Windows Defender vs. Bitdefender

Windows Defender vs. Bitdefender - The Ultimate Comparison

Written by Ria du Plessis - Web Developer

Updated on August 12 , 2021

Everyone needs antivirus software to stay safe when browsing these days. So, you may be wondering if you should stick with your default Windows Defender software included with your Windows device or switch to a paid antivirus software such as Bitdefender. In this review, we’ll be doing a complete Windows Defender vs. Bitdefender comparison.

  • Free antivirus protection
  • On-demand scanning
  • Firewall configuration
  • Simple user interface
  • Multi-layered malware protection
  • Fast system scans
  • Secure web browsing
  • Enhanced security suite and advanced features

Overall Comparison

Our verdict on overall best antivirus program is Bitdefender 

Windows Defender Pros

Bitdefender Pros

  • Free
  • SmartScreen web protection
  • Malware installation prevention
  • Firewall protection
  • File protection against ransomware
  • Webcam security
  • WiFi vulnerability scanners
  • VPN protection
  • Password manager
  • File encryption
  • Firewall protection

Windows Defender Cons

Bitdefender Cons

  • No banking protection
  • Low-quality customer support
  • No VPN protection
  • Lower zero-day threat protection
  • No password manager
  • $199.99 a year for multi-device total security
  • May slow your computer down
  • Less user-friendly
  • No cloud backup for your files

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Windows Defender Vs Norton

When comparing Windows Defender and Bitdefender, the first thing you will notice is the massive price difference. Windows Defender is free and automatically installed on every Windows PC, while Bitdefender costs $199.99 a year for total multi-device security. 

When it comes to features, Windows Defender only offers basic antivirus security. While browsing, the SmartScreen web protection and the built-in firewall will protect you. Windows Defender also has ransomware protection

Bitdefender has all the features mentioned above plus a lot more. Customer support from Bitdefender is top-notch, while Windows Defender does not offer any advanced support.

As Windows Defender is free software, there are many threats it may fail to catch. Bitdefender is committed to defending your device against the most sophisticated threats.

Overall winner: Bitdefender

Key Features



Windows Defender

Virus Scanner

Yes, you can choose a quick scan or a system scan.

Yes, you can perform a quick scan or scan specific folders.

Threat Protection

Yes, it has real-time and advanced threat protection.

Yes, the quick scan will catch immediate threats.

Malware Removal

Yes, it has advanced detection systems that catch all kinds of malware.

Yes, you’ll be alerted to malware installations.

Phishing Detection



Spyware Protection



Ransomware Protection

Yes, it has multi-layer ransomware that encrypts your files.

Yes, you can protect specific folders

Cloud Backup


Yes, OneDrive backs files up.





Yes, but you have 200 MB a day limit if you don’t have the Ultimate Plan.


Browser Protection

Yes, your transactions are secure from fraud with  Safepay.

Yes, the Windows Defender Browser Protection extension is available for Chrome.

Webcam Protection



Password Manager



Identity Theft Protection

Yes, but only for the Ultimate Plan.


Parental Control

Yes, but not for the Personal Plan.


Safe Banking

Yes, Safepay protects your transactions.


Performance Optimization

Yes, OneClick Optimizer improved speed and performance.


Cleaning Tools



File Shredder



Game Mode

Yes, it automatically switches profiles whether you're gaming, watching, or working.


Mobile App

Yes, it’s available for iOS and Android.

Yes, it’s available for iOS and Android.

Key Features Compared 

With Windows Defender you will get all the basic features but will not be protected against advanced web threats.

Bitdefender offers a little more; Safepay is a feature Bitdefender has that secures your online transactions. This is a feature that is very crucial for online banking. 

Bitdefender also blocks phishing sites and suspicious web pages to prevent hackers from infiltrating your device and stealing your data.

Windows doesn't provide any features that safeguard against fraud, which makes its software weak. It only has simple antivirus protection features.

Windows Defender Features

Another important feature that Bitdefender has is a password manager. A password manager allows you to have a secure place to store your passwords. 

All sensitive data, including banking information, is encrypted into a vault. This feature also auto-fills passwords. 

Windows Defender doesn’t have this feature, so your passwords are open to threats.

Bitdefender Features

Your digital identity is constantly under threat, and it’s challenging to detect when your identity is compromised. Bitdefender’s Ultimate Plan monitors your digital footprint, detects Dark Web and privacy breaches, and even detects social media impersonators

Windows Defender doesn’t protect against threats that steal your digital identity. 

Overall, Bitdefender has more variety when it comes to features. Due to the wide range of protection features, you have more layers of protection with Bitdefender. 

Best for antivirus features: Bitdefender

Malware Protection Capabilities

Bitdefender has an advanced system that protects against all kinds of malware. While the Windows default antivirus software has malware protection, it’s a low level of security

According to the latest AV-test, you can see the malware protection capabilities of both antivirus programs; the last test was done in April 2021

The antivirus solutions were tested against real-world threats such as viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, and more. This all includes zero-day attacks on the web or emails coming into your computer. 

Bitdefender Results;

Bitdefender Results

Bitdefender did really well in protecting the device against 278 zero-day malware attacks and picked up 100% of the samples.

The AV-Test database uses various reference sets and samples to test an antivirus solution's ability to detect malware over a 4 week period. Bitdefender detected all 16990 samples of malware that were used. 100% of the samples were also picked up here.

Windows Defender Results;

Windows Defender Results

Both programs scored equal results, but it’s important to keep in mind that Bitdefender protects against zero-day threats, worms, trojans, viruses, spyware, rootkits, and ransomware while Windows only protects against certain malware, viruses, and spyware.

Best for malware protection: Bitdefender

System Performance

System performance is a critical aspect to keep in mind when choosing an antivirus solution

Windows computers automatically install Windows Defender on all Windows 10 devices, so you don’t have to install any software. Since it’s built-in, the performance of your PC won’t be affected extremely. 

Let’s take a look at the AV-Test results for Windows Defender;

AV-Test results for Windows Defender

Windows Defender only had an extreme impact on standard PCs while installing other applications. Other than that the impact results were pretty low.

Let’s take a look at the AV-Test results for Bitdefender;

AV-Test results for Bitdefender

Bitdefender has features that optimize system performance, but the software can still slow down low-end devices. Each device requires 2 GB of RAM and 2.5 GB of free space to run this software correctly. 

OneClick Optimizer is a feature available for all Bitdefender plans. When you use this optimizer, Bitdefender will improve your speed and performance. 

This software uses the cloud for most of its scanning. This method doesn't slow down your PC when scanning for threats. 

Although Bitdefender has features that reduce the load on your system, Windows Defender is the optimal choice for system performance. 

Best for system performance: Windows Defender


Bitdefender has three plans that vary depending on your needs. There’s a Personal, Family, and Ultimate Plan.

The Personal Plan costs $89.99 a year but is discounted at $39.98 for the first year. You can cover up to five devices at once, but you miss out on digital identity protection, unlimited VPN traffic, and parental controls.

The Family Plan protects up to fifteen devices at once and costs $119.99 per year, but $49.99 for the first year. You get parental controls but don’t receive unlimited VPN traffic or digital identity protection. 

The Unlimited Plan costs $199.99 a year, but only $99.98 for the first year. You can protect up to 20 devices and complete digital identity protection and unlimited VPN traffic. Bitdefender claims that its VPN and digital identity features are worth $130, making this plan a deal.

Windows Defender is free and comes included with Windows PCs. This pricing puts Windows at a massive advantage.

Best price: Windows Defender

Ease Of Use And User Friendliness

User-friendliness for an antivirus solution is essential for beginners who do not have much experience with PC software. Let's see how easy it is to use Bitdefender and Windows Defender.

Bitdefender requires a download, and some people will have trouble going through that process. 

The dashboard is straightforward, the buttons are easy to read, and there is a sidebar for quick access to other features. If you need help, there is an easy-to-spot “Support” button on the bottom of the sidebar.

Bitdefender Interface

Windows Defender does not require any setup or installation, so beginners will already be pleased with that. You’ll have to search for the software or browse in your settings, but once you go on the dashboard, Windows makes it easy by showing large icons with help descriptions underneath. You’ll automatically know the health of your device. 

Windows Defender Interface

Most user-friendly provider: Windows Defender

Customer Support

A significant advantage of Bitdefender is the quality customer support. It has 24/7 phone, email, and live chat in various countries. For common issues, you can search through the FAQ, how-to videos, and the forum. 

Windows Defender does not provide much support for advanced problems. There’s a forum and articles that guide you through fundamental issues and include a live chat bubble, but you won’t find any answers to technically advanced problems.

Best customer support: Bitdefender


Both of the antivirus software we discussed have their pros and cons. To find out which one is best for you, you need to evaluate your situation and choose which software will suit your needs.

Windows Defender is great for people on a budget and who want low-level protection. This software has no problem preventing threats from infecting your PC. It’s free and works wonderfully on low-end PCs.

However, Bitdefender is the better option overall. It has advanced systems that detect a wide range of threats. There are also more layers of protection, such as a VPN and a password manager, that further ensure your security. Although the most secure plan costs $199.99 a year, it’s well worth it.