BullGuard antivirus review
BullGuard is a good antimalware tool that is now part of NortonLifeLock Inc. It not only offers antivirus protection, but also packs quite a few extra features like Parental Control, PC optimization, and cloud backup.
However, not all features are available with the cheapest plan, and you might be wondering whether it’s worth investing in BullGuard’s more expensive options.
That's where this BullGuard antivirus review comes into play. I've reviewed everything you need to know about its pricing, features, customer support, and security.
|Free version:||No (but offers a trial version)|
|Price:||From $29.99 (1 device)|
|Platforms:||Windows, macOS, Android|
BullGuard pros & cons
- Excellent virus detection rates
- Free trial for all the different versions
- 5 GB of backup storage
- Helpful customer support
- Optimization tools
- Easy setup
- Outdated user interface
- Limited macOS app
- No iOS application
- Some plans are expensive
Is BullGuard safe?
Even though Bullguard Antivirus is a safe application for you to use, it’s fairly difficult to find any antimalware test results online. For example, AV-Comparatives stopped testing Bullguard back in 2018.
However, AV-Test still includes Bullguard to this day. And the test scores are quite impressive: in June 2021, Bullguard scored a maximum of 6 points in terms of protection. In fact, the software has been really good at detecting threats since June 2017, as it kept scoring either 6 or 5.5 in the protection department every single time.
This means you shouldn’t worry about using Bullguard. I know it had a poor reputation back in its early days (the test scores were rather low), but it managed to pull itself up and become a reputable antivirus tool.
As is par for the course, BullGuard detects some false positives. For example, in August 2021, it detected six false positives during tests. Fortunately, this is no higher than the current industry average.
BullGuard security and features
BullGuard antivirus offers most of the features that you would expect from a security suite, including the most basic ones like real-time protection, a firewall, and antivirus scans, as well as quality-of-life features, like Game Booster.
Keep in mind that there exist three different tiers of BullGuard - Antivirus, Internet Security, and Premium Protection. Each one offers more features than the previous one. You can check the differences between them in the Plans and Pricing section.
By the way, each version of BullGuard shows a locked VPN icon on the dashboard. The VPN doesn’t actually come with any of the plans - you need to buy the tool separately.
Real-time protection is one of the essential functions of an antivirus and antimalware tool. It’s a background process that constantly monitors the system for new threats and eliminates them on the spot.
Without it, you wouldn’t notice a virus until you perform an antivirus scan. This could be detrimental to your PC.
And BullGuard doesn’t disappoint here - its real-time protection is excellent. Various tests have proven that the software detects up to 100% of threats before they get installed onto your device.
Just like most antivirus programs, BullGuard offers three types of scans: Quick Scan, Full Scan, and Custom Scan.
I like how lightweight the scanning process is. Even the Full Scan doesn’t use a lot of system resources: I tested it, and it never used more than 0.4% of CPU.
When it comes to the Custom Scan option, it is rather simplistic. You can only choose to scan a certain file or a folder without the possibility to choose multiple folders (or the scan start time, for that matter).
Also, it’s pretty unconventional how the scanning process doesn’t launch its own separate window. You only see a tiny loading bar in the Antivirus section on the main dashboard, which seems unintuitive.
If you want more personalized scanning options (like scanning web traffic), you can go to the Advanced tab of the feature.
Both BullGuard Internet Security and Premium Protection offer a cloud backup feature. It gives you 5 GB of encrypted online storage space, which allows you to retrieve your data in case something bad happens to your device.
It’s quite convenient because you can set the tool to back up your files automatically every single day.
Available on all versions of BullGuard, Game Booster is a feature that allows you to play video games at an optimal speed.
It automatically detects when you’re playing a game and optimizes your CPU performance by putting other active applications and various background processes into a single core, allowing your game to use all the remaining cores for optimal performance.
PC Tune Up
As you might have guessed from the title, PC Tune Up is a feature that performs PC optimization. You simply need to configure its options and the process will take place automatically.
For example, you can allow the program to routinely clean cache files from your browsers, clear your Windows Temp folder, empty the Recycle Bin, or delete the memory dump and similar files.
Like many other antivirus tools, BullGuard offers its own parental control feature, simply called Parental Control. It lets you create a different profile for your child, blocking things your kid shouldn’t see online.
When creating a profile, you can choose the things you want to block for the user. This may include adult content, pages displaying violence, drugs, or criminal activity, and even social networks and shopping sites.
It’s also possible to enable a schedule that allows your child to access the PC or the internet only during certain times of day.
Home Network Scanner
Home Network Scanner is available only to those who bought the most expensive version of BullGuard. This feature monitors your wifi network, looking for vulnerabilities like open ports. It also promises to display a list of all the devices connected to your network.
So, I ran the Home Network Scanner to test its capabilities for this review. Since I knew what devices were connected to my wifi, I was waiting for them to show up. To my disappointment, BullGuard only found the router, which is not something to brag about.
However, right after I concluded that the feature simply doesn’t work, I got a notification that my phone connected to the router (even though it had already been connected before I installed BullGuard antivirus).
Ultimate Identity Protection
Yet another feature reserved only to the owners of BullGuard Premium Protection, Ultimate Identity Protection is very similar to Dark Web scanners available on many other security and privacy tools.
The feature warns you as soon as it detects that your personal information has leaked online. You can choose the info you want to be monitored by filling in the forms provided by BullGuard. The data can include your phone number, email address, credit card details, and even your driving license.
Plans and pricing
BullGuard comes in three versions: Antivirus, Internet Security, and Premium Protection. Each plan offers different pricing in terms of the subscription length and the number of devices you want to cover.
|BullGuard Antivirus||Real-time protection, anti-phishing, anti-malware, anti-ransomware, dynamic machine learning (offline protection), behavioral engine, vulnerability scanner, Game Booster, and live chat support.||From $29.99|
|BullGuard Internet Security||Everything in BullGuard Antivirus, plus Secure Browser, Firewall, Parental Control, Cloud Integrated Backup, PC Tune Up, Android Protection, and macOS Protection.||From $59.99|
|BullGuard Premium Protection||Everything in BullGuard Internet Security, plus Home Network Scanner and Ultimate Identity Protection.||From $99.99|
You can pay with credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, PayNearMe, or a wire transfer. Each product offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which allows you to try out the software risk-free.
BullGuard Antivirus is the most basic version of the app. It includes the most necessary features like real-time scanning, protection from various online threats (ransomware, phishing, malware), offline protection, vulnerability scanner, and Game Booster.
It only covers a single device, and it only supports Windows OS. As a result, it might seem a bit limited.
|Subscription||Price (1 device)|
As you can see, it’s cheaper to buy long-term plans - the three-year subscription offers the most value. You can also get a free 15-day trial.
BullGuard Internet Security
The biggest difference between BullGuard Antivirus and Internet Security is the selection of platforms. You can use Internet Security not only with your Windows but also with your macOS and Android devices. Also, the subscription can cover three, five, or 10 devices.
Aside from the features offered in Antivirus, this version also includes a secure browser, a firewall, Parental Control settings, Cloud backup, and a PC optimizer.
|Subscription||3 devices||5 devices||10 devices|
It’s nice that the free trial of Internet Security is twice as long as the one of Antivirus - you have 30 days to use the tool completely for free.
BullGuard Premium Protection
BullGuard Premium Protection is the most feature-rich (and the most expensive) version of BullGuard. Its extra features include the Home Network Scanner and Ultimate Identity Protection.
In addition, it covers either 10 or 15 devices, which makes it a perfect small business solution.
|Subscription||10 devices||15 devices|
Just like in the case of Internet Security, you have 30 days to use Premium Protection for free.
Is BullGuard worth the money?
Compared to other antivirus tools, BullGuard is averagely priced. While it's definitely not the cheapest antivirus out there, it costs a bit less than the most expensive solutions.
Luckily, as there’s a lot of different plans, you can choose the one that suits you best in terms of the number of devices and the subscription length.
That being said - if you’re on a tight budget, you might want to look into cheaper alternatives like Bitdefender.
Ease of use and setup
Setting up BullGuard was a pretty chill experience. Once you download the .exe file, all you’re left to do is click on the Installation Wizard a couple of times and you’re all set.
However, I didn’t really dig the app’s layout. I found it funny that during the setup process, the application advertises itself as having an “intuitive UI” while actually offering a confusing user interface. For example, it wasn’t very convenient to set up the features by using little drop-down menus presented on the home screen.
Luckily, after taking screenshots of everything that the app has to offer, I found it easier to navigate it.
I’d also like to point out that the app’s design could use some polish, as the program doesn’t look like it belongs in 2021. There’s also no dark mode, which can be a downside to some users.
BullGuard desktop apps
If you want the ultimate BullGuard antivirus application, you should download the Windows one. It includes all the features mentioned in this BullGuard review and offers the most functionality.
Meanwhile, the macOS app is lackluster. Even though it looks much, much better than its Windows counterpart, it doesn't include any extra features. It only offers scanning, real-time protection, and quarantine.
BullGuard mobile app
The Android app of BullGuard is pretty basic, but it’s still more functional than the macOS application. It has a virus scanner, parental control module (which can track the device’s location and access the photos saved on the device), file backup, and an anti-theft feature that lets you lock, track, or wipe out the device remotely.
It seems that the Android version of the wifi security feature only checks if your wifi network is password-protected.
Still, I found the app pretty pleasant to use. It would be nice to see an iOS version in the future, as features like Anti-Theft can be pretty useful to iPhone owners. If you're looking for an antivirus with an iOS app - check out our article on the Best Antivirus Apps for iPhone and iPads in 2021.
If you come across technical difficulties or just have a burning question about BullGuard, you can contact their support team.
You’ll get help immediately if you use their live chat. Unfortunately, it’s available only on working days from 02.00 AM to 04.00 PM EST (the hours might seem unconventional because the customer support team is based in the UK). I tried the chat out myself and the agent was really helpful and friendly.
When the live chat is unavailable, you can simply write to support at [email protected]. Another option is reading through the knowledge base that includes various product guides.
There is also paid customer support for virus removal, program installation, and PC optimization. The price depends on the number of interventions you need.
How good is BullGuard antivirus?
BullGuard is a good anti-malware tool that will satisfy most of your online security needs. Its virus detection rate has been excellent for quite a few years, which means it will do its main job well.
At the first glance, it seems that the software offers a lot of extra features. However, after writing this BullGuard antivirus review, I can see that most of them are rather basic, failing to offer anything more than what other anti-malware tools offer.
If you want to give this software a chance, I suggest you try the Internet Security version. It includes such necessary features as a firewall, and is not overly expensive. In any case, you can simply download the free trial and see whether you and BullGuard make a good pair.
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Is BullGuard Internet Security any good?
Yes, BullGuard Internet Security is a good antivirus and antimalware tool. It offers useful security features like real-time protection, antivirus scanning, a PC optimizer, Parental Controls, and Cloud storage.
Is BullGuard better than Norton?
While both applications are good, Norton is a bit better than BullGuard in terms of features, functionality, and design. For example, it offers an app for iOS, while BullGuard doesn’t have one.
Does BullGuard protect against malware?
Yes. BullGuard will protect your device from malware in real time. However, if you download the tool on an already infected computer, you’ll need to perform a full system scan to detect all the threats.