ESET firewall setup screen

Meanwhile, interactive mode lets you block or allow unknown connections. Policy-based, on the other hand, blocks all connections unless you allow them. And, learning mode automatically creates and saves rules according to your activities.

Scanning

Most top antivirus programs offer multiple types of scans for flexibility. Both Bitdefender and ESET jumped on the bandwagon, too.

Bitdefender has quite an assortment of scans. Beyond the common quick and full system scans, it also offers custom scans.

Bitdefender scanning options

Plus, the provider also offers Rescue Environment scans which reboot your device in a rescue environment for clean-up and threat removal. Meanwhile, its vulnerability scanner checks for security flaws and vulnerabilities.

ESET offers multiple scanning options, too. For starters, its system scans check your entire device, including running processes, system files, and more. Meanwhile, you can use custom scans to run checks on specific files and folders.

eset scanning options

It also provides removable device scans for things like flash drives, external hard drives, CDs, and memory cards. The only glaringly missing option for ESET is a quick scan.

All in all, this is a fierce ESET vs Bitdefender battle as both providers cover all common vulnerabilities. But, Bitdefender ultimately has more robust and well-rounded measures than ESET, although the latter is certainly a very close second.

Pricing and plans

Bitdefender offers much greater affordability and value than ESET. Its plans allow more device connections for a much cheaper price. For instance, its entry paid plan is priced at just $23.99/year for 3 devices while ESET’s basic plan already costs $27.99/year for just 1 device. Plus, Bitdefender has a free plan while ESET offers only a 30-day free trial.

However, both providers do have a 30-day money-back guarantee.

PlanBitdefenderESET
Free$0.0030-day free trial
Antivirus Plus/NOD32 Antivirus
$23.99/year, 3 devices$27.99/year, 1 devices
Internet Security$32.00/year, 3 devices$41.99/year, 1 device
Total Security/Smart Security Premium
$36.00/year, 5 devices$55.99/year, 1 device
Family pack$49.99/year, 15 devices
Check Bitdefender pricingCheck ESET pricing
Wrapping up
In brief, Bitdefender is much cheaper than ESET while offering more features. Plus, it’s absolutely the better option if you want to protect multiple devices without spending a fortune.

Bitdefender antivirus plans

Bitdefender offers 4 paid options:

  • Antivirus Plus – $23.99/year, 3 devices
  • Internet Security – $32.00/year, 3 devices
  • Total Security – $36.00/year, 5 devices
  • Family Pack – $49.99/year, 15 devices

Its Internet Security plan is an excellent deal. At a fairly affordable $32.00/year, you get all the nifty bells and whistles that are missing from the Antivirus Plan. This includes webcam protection, anti-spam, parental control, and anti-theft.

Meanwhile, for Mac users, your only options are either Total Security – which has the full list of features – or Family Pack if you need protection for more devices.

Check out our Bitdefender coupons to snag the best prices.

ESET antivirus plans

As for ESET, it has 3 choices for home users:

  • NOD32 Antivirus – $27.99/year, 1 device
  • Internet Security – $41.99/year, 1 device
  • Smart Security Premium – $55.99/year, 1 device

Now, with all these plans, there are options to protect more devices but it’s going to cost you quite a sum. For instance, Smart Security Premium costs $55.99/year for 1 device but costs $149.99/year if you want to cover up to 10 devices.

Internet Security is a good middle ground that offers the best bang for the buck. NOD32 Antivirus is missing some vital privacy and safety features like firewall, banking and webcam protection, and parental controls. Meanwhile, Smart Security Premium is too expensive considering that the only additions are a password manager, LiveGuard, and Secure Data.

To grab the best deals, take a look at our ESET coupon codes.

PC performance

A Bitdefender vs ESET review of their test results will show that Bitdefender has a bigger impact on performance. It’s no surprise considering how many items Bitdefender scans, but it did have a higher CPU load. Meanwhile, ESET was rather intense with its disk usage.

It’s almost inevitable that antivirus software will slow down your device since they’re constantly scanning your files and programs. At the same time, you absolutely need the scans to update virus definitions, check for viruses and malware, and detect advanced issues.

Fortunately, both Bitdefender and ESET’s impacts on performance aren’t too devastating. In fact, a look at AV-Comparatives performance impact score will reveal that Bitdefender scored a 7.7, placing it in the 7th place. Meanwhile, ESET’s score is at 3.4, landing it the third place.

Wrapping up
ESET has the edge here since it utilizes less resources for its scans. Just note that it doesn’t have a quick scan.

Quick scan

Bitdefender is the only one with a quick scan. And, for my tests, I’ve noted its CPU, memory, and disk usage during the scans.

BitdefenderESET
Quick scan
0 h 1 min 23 sDoesn't have a quick scan
CPU load
70% max, 45% average
Memory load
54%
Disk load
31%
Items scanned6639

Overall, Bitdefender completed the scan rather swiftly but was quite brutal on system performance with rather high CPU utilization. That said, this is very common among antiviruses and its overall resource usage doesn’t raise any red flags.

Full scan

Bitdefender and ESET completed their full scans quickly. However, Bitdefender had higher CPU usage while ESET employed high disk usage. It’s also worth noting that Bitdefender scanned more than 1.5 times more items than ESET.

BitdefenderESET
Full scan
0 h 17 min 46 sec0 h 18 min 26 sec
CPU load
100% max, 65% average69% max, 60% average
Memory load
50%44%
Disk load
71%98%
Items scanned449,505277,721

Without recording, ESET slashed its CPU, memory, and disk consumption. There was also a drastic improvement to its time.

BitdefenderESET
Full scan
0 h 11 min 45 sec0 h 4 min 49 s
CPU load
100% max, 66% average60% max, 40% average
Memory load
54%44%
Disk load
82%43%
Items scanned480,808277,639

Overall, when it comes to full scans, the difference in resource consumption between Bitdefender and ESET widens with ESET being the more lightweight option.

Ultimately, both providers were heavy on system resources but weren’t too damaging. ESET is a lighter option than Bitdefender but lacks quick scans.

Apps and interface

When it comes to ESET vs Bitdefender for user experience, Bitdefender wins hands down. Bitdefender’s interface is far cleaner and easier to navigate thanks to its well-organized features and modern layout. Meanwhile, ESET’s interface is very straightforward but old-fashioned.

Desktop Apps

Bitdefender’s desktop app is sleek, intuitive, and carefully planned for easy navigation. All the features you need are categorized under Protection, Privacy, and Utilities sections.

Bitdefender Total Security desktop app

And, for fast and easy access, there's an option to add quick actions to the dashboard, too. Whether you need scans, Safepay, or VPN, all these tools are right in your sight and just a click away once you pin them to your dashboard.

ESET’s interface is fairly straightforward, too. But, the multi-level menu could get old since you’d need to click multiple times to get to a tool.

ESET interface on Desktop

As for looks, the interface is somewhat outdated. Plus, its a bit cluttered layout could be intimidating for newbies.

Mobile Apps

Both providers nailed their mobile apps for Android but fumbled with iOS. In fact, ESET doesn’t even support iOS.

Bitdefender’s iOS version, though very neat and easy to navigate, comes with limited features. Its Android version, in contrast, replicates its desktop version and is bursting with features. From malware scanner to anti-theft and app lock, you’ll find them all in the app.

Bitdefender iOS app scan device

As for ESET, its mobile app can be a little overwhelming initially. But, that’s only because it comes with plenty of features like antivirus scanner, anti-theft protection, call filter, and more.

eset mobile app security audit

In brief, there’s no need for a Bitdefender vs ESET Reddit debate. Bitdefender has the lead with its contemporary and intuitive desktop as well as mobile apps.

Customer support

BitdefenderESET
Live chat✅ (24/7)
Email support
Phone support
Forum
Knowledge base

Bitdefender has better customer support options than ESET, but it’s a tight race since both provide some of the best services in the industry.

Both providers offer the typical support channels like email, live chat, and phone in addition to each’s fairly active forum. Plus, they also have huge knowledge bases if you prefer a more DIY approach. Whether you’re comparing the features of ESET Smart Security vs Bitdefender Total Security or troubleshooting, you likely will find the answer within their hundreds of articles.

As to why Bitdefender gained victory, it’s because its live chat is available 24/7 while ESET’s is limited to business hours. Plus, Bitdefender’s help is available to paid and free users. That’s a rarity in the antivirus world.

Wrapping up
Overall, Bitdefender and ESET nailed their customer support but Bitdefender has the edge thanks to its accessibility. This includes 24/7 support options and customer service even for free users!

Bitdefender vs ESET: final verdict

Category BitdefenderESET
Features
Security
Pricing
Performance
User experience
Support

All things considered, Bitdefender is a clear winner in this comparison because it offers robust features, super-secure protection, and organized apps at very affordable pricing. Plus, while it’s a tad bit intense on system resources, the provider makes up for it with its outstanding independent lab results.

Meanwhile, ESET also covers the basics in terms of features. However, its plans are expensive even for 1 device. I have to hand it to ESET for its performance – it has a very low impact score, much lower than Bitdefender's. Yet again, it doesn't have a quick scan.

Ultimately, Bitdefender is a better antivirus than ESET. That's all thanks to its generous features and lower prices. Plus, it received the highest possible scores for all independent lab tests and has modern apps.

Alternatives to Bitdefender and ESET

Bitdefender and ESET are some of the best options that the industry has to offer. But, if neither of them is right for you, two alternatives you can check out are Norton and TotalAV.

Norton Antivirus

Amazing malware detection rates, excellent real-time protection, and a top-notch mobile app – that’s what Norton can boast about. Beyond that, with a VPN, a password manager, a smart firewall, and dark web monitoring, Norton is one of the most feature-rich programs in the market.

TotalAV

Outstanding virus detection rates, beginner-friendly user interface, and multiple device coverage, its plans are also loaded with ample security features. Among them are real-time protection, ransomware detection, optimization tools, a VPN, and password manager.


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