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Malwarebytes vs Bitdefender: which antivirus is better?

Antivirus software is essential for ensuring your device’s security against various cyber threats lurking online. However, only the best antivirus services can guarantee excellent results and well-rounded protection.

This article focuses on Malwarebytes vs Bitdefender, two of the best available antivirus tools in 2024. We’ll compare them regarding features, performance, usability, pricing, and other categories potential customers must know about. Once each category comparison is completed, we’ll declare the definitive Malwarebytes vs Bitdefender face-off winner.

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Malwarebytes vs Bitdefender

Our Bitdefender vs Malwarebytes evaluations conclude that Bitdefender is the superior ativirus service overall. It garnered better results across various performance tests and is more affordable than Malwarebytes. Thus, it’s the obvious choice if you prioritize effectiveness.

Bitdefender AntivirusMalwarebytes
⭐ Rating:
🥇 Overall rank:#3 out of #25#12 out of #25
🔥 Coupons:Bitdefender coupon 50% OFFMalwarebytes coupon 25% OFF
💵 Price:From $29.99/yearFrom $38.24/year
✂️ Free version:YesYes
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, LinuxWindows, Android, macOS, ChromeOS, iOS

Malwarebytes vs Bitdefender: key takeaways

Bitdefender is the winning antivirus in this comparison. It provides a more extensive selection of powerful cybersecurity features in an appealing software package, while Malwarebytes is less effective and looks outdated. Crucially, Bitdefender is also cheaper than Malwarebytes.

  • Bitdefender is undeniably the superior antivirus of the two. It grants a more comprehensive and effective feature set at a lower price.
  • Malwarebytes is suitable for antivirus newcomers who want an easy-to-use protection tool with a retro-looking interface.

Bitdefender vs Malwarebytes: features

Bitdefender grants more security features than Malwarebytes, making it the winner in this category. Unlike Malwarebytes, Bitdefender includes extra perks like a VPN, a password manager, vulnerability assessment, a file shredder, and social media protection. There’s also a fair number of tools common between the two, such as ransomware protection, malicious site detection, Wi-Fi security, and more.

Ransomware protection
Detects scam and phishing sites
Wifi security
Anti-tracker technology
Protection against brute force attacks
Vulnerability assessment
File shredder
Social network protection
Password manager

While Malwarebytes does provide essential attributes to help you protect your device from ransomware, malware, and online threats, its premium plan doesn’t compare to what you’d get with Bitdefender. You can see what features are included in every subscription plan by reading our Malwarebytes review.

The Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is the cheapest plan, which includes only the fundamental features the developer offers. Yet, it’s still more feature-rich than Malwarebytes Premium, as you also get a VPN, a password manager, a file shredder, social media protection, and the system vulnerability assessment. A detailed overview of these perks is available in our extensive Bitdefender review.

Since 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 functionality.

Malwarebytes vs Bitdefender: which offers better protection?

Both our in-house tests (which are explained in the provider reviews) and independent antivirus evaluation labs confirm that Bitdefender is more effective against viruses than Malwarebytes. Thankfully, the difference isn’t severe, but it can be the deciding factor for some.

AV-TestTop productTop product

To determine whether Bitdefender or Malwarebytes offers 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 Bitdefender testing results from December 2023 by AV-Test show that Bitdefender scores the maximum of 6 points in each category: protection, performance, and usability. On the other hand, the latest Malwarebytes tests were conducted in October 2023, and the service garnered 5.5 points in protection and performance categories, while usability was 6.

Additionally, the latest Malware Protection Test study by AV-Comparatives indicates that Bitdefender has an impressive 99.98% online protection rate. On the other hand, Malwarebytes wasn’t even tested this time. Another Real-World Protection Test by this independent lab shows Bitdefender garnering solid results (99.6% protection rate), while Malwarebytes is again absent.

The most recent real-world protection tests by AV-Comparatives with Malwarebytes were conducted in October 2022, where the provider accumulated a 99.0% protection rate. Unfortunately, other results were unsatisfactory; thus, the provider didn’t earn any notable awards.

Therefore, it’s clear that Bitdefender provides better protection against malware and other online threats. So, there’s no question which antivirus suite is the winner.

Real-time protection

This is an essential feature as it helps 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. This technology continuously monitors files, apps, and websites for suspicious activity. Malwarebytes real-time protection includes web protection against online threats, ransomware attack prevention, and exploit protection.

Bitdefender also provides strong real-time protection for its users, and it's even included in the free plan. It employs advanced technology to stop network threats, block phishing and other malicious websites, and uses multi-layered protection against ransomware, malware, and spyware.

Bitdefender malware protection rate

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 lower than the industry average of 99.8%.


The majority of best antivirus software offers multiple scanning options to give users more flexibility when managing their device’s protection. Neither Malwarebytes nor Bitdefender is an exception, as both have quick, full, and custom scan options.

You can perform a quick scan if you don’t have time or choose to complete a comprehensive review with the full scan. There’s also an option to manually select which files or apps you want to check for malicious components.

Bitdefender vulnerability assessment

Although both antivirus suites give flexible scanning methods, Bitdefender also includes 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 protection

Firewall is 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 that 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 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, it took almost 23 minutes.

Additionally, Bitdefender and Malwarebytes employed 100% of CPU resources at peak usage during the scan. However, Malwarebytes utilized 51% of RAM compared to Bitdefender, which used 61%.

On the other hand, Bitdefender allocates its efforts to provide antivirus services that do not deteriorate your computer’s performance when the scans are not running. For that, it includes the game, movie, and work modes, which pause unnecessary background activity and stop notifications when you’re watching movies or completing work tasks. It also has a Battery Mode to temporarily tweak system settings to save power on laptops and tablets.

Malwarebytes also has a Play Mode that disables notifications when you’re playing games or watching movies. Apart from that, no other features 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 employs more of your computer’s resources for the scans, it’s 2.5 times faster than Malwarebytes. Thus, we would call this a draw.

Winner: draw

Bitdefender vs Malwarebytes pricing

Bitdefender’s $29.99/month starting price is cheaper than Malwarebytes’ introductory $38.24/month subscription. Both providers offer various subscription plans for specific needs and preferences, with Bitdefender having more options overall. You can pick plans for personal, family, and business needs or focus on specific device and operating system security if you prefer. Most importantly, you can test either service using the available free version, which differs for each mobile and desktop OS.

Free planWindows, macOS, AndroidWindows, macOS, Android, iOS
Antivirus Plus/Premium$29.99/year, 3 devices$38.24/year, 1 device
Total Security/Premium plus Privacy$49.99/year, 5 devices$99.99/year, 5 devices
Family Pack$54.99/year, 15 devices
Money-back guarantee30 days60 days
Check pricingCheck pricing

Regarding the free tier, Bitdefender and Malwarebytes offer unlimited free versions for computers and smartphones that can scan your device and provide adequate protection. Malwarebytes takes the lead in this area because it supports iOS, while Bitdefender doesn’t. Potential customers also have more time to test Malwarebytes thanks to its 60-day money-back guarantee, which is twice more than Bitdefender’s warranty.

Conversely, Bitdefender’s paid tier is more affordable, supports more simultaneous connections, and includes more features. So, if you’re still considering between Bitdefender vs Malwarebytes, know that the former is more cost-effective, while the latter is better as a costless or free trial antivirus.

Interface and compatibility

From the compatibility standpoint, both Malwarebytes and Bitdefender support all popular desktop and mobile devices. They also have browser extensions for a seamless experience. Here is the detailed list of supported devices:

Supported OS:Windows, macOS, Android, iOSWindows, Android, macOS, ChromeOS, iOS
Browser extensions:Chrome, Firefox, Safari, ExplorerChrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge
Simultaneous connections:1, 3, 5, 10 or 15 devices1, 3 or 5 devices

Yet, one thing worth mentioning is that the installation of Bitdefender takes relatively more time. Its 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 remember 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 beneficial security perks 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.

Winner: draw

Desktop apps

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 need within a few clicks. You will find Privacy, Protection, and Utilities tabs on its dashboard.

Bitdefender Windows dashboard

The Privacy section includes access to tools that help you 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 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 interface

Malwarebytes also has user-friendly desktop applications for macOS and Windows, which visually do not differ. You can find the real-time protection features, malware detection history, and 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.

Mobile apps

When it comes to mobile apps, it’s pretty common that Android and iOS versions differ in terms of their functionality. Unfortunately, Bitdefender and Malwarebytes are no exception.

Bitdefender antivirus android app

For example, Bitdefender for Android offers the 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 a VPN.

Malwarebytes mobile application

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.

Customer support

Professional customer support is crucial when purchasing any software, including antivirus suites. It’s great to have multiple options to contact the agents for help whenever needed. Luckily, both Malwarebytes and Bitdefender have many customer support choices, which are listed below.

24/7 live chat
Email support
Phone support

However, as evident in the table above, Bitdefender provides better customer support options ranging from email and phone queries to FAQs and how-to guides, which you can manually find on its website.

The most significant difference is that it has a 24/7 live chat where users can ask questions anytime and get answers immediately. It’s one of the most popular options among users, and every top-notch malware protection service provider should have it.

Malwarebytes only allows its users to find answers to their questions by scrolling through its knowledge base with FAQs and guides or emailing. Unfortunately, such options take significantly longer to get relevant answers. So, Bitdefender takes the lead in this category.

Video comparison

Tired of reading? Check out our comprehensive video comparison of these two providers:

Final verdict

Bitdefender defeats Malwarebytes in some of the most crucial antivirus categories (features, protection, pricing, support), making it the winner of this comparison. Malwarebytes is on par with the service regarding PC performance and user interface but doesn’t outrank Bitdefender in any category we analyzed. As such, you should go with Bitdefender over Malwarebytes if you need a cost-effective and reliable antivirus service.

PC performance
User interface

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