Kaspersky Total Security vs. Bitdefender Total Security: Which option is best for you?

Computer Vandalism Kaspersky Hero
Computer Vandalism Kaspersky Hero (Image credit: Kaspersky)

Kaspersky Total Security and Bitdefender Total Security are two of the best antivirus software suites out there battling the darker web to keep you safe online. But which is the best of the two? Inevitably, it's not that simple. Both, as "Total Security Solutions," have lots of features that amount to wide coverage. But each has its own special skills that could suit you best.

You can rely on them both offering antivirus protection, meaning preemptive care to keep your devices from being infected. But they also offer malware protection, meaning they effectively clean up your digital space and kick out any threats found lurking.

User-friendliness is the most standout area of difference between the two, so if that's of concern to you, then picking the right one is essential. That said, either will do a great job of keeping you safe and secure though one is cheaper than the other.

So which is the best antivirus and malware solution for you?

Bitdefender is cheaper than Kaspersky

At the time of writing, both Kaspersky and Bitdefender are matching each other for price at the most basic level, but move up to more features, and they start to vary. At the Total Security level, Kaspersky is more expensive.

That means you can get the primary solution offerings for $5 per month. But Bitdefender also offers a free version, which includes antivirus and malware protection. Kaspersky has a 30-day free trial option. These are both great ways to give the services a try before you buy.

There are several other levels, but for the "Total Protection" tier, Kaspersky charges $99.99 annually, which works out to $8.33 per month. Bitdefender costs $89 per year, which works out at $7.42 per month.

Kaspersky and Bitdefender offer the same level of antivirus and malware protection

The go-to measure of security software capabilities is AV-Test. In its extensive testing it found that for both antivirus and malware protection both Kaspersky and Bitdefender offered a 100 percent detection rate.

Both systems combine a digital signature matching engine with heuristic monitoring when it comes to antivirus to detect both known and unseen threats.

The malware detection was 100 percent for both 0-day attacks (web and email) as well as for detection of the most common spread malware in the last four years.

Kaspersky Total Security has fewer features than Bitdefender Total Security

Comparing the two offerings at the Total Security level, where Kaspersky costs more, you get more features from Bitdefender. Whether you'll use half of those is another matter.

Both services offer protection against viruses, malware, phishing, spyware, and dangerous websites. You also get Privacy Protection, Parental Controls, Password Management across devices, and safe money features - to name just a few.

Bitdefender also offers a free VPN service, anti-theft, and specific platform software for Mac, Android, and iOS. One license covers up to five devices, and this is the same for Kaspersky.

Bitdefender is faster than Kaspersky, in some ways

In testing, once again by the industry standard of AV-Test, it was found that overall the system slow down caused by the software was greater in Kaspersky than Bitdefender. This is a minor variation, though, as the overall score for each was still a perfect six out of six.

But since we're picking them apart to find differences, it's worth mentioning that when it comes to slowing down when launching popular websites, Kaspersky causes a 26 percent change where Bitdefender is at 19 percent.

When it comes to actual scanning, though, Kaspersky was a little faster and also has a gaming mode that allows you to optimize performance for even quicker performance rates.

Bitdefender is easier to use than Kaspersky

Once again, both systems are very similar when it comes to user-friendliness, but Bitdefender slightly wins this category. This is thanks to a more intuitive design that allows you to customize your experience. That means it does have deeper level complexity, for those that want it, but can also be set up for easy use for those that want simplicity.

That said, both are very clear and simple to use with Kaspersky offering big red crosses to show what needs your attention, so it's tough to "get it wrong."

Bitdefender offers better customer support

Based on the way that each company has dealt with customer issues so far, it's Bitdefender that wins.

The Better Business Bureau has given Bitdefender a not-so-great rating of C. In contrast, it has given Kaspersky a pretty poor F. Granted Kaspersky has been around longer, but the BBB takes into account more recent issues so that shouldn't really be an excuse.

According to ConsumerAffairs, both companies got a three out of five-star rating. That suggests an average performance when it comes to real-world customer issue resolution.

Kaspersky vs. Bitdefender verdict

As you've probably worked out by now, there is very little difference between Kaspersky Total Security and Bitdefender Total Security. If you want to save a bit of money, Bitdefender is the cheaper option while it also throws in a VPN and that slightly better customization for the user interface. Kaspersky will cost you a bit more, but you get a slight speed bump in some areas, perhaps most importantly, in the main scan time.

It's also worth keeping in mind that there are often deals by the companies, so keep your eyes peeled for the cheapest option to snap up when you get the chance.

Luke Edwards