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Bitdefender vs TotalAV: Which Antivirus Is Best in 2022?

Enemali Okwoli
Last Updated by Enemali Okwoli on May 08, 2022

Finding a competent antivirus can be quite a challenge considering that many popular brands make bold claims and promises that might not be entirely true. You want to be sure that you’re making the right choice of good antivirus software.

Bitdefender and TotalAV are well-known antivirus brands, but which is the best? To help you decide, I thoroughly tested both apps and compared the features, performance, and usability. Here’s what I found out.

While both antiviruses offer a wide range of features and an effective antivirus engine, Bitdefender outperformed TotalAV in features, pricing, and overall performance. TotalAV is a beginner-friendly antivirus with performance optimization tools, which is useful to speed up your PC. However, Bitdefender is the more feature-rich option, offering unique features such as webcam protection, password manager, and superior malware protection.

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No Time? Here’s a 1-Minute Summary of Category Winners

Both Bitdefender and TotalAV are good antivirus suites. However, Bitdefender has more features than TotalAV at the same price point. Bitdefender has unique features like a firewall, parental control, file shredder, and video and audio protection. TotalAV has a faster VPN and better optimization tools.

BitDefender logo
TotalAV logo
Virus Scanner Excellent malware detection with 100% detection. 100% detection rate, detecting all forms of malware.
Real-Time Malware Protection Detects 99.7% of real-time threats and has more advanced security features. Detected 99.1% of real-time threats but may flag some legitimate files.
System Performance CPU usage was 10% without a scan and 41% with a scan. CPU usage was 5% without a scan and 32% with a scan.
VPN Has 29 server locations and can’t unblock most streaming services. Has 35 server locations and unblocked popular streaming services including Netflix.
Parental Controls Has a very good parental control app that lets you monitor your child’s activity. Doesn’t offer parental controls.
Firewall Has a firewall with advanced control of network connectivity. Doesn’t have a firewall.
Password Manager Has an easy-to-use password manager that lets you store unlimited passwords. Has a user-friendly password manager but doesn’t work on mobile.
Gaming Mode My gaming performance wasn’t impacted. I didn’t experience any lags while playing my favorite games.
Optimization Tools Has a file shredder that permanently deletes files so that they cannot be retrieved by any means. System Tune clears junk files, removes duplicate files, clears browsing data, uninstalls apps, and optimizes system boot time.
Other Features SafePay provides a desktop environment for secure transactions and safe online banking. Advanced cloud scanning provides real-time protection by detecting zero-day unknown suspicious files.
Device Compatibility Works with major OS and supports up to 3 devices. Works with major OS and supports a maximum of 5 devices.
Customer Service Offers 24/7 live chat, email support, phone support, and community forum Has 24/7 phone support, an email ticket system, and detailed FAQs.
Price Has 3 subscription plans with basic and advanced features on all premium plans. Offers premium plans, but requires extra payment for advanced features.

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How I Tested and Compared Bitdefender vs TotalAV

  1. Virus Scanner — I compared the type of virus scan options that are available and the malware detection rate of both antiviruses.
  2. Real-Time Malware Protection — I observed the efficiency of the real-time protection of the antivirus to see if it instantly detected viruses without a scan.
  3. System Performance — I checked the impact of the antiviruses on my PC performance to see if it significantly slowed down my laptop during quick and deep scans.
  4. VPN — I tested the VPN by each antivirus for speed, unblocking abilities, server coverage, and device compatibility.
  5. Parental Controls — I looked for the app among the two antiviruses that support parental control that would allow me to monitor and restrict some websites across all devices.
  6. Firewall — I examined antiviruses to see if it supports a firewall that prevents attackers from gaining access to my PC.
  7. Password Manager — I compared both antivirus suites to find out if it has a password manager and which one has the best password management features.
  8. Gaming Mode — I tried playing a multiplayer game while running a full scan on each antivirus to see the impact on my gaming speed.
  9. Optimization Tools — I conducted decluttering tests to see which antivirus performs better in making my PC faster.
  10. Other Features — I looked for extra features unique to each antivirus suite.
  11. Device Compatibility — I examined and compared which devices were compatible with each antivirus and the number of devices each plan supports.
  12. Customer Service — I tested the speed of the support of each antivirus and the type of support available.
  13. Price — I compared the different subscription plans of both antiviruses to determine the one with the best value. I also tested the reliability of the money-back guarantee of each provider to see how easy it was to get a refund.

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1. Virus Scanner — Bitdefender Has a More Advanced Virus Scanner

Bitdefender offers better scanning options for effective malware detection than TotalAV. While Bitdefender has 4 types of virus scans (Quick Scan, System Scan, and Vulnerability Scan), TotalAV supports 3 types of scans (Quick Scan, Smart Scan, Vulnerability Scan, and System scan).

During my tests, Bitdefender’s Quick Scan took about 6 minutes to scan 10,900 files, while TotalAV took just 4 minutes for a quick scan of 11,232 files. Similarly, Bitfender did a full system scan of 1,923,785 files in under 50 minutes, while TotalAV’s system scan of 954,000 files took a total of 23 minutes. Both antiviruses detected 100% of malware while scanning files and took almost the same time to scan the files. Even so, Bitdefender ekes out ahead slightly with more thorough scans.

Virus Scanner Winner: Bitdefender

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2. Real-Time Malware Protection — Both Antiviruses Performed Above the Industry Average

Although both antiviruses score 99% in real-time malware protection, Bitdefender still won slightly. Bitdefender and TotalAV scored above the industry average of 97% and close to Norton’s remarkable 100% detection rate, one of the only perfect scores on the market. During my tests, Bitdefender detected 99.7% of real-time threats, a near-perfect detection rate, while TotalAV detected 99.1% of real-time threats. Unlike TotalAV, which flagged some harmless files, Bitdefender didn’t flag a legitimate file erroneously.

Real-Time Malware Protection Winner: Bitdefender

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3. System Performance — TotalAV Has Minimal Impact on PC Performance

I compared the impact of both antiviruses on my PC performance. TotalAV had the least impact on my system. While both Bitdefender and TotalAV didn’t significantly affect the speed of my laptop while carrying out different activities, I found TotalAV to be the more lightweight product. I ran additional quick and full disk scans to see the CPU usage by each antivirus.

Before running a full disk scan with TotalAV, my CPU usage was 5%. It jumped to 32% during the scan. TotalAV used about 27% of my CPU, which isn’t that bad. Bitdefender, on the other hand, made my CPU usage jump from 10% to 41%, a difference of 31%, which is slightly higher than that of TotalAV.

Screenshot of CPU utilization by Bitdefender and TotalAV

I was happy to find out that both antiviruses didn’t slow down my system

Neither of the antiviruses slowed down my PC, and I didn’t experience any significant delays while browsing the web, downloading files, and copying files from one folder to another. In summary, Bitdefender and TotalAV won’t significantly affect the performance of your PC during scans or background processing.

System Performance Winner: TotalAV

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4. VPN — TotalAV VPN Performs Better Across Board

Both Bitdefender and TotalAV have a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is important in protecting your internet connection private, allowing you to access the web securely. I was pleased to see that both antiviruses had VPN available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices. However, I wanted to see which one performed better in speed, server coverage, and unblocking abilities.

Screenshot of VPN speed results for Bitdefender and TotalAV

TotalAV’s VPN fast speeds allowed me to surf the web unrestricted

Bitdefender VPN has 29 servers whereas TotalAV VPN has about 35 servers. You would think this would make Bitdefender VPN a better option, but that isn’t the case. TotalAV VPN unblocked my Netflix US account during my tests, but I couldn’t get Bitdefender VPN to work with Netflix. My colleague in the UK had success unblocking BBC iPlayer, but that was the only streaming service that could be accessed.

For speeds, my base download speed was 44.1Mbps with an upload speed of 6.3Mbps. TotalAV VPN provided a download and upload speed of 40.2Mbps and 7.84Mbps respectively. However, Bitdefender VPN provided me with a slightly slower 36.7Mbps download and 7.32Mbps upload speed. Since it could access Netflix and was a little faster, TotalAV’s VPN came out on top.

VPN Winner: TotalAV

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5. Parental Controls — Only Bitdefender Supports Parental Control

Bitdefender has a very good parental control app. It allowed me to monitor screen time, check visited websites, installed apps, added contacts, and view the current location of my 10-year-old.

Screenshot of Bitdefender parental control dashboard

I was most impressed with the parental control feature that allowed me to view my child’s location at any time

All I had to do was configure parental control, create a child profile (by adding name and age), install the Bitdefender Parental Control app on my child’s phone, and create an account.

Parental Controls Winner: Bitdefender

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6. Firewall — Bitdefender Has a Functional Firewall

Bitdefender has a working firewall while TotalAV doesn’t have any. A firewall is helpful to protect your connections from unauthorized access. Bitdefender’s firewall provided real-time protection on all my networks and apps.

Screenshot of Bitdefender firewall alert

I found Bitdefender’s firewall helpful in securing my connections and communications

It also provides scan protection that blocks malicious attacks on vulnerable ports. Bitdefender offers advanced control of network connectivity, allowing me to add and edit rules for applications and the type of networks that access them.

Firewall Winner: Bitdefender

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7. Password Manager — Bitdefender Has the Best Password Manager

Bitdefender has the best password manager among the two antivirus suites. Firstly, Bitdefender’s password manager is part of every paid plan, unlike TotalAV, which requires you to pay extra for its password manager. Not just that, Bitdefender’s password vault is the simplest to use. It took only a few minutes to set up, and it allowed me to autofill passwords on an unlimited number of websites. I also like that Bitdefender’s password vault works on Android and iOS devices, whereas TotalAV’s Password Vault doesn’t work on mobile devices and comes as an add-on feature at an extra price.

Password Manager Winner: Bitdefender

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8. Gaming Mode — Both Antiviruses Are Good for Gaming

Bitdefender and TotalAV didn’t affect my gaming experience. I played a few online multiplayer games while simultaneously running a full disk scan on both antivirus software. Luckily, my gaming performance wasn’t impacted, and I didn’t experience any lags while playing my favorite games.

Depending on the type of game you’re playing, the experience may not be the same for you. Some games use more memory and CPU and would affect your PC speed even without an antivirus. Seeing that TotalAV VPN has a more effective VPN and has the least impact on CPU usage, it would be the best option for gaming.

Gaming Mode Winner: TotalAV

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9. Optimization Tools — Bitdefender has More User-Friendly Options

Bitdefender and TotalAV both have optimization tools. TotalAV’s “System Tune-up” tool allowed me to clear junk files, remove duplicate files, clear browsing data, uninstall apps, and optimize my system boot time, all with separate buttons for each action. However, Bitdefender has a more straightforward approach. It has a one-click optimization feature that identifies and removes unnecessary files from my PC.

Screenshot of Bitdefender PC optimizer result

I was able to clear 3GB of junk files from my PC, which made it faster

Bitdefender also has a file shredder that permanently deletes the files you select so that they cannot be retrieved. This ensures that when you delete a file, it is gone for good to ensure that your sensitive information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands even if you lose your laptop.

Optimization Tools Winner: Bitdefender

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10. Other Features — Bitdefender Has More Unique Features

I was impressed that both Bitdefender and TotalAV have other useful extra features that provide additional protection for my PC and web activities.

SafePay: This Bitdefender feature creates another desktop environment that allows you to engage in transactions securely and online banking, preventing keylogging, screenshotting, and data interception.

Ransomware Remediation: It is a Bitdefender feature that lets you restore files that have been encrypted during a ransomware attack.

Antispam: This Bitdefender feature lets you filter out irrelevant messages from your email inbox.

Video and Audio Protection: It is a Bitdefender feature that monitors and blocks unauthorized apps and websites that have access to your webcam and microphone.

Anti-theft: This Bitdefender feature lets you remotely recover data on your device if it is stolen.

Ad-block and Anti tracker: These features on TotalAV and Bitdefender prevent trackers from collecting data that can be used to serve you ads.

Dark Web Monitoring: It is a feature by both antivirus suites that help you to scan the dark web to see if any of your information has been compromised in a data breach.

Advanced Cloud Scanning: This TotalAV feature provides real-time protection for your PC by detecting zero-day unknown suspicious files.

Web Shield: It is a TotalAV feature that ensures your privacy by blocking malicious websites on your browser to protect your personal information.

While both AVs have some useful features, Bitdefender has far more than you can use and customize to suit your personal use case.

Other Features Winner: Bitdefender

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11. Device Compatibility — Both Are Compatible With Popular Devices

Bitdefender and TotalAV are compatible with most operating systems. You can use them on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. However, Bitdefender supports more devices (up to 3) than TotalAV, which supports a maximum of 5 devices on the basic plan.

Device Compatibility Winner: Bitdefender

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12. Customer Service — Bitdefender Offers More Support Options

Bitdefender offers multiple ways to get help, while TotalVPN provides fewer options. Both antivirus offer 24/7 email support, phone support, and a detailed knowledge base with FAQs. I tested all the available support options for Bitdefender and TotalAV for responsiveness to find out which was more helpful.

Only Bitdefender has live chat support. After initiating a chat, it took almost 4 minutes to move up the queue before I got assigned a representative. I dropped a question about one of its features, and I was pleased with the helpful answer that I got in less than 1 minute that pointed me to a resource where I found a detailed explanation.

Screenshot of customer support response for Bitdefender and TotalAV

I like how both antivirus suites offered me helpful assistance 24/7

Bitdefender also won when I tested email support. I got a response from the support in less than 1 hour, whereas TotalAV responded to my question after 4 hours. Bitdefender offers 2 dedicated lines each for US residents and 2 other numbers for worldwide locations (a UK line) for phone support. I called the UK helpline at 3:30 pm CET and was on hold for just under 12 minutes. TotalAV also has phone support, but it is only available to US residents.

Customer Service Winner: Bitdefender

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13. Price — Bitdefender Offers More Features at A Lower Price

After comparing both antivirus and the features, I observed that Bitdefender offers more value for money. There are different pricing plans across both antiviruses with varying features for each plan.

Bitdefender has a free plan that works on only 1 Windows device and offers the core antivirus features, only lacking advanced features like a password manager, VPN, and ransomware protection. TotalAV doesn’t have a free plan, and the cheapest package supports 3 devices, which is more than what most antivirus software support. In contrast, Bitfender’s cheapest paid plan only supports 1 device at a similar price to TotalAV.

Comparing the most premium plan of both software, Bitdefender has a more favorable price point with the most features too. TotalAV prompts you to pay extra for add-on features like password manager if you subscribe to the smaller plans, whereas Bitdefender supports the most advanced features on all of the paid plans.

Bitdefender offers a 30-day free trial (no card required) on all premium plans, so you can try the advanced features before committing. TotalAV doesn’t have such, but it has a 30-day unconditional money-back guarantee, which Bitdefender also has. I tested the refund process for both antiviruses and got my money back in less than a week.

Price Winner: Bitdefender

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And the Winner Is… Bitdefender

After comparing both antivirus suites and testing all features, Bitdefender won the day. It is the most feature-rich among the 2 antiviruses offering unique features such as a file shredder, a secure way to do online transactions, and other advanced security features. I was quite impressed by how Bitdefender outperformed TotalAV using over 10 different indices.

From basic protection to advanced features, Bitdefender excelled across the board. Its malware detection rate was slightly better than TotalAV. Bitdefender offered more virus scanning options, better real-time protection results, and a functional firewall which TotalAV lacked. But TotalAV wasn’t all that lacking.

It excelled above Bitdefender in system performance, having the least impact on my CPU usage. While both antiviruses didn’t slow down my system, I was pleased with the lightweight app that TotalVPN offers, having fewer background running processes than Bitdefender. I was also quite impressed with TotalAV’s VPN. It offered faster speeds and unblocked more streaming services than Bitdefender.

Summarily, both antivirus suites are good and helpful for the total protection of your PC. Bitdefender simply has more features, costs less, and performs better overall. If you’re looking for an antivirus with comprehensive protection and advanced capabilities, you can try Bitdefender risk-free for 30-days and get your money back if you aren’t satisfied. However, if you’re looking for a beginner-friendly antivirus designed to optimize your laptop performance, you can use TotalAV’s 30-days money-back guarantee to give your system a boost in addition to the solid malware protection it offers.

Overall Winner: Bitdefender

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Enemali Okwoli
Enemali is a tech writer with interest in startups and cybersecurity. He enjoys piecing together content that promotes a safe and open internet.