Both Bitdefender and Kaspersky Anti-Virus appear at the top of various best antivirus provider charts. If your device is infected with malware, you can confidently rely on both to take care of any threat. Still, the question remains: if we stack Bitdefender vs. Kaspersky side by side, which is better?
To find that out, I'm going to put both providers to the test. In this Bitdefender vs. Kaspersky comparison, I will look into their features, anti-malware suite, impact on PC performance, apps, and customer support. So, let's get into the battle between Bitdefender and Kaspersky.
Editor's disclosure: We join the worldwide community in support of Ukraine and support the sanctions inflicted on the Russian government. Bloomberg reported Kaspersky Lab, the Russian-owned developer of Kaspersky antivirus software, to be in close contact with the country's Federal Security Service (FSB). The leaked emails indicate that the company provided FSB with real-time intelligence and identifying data of customers' computers. Cybernews do not tolerate the bloodshed, human rights abuses, and alleged Geneva Conventions violations the Russian army has inflicted on the Ukrainian people and won't stand in support of companies that might help enable it. Therefore, we will stop endorsing Kaspersky products.
Bitdefender vs. Kaspersky
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Bitdefender vs. Kaspersky: which offers better protection?
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Comparing malware removal capabilities is no walk in the park. There are many things to consider besides malware detection rates. This includes false positives and effectiveness levels against zero-day threats.
According to the most recent AV-TEST Institute results, both Bitdefender and Kaspersky have the maximum scores and have received top product certificates. Additionally, the scores were identical across all tested platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Android. Therefore, it's fair to conclude that you will be getting malware protection of the highest caliber based on this data.
Another independent malware testing lab, AV-Comparatives, found some differences. While they got a 99.9% protection rate with Bitdefender, Kaspersky only managed 99.5%. This isn't a tremendous difference, but it still means that out of 736 test cases, four viruses got through. In turn, Bitdefender was awarded the Advanced+ rating, while Kaspersky only earned Advanced.
I also looked at the SE Labs scores only to find that both providers got the highest marks. This isn't surprising as most antiviruses get a AAA evaluation from SE Labs.
In conclusion, Bitdefender wins, but this victory hangs by a thread. Both tools are among the very best, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Kaspersky ahead in the following monthly recap.
Both Bitdefender and Kaspersky Anti-Virus have means to prevent malware from ever landing on your device. If you go with the paid versions, both tools include real-time monitoring. That means that even downloading a malicious file won't be that easy to pull off.
Bitdefender uses a global website reputation database to conclude whether the link you're about to open is dangerous. Kaspersky does the same, but it relies on different databases and potentially uses different algorithms (so your experience might be a bit different).
When it comes to your system protection, both providers also use machine learning to capture zero-day malware. They just call it differently. Bitdefender has Shield and Kaspersky has System Watcher to scan your system logs to detect suspicious activity. This is a high level of protection against the garden variety of cyber threats.
Scanners are an antivirus service's bread and butter. So naturally, both Kaspersky and Bitdefender will provide you with plenty of options to turn over your hard drive to find parasites.
Kaspersky offers several methods to scan your PC, depending on how much time you have and what you expect to find. First, there's Quick Scan to check all the places where the malware is usually found. If it detects something, it prompts the Full Scan. The tool always cross-checks the scan results with the most up-to-date malware databases so you always get accurate results.
Bitdefender also offers multiple scanning options. For example, you can scan for threats and outdated applications that could be exploited. After each scan, you will be given a chart with how many threats have been found and how many of them were quarantined. Other potentially concerning results will be only shown, leaving you the option to decide what you want to do with them.
Most premium antivirus services also add a Firewall. It's one of the most important components of your device's security. It supervises all incoming and outgoing connections and controls what programs have access to the local area network.
Kaspersky allows you to modify your network properties in great detail. You can allow or deny connections from random ports, block particular connections, set connection rules per application, and more. If you know what you're doing, there's an opportunity to seal the gaps that hackers could exploit.
While Bitdefender closely follows Kaspersky, in this particular area, they have fewer customization sliders. Though, you're still able to tweak application access, rules, and network adapter settings. There's even port scan protection which shuts down anyone who tries to look for loopholes in your network.
While most of Bitdefender’s opponents would have already been knocked out, Kaspersky goes blow for blow. In total, Bitdefender has slightly more features, which is enough to give it a narrow edge over Kaspersky. Yet the lead is so slim that it could easily be overturned in the next patch.
As it stands now, Bitdefender remains the ultimate champion in this category.
You don’t have to look deep for similarities between these services. For example, Bitdefender’s Advanced Threat Defense uses real-time monitoring with their proprietary Global Protective Network. Likewise, Kaspersky’s model is equivalent: Kaspersky Security Cloud also offers adaptive monitoring. So, whichever service you end up choosing, you will be getting similar approaches to malware removal.
Ransomware protection is another hot feature nowadays. Both Bitdefender and Kaspersky include anti-ransomware tools, though they are implemented a bit differently. Bitdefender has a Ransomware mitigation feature that creates backups of your files in case your PC becomes infected. Meanwhile, Kaspersky offers a decryption function for your encrypted files and detects ransomware patterns to stop malware in its tracks.
As for network security, both providers add Firewall and other network shields to their suite. In addition, Bitdefender offers public wifi profiles and a wifi security advisor. Both are designed to increase your device protection when you’re connected to public hotspots or want to make sure that your Firewall is up to snuff. Finally, Kaspersky Anti-Virus also includes Firewall, but it's only available on their Total Security plan.
An exclusive feature that Bitdefender has is the Rescue environment. It allows you to scan your hard drive when your operating system hasn’t booted. It will enable you to remove malware types that have penetrated deep into the system files. Kaspersky offers this feature separately and doesn’t include it in the antivirus suite.
In terms of additional features, both providers offer anti-tracker tools, a VPN, file shredders, password managers, and anti-theft tools. You's be hard-pressed to find two services that are more alike.
There are some feature differences to consider, too. One of them is Profiles, which is only included in Bitdefender’s antivirus suite. This is a very convenient addition as you can modify your resource usage according to your activity. So if you’re working or gaming and need more resources allocated to the task at hand, you can toggle the matching profile. This will tell Bitdefender to not bother you with pop-ups and use less processing power. There’s no equivalent on Kaspersky.
The only thing that Kaspersky has over Bitdefender is a privacy cleaner. It deletes traces of your activity on the device. So, if you’ve used a device and want to pass it to someone else, this will be a handy tool to get rid of traces of your details.
Impact on PC performance
"Lightweight" doesn't necessarily mean "consumes little system resources." For this reason, I fired up both antiviruses and checked how much of my system resources they use. The bigger the load on the CPU, the less room for there is for other tasks. Since antiviruses are known for scheduling background scans, this can ruin your experience, especially if you have an older laptop.
Though when we look at the results, it seems that these services put a different level of load on your system. Bitdefender seems to be more CPU-intensive. During a full scan, it used 66% of my CPU, while Kaspersky only needed 32%. That's almost half the usage.
The same story repeated with memory. Kaspersky used only 16% out of my available 16 GB of RAM, while Bitdefender needed 38%. This draws two different usage scenarios – if you're using a really slow and old device, Kaspersky will be a better fit. Bitdefender can be taxing on such systems. It could be argued that it pays off, as it has slightly better malware removal statistics.
Pricing and plans
Let's start this section with a reminder that both of them can be had absolutely for free. Bitdefender and Kaspersky offer the best free antivirus versions on the market. Of course, they are limited, but if you just want to get rid of malware, both will suit you just fine.
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One way to look at Kaspersky's pricing is by adding ~$10 on top of Bitdefender's price. Surely, that's an oversimplification, but it's one way to say that Kaspersky is more expensive across the board. When you factor in that overall, you're getting slightly fewer features, the package looks less appealing.
So, suppose you're very budget-cautious and are looking for a better deal. In that case, Bitdefender will deliver a more well-rounded package and for a lower price.
I liked Bitdefender's download procedure because I didn't have to be a registered user to get the free version. The installation procedure was pretty simple, too. You're asked to download the installer, which then fetches all the other necessary files through the client. So, you're installing and downloading at the same time. Kaspersky uses an identical system, so there's no difference between the competitors in this sense.
As for the apps, while both providers use different color schemes and have different UI outlines, both will be intuitive for most users. Kaspersky shows everything on one main screen, and if you need advanced options, you can expand the list to find what you need.
Bitdefender seems more neatly organized with a side bar where you can find the settings you're looking for according to particular categories. I think it's a more straightforward solution and might be less confusing than expandable lists. The service also has a user's guide built into the software, making it even easier to pick up.
One of the desktop features is using Bitdefender and Kaspersky's scanner independently from the antivirus itself. Both are free and intended to be used as a barebones version of the full suite. This will be appreciated by users who just want to have a quick scan.
The apps themselves will depend the most on your operating system. Obviously, macOS users, as usual, will get the inferior package when compared to what the Windows crowd are getting. It doesn't really matter how high you'll climb with the pricing tiers.
For example, with Kaspersky on macOS, you can tweak or toggle various parameters like the file antivirus, web attack blocker, update outdated apps, and enter the children-safe mode. In addition, macOS Bitdefender allows you to add folders to the watch list to prevent ransomware, add time machine protection, block adware, and block phishing sites.
With Windows, you will be getting the entire suite, and both services don't hold anything back. The only limiting factor there is your subscription plan.
As for the apps themselves, both providers are shooting for visually appealing UI, which wouldn't confuse even novice users. You'll be able to find most features with a couple of clicks. Other important information like protection status is also indicated with colors.
What also can be considered both antiviruses strengths is that they go out their way to offer tools beyond malware protection. You will be getting password managers, private browsers, and cleanup tools. This provides additional value and helps you to justify a purchase.
If you're an Apple user, you'll be sad to hear Kaspersky doesn't have an antivirus app for iOS. That is because, in Apple's words, they've created iOS with security built-in. This isn't false, most of the system processes are locked away from app and user access, and the App Store is under strict supervision. In turn, few viruses can do damage there. However, Kaspersky does offer Security Cloud & VPN, which technically is a separate service from their antivirus offerings. You can check whether your data has appeared in data leaks, use the VPN, manage your credentials with the password manager, and block phishing links.
On iOS, Bitdefender isn't that much different from Kaspersky in terms of offerings. It also includes a password manager, data breach alerts, blocks suspicious sites, and can encrypt your connection with a VPN.
Where the antivirus part becomes true again is on Android. The suites have much more features and are overall more helpful. For example, Kaspersky's Android app can scan for malware, includes real-time protection, an app lock, and has a call filter. There are even such exclusives as SMS phishing filters. It protects you from malicious links sent to you via text messages. The anti-theft is also there, allowing you to locate your missing device, alert it or wipe its data.
Bitdefender follows suit matching most of their offerings. So naturally, you can scan for malware, block malicious links, protect your device with anti-theft tools, and use a VPN. Though there are more exciting additions as well, like WearON – it allows phone tracking from your smart wearable. So if you don't know where you put your phone, you can ring it from your watch. You also get an alert if your phone gets too far from your watch.
Bitdefender once again has the ace in the hole and can surprise its users with unique features. As good as it may be on its own, Kaspersky gets beat by the slightest of margins here.
Both antivirus providers have dedicated knowledge bases. In both cases they cover a huge variety of topics which will be useful to power users and those, who are just starting. You'll find helpful guides and answers to the most frequently asked questions.
Kaspersky offers email, chat, phone, and remote assistance if you need to reach out to a human. All of them are available 24/7, with the caveat being that remote assistance is only reserved to premium users.
Bitdefender uses the same channels for customer support. They also have phone numbers, email support, and live chat. However, the bonus is that they include Bitdefender's Expert Community. There's also a remote assistance option, but it's reserved for more complex tasks.
Even though both services are evenly-matched, I have to give credit where it's due to Bitdefender. Since they're also running a community forum, you can Google most issues related and unrelated to Bitdefender there. This is a massive addition and allows you to save time, skipping waiting queues to get an answer that someone else has already found.
Bitdefender against Kaspersky seems like a pretty even fight. Both antiviruses look pretty solid and provide excellent protection against malware. All the key areas are covered: free version, affordable pricing, good malware-detection scores, and a barrage of bonus features. However, Bitdefender steals a win from Kaspersky, as their narrow leads do add up.
Kaspersky does its best to go toe to toe with it, yet ultimately it's just that little bit behind. For every one of Kaspersky's selling points, Bitdefender has a counteroffer. The narrow victories add up, which tips the scales in Bitdefender's favor. It's no surprise that this service is one of the longest-reigning kings of the antiviruses.
More Anti-Virus guides from CyberNews:
Bitdefender vs Malwarebytes: which is the winner?
Bitdefender vs Avast: one of the best against of the most popular competitors
Kaspersky Anti-Virus Review: the golden standard of an antivirus, examined
Bitdefender vs McAfee: choosing the best out of two
Kaspersky vs Avast: which one is better?
Which one is better Kaspersky or Bitdefender?
Ultimately, Bitdefender is a better antivirus service than Kaspersky. It beats its opponent in most aspects including pricing, and malware protection.
Is Bitdefender worth the money?
Bitdefender offers one of the most affordable paid antivirus plans. However, if that's too expensive, they also have a free version.
Can I run Kaspersky and Bitdefender?
While it is possible theoretically, in practice, this will be a heavy burden on your computer (because files will be scanned by two simultaneous processes). This doesn't provide much of a security benefit. It just makes performance worse.