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Which Bitdefender Is Right For You?

Bitdefender's antivirus products are among our best-reviewed, placing consistently at or near the top of our rankings. But with 10 different versions from which to choose, it's not easy to know which Bitdefender antivirus product is right for you.

From the free Bitdefender Antivirus Plus to the family-friendly nature of Bitdefender Family Pack, plus specialized software for macOS, Android and even iOS users, the company offers solutions for most consumers. We'll break down the merits of each one to help you decide.

For Windows

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
Regular Price: Free

Best for: Cheapskates; your grandparents

Runs on: Windows 7 through Windows 10

Bitdefender's free antivirus solution is very bare-bones, yet offers top-notch protection against malware. It can be a bit hard to set up and won't let you schedule scans. Nor does it offer the benefits of Bitdefender's paid products, such as a password manager, a secure browser for online shopping or protection against malicious websites. But Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is a great set-it-and-forget-it solution for anyone who has to set up (and maintain) computers for elderly or technophobic relatives.

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
Regular Price: $40/year for one PC, $60/year for three PCs, $70/year for five PCs, $80/year for 10 PCs

Sale Price: $26/year for one PC, as of 12/14

Best for: Tech-savvy users without kids

Runs on: Windows 7 (with Service Pack 1) through Windows 10

Bitdefender's cheapest paid antivirus solution is our top choice for basic antivirus software. It provides the same excellent protection as all Bitdefender products, but offers several useful extra features that normally come only with more expensive software.

Among them are Safepay, a hardened browser that protects online shopping and banking; Wallet, a password manager that also secures credit-card numbers; a USB "immunizer" that lets you plug thumb drives into your PC without fear of infection; a feature that lets you pre-emptively lock down files against ransomware; a file shredder; and an onscreen virtual keyboard to thwart keylogging hardware or malware.

There's also Bitdefender Central, a website that lets you remotely scan and maintain all your systems running Bitdefender products, and a hidden partition that boots your computer into Linux so that it can thoroughly disinfect your Windows installation.

Bitdefender Internet Security
Regular Price: $60/year for one PC, $80/year for three PCs, $85/year for five PCs, $90/year for 10 PCs

Sale Price: $52/year for three PCs, as of 12/14

Best for: Families with young children

Runs on: Windows 7 through Windows 10

Bitdefender Internet Security offers everything you get with Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, and then some. It's a good option for parents, as its parental controls let you block inappropriate web pages and limit use of games, chat clients and file-sharing programs. The controls will also stop your child from giving out his or her phone number online.

If your inbox is cluttered with junk email, Bitdefender Internet Security offers anti-spam filters for programs including Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail and Thunderbird.

Bitdefender Internet Security also provides a personal two-way firewall, which screens both incoming and outgoing network traffic. Webcam protection allows users to limit which programs can access their cameras. And don't worry about your files getting hijacked by ransomware, as Bitdefender's encryption tools protect your digital assets.

Bitdefender Total Security
Regular Price: $90/year for five PCs, $100/year for 10 PCs

Sale Price: $58.49/year for five PCs

Best for: People who want everything

Runs on: Windows 7 (with Service Pack 1) through Windows 10

If you've been the victim of laptop theft or fear it happening to you, Bitdefender Total Security may be your best bet at safeguarding your data. Not only does this solution offer everything found in Bitdefender Internet Security, but it also adds remote-locate, lock, wipe and alert options. (The PC must be connected to the internet to receive these commands.)

Bitdefender Total Security also adds a system optimizer. As with the password manager or file shredder, you could get that from other vendors as stand-alone software, but it's handy (and probably less expensive) to have your tools all in one package.

Bitdefender Security for XP and Vista
$60/year for one PC, $80/year for three PCs

Best for: Users of older computers

Runs on: Windows XP (with Service Pack 3) through Windows 8.1

You really will need that Bitdefender two-way firewall if you're still running Windows XP. Bitdefender Security for XP or Vista mixes up the feature sets of Internet Security and Total Security, but is designed to run on older computers with less RAM. It lacks specialized protection against ransomware, but you'll get parental controls, theft protection, a system optimizer and excellent malware detection without changing your operating system.

For Mac

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac
Regular Price: $40/year for one Mac, $60/year for three Macs

Sale Price: $50/year for three Macs, as of 12/14

Best for: People who use exclusively Apple products

Runs on: OS X 10.9 Mavericks through macOS 10.13 High Sierra

Mac users have only one option when it comes to Bitdefender: Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac. It doesn't have as many features as its Windows counterparts, lacking a password manager and secure browser. Nor does it let you schedule scans.

This suite does, however, provide protection against ransomware with its new Safe Files feature that allows users to designate directories to be protected from the hijacking malware. By default it suggests you use Desktop, Documents, Downloads and Pictures.

Bitdefender's Mac client turned in perfect 100-percent scores in recent testing by the third-party companies AV-Test and AV-Comparatives, which many of its competitors cannot claim.

The one perk you do get with Antivirus for Mac is the remote-monitoring option. You can check your Mac while away from home by logging into the Bitdefender Central website.

For Android

Bitdefender Mobile Security & Antivirus
Regular Price: $15/year

Best for: Android users

Runs on: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and newer

Bitdefender's solution for Android devices has a very light system impact and excellent malware protection, and its Privacy Advisor gives users a detailed report on what each installed app is doing in the background. Bitdefender Mobile Security also warns you of and blocks malicious websites. The Bitdefender app runs its scans in the background but also lets users perform on-demand scans.

Bitdefender Mobile Security also lets users protect their devices remotely, with locate, lock, wipe and alert options. If someone tries to break into your phone, the app will send you a photo of the miscreant so you know whom not to trust around your stuff. The app also interacts with Android Wear devices, and lets you lock individual apps with a passcode.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free for Android
Regular Price:
Free

Best for: Users of cheap. old or underpowered Android phones

Runs on: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and newer

Bitdefender also has a free version of its mobile security software, one that does nothing but scan for and protect against Android malware. You won't get the locate-and-lock functions of Bitdefender Mobile Security & Antivirus, nor the malicious-website blocker or Privacy Advisor, but you do get Bitdefender's top-notch malware protection. That's especially valuable if your Android device is more than two years old and is no longer receiving system updates.

For iOS

Bitdefender Mobile Security for iOS
Regular Price: Free

Best for: iPhone owners worried about their email accounts

Runs on: iPhones and iPads on iOS 9 and newer

Bitdefender Mobile Security for iOS is not antivirus software. Apple very strictly sandboxes third-party apps for its mobile platform, which makes it nearly impossible to run antivirus software on iOS and eliminates most of the need for antivirus software in the first place. Apple also purges any app claiming to be antivirus software from the iOS App Store.

So instead of protecting you from malware, Bitdefender's iOS app does one thing iOS already does —remotely locate, lock and wipe your iPhone in case it is stolen — and also performs one neat new trick. Once you register your email accounts with the app, it will alert you if and when your accounts ever get breached, so you know to change your passwords. However, the app doesn't screen malicious web links, a useful feature found in some other iOS apps developed by antivirus makers.

For Multiple Platforms

Bitdefender Family Pack

Regular Price: $120/year, unlimited devices

Sale Price: $70/year, as of 12/14

Best for: Large families with a mixture of devices; people who have more computers and phones than they can count

Runs on: Windows 7 (with Service Pack 1) and later; OS X 10.9 Mavericks and later; Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and later

If you have more than five devices, Bitdefender Family Pack is the lollapalooza of antivirus software. It gives you licenses for an unlimited number of PCs, Macs, phones and tablets. You can install Bitdefender Total Security for Windows users, Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac, Bitdefender Mobile Security & Antivirus for Android, Bitdefender Mobile Security for iOS (which is free anyway) and Bitdefender Internet Security for XP and Vista, on as many devices as you want.

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  • SumTingW0ng
    Bitdefender Free for me because I'm a cheap bastard.
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