Norton 360 vs Bitdefender Premium Security

Norton and Bitdefender have become household names in antivirus software, each with a massive global following. So, which reigns supreme? We’re rolling up our sleeves to crack this one open. I’m diving into a head-to-head comparison of Norton 360 Deluxe and Bitdefender Premium Security, conducting real-world tests to gauge their prowess in threat detection and mitigation. Plus, we’ll stack our insights against established lab results. Along the way, we’ll evaluate user experience, bonus features, and bang for your buck.

Feeling impatient?

Here’s the lowdown: Norton edges out the competition. Independent tests give it the nod. It’s easier on your system’s performance and won’t hurt your wallet as much. Hard to argue with that.

Summary: Norton vs Bitdefender

No valueNortonBitdefender
Real-time protection
Web protection/anti phishing
Password Manager
PC Cloud Backup
Identity Theft Protection
Web control/dashboard
Best deal (per month)$3.33
GET 57% off the first year!
Get 50% OFF!

A bit about the companies


Norton has been around for 28 years and since 2001, it has been produced by Symantec Corporation in California. Norton has become a global leader in consumer cybersecurity, helping secure the devices and online privacy of nearly 50 million consumers.

Formerly Symantec, Norton acquired LifeLock identity protection in 2017, which led to its name change of NortonLifeLock. In December 2020, it announced the acquisition of Avira antivirus, and in August 2021, it announced that it would be acquiring Avast, which itself acquired AVG a few years prior. This means Norton could soon implement the best bits from all three of these companies. Avast had already finished syncing the Avast and AVG cloud and behavioral monitoring technology.


Compared to Norton, Bitdefender is a newbie to the world of cybersecurity. Bitdefender was founded in Romania in 2001 and works with government organizations, enterprises, and consumers across over 150 countries, protecting half a billion users worldwide.

Norton vs Bitdefender pricing

In terms of price point, Norton 360 Deluxe and Bitdefender Premium Security are very different. Norton 360 Deluxe is considerably cheaper than Bitdefender, even with the discounts both offer on their website. However, Norton 360 Deluxe only offers protection for up to five devices, whereas Bitdefender Premium offers protection for up to 10 devices. The table below outlines the different products both offer:

Both Norton and Bitdefender come with big discounts on your first purchase. Norton 360 Deluxe offers 52% off your first purchase making the product $49.99 for the first year. Bitdefender Premium Security offers a 56% discount making the purchase price $69.98. (This is at the time of writing). As you can see, Norton 360 Deluxe is considerably cheaper than Bitdefender even with the special discounts present. Norton also has other higher-priced packages if you are looking for something extra.

Both Norton and Bitdefender offer a money-back guarantee, allowing you to try out the product and make sure it is suitable for you. Norton boasts a 60-day money-back guarantee whereas Bitdefender is just a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Both Norton and Bitdefender work with all the major operating systems including Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android devices.

Effectiveness against malware

When deciding which antivirus product is best, it’s important to know which one will do the best job of protecting your PC against malware. I ran some tests to see how each product performed.

The first test I performed checked for malware threats in real-time, instead of waiting until a scheduled scan time to check my PC files. I also ran a second malware test where I downloaded harmless malware test files from The European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research (EICAR) which simulate different vectors of infection, where threats come from and the forms they come in. I turned off real-time detection and ran a full system scan and a quick scan to see how well the malware was detected and quarantined.

To add to my own tests, I checked out some of the most recent antivirus tests managed by the major independent antivirus test labs. Look at the table below comparing the test results from both Norton and Bitdefender. These tests were performed on my PC with three different lives samples and four EICAR samples:

No valueNortonBitdefender
Eicar Sample 1BlockedBlocked
Eicar Sample 2BlockedBlocked
Eicar Sample 3BlockedBlocked
Eicar Sample 4BlockedBlocked
Live Sample 1 (Adware)BlockedBlocked
Live Sample 2 (Trojan)BlockedBlocked
Live Sample 3 (Trojan)BlockedBlocked
Best deal (per month)$3.33
GET 57% off the first year!
Get 50% OFF!

The results showed Norton blocked just one of the EICAR samples but allowed three, compared to Bitdefender, which blocked all four of the EICAR samples. Norton blocked the .txt file and the download from on HTTP but allowed zip files. On HTTPS, the .zip files and the .txt files were allowed while the file was blocked.

Both Norton and Bitdefender immediately detected and deleted all three live samples.

Norton antivirus block

bitdefender malware results

bitdefender scan

To add more depth to the analysis, I looked up the latest test results from AV-Test and AV-Comparatives, two of the best-known independent AV testing labs.

The latest AV-Test report showed that during July and August 2021, both Bitdefender and Norton scored 100 percent in their protection detection against malware attacks, inclusive of web and email threats (real-world testing).

I also looked at the latest AV-Comparatives Real-Time Protection Test from July-October 2021. Norton scored 100 percent and Bitdefender scored 99.7 percent in their online protection rates, putting Norton slightly higher than Bitdefender. Norton achieved first place out of every antivirus in this test; no other reached 100 percent.

AV-Comparatives also has another useful tool in testing the best antivirus programs: a false alarm test. This test is useful in seeing how accurately a file or app is identified as safe or as a threat. The lower the number of false alarms, the better. False positives occur when the antivirus flags a non-malware file as malware and can therefore be an annoyance.

The test results from July-October 2021 show thirty-seven false alarms for Norton, and zero for Bitdefender. This is the same test that showed Norton at the highest with 100 percent detection, something no other antivirus in that test showed. This could suggest that Norton is more aggressive with its detection, offering slightly better security, but with more false alarms.

Impact on PC Performance

The impact antivirus programs have on your PC performance is an important thing to consider and is something to be aware of when deciding which one is right for you. To find out which of the two antivirus programs had the best performance numbers, I captured data while running both full and quick scans. To verify my findings, I looked at the performance scores for both Bitdefender and Norton from some recent independent tests.

The table below shows the results of my test and how long it took to complete, plus the number of items that were scanned. The time to complete an antivirus scan is affected by a number of factors such as the speed of the PC, the number of files that need to be scanned, and the antivirus program that you are using.

No valueNortonBitdefender
Full Scan Time (minutes)121110
Number of scanned objects1,420,2764200000
Full Scan CPU Utilization %8456
Full Scan Memory Utilization %7581
Full Scan Disk Utilization (seconds)3813577
Control CPU Utliization % (no scan)1432
Control Memory Utilization % (no scan)7274
Control Disk Utilization (seconds) (no scan)1365
Quick Scan Time (seconds)171338
Quick Scan CPU Utilization %3756
Quick Scan Memory Utilization %7681
Quick Scan Disk Utilization (seconds)413557
Best deal (per month)$3.33
GET 57% off the first year!
Get 50% OFF!

A full scan with Bitdefender was completed in 110 minutes and scanned 4.2 million items, compared to Norton, which took 121 minutes and scanned 970,000 items.

Next, I tried running a quick scan with each antivirus. Norton completed the scan in 171 seconds, while Bitdefender completed the quick scan in 338 seconds.

I also recorded some data to see how my PC’s resources were affected by both antivirus programs.

Bitdefender recorded a higher CPU Utilization than Norton when running both programs. Bitdefender also recorded a higher control disk utilization when not performing a scan. During a full scan, Bitdefender used less CPU than Norton. The biggest difference is in the full scan disk utilization: Bitdefender utilized 3,577 MB/s and Norton came in at 381 MB/s.

Next, I analyzed the results from some other independent tests. The tests run by independent labs show how each antivirus impacts PC performance during eight common tasks:

  • Downloading files
  • Browsing Websites
  • File Copying: First and subsequent run
  • Installing/uninstalling applications
  • Archiving / unarchiving
  • Launching applications: First and subsequent run

Each task is given a rating ranging between very fast and slow.

In the AV-Comparatives Performance Test from October 2021, both Bitdefender and Norton achieved an Advanced+ rating, the highest rating out of Advanced+, Advanced, and Standard. For comparison, Microsoft Defender only achieved Standard.

Looking deeper into the data, Bitdefender achieved the highest “very fast” rating in all performance categories, apart from two where it achieved “fast”, and Norton achieved very fast in all but one. Bitdefender was considered fast in the first run of file copying and the first run of launching applications. Norton was considered fast in installing applications.

When it comes to performance, Norton performs slightly better, although not by much. There was only a minor impact on speed and performance while I ran several tasks on my PC, which the other independent tests verified.

Norton vs Bitdefender features

Many providers now add some extra features besides the antivirus scanner itself. I’ve looked at what is included in each package to see which one offers the best value.


  • Cloud Backup
  • Smart Firewall
  • Password Manager
  • Virus Protection Promise
  • Parental Control
  • Secure VPN
  • PC SafeCam


  • Unlimited VPN traffic
  • Priority Support
  • Device Optimiser
  • Window, macOS, Android and iOS protection
  • Parental Control
  • Multi-layer ransomware protection
  • Protection against malware, spyware, adware

Both programs offer some of the same features, including parental controls, a VPN, and firewalls. Below are a number of the unique features included with each program.

Sign Up and Installation

So, what’s the deal with the user interface? First off, Bitdefender keeps it clean with a sleek black and neon green color scheme. Launch the dashboard, and you’re greeted with a comforting “You are safe,” making it a no-brainer to confirm all systems are go. You’ll find tabs for device management, protection, privacy, and utilities, plus a neat area to put forward your feature requests for future updates.

Over on Norton’s side, the interface sports a professional grey, black, and yellow color palette designed for straightforward navigation. Like Bitdefender, Norton’s dashboard makes your protection status clear as day. You can deep-dive into security settings, identity tools, and performance metrics here. And let’s not forget – Norton 360 Deluxe offers a web portal, allowing you to manage up to five devices easily.

How easy is the interface to use?

User-friendliness is key! Both Bitdefender and Norton offer intuitive interfaces that make managing your antivirus protection a breeze.

Bitdefender uses a clean, minimalist design with clear navigation. The “You are safe” dashboard message provides instant reassurance about your system’s security status.

Norton’s classic gray, black, and yellow color scheme is easy on the eyes. The dashboard clearly shows your protection status, and additional sections for scans, settings, and other features are easily accessible.

Customer Support


Norton offers 24/7/365 support on all of its product tiers. There is an online community forum, FAQ, and live chat support. Support is available through its Facebook and Twitter channels. However, unlike Bitdefender’s free phone support, Norton’s phone support costs extra. Norton Customer Support page


Bitdefender Premium Security boasts an extensive support hub, with many common problems answered on their website or demonstrated through online videos, which is great if you want an easy fix. If this is not doable, you can contact support via email, phone, online chat, or through their expert community forums. Bitdefender customer support

And the winner is…

Both Norton and Bitdefender are heavyweights in antivirus protection, boasting excellent malware detection rates.  Norton edges out Bitdefender in a close race with slightly better independent test scores, a lighter system footprint, and a more affordable price tag.

However, the best antivirus for you depends on your specific needs:

  • Norton: Ideal for users prioritizing top-notch protection and a user-friendly experience.
  • Bitdefender: A great option if you protect many devices or seek advanced features.

Our Methodology for Antivirus Comparisons

We go beyond surface-level comparisons when pitting antivirus titans like Norton and Bitdefender against each other. Here’s our in-depth process:

  1. Malware Showdown: We unleash a barrage of real-world viruses, trojans, and other digital nasties to evaluate each antivirus’s detection and blocking capabilities.
  2. Performance Matters: A great antivirus shouldn’t slow you down. We test on-demand scans and background protection to see how they impact your system’s performance.
  3. Support That’s Got Your Back: A responsive and helpful support team is critical when questions arise. We check for multiple contact options (email, live chat, phone) and assess the quality of assistance.
  4. Best Value: We factor in the true cost of protection—those first-year discounts are enticing, but we also consider renewal prices for long-term value.
  5. Multi-Device Coverage: Your whole digital life needs shielding. We prioritize antiviruses that cover your PC, Mac, smartphones, and tablets with a single subscription.

Check out our guide on assessing antivirus providers for a detailed breakdown of our testing methods.

Norton vs Bitdefender FAQs

What is the best free antivirus and should I use free or premium?

Although paid and free antivirus programs do the same thing at their core, some key differences should be noted. 

Free antivirus software lets you perform scheduled and on-demand scans of your hard drive to detect and remove computer viruses and other malware. A paid service goes further by performing active real-time scanning of all downloads and incoming data packets.

This additional protection provides greater levels of security because it enforces proactive protection against threats rather than reactive (removal) of exploits as and when they are found on your machine. 

Paid antivirus software often includes various other advanced security features as part of a security suite. These include parental controls, safe search, email scanning, password management, cloud backups, dark web protection, and more.

All that said, free antivirus is always better than no antivirus and Bitdefender actually offers one of the best free antivirus products on the market.

How do I uninstall Norton or Bitdefender?

Ditching your old antivirus is simple! Here’s a guide to uninstalling Norton or Bitdefender:


  1. Open the Control Panel and navigate to “Programs and Features.”
  2. Find Norton or Bitdefender in the list of installed programs.
  3. Right-click on your antivirus and select “Uninstall.”
  4. Follow the on-screen prompts. You might need to restart your PC.


  1. Go to your Applications folder.
  2. Locate the removal tool specific to your antivirus (Norton or Bitdefender).
  3. Launch the tool and follow the instructions for a clean uninstall.

Do I need a VPN?

Yes. Antivirus software does a completely different job than a VPN. If you want robust online security and privacy, you must use a VPN and an antivirus. 

Antivirus software is designed to scan your machine’s hard drive for potentially malicious programs, viruses, worms, and other malware. A good antivirus also scans all incoming traffic to prevent you from downloading anything malicious. 

Conversely, a VPN provides you with online privacy by encrypting all of your web traffic and tunneling to a remote VPN server location. This prevents local network administrators, wifi-hotspot providers, Internet Service Providers, and government snoops from being able to monitor your web browsing habits. 

A VPN also prevents the websites you visit from tracking your home IP address. This lets you get an IP address remotely to bypass network restrictions, censorship, and regional content blocks. 

Norton and Bitdefender now include a VPN as part of their premium offerings, but you may find it’s not as capable as a standalone product. For example, many of the VPNs listed here, have additional capabilities like accessing Netflix USA and BBC iPlayer while abroad.

Can I use Norton and Bitdefender together?

No, using Norton and Bitdefender together isn’t recommended. Running two antivirus programs simultaneously can cause system crashes, freezing, and even data corruption. Stick to one solid antivirus for the best protection.

Is Bitdefender safe?

Regarding online safety, the answer is yes – Bitdefender is one of the safest and most effective antivirus and internet security solutions! It has earned itself consistently high ratings from users and independent testing labs, so you can rest assured that your device will be well-protected when using Bitdefender. In addition, with its AI-enhanced virus scanning capabilities, real-time threat detection, secure browsing tools, parental controls, password manager, and more…you can enjoy maximum protection for your computer with minimal hassle!

Why is malware so dangerous?

Malware isn’t just an annoyance – it seriously threatens your digital security and privacy. Here’s why you should take it seriously:

  • Data Theft: Malware can steal sensitive information like passwords, credit card numbers, and even your identity, leading to financial loss or fraud.
  • Device Damage: Some malware can corrupt your files, slow your system, or render your device unusable.
  • Privacy Invasion: Malware might spy on your online activity, log your keystrokes, and steal your personal information.

What can you do? A robust antivirus is essential, but it’s not a silver bullet. Stay vigilant with these additional safety practices:

  • Be Cyber-Savvy: Avoid suspicious links or websites, especially in emails.
  • Stay Updated: Keep your operating system and all your software patched with the latest security updates.
  • Secure Passwords: Use strong, unique passwords for each account and consider a password manager.
  • Two-Factor Authentication: Enable this extra layer of security wherever possible.

What types of malware does Norton protect against?

Norton Antivirus protects users from malware, including viruses, spyware, ransomware, Trojans, rootkits, worms, adware, and other malicious programs. It also provides real-time protection against new and emerging threats by scanning files for suspicious activity. Furthermore, Norton’s cloud-based anti-spam engine prevents spam emails from cluttering your inbox. In addition to these features, Norton offers web protection which blocks access to malicious websites and phishing scams. Finally, the product includes automatic downloads of regular definition updates to ensure that you are always protected against the latest threats. With all these security protections in place, Norton will keep you safe online so you can browse the Internet with peace of mind.

Do I need to use an antivirus on my Firestick?

Sure, why not? If you want to keep your Firestick safe and secure, using an antivirus is a good idea. After all, nobody likes viruses – the kind on your device, that is!

With Bitdefender’s AI-enhanced virus scanning capabilities, real-time threat detection, secure browsing tools, and more, your Firestick will be well-protected with minimal effort. So go ahead and don’t let any malicious programs spoil your streaming experience—install an antivirus and stay safe online!

Are there any known conflicts between Norton or Bitdefender and other security products or system tools?

Typically, Norton and Bitdefender work fine with most software. But, conflicts can happen, especially when you use multiple security programs at once. This can lead to system slowdowns and false alerts. Best practice? Use one antivirus at a time to avoid these issues.

See also: