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TunnelBear vs ExpressVPN in 2024

ExpressVPN vs TunnelBear comparison

In the ever-changing VPN world, ExpressVPN and TunnelBear are some serious competitors. Both providers have established a solid online presence and offer reliable services. With multiple features, top-notch performance, and robust security features, these VPNs are really worth considering.

However, these services have their strong points, and ExpressVPN is certainly better than TunnelBear in certain aspects. So, stay with us in our TunnelBear vs. ExpressVPN comparison and find out which is more suitable for your needs. We’ll be comparing pricing, the level of security, speeds, features, and plenty more to find the best overall option.

TunnelBear vs ExpressVPN: specifications

While TunnelBear and ExpressVPN both offer fantastic services, ExpressVPN notably outshines its competitor in a few key segments. More precisely, it facilitates faster speeds, provides a smooth browsing experience, and comes with robust security features that ensure you’ll have a safe online experience.

Furthermore, ExpressVPN offers customizable features so that you can adjust the VPN according to your needs. Even though TunnelBear is more affordable, ExpressVPN is overall the better option.

ExpressVPN logotunnelbear logo
📈 Our rating8.4 ⭐7.2⭐
🏷️ Current offerGet ExpressVPN 49% OFF!Get TunnelBear 50% off!
💵 Price starts from$6.67/month$3.33/month
🗓️ Money-back guarantee30 days30 days
🗒️ No-logs policyCourt-proven and independently auditedNo-logs
🖧 ServersThousands of servers in 105+ countries1800+ servers in 48+ countries
✔️ VPN protocolsLightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP, PPTPWireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2
🍿 StreamingNetflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and moreNetflix US, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV
🖥️PlatformsAll major OS, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, routers, firewall, NAS, Chromebook, and moreWindows, macOS, Android, and iOS

TunnelBear vs ExpressVPN: pricing

Plans and paymentsTunnelBearExpressVPN
Free versionYesNo
Free trialNoNo
One month$9.99/month$12.95/month
Six monthsNo$9.99/month
One year$4.99/month$6.67/month
Three years
$3.33/monthNo
Money-back guaranteeNo30 days
Payment optionsCredit Card, BitcoinCredit card, PayPal, Apple Pay, Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, UnionPay, Paymentwall

Both providers come with your standard VPN pricing options, from short-term to long-term. Additionally, at least ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantees, but TunnelBear has a free VPN plan. While the former is more expensive, at least it offers lots of payment options. Still, TunnelBear is more affordable.

TunnelBear pricing

Regarding TunneBear’s paid plans, here’s what this VPN offers:

  • $9.99/month for the monthly plan
  • $4.99/month for the annual plan
  • $3.33/month for the three-year plan

In terms of payment options, you can use credit cards and Bitcoin. There isn’t much to choose from, which might prove troublesome for some potential customers. But at least you can pay with Bitcoin if you don’t want the purchase to be traced back to you. What’s alarming is that there is no money-back guarantee – the provider may offer refunds on a case-by-case basis only.

TunnelBear subscription options

As we said, TunnelBear also offers a free plan, although it’s not very generous. You’ll only get 2GB of data and 1 simultaneous connection. Furthermore, it doesn’t let you access the premium servers, and if trouble is afoot, customer support won’t be rushing to help you out.

ExpressVPN pricing

If you decide to choose ExpressVPN, here are your options:

  • $12.95/month for the monthly plan
  • $9.99/month for the six-month plan
  • $6.67/month for the annual plan

ExpressVPN accepts payment via credit card, PayPal, debit card, online transfer payments, Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies. Way more than what TunnelBear puts on the table.

ExpressVPN subscription options

ExpressVPN lacks a free version. Instead, you get a 30-day money-back guarantee that lets you get a refund if you end up not liking the service. And there’s a 7-day free trial available on Android and iOS devices.

Speed comparison

Speed is a crucial factor when you need to select a VPN. It affects how fast websites load, whether everything lags or stutters, etc. Luckily, both VPNs have robust tunneling protocols contributing to fast speeds.

TunnelBear uses WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2, while ExpressVPN implements a unique Lightway protocol. However, it still has the standard OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols as well if there’s a need for them.

During our tests, ExpressVPN performed better with faster download and upload speeds. On the other hand, TunnelBear was a tough competitor with its download speeds, but the upload ones put it far behind.

TunnelBear vs ExpressVPN: which is more secure?

TunnelBearExpressVPN
EncryptionAES-256AES-256
Hash
SHA-256SHA-512
JurisdictionCanadaThe British Virgin Islands
LoggingNo-logs policyIndependently-audited and court-proven no-logs policy
Kill switch
YesYes
Leak protection
DNS, IPv6DNS, IPv6
RAM servers
NoAll

TunnelBear and ExpressVPN provide a high layer of security. Both VPNs come with the following:

However, this is where the similarities end, and ExpressVPN proves to be a more secure option. First, it’s based in the privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands and has had its no-logs policy verified by an independent third party. Then, the whole server fleet relies solely on RAM modules, meaning there’s no way to store data on them long-term. Thus, ExpressVPN has no incentive or means to collect info about its users.

Privacy

In terms of privacy, ExpressVPN has an unbeatable advantage over TunnelBear. Unfortunately, TunnelBear is based in Canada, which is part of the Fourteen Eyes Alliance, meaning it can share your online activities due to government requests.

On the other hand, ExpressVPN has headquarters in the British Virgin Islands, which is outside of the Fourteen Eyes surveillance network range.

This is essential if you want to minimize the risk of government surveillance and make sure you have strong online privacy.

Logging

During our ExpressVPN vs. TunnelBear testing, we were positively surprised by their privacy policies. More precisely, ExpressVPN has an audited AND court-proven no-logs policy, which TunnelBear can’t beat with its simple no-logs policy, which hasn’t been verified.

Furthermore, TunnelBear logged our IP address only for the payment process, which is a bit of a drawback. In addition, it also logged information about our operating system and when we used the app during the month.

Therefore, it looks like ExpressVPN is the better choice when it comes to privacy, as it doesn’t log that many details, granting a larger amount of privacy.

Servers location

Server specificationTunnelBearExpressVPN
Servers1800+N/A
Countries48+105+
All physical serversNoNo
Owns all serversNoNo

TunnelBear has an extensive server fleet of 1800+ servers in 48+ countries, while ExpressVPN doubles the number of countries. In other words, ExpressVPN stands out a bit with thousands of servers in 105+ locations.

Also, ExpressVPN implements a unique TrusterServer technology, and its servers run on RAM only. Therefore, you’ll get maximum privacy and security as all of your online activities will vanish after each restart.

Compared to ExpressVPN, TunnelBear doesn’t come with RAM-only servers and relies on traditional hardware. Not so good for the especially privacy-wary folk. Thus, if you want vast global reach and ensured privacy, go with ExpressVPN.

Features comparison

FeaturesTunnelBearExpressVPN
Smart DNS❌No✅MediaStreamer
Ad & tracker blocker
✅Yes✅Yes
Split tunneling
✅Yes✅Yes
Specialized servers
❌No✅Yes

Our TunnelBear vs. ExpressVPN comparison gets more and more exciting. When comparing features, you should keep in mind that, more or less, both VPNs offer a solid toolkit. However, ExpressVPN brings some additional perks to the table.

Smart DNS

Smart DNS is a valuable feature that allows streaming on devices that usually don’t support VPN apps, such as smart TVs. However, this feature doesn’t encrypt your online activity; it just hides your location so you can bypass geo-restrictions, making it most useful for streaming.

ExpressVPN comes with its own version of Smart DNS called MediaStreamer. It grants you full and seamless access to your preferred content on any device you want.

On the other hand, TunnelBear doesn’t have any form of Smart DNS. With the already limited device support, it certainly isn’t suitable for those who want a VPN for more than PC and mobile devices.

Ad & tracker blocker

TunnelBear and ExpressVPN both offer blocking tools. The main difference is what the respective tools disable.

ExpressVPN offers Threat Manager, which offers protection from various user trackers. You can benefit from this feature if you have iOS, MacOS, and Linux. Unfortunately, Android and Windows users will have to wait a little bit for this feature.

TunnelBear comes with TunnelBear Blocker. It prevents ads, pop-ups, tracking attempts, and other similar threats. However, only Chrome offers the ad blocker as an extension.

Split tunneling

Split tunneling is another essential VPN feature that allows you to select which applications work only when the VPN is enabled. It gives you better flexibility in choosing which services benefit from VPN protection while the rest access the Internet with your real IP address.

TunnelBear offers SplitBear for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows devices. You can either exclude applications from the VPN connection or certain websites.

ExpressVPN also offers split tunneling, available on Windows, macOS, Android, and routers. Users can also customize the VPN connection for specific apps, such as browsers, games, and clients.

Specialized servers

Specialized servers can boost either privacy or performance, depending on what they’re meant for. In this instance, only ExpressVPN offers any sort of dedicated servers for specific online activities:

  • Streaming. These are optimized to easily bypass restrictions imposed by streaming platforms like Netflix and facilitate a smooth video experience.
  • Stealth. These mask VPN traffic as regular internet traffic, letting you circumvent restrictive firewalls and Deep Packet Inspection (DPI).

Other features

Each VPN service also offers other notable features.

TunnelBear additionally offers:

  • GhostBear. Hides tracks of VPN usage, letting you use the VPN on networks where such software is usually blocked. Only available on Windows, macOS, and Android.

ExpressVPN additionally offers:

  • Port forwarding. Most useful for torrenting enthusiasts as it boosts download and upload speeds. It also lets you access your home network remotely.
  • Parallel connections. Speeds up VPN connection time.
  • Built-in password manager. Helps subscribers generate, store, and share passwords in a secure manner.

All in all, ExpressVPN is worth its salt feature-wise. While TunnelBear is great for general protection, you won’t find much benefit in it for streaming or torrenting.

Netflix and streaming comparison

Streaming platformsTunnelBearExpressVPN
Netflix US✅Yes✅Yes
Other Netflix libraries❌No✅Yes
Amazon Prime Video
✅Yes✅Yes
Hulu✅Yes✅Yes
HBO Max
✅Yes✅Yes
Disney+
❌No✅Yes
BBC iPlayer
❌No✅Yes
YouTube TV
✅Yes✅Yes

VPNs are often used for streaming geo-restricted content. Therefore, we decided to see which one has better streaming capabilities – ExpressVPN vs. TunnelBear.

TunnelBear works with Netflix US and YouTube in some situations. However, users report that it’s not the best option if you want to enjoy flawless streaming. Additionally, it might be less consistent with other streaming platforms in other countries.

ExpressVPN unblocks Netflix US

It looks like streaming is not an issue for ExpressVPN. Our test shows that it is a top-tier VPN for streaming with impressive geo-block circumvention capabilities. More precisely, ExpressVPN unblocks Netflix in any country by providing fast and reliable connection speeds. And it didn’t run into roadblocks when we tried accessing other streaming platforms. Best of all, we were able to watch TV shows and movies in crisp UHD quality.

Device compatibility

Device supportTunnelBearExpressVPN
Major dedicated appsWindows, macOS, iOS, AndroidWindows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android
Other dedicated appsAndroid TV, Fire TV & Fire Stick, Kindle Fire, Chromebook, Router applet
Browser extensionsChrome, Edge, Firefox, Brave, OperaChrome (and Chromium-based browsers), Brave, Edge, Firefox, Opera
Manual setupRouter, NAS, nVidia Shield, Kodi, Roku, Chromecast, gaming consoles
Simultaneous devicesUnlimited5

ExpressVPN and TunnelBear have user-friendly apps for the most popular OS. Moreover, there are extensions for web browsers. But yet again, this is where the similarities end. Tunnelbear simply lacks device support, and the unlimited simultaneous connections aren’t enough to make up for it.

Desktop applications

ExpressVPN offers dedicated apps for Windows and macOS. The most important part is that the VPN’s app interface is optimized for your device. In other words, navigation is straightforward. Adding to that, the clients are identical feature and security-wise, which is pretty rare among VPNs.

TunnelBear Windows client main screen

TunnelBear also offers dedicated apps for Windows and macOS. The client for the latter is a bit slicker, but the cutesy bear theme is present in both. What’s a bit concerning is that users can’t manually select the tunneling protocol they want to use.

ExpressVPN Windows 11 app

Finally, only ExpressVPN offers an app for Linux, and it comes with a GUI at that. It’s compatible with Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Raspberry Pi OS, Linux Mint, and Arch. Naturally, not all features are present, but it does offer great security for Linux users.

Mobile applications

Regarding mobile devices, both ExpressVPN and TunnelBear offer dedicated applications for both Android and iOS. It shouldn’t be surprising that in each case, these clients lack certain features.

TunnelBear for iOS Settings

ExpressVPN’s apps look identical, so switching between them doesn’t cause problems. And there are minor differences regarding features. The Android app includes a Protection Summary and a Security Assistant. The iOS app doesn’t have these, including split tunneling. Instead, users can utilize Parallel Connections.

ExpressVPN iOS app

TunnelBear’s applications are a whole nother ordeal. They are cluttered, the menus are all over the place, and there are bear sounds whenever you connect to a VPN server (it’s annoying in the long run). Plus, the iOS app is worse off than Android – there’s no kill switch.

Torrenting

P2P specificationsTunnelBearExpressVPN
Allowed on✅All servers✅All servers
Free SOCKS5 proxy❌No❌No
Split tunneling✅Yes (Android, iOS, macOS, Windows)✅Yes (Windows, macOS, Android, routers)

In this TunnelBear vs. ExpressVPN round, we’ll get the winner pretty quickly. You can use TunnelBear for torrenting, as it’s allowed on the whole network. However, the speeds weren’t so great for P2P.

Of course, ExpressVPN is here to save the day. This provider doesn’t come with restrictions for torrenting, and the excellent speeds further boost downloads and uploads.

What’s notable is that both services lack a SOCKS5 proxy, which is usually invaluable for torrenting. And these VPNs include split tunneling, too, another useful feature for a better P2P experience. Still, this round goes to ExpressVPN for sheer speed.

China

SpecificationsTunnelBearExpressVPN
Works in China✅Yes✅Yes
Stealth VPN✅Yes (GhostBear)✅Yes (Stealth servers)
Tor over VPN❌No❌No

In restricted countries, such as China, ExpressVPN and TunnelBear are pretty successful with their bypassing abilities.

TunnelBear offers the GhostBear feature that masks VPN connections as regular HTTPS ones. While some users report it doesn’t always work perfectly, it certainly is enough to bypass China’s restrictive firewall.

With ExpressVPN, you’ll get a smooth and issue-free experience in surpassing Deep Packet Inspection. This VPN employs Stealth servers that exceed Chinese censorship and unblock various services.

Thus, you’ll be okay in China with ExpressVPN and TunnelBear.

Customer support

Support optionsTunnelBearExpressVPN
24/7 live chat
❌No✅Yes
Phone Line❌No❌No
Email ✅Yes✅Yes
Knowledgebase✅Yes✅Yes

As we came to the end of our ExpressVPN vs. TunnelBear comparison, we got to another vital aspect – customer support. As you might guess, ExpressVPN has a bigger advantage over TunnelBear.

ExpressVPN offers 24/7 live chat, email ticketing systems, articles, tutorials, and FAQs. Furthermore, the support agents are very responsive and knowledgeable, whether you’re contacting them via chat or email.

Like ExpressVPN, TunnelBear also has articles, FAQs, and tutorials, but it doesn’t offer a live chat option, which is a huge drawback. Instead, the quickest way to get support is via submitting a ticket. But while TunnelBear has improved its response times, you still have to wait for quite a while. Which isn’t optimal if you have a very big issue on your hands.

TunnelBear vs ExpressVPN – which is better?

TunnelBear🥈ExpressVPN🥇
PricingWins✔️Loses❌
SpeedLoses❌Wins✔️
SecurityLoses❌Wins✔️
ServersLoses❌Wins✔️
FeaturesLoses❌Wins✔️
StreamingLoses❌Wins✔️
Device compatibility
Loses❌Wins✔️
Torrenting
Loses❌Wins✔️
ChinaTie 🤝Tie 🤝
Customer supportLoses❌Wins✔️
Total wins1 out of 108 out of 10

ExpressVPN is the clear winner in the TunnelBear vs.ExpressVPN comparison. More precisely, it dominated in such key aspects as security, features, speed, device compatibility, and streaming, to name a few. This VPN service is certainly worth the money, especially if you’re looking for a versatile provider.

Keep in mind that TunnelBear is not the worst option. It’s just that it doesn’t have much to offer besides security and a better price. But, in this case, cheaper pricing means you’re getting less bang for your buck. Go with ExpressVPN if you want a VPN that does it all.

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You may also like to read:
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TunnelBear vs CyberGhost
TunnelBear vs IPVanish


FAQ

Is TunnelBear better than ExpressVPN?

No, ExpressVPN is better than TunnelBear. It’s faster, more secure, and comes with more useful features. Furthermore, you’ll be able to stream any geo-blocked content you want, that TunnelBear fails to unlock.

Is TunnelBear faster than ExpressVPN?

No, TunnelBear isn’t faster than ExpressVPN. While the service achieves great speeds with WireGuard, it simply can’t surpass ExpressVPN’s lightning-fast Lightway tunneling protocol.

Is TunnelBear safe?

TunnelBear is not 100% safe. It’s a free VPN without an independently-audited no-logs policy and a jurisdiction in Canada so it’s uncertain what it is doing with your data.

Is ExpressVPN a good VPN?

ExpressVPN is quite good. It has the Lightway tunneling protocol, Stealth servers, RAM-only servers, MediaStreamer, and other great features. It works well at unblocking Netflix and other streaming services. However, it is more expensive than other VPNs on the market.

6 comments
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  1. wimmyvimal12 May 21, 2019 at 10:40 am

    I think, if it is me, I would ask myself why do I need a VPN is the first place, before deciding which VPN to purchase, because one does not need a costly VPN if they are only looking at covering a few of the basic necessities.


  2. Jean Gousse April 5, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    When I look at these comparison reviews between Brand X and ExpressVPN, I keep thinking of Mike Tyson in his prime and the next poor schmoe who has to get in the ring with him. The outcome is never in doubt, but remember, Buster Douglas eventually showed up and beat “Iron” Mike so while Tunnelbear is the latest victim (even if it’s a spirited one), someone’s waiting to take ExpressVPN out.


  3. harvey049 February 17, 2019 at 6:41 am

    Express VPN is a costlier of the two. And for a reason, It out scores the other in every aspect. No surprise here as Express is one of the Best right now.

    Since it is based in the self-ruling British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN has no data retention laws to worry about and can maintain an absolutely strict no-logs policy. In short, even if you’ve tried and liked TunnelBear, you will like Express even more.


  4. Josephine Morgan February 13, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    Why compare these two, TunnelBear and ExpressVPN when they are separated by may be just a point. Pricing seem to be the main difference between the two VPN. Except you don’t know exactly what to do, these two are just sharing almost same feature


  5. avatar
    Ethan Payne January 28, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Agreed, Gaddy. Both Express and Nord are our Top 2 choices for best VPN for torrenting as well.


  6. Gaddy January 26, 2019 at 9:59 pm

    TunnelBear is a really good choice, I used it for a while before moving to NordVPN. You get good value for money, and it works really well if you’re not looking for a VPN for torrenting.

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