NordVPN vs TunnelBear [Test Results 2020]

NordVPN is an industry leader in the VPN market. It’s famous for its incredible speeds and features that even the hardcore enlists find attractive. Clients also enjoy the benefits that come with its numerous dedicated servers located in more than 59 countries, a top-of-the-line security suite, double encryption, peer-to-peer support, and access to streaming networks, such as Netflix.

TunnelBear is best known for being a VPN service that offers smooth performance, above-average download and streaming speeds, and free service with no DNS leaks. The VPN not only protects its client’s online anonymity, but also features a handy set of security features, unlimited bandwidth, robust encryption, and accepts crypto payments.

How to Choose a VPN

To compare between TunnelBear and NordVPN, we looked at 10 crucial VPN aspects. Before delving into categories such as torrenting, streaming, and pricing, We’ll look into its connection speeds (for both US and International servers).

Next up is privacy, features, and encryption. Here, we scrutinize the two VPN services to determine the valued option for the average user.

The torrent support and multiplatform support sections are where we tackle the VPNs’ compatibility and other finer details that are equally important.

For readers who’d like to know more about the servers and locations operated by the two service providers, then the global server coverage section got you covered.

Most importantly, this article covers security and privacy concerns, especially VPNs’ logging policies. Here, you’ll find out how the two compare in terms of desirable security features as well as encryption standards.

Now, let’s take a look at what we must.

Connection Speed

VPNs are known to slow down connection speeds automatically. All the server hopping and industrial-strength encryption have to come at a cost. Right?

Keep in mind that a connection that is too slow is bound to affect your browsing negatively. With this out of the way, no one wants to rely on a VPN service that will significantly affect their connection speeds.

Ideally, you want to ensure your internet connection speeds remain high, without impacting consistency when using standard servers.

To determine how fast NordVPN and TunnelBear connects you to the internet, our team tested both VPNs using home-based servers (US servers) and servers in the UK.

Our benchmark results were as follows:

Local Connection Speeds (US)

We tested the local connection speed of a US-based server. NordVPN had an average download speed of 54.35 Mbps, while its upload speed stood at 27.61 Mbps. TunnelBear clocked a download speed of 8.34 Mbps. We were, however, unable to establish its upload speed using the same server.

Local Connection Speed Winner: NordVPN

International Connection Speed (US to the UK)

For the UK server, NordVPN averaged a download speed of 53.72 Mbps and an upload speed of 24.44 Mbps. TunnelBear hit an international download speed of 9.12 Mbps and an upload speed of 34.49 Mbps.

International Connection Speed Winner: NordVPN

Pricing

Both services are reasonably priced. For this reason, even clients who’d rather subscribe to the often pricey monthly plans will find these VPNs relatively affordable.

Even so, TunnelBear is the cheaper option for clients interested in short-term subscriptions, while NordVPN offers better discounts and savings for more extended plans.

NordVPN has a three-year subscription plan billed at $125.64, which comes to $3.49 per month. TunnelBear, on the other hand, has a two-year plan charged at $99, which translates to $4.17 per month. NordVPN’s tariffs $11.95 for its monthly plan, which is a bit expensive than TunnelBear’s $9.9 month-to-month subscription.

TunnelBear further outdoes NordVPN by offering a free version for customers who cannot afford to pay for a subscription. But as tempting as this version, maybe, I did find it a bit limiting as I was only able to access 500 MB monthly data.

Putting the above in a better context…the free monthly plan means that I can only watch a half-hour series on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Then, I’ll run out of bandwidth. The good thing, I can use it to access more foreign websites; if all I want is to surf restricted content.

What’s more, users who’d want to test the two can sign up for a 30-day money-back guarantee. A refund will be issued at the end of the month if you choose not to continue with the subscription.

Pricing Winner: NordVPN

Privacy

I don’t see the reason why I should invest in a VPN service if the said provider can’t provide the resources I need to secure my connection. It’s the sole reason I advise internet users to take security and privacy features offered by a VPN vendor more seriously.

The features offered determine how safe you, your family, and employees will be when connecting to websites online.

While TunnelBear does have sufficient tools to warrantee decent digital safety, NordVPN provides richer features. In comparing these two VPN solutions, we established that:

NordVPN offers a double VPN, has a NAT firewall in place, uses Onion over VPN, provides CyberSec, uses AES 256-bit encryption, and provides a kill switch to all its subscribers.

TunnelBear only provides a kill switch, AES 256-bit encryption, OpenVPN, and IKEv2. This means that its clients don’t have access to a firewall, CyberSec, DoubleVPN, and Onion over VPN.

Privacy Winner: NordVPN

Features

If you are a VPN beginner, you would be forgiven for assumming that both services offer the same set of features. And yes, they both dorn almost similar privacy and security features.

The two solutions provide applications for all major platforms. However, while NordVPN is readily included in the Amazon app store, Linux users rely on TunnelBear have to be prepared to perform a manual installation.

At this stage, I should also point out that TunnelBear can only be used in two Linux distributions, i.e., Fedora Workstation 25+ and Ubuntu 16+.

Operating systems supported by NordVPN include Amazon Fire TV, Windows, Firestick, iOS, Linux, Android, and macOS. TunnelBear supports iOS, Windows, Android, and macOS.

While NordVPN doesn’t offer split tunnelling, TunnelBear only provides it for Android users. Nevertheless, both VPNs provide automatic WiFi protection.

Plus, a single NordVPN account allows for six simultaneous connections, while TunnelBear only allows for five.

Features Winner: NordVPN

Encryption

This is one category where I found both VPNs to be almost identical in their offerings.

The two VPNs allow AES-256 encryption, the standard offered by companies providing premium VPN protection services. VPN providers like it because of its minimal impact on download/upload speeds, and it’s deemed by many to be virtually unbreakable.

Both TunnelBear and NordVPN use Perfect Forward Secrecy. To mean the two companies rely on dynamic encryption keys as opposed to using static encryption keys when providing an extra layer of security.

About protocols, our comparisons revealed that subscribers get to use the widely accepted OpenVPN industry standards. And they apply to Android, Windows, and Mac.

For iOS users, both VPNs use an IP Sec/IKEv2 protocol.  NordVPN is, however, is a little bit more flexible compared to TunnelBear, in that, it allows the use of manual OpenVPN installations when using interfaces provided by third parties.

Encryption Winner: Tie

Simultaneous Connections

While both VPNs offer user-friendly and intuitive desktop connections,  the number of concurrent connections supported differs slightly.

A single NordVPN account lets you connect up to six devices simultaneously, while TunnelBear only supports five connections at the same time.

The native application from TunnelBear makes it a point to walk the customer through the connection process every time a user wants to log in. It provides a map on its main screen that helps you determine the servers that are available at that moment.

Furthermore, you can check out its settings on a separate page—where all available settings are explained in three simple categories, making it easier to find the settings you would like to tweak.

NordVPN has split its desktop applications into 2 sections: there’s a map on the right side and a list depicting all available servers on the other section. So you can connect to a specialized server right from the main screen, which I found useful when you want to be protected ASAP!

The good news is that the performance of both VPN services is not affected by the number of users connected to an account. For a reason, you still get to experience superior performance no matter the simultaneous connections.

Simultaneous Connections Winner: NordVPN

Torrent Support

It’s no news that many countries today are frowning upon torrenting, which has led to some countries deeming it illegal. Because of this, you may want a VPN that does the work to torrent safely.

NordVPN provides dedicated server support for its users who would like to continue downloading web content without having to worry about legal issues.

Speaking of support, TunnelBear doesn’t offer much when it comes to torrenting. This coupled with the fact that this VPN provider operates from Canada, is another reason to consider giving it a wide berth, but this applies to torrenting freaks.

While TunnelBear does allow torrenting, we noticed a significant reduction of speeds when using its TOR feature. Nevertheless, it’s a decent choice for sharing less-bulky P2P files. Its successful tunnels include the US, UK, Canada, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, and Romania.

NordVPN allows torrenting on servers in over 42 countries, meaning, no matter your location, you can easily indulge in P2P file sharing. Plus, it’s located in Panama, where the government doesn’t require the provider to keep logs.

Torrent Support Winner: NordVPN

Global Server Coverage

Global server coverage is a crucial consideration, especially if you’re from a country with strict geo-restriction policies and censorship.

Assuming you’re in China and want to access many Western websites, your first option should be finding a VPN with servers in Western countries. That said, let’s look at how the two VPNs compare on coverage.

Still, on China, Deep Packet Inspection or DPI is among the many tools that have been applied by the Chinese administration to block the use of VPN solutions. But the team at NordVPN knows how to bypass this tool.

NordVPN uses obfuscated servers to confuse this firewall making sure that all its China clients get to enjoy uninterrupted services.

NordVPN also stands out in this category. Thanks to its more than 5,000 servers located in over 59 countries across the globe. Its ever-increasing server numbers also help make it more difficult for countries to block it.

And yes, TunnelBear works in China, courtesy of its GhostBear feature. This feature allows its users in such countries access most (if not all) websites they’ve come to love. The downside here is that TunnelBear has fewer servers distributed across 22 countries.

Global Server Coverage Winner: NordVPN

Multi-Platform Support

When it comes to the major platforms, I did not find much difference between the two. TunnelBear and NordVPN both provide native applications for all the major platforms, including but not limited to iOS, Windows, Android, and macOS.

As mentioned earlier, they also offer simultaneous connections to your family of 5-6 use a single account to connecting online.

Windows OS

To access both VPNs’ native apps, you need Windows 7 and up. NordVPN further provides manual installation guidelines for older versions of Windows Vista and Windows XP. Conversely, TunnelBear doesn’t support any manual installation.

Android

Android app support is provided for both NordVPN and TunnelBear, including for clients using Android’s Jelly Bean version. However, TunnelBear users need to upgrade to version 4.1 or later. NordVPN also provides full support for clients using Android TVs, which isn’t offered by TunnelBear.

macOS

For macOS users,  you’ll need macOS 10.10 for any of these to function.

Multi-Platform Support Winner: NordVPN

Customer Support

Testing the quality of customer support is an excellent technique to establish if a VPN provider certainly values you as a user.

TunnelBear has a decent customer support team. While it doesn’t offer live chat support, we received an informative, polite reply via their ticket system. And it was quick. What’s more, TunnelBear does, however, provide an excellent knowledge base that you can visit for answers on simple questions.

NordVPN features a 24/7 live chat with friendly and responsive customer support representatives. We wanted more information about its encryption features…well, we got answers within a few seconds. Its site, as well, is a solid knowledge base intended to tackle all the commonly asked questions.

Moreover, they run a YouTube channel that addresses issues related to installation errors and more. Not satisfied? Try out their ticket system.

Customer Support Winner: NordVPN

Winner: NordVPN!

TunnelBear is a respectable VPN, suitable for new users who need to secure their file transfers and communications. While TunnelBear does offer a kill switch, and fast servers, NordVPN outperforms it in most categories.

From this comparison, its clear NordVPN offers better utilities and features. One of its most significant edges lies in its number of server locations for superior streaming capabilities.

Plus, it features unique additions like CyberSec, DoubleVPN, and Onion over VPN technology. For this reason, it may appeal to more advanced VPN users

Want to try both? Their 30-day money-back guarantee is up for grabs!

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