Sophos vs Bitdefender: Which is the Better Antivirus in 2023? (2023)

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Summary: Sophos vs Bitdefender

Sophos Home and Bitdefender Total Security are two of the most well-known antivirus programs for Windows and Mac. We compared the two to see which is the better choice for most users. Bitdefender wins against Sophos because it provides more features more effectively. Here’s our ranking on five essential criteria:

  • Security: Bitdefender wins
  • Privacy: Bitdefender wins
  • User-friendliness: Sophos wins
  • Speed and System Performance: Sophos wins
  • Pricing & Value: Bitdefender wins

Overall, Bitdefender ranks higher than Sophos in three categories. Between the two, it’s the clear winner in our books. Click the button below to check out Bitdefender Total Security.

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Read our extensive comparison on these programs below.

With the ever-increasing threat of malware and other security risks, it’s vital to invest in good antivirus software. Sophos and Bitdefender are among the best options today. They both offer comprehensive security features across multiple devices, including web protection, scans for malicious software, ransomware protection, parental web filtering, and more. But which is the better antivirus program?

We thoroughly tested both programs to see which one wins on essential factors like security, privacy, effects on system performance, and ease of use. Our findings show that Bitdefender Total Security wins on several counts against Sophos Home antivirus and is therefore the better security solution for most users. Keep reading below to find out why.

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Sophos vs Bitdefender: Features

Sophos is a British company founded in 1985. It primarily focuses on security solutions for large businesses and organizations but also offers Sophos Home antivirus software for personal use. This provides malware protection on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices.

On the other hand, Bitdefender was founded in 2001 and currently has over 500 million users worldwide. It is based in Romania and offers various cybersecurity solutions for home and business use. Its antivirus software suite — Bitdefender Total Security — offers web protection on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices.
Please note that Bitdefender Total Security is different from Bitdefender Internet Security, which is an antivirus product just for Windows and not for other devices.

FeatureSophos Home PremiumBitdefender Total Security
CompatibilityWindows, macOS, iOS, AndroidWindows, macOS, iOS, Android
Number of licenses per subscription105
Antivirus and antispyware
Webcam protection
Password manager
Ransomware protection
Banking and payment protection
Parental control
Network attack protection
VPN service
Free trial30 days30 days
Money-back guarantee
PriceFrom $44.99From $39.98

As you can see in the table above, Sophos lacks a couple of key security features, namely a firewall, password manager, and an integrated VPN, which are all available in Bitdefender. In the sections below, we go into detail on all the vital factors your antivirus should have, like security, privacy, ease of use, and more.

Free versions of Sophos and Bitdefender

In our comparison of Bitdefender vs Sophos, we tested the paid premium versions of both software — but both offers free versions with limited capabilities.

For instance, Sophos offers a free standalone firewall tool. Additionally, you can easily get a 30-day free trial of Sophos Home Premium without needing to provide your credit card details.

As for Bitdefender, it used to offer a free version for Windows, which has now been discontinued. Support for this old free version ended in June 2022.

Luckily for any mobile and Mac users, Bitdefender still has free versions. However, these are very limited in capabilities compared to the comprehensive protection of Bitdefender’s premium Total Security suite. Like Sophos, Bitdefender also offers a 30-day free trial.

Bitdefender vs Sophos: Which Antivirus is Safer?

To get an overall idea of the security offered by both Bitdefender and Sophos, we considered the ratings they received in independent comparative testing.

Bitdefender achieved a perfect score in AV-Tests in May and June 2022, plus a malware protection rate of 99.9% in AV-Comparatives testing for February to May 2022. This shows how effective it is against malicious software and other threats.

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On the other hand, Sophos Home antivirus has not been recently tested by either AV-Test or AV-Comparatives. So, we instead considered their SE Labs rating. Sophos got an AAA rating for malware protection which indicates it performed relatively well. Only three threats managed to get past it. SE Labs has not reviewed Bitdefender, but for comparison sake, it gave Norton Antivirus an AA rating (which is lower than Sophos).
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Next, we looked at the actual security features offered by each antivirus program to protect devices against malware and other kinds of cybersecurity threats.“Malware” is a broad term describing any type of software that may cause harm to your computer, tablet, or smartphone. It includes viruses, ransomware, spyware, adware, and more.

Both Sophos and Bitdefender provide robust malware protection and internet security, along with other tools like parental web filtering to keep children safe. They also offer real-time malware protection and continuously scan your system to detect and remove any threats.

However, Sophos antivirus lacks a firewall, which filters all your network traffic to prevent infected files, viruses, and other threats from entering your computer or network. This is essential for ransomware protection. A firewall also monitors outgoing network traffic to prevent suspicious applications from connecting to the internet.

Which ranks higher in security?

Given that Bitdefender includes a firewall, along with a range of comprehensive security features, it offers superior protection compared to Sophos Home and is, therefore, a clear winner.
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Sophos vs Bitdefender: Which Virusscanner Offers Better Privacy?

In addition to guarding against online threats, it’s crucial for antivirus software to protect users’ data too. This can be done with privacy features within the software and overall through the company’s privacy policy. Let’s look at the difference in privacy options between Sophos and Bitdefender.

Privacy features

We found that Sophos offers only a few privacy features (like private browsing and webcam and microphone protection) compared to Bitdefender, which offers a password manager, anti-theft protection, VPN, video & audio protection, Safepay, and parental controls.

Given that they have a similar price point, it’s safe to say that Bitdefender gives you more bang for your buck in terms of privacy features.

Privacy policies

We did a full review of Bitdefender VPN and found it to be quite a good option to anonymize your browsing, protect your privacy, and access geo-restricted content. Moreover, Bitdefender’s privacy policy is very transparent and the company only collects data for site improvement, communication with users, statistical purposes, or marketing.

On the other hand, Sophos collects a lot of user data, such as user names, email addresses, IP addresses, and phone numbers. Its policy states that this information is only collected for business requirements, but even then, we think it’s a red flag.

All in all, Bitdefender offers better privacy for its users and provides more transparency about what it does with user data.

Known breaches and privacy scandals

Sophos was impacted by a cloud storage breach in 2020, which leaked the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of users who had contacted the company’s support team. The breach was promptly corrected by Sophos, but it still puts a damper on the company’s reputation.

Bitdefender’s only breach happened in 2015, in which a limited amount of usernames and passwords were leaked. After resolving the issue, Bitdefender included additional security measures in its setup and has since maintained its position as a strong cybersecurity company.

Which antivirus offers better user privacy?

Overall, we found that Bitdefender has stronger privacy features and data protection than Sophos. In general, we recommend choosing software that has transparent privacy policies and that collects the least amount of user data possible.

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Bitdefender vs Sophos: Which is the Most User-Friendly Software?

Both Sophos and Bitdefender are super easy to install and use. Their websites offer a wealth of information that’s straightforward and helpful. Below are some details of the installation process and app layout of each software.

Installation process

To install either Bitdefender or Sophos, you will need to first pay online for a subscription. You will then be directed to download the app to your computer. If you opt for a free trial first, you don’t need to pay and can instead directly download the installer file.

Once you open the file, the installation process takes just a few minutes to complete, and you’ll be ready to start using the software.

We found that both programs have an easy, straightforward installation process. Neither requires advanced technical know-how.

Layout and ease of use

When you open each app, you will notice the difference in layout. Bitdefender has a more modern interface, while the Sophos interface looks a bit dated. Nonetheless, both are pretty well laid out and intuitive to use.

However, the downside of the Sophos app is that you need to use the online dashboard for configuring the antivirus or adding additional devices to your account. The desktop app offers just the option to run a scan (by clicking on “Scan”). All the other options (“Dashboard,” “Add Device,” “Buy Premium,” and “Help“) will send you to the web-based dashboard. This can be inconvenient and, in fact, defeats the whole purpose of having an app. Nonetheless, the online dashboard is straightforward and easy to use.

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By comparison, the Bitdefender app makes it easy to activate any of the features, usually with a simple slider. Each feature has a short description — but we found that these may be difficult to understand for most users. For instance, many people won’t immediately know the difference between the “system scan” and the “vulnerability scan.” Therefore, Bitdefender could improve its user-friendliness by making its feature descriptions more understandable to novice users.

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Customer support

It’s vital for security software to offer reliable customer support, so they can help you out when you run into issues small or big. This builds trust with customers and helps cultivate credibility.

Bitdefender offers 24/7 customer support through phone, online chat, or ticket submission. Furthermore, it has a wealth of information in its online support hub, which includes answers to common queries, step-by-step guidance to fix some issues, and even how-to videos. We also tried reaching out to Bitdefender customer support and had a satisfactory experience. Our queries were addressed quickly through live chat.

On the other hand, Sophos Home Premium does not offer 24/7 customer support, but you can contact the customer service team between 8 am and 8 pm through phone or online chat.

Note that only Sophos Home Premium customers can access its customer support because you first have to log in to your premium account dashboard before you can contact them. So, there is no customer support if you use the free version of Sophos. Fortunately, similar to Bitdefender, the Sophos website also offers a knowledge base with solutions to common issues.

Which antivirus is more user-friendly?

Overall, both Bitdefender and Sophos are pretty easy to use. However, Bitdefender features a host of complicated options that can be overwhelming for novice users. Even its range of products is varied and overlapping, which can make it difficult to decide which to pick. So, we think Sophos is more user-friendly and ideal for beginners who may not want to deal with tons of customization. Just keep in mind that you need to pay to receive customer support.

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Sophos vs Bitdefender: System Performance and Speed

Although the Bitdefender app is very user-friendly in general, its scans aren’t very fast. The program will defend your system well, but unfortunately, this does have consequences for your computer’s performance.

After extensive tests, we found that Bitdefender’s quick scan took five minutes, while the long scan took hours. Moreover, the CPU load during both quick and full scans increased to between 30 to 40%.

On the plus side, Bitdefenderbarely impacted the CPU when running in the background. For instance, we ran the scanner in the background while visiting a website without a security certificate. This resulted in many “suspicious connection blocked” notifications. Despite this, the impact on CPU usage was minimal, an average of only about 2%.

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In terms of speed and performance, Sophos does better than Bitdefender. Its quick scan took less than a minute, while the full scan took about 20 minutes. What’s more, Sophos did not impact our CPU much at all: it has the lowest CPU and memory use (while actively scanning) of any of the antivirus programs we’ve tested thus far.

On Windows, Sophos Home’s real-time protection day-to-day CPU usage was between 0.4% and 0.9%. During a scan, it only took 12.8 MB of memory, which is only 0.8 more memory than the real-time protection uses. This goes for both quick and full scans. The scans did not slow down the system, and we were able to continue working on other things while they ran in the background.

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On macOS, however, we experienced a major slowdown and multiple crashes. After a crash, we couldn’t get the Sophos app running again without a system restart. On top of that, we couldn’t measure the CPU impact on Mac since our device slowed down to a crawl.

Which antivirus has better speed and performance?

With all that in mind, Sophos is a pretty good choice for Windows devices. Many of the top antivirus programs sit between 20% and 50% while scanning, and Sophos stays well below that. However, it’s certainly not an effective antivirus program for Mac because it negatively impacts system performance and causes crashes.

Nonetheless, given its far superior performance on Windows, we think Sophos wins over Bitdefender in this area.

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Bitdefender vs Sophos: Which Antivirus is the Cheapest?

It’s easy to compare Sophos vs Bitdefender in terms of value offered because they have similar pricing. Let’s take a closer look.

Sophos’s Prices

Sophos Home Premium offers three subscription options starting at $44.99 for a year. This gives you protection for up to ten devices. Here’s what you can expect to pay depending on subscription duration:

  • One year for $44.99
  • Two years for $74.99 ($37.50 per year)
  • Three years for $104.99 ($35.00 per year)

If you’re looking for a free trial, Sophos offers 30 days to users who want to test its features for themselves.

Check Sophos's Prices

Bitdefender’s Prices

Bitdefender Total Security is also priced at $49.99 per year for up to ten devices. This is also known as the Bitdefender Family Pack. Additionally, you can save a few dollars and get it at the lower cost of $39.98 if you only want to protect up to five devices.

You can try out Bitdefender free for 30 days without needing to pay first. Plus, even after you pay or renew your subscription, you can avail of a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the software.

Check Bitdefender's Prices

Which software has more value for money?

Bitdefender offers a couple of extra features and better security than Sophos. So despite its higher price point, we think it offers better value-for-money than Sophos Home.

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Final Thoughts: Sophos vs. Bitdefender

To conclude, our comparison of Sophos vs Bitdefender shows that the latter wins because it provides more security features and stronger privacy. Sophos Home Premium is still a strong antivirus; it’s simply not as good as Bitdefender. The only area it wins in is its minimal effect on system performance. You can read more about each software in our individual reviews of Sophos Home and Bitdefender Antivirus.

Here’s our overall ranking:

  • Security: Bitdefender
  • Privacy: Bitdefender
  • User-friendliness: Sophos
  • Speed and performance: Sophos
  • Pricing and value: Bitdefender

Bitdefender Total Security costs $39.98 per year to protect five devices and $49.99 for ten devices. Click the button below to view more details on the Bitdefender website.

Visit Bitdefender

You can also check out our other antivirus comparison reviews below:

  • Sophos vs Avast: Which Antivirus Will Keep You Safer?
  • McAfee vs Avast: Which Antivirus Takes the Crown?

Sophos vs Bitdefender: Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question about which antivirus is better between Sophos and Bitdefender? Check out our FAQ below. Simply click on a question to read the answer.

Is Sophos or Bitdefender better?

Bitdefender is the better antivirus than Sophos, because it offers more features and works more effectively on Windows and Mac. For instance, it bundles a reliable VPN and password manager within the Bitdefender Premium subscription while Sophos does not.

Moreover, Sophos on Mac seems to be buggy — in fact, we advise Mac users to steer clear of Sophos (or, at the very least, try the free trial first). Read our detailed comparison of Sophos vs Bitdefender for more info.

Does Bitdefender work on Mac?

Yes, Bitdefender works well on Mac. It’s easy to install and use. You can also try it free for 30 days without providing any payment information. It has all the features you need to stay protected against threats like malware, phishing, ransomware, and more. This makes it one of the best antivirus programs for Mac.

Does Sophos Home include a firewall?

No, Sophos Home does not include a firewall, which is one of the drawbacks of this antivirus program. You’re better off choosing Bitdefender or other top antivirus software for your online security needs.

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Mehak Siddiqui

Tech journalist

Mehak has been writing for over a decade and is passionate about helping people have safer, healthier relationships with all things tech. She has a master’s degree in communication and is especially interested in the impact of technology and the internet on global communities.

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