NordVPN vs TunnelBear

Comparison & Test Results 2019

NordVPN Logo

VS

Tunnelbear VPN Logo

NordVPN is an excellent choice for users looking for fast connections, access to Netflix, top-notch privacy connections, and plenty of access to streaming and gaming content from around the globe.

NordVPN Logo

TunnelBear is an attractive choice for casual VPN users who are in search of a simple, low-priced service to protect their Wi-Fi connection at Starbucks. The provider offers a free, if limited, tier of service.

Tunnelbear VPN Logo

How to Choose a VPN

In this round of head-to-head action, NordVPN will be battling it out with TunnelBear.

In this article, I’ll take a look at the 10 most important categories of VPN service, explain why the category is vital, and then reveal how well each provider scores in that particular category. I will then declare a category victor. After covering all 10 service categories, I’ll add up the total score and declare an all-around champion.

By the end of the article, you’ll have enough information on hand to make an informed decision as to which of the two providers best meets your particular needs.

Connection Speed

The computer you’re working on right now? It’s connected to the internet. That iPhone you’re watching a Netflix show on? It’s connected to the internet. Fast connection speeds make all of this happen.

My method of testing VPN connection speeds is as follows. I test my current, ISP-provided speed. I then connect to the VPN I’m testing and once again test my connection speed. I test each provider in the same timeframe, to assure consistency. I am connected to the internet via a gigabit fiber connection, so your results may differ from mine.

1

Local Connection Speeds (U.S.)

The “local” speed test is intended to approximate the type of speeds you might receive when connecting to a VPN server located in your country. (I connect to a U.S.-based server.)

Connection Speed Winner (U.S.): NordVPN


Provider

VPN DL Speed

Link

1

NordVPN Logo

70.6 Mbps

2

Tunnelbear VPN Logo

32.7 Mbps

2

International Connection Speeds (U.S. to U.K.)

The “international” test provides a good indication of the type of speed a user can expect when connected to a VPN server located in another country. I connect to a server located in the U.K. when testing.

Connection Speed Winner (U.S. to U.K.): NordVPN


Provider

VPN DL Speed

Link

1

NordVPN Logo

42.2 Mbps

2

Tunnelbear VPN Logo

​31.1 Mbps

Privacy

What’s the best way to tell if you’re being tracked or monitored on the internet? Answer: if you’re connected, you’re being monitored.

It seems everyone is interested in what you’re doing on the internet. Whether it’s your ISP that’s tracking your online movements so they can sell that info to advertisers or a hacker looking to steal your credit card info, people are always trying to look over your virtual shoulder.

When researching VPN providers’ privacy protection, look for the following:

  • A provider based in a country that respects online privacy.
  • A provider that doesn’t save logs related to their users’ online activities.
  • A provider that accepts Bitcoin or other forms of private payment.

Panama-based NordVPN isn’t required to save any evidence of their users’ online activities. They take that to heart. They accept Bitcoin and other anonymous methods of payment.

TunnelBear is based in Canada. While the people there are polite, their government can be a bit nosy. So far, they haven’t required VPNs to keep logs on their customers’ online travels, but ISPs are already required to do so, and VPNs may be next. This provider accepts Bitcoin (and honey) as anonymous payment for its protected connections.

Privacy Winner: NordVPN


Provider

Privacy Ranking

Link

1

NordVPN Logo

2

Tunnelbear VPN Logo

Pricing

Both of the providers this time around are reasonably priced, falling in the low-to-mid range of pricing among the VPN providers I test.

TunnelBear is $9.99 when you pay monthly. The price drops to $5.00 per month ($59.99 per year) when you go the annual subscription route. (You’ll need to contact TunnelBear to find out the current USD-to-Honey exchange rate.)

The provider also offers a free level of service that is limited to 512MB per month. You can score another 1GB of data each month if you tweet about the service.

NordVPN’s price of entry is a reasonable $5.75 per month (payable as $69.00 annually) when you opt for an annual subscription. Monthly plans are available, but you’ll pay $11.95 per month.

Pricing Winner: TunnelBear

Provider

Monthly Price

(Annual Subscription)

Month-to-Month Price

Money-Back Guarantee Period

Link

NordVPN Logo

$6.99

$11.95

30 Days

Tunnelbear VPN Logo

$5.00

$9.99

None

Global Server Coverage

Global server coverage is only important if you want access to streaming or gaming content and other services that might normally be blocked in your region of the world. And who doesn’t want that? (Sit down, Eugene, that was what they call a “rhetorical” question.)

NordVPN has 4,401 servers distributed among 62 countries around the globe.

Meanwhile, TunnelBear’s global server coverage of 20 countries is “bearly” there when compared to NordVPN’s coverage.

Global Server Coverage Winner: NordVPN


Provider

Server Count

Countries

Link

1

NordVPN Logo

4,401

62

2

Tunnelbear VPN Logo

Unknown

20+

 Multi-Platform Support

How many connected devices do you own? I’ll wager you have more than 1 (or 5). That’s why you should always find out how many types of devices a VPN supports before signing on the virtual dotted line.

Native app support from NordVPN consists of apps for the iOS, Windows, Android and macOS platforms. The service can also be set up for use with various routers, NAS devices, and Linux and Windows Phone devices. Additionally, Firefox and Chrome extensions are available.

Remember my previous “bearly”-there pun? That also applies to TunnelBear’s native app support, which is limited to the macOS, Windows, iOS and Android platforms. They do also provide extensions for the Chrome and Opera platforms.

Multi-Platform Support Winner: NordVPN


Provider

# Platforms Supported

Browser Extensions?

Link

1

NordVPN Logo

9

check-circle-o

2

Tunnelbear VPN Logo

6

check-circle-o

Netflix Access

Traveling the world is a great way to pass the time. But, every now and then, you might want a small taste of home. That’s when access to the same Netflix stream you have back home comes in handy.

NordVPN provides access to 4 Netflix service regions: Canada, France, the Netherlands and the U.S.

TunnelBear does not provide access to Netflix, but nor do they claim to, so at least they’re being honest. Look elsewhere if Netflix access is on your short list.

Netflix Access WinnerNordVPN


Provider

Netflix Access?

Link

1

NordVPN Logo
check-circle-o

2

Tunnelbear VPN Logo
times-circle-o

Customer Support

Customer support is that feature that none of us ever want to use, but are glad is there when we need it.

NordVPN’s customer support is a bit limited, providing only email support and a searchable support library. No live support chat option is available.

TunnelBear comes up equally short in the customer support department, as it also lacks 24/7 support chat. It does offer an email support form and an easy-to-use help search function.

Customer Support Winner: It’s a Tie!

Provider

Customer Support Star Rating

Link

Tunnelbear VPN Logo
NordVPN Logo

Encryption

One of the most important features of a VPN for many users is the layer of encryption the provider uses to protect their connections. Encryption keeps a user’s online activities incognito.

NordVPN’s AES-256 encryption protects their customers’ connections via OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, IKEv2/IPsec, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP and SSTP protocols.

TunnelBear’s protection also offers AES-256 encryption via OpenVPN with IKEv2 and IPSec/IKEv2 protocols. It lacks the PPTP, SSTP and L2TP/IPSec encryption that NordVPN offers.

Encryption Winner: NordVPN


Provider

Encryption Methods

Link

1

NordVPN Logo

AES-256 encryption, using OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, IKEv2/IPsec, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP and SSTP

2

Tunnelbear VPN Logo

AES-256 encryption, using OpenVPN, IKEv2 and IPSec/IKEv2

 Simultaneous Connections

If you have a large group of folks you want to offer VPN protection to - say, a large family or a small business - you’ll want to find a VPN provider that offers a large number of concurrent connections on a single account.

NordVPN provides 6 simultaneous connections.

TunnelBear allows 5 simultaneous connections.

Simultaneous Connections Winner: NordVPN


Provider

# of Simultaneous Connections Allowed

Link

1

NordVPN Logo

6

2

Tunnelbear VPN Logo

5

BitTorrent Support

Sure, P2P/BitTorrent is a great way to share files among everyone in your group. But, it may (not) surprise you to find out that some folks use BitTorrent to share copyrighted files, such as movies and games. Shocking, right? As you might imagine, this has led to ISPs blocking P2P activity on their networks.

NordVPN allows P2P file sharing on servers in 42 of the countries they service.

TunnelBear does not allow BitTorrent/P2P activities on their VPN network, period.

BitTorrenting Winner: NordVPN


Provider

# of Countries Where VPN Allows BitTorrent Access

Link

1

NordVPN Logo

42

2

Tunnelbear VPN Logo

None

Final Score


Provider

# of Categories Won

Ties

Link

1

NordVPN Logo

8

1

2

Tunnelbear VPN Logo

1

1

Winner: NordVPN!

NordVPN vs. TunnelBear turned out to be a “Harlem Globetrotters vs. the Washington Generals” type of contest.

NordVPN Logo

NordVPN was the MVP in the local and international connection speeds, privacy, global server coverage, multi-platform support, Netflix access, encryption, simultaneous connections and BitTorrent categories.

TunnelBear takes the win in only one category: pricing.

The providers tied in the customer support arena, where both could stand a bit of improvement.

NordVPN took the overall one-on-one crown, with an impressive 8-1-1 tally. The provider is an excellent choice for users who require fast connections, access to blocked content around the globe and the ability to use the service on multiple devices simultaneously.