Malwarebytes vs Bitdefender: which antivirus is better?
Malwarebytes and Bitdefender are both listed among the premium antivirus products. Bitdefender offers real-time protection, assessment of vulnerable system settings, and a VPN with its base subscription.
Malwarebytes, on the other hand, is more focused on protecting not only against malware, but online threats as well. Its Web Protection feature blocks phishing websites and malicious links. You can also get VPN services for secure browsing with more expensive plans.
Since both antivirus suites might seem as equally great options from the first sight, we aim to help you find those differences which may make one product a better option for your needs.
In this Malwarebytes vs Bitdefender comparison, we examine each antivirus features, security, performance, protection capabilities, and pricing plans to help you decide which one’s better.
Malwarebytes vs. Bitdefender
|🥇 Overall rank:||#1 out of #20||#8 out of #20|
|💵 Price:||from $23.99/year||From $29.99 /year|
|✂️ Free version:||Yes||Yes|
|🖥️ Platforms:||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS||Windows, Android, macOS, ChromeOS, iOS|
|🔥 Coupons:||Bitdefender coupon 60% OFF||Malwarebytes coupon 25% OFF|
It’s essential to take into consideration the available subscription packages when comparing the features that Bitdefender and Malwarebytes offer since both of them include a different set of features in each of the available subscription plans.
Likewise, to make the comparison as fair as possible, we’ve prepared a list of perks that you’d get with the basic premium subscriptions of each service provider. Here is the comparison of the features included in the Malwarebytes Premium ($29.99/year) and Bitdefender Antivirus Plus ($23.99/year) packages:
|Detects scam and phishing sites||✅||✅|
|Protection against brute force attacks||✅||✅|
|Social network protection||✅||❌|
The Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is the cheapest plan which includes only the very basic features that the developer offers. Yet, it’s still more feature-rich compared to Malwarebytes Premium, as you also get a VPN, a password manager, a file shredder, and social media protection along with the system vulnerability assessment.
Since all of these perks are considered a must by Bitdefender, listen to this – more advanced plans even offer parental controls, webcam and microphone protection, as well as unlimited VPN usage. Therefore, Bitdefender is definitely a better choice than Malwarebytes in terms of its attributes.
Malwarebytes offers not only protection against ransomware, malware, and spyware, but also valuable tools to help you stay safe online. It detects and blocks malicious links, as well as phishing websites that aim to steal your sensitive information. On top of that, it can also notify you when your device connects to an unprotected network with its wifi security feature.
Additionally, since many people are currently working remotely, Malwarebytes offers protection against brute force attacks to identify suspicious connections via remote devices. You can also install its browser extension on Chrome, Edge, Safari, or Firefox to get rid of intrusive ads and prevent websites from tracking your online activity.
If you’re interested in more advanced online protection, you can also purchase the Malwarebytes Premium plus Privacy subscription which includes a VPN. It has over 400 servers in 30 different locations for you to choose from. Since usually VPNs are sold as standalone products, it’s a useful add-on to the antivirus suite.
However, the main drawback of Malwarebytes is that quite a few of its features are limited to Windows users only. That includes the ransomware protection, prevention of brute force attacks, and the malicious link/website blocker. Likewise, if you’re using macOS, choosing this antivirus might bring unpleasant surprises when you discover the limited functionality on your operating system.
For more features, check out our Malwarebytes review.
The basic Bitdefender Antivirus Plus plan offers all essential security features, like the multi-layer ransomware protection, web attack and network threat prevention, and anti-phishing technology to help you stay safe. Yet, it also includes a number of additional perks to put an extra layer of security.
With the basic subscription, you get a password manager to keep all of them in one safe place, as well as autofill credentials when browsing online. On top of that, there’s also a social network protection technology that helps to avoid malicious links and scams spreading through social media messages.
What’s not so common is that Bitdefender is one of only a few that offer VPN services with a basic subscription. The included VPN encrypts all of your internet traffic to protect your online presence. The only catch is that there’s a 200 MB daily traffic cap. Yet, you can easily get unlimited usage by upgrading your subscription plan to a more advanced one.
Other subscription packages, like the Bitdefender Total Security include microphone and webcam protection, parental controls, as well as anti-theft and anti-spam technology. However, the more advanced subscriptions come at a higher price.
For more features, check out our Bitdefender review.
Malwarebytes vs Bitdefender: which offers better protection?
|AV-Test||Top product||Top product|
In order to find out whether Bitdefender or Malwarebytes offer better protection, we’ve looked at the multiple test results conducted and published by independent testing labs, such as AV-Test and AV-Comparatives.
The results from October 2021 provided by AV-Test show that Bitdefender scores the maximum of 6 points in each category: protection, performance, and usability. Malwarebytes, on the other hand, received 5.5 points in terms of protection.
Additionally, the latest study of Malware Protection Test by AV-Comparatives indicates that Bitdefender has a 99.98% online protection rate which is higher than Malwarebytes – 99.84%. Another Real-World Protection Test research by this independent testing lab shows that Bitdefender also scores higher (99.7%) than Malwarebytes (99.6%) in terms of effective protection.
Therefore, it’s quite clear that Bitdefender provides better protection against malware and other online threats. So, there’s no question which antivirus suite is the winner.
This is one of the most essential features as it helps to protect your device in real time against various cyber threats before they even get a chance to infiltrate the system.
You can get real-time protection with Malwarebytes Premium or Premium plus Privacy subscriptions only. This technology continuously monitors files, apps, and even websites for suspicious activity. Malwarebytes real-time protection includes web protection against online threat, ransomware attack prevention, and exploit protection.
Bitdefender also provides strong real-time protection for its users and it's even included with the free plan. It employs advanced technology to stop network threats, block phishing and other malicious websites, as well as uses multi-layered protection against ransomware, malware, and spyware.
According to the AV-Test research, Bitdefender has a 100% protection rate against zero-day malware attacks, including web and email threats. Even though Malwarebytes also employs effective real-time protection measures, its rate only reaches 98.5% which is also lower than the industry average of 99.8%.
The majority of best antivirus software offer multiple scanning options to give users more flexibility when managing their device’s protection. Neither Malwarebytes nor Bitdefender is an exception as both of them have quick, full and custom scan options.
You can perform a very quick scan if you don’t have time or choose to complete a comprehensive review with the full scan. Apart from that, there’s also an option to manually select which files or apps you want to check for malicious components.
Although both antivirus suites give flexible scanning methods, Bitdefender also includes the Vulnerability assessment. It is designed to scan the operating system for outdated and vulnerable software, unsafe system settings, and missing Windows security patches. So, it truly gives the all-round security for your device.
Firewall another equally important feature of a reliable antivirus suite. It is designed to continuously monitor all ingoing and outgoing network traffic to reduce the risk of potential attacks. Unfortunately, Malwarebytes doesn’t have a firewall as it is considered as an antivirus software and not a complete internet security suite.
On the contrary, Bitdefender has a great firewall which allows you to customize application access, security rules, and network adapter settings. You can get it with the Internet Security and Total Security subscription plans. On top of that, it also includes the port scan protection which doesn’t allow hackers to check your network for open ports and exploit them for attacks.
Impact on PC performance
I’ve run the full scan on Windows 11 Notebook with Ryzen 7 Pro CPU with both antivirus suites to test their impact on PC performance. For Bitdefender it took 9 minutes and 25 seconds to complete the scanning process while for Malwarebytes – almost 23 minutes.
Additionally, during the scan Bitdefender and Malwarebytes both employed 100% of CPU resources at peak usage. However, Malwarebytes utilized 51% of RAM compared to Bitdefender which used 61%.
On the other hand, Bitdefender allocates its efforts to provide antivirus services which do not deteriorate your computer’s performance when the scans are not running. For that, it includes the game, movie, and work mode which pauses unnecessary background activity and stops notifications when you’re watching movies or completing work tasks. Additionally, it also has a Battery Mode to temporarily tweak system settings in order to save power on laptops and tablets.
Malwarebytes also has a Play Mode which disables the notifications when you’re playing games or watching movies. Apart from that, there are no other features which would help improve your PC performance.
All in all, both antivirus suites show efforts to minimize the negative impact on your system. Even though Bitdefender definitely employs more of your computer’s resources for the scans, it’s 2.5 times faster than Malwarebytes. Thus, I would call this a draw.
Pricing and plans
Malwarebytes and Bitdefender both have free versions, as well as multiple subscription options. When comparing the pricing, it is essential to look at the subscription duration and the number of simultaneous connections. You can check the detailed comparison of the pricing in the table below.
|Antivirus Plus/Premium||$23.99/year, 3 devices||$29.99/year, 1 device|
|Total Security/Premium plus Privacy||$36.00/year, 5 devices||$59.99/year, 5 devices|
|Family Pack||$49.99/year, 15 devices||-|
|Check pricing||Check pricing|
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is the base subscription which you can use on 3 devices for $23.99 per year. Malwarebytes Premium offers the same subscription terms just for a higher price – $29.99 per year – and protects only 1 device. The same higher price tendency remains throughout all subscription packages.
All in all, Bitdefender is cheaper than Malwarebytes. Likewise, it’s definitely a better choice if you want to get quality malware protection services and don’t end up with empty pockets.
Bitdefender truly provides a variety of subscription plans for everyone to find which one suits them the best. Here is a detailed list of available subscription plans with the cheapest pricing options:
- Bitdefender Antivirus Plus – $23.99/year for 3 devices
- Bitdefender Internet Security – $32.00/year for 3 devices
- Bitdefender Total Security – $36.00/year for 5 devices
- Bitdefender Family Pack – $49.99/year for 15 devices
- Bitdefender Premium Security – $59.99/year for 10 devices
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is the cheapest available option which you can get for $23.99/year for 3 devices. It blocks malicious websites, includes real-time protection and a VPN (200 MB traffic cap). If you want to protect more devices, you can get 5 or 10 connections for $69.99/year and $79.99/year accordingly.
Bitdefender Internet Security offers the same features as the previous plan plus a firewall and protection for webcam and microphone. It costs $32.00/year for 3 devices. Yet, you can still get 5 or 10 simultaneous connections for $84.99/year and $89.99/year if required.
It’s important to mention that the two mentioned plans are only available for Windows OS. If you want to use this antivirus on other operating systems, you should get Bitdefender Total Security that is compatible with all platforms.
Keep in mind that quality antivirus products might not come as affordable as one’d expect. Thus, we recommend checking out Bitdefender coupons to get great discounts and enjoy all-round protection for all of your devices.
Malwarebytes only offers three subscription options: the Free, Premium, and Premium plus Privacy plans. Each of them include a different set of features and are priced accordingly. So, if you want to get more useful security tools, you’ll have to be prepared to pay up, which is quite common with all antivirus products.
- Malwarebytes Premium – $29.99/year for 1 device
- Malwarebytes Premium plus Privacy – $59.99/year for 5 devices
Malwarebytes Premium plan includes the basic set of features, such as protection against malware, spyware, ransomware, brute force attacks and online threats. The cheapest option supports 1 device for $29.99 per year. Yet, if you need to protect more devices, there’s an option to get this package with 5 simultaneous connections.
Another subscription is the Malwarebytes Premium plus Privacy which costs $59.99 per year for 5 devices. The difference between these two subscriptions is that the former one includes a VPN to help you remain anonymous online.
This antivirus solution is definitely not the cheapest option. However, you can check out Malwarebytes coupons and use them to get discounts on subscriptions.
Apps and interface
From the standpoint of compatibility, both Malwarebytes and Bitdefender support all most popular desktop and mobile devices. They also have browser extensions for that seamless experience. Here is the a detailed list of supported devices:
|Supported OS:||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS||Windows, Android, macOS, ChromeOS, iOS|
|Browser extensions:||Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Explorer||Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge|
|Simultaneous connections:||1, 3, 5, 10 or 15 devices||1, 3 or 5 devices|
Yet, one thing that’s worth mentioning is that the installation of Bitdefender takes relatively more time. It’s installation files are 400 MB and you should be prepared to wait until you can fully set up the software and get it running.
Even though Malwarebytes installation is quicker, you should keep in mind that Bitdefender introduces more features, such as a VPN and a firewall. So, I wouldn’t say that an extended installation process is a drawback since you get very useful security perks that are essential for strong security.
Apart from that, both antivirus suites offer an easy-to-use interface on their dedicated apps for desktop and mobile devices. A single mutual downside of Bitdefender and Malwarebytes is that the functionality on iOS and macOS is limited compared to what you get on Windows and Android gadgets.
Bitdefender has very simplistic and easy to navigate interfaces on Windows and macOS apps. They are not cluttered with unnecessary visuals and include 3 different categories to help you find anything you might need within a few clicks. You will find Privacy, Protection, and Utilities tabs on its dashboard.
The Privacy section includes access to tools which help you to secure your browsing experience, such as a VPN, a password manager, and parental controls. If you want to find antivirus-related features, such as real-time protection, malware scanning options, and the firewall monitoring – they’re located in the Protection tab. Other features, like optimization tools or a file shredder are placed in the Utilities section.
Malwarebytes also has user-friendly desktop applications for macOS and Windows which visually do not differ from each other. You can find the real-time protection features, malware detection history, and the scanning options directly on its dashboard.
Additionally, you can easily customize the software according to your needs through the Settings section. For example, there are options to select the light, dark, or default visual theme, choose from over 20 languages, and disable or completely turn off the notifications.
When it comes to mobile apps, it’s quite common that Android and iOS versions differ in terms of their functionality. Unfortunately, Bitdefender and Malwarebytes are no exception.
For example, Bitdefender for Android offers Autopilot feature to scan all new apps for malicious programs, a Malware Scanner, a VPN, an App Lock, and an Anti-Theft technology. On the contrary, its iOS app only has protection against fraudulent websites, a personal data leak checker, and the VPN.
The same situation is with Malwarebytes mobile apps. Its Android version includes all of the useful protection features while the iOS app only has protection against malicious URLs, unwanted caller blocker, and text message filtering.
Professional customer support is a very important aspect when purchasing any type of software, including the antivirus suites. It’s great to have multiple options to contact the agents for help whenever you need it. Luckily, both Malwarebytes and Bitdefender have many customer support choices which are listed below.
|24/7 live chat||✅||❌|
However, as it is evident in the table above, Bitdefender provides better customer support options ranging from the email and phone queries to FAQ and how-to guide which you can manually find on its website.
The biggest difference is that it has a 24/7 live chat where users can ask questions at any time and get respective answers right away. It’s one of the most popular options among the product users and every top-notch malware protection service provider should have it.
Malwarebytes only offers its users to either find answers to their questions by scrolling through its knowledge base with FAQ and guides or reaching out via email. Unfortunately, such options take significantly longer to get relevant answers. So, Bitdefender definitely takes the lead in this category.
While both antivirus products are highly popular among the users, Bitdefender shows better results in almost all categories in this product comparison. It has excellent malware protection rates as indicated by the independent testing labs, doesn’t deteriorate your device’s performance, and comes at more affordable prices.
Additionally, its efforts towards the best user experience are truly visible when examining the customer support options and testing the product on all popular platforms. Likewise, there’s no doubt that Bitdefender takes the lead.
Even though Malwarebytes performance in this comparison is not as good as Bitdefender, it’s also a great product if you seek a mid-level security product. However, I would recommend investing in a top-notch antivirus from the start, instead of spending money on multiple security tools and still end up purchasing one robust antivirus suite for all-round protection.
Other antivirus software comparisons
Is Malwarebytes as good as Bitdefender?
No, Bitdefender is a better antivirus suite, since it includes a firewall and displays higher malware protection rates. Malwarebytes on the other hand doesn’t have a firewall and its malware protection rate is even lower than the industry average.
Is Bitdefender still the best?
Yes, Bitdefender is one of the best antivirus suites available on the market. It provides real-time protection against the latest malware variants and even includes a VPN to secure your privacy while browsing.
Can I run Malwarebytes with Bitdefender?
No, it’s not recommended to run two antivirus programs on the same device as one might interfere with the other and cause various issues. IT experts recommend choosing and installing one robust antivirus software to perform all the necessary tasks for your device’s protection.