Bitdefender vs ESET: Which Antivirus is Best in 2022?
With Bitdefender and ESET both being known for their lightweight scanning and reliable malware engines, I wanted to see which of these antiviruses came out on top. So, I tested Bitdefender and ESET in 15 categories to learn which antivirus is the better overall choice.
I was impressed with both Bitdefender and ESET when it comes to protecting my system from threats. However, Bitdefender comes out ahead of ESET in terms of malware detection rates. It also offers extra features like a VPN and file shredder and has better optimization tools.
Both antiviruses offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try them out risk-free to see which one suits you more.
No Time? Here’s a 1-Minute Summary of Category Winners
|Virus Scanner||Perfect malware detection rate and a variety of scans||Good malware detection rate, but it doesn’t eliminate 100% of threats|
|Real-Time Malware Protection||Flawless real-time protection against threats||Perfect at safeguarding your system from threats in real-time|
|System Performance||Has a low overall impact on performance but can consume lots of resources during scans||Has a very minimal impact on system performance|
|VPN||Reliable and secure built-in VPN||ESET does not offer a VPN.|
|Parental Controls||Useful suite of parental controls to help monitor your children’s online activity||Offers different parental controls, but they aren’t as thorough|
|Firewall||Secure and intuitive firewall that’s easy to configure||Has a secure firewall, but it can be confusing to customize at times|
|Password Manager||Offers a great password manager to safeguard and manage sensitive information||Come with an intuitive password manager that’s secure and really easy to use|
|Gaming Mode||Game profiles that you can set up for improving gaming performance||The game mode only silences notifications without affecting performance much|
|Optimization Tools||Has one-click optimization to help clean up junk and speed up your system||Offers only one optimization tool, and even that isn’t particularly useful|
|Ease of Use||Simple, straightforward, and intuitive design that anyone can utilize with ease||Slightly outdated design that can be a bit confusing sometimes|
|Other Features||Multiple useful features alongside the reliable threat protection||Doesn’t come with many additional features|
|Customer Service||Offers excellent customer support through live chat, phone support, and email support||Great customer support, but it’s only available during certain parts of the day|
|Price||Multiple plans that offer great value for money||Offers affordable pricing, but isn’t the best value|
|Free Trial||30-day free trial||30-day free trial|
|Money-Back Guarantee||30-day money-back guarantee||30-day money-back guarantee|
How I Tested and Compared Bitdefender vs ESET
- Virus Scanner — I analyzed both antiviruses and compared their effectiveness at scanning for and removing malware.
- Real-Time Malware Protection — I tested both antiviruses’ real-time protection to see which is better at dealing with 0-day threats.
- System Performance — I examined both antiviruses’ impact on my system performance during tests.
- VPN — I looked to see if the antiviruses offer VPNs and whether they’re any good.
- Parental Controls — I checked if the antiviruses offer parental controls to monitor children’s online activity.
- Firewall — I checked if the antiviruses come with their firewalls and how secure these firewalls are.
- Password Manager — I looked at whether the antiviruses offer password managers and whether these password managers are secure and reliable.
- Gaming Mode — I compared the available gaming modes in both antiviruses to see if they improve gaming performance.
- Optimization Tools — I tested the available optimization tools in the antiviruses and checked if they enhance system performance.
- Ease of Use — I compared the user experience that both antiviruses offer to determine which feels more intuitive overall.
- Other Features — I analyzed all the available features to see which antivirus has more to offer, alongside its malware and threat protection.
- Customer Service — I contacted both antiviruses’ customer support to check how helpful and responsive they are.
- Price — I compared all pricing plans to see which antivirus offers more value for money.
- Free Trial — I checked if the antiviruses offer free trials, how many features are available in the trials, and looked at how long they are.
- Money-Back Guarantee — I checked if the antiviruses offer money-back guarantees and whether one has a longer money-back guarantee than the other.
1. Virus Scanner — Bitdefender Is Much More Efficient at Detecting and Removing Malware Through Scans
Bitdefender is among the best antiviruses at successfully detecting and eliminating malware via scans. One of Bitdefender’s standout aspects is that it uses machine learning and its massive virus directory to detect and remove threats from your system effectively.
Bitdefender offers 5 scanning options:
- Quick scan — Scans computer memory, temporary files, and common hard drive areas for threats.
- System scan — Scans your entire system to find malware, viruses, and other threats.
- Vulnerability scan — Scans your system and network to identify any vulnerabilities that could lead to unauthorized access.
- Rescue environment scan — Reboots your system into a rescue environment to get rid of malware that can’t be eliminated while the operating system is running.
- Custom scan — This lets you specify what you want to scan.
All of Bitdefender’s scans are quite useful, and each one has various use-cases. In all my tests, Bitdefender’s scans successfully detected 100% of the malware on my system and eliminated it with ease.
ESET’s scans are great at removing malware but aren’t on the same level as Bitdefender’s.
ESET comes with the following scans:
- Full system scan — Scans your entire system to remove malware and other threats.
- Custom scan — Let you choose which parts of your system you want to scan.
- Removable media scan — Scans removable devices such as USBs.
It’s worth noting that there’s no quick scan option in ESET, but, as it turns out, it always runs specific scan tasks at startup to make up for this.
During my tests, ESET did not perform as well as Bitdefender. It took a lot longer than Bitdefender to finish its scans, didn’t detect 100% of malware, and also gave more false positives.
Nonetheless, ESET successfully eliminated over 99% of the malware on my system, so it isn’t a bad choice by any means. Both antivirus suites are able to compete favorably with the top antivirus options in the industry in terms of detection rates.
Bitdefender has perfect detection rates during scans, so it’s clear that it’s the winner here.
Virus Scanner Winner: Bitdefender
2. Real-Time Malware Protection — Both Antiviruses Provide Flawless Real-Time Protection
Both Bitdefender and ESET are excellent at real-time protection and offer flawless protection against 0-day threats. I tested their real-time protection in various ways, and they successfully blocked every single threat without fail. Also, neither antivirus gave any false positives.
Bitdefender and ESET successfully spotted and got rid of malware in real-time before it could infect my system. Both antiviruses have a 100% detection rate against the latest threats, so you should have peace of mind when using either one.
ESET has various great web protection tools like anti-spyware and anti-phishing that help add additional layers of security. Bitdefender also offers a TrafficLight extension that successfully filters malicious web pages and prevents phishing attempts.
Since both antiviruses provide effective real-time protection, I’m calling it a tie in this category.
Real-Time Malware Protection Winner: Tie
3. System Performance — ESET Has a Smaller Impact on System Performance
While neither antivirus has a massive impact on system performance, I found that ESET uses system resources a lot more efficiently. I tested both antiviruses’ impact on my test system during scans and while idle to see which one slows it down more, and ESET came out ahead.
In my tests, I learned that Bitdefender consumes more system resources, especially during scans. My CPU usage often went past 50% while I was running scans with Bitdefender, and it also had high disk and memory utilization.
ESET, on the other hand, is much lighter during scans. Even running full system scans, my CPU usage never surpassed 50% with ESET.
Something interesting is that ESET consumes more resources than Bitdefender does while idle. This isn’t a major problem, though, because neither antivirus is demanding enough while idling to affect your PC’s performance significantly.
All things considered, ESET is the better choice whenever system performance is a priority.
System Performance Winner: ESET
4. VPN — Bitdefender Is the Only Choice Between the Two With a VPN
It’s clear already that Bitdefender wins in the VPN category because ESET doesn’t offer a VPN of its own. I tried out Bitdefender’s VPN, and, while it wasn’t on the same level as a standalone VPN like ExpressVPN, it impressed me with its performance.
Browsing the web using Bitdefender’s VPN feels very smooth because there aren’t any unnecessary slowdowns. I was also pleased with its streaming capabilities because it lets me easily access my home streaming services and enjoy my favorite shows in HD.
Bitdefender’s VPN uses AES 256-bit encryption to secure your online activity while using it. Unfortunately, the bandwidth is limited because it only offers 200MB daily. However, since ESET doesn’t even have a VPN, Bitdefender comes out on top.
VPN Winner: Bitdefender
5. Parental Controls — Bitdefender Offers a Thorough and Useful Suite of Parental Controls
While both antiviruses offer parental controls, Bitdefender’s are a lot more thorough than ESET’s. Both parental control suites are easy to use and don’t take more than a few minutes to set up, though.
Bitdefender’s parental controls offer a lot of tools to help control and monitor your children’s activity. You can easily block access to certain apps and websites and will be notified if anyone tries to access them. Plus, there’s location tracking to help you keep track of where your children are at all times. You can also use Bitdefender’s parental controls to track how much time your kids spend online.
On the other hand, ESET’s parental controls aren’t nearly as feature-rich. The most you can do with ESET’s controls is block access to specific websites and apps, or you can specify entire website categories to block. Unfortunately, you cannot do much else using the parental controls in ESET.
Overall, thanks to its more in-depth parental controls, I consider Bitdefender the winner here.
Parental Controls Winner: Bitdefender
6. Firewall — Bitdefender’s Firewall is Superior Because It’s Much More Intuitive
I was happy to learn that both Bitdefender and ESET offer a secure firewall. However, while both firewalls are great at keeping you safe online, I found that Bitdefender’s firewall is much easier to use and configure.
The firewall, like the rest of Bitdefender’s app, has a clean and intuitive design. It’s easy to view all its rules, add new ones, or reset current ones. Plus, you can specify which apps you don’t want to be affected by the firewall with just a few simple clicks. Bitdefender’s firewall also lets you select different behaviors for home, work, and public networks.
ESET’s firewall is just as secure but simply doesn’t feel intuitive to use. I found it really hard to configure ESET’s firewalls to my liking. It does have different filtering modes to determine how strict the firewall is, but it’s unnecessarily hard to configure on your own.
So, even though both firewalls are very secure, Bitdefender is the winner because of how intuitive its firewall is.
Firewall Winner: Bitdefender
7. Password Manager — ESET Offers a Secure, Reliable, and Easy-To-Use Password Manager
You’ll be pleased to know that there’s a password manager built into both ESET and Bitdefender. Both password managers are capable, but I found that ESET’s feels much better to use overall.
ESET’s password manager comes with a straightforward and intuitive design that makes it easy to figure out. You can easily use this password manager to save sensitive information like logins, card details, identities, etc.
There’s also a password generator that you can use to generate up to 32-character-long passwords with numbers, lowercase letters, uppercase letters, and special characters. Plus, it uses AES 256-bit encryption to safeguard your sensitive data.
Bitdefender comes with a very capable built-in password manager as well.It uses AES 256-bit encryption to keep your information safe and can be used to store logins, banking details, identities, and more. Bitdefender’s password manager feels solid, but I found ESET’s more intuitive.
Overall, while I was impressed with both password managers, but I consider ESET the winner because of its ease of use.
Password Manager Winner: ESET
8. Gaming Mode — Bitdefender’s Gaming Mode Offers a Noticeable Performance Improvement
ESET and Bitdefender offer tools to improve gaming system performance. Still, I found that Bitdefender is a lot more effective at this.
To set up the Game Profile, you can head into the Profiles section in Bitdefender’s utility menu. The Game Profile will automatically detect your games, but you can add them manually in case it doesn’t. In my tests, there was a minor yet noticeable improvement in gaming performance while using Bitdefender’s Game Profile.
ESET offers Gamer mode but for some reason, it is located in its ‘Computer Protection’ section. The Gamer mode doesn’t need to be set up and is a simple toggle. Unfortunately, ESET’s Gamer mode fails to deliver noteworthy performance improvements while gaming. It only silences notifications, which Bitdefender’s game profile does as well.
It’s clear that Bitdefender is the winner of this category. Bitdefender’s Game Profile offers a noticeable performance boost, while ESET’s Gamer mode only silences notifications.
Gaming Mode Winner: Bitdefender
9. Optimization Tools — Bitdefender Is Better at Optimizing Overall System Performance
Bitdefender wins in this category because ESET doesn’t have any optimization tools worth noting.
Bitdefender doesn’t have a large variety, but it does have the OneClick Optimizer, which I found useful. Bitdefender’s OneClick Optimizer scans your system for junk files, registry issues, cookies, and similar things and cleans them up to free up space. I successfully cleaned up over 1GB of space with just one click.
On the other hand, ESET doesn’t have any useful optimization tools. The only thing that comes close is its system cleaner, but it doesn’t do much to optimize your system. ESET’s system cleaner simply suggests appearance changes and setting up restore points, which are things that probably won’t affect your system’s performance.
Bitdefender is the winner as far as optimization is concerned because ESET doesn’t offer anything that can compete in this category.
Optimization Tools Winner: Bitdefender
10. Ease of Use — Bitdefender Offers a More Intuitive and User-Friendly Experience
I was far more impressed with Bitdefender when it comes to user-friendliness than I was with ESET. For starters, the installation process for both ESET and Bitdefender is very straightforward. You can easily download the setup, run it on your system, and follow the steps to have it up and running within minutes.
However, while installing both antiviruses is quite easy, I found Bitdefender much simpler to use. It has a more modern and intuitive interface with menus that are easy to browse. Plus, all important features are displayed neatly in most menus, so it doesn’t take more than a few seconds to find something.
In contrast, I struggled a bit when trying to make the most of ESET. It has a fairly dated interface that hasn’t evolved much over the years. So, it can sometimes be a bit hard to navigate through the menus and use a specific feature. Even during my tests, I had problems finding the Gamer mode because it was in the Computer Protection menu for some reason.
Overall, Bitdefender is much easier to use than ESET. Both antiviruses are easy to install, but Bitdefender has a more intuitive interface that’s easy to navigate.
Other Features Winner: Bitdefender
11. Other Features — Bitdefender Comes Out Ahead Thanks to a Bigger Variety of Additional Features
Bitdefender is a much better choice than ESET if you want a feature-rich antivirus. Although both offer solid protection against threats, Bitdefender offers a wider variety of features.
Bitdefender has various features, including a reliable VPN, a secure file shredder, and a safe online banking environment.. Plus, it offers anti-tracking to block web trackers from collecting identifying data about you. All of its additional features, alongside the excellent threat protection, provide fantastic value for your money.
ESET also has its share of features like webcam protection, a network security monitor, and anti-theft. However, it simply falls short compared to Bitdefender.
Bitdefender is the better choice if you want an antivirus that combines security with various useful features.
Device Compatibility Winner: Bitdefender
12. Customer Service — Bitdefender Offers Highly Responsive and Helpful Customer Support
I was happy with my experience with both antiviruses’ customer support. Bitdefender and ESET both offer live chat and email support. Whenever I needed help with any issue with either antivirus, I found it quick and easy to get the help I required.
Both antiviruses also come with an online forum where you can ask for assistance regarding certain issues. You might often find that someone has had the same issue before, and an expert has already posted a solution. However, if not, you can still ask for yourself, and an expert will quickly get back to you.
Alongside everything else, ESET and Bitdefender offer a helpful online knowledge base with lots of helpful information. You can consult this knowledge base for most common issues and will usually find the solution you need with ease.
Overall, both antiviruses offer impressive customer support, but Bitdefender is the winner because its live chat is available throughout the day. ESET does offer live chat, but it’s only available during specific windows of the day, so it isn’t as reliable.
Customer Service Winner: Bitdefender
13. Price — You Will Get More Value for Money With Bitdefender’s Plans
Bitdefender is a much better option than ESET when it comes to pricing. Both antiviruses offer multiple plans, and each of Bitdefender’s plans offers better value for money than similar ESET plans.
ESET’s plans include the following:
- ESET NOD32 Antivirus — The most basic plan with core antivirus features like virus scanning and removal.
- ESET Internet Security — Internet Security offers network protection, boot-time scanning, and all of NOD32’s features.
- ESET Smart Security — Smart Security comes with all of Internet Security’s features and adds a password manager.
Bitdefender’s plans are as follows:
- Bitdefender Internet Security — This includes Bitdefender’s virus scanning, real-time protection, web protection, ransomware protection, VPN, anti-tracking, firewall, and all other core features. Unfortunately, it’s only for Windows.
- Bitdefender Total Security — Total Security comes with all of Internet Security’s features and adds anti-theft features and the OneClick Optimizer. This plan protects all platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
- Bitdefender Family Pack — The Family Pack has all of Total Security’s features and increases the number of simultaneous devices from 5 to 15.
Not only is Bitdefender cheaper, but it also offers more features like its VPN and thorough parental controls. Plus, Bitdefender has an app for iOS while ESET doesn’t. Also, I noticed that Bitdefender’s plans include support for multiple devices, while you need to pay extra to use ESET on more than one device.
Overall, it’s clear that Bitdefender delivers incredible value for money, so I’m calling it the winner here.
Price Winner: Bitdefender
14. Free Trial — Both Antiviruses Come With a Free Trial
I was happy to learn that both Bitdefender and ESET offer a free trial that you can use to test the antiviruses before buying one. It’s also impressive that both free trials give you complete access to each antivirus’ features. You can use them to try out each feature and see which of these two choices better fits your needs.
I like that you don’t need a credit card to sign up for Bitdefender and ESET’s trials. Simply make an account with your email, and you can easily try each antivirus for 30 days, after which the trial will expire.
Free Trial Winner: Tie
15. Money-Back Guarantee — Both Antiviruses Offer a Money-Back Guarantee
Both antiviruses offer a 30-day-long money-back guarantee, meaning you can easily get a refund from ESET or Bitdefender if you aren’t satisfied with their performance. You can use this money-back guarantee to fully test your antivirus of choice before you fully commit to your purchase.
I was also very pleased with how easy it is to utilize this money-back guarantee to get a refund for both antiviruses. I wanted to verify if the antiviruses live up to their money-back guarantees, so I asked for a refund for each.
I contacted Bitdefender support to ask for a refund and received it in a few days, with no questions asked. My refund experience with ESET was similar, as it took only a single email and a few days to get my refund.
It’s a tie here because both antiviruses offer a money-back guarantee and fully deliver on it.
Money-Back Guarantee Winner: Tie
And the Winner Is… Bitdefender
I learned through my tests that both antiviruses are great at safeguarding your system from threats, but Bitdefender is better than ESET overall. Bitdefender outperforms ESET during scans, offers more features, and provides a built-in VPN that’s as capable as some high-end standalone VPNs. Plus, all its plans offer much better value for money than ESET’s.
- Virus Scanner — Bitdefender
- Real-Time Malware Protection — Tie
- System Performance — ESET
- VPN — Bitdefender
- Parental Controls — Bitdefender
- Firewall — Bitdefender
- Password Manager — ESET
- Gaming Mode — Bitdefender
- Optimization Tools — Bitdefender
- Ease of Use — Bitdefender
- Other Features — Bitdefender
- Customer Service — Bitdefender
- Price — Bitdefender
- Free Trial — Tie
- Money-Back Guarantee — Tie
Both Bitdefender and ESET excel at safeguarding your system from threats in real-time and through their scans. So, you can use whichever you prefer and have complete peace of mind that either antivirus will protect your system.
However, while both choices are excellent at protecting your system, Bitdefender is the better overall choice. Bitdefender offers a wide variety of features, including its VPN, file shredder, parental controls, and safe banking environment. This makes it great for anyone who wants a feature-rich antivirus that delivers on all fronts. Plus, Bitdefender has a 30-day money-back guarantee that you can use to test it risk-free.
On the other hand, ESET is great if you want a lightweight antivirus that’ll protect your system without impacting performance in any major way. It isn’t the most feature-rich option, but it offers reliable protection. ESET also has a 30-day money-back guarantee that’ll let you test it before committing to your purchase.
So, even though I’m very pleased with what both antiviruses offer, I consider Bitdefender the winner. It simply offers more value for money with its wider variety of features, perfect malware detection, and responsive customer support that’s always available.
Overall Winner: Bitdefender
How to Use Bitdefender’s Free Trial on Your PC
- Download Bitdefender Total Security — Navigate to the downloads section on Bitdefender’s website and click Download Now under Bitdefender Total Security.
- Install Bitdefender — Run the setup you downloaded.
- Create an account — Enter your details and create a Bitdefender account.
- Select the free trial option. — Choose the free trial option when asked to enter your activation code.
- Finish the setup — Click the finish button and use Bitdefender’s free trial for up to 30 days.
After following these steps, you can use Bitdefender’s free trial for up to 30 days. The free trial lets you access all its features so you can test the entire antivirus without risk.
FAQs About Bitdefender And ESET
Is Bitdefender any good?
Yes! Bitdefender is an easy-to-use antivirus that anyone can pick up and use regardless of technical know-how. It offers intuitive menus, parental controls, and even a bundled VPN to keep your online activities safe.
Bitdefender performed excellently in terms of malware detection rates, overall security options, and it has a wealth of additional features that make it one of the best antivirus suites you can get for your PC.
Is ESET better than Windows Defender?
Yes! ESET has a secure firewall and plenty of additional security features that put it leagues ahead of Windows Defender. The truth is that Windows Defender simply isn’t good enough to keep up with the ever-evolving world of cyber threats.
ESET takes additional measures to safeguard your data as a premium service. You can stay protected with real-time malware protection, thorough scans, and other great security features like a highly customizable firewall.