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Bitdefender vs. Malwarebytes 2023: Bitdefender Is Best (But Not by Much)

Bitdefender vs. Malwarebytes 2023: Bitdefender Is Best (But Not by Much)

Installing antivirus software is one of the most important things you can do to protect your devices from cyber threats. But with so many options on the market, how do you know which one to choose?

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll compare two of the top antivirus programs – Bitdefender and Malwarebytes. We‘ll analyze pricing, features, malware protection, system performance, ease of use and more, so you can confidently pick the best antivirus for your needs.

Introduction to Bitdefender and Malwarebytes

Founded in 2001, Bitdefender is a Romanian cybersecurity company known for its award-winning antivirus engine and comprehensive suite of security tools. Their software uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to detect all types of malware including viruses, ransomware, spyware, adware and phishing scams.

Malwarebytes is an American cybersecurity firm launched in 2008. They are best known for their free and premium antivirus software focused on removing dangerous malware like worms, trojans and rogue antivirus programs. The paid Malwarebytes Premium adds real-time scanning and ransomware protection.

Both vendors offer cross-platform support, integrating security into Windows, Mac, iOS and Android operating systems. However Bitdefender offers more features while Malwarebytes prioritizes a streamlined, easy-to-use approach.

Bitdefender vs. Malwarebytes: Cost Comparison

One of the biggest considerations when choosing an antivirus is cost. Let‘s look at the pricing and subscription plans offered by Bitdefender and Malwarebytes:

Plan Bitdefender Malwarebytes
Free Version No Yes
Lowest Priced Plan Antivirus – $29.99/year Premium – $39.99/year
Number of Devices Covered 1 1
Highest Priced Plan Family Pack – $89.99/year Premium + VPN – $59.99
Number of Devices Covered 15 1 device + VPN

Both vendors offer discounted rates for the first year to new customers. One advantage of Malwarebytes is that it has a free version with minimal capabilities which lets you scan and clean out malware manually when needed. Bitdefender‘s cheapest paid package starts at $29.99 covering just one device.

For maximum device coverage, Bitdefender Family Pack allows sharing between 15 devices which is great for families. Malwarebytes only covers a single device on all paid plans, but you can add a VPN subscription for secure web browsing.

Overall, Bitdefender provides better value as you can cover more devices for the same price. Malwarebytes is a good budget option for individual users who only need occasional malware scanning.

Malware Protection Capabilities Compared

The most important criteria for any antivirus is how well it can detect and block the latest malware threats. Let‘s examine the malware fighting capabilities of both programs:

Signature-based detection – Both Bitdefender and Malwarebytes maintain huge databases of malware signatures which are matched against suspicious files and activity on your device. New malware samples are continuously added to stay updated.

Heuristic monitoring – This AI-based technology looks for suspicious behaviors and actions that indicate presence of zero-day malware. Bitdefender has more advanced heuristics compared to Malwarebytes.

Ransomware protection – Dedicated anti-ransomware modules defend against file-encrypting malware in real-time. Available on all paid plans for both.

Phishing protection – Browser extensions block access to fraudulent websites attempting to steal passwords and financial information. Offered by both vendors.

Web protection – Malicious URLs are blocked during web browsing before any damage can occur. Bitdefender has better web shields than Malwarebytes.

Vulnerability scans – Bitdefender can scan for missing Windows updates and outdated/insecure applications which cybercriminals can exploit. Malwarebytes lacks this.

Webcam/microphone protection – Bitdefender‘s Webcam Protection and Microphone Monitor prevent unauthorized access to your camera and mic by malware or intruders. Exclusive to Bitdefender.

Anti-exploit – Advanced protections shield browsers and applications from exploit attacks even with unpatched vulnerabilities. Offered by both vendors but Bitdefender‘s version is more advanced.

Overall, Bitdefender offers a more complete arsenal of anti-malware tools covering more attack vectors. Independent testing proves Bitdefender has a higher malware detection rate than Malwarebytes, though both score very well.

Impact on System Performance

Antivirus software running constant background scans can slow down systems. Let‘s see how Bitdefender and Malwarebytes compare when it comes to system resource usage:

  • Idle system resource usage – Bitdefender uses slightly more RAM and CPU cycles when idle compared to Malwarebytes which has a smaller footprint.

  • Boot time impact – Malwarebytes increased boot time in testing by around 2.1 seconds while Bitdefender added around 4.2 seconds typically.

  • Scan speed – Full scans completed faster with Malwarebytes while Bitdefender was a bit slower but scanned more thoroughly. Quick scans were comparable.

  • Gaming/video streaming – Both softwares allow suspending notifications and non-essential background tasks to reduce FPS drops and stuttering when gaming or video streaming.

So Malwarebytes has less passive resource usage and slower scan speeds, while Bitdefender uses more system resources but scans more deeply with superior malware detection rates. For most modern PCs, the performance hit by both is negligible during everyday use.

Bitdefender vs. Malwarebytes: Interface and Usability

The antivirus interface and user experience also matter when it comes to convenience and ease of use.


  • Modern, polished user interface designed for simplicity and efficiency

  • Easy first-time setup walking you through configurations

  • Main dashboard shows security status, remaining subscription, shortcuts to common actions

  • Settings are well-organized across main sections making it easy to find options

  • Animated alerts pop up silently when threats are detected with one-click removal

  • Detailed notifications list all detected threats, scans performed, blocked websites etc.


  • Sleek dashboard displaying active protection status and scan results

  • Large buttons make performing scans and updating virus definitions easy

  • Settings are minimal with toggles for main security modules and scan options

  • Detailed logs list all scan results, quarantined items, blocked webpages and more

  • Alerts appear for threats detected during scans but real-time protection is quieter

Overall, Bitdefender provides a more polished user experience with greater configuration options while staying easy to use. Malwarebytes prioritizes simplicity and minimalism which also works well.

Extra Features and Tools

Beyond malware scanning, antiviruses often bundle in additional features for added value. Here are some of the extras offered by each program:


  • VPN – Encrypts traffic and masks IP address which is useful when on public Wi-Fi

  • Password manager – Stores passwords, credit cards, and auto-fills online forms

  • File shredder – Securely deletes sensitive files to prevent recovery

  • Wi-Fi network scanner – Checks connected networks for vulnerabilities

  • Webcam protection – Blocks unauthorized access to your webcam

  • Parental advisor – Controls content kids can access and monitors their online activity

  • Battery mode – Conserves laptop battery life by limiting background tasks


  • Web protection – Browser extension blocks malicious websites and scams

  • Adware cleaner – Detects and removes nuisance advertising malware and PUPs

  • Browser guard – Locks down browser settings against unwanted changes by malware

  • Anti-ransomware – Prevents file-encrypting malware attacks in real-time

  • Website blocker – Manually blocks access to specific sites or categories

Malwarebytes focuses on core malware protection while Bitdefender offers a more complete security suite with conveniences like a VPN, password manager and parental controls.

Customer Support and Assistance

Having access to timely customer support can make a big difference in keeping your antivirus running smoothly. Here is how Bitdefender and Malwarebytes compare when it comes to technical assistance and troubleshooting:


  • 24/7 live chat, email and phone support

  • Fast responses via chat with well-trained technicians

  • Active user forums and knowledge base for self-help

  • How-to videos on YouTube channel


  • Email and web ticket support system

  • Documentation center with guides and FAQs

  • Offer live 24/7 chat support only for Premium plans

  • Active Malwarebytes support forums available

Bitdefender clearly offers superior customer service with always available live chat and phone contact options. Even free users get responsive assistance via Bitdefender‘s forums. Malwarebytes relies more on self-service resources and limits live chat to premium users.

Bitdefender vs. Malwarebytes: Which Should You Pick?

So which antivirus comes out on top in this battle – Bitdefender or Malwarebytes? Here is a summary of our findings to help you decide:

Bitdefender Pros

  • Very accurate at detecting all types of malware
  • Loaded with advanced security features
  • Rated highly by independent testing labs
  • Offers complete multi-platform security suite
  • Great value for the price
  • 24/7 live customer support

Bitdefender Cons

  • Slightly heavier system resource usage
  • No free version offered

Malwarebytes Pros

  • Extremely easy to use
  • Very fast scan times
  • Free version available with limited capabilities
  • Light footprint and minimal system slowdowns

Malwarebytes Cons

  • Weaker malware detection rates than Bitdefender
  • No additional tools beyond basic antivirus
  • Minimal interface lacking advanced options
  • Weaker customer service support

Overall, Bitdefender is the winner in this battle of antivirus titans. It offers stronger malware protection backed by frequent independent lab testing. The suite goes far beyond basic antivirus with lots of bonus features that add real value. While a bit pricier than Malwarebytes, you get what you pay for with round-the-clock live support and robust cross-platform security for all devices.

Malwarebytes is a decent budget option for basic protection, especially with its free version. But you miss out on many extra tools and customer service is limited. It‘s a good secondary scanner to run alongside another antivirus for added security.

So we recommend Bitdefender to most users as their primary antivirus unless budget is your top concern. Protect your valued data and devices with Bitdefender‘s industry-leading cybersecurity.


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