While we tested Bitdefender Total Security's free trial for this review, we depend on the good folks over at AV-Test and AV-Comparatives for long-term data on how well Bitdefender runs. Here's the short version if you don't care about the technical aspects: Bitdefender performs really well in these independent tests, but it can slow down your system more than other brands.
To skip the nitty-gritty details below, you can jump to our impressions of Bitdefender's features.
In the recent April 2022 Windows tests from AV-Test—which covers April and March—Bitdefender saw a slight drop in Protection scores compared to the previous test in February. It dropped from a perfect 6 to 5.5 because it spotted slightly fewer zero-day malware attacks than the competition during March.
Fortunately, the April tests caught every malware sample, so we're confident Bitdefender can keep up with the latest threats. During the same period, Bitdefender scored perfect sixes in AV-Test's other two testing categories—Performance and Usability. It's unlikely to cause too much slowdown on Windows computers and is easy enough to use.
The AV-Comparatives April 2022 performance tests also show Bitdefender scoring very well—earning the top rating, Advanced+. It produces excellent download speeds, file copying, browsing the web, and installing apps. Still, AV-Comparatives notes that Bitdefender can delay the time it takes to launch applications, and it has a greater impact on system resources than competitors like K7, Panda, and ESET.
On Macs, AV-Test gave Bitdefender a 5.5 for performance, noting that the antivirus software put a significant drag on installing other apps. It also slows down file copying on Macs more than other brands. Still, it scored sixes for protection and usability, helping it keep up with AVG, Norton, F-Secure, and Trend Micro. Bitdefender also passed the most recent AV-Comparatives Mac Security Test.